“Okay, let’s go over it again.” Carrick says, placing a new tape in the recorder before setting it back down on the table. Christian and I are in the same room that Carrick interviewed Kate in before her trial, only this meeting doesn’t seem to be going as well. Christian has been having a hard time with his depositions, and I assume it’s because of the very, deeply personal nature of the case. The prosecutor has asked for Carrick’s help interviewing Christian, undoubtedly hoping having someone he’s so closely bonded to would help Christian relax, but I don’t think it’s working out that way.
I look up from the book and notepad sitting in my lap. Finals are in less than two weeks and with all this time I’ve spent with Christian going through trial prep, I’m starting to fall behind on studying. Christian is uncomfortable, I can see that, and I know he’s ready to call it a day.
“We’ve gone through it a hundred times, Dad,” He grumbles, drumming his fingers on table with frustration.
“And you’ve yet to do it perfect,” Carrick says. “No one is going to be able to help you on the stand, it’s called leading the witness, and it can hurt your testimony. You have to be prepared.”
“Fine,” Christian says, his tone clipped, but his father ignores it and picks up his notepad again.
“Now when did it all start?”
“When I was fifteen,” Christian replies irritably, and Carrick’s jaw tightens as he struggles to keep his voice calm. When he speaks, it’s through bared teeth and I know it’s because of the number of times they’ve gone over this exact issue. Before Carrick even opens his mouth, I know exactly what he’s going to say Christian has done wrong.
“Dates, Christian. We’ve gone over this, I need you to be very specific.”
“Don’t you find it extremely unlikely that I would remember that date?” He snaps. “It was five years ago. She won’t remember it.”
“She doesn’t have to, she’s the defendant. The burden of proof lies in our hands,” Carrick replies. He reaches over to his briefcase and pulls out a file to pass to Christian. “This is the record of your expulsion from Bellevue Christian High School.”
Christian picks up the folder, skims the file inside and then begins counting on his fingers. “April 14th. It started on April 14th 2003.”
“And describe for me what happened that day,” Carrick continues.
“I had just been expelled from Bellevue Christian High School for getting into a fight and my mom sent me over to Mrs. Lincoln’s house to do some chores for her as punishment. I redid the landscaping around her pool,” Christian recites as if he’s reading lines from a script. Carrick takes a deep breath, but doesn’t lecture him on his delivery.
“Did you and Mrs. Lincoln interact at all?” He asks.
“When I was finished, I made some rude comment to her, so she slapped me and then kissed me. Then she told me she’d have more for me to do the next day and sent me home. When I came back, she took me into her playroom and we had sex for the first time.”
Carrick continues his examination and Christian gives him the same answers I’ve heard dozens of times, some of them explicit enough that I feel myself cringing. When Carrick gets to the part where Christian has to talk about some of the more severe “punishments” he had to endure, I have to leave the room. Even though I know I’m going to have to face it eventually, and hearing it for the first time in the trial probably isn’t the best idea, right now, it’s still too hard for me to sit through.
Christian answers his father’s questions and then the questions Carrick thinks are most likely to be asked by Elena’s lawyer for another hour before he flips back to the front of his note book.
“Alright,” Carrick says. “One more time.”
“Dad, we don’t have time,” Christian says. “Ana and I were supposed to meet Kate twenty minutes ago. We’re supposed to be apartment hunting.”
“Alright,” Carrick replies, clearly exercising a great deal of patience. “We’ll pick this up in the morning.”
“Fine,” Christian says, and he stands from his seat and looks expectantly down at me. Quickly, I stuff my book and notes into my bag and shoot Carrick a grateful smile as Christian takes my hand and drags me quickly out of the room. I can tell how irritated he is simply by the way he pounds on the elevator call button.
“Hey,” I say, trying to be soothing as I reach for his hand. The elevator door opens and Christian glances up and down the hallway before pushing me inside, and jabbing the button to close the doors. Once they do slide shut, he pushes me roughly against the wall and his lips come crashing down on mine. I’m startled for a second, but that passes quickly and I succumb to his fervor. For the first time in a long time, he secures my hands above my head with one hand, while his other hand gropes roughly up my side and grasps my breast. When I break our kiss, gasping for air, his lips begin sucking at my chin.
“In the car?” He asks, his voice low and needy as he pushes his erection into me.
“What?” I breathe, incoherent as his lips move down my throat.
