Jade POV: That Fucking Smile

His heart hammers beneath my fingers on his chest. I gently tickle the curves of his muscles while he tries to catch the breath that’s still ladened down with the echos of his moans. These few seconds, before he’s said anything and before either one of us has found the will to move again, have become more blissful than anything I’ve ever experienced. 

And more terrifying. 

Because I’m comfortable here. I want to be here. And I think I’m starting to need it. I’m starting to need him. But there’s still so much I don’t know about him, so much he’s holding back, that I’m not sure letting myself catch feelings for him is a good idea. The only thing I’m certain, still lying here naked and tangled up with him, is that Luke Sawyer is a fucking god. And I’ve never heard of god that needed anybody.

“Why do you always bring me here?” I ask, pressing my palm against the heartbeat I want so desperately to be only for me. He looks down and frowns. 

“What’s wrong with the Fairmont? It’s a five star hotel…” 

“Yeah, and we always come here. We’ve hooked up a dozen times now, and I’ve never seen your apartment.” 

“Maybe I don’t have a great apartment.” 

“But you’re spending $400 on a hotel room every time we fuck?” 

“Which would explain why I can’t afford a great apartment, right?” 

“Luke, I’m being serious. I don’t know anything about you. I don’t know where you live. I’ve never met any of your friends, or anyone who even knows you. I still don’t even know what you really do.” 

“I thought we settled on hitman?” 

You’re not supposed to be okay with me calling you a murderer!”  I roll off of him and shake my head dejectedly at the ceiling. “This is starting to get weird.” 

He sits up, the crease in his brow the only imperfection on his gorgeous face. The blues of his eyes are so mesmerising in his concern that I almost want to let it all go so he’ll let me fall into him and make love to me all over again. 

And that’s the fucking problem

“Jade, what’s going on?” he asks. 

I sigh, then pull the blanket over my head so he can’t watch the flush of humiliation that colors my cheeks. “I don’t think I want this to be so casual anymore, Luke. I think… I think I might be falling for you.” 

A few seconds of silence pass, and I start to picture him leaping out of bed and bolting through the door before he even gets his pants all the way on. Instead, his fingers curl around the blanket and pull it away from my face. I want there to be a smile waiting for me when I look up at him. I want him to tell me that he feels exactly the same way and that he’s only been holding back because he’s just as nervous about this as I am. 

Instead, he looks curious. 

Not angry. 

Not appalled. 

Just curious.

“Why are you hiding from me?” 

I swallow. “I’m afraid you’re going to hurt me. I’m afraid I’m going to fall, and you’re just going to let me.” 

“Because you don’t know what I do?” 

“Because I don’t know who you really are.” 

He blinks. Then takes a long breath. 

“I was in the military,” he says, after a long pause. “First Infantry, United States Army. I spent most of my time on the Pakistani border.”

My heart thuds excitedly. “Oh? Are you from a military family?” 

“No.” He shakes his head. “My mom wasn’t the most stable woman. We moved around a lot when I was a kid. All over the country. I was loner, until some military recruiter caught me my senior year of high school. I enlisted, and deployed three months after graduation.” 

“That young?” 

He waves away the concern in my voice. “It was good for me. It gave me purpose for the first time. It gave me something to believe in. Gave me a family. I never stayed put long enough to make friends growing up, and somehow, in the middle of the desert on the other side of the world, I found my people.” 

I smile, hoping it makes this new, giving mood I may or may not have forced him into feel safe and encouraging. But the cold barriers behind his eyes that keep his soul from me stay firmly in place as he continues. 

“There were eleven men in my squad. Every single one of them felt like a brother to me. We went on this scouting mission to take account of the enemy’s position, artillery, and defenses before an operation we planned to launch a few days after that. We got everything, wrote a report that turned into a flawless plan. It was one of those rare times over there when it felt like something was actually fucking happening and that we weren’t just wondering aimlessly across all that god forsaken sand for nothing.” 

“But the mission didn’t go as planned?” I ask. 

