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Her eyelashes flutter several times before she answers that she is. “Tell me about your parents.” She rolls her eyes and I have to fight the compulsion to scold her. “My mom lives in Georgia with her new husband, Bob. My stepdad lives in Montesano.” Of course I know all this from Welch’s background check, but it’s important to hear it from her. Her lips soften with a fond smile when she mentions her stepdad. “Your father?” I ask. “My father died when I was a baby.” For a moment I’m catapulted into my nightmares, looking at a prostrate body on a grimy floor. “I’m sorry,” I mutter. “I don’t remember him,” she says, dragging me back to the now. Her expression is clear and bright, and I know that Raymond Steele has been a good father to this girl. Her mother’s relationship with her, on the other hand—that remains to be seen. “And your mother remarried?” Her laugh is bitter. “You could say that.” But she doesn’t elaborate. She’s one of the few women I’ve met who can sit in silence. Which is great, but not what I want at the moment. “You’re not giving much away, are you?” “Neither are you,” she parries. Oh, Miss Steele. Game on. And it’s with great pleasure and a smirk that I remind her that she’s interviewed me already. “I can recollect some quite probing questions.” Yes. You asked me if I was gay. My statement has the desired effect and she’s embarrassed. She starts babbling about herself and a few details hit home. Her mother is an incurable romantic. I suppose someone on her fourth marriage is embracing hope over experience. Is she like her mother? I can’t bring myself to ask her. If she says she is—then I have no hope. And I don’t want this interview to end. I’m enjoying myself too much. I ask about her stepfather and she confirms my hunch. It’s obvious she loves him. Her face is luminous when she talks about him: his job (he’s a carpenter), his hobbies (he likes European soccer and fishing). She preferred to live with him when her mom married the third time. Interesting. She straightens her shoulders. “Tell me about your parents,” she demands, in an attempt to divert the conversation from her family. I don’t like talking about mine, so I give her the bare details. “My dad’s a lawyer, my mom is a pediatrician. They live in Seattle.” “What do your siblings do?” She wants to go there? I give her the short answer that Elliot works in construction and Mia is at cooking school in Paris. She listens, rapt. “I hear Paris is lovely,” she says with a dreamy expression. “It’s beautiful. Have you been?” “I’ve never left mainland USA.” The cadence in her voice falls, tinged with regret. I could take her

E l james grey  
E l james grey  

Fifty Shades of Grey

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