“I want to fuck you in the car,” He groans, and as I see the number above the elevator door change to one, I quickly regain my composure, untangle my hands from his grasp, and push him away.
“We’re not going to have sex in the car,” I tell him, seconds before the elevator doors open. “What’s gotten into you?”
He shrugs as the elevator pings and the doors slide open, then takes my hand again and leads me out into the parking lot.
Kate doesn’t look happy as we pull up to the curb outside the apartment complex we’re viewing today. She’s on the phone and once we step out of the car she tells whoever she’s talking to that we’ve arrived and she’ll send them pictures once she gets up stairs. It must be Elliot.
“Where have you been?” Kate demands. “I’ve been waiting for nearly forty minutes.”
“We’ve been at the courthouse,” I tell her and the anger recedes from her face immediately.
“Oh,” She replies, embarrassed. “Well… they’re ready whenever we are.”
“Then we better get going,” Christian says, placing a hand on my lower back and gently nudging me towards the door. As we walk through the doors, his hand slides down and grips my behind, and I have to slap it away when the agent who is showing us the apartment approaches us with a wide smile. Seriously, what has gotten into him?
This is the 9th apartment we’ve seen over the last few weeks. It seems as though both Kate and Christian have very specific ideas of what they want, all of which are grossly outside of our price range.
“This is a newly remodeled two bedroom, one bath with an open concept living and dining area,” The agent tells us as she ushers us through the door. We step into a small room, no bigger than the dorm I currently share with Kate. There is a small kitchen with a total of three cabinets, a stove and a refrigerator that looks barely bigger than the one currently in Christian’s dorm.
The rest of the apartment isn’t much better. The bathroom has a stall-type shower with a nozzle that would hit Christian in the chest, a standalone sink, and a toilet. There aren’t any cabinets. The bedrooms are both smaller than the living room and look as though a full sized bed would fill the space entirely, leaving a dresser or desk completely out of the question.
“How much is this place?” Christian asks, looking around the apartment as if he’s expecting it to crumble to the ground at any minute.
“$2,300 a month, which is a great value for this neighborhood,” The agent says.
“Can we have a minute to talk it over?” Kate asks, smiling at her graciously.
“Of course,” The agent replies, closing the door to the bedroom to give us privacy as she walks back down the hall.
“Absolutely not,” Christian says, the moment the door is closed.
“I agree. This place is way too small for four people and there is nowhere to study,” Kate says, frowning as she examines a discolored spot on the wall. “And, it’s disgusting.”
“We could get creative,” I argue. “I mean, this isn’t the worst we’ve seen and out of all the apartments we’ve toured, this is the closest to campus that’s still within our budget.”
“Yeah, can we go back to that?” Christian asks. “Why are we even renting an apartment? Why don’t we just buy a condo?”
“We’ve talked about this, Christian. I don’t have any money to put towards a condo,” I tell him.
“So?” He says. “My parents have already offered to buy us a house since Elliot and I will be living together.”
“My parents will chip in too,” Kate says. “They brought it up earlier this week when I told them how much trouble we were having finding an apartment.”
“See?” Christian says to me, as if this settles it.
“I don’t know…” I reply. “I don’t know if I’m comfortable just letting you guys pay for everything, especially something like a house.”
“Don’t think of it like that,” Kate says. “Our parents want to help us out, give us the best chance at being successful here. We’ll go crazy in a place like this. How much work could you get done with three other people cramped in here all the time?”
“I guess,” I whisper, looking around the tiny room.
“Excellent,” Christian says, clapping his hands together and exiting the room to tell the agent we’re not interested. Kate is immediately on her cell phone with a real estate agent and I stare after the both of them, completely flabbergasted and wondering what I’ve just agreed to.
The next day, after Christian has finished at the courthouse with his father, Kate, Christian, and I pull up in front of a newer looking, two story townhouse. It’s powder blue with a white trim and dark red door, and although it’s fairly narrow, there is parking in the back accessible by an alley that runs up the right side of the house. I’m even pleased to discover there is a small yard on the left side of the house with small trees that line the outside of the picket fence.
“Hello,” A woman in a charcoal colored suit says as she exits the house and comes down the walk towards us. “My name is Lauren Carr, I’m the agent for this property. You must be Katherine Kavanagh?”
“Yes,” Kate says, reaching out to shake her hand. “And this is Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” She says, smiling at both Christian and I. “Follow me and we’ll take a look at the house.”
