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I need to face her, hold her. We’ll get through this. I wonder where she is. Shit! Panic seizes me. Suppose she’s gone? No, she wouldn’t do that. Not without saying good-bye. I stand and race out of the room and down the stairs. She’s not in the living room—she must be in bed. I dash to my bedroom. The bed is empty. Full-blown anxiety erupts in the pit of my belly. No, she can’t have gone! Upstairs—she must be in her room. I take the stairs three at a time and pause, breathless, outside her bedroom door. She’s in there, crying. Oh, thank God. I lean my head against the door, overwhelmed by my relief. Don’t leave. The thought is awful. Of course she just needs to cry. Taking a steadying breath, I head to the bathroom beside the playroom to fetch some arnica cream, Advil, and a glass of water, and I return to her room. Inside it’s still dark, though dawn is a pale streak on the horizon, and it takes me a moment to find my beautiful girl. She’s curled up in the middle of the bed, small and vulnerable, sobbing quietly. The sound of her grief rips through me, leaving me winded. My subs never affected me like this—even when they were bawling. I don’t get it. Why do I feel so lost? Putting down the arnica, water, and tablets, I lift the comforter, slide in beside her, and reach for her. She stiffens, her whole body screaming, Don’t touch me! The irony is not lost on me. “Hush,” I whisper, in a vain attempt to halt her tears and calm her. She doesn’t respond. She remains frozen, unyielding. “Don’t fight me, Ana, please.” She relaxes a fraction, allowing me to pull her into my arms, and I bury my nose in her wonderfully fragrant hair. She smells as sweet as ever, her scent a soothing balm to my nerves. And I plant a tender kiss on her neck. “Don’t hate me,” I murmur, as I press my lips to her throat, tasting her. She says nothing, but slowly her crying dissipates into soft sniffling sobs. At last she’s quiet. I think she might have fallen asleep, but I cannot bring myself to check, in case I disturb her. At least she’s calmer now. Dawn comes and goes, and the ambient light gets brighter, intruding into the room as morning moves on. And still we lie quietly. My mind drifts as I hold my girl in my arms, and I observe the changing quality of the light. I can’t remember an instance when I just lay down and let time creep by and my thoughts wander. It’s relaxing, imagining what we could do for the rest of the day. Maybe I should take her to see The Grace. Yes. We could go sailing this afternoon. If she’s still talking to you, Grey. She moves, a slight twitch in her foot, and I know she’s awake. “I brought you some Advil and some arnica cream.” Finally she responds, slowly turning in my arms to face me. Pain-riven eyes focus on mine, her look intense, questioning. She takes her time to scrutinize me, as if seeing me for the first time. It’s

E l james grey  
E l james grey  

Fifty Shades of Grey

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