Chapter 27

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“I’ve been thinking about you in my bed all day,” Christian says, as he nimbly undoes the buttons on his shirt. I moan with anticipation, then pull my tank top over my head and shimmy out of my pajama bottoms in record time. With a gentle nudge, he pushes me back on the bed and stares down at me sprawled over his comforter in my bra and panties.

“God damn, I’m a lucky son of a bitch,” He says. His eyes rake over me with hunger and his thumb brushes over his bottom lip. I whimper as I look up at him.

“Christian,” I plead, desperate for his touch, and he smiles.

“Eager?”

“Yes, I want you,” I say.

“Take your panties off,” He orders. I comply quickly, reaching down, pulling my panties down my legs, and tossing them to him. He smiles and runs his fingers over the lace before tucking them in his back pocket. Hmm… I wonder if I’m going to get those back? Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure he still has the pair from our first night in Vegas. Kinky Grey, very kinky.

“Touch yourself,” He says in a low, husky voice.

“What?” I gasp. He turns around, grasps the chair pushed up against his desk and pulls it to him. I watch him sit down and stare at me expectantly.

“I want you to touch yourself, Anastasia. I want to watch you make yourself come.”

“I want you,” I groan, but he shakes his head. I take a deep breath, knowing that I’m only able to do this now because well, I’m in love with him, and I trust him entirely. I drag my hand over my stomach and down between my legs, breathing deeply to calm myself down and stay in the moment. Only for you, Christian.

Slowly and deliberately, I gently brush my fingertips over my lower lips back and forth, watching his eyes follow my movements. I writhe on Christian’s sheets as I feel my fingers quickly become lubricated.

“Harder,” Christian commands, and I instantly apply more pressure to my clitoris, slowly circling my fingers around and around the way he’s done to me before. His eyes seem to darken as he watches me, and his enraptured stare eggs me on, fueling desire within me. It’s so hot, pleasuring myself while he watches. It’s like a private, dirty show, and it makes me feel wanton and desirable.

As the sensations of my fingers intensifies, I close my eyes and open my mouth, needy mewls escaping with each stroke of my hand. It doesn’t take long for the heat growing within me to explode and I find myself desperately trying to keep the pace as an orgasm rocks through me. When I can no longer continue, Christian falls to his knees on the side of the bed and dives into me face first. I feel his mouth move over me while his tongue dips inside of me over and over again. He grabs me by the hips, holding me to his face as he gently sucks and nibbles my clitoris. I cry out, overwhelmed by the sensation, and when I can’t take it any longer, he reaches into the drawer of his bedside table, pulls out a condom, and then dips inside of me.

He fucks me on his knees over the side of the bed, then pulls out of me, pushes me farther onto the bed, flips me onto my front, and pulls my hips into the air. I gasp as he takes me again, pulling my hips back to meet him for each thrust.

“Your ass looks so fucking sexy like this, Anastasia,” He growls. “Oh, baby. Fuck!”

I push back onto him, increasing the speed and friction. He’s never taken me this way before and the feeling of control afforded by the extra freedom I have to push back against him, meet him thrust for thrust, is incredible. I’m loud, too loud, as he drives in and out of me, and I feel the quickening begin again. Oh god, two?

“Again, Anastasia?” He asks, an obvious note of satisfaction in his voice. I whimper and then feel his hand come down hard on my behind. The sting rocks through me, shocking me, but to my surprise, it doesn’t hurt. Instead, pleasure pulses through me, causing me to feel the urgency of my orgasm increase, and I want to ask him to do it again.

“Do you like that?” He asks, and I gasp, feeling overcome as I build and build…

“Anastasia?” He asks urgently, demanding I answer him. He spanks me again and I feel myself detonate, my body trembling an intense orgasm takes over.

“Yes!” I scream.