Kate smiles at me excitedly and hooks her arm through mine as we follow the realtor over the cobblestone walk and through the red front door. We emerge into a small, but still decent sized living room with warm, shiny wood floors and sand colored walls. The house is furnished, so I suppose someone still lives here.
“And to your left, is the first bathroom.” Lauren says, opening a door to a small half bath that is well lit and done completely in white tile.
“It’ll need some color,” Kate says thoughtfully as we move through the living room to the small eating area set just outside the kitchen.
“The kitchen has been recently upgraded with brand new stainless steel appliances and marble counters. The white cabinets really open the space up, don’t you think?” Lauren asks.
“It’s a little small,” Christian says.
“But it has plenty of storage,” I say, looking around at the rows and rows of cabinets.
“And I really like that window over the sink. There’s a lot of light in this house,” Kate observes.
The only room left downstairs is a laundry room which is big enough to fold laundry in. She leads us out the back door to the parking area which looks plenty big enough for three cars and which the realtor tells us makes the house a steal as most houses in the neighborhood only offer off street parking.
Next, Lauren leads us up the staircase, which is also done in hardwood to the second level. There are three bedrooms upstairs, and they’re all surprisingly spacious. Even the smallest room is large enough for a bed and a desk, which would be great to use as study and a guest room for our parents to stay in when they came to visit.
Kate immediately claims the room with the largest closet, which is fine with Christian as the other bedroom doesn’t share any walls.
“Well, what do you think?” Lauren asks when we make it downstairs.
“Anastasia?” Christian asks, leaving it up to me to answer.
“It’s perfect!” Kate says, not waiting for my reply.
“It’s perfect,” I agree with a sigh.
“What’s the asking price?” Christian asks.
“The owner has just lowered it to $605,000,” Lauren says, and I nearly choke as my breath gets caught in my throat. Christian however, doesn’t seem to be deterred by the price tag that is more than half a million dollars.
“Have you had any other offers?” Christian asks.
“None so far.”
“And how many people have viewed the property?”
“A few…” Lauren responds hesitantly.
“Can you give us just a minute please?” Christian asks politely, and she agrees with a bright smile before disappearing into the kitchen.
“What do you think?” he asks.
“I think we should take it!” Kate says excitedly. “This place is perfect!”
“I don’t know… $605,000?” I ask, feeling uneasy just speaking the number aloud.
“Let me call my dad,” Christian says. He kisses me softly on the lips before he pulls out his phone, and I stand anxiously with Kate, looking around at the thoughtful finishes in the room around me. This place really is beautiful.
“Thanks, Dad.” Christian says a few minutes later and hangs up the phone. “Looks like it’s a go.”
Kate squeals and the sound makes Christian roll his eyes as he turns to walk into the kitchen.
“So what do we think?” Lauren asks.
“We’ll take it!” Kate says excitedly, but Christian holds up his hand to silence her.
“We’ll counter offer $580,000.” He says, and the agent frowns.
“Cash,” Christian says simply.
“The asking price is $605,000.” Lauren says with a smile.
“Yes, but the median price for a home in this neighborhood is $568,000.”
“Well, this a corner lot,” Lauren says. “The property is bigger and comes with private parking and brand new finishes.”
“Which is why I’m not offering $560,000,” Christian says. The agent’s smile falters again and, as I glance between them, Christian’s gaze never falters.
“Let me see if I can get the owner on the phone,” Lauren suggests. She pulls out her cellphone, holding up a finger to signal us that she needs a minute and disappears back into the living room.
“What are you doing Christian? You’re going to lose us the house!” Kate exclaims.
“No I won’t,” He replies. “This house has been on the market for sixteen months and the housing market is on the decline. They need to sell it quickly but they haven’t got any offers. They’ll take it.”
“How do you know that?” I ask, impressed.
“I pulled the property records for this and a few other houses in this neighborhood. It’s a nice house, but it’s overpriced. But if this is the house you want, this is the house we’ll buy.”
I bite down on my lip, do I really want this house? It is really expensive, but I suppose any house this close to campus will be, and there really isn’t a suitable apartment that isn’t nearly four and a half thousand dollars a month… and if the option is here or that crappy apartment we saw yesterday, I’d definitely prefer to live here.
And that’s when it really hits me for the first time. Christian is about to buy me a house. Sure, we’ll live with Kate and Elliot, but he’s not just buying a place to stay for a few years while we finish school, he’s buying this house for me. That’s a serious commitment, a really serious commitment. Maybe Kate isn’t wrong… Could a proposal be in my near future?
