“Your mind, no, Anastasia, but your body—that I’ve gotten to know quite well since yesterday.” I give her a wolfish grin and ask for the check.
When we leave, her hand is firmly in mine. She’s quiet—deep in thought, it seems—and remains so all the way to Vancouver. I’ve given her a great deal to think about.
But she’s also given me a great deal to think about.
Will she want to do this with me?
Damn, I hope so.
It’s still light when we arrive at her home, but the sun is sinking to the horizon and shining pink and pearl light on Mount St. Helens. Ana and Kate live in a scenic spot with an amazing view.
“Do you want to come in?” she asks, after I’ve switched off the engine.
“No. I have work to do.” I know that if I accept her invitation I’ll be crossing a line I’m not prepared to cross. I’m not boyfriend material—and I don’t want to give her any false expectations of the kind of relationship she’ll have with me.
Her face falls and, deflated, she looks away.
She doesn’t want me to go.
It’s humbling. Reaching across, I grasp her hand and kiss her knuckles, hoping to take the sting out of my rejection.
“Thank you for this weekend, Anastasia. It’s been…the best.” She turns shining eyes to me. “Wednesday?” I continue. “I’ll pick you up from work, from wherever?”
“Wednesday,” she says, and the hope in her voice is disconcerting.
Shit. It’s not a date.
I kiss her hand again and climb out of the car to open her door. I have to get out of here before I do something I’ll regret.
When she gets out of the car, she brightens, at odds with how she looked a moment ago. She marches up to her front door but before reaching the steps she turns suddenly. “Oh, by the way, I’m wearing your underwear,” she says in triumph, and she yanks the waistband up so I can see the words “Polo” and “Ralph” peeking over her jeans.
She’s stolen my underwear!
I’m stunned. And in that instant I want nothing more than to see her in my boxer briefs…and only them.
She tosses back her hair and swaggers into her apartment, leaving me standing on the curb, staring like a fool.
Shaking my head, I climb back into the car, and as I start the engine I cannot help my shit-eating grin.
I hope she says yes.
I FINISH MY WORK and take a sip of the fine Sancerre, delivered from room service by the woman with dark, dark eyes. Trawling through my e-mails and answering where required has been a welcome distraction from thoughts of Anastasia. And now I’m pleasantly tired. Is it the five hours of work? Or all the sexual activity last night and this morning? Memories of the delectable Miss Steele invade my mind: in Charlie Tango, in my bed, in my bath, dancing around my kitchen. And to think it all started here on Friday…and now she’s considering my proposal.
Has she read the contract? Is she doing her homework?
I check my phone once again for a text or a missed call but, of course, there’s nothing.
Will she agree?
I hope so…
Andrea has sent me Ana’s new e-mail address and assured me the laptop will be delivered tomorrow morning. With that in mind, I type out an e-mail.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Your New Computer
Date: May 22 2011 23:15
To: Anastasia Steele
Dear Miss Steele,