“Oh, give it to me, baby,” Christian groans. He pummels in and out of me, taking everything I have to give and more until he finds his own release and comes violently inside of me. The moment his thrusts cease, I collapse, falling flat onto the mattress, and he rolls over next to me. His arms wrap around me and pull me into him so that he can kiss my neck.

“You’re so fucking sexy, Ana,” He says. “Watching you pleasure yourself was one of the hottest things I’ve ever seen.”

I smile and then turn over to look at him.

“You’re amazing,” I say. He smiles his heartbreaking half smile, leans over, and kisses me. I can taste myself on my tongue, which I think he knows because he deepens the kiss and entwines his tongue with mine. When he pulls away from me, I catch him around the neck and sneak two more soft kisses before collapsing back into the pillows.

“I’m exhausted,” I tell him, a little laugh escaping my lips.

“Then sleep, baby,” He says, brushing his fingers through my hair.

“Here? In this tiny bed?” I giggle.

“It means you’ll be closer to me,” He says. I make a small mmm sound of satiated comfort and turn again so that my back is against his front. His fingers stroke through my hair, gently massaging my scalp until I drift off to sleep.

In the morning when I awake, I’m dying. Christian’s body is radiating an uncomfortable amount of heat and both his arms and legs are wrapped around me, holding me against him. I try to squirm away from him but in the limited amount of space, the best I can do is roll onto my other side so that I’m facing him rather than laying against him. It does help the heat situation though, since less of my body is actually touching his.

Glad that I didn’t wake him, I look at his beautiful face. If it’s possible, he’s even more handsome in his sleep. Completely serene and unmarred by stress or troubled memories.

“I love you, Christian,” I murmur under my breath, brave enough to say it now that I know he can’t hear me. I don’t know why I’m so afraid to say it to him in person, while he’s awake. I guess maybe because it’s so quick? Because he hasn’t said it yet? I don’t want to scare him off or anything. This is so new and I don’t know what it’s going to be yet. But despite all the uncertainty, I know that I truly do love him and have for a while.

I reach up and brush my fingers over the side of his face. He inhales sharply and slowly opens his eyes.

“Hey,” He whispers, when he recognizes me next to him.

“Good morning,” I say, kissing him softly on the lips.

“What time is it?” He asks.

“Just after 7:30.”

“Mmm, I need to get up,” He says. “I have my first flying lesson this morning.”

“Lucky. I get to do laundry and buy books.”

“Do you want to take a shower first?”

“Not unless you want to be late,” I laugh.

“Good call,” He says, with a chuckle. “Come on.”

He pulls the covers back, flooding me with cold air. I roll out of bed, kiss him goodbye, and head back across the hall. Kate is in the shower when I get back to my room, probably having just got back from a run and I wait patiently for her to get ready so we can get breakfast together.

After breakfast, we head down to the bookstore and get our books for the new semester and then I barricade myself in the laundry room, reading Far from the Madding Crowd while I wait for my clothes to dry. With the oversized industrial machines, it actually doesn’t take long for me to finish and I’ve got everything washed and put away by mid-afternoon.

Christian has some orientation for an intensive economics course he’s taking with Ros this semester, which runs kind of like Model UN for for the world economy, and Kate has to set up a profile for an online class she’s taking this semester, so I call Jose and ask him if he wants to meet for lunch. He tells me to meet him at a small café that has amazing sandwiches just off campus, so I say goodbye to Kate and make the trek to Dunster Street. He’s already there waiting for me when I arrive and I give him a quick hug before sliding into the booth across from him.

“Hey, how was your break?” He asks as we start looking over the menus.

“Good,” I say, unable to conceal the smile that breaks across my face.

“What?” he asks suspiciously.

“I spent a good amount of time in Aspen over the break.”

“Aspen?” He repeats with an impressed inflection.

“Yeah, with Kate and Christian’s family.”

“Christian? Like, Christian Grey?”

“Yeah, we’re… dating now,” I say, still feeling the initial thrill of disbelieving giddiness that Christian is actually my boyfriend. My joy is nearly embarrassing, especially because of Jose’s reaction.