I glance nervously over at Lauren, who is standing next to the window in the living room, gesturing wildly with her hands. Kate’s fingers drum on the marble countertops as we anxiously wait for Lauren to hang up the phone. Finally, she does and she walks back over to us with a huge smile on her face.
“Well, should we begin the paperwork?” She asks, and Kate shrieks once with glee before nodding expeditiously.
Christian deals with most of the forms Lauren has in her briefcase while Kate and I take another look through the house, checking hall closets and coming up with design concepts and storage solutions.
“I think we’ll need to get curtains in here,” Kate says, staring at the window in the guest room thoughtfully. “The room faces West which means it’ll get a lot of heat in the evening.”
It’s fun to go through each room and plan where furniture we haven’t bought yet will go or if we’ll want to paint the walls, and if we do, what color they should be. It’s a good way to kill time, too as Christian takes forever with Lauren downstairs.
“Are you two ready to go?” Christian calls up to us eventually. We head down the stairs and see him signing something and then shaking Lauren’s hand. Lauren shakes both mine and Kate’s hand one last time and then shows us out the door.
“Can you believe we just bought a house?” Kate asks, excitedly once we’re in Christian’s Audi.
“Honestly, no,” I reply with an incredulous laugh. “My mom’s going to freak when I tell her.”
“Elliot!” Kate suddenly gasps. “We’ve got to call Elliot!”
“You didn’t tell Elliot?” I ask, shocked.
“He was busy last night and I haven’t talked to him this morning,” Kate replies defensively.
“I’ve got it,” Christian says, using the button on his dash to place the call through the car. It rings three times before he answers.
“What’s up, Adolf Tit-ler?” Elliot says, laughing the second his insult comes out of his mouth.
“You’re on speaker.” Christian replies.
“Oh…” Elliot asks, sounding nervous, probably because he knows Carrick is in town. “Who is it?”
“Ana and Kate,” Christian says.
“Oh, well then, what’s up, Benito Douche-olini?” He laughs again, harder this time. “Whew, I crack myself up.”
“I’m glad your jokes make someone laugh,” Christian says.
“Whatever, you have no sense of humor,” Elliot replies. “What’s up?”
“We just bought a house!” Kate exclaims.
“We just bought a house!” Kate repeats. “Elliot, we bought a house!”
“What do you mean you bought a house? I thought we were renting an apartment?”
“Everything was terrible,” Christian says. “So, Kate called a realtor, we found a house, and Mom and Dad gave us the cash.”
“You’re fucking with me, right?” Elliot asks.
“No!” Kate says. “We really just bought a house. Elliot, it’s beautiful. I took a ton of pictures! I’ll email them to you when I get back to campus!”
“Oh my god!” Elliot says. “You’re serious?”
“Dead serious,” I tell him.
“Holy shit! What’s it like?”
“It’s two stories and it’s all renovated and it has three bedroom and three bathrooms and Christian actually got us a great deal on it!” Kate says, her words coming out in a fast torrent.
“It is beautiful,” I add in agreement with Kate.
“Sounds great!” Elliot says. “I can’t wait to see it!”
“We can go over there when you fly up for Christian’s trial. We might even be moved in by then!” Kate exclaims.
“Whoa, there Kate,” Christian says. “Slow down a little bit. There is still a lot of paperwork to be done. Then we’ll have to wait for the owners to move out, we have to have inspections done, and furnish the place.”
“Semantics,” Kate shrugs.
“Hold on. Yeah, I’m coming,” Elliot says to someone on his end of the phone. “Hey guys, I’ve got to get back into the research lab. I’ll call you later tonight after you send me the pictures, Kate.”
“Sounds good,” She replies.
“Great. Talk to you later,” He says, and the phone goes dead.
“When do you think we’ll be able to move in?” Kate asks, but Christian shrugs.
“I don’t know, the weekend after finals? Maybe the week after?”
“But we’ll be gone by then!” Kate exclaims.
“Well…” Christian begins, looking hesitantly over at me. “What do you think about maybe, not going home for the summer?”
“Like at all?” I ask.
“We just bought a house, so we have somewhere to live. We could spend the summer fixing it up, painting the walls, buying furniture… We’ll take a trip over a week or two to both Savannah and Seattle to see our families, but spend the rest of the time here. Kate and Elliot will be in Seattle, so we’ll have the place to ourselves.”