He shakes his head. “It never happened. The night before we were going to deploy, I woke up feeling horrible. My stomach was all tied up, I felt like I was having a heart-attack… I got out of my cot and walked a few hundred yards from the big canvas tent everyone was sleeping in and started puking. Apparently it was loud enough to wake my commander because he came to check on me, and while we were crouched down in the brush, a missile came over the hill and landed right on top of the tent we’d just left. The explosion blew Taylor and I back several feet. I had a concussion. The thing I remember most about getting back to camp is the ringing in my ears. And then the smell of burned flesh. We didn’t even have to check to know that nobody had survived, and bullets started flying down at us from the cliffside, so we jumped in the only vehicle that made it through the explosion and drove as we could out of there. The tank went dry about thirty miles outside of Bagram Air Force Base. We walked fifteen more before we got picked up.” 

“Luke…” 

“That’s just one time. I never knew my father. The first girl I ever slept with died in a drunk driving accident on her Senior prom night, and a few weeks ago, I watched a mad man point a gun at my best friend. I’ve lost almost every single person I’ve ever cared about, Jade. I like you. Really, I do. I wanna see you, I wanna spend time with you, and I’m really into fucking you, but… I’m not ready to let myself care yet. That’s going to take awhile…  Is that okay?” 

He actually looks contrite while his question hangs between us. I gnaw at my bottom lip, slightly overwhelmed with the new insight he’s given me. This reaction isn’t what I wanted, but now that I know the reasons behind his reticence, can I blame him? 

“I care,” I tell him. “Does that scare you?” 

He leans into me, his hand brushing gently against my cheek and resting there. His nose brushes tenderly against mine. “Not at all.” 

I bask in the warmth of his tone and fall into his lips. He kisses me back like he means it. Like he wants to leave clues about how he really feels but can’t say out loud yet. I can feel it in the way his hands cradle me, and in the way his tongue caresses mine. I feel it from him the same way I feel it beating in my heart, and even though I know it’s so stupid… I know that I’ve already tumbled down the rabbit hole, and all there’s left to do is explore Wonderland. 

“Are we okay?” he asks when he pulls away. My lips press together, lifting slightly at the corners, and I nod. The last of the tension leaves the creases around his eyes and he grins. “Good, cause I have to pee.” 

I snort as he rolls out of bed and his naked ass disappears through the bathroom door. There’s a kind of glow that fills my chest as I sink back into the pillows, and I bask in it for three or four absolutely heavenly seconds. 

Then Luke’s phone buzzes on the nightstand. 

Ana

Are you up?

Ana?

I frown and lean over, glancing at the closed bathroom door before I reach down and swipe the message. It opens his text conversation with her and just the messages I can see in the window make my stomach churn. 

I love you? My heart starts to race and the next breath I take shakes all the way down. Heat rushes to my face. Blood pounds behind my ears. A million thoughts start buzzing around my head until my mind is so full, I can’t sort anything out. It sends chaos ricocheting through my body. Leaping out of bed, I snatch my t-shirt off the floor and pull it over my head. I’m just working on my pants when Luke comes through the bathroom door. 

“What are you doing?” 

“I’m leaving.” 

“What? Why?” 

“Because you’re a fucking liar!” 

“What are you talking about?” 

“I asked you point blank, Lucas. I asked you if you had a girlfriend, I asked you if you had a wife. You told me no.” 

“I don’t!” 

“Oh, really? Then who the fuck is Ana?” 

His face goes blank. “You know about, Ana?” 

“Yeah,” I sneer back. “So you can save your bullshit sob stories, I know why you’ve kept me out of your life. Why I’ve never seen your apartment. Do you have kids there?” 

“What the fuck are you talking about?” 

I roll my eyes and pull on my shoes, then march toward the door. “Have a nice life, Luke.” 

He steps in front of me, the barriers in his eyes now cold and deadly. “How do you know about Ana?” 

“Check your phone.” 

“My phone?” 

“Yeah, she texted you and I gotta say, reading your love confessions for one another was really truly heartwarming.” 

He doesn’t even give me the decency to stand there and let me eviscerate him. The moment I say ‘she texted you, he’s moving across the room to pick up his phone. He takes a second to read what’s on the screen, then presses his finger into the glass and pulls it up to his ear. Then his eyes meet mine. 