“You’re really dating that guy?” He asks, a distinct sour note in his tone.

“Yes,” I respond defensively, feeling my glow dampen a bit. “He’s great.”

“I don’t know. I just don’t really see you two together… You’re nice, and happy, and fun to be around and he’s so… serious all the time. He always looks like he’s mad at something. It creeps me out.”

“You just don’t see him the way I do,” I say.

“That’s good. I don’t think my girlfriend would be happy if I did,” He replies.

“Another one?” I ask.

“Cynthia,” He says, and I laugh.

“You’re quite the lady killer,” I say.

“What can I say?” He says, and I roll my eyes just as the waitress appears to take our order.

The rest of the day passes by fairly slowly as I prepare for the next day of classes. Kate and I meet Christian and Ros for dinner at Annenberg, but I sadly have to decline when he asks me to stay with him again tonight. I don’t want to be tired for my first day of classes and sleeping is never the primary objective of a sleepover with Christian.

The next morning though, I’m disappointed that I didn’t decide to stay with him since I hardly get to see him all day. He leaves to work out before I even think about getting up and once I’m out of the shower and ready to head to breakfast, he’s already in class.

I have a doctor’s appointment first thing after breakfast so that I can secure some birth control, and the wait is so long for me to see anyone, I’m nearly late for my first class. I slam down a pill outside the room and then hurry inside. Having everyone stare at me as I take my seat while the professor hands out his syllabus, is a great way to start the semester.

My schedule is a little tougher this semester. The reading lists I’m given in each class are long and unfamiliar to me, which is exciting but also daunting. I’ve added some writing classes in addition to literature and by the time I am walking to my last class for the day, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of work I’m going to have to do this semester. I’ll have nearly written enough for an entire novel by the end of the term in my fiction writing class alone.

The last class I have for the day is Business Writing, something I’m not looking forward to because of the dull subject matter, but am forced to take as a part of my degree. Also, this class doesn’t start until 4:00 and I’m already starving. Hopefully Christian will want to get dinner after this. I slump down in a seat in the middle of the class, already anxious to get out and meet up with Christian to find out how his day went, when a tall, handsome boy with blond hair, sharp features, and deep blue eyes sits next to me.

“Hi,” He says, flashing me a smile of perfect white teeth and reaching out his hand for me. “I’m Astor Harrington.”

“Anastasia Steele,” I say, shaking his hand and turning awkwardly back to my bag for something to write with.

“I haven’t seen you around, Anastasia. Are you studying business?”

“No. I’m in the English department,” I reply.

“I see. I knew I couldn’t forget a face like that.”

I look back at him bemused, raising my eyebrows as I try to figure out if he’s for real or not. What a cheesy line… I think he’s going to say something else to me but in that moment the professor enters the room and calls our attention to the front of the class.

Dr. Lessig passes out a syllabus and begins talking through his class requirements, which are at the same time unique to his class and nearly exactly the same as every other class I’ve attended today. When he gets to the meat of the course, he tells us that we are to build a portfolio throughout the semester which will be regularly evaluated by our peers before we turn it end in May in lieu of a final exam.

“Go ahead and break up into groups of four and get to know each other. You’ll be spending a lot of time together this semester,” Dr. Lessig says. He turns back to his desk and starts going through a stack of papers while the class erupts with the noise of shifting chairs and dozens of hesitant voices.

“What do you say, Anastasia?” Astor asks. “Will you be my partner?”

I want to roll my eyes at the obvious double entendre in his voice, but since it seems everyone around the room is simply grouping up with who their seated by, I don’t really have much of choice.

“Sure,” I say, slightly defeated. “We need two more though.”

“We’re looking for another pair,” One of the guys sitting directly behind us says. I turn to face him and notice that the guy he is already partnered with, is… Carter.

Oh wonderful.