“I don’t know… uh, maybe,” I say, thinking it over. I guess I won’t be losing any time with my parents and I won’t have to worry about getting all my stuff back or into storage over the summer. Besides, wasn’t it always a possibility that we’d have to get an apartment in Seattle anyway, since Carrick and Grace seemed hesitant to have a guest all summer? Maybe this is better…
“I think it’s the best option,” Christian says diplomatically. “We’ll spend equal amounts of time with our families and we’ll still be together all summer. Besides, the work has to be done and we won’t have any free time to do it before the end of term.”
“Okay,” I agree. “Sounds like a plan.”
“You two aren’t allowed to buy any furniture without sending me pictures first,” Kate warns, and I laugh.
“Don’t worry, Kate. You’ll be involved in every step of the process.”
We make our way back to campus, eager to meet Ros for dinner, but just as we’re about to leave our dorm, I get a call on my cell from a number I don’t recognize. Normally, I’d reject it, but it’s a 206 area code. It’s someone from back home.
“Hello?” I answer.
“Hi Anastasia, it’s Carrick.”
“Oh, hi,” I reply, pulling the phone away and mouthing it’s your Dad to Christian. He looks at me curiously, as if he doesn’t understand why his Dad would be calling me, while I turn my attention back to the call.
“I was wondering,” Carrick continues. “If you’d like to join me for dinner tonight? I’ve made reservations in town for the two of us.”
“The two of us?” I ask, noting that he’s not including Christian in his plans.
“Yes, we haven’t spent much time together since all of this stuff with Elena came out and I’d really like to thank you for what you’ve done and maybe pick your brain about Christian a little bit.”
“Is a half an hour okay with you? I can stop by campus and pick you up.”
“Uh, yeah… That sounds good.” I tell him.
“Great. I’ll see you soon, Ana,” Carrick says, and once I say “bye”, he hangs up.
“What was that about?” Christian asks.
“Your Dad wants to take me out to dinner.”
“Is that okay?” I ask, and he shrugs.
“Did he tell you why?”
“I think he just wants to talk. He said we hadn’t had much time one on one… I think that’s normal when your son gets in a serious relationship with someone,” I tell him, trying to keep a straight face through my half-lie. I don’t know why, but I feel like it would be a bad idea to tell Christian his Dad wants to talk about him. He doesn’t generally take it very well when he’s the focus of his family’s concern and he’s already been on edge since Carrick got to town and started drilling him for the trial, enough so that I was still a little sore this morning… But if I can provide anything that will ensure Elena is found guilty, I have to meet with him.
“Hey, are you guys ready for dinner?” Kate asks, popping her head through Christian’s door as she heads out for Annenberg.
“Just you and me tonight,” Christian says, although he doesn’t take his eyes off of me.
“What?” Kate asks, but rather than answer, Christian leans over, kisses me on the cheek, and picks up his keys off the desk by the door.
“Don’t be out too late,” He says, and I nod as he disappears through the door with a confused looking Kate.
Twenty minutes later, Carrick pulls up to the curb where I’m waiting and drives off towards Rialto, a small Italian restaurant that is one of Kate’s favorites. The host directs us to a table in the middle of the restaurant and leaves us with menus and glasses of ice water.
“How is school going, Ana?” Carrick asks pleasantly as he scans the menus. “Finals are coming up, aren’t they?”
“Yeah, I have few classes that are just doing papers or projects for the end of the term so I only have a couple tests to study for, but it’s going good. I’m a little bit farther behind than I’d like to be with all this stuff for the trial going on, but I’ll get caught up.”
“Good, I’m glad to hear that you’ve been able to focus on school with everything that’s happened this semester. I bet you’re ready for the summer holidays.”
“You don’t even know,” I laugh in agreement.
“Will you be coming back to Seattle with Christian?”
“Oh uh, actually… I think Christian wanted to stay here. We just started all the paperwork for the house, he thought we could spend the summer getting settled in. With trips back to Seattle and Savannah, of course,” I add quickly.
“Oh. Well, I suppose he’s old enough to make that choice. Mia will be upset though. She’s always been very close to Christian.”
“I know, I hadn’t really thought of that… But she’s welcome to come visit anytime she wants, we’ll have a guest room,” I tell him. “And thank you, by the way. The house is beautiful and it was so unbelievably generous of you and Grace to offer to buy it for Christian and Elliot.”