“You’re making a mistake… Hey,” he takes a step away from me, and starts talking into his phone. “I’m up, are you okay?” 

My whole chin starts to tremble, and I can feel the tears welling in my waterline. Before he can see them, I pick up my bag and hurry out of the room. 


“Well fuck him,” Georgia says, tilting the rim of her beer against her lips and draining it. “Dude’s either a coward or an asshole, you’re better off without him.” 

“Yeah,” I reply, swallowing against the knot in my throat while I nod. “I just… I thought this one was different.” 

“None of them are different. All men are trash, and the ones who aren’t are either gay or are lying to themselves about not being gay.” 

I laugh and let my head fall back against the sofa. My apartment is a far cry from the luxurious accommodations at the Fairmont Olympic. It’s small, crowded with too much junk, and so poorly ventilated that it always smells a little bit like mildew from the constant rain. But it’s my place. And it’s ironic, as I sit here nursing the cracks of my breaking heart, that this was the place that I came to escape my last relationship. After a year of threats, and cruelty, and abuse… I’d finally gotten away and found a sanctuary. After surviving all of that, how could I let myself fall like this again? 

It’s those damn eyes. And his smile. Ugh, that fucking smile.

A flash of our night together moves through my memory. His hands roaming my body and holding me like I was too precious to let go. His lips caressing my skin and pressing against my ear. I can recall the low timber of his voice when he told me exactly what I did to him with perfect clarity, and it makes me tremble. 

“Jade…” 

I look up at my best friend, tears threatening at the corners of my eyes again. She tosses the cookie in her hand on the coffee table and moves across the sofa to wrap me in her arms. 

“You’re too good for him. He doesn’t deserve your tears. Why don’t we go out tonight, huh? Get your mind off of him? Joe’s working the door at some fancy donor dinner for the mayor’s race in Seattle. It’s like a five course meal and open bar. We can go get shit-faced.” 

I give her a skeptical look. “Don’t those things cost like $5,000 a head?” 

“Yeah, but that’s all paid in advance. They assume if you get through the door, you’ve paid. That’s where Joe comes in.” 

“Really?” I let my head drop from side to side, weighing my options. “Champagne?” 

“Dom Perignon, baby.” 

“Oh, fuck yeah.” Her grin stretches just as wide as mine does, and we bolt into the bedroom. My closet could honestly be mistaken for costume storage with the number of gigs I run around town while trying to get my event planning business off the ground, but I’ve gone to just enough swanky networking events to produce dresses for both Georgia and me. She’s worked the MAC counter part time for years, so I sit diligently still while she works her magic, and we make grand schemes about how we’re going to nab ourselves a bonafide millionaire by the end of the night. 

“And by nab, I assume we’re both talking about kidnapping one of these douchebags and dumping their bodies somewhere in the wilderness, right? I’ve been listening to murder podcasts for years to prepare for this.” 

I laugh. “Yeah, maybe the Starbucks guy will be there. Teach you to sell the Supersonics, motherfucker.” 

We both break down laughing until my phone starts to vibrate on the counter and I glance down to see Luke’s name spelled out across the screen. Instantly, the laughter dies out, and I feel my heart leap up into my throat. 

“What the fuck does he want?” Georgia snaps.

“I don’t know.” My fingers shake while I reach out for it, but I take a deep, bracing breath before I answer so he won’t be able to sense my vulnerability. “Hello?” 

“It’s not what you think it is.” 

I want to roll my eyes. “Oh, really. Please enlighten me then.” 

“We’re not dating. We’re not married. We’re not romantically involved in any way.” 

“I saw the texts, Luke. You said you loved her.” 

“And I do. Just not the way you think I do.”

“What does that mean?” 

“Can we talk? In person, I mean.” 

I glance down at Georgia, who looks like she’s ready to let him have it through the phone. “Uh… where are you?” 

“Just go outside.” 

“What?” 

“Go outside.” 

“I’m at my apartment, wh–” My words cut off as three loud booms make their way through the apartment to my bathroom. I glance uneasily in their direction. 

“Was that you?” 

“Open the door.” 

“How do you know where I live?” 

“I know everything about you, Jade. Please come open the door and let me explain.” 