Carter doesn’t look angry or antagonistic towards the idea of partnering with me, so I sigh, nod, and turn my chair back to face their table.

“Hi, I’m Anastasia Steele,” I say, reaching across the table for the one who spoke to me.

“Aiden Murphy,” He says, and then turns to shake Astor’s hand.

“Carter Reed,” Carter says, introducing himself to Astor. He turns and smiles weakly at me and, because I’m not sure how to react, I raise my hand and wave like an idiot.

“So, tell us about yourself,” Astor says, turning to look at me.

“Uh, well, I’m from Montesano which is by Seattle. I’m a freshman, and I’m studying English with an emphasis in Literature,” I say awkwardly. He smiles and turns to look at Aiden, who I learn is from Denver, is studying pre-law with Carter, and is bilingual in German and English. Astor is from Long Island, New York, and is studying Business and Economics but is sure to tell us he also plans on going to law school.

We make small talk until Dr. Lessig dismisses us, and, while other students stand and start migrating out of the class, we exchange email addresses.

“Maybe we should exchange phone numbers too,” Astor suggests, turning to look at me with a broad smile. “Just in case.”

“I think email is enough,” I reply, rolling my eyes as I turn to put my notebook back into my bag. He shrugs and steps out of the way so I can pass in front of him towards the door.

“Ana?” I hear someone call behind me and I turn to see Carter walking towards me.

“Hi,” I say hesitantly.

“Hey. Ummm… I just wanted to apologize for the way everything happened last fall. I handled that whole thing really poorly and said some things to you that were totally uncalled for.”

“You know what, it’s fine. If we’re going to be partners, I think we’ll have an easier semester if we just forget about it and move on,” I say diplomatically.

“Really? Ana, I’m really happy to hear you say that. I’ve felt just terrible about everything. I thought about you a lot over the break and I’m glad I got this chance to talk to you. Do you wanna go grab coffee something?”

“Oh, uh… I can’t. I’m meeting someone,” I say, awkwardly and Carter’s face falls.

“Grey?’ He asks.

“Yeah.”

“So, you two are…”

“Yeah.”

“Oh,” There is a distinct note of worry behind his deflated tone and he looks down at the ground as he answers.

“It’s new,” I say hurriedly. “Christian and I. It happened over the break.”

“Oh,” He says, brightening a little, though his tone is still conciliatory at best. “Well… congratulations. He’s a lucky guy.”

“Thank-you.”

“I’ll see you around?”

“Yeah, looks like it,” I respond with a smile.

“Cool. See you later, Ana.”

“Bye,” I tell him, and wave as he walks in the opposite direction out of the building. I take a deep breath and exhale sharply to release the tension I feel at the awkward conversation, and head out of the building.

The air outside is bitterly cold and, as I pull out my phone to text Christian, I begin to wish I had gloves because my fingers immediately stiffen.

Hey, I’m out of class. Where are you?

Library. Are you hungry?

Starving.

Ros and I will meet you at Annenberg. Is Kate with you?

No, but I’ll call her.

I turn down the path towards Annenberg and dial Kate’s number, then place the phone between my shoulder and ear so I can rub my hands together to elicit some kind of warmth.

“Hi,” Kate says, answering on the 2nd ring.

“We’re going to Annenberg. Want to come?” I ask.

“Sure, right now?”

“Yep.”

“I’m on my way.”

Because the English department is farther away from Annenberg than Grays Hall and the library, by the time I arrive, Kate, Christian, and Ros are already there waiting for me. I rush forward into Christian’s arms, glad for the extra warmth cuddling into him provides as we walk. Annenberg is crowded and loud, and by the time we find a table where we can all sit, the potato I had been excited to devour is lukewarm at best.

“How were your classes?” I ask Christian, as I dip a piece of crusty bread into my soup.

“Fine. My International Politics professor is an idiot, though.”

“Christian, just because you think you’re above pre-requisite classes, doesn’t mean you can call our professors idiots. Dr. Abraham was a member of the United Nations for 30 years,” Ros says exasperatedly.