“I have a son at Harvard and son at MIT,” Carrick says with a broad smile. “It’s the least a very proud parent could do.”
I laugh graciously and reach out for a drink of water as the waiter appears to take our order. When we’ve made our selections, Carrick turns back to me.
“I don’t know if we’ve had the chance to tell you, Anastasia,” He says. “But Grace and I are really, very happy Christian found you. I can’t even tell you how much of a change we’ve seen in him these past few months. You know he used to fight with us about Elliot coming here so often? Now, it seems as though Elliot spends just as much time here as he does in San Francisco and Christian hasn’t said a word. He calls his mother now, twice a week, every week, and I can’t tell you how happy that makes her. Before you, Christian wouldn’t even answer our calls unless he was waiting on us for something, and he never called the house except to talk to Mia.”
“You’ve brought something out of him we haven’t seen in years. He’s allowing himself to be part of our family again and we’re sure it’s because he fell in love with you. You see, Christian has always dwelled on negative things. His childhood was traumatizing and he’s never felt that happiness is safe. Happiness to him was always a risk, something that could be taken away and would leave him unable to cope with bad times again, and the older he got, the worse it got. But I think loving you has helped him move past that fear and he’s opened himself back up to us. You’ve made happiness safe for him and we can’t thank you enough for that.”
“Really, Carrick, I haven’t done anything. Your son is an amazing man and very easy to love. I’m just glad I get to know him,” I tell him, feeling myself blush.
“So are we. I just can’t wait for all of this legal business to be over so we can all get back to normal,” Carrick says. “How is Christian doing, by the way? How has he been handling everything?”
“Fine,” I tell him. “He’s really shifted a lot of focus to school. I think it helps take his mind of everything.”
“He seems to be fairly reluctant,” Carrick says, carefully. “Whenever I’ve met with him to discuss the case, he seemed to be sort of… unfocused, and focus has never been one of Christian’s problems.”
“Can you blame him?” I ask. “He didn’t ever really want this to get out in the first place and now he’s having to detail very… personal things about his sex life for court records. I think that would be difficult for anyone and if you add on BDSM and the fact that it was all with Elena… I just think he’s… uncomfortable, and Christian usually shut down when he’s uncomfortable.”
“I agree,” He says. “I’ve had my own concerns about that very issue. It’s because I know that Christian is notoriously difficult to work with when he’s being forced to do something he doesn’t want to do, that I’ve stepped in to work directly with him. But there’s no way around the uncomfortable subject matter, it’s the very heart of the case. We’ll just have to be patient with him. Push him when we can, and back off when we have to.”
I nod in agreement as the waiter sets heaping plates of pasta in front of us. We eat quietly for a moment before Carrick begins asking me questions pertaining to the trial. I describe some of the altercations I’ve had with Elena and different things Christian has told me about their past. I don’t really have anything to add that Christian hasn’t already told him, but when I’m finished Carrick asks me, if I’d be comfortable testifying if the prosecution called me to the stand.
“Of course,” I assure him. “I’ll do whatever it takes.’
“Good,” Carrick says, smiling gratefully across the table at me. “I don’t think they’ll call you, most of what you know they’ll get from Christian’s testimony. But, it’s always good to be prepared.”
“Okay,” I agree.
“Excellent,” Carrick says, smiling again. He hands the black book with the money for our meal to the waitress and asks her to keep the change. “Are you ready?”
“Mm-hm,” I mumble as I take a sip of water. Carrick pulls my chair out for me and I lead the way back to the car, pulling my jacket over me once we step through the restaurant door. Even in late April, the night air is still a little chilly.
Carrick puts on some old rock music from the ’70s that I don’t recognize once we’re in the car, and when I wrinkle my nose at the lead singer’s screechy voice, he proceeds to explain to me exactly what made RUSH one of the greatest rock bands of the 1970s, and promises to get me some of their records so I can “check them out“.
“Seriously, Ana,” He says once we pull over on the street that winds around Grays, “Working Man defined my high school career.”
“Okay, Mr. Grey,” I tell him with a laugh as I get out of the car. He waves through the passenger window to me and waits for me to make it through the archway that leads to the campus before he drives away. I have to admit to myself, the band is pretty catchy. I find myself humming the few seconds of the song I remember over and over again as I make my way up to Christian’s room.
“Working Man?” Christian asks, looking up from his homework with an amused smirk when I enter the room, still humming. “Let me guess, you got the sound of a generation speech?”
