unnerving because, as usual, I have no idea what she’s thinking, what she’s seeing. But she’s definitely calmer, and I welcome the small spark of relief this brings. Today might be a good day after all. She caresses my cheek and runs her fingers along my jaw, tickling my stubble. I close my eyes, savoring her touch. It’s still so new, this sensation, being touched and enjoying her innocent fingers gently stroking my face, the darkness quiet. I don’t mind her touching my face…or her fingers in my hair. “I’m sorry,” she says. Her soft-spoken words are a surprise. She’s apologizing to me? “What for?” “What I said.” Relief courses unchecked through my body. She’s forgiven me. Besides, what she said in anger was right—I am a fucked-up son of a bitch. “You didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know.” And for the first time in so many years I find myself apologizing. “I’m sorry I hurt you.” Her shoulders lift a little and she gives me a slight smile. I’ve won a reprieve. We’re safe. We’re okay. I’m relieved. “I asked for it,” she says. You sure did, baby. She swallows nervously. “I don’t think I can be everything you want me to be,” she concedes, her eyes wide with heartfelt sincerity. The world stops. Fuck. We’re not safe at all. Grey, make this right. “You are everything I want you to be.” She frowns. Her eyes are red-rimmed and she’s so pale, the palest I’ve ever seen her. It’s oddly stirring. “I don’t understand,” she says. “I’m not obedient, and you can be as sure as hell I’m not going to let you do that to me again. And that’s what you need—you said so.” And there it is—her coup de grace. I pushed too far. Now she knows—and all the arguments I had with myself before I embarked on the pursuit of this girl flood back to me. She’s not into the lifestyle. How can I corrupt her this way? She’s too young, too innocent—too…Ana. My dreams are just that…dreams. This isn’t going to work. I close my eyes; I can’t bear to look at her. It’s true, she would be better off without me. Now that she’s seen the monster, she knows she can’t contend with him. I have to free her—let her go her own way. This won’t work between us. Focus, Grey. “You’re right. I should let you go. I’m no good for you.” Her eyes widen. “I don’t want to go,” she whispers. Tears pool in her eyes, glistening on long dark lashes.
Published on Jun 2, 2016