“Then he should know how to pronounce ‘hegemony’.”

“He’s British, that’s just how they say it.”

“Do you two have every class together?” I ask.

“Yes,” Christian responds.

“Christian isn’t very creative when it comes to registration. I swear if he wasn’t my business partner, I’d think he was stalking me. Actually no, I don’t know if that makes it better. Are you stalking me?” Ros says with a laugh.

“Speaking of stalkers, Ana do you know that guy over there just staring at you?” Kate interrupts.

Christian and I both turn in the direction Kate nods in and I see Astor sitting a few tables down, watching me as he swirls a spoon around the mug in front of him.

“Astor Harrington,” We respond in unison, though with much different tones. Christian looks down at me.

“How do you know Astor Harrington?” He asks.

“He’s in my Business Writing class. How do you know him?”

“He’s a business major. He’s in half my classes, and he’s creep.”

“Well, we’re in a study group together,” I say.

“What? Why?”

“Because he sat next to me in class when the professor told us to break off in groups. It’s me, him, some guy named Aiden and Carter Reed,” I say, emphasizing the last name as I turn to look at Kate.

“Carter Reed?” Kate repeats, with a disgusted tone in her voice.

“Yeah, turns out dreams to do come true,” I reply sarcastically.

“More like your nightmare,” She says with a laugh. I laugh too but stop immediately when I turn to Christian who looks angry.

“I don’t think so,” He says in a quiet voice.

“What?” I ask.

“You’re not going to be in a study group with Astor Harrington and Carter Reed.”

“Why?” I demand.

“I don’t trust either one of them. Carter Reed is a—”

“Christian, aren’t you going to be late,” Ros interrupts him, probably sensing an argument brewing that she doesn’t really want to be present for. He turns and glares at her but glances down at his watch.

“Fuck,” He hisses. He reaches down to pick up his messenger bag and rounds on Ros. “Meet me in the Library at 7:15. There are a few more things we can get done tonight.”

“Christian, we’ve already gotten a lot done today and there isn’t anything pressing until I get responses back from New York. I’d like to get some homework done. Just because you don’t ever sleep, doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t.”

“I’m not happy with the Washington Trust proposal. It needs to be re-worked so we can have it sent out before Friday.”

“Fine,” Ros says, rolling her eyes. He nods once and then turns to me.

“We’ll talk about this later.”

“You bet we will,” I snap back at him. He looks down at me for a moment, the anger that came out of nowhere still blazing fiercely behind his eyes, and then turns and disappears down the aisle and out the doors.

“Where’s he going?” I ask Ros irritably. “If he wants to get work done so badly, why doesn’t he just do it?”

“He has to go to therapy,” She says with a shrug. “His mom makes him see a therapist every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6.”

“What for?” Kate asks, trying and failing to sound innocent, but Ros just snorts at her question.

“You think he would tell me why he’s in therapy? Christian doesn’t share anything with me except for numbers and business proposals. I only know he’s in therapy because he sends me his schedule every week and his appointment with Dr. Fisch is on there. Even then, I only know Dr. Fisch is a psychiatrist because my roommate sees him.”

I nod. I actually already knew this from last semester, and really so did Kate. The difference is then, I thought he might be in therapy because of OCD, now I know better. I feel my anger begin to fade as I think about Christian spending the next hour in a room having to re-hash painful childhood memories.

Ros begins to gather up her things, probably in a hurry to leave to get some homework done before Christian gets back but when everything’s packed up, she doesn’t leave. She just turns back to face me.

“It’s good though for you, Ana,” She says. “He’ll go yell at his therapist, they’ll talk it out, we’ll get a bunch of work done, and by the time he sees you tonight, he’ll be in a better mood and you’ll be fine.”

“Why does he care in the first place?”

