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Sleep through that, Lelliot! Yeah. I envy my brother: his ease with women, his ability to sleep…and the fact that he’s not the son of a bitch. JOSÉ LUIS RODRIGUEZ’S BACKGROUND check reveals a ticket for possession of marijuana. There is

nothing in his police records for sexual harassment. Maybe last night would have been a first if I hadn’t intervened. And the little prick smokes weed? I hope he doesn’t smoke around Ana—and I hope she doesn’t smoke, period. Opening Andrea’s e-mail, I send the NDA to the printer in my study at home in Escala. Ana will need to sign it before I show her my playroom. And in a moment of weakness, or hubris, or perhaps unprecedented optimism—I don’t know which—I fill in her name and address on my standard Dom/sub contract and send that to print, too. There’s a knock at the door. “Hey, hotshot. Let’s go hiking,” Elliot says through the door. Ah…the child has woken from his nap. THE SCENT OF PINE, fresh damp earth, and late spring is a balm to my senses. The smell reminds me of

those heady days of my childhood, running through a forest with Elliot and my sister Mia under the watchful eyes of our adoptive parents. The quiet, the space, the freedom…the scrunch of dry pine needles underfoot. Here in the great outdoors I could forget. Here was a refuge from my nightmares. Elliot chatters away, needing only the occasional grunt from me to keep talking. As we make our way along the pebbled shore of the Willamette my mind strays to Anastasia. For the first time in a long time, I have a sweet sense of anticipation. I’m excited. Will she say yes to my proposal? I picture her sleeping beside me, soft and small…and my cock twitches with expectation. I could have woken her and fucked her then—what a novelty that would have been. I’ll fuck her in time. I’ll fuck her bound and with her smart mouth gagged. CLAYTON’S IS QUIET. The last customer left five minutes ago. And I’m waiting—again—drumming my

fingers on my thighs. Patience is not my forte. Even the long hike with Elliot today has not dampened my restlessness. He’s having dinner with Kate this evening at The Heathman. Two dates on consecutive nights is not his usual style. Suddenly the fluorescent lights inside the store flicker off, the front door opens, and Ana steps out into a mild Portland evening. My heart begins to hammer. This is it: either the beginning of a new relationship or the beginning of the end. She waves good-bye to a young man who’s followed her out. It’s not the same man I met the last time I was here—it’s someone new. He watches her walk toward the car, his eyes on her ass. Taylor distracts me by making a move to climb out of the car, but I stop

E l james grey  

Fifty Shades of Grey