“No,” I tell him. “The defined my high school career one.”
“Ah, that’s a good one,” Christian says. “Once when Elliot was twelve and I was ten, my Dad started making ridiculous claims about how RUSH was the greatest foreign invasion since the Beetles, and my mom made the mistake of saying she had always liked Foreigner better. After that, every time he started going on and on about RUSH, Elliot and I would start singing Jukebox Hero until he stopped.”
I laugh. “Well my Dad’s a fan of country music so I never had to deal with nostalgic rock bands, just George Strait and Patsy Cline.”
“Ugh, that’s worse,” He says, grimacing and shaking his head as I put my coat on the hook and begin digging through my bag for study materials. I take my laptop, notebook, and a few books to Christian’s bed, and am about to begin with my reading until I realize he’s still looking at me expectantly.
“What did you two talk about?” He asks, standing up and coming to sit on the bed next to me.
“Well, he said that you’ve changed since we’ve started dating,” I tell him. “And then we talked about the trial a little bit.”
“What about the trial?” Christian asks.
“Just things Elena has said and you have said. I don’t think I gave him anything new so we didn’t talk about it long.”
“And that’s it? He just asked you questions? Did he ask you for a signed statement?”
“Oh,” Christian says, surprise. “Well, okay then.” His mood changes as he stares down at my lips and leans in closer to me. “What do you want to do now?”
I lean over so that my lips are just inches from his and whisper in the sultriest voice I can muster, “I want to… Study.”
“You sure do know how to ruin the mood,” He frowns, and I laugh and kiss him once before he gets off the bed and returns to his own work. It’s a long night, but it’s productive. I’ve competed one paper that’s due finals week and caught up on my reading for all my classes. Christian’s laptop closes just as I am responding to an email from Carter asking for a time we can all meet to go over the final piece of our Business Writing portfolios.
“Wait, I’m almost finished,” I say as Christian climbs onto the bed and leans over my laptop to kiss me. I try to look around him at the computer screen, but his hands clasp the side of my face to keep me focused on him.
“I’ve just got to send this email,” I protest when I’m able to pull my lips away from his. He isn’t deterred though. He begins kissing my neck and undoing the buttons on my shirt.
“Do it in the morning,” He says huskily, and I shiver slightly as he runs his tongue up the side of my neck and then nibbles gently on my earlobe.
“But…” I try to argue, but he’s gotten my shirt undone and his mouth moves down to my cleavage, his hands grasping each of my breasts firmly through my bra, pushing them together. “Oh, never mind,” I moan.
He reaches down and closes my laptop, placing it on the bedside table and sweeps the rest of my study materials onto the floor without ever removing his mouth from my breasts. I lean back into the pillows and begin fumbling with the buttons on my jeans. He helps me pull them off, quickly followed by my panties, and then unclasps my bra, leaving me naked beneath him without having removed any of his own clothes. I whimper at the injustice of it all.
“Eager?” He asks.
“I want to feel you against me,” I moan.
“Like this?” He asks, pressing his erection, still encased in his pants, against between my legs.
“No,” I breathe. “Take off your clothes.”
He moans lowly and kisses my neck one last time before rising up onto his knees. He drags a sweater and then his t-shirt over his head, but before he can begin to undo his fly, he stops and stares down at me, concentrating on my body as if he’s inspecting me.
“You really are the most beautiful thing in the world,” He says with awe. He reaches down and rolls my right nipple between his thumb and forefinger. “I don’t know what I could have done to deserve such perfection.”
“You’re not so bad yourself,” I tell him, reaching out and closing my fingers over his erection through his pants. His breath hisses through his teeth and the gray in his eyes darkens.
“Take it out,” He whispers, and I do as he commands without hesitation. I smile as my hand reaches through his open fly, past the band of his Calvin Kleins, and wraps around him. He pulls gently down on his clothes, revealing himself to me and I take the opportunity to run my tongue up the entirety of his length.
“Yessss,” He breathes when my lips close around the head of his erection. “Suck me, baby.”
I moan appreciatively as I encase him with my mouth, pulling him to the back of my throat and then releasing him. I alternate between sucking him, licking him, and even just leaving gentle kisses all the way up his erection. His fingers twist into my hair with frustration as I tease him with just the tip of my tongue and he guides my mouth back onto him. I laugh once at his ardor, and then really focus on my task, using my hand in conjunction with my mouth to really bring him to the edge.