“Well, he’s been insanely jealous of Carter Reed since he found out you two started dating last fall and he’s threatened by him. So obviously, he doesn’t want you around him now that he’s finally got you. And Astor is pretty much the only competition he has in our entire department. They’re constantly fighting to be at the top of the class and it’s really not unusual for them to get into debates that take up an entire period. I don’t think he wants to compete with him for you too.”

“It’s not a competition, it’s a study group.”

“Did you see the way Astor looked at you, Anastasia? I think he wants to compete.”

“I don’t care. I want Christian.”

“You know that. I know that. Christian….” Ros says but her voice trails off. “It’ll be fine. Just give it some time.”

“Ugh,” I moan.

“He’s under a lot of stress, Ana. We had a series of major setbacks a couple months ago and nothing we do seems to be helping. I don’t know if it’s the rejection or something else, but he’s been pushing himself really hard to get a business deal done since New Years.”

I frown and Ros picks up her bag and smiles down at us.

“Well, I’m going to head to the library and see if I can get some homework done before the slave driver gets back. I’ll see you girls tomorrow?”

“Yes,” I reply, smiling back. “You ready, Kate?”

“Yeah, Elliot is supposed to call in like 20 minutes.”

“Okay. Thanks, Ros,” I say, waving good-bye.

“You’re welcome. See you later, Ana.”

Kate and I leave the dining hall and trudge back to Grays Hall huddled against each other as the wind beats fiercely against our faces. It’s so cold that by the time we’re back to our dorm, I’ve pretty much decided I’m never going outside again. Kate lies lazily on her bed, picking up her phone as Elliot’s call comes through, so I grab a towel and decide to jump in a quick, hot shower to warm up and give them privacy. The hot water feels so good, that my quick shower turns into a long luxurious shower that is at the same time relaxing and stressful because it gives me time to think about Christian’s reaction at dinner.

If Ros is right, and he doesn’t want me around either Carter or Astor because he’s worried they’ll become competition for him, then he clearly doesn’t trust me very much. What is he just going to shield me from every other guy on campus? Keep me locked up in seclusion so that I’ll never be around anyone but him? I don’t think so.

Irritated, I reach down, turn off the water and grab a towel, rubbing it furiously through my now soaking hair. Anger ruminates through me as I contemplate the state of my relationship. What’s next? Is he going to ask me to stop being friends with Jose? That’s so controlling! Domineering.

My hands freeze as realization dawns on me. Domineering! That’s what this is. Not rivalry or lack of trust. An unwelcome memory of sitting with Elena in the salon in Aspen comes back to me.

That my dear, is the real Christian Grey. The longer you draw this out, the more of him you’ll see. He’s jealous and possessive and if you let him, he will consume you.

I swallow the bile that rises in my throat as I realize the bitch troll’s words may actually be true. I knew this about him, it’s why it took me so long to say yes. He told me at dinner that night before break that he wanted to dominate me. He said that part of him wanted me to be his submissive. Is that a much bigger part than he admitted?

No. No. No. No. No. No.

I shake my head furiously as the notion comes to mind. I’ve got to do something about this, stop it before it gets out of control. If Elena was right and this really is what’s happening, then I need to put a kibosh on it right now. If he wants to be with me, then he needs to understand that I’m his girlfriend, an equal in this relationship, not a submissive.

With new determination, I get dressed and since I can hear that Kate is still on the phone in the room, I decide to blow dry my hair. Thankfully, once I turn off the hairdryer, the only noise I can hear through the door is the steady drumming of Kate’s fingers on her keyboard. I head back into the room and pull my laptop onto my bed to check email. There are several emails from the school which basically amount to junk mail, a couple emails from professors sending electronic copies of their syllabus out to their entire class, and an email from Astor.

From: Astor Harrington

Subject: Business Writing

Date: January 14th 2008 06:49PM

To: Anastasia Steele

Anastasia,

Perhaps we ought to come up with some kind of study schedule? We could start tomorrow evening, say around 7PM? Why don’t I take you out for dinner and we’ll discuss our goals for this semester?