I pull the phone away and hang up. Georgia stares at me with a questioning look, but I push past her and stalk warily towards the door. And sure enough, when I open it, he’s standing there waiting for me. 

“What in the–” 

“I’m not ready to lose you yet, Jade. So, if you’ll let me… I’d like to try and explain everything to you.” 

I step to the side and he walks past me into my apartment. My best friend is hovering in my bedroom door, and despite the fact that I’ve never even mentioned her to him before, he nods in her direction as though they’ve met a dozen times. 

“Georgia,” he greets her politely. 

“Uh… Luke, right?” 

“Yeah, would you mind giving us a few minutes of privacy?” 

“Sure.” She starts to back into my bedroom, but he shakes his head. 

“No, actually. I’d really appreciate it if you waited outside. Downstairs. Please.” 

Georgia’s eyes move to me and her brow arches in an unspoken question. I glance at Luke, pondering him for a moment, then nod to my best friend. She hesitates, then picks up her phone on her way to the door. “Call me if you need me.” 

“I will.” 

The moment she’s gone, Luke pulls a small device that looks a little like a walkie-talkie from his jacket pocket and starts holding it up to the walls like he’s trying to find a cell signal. 

“What are you doing?” 

“I’m looking for recording devices.” He moves past me as though what he just said was perfectly normal and moves into the bedroom to do the same thing. Once he’s made a sweep of the room, he turns off the device, shoves it back into his pocket, and turns to me. 

“I’m not a hitman.” 

“Are you sure?” Honestly, I’m not anymore…

He lets out a short breath through his nose, then starts to pace. “I’m part of an elite private security team for some very powerful individuals. I specialize in technology, mostly, but let’s say my job description is a little… nebulous.” 

“Is that how you know where I live?” 

“Yes. I’ve been checking into you since we first slept together. Since I knew I wanted there to be another time.” 

“What are you talking about? How do you know Georgia?” 

“I uh…” He swallows nervously. “I saw you two having lunch together a few weeks ago. I followed her back to the store where she works and snuck into her locker to bug her phone. I find close acquaintances to be one of the most useful ways of tripping someone up in a lie. People let their guard down with the people they trust.” 

“You’ve been spying on us?” 

“Yes.” 

“Why?” 

“Because I have to. Because there are people who will try to use me and everyone around me to get to the people that I work for. I’ve had to look into your past, your job, your… whole life to make sure you are who you say you are. I’ve been burned before, and it’s… It’s not a mistake I’m going to make again. But I know you’re not lying to me, and so I’m here to try and make it right.” 

“Who do you work for?” 

“I can’t tell you that.”

“Ana?” 

He goes stiff, and the ice I saw in his eyes earlier is replaced with fire. “Don’t say her name.” 

“Why?” 

“Because you can’t be in that part of my life. You can’t have anything to do with it, and that’s not because of you. It’s just the way it is. There are all kinds of rules, NDAs… real shit. I didn’t tell you because I can’t tell you, and if you can’t live with that, then… I mean, I get it. But I’m the same person I was last night, Jade. I don’t want you to walk away from me. I don’t want to lose what we have, or what you…” He pauses, and grits his jaw. “This morning you said you cared. I didn’t realize how much that meant to me until you walked out.” 

I shift uncomfortably, and he moves to me. 

“I don’t want you to stop caring.” 

It’s those damn eyes. Deep pools of blue I could swim in forever. And when I see the look of pleading reflecting down on me, and the want that colors it, I forget about everything except the parts of me that want this man. 

“I haven’t,” I whisper. “I do.” 

He wraps my arms around me and presses his lips to mine. I don’t even have time to catch my breath before his tongue slides into my mouth, and drags me down into the hazy euphoria that is quickly starting to feel like an addictive drug. And one that only he can provide. 

“Can I tell you one more thing?” he asks. 

“What?” 

“Well, I told you that I moved around a lot as a kid, right? We bounced from Toledo, Cincinnati, Minneapolis… Then we jumped to Portland, Seattle, and finally Fairbanks. I spent a lot of time in Alaska, and the thing about Alaska is that the days there are really dark, and really cold. When I went to the Middle East, everyone around me always bitched about the heat. But I loved it. It was like… making up for lost time, or something. Whenever I had downtime, I would go out and lay in the sand and just feel the sun on my skin and those quiet moments alone in the heat were some of the most peaceful I’ve ever experienced.” He pauses, and brushes his fingers over the side of my face. “You feel like the sun, Jade.” 