“Fuck, Ana!” He cries. As gently as I can, I bare my teeth and then circle my tongue around the head of his erection again. “Jesus,” He moans. He pulls away and pushes me back onto the bed, hovering over me as he pulls my legs apart.
“You’re so wet for me,” He groans approvingly, dragging his middle and index finger up my opening. I squirm at his touch, lifting my hips towards him, encouraging him to take me. He stares down at me for a moment, appraising me once more as he inches towards me.
“So fucking beautiful,” He says under his breath, and then he slams into me. I cry out as the pleasure washes over me, continuing on and on as he moves furiously in and out of me. He’s not holding back, taking me hard and rough while his hands explore the familiar territory of my body. I can’t hold back my cries of ecstasy as he hits that perfect place inside of me over and over again with deep, pounding thrusts that electrify my entire body with pleasure.
“That’s it baby, scream for me. Say my name.”
“Christian!” I call out. “Oh fuck, Christian!”
“God, I love the sound of that,” He growls, and without warning, he grips my hips and flips me onto my front, pulling my hips into the air before slapping me hard on my behind and plunging back inside of me. His fingers are digging into my waist as he tries to keep me in place while he pounds on and on. He’s never been this rough before, never quite so fervent, and it’s driving me insane. I’m literally out of my mind as I grip his expensive Egyptian cotton sheets and scream his name over and over again, begging for more.
His hands move from my hips and grab onto my behind. He places his thumbs on my outer lips while he continues to thrust inside of me and as he pulls upwards, I can see why. It stretches me tighter around him and I can feel the movement pull around my clitoris. I cry out a loud, shaky sound and he does it again. As he does I can feel the deep, encouraging heat beginning to build inside of me, and I moan into the pillow.
“Come, Ana,” He urges me. “Come for me, baby. I want to feel it.”
Again, he moves me, shifting me back onto my back, and I’m so surprised this time, I yelp. Impressively though, he managed to stay inside of me while he changed position and was immediately able to pick his pace back up. His arm hooks under my knee and he pulls my leg up so that he can lean further into me, push further into me, and I practically growl my approval I’m so intoxicated by the sensation.
“Give it up to me, baby,” He whispers. “I want to watch you come apart.” He props my leg up onto his shoulder, using his free hand to roll his thumb over my clitoris, and the extra stimulation immediately sends me over the edge. I cry out his name as I come, gloriously, around him. He says something, but I’m too lost in euphoria for his words to register, all that I do recognize is that his thrusts are coming harder now, just this side of too hard.
“I’m going to come, baby,” He whispers harshly, his face screwed up with the effort it takes to continue his bruising pace. “Fuck, Ana!”
I’m pressed into the mattress, helpless beneath him, as he pins me down and erupts inside of me. I stare up at his beautiful face, watching him as he comes undone, gasping slightly with each thrust. When his movement begin to slow I reach up and bring his lips down to mine, kissing him deeply and possessing him with my tongue. He moans as he lowers himself onto me so that we’re pressed against each other, but his weight is fully supported by his elbows.
I don’t release him, I hold him in this kiss until we’re both desperate for air. When we finally break apart, he rolls over next to me and kisses me again, before collapsing down on the pillow.
“That was fucking incredible,” He whispers, and I moan in agreement, a smile creeping across my lips. He turns to look at me and he too, smiles. “You’re amazing, do you know that?”
“No, we’re amazing,” I tell him. “We’re perfect together.”
“Mmm,” He moans. “That we are.”
“Thank you,” I tell him softly, and he raises an eyebrow at me.
“You’re thanking me for orgasms now?” He asks skeptically, with a look on his face that tells me he’d rather I didn’t.
“Not for the orgasm, although… bravo, sir. Just, thank you for loving me and giving me the chance to experience all of this with you. I’ve never been as happy in my entire life as I have been these past few months with you.”
“Me either,” He smiles. “You’re everything to me.”
I hum a low, appreciative sound through my responding smile and lean in to kiss him again. After today, a strange roller coaster of excitement, and happiness, and a constant string of reminders that Christian’s trial is fast approaching, when his arms wrap around me, I am purely content. Christian and I have made it through every hurdle we’ve encountered and we’ve come out the other side stronger. We are in a good place, we’re madly in love, and soon, Elena Lincoln will be out of our lives forever. My mind races over the many different times Kate has brought up the idea that Christian might propose soon and I smile to myself as for the first time, it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.