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I give him a quick dismissive nod, and he’s gone. When was the last time Taylor offered me anything to eat? I must look more fucked up than I thought. Sulking, I grab the glue. THE GLIDER IS IN the palm of my hand. I marvel at it with a sense of achievement, memories of that

flight nudging my consciousness. Anastasia was impossible to wake—I smile as I recall—and once up she was difficult, disarming and beautiful, and funny. Christ, that was fun: her girlish excitement during the flight, the squealing, and afterward, our kiss. It was my first attempt at more. It’s extraordinary that over such a short time I have collected so many happy memories. The pain surfaces once more—nagging, aching, reminding me of all that I’ve lost. Focus on the glider, Grey. Now I have to stick the transfers in place; they’re fiddly little suckers. FINALLY THE LAST ONE is on and drying. My glider has its own FAA registration. November. Nine.

Five. Two. Echo. Charlie. Echo Charlie. I look up and the light is fading. It’s late. My first thought is that I can show this to Ana. No more Ana. I clench my teeth and stretch my stiff shoulders. Standing slowly, I realize I haven’t eaten all day or had anything to drink, and my head is throbbing. I feel like shit. I check my phone in the hope that she’s called, but there’s only a text from Andrea. CC Gala canx. Hope all well. A

While I’m reading Andrea’s message the phone buzzes. My heart rate immediately spikes, then falls when I recognize it’s Elena. “Hello.” I don’t bother to disguise my disappointment. “Christian, is that any way to say hi? What’s eating you?” she scolds, but her voice is full of humor. I stare out the window. It’s dusk over Seattle. I wonder briefly what Ana is doing. I don’t want to tell Elena what’s happened; I don’t want to say the words out loud and make them a reality. “Christian? What gives? Tell me.” Her tone shifts to brusque and annoyed. “She left me,” I mutter, sounding morose. “Oh.” Elena sounds surprised. “Want me to come over?” “No.” She takes a deep breath. “This life isn’t for everyone.”

E l james grey  

Fifty Shades of Grey