My lip trembles, so I catch it with my teeth before he notices, and throw my arms around him. 

“So… is that okay?” he asks. “I mean, as long as I’m doing what I’m doing, you’re only ever going to get half of me. That’s not negotiable. So… is that enough for you?” 

It’s a heavy question, and it weighs on me appropriately. I take a breath, and stare deep into those gorgeous blue eyes…

“I don’t know. Will you really give me that half?” 

“What do you mean?” 

“I mean, no more nights at the Fairmont. No more secret hook-ups and salacious rendezvous. If I only get half of you, then that half has to actually be with me.” 

“Okay.” He nods. “Yeah, just tell me what you need.” 

I reach over and pick up my purse off the bed and sling it over my shoulder. “Come on, we’re going out tonight. I’m going to introduce you to my friends.” 

He shoots me a guilty look. “I’m going to be real honest with you here, I know all your friends.” 

“Well, then I want them to know you.” My fingers lace with his and I pull him from the apartment, all the way out to the curb where Georgia is waiting. She runs upstairs to grab her purse, and I sneak in a tiny make-out sesh with Luke while we’re alone before the Uber arrives.

“Just like the sun,” he whispers.  


The venue for this ritzy party is slightly underwhelming. The white stone facade looks so ordinary, it could be a bank. But the first guy I see standing in line to get in is sporting a Rolex on his left wrist , and when I glance back at Georgia, she winks and flashes me a giddy smile. 

“What are we doing here?” Luke asks, his eyes flashing to the sign next to the door with the candidate’s information on it: Carrick Grey, For the People.

“We know the guy working the door, so we’re going to sneak in and enjoy all the fancy stuff. Don’t worry, we do stuff like this all the time. We’ve never gotten caught.” 

“Yeah, but–” 

“Hey, Michael! Cynthia!” Georgia says, cutting Luke off as she leans in to kiss the pretty redhead we met working concessions at a Sounders game a few years ago. “You look great.” 

“Thanks, I picked this dress up at Nordstroms after work, but I kept the tags on so I can return it tomorrow.” 

“Well you look beautiful,” I tell her, moving in for the hug. She beams at me, then turns her gaze to Luke. 

“Hi,” he says. “Cynthia, right?” 

She gives him a weird look. “Uh… yeah. Have we met?” 

“Oh, no… Jade’s just told me all about you.” He doesn’t blush or break eye contact with her at all. The lie passes through his lips smooth as butter and it makes me crinkle my brow. Cynthia on the other hand, smirks and tosses her hair over her shoulder. 

“Naturally.” 

With a charming smile, Luke holds his hand out for hers but she gives him a hug instead. He lets Michael introduce himself when they shake hands, then takes a step back and wraps an arm around me. 

“Shall we?” I ask. Michael nods and moves to lead the way. 

The line isn’t long. I mean, how long can you expect rich people to wait, right? But when we get to the front, we’re immediately confronted with a problem. Joe isn’t the one working the door. It’s a stranger standing there with the clipboard and the ear piece, and when we approach the head of the line, his gaze almost makes me think he’s onto us from the get go.

“Name?” he asks. 

“Uh… actually, is Joe here?” Michael asks. “He asked me to speak with him directly.” 

“He’s on a break. Name?” 

“Uh…” 

Michael’s eyes shift nervously back to Cynthia, who glances over at Georgia. The nervous energy that fills the space between them builds until the guy with the clipboard notices, and his stern face goes sour. 

“Look this is a paid event…” 

“Luke Sawyer,” Luke says, pushing forward. “My name is Luke Sawyer.” 

The wannabe bouncer standing in front of us looks down at his clipboard, and scans the names. “Sorry, you’re not on the list.” 

“Tell the people in your earpiece I’m here.” 

“I’m sorry, the list is the list. If you’re not on the list, you can’t come in.” 

“Just do it.” 

