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My mood plummets further. Ana sways a little as she’s drinking, so I steady her with a hand on her shoulder. I like the connection—me touching her. She’s oil on my troubled, deep, dark waters. Hmm…flowery, Grey. She finishes her drink, and retrieving the glass, I place it on the bar. Okay. She wants to talk to her so-called friend. I survey the crowded dance floor, uneasy at the thought of all those bodies pressing in on me as we fight our way through. Steeling myself, I grab her hand and lead her toward the dance floor. She hesitates, but if she wants to talk to her friend, there’s only one way; she’s going to have to dance with me. Once Elliot gets his groove on, there’s no stopping him; so much for his quiet night in. With a tug, she’s in my arms. This I can handle. When I know she’s going to touch me, it’s okay. I can deal, especially since I’m wearing my jacket. I weave us through the crowd to where Elliot and Kate are making a spectacle of themselves. Still dancing, Elliot leans toward me in mid-strut when we’re beside him and sizes us up with a look of incredulity. “I’m taking Ana home. Tell Kate,” I shout in his ear. He nods and pulls Kavanagh into his arms. Right. Let me take Miss Drunk Bookworm home, but for some reason she seems reluctant to go. She’s watching Kavanagh with concern. When we’re off the dance floor she looks back at Kate, then at me, swaying and a little dazed. “Fuck—” By some miracle I catch her as she passes out in the middle of the bar. I’m tempted to haul her over my shoulder, but we’d be too conspicuous, so I pick her up once more, cradling her against my chest, and take her outside to the car. “Christ,” I mutter as I fish the key out of my jeans and hold her at the same time. Amazingly, I manage to get her into the front seat and strap her in. “Ana.” I give her a little shake, because she’s worryingly quiet. “Ana!” She mumbles something incoherent and I know she’s still conscious. I know I should take her home, but it’s a long drive to Vancouver, and I don’t know if she’ll be sick again. I don’t relish the idea of my Audi reeking of vomit. The smell emanating from her clothes is already noticeable. I head to The Heathman, telling myself that I’m doing this for her sake. Yeah, tell yourself that, Grey. SHE SLEEPS IN MY arms as we travel up in the elevator from the garage. I need to get her out of her

jeans and her shoes. The stale stench of vomit pervades the space. I’d really like to give her a bath, but that would be stepping beyond the bounds of propriety. And this isn’t? In my suite, I drop her purse on the sofa, then carry her into the bedroom and lay her down on the bed. She mumbles once more but doesn’t wake.

E l james grey  

Fifty Shades of Grey