-Astor

I roll my eyes at the email. Neither Carter nor Aiden is CC’d on the email so I know this isn’t about class. I hit reply and type out my response.

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: RE: Business Writing

Date: January 14th 2008 07:24PM

To: Astor Harrington

CC: Carter Reed; Aiden Murphy

I have work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Once we have an assignment in this class, I suggest we schedule something in the afternoon on Wednesdays around 3:30 in the library. Let me know how that works for everyone.

-Ana

At 8:30 there is a knock on my and I know it’s Christian. Kate gives me a look of pity as I get up to answer it.

“Can I talk to you?” Christian asks when I open the door.

“Yes,” I say, and I step out into the hallway. He turns around and opens his own door and ushers me inside. When I’m in the room, my eyes fall immediately on the perfectly made bed and memories of the other night come flooding over me.

No, not now Steele.

“I don’t want you to be in a study group with Carter Reed,” Christian says quietly behind me.

“Well that’s not really your decision to make, Christian,” I reply, the anger from my shower now building again.

“You don’t really know him, Anastasia.”

“We’ve dated before. I think I know him better than you do.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Christian…”

“No, you don’t!” He interrupts me, and the careful calmness in his voice evaporates, replaced by stern anger. “Do you know what he used to say about you in the boathouse to his friends? He doesn’t think of you as anything but a hot piece of ass and I don’t want you around him.”

“Nothing is going to happen, Christian! I don’t care what he thinks of me as. If he propositioned me I would say no. You have to trust me!”

“I do trust you, it’s him I don’t trust.”

“Christian, this is exactly what broke Carter and I up in the first place. Him trying to keep me away from you and making up ultimatums.”

“He’s was right to try and keep you away from me, Anastasia. I wanted you, I was trying to take you, and look where you are now!”

“I’m here because this is where I want to be. If I wanted to be with Carter, I would be with Carter!”

“You want to be here now, but what about in a few weeks when you’re spending late nights alone together and he’s saying all the right things?” A visible shiver of revulsion washes over him and he swallows hard before continuing in a low, cold voice. “I’m not going to compete against Carter Reed, Anastasia. You’re mine.”

Yours? Like property? So, I’m right?” I spit back at him. “This isn’t jealousy, this is a dominant thing. You’re trying to control me. You’re trying to turn me into a submissive, right?”

“That’s not it, Anastasia.”

“I know exactly what it is, Christian. You said yourself that part of you wanted to have me as a submissive.”

“That’s not it,” He says, his voice tightening.

“Don’t lie to me.”

“It’s not that.” He says again, and the more he talks the more it seems he’s losing control of his temper.

“Then what is it?” I scream back at him.

“It’s because I love you!” He yells angrily.

I freeze. The fiery rage inside of me is quenched instantly and I’m left dumbfounded. Did he just say…?

“Wh-what?” I stutter, hardly able to speak in more than a whisper.

“I love you,” He says again. “I have for a while. I think since the moment you asked me about that stupid name tag on the door. I love you, Anastasia, and I can’t lose you.”

“I love you too,” I whisper back to him, the argument completely forgotten as I absorb what he just said and make my own declarations.

“What?” He asks disbelievingly.

“I love you too, Christian. I’ve wanted to tell you for a while now, I just didn’t know how you would react. It’s so soon and I thought that if…”

My words cut off as Christian crosses the room in two long strides and takes me in his arms. His lips crash down on mine and he pushes me against the wall, kissing me with an urgency that one would expect from a man going off to war. I lose myself in him, the man I love, and he loses himself in me. The residual anger from our argument morphs into desire and is redirected into this passionate point of contact, and when he finally pulls away, I’m left wanting.

“Ana,” He whispers against my lips.

“Christian,” I reply.

“I love you,” He says again, and he lifts me into his arms and carries me to his bed.

Next Chapter

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