He rolls his eyes but reaches up to touch his earpiece. “Yeah, I’ve got a Luke Sawyer here at the door. He seems to think he should be on the list…” 

We wait while Mr. Stick-Up-His-Ass listens to whatever response comes through his earpiece. It’s an honest to god shock when the haughty superiority on his face starts to melt away. He coughs and reaches down for the velvet rope. 

“My apologies, Mr. Sawyer. Right this way.” 

“Sick…” Michael says, turning an incredulous look on Georgia. She beams back and Luke and I, but I turn toward him, utterly confused. 

“Powerful individuals?” I ask. 

“Yeah, let’s just… keep a low profile.” 

We walk through the dark corridor into a low lit, but trendy looking restaurant. Mostly, it’s filled with suits and their bored looking wives. There are waitresses milling through the crowd with trays of food and flutes of champagne, and I watch a woman in a red evening dress pluck one away from the passing waiter so she can pop a pill. 

“Over here,” Cynthia says, starting toward an empty table near the back. We slide into the seat and Luke pushes himself into the furthest, darkest corner he can. While everyone else gushes about the menu waiting on the place settings and tries to figure out how to flag someone down to order drinks, he sets his phone on the table, and starts to scan the people around us. 

“Looking for someone?” I ask. 

His eyes finish the sweep before he glances over at me. “No, just a habit.” 

“Oh my god, look…” Georgia whispers, reaching over to grab my arm. “Isn’t that Christian Grey?” 

“Oh yeah,” Cynthia says. “That’s definitely him. I’d know that gorgeous fucking face anywhere.” 

“Keep dreaming ladies. Any man who takes care of himself the way that fine specimen does is not batting for team hetero.” 

“He’s married…” Luke says. 

“Oh, how cute…” Michael replies, his voice simpering and mocking. I glance back at Luke, but he just rolls his eyes and picks up a menu. 

“Didn’t he just get shot or something?” Georgia asks. “I thought I read that he was attacked in his apartment.”

“Yeah, I think you– oh, hey! Miss!” 

A woman dressed all in black pauses on her way past the table and offers Cynthia a polite smile. She asks around the table for drinks, but Luke doesn’t answer when she gets to him. He’s staring off into the crowd again. 

“Is something wrong?’ 

Again, he doesn’t immediately turn back to me. “No, nothing.” 

A wave of unease moves over me, but just as I’m about to ask what’s going on, he leans in and presses his lips against mine. “I don’t do well in crowds, okay?” 

“Agoraphobic?” 

“No more like… hyper-paranoid. I’m in security, remember?” 

“Oh, well… do you want a drink?” 

“No. I think the best distraction for me is actually right here.” He pulls me closer to him and kisses me again. Really kisses me this time, and my friends start whooping around the table. 

“Oh my god, shut up.” I say, picking up a napkin and tossing it across the table at Georgia. She rolls her eyes at me, but engages everyone else in conversation when Luke pulls my face back to his and envelops me in his arms. 

The drinks come and the conversation flows. In between feeling me up under the table, and holding me tightly against his side, Luke starts to melt a little. He makes a joke when Michael spills his drink all over himself, and he and Cynthia get into a weirdly in-depth conversation about old Hollywood movies, most of which I’ve never heard of but he can rattle off like the ABCs. Just as the food comes to the table though, and all the people in sparkling evening wear start to take their seats, Luke’s phone buzzes on the table. 

I look down at the incoming call, and I see ANA on the screen. 

The fork falls from his hand he moves so quickly to answer it. 

“Hey… what’s wrong? Ana?” He recedes into the velvet cushions of the booth, trying to shrink into the shadows. “Talk to me, what’s going on? No, there’s no one in the house. Ana, there is no one in the house. Because I know. Where’s Woods? Okay, okay… Where are you? Where? Alright, I’m going to hang up the phone, call Woods, and tell him to go up there, okay? I’ll call you right back. No, okay, okay… shit.” He curses under his breath and sits up, glancing around the restaurant again. His eyes fall on something across the room and he nods to himself. “Hold on, okay?” 

