Page 249

What exactly does she mean? Make love? We do. We have. It’s just another term for fucking. She studies me, her expression grave. Hell. Is this her idea of more? All the hearts-and-flowers shit, is that what she means? But we’re just talking semantics, surely? This is semantics. “Ana, I—” What does she want from me? “I thought we did.” “I want to touch you.” Fuck. No. I step back as the darkness closes around my ribs. “Please,” she whispers. No. No. Haven’t I made it clear? I can’t bear to be touched. I can’t. Ever. “Oh no, Miss Steele, you’ve had enough concessions from me this evening. And I’m saying no.” “No?” she queries. “No.” And for a moment I want to send her home, or upstairs—anywhere away from me. Not here. Don’t touch me. She’s watching me warily and I think about the fact that she’s leaving tomorrow and I won’t see her for a while. I sigh. I don’t have the energy for this. “Look, you’re tired, I’m tired. Let’s just go to bed.” “So touching is a hard limit for you?” “Yes. This is old news.” I can’t keep the exasperation out of my voice. “Please tell me why.” I don’t want to go there. This is not a conversation I want to have. Ever. “Oh, Anastasia, please. Just drop it for now.” Her face falls. “It’s important to me,” she says, a hesitant plea in her voice. “Fuck this,” I mutter to myself. At the chest of drawers I pull out a T-shirt and throw it to her. “Put that on and get into bed.” Why am I even letting her sleep with me? But it’s a rhetorical question: deep down I know the answer. It’s because I sleep better with her. She’s my dream catcher. She keeps my nightmares at bay. She turns away from me and removes her bra, then slips on the T-shirt. What did I say to her in the playroom this afternoon? She shouldn’t hide her body from me. “I need the bathroom,” she says. “Now you’re asking permission?” “Er…no.” “Anastasia, you know where the bathroom is. Today, at this point in our strange arrangement, you don’t need my permission to use it.” I unbutton my shirt and slip it off, and she dashes past me out of the bedroom as I try to contain my temper. What’s gotten into her?

E l james grey  

Fifty Shades of Grey