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behind a cloud, and the water darkens, like my mood. Why am I taking her to see my parents? If they meet her, they’ll have certain expectations. And so will Ana. And I’m not sure if the relationship I want with Ana will live up to those expectations. And to make matters worse, I put all this in motion when I insisted she meet Grace. I’m the only one to blame. Me, and the fact that Elliot is fucking her roommate. Who am I kidding? If I didn’t want her to meet my folks, she wouldn’t be here. I just wish I wasn’t so anxious about it. Yeah. That’s the problem. “Where did you learn to dance?” she asks, interrupting my chain of thoughts. Oh, Ana. She’s not going to want me to go there. “Christian, hold me. There. Properly. Right. One step. Two. Good. Keep in time to the music. Sinatra is perfect for the fox-trot.” Elena is in her element. “Yes, Ma’am.” “Do you really want to know?” I answer. “Yes,” she replies, but her tone says otherwise. You asked. I sigh in the darkness beside her. “Mrs. Robinson was fond of dancing.” “She must have been a good teacher.” Her whisper is tinged with regret and reluctant admiration. “She was.” “That’s right. Again. One. Two. Three. Four. Baby, you’ve got this.” Elena and I glide across her basement. “Again.” She laughs, her head thrown back, and she looks like a woman half her age. Ana nods and studies the landscape, no doubt concocting some theory about Elena. Or maybe she’s thinking about meeting my parents. I wish I knew. Perhaps she’s nervous. Like me. I’ve never taken a girl home. When Ana starts fidgeting I sense something is worrying her. Is she concerned about what we did today? “Don’t,” I say, my voice softer than I intend. She turns to look at me, her expression unreadable in the dark. “Don’t what?” “Overthink things, Anastasia.” Whatever you’re thinking about. I reach over, take her hand, and kiss her knuckles. “I had a wonderful afternoon. Thank you.” I get a brief flash of white teeth and a timid smile. “Why did you use a cable tie?” she asks. Questions about this afternoon; this is good. “It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s something different for you to feel and experience. I know they’re quite brutal, and I do like that in a restraining device.” My voice is dry as I try to inject a little humor back into our conversation. “Very effective at keeping you

E l james grey  

Fifty Shades of Grey