He gets up from his seat and shoots an anxious look back at me before moving quickly away from the table. I feel the furrow in my brow while I watch him weave through the tables, and stop at the one positioned prominently in the center of everyone. He moves past the scary looking men in black suits, steps up right behind Christian Mother-Fucking Grey, and leans down to speak to him. The billionaire I’ve only ever seen on TV and in magazines before looks over at him like that’s perfectly normal, then takes his phone out of his hand and starts to talk into it. Within seconds, he’s jumping out of his seat and barreling towards the exit. Luke hesitates in his wake, then glances back at me. 

His shoulders slump, and as he trudges his way back, it all comes together. 

Ana. 

As in Anastasia

As in Anastasia Grey.

“Hey,” Georgia says, turning to me. “Where’d Luke–” 

I hardly hear her, and I’m already out of my seat before she can finish. The guilt is clear in Luke’s eyes from several yards away. 

“Christian Grey?” I hiss. “That’s the powerful person you work for? Grey Enterprises Holding, Man of the Year, Forbes Top 20 CEOs, billionaire Christian Grey?” 

His mouth opens, but he stumbles over the words so he grabs ahold of my wrist and drags me out of the restaurant. Once we’re on the sidewalk, he stops and glances up and down the street like he’s not sure where to go. I take his hand and drag him to the harbor steps where we can sit and talk in private. 


“I had a collapsed lung, a few broken ribs.” He hangs his head as the story he’s finally let himself tell pours out of him. It came like a trickling stream, at first. But when the dam broke it came in tidal waves until there was absolutely nothing left inside of him. “I almost lost my best friend. And I’m not entirely sure we’re out of the woods yet.”

“What do you mean?” 

“She’s…” He stops, and chews on the words before settling on, “terrified. She’s absolutely terrified, all the way down to her bones, and it’s changing her. I’m doing everything I can to stop it, but I don’t know if I can. I don’t know if she’s ever going to be able to come back from this.” 

The text messages I read this morning run through my mind again, and I start parroting them without realizing I’m saying it out loud. “I love you, please remember that.” He cringes with pain, and puts his forehead in his palms. “Are you worried she’s going to hurt herself?” 

“I don’t know what she’s going to do. She’s not in her right mind and… yeah. I’m afraid of what might happen if she’s left alone at the wrong time. I should be there, but…” 

His words come to an abrupt halt and he looks off over the sound with malice on his face. 

“But what?” 

“I– I just…” As he stutters through his words, the frustration that’s had hold of his entire body since he answered that phone call finally hits a breaking point. He deflates. The normally confident, strong, intimidating man I’m growing to love, looks lost. 

He shifts on the stair, pivoting towards me, and takes my face in both his hands. We stare deeply into each other’s eyes, and for the very first time, the walls behind his are gone. 

“Can I trust you, Jade?” he pleads, so softly that the noise of the traffic a hundred yards behind us nearly downs him out. I inch closer to him and hope the sincerity beating in my heart reflects in my eyes. 

“I don’t want to fuck you over, Luke. I don’t want to hurt you, or anyone you love. I don’t want to leave. I… “ I press my lips together, remembering the last time these words crossed my lips and the man I gave them to. How they didn’t stop what he did to me, and how much worse that made everything. But Luke isn’t Brandon. And if I want him to trust me, I have to trust him. “I’m falling in love with you.” 

His face breaks into a breathtaking smile, that same one that would let him drag me into the cement alcove near the look out and fuck me for all the people down on the waterfront to hear. He leans in to kiss me, but I pull back. 

“What’s wrong?” 

“I, uh…” Bits and pieces of the story he told me run through my mind again. The parts about the girl he’s admitting to me now that he’s afraid to lose. “The way you talk about Ana… I mean, I know she’s married and everything, but… are you in love with her?” 

His hands fall from my face and he turns away from me irritably. “Jesus Christ.” 

“No, I just–” 

“I’m not, okay?” he snaps. It’s not defensive, it’s genuinely angry. I lean away from him, feeling as shocked as I would have if he slapped me across the face, and my reaction seems to cool him down a little. 

“I’m sorry, it’s not you… Her husband’s a little, uh…” 

“Possessive?” 

“That’s not… what makes you say that?” 

I roll my eyes and pull my phone out of my cleavage, then type “Christian Grey” “Anastasia Grey” into Google Images. Most of what populates are pictures of them on red carpets or at some swanky event, but there are lots of paparazzi shots of them just walking on the street together. I point my phone at him and start swiping through them. 

“Look at his hands in every single one of these pictures. He always holds her hand so that his is over hers. And look at the way he poses with her. He doesn’t just hold a hand on her back, he wraps it all the way around her front, and curls it around her. He’s not just standing next to her, he’s holding her against him. That’s possession.” 

“And you get that just from a picture?” 

The ghost of a strong hand curls around my hip, tightening in warning, and I shiver. “Yeah, it’s not like he hides it.” 

“No, he doesn’t.” Luke chuckles, then shakes his head. “But it also means that he’s been accusing me of fucking his wife for… well, since I met him. And what’s funny is he is exactly why my relationship with Ana is what it is. Not just because she’s in love with him but because she likes his whole schtick. She wants that. She’s very happy letting him be the one in charge and falling perfectly in step with him. I like a little more fire. I like my women a little more… wild.” His eyes flame at me, and the last of my self-control drains away. I dig my fingers into the front of his shirt and pull him towards me, smashing my lips against his. He moans and wraps me in his arms, his hands tangling in my hair and tugging just enough to get me to gasp so that he can slide his tongue inside. 

I’d let him have me right there, but, miraculously, I manage to find some scrap of dignity. 

“Come on, Hitman. You’re not taking me to the Fairmont,” I tell him. “We’re going back to your apartment. I’m not a hooker, you don’t have to pay to fuck me.” 

“Can I make a confession?”

“What?” 

“I never paid for any of those rooms. I just charge them to Grey’s account… he doesn’t even notice.”

“That actually makes me insanely proud.” I laugh and take him by the hand, dragging him to the street so I can hail down a cab. I spend the few blocks to his apartment jacking him off with his jacket over his lap, and whispering all of the filthy things I’m going to do to him once he has me in his bed. 

Once the car stops, he throws a fistful of cash at the driver and yanks me out of the backseat.

Next Chapter

21 thoughts on “Jade POV: That Fucking Smile

  1. Tara..thank you for this Sunday afternoon delight! Exciting to get other POVs of the troubling time for Ana.

    Monday is tomorrow! Yay.

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    1. Are we talking about the same woman? The one who in the last chapter just went up to the armed people who kidnapped her husband and said hey uhm i’m me and i’m here for my husband thank you. Any wilder and she’s going to be locked up 🙄😂

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  2. 😍😍😍😍😍

    Happy Sunday Funday!

    ALWAYS love me some Luke!

    Thank you for this lovely update, it helps offset all the angst!

    I’m both scared and excited for tomorrow! 😳❤️

    Like

  3. Don’t tell me you did that as a tributte to a future dead Luke???

    Yep you know I have theories. And I also have hopes, and I hope anything happens to Luke 🥺
    I love his relationship with Jade

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  4. I hope they make it! I love Luke. I know it may seem like forever to u but I’m not ready for it to end. This is one of the stories I always come back to and reread. Please don’t ever take it down

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  5. Luke deserves all the happiness with Jade. Life has been tough for him. He goes all out for Jade, crashing that dinner which happened to be a Grey event! Speaks and means a lot. Really hope he and everyone make it back out of SA safely. Thanks so much, Tara❤I dont want this story to end💯

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  6. This outtake is very clever. It enables us as readers to finally be able to trust Jade; or at least as much as Luke can trust her because we now know what he knows. We also finally know once and for all that he is NOT in love with Ana in any way, shape or form. Because even though that message has been repeated in various forms throughout Tara’s 50 Shades universe, sometimes it still left you wondering.

    Thanks for the bonus chappy, Tara. A nice, rare treat on a Sunday.

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  7. This goes up there with one of my favorite Outtakes of yours! It’s very telling how into Jade is that Luke tells were about being in the military when Ana had to learn that information from Taylor. I’m also curious if another outtake would be either Jade telling Luke about the abusive relationship she was in or if it’s something Luke uncovers and deals with himself. Love how descriptive this chapter was – I could totally visualize Christian taking the phone call and leaving to take care of Ana.

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