Chapter 1 - The Detour
“...Christian calls distractedly from the living room.
When I return he´s staring at the brown parcel of books...
...Crap this is probably going to be a fight...
‘...I bought these for you...´
‘...Christian, I can´t accept them, they are just too much...´
‘...this is what I was talking about, you defying me. I want you to have them and that´s the end of the discussion...’
...I sigh. I am not going to win this...
‘...Don´t think Anastasia. Not about this’...
‘...Shall we go through the Soft Limits?...´
‘...No fisting you say. Anything else you object to?...´
‘...Anal intercourse doesn´t exacltly float my boat...’
‘...I´ll agree to the fisting, but I´d really like to claim your ass...but we´ll wait for that. Your ass will need training.’...
‘...Anal intercourse can be very pleasurable...’
...He thinks I´ll enjoy it?...”
That was all E.L. James, and here´s where I take over and my Detour begins...
“I thought these were supposed to be my limits, and that this was supposed to be a negotiation of sorts, not you telling me what I have to do because it is what you’d really like to do.
You have a list of your own, and I dare say, you won´t be willing to compromise any of your own limits, like let´s say me touching you, I would love to do that but I know you won´t let me, I know you don’t want that.”
He kept watching me intently, I think that when he brought over the champagne to relax me and to get me to talk more openly, this was definitely not what he had in mind.
“Now, I´ve told you I don´t like you spending money on me, and you get mad and tell me not to over-think, that you enjoy it and for that I should do it, just to please you.
I can try to go along with that to placate you and because, honestly, I don´t like to disappoint you. But then we get to this list of limits," I wave the list in the air for show "and when I try to set mine, you don´t agree with what," I say not stopping the rush of words that are itching to get out, "and instead, you try to set them for me. I tell you I don´t want to have anal sex and all you say is that you want to claim my ass"
I take a big breath, 'cause that was one long sentence, and I have to get all of what´s on my mind out quickly, before he interrupts me, or before he does something that can make me lose my courage.
"Like it´s already been established, I am not like one of your fifteen, I don´t have their experience in anything that has to do with what you enjoy or want to do sexually, and even less in what has to do with your Dom and Sub World. So when I say I don´t want to do something, the least you could do is show yourself amenable, and maybe in the future I could change my mind about it, ´cause I have no doubt that if you want something you won´t just let it go. You will keep trying, no matter how subtly or blatantly, to convince me of it. And that way and through charm, might gain you what you want.
But you just telling me that you don´t accept my denial to certain sexual act, just because you really want to do it, I don´t accept. I can´t accept..."
I look down at my lap, where my hands are intertwined and roughly twisting one another, for a second to get my bearings and keep going.
"That´s not ok Christian, I told you today that I would try the type of relationship you wanted," I put some sarcastic emphasis on the word relationship, and he bristles a bit at my tone, so I try to make the rest of my speech in a softer ring to it, still not wanting to upset, or disappoint him, because that is not the point of this conversation. "and I meant it, I really wanted to make this work between us, but this is all too much."
He takes a deep breath and I think he was about to say something, but I cut him off, and keep going, I can´t lose focus. ´Cause if I don´t do this now, I don´t know if I´ll ever be brave enough again to do what I think I have to do, especially if I keep getting attached to him. Although by this point I don´t know how my feelings for him could get any stronger.
“Christian, I...”, damn it, I don´t know how to do this. I look down again, close my eyes and take a deep calming breath and rip the bandage, I´ll deal with the pain later. “Christian I don´t think I can-“
Now he cuts me off, with an almost anxious toneof voice, if I´m not mistaken. “Anastasia, you know I would never force you to do anything you didn´t want to do, don´t you?”, his eyes are a bit too wide and grave to support his aparent calm demeanor. “I mean if you really don´t want to have anal sex, I would never do it against your will-”
I´m shaking my head vigorously from side to side, ´cause that is the last thing I´d want him to think, that I would believe him capable of such thing, is inconceivable for me.
“No Christian, that´s not what I´m saying. I could never think of you like that. I trust you completely in that way, and I thought I´ve shown you that already. I have been putting my trust in you ever since you first took me for coffee, after your photo shoot at The Heathman.”
“Then I don´t understand...”
“Christian, this...thing that I was willing to try for you, is not a small insignificant thing, like you´ve said, all your past subs were already part of the lifestyle. I am completely unaware of all the comes and goings that made their relationship with you in that area, but I also am new at all things sex related, so for you to just want me to do something I have never even consider, not respecting my opinions or fears, it...scares me and worries me.
I don´t want to lose who I am in trying to do what you want, and for that case I was never one to daydream, but I do know I want to be with someone, that respects my opinions, someone with whom I can be myself, someone who actually likes who I am and is not giving me a set of rules to mold me into something I´m not. I don´t want to be punished, literally, for being the way I am. In truth I don´t want to be punished at all. I want someone who likes me, just the way I am.”
I looked down and closed my eyes again after starting to talk about fears, so I don´t know what his face looks like right now, and because of that I don´t have any idea as to what is on his mind.
When I look up he looks deep in thought but resigned. It is not a look I’ve ever wanted to see on his beautiful perfect face, much less be the cause of it.
When he notices me watching him, he composes himself, then his expression turns defensive and he sighs. “I don't know what you want me to do Anastasia. I´ve never said I didn´t respect you or your opinions, that couldn´t be farther from the truth. And I know you are intimidated by me, that goes along with the Dom-Sub thing, as you call it, but I never wanted to scare you or make you fear me in the way you´re implying. The single thought of that is abhorrent to me.”
By now his brows are furrowed, his eyes are darting from side to side, he runs both of his hands through his hair, and he looks completely lost. And, of course, I feel like shit for causing that. I scoot over closer to him and put one hand on his dear, dear face, caressing his cheekbone with my thumb, to bring his attention back to me.
“Christian, I´m sorry, I didn´t mean to upset you, I...I didn´t mean it. Please forgive me”
He looks me in the eye, “What are you saying, Anastasia?,” he swallows “what are you trying to say to me?”. He grabs my hand from his face and holds it in between both of his.
A lump, of which I wasn´t aware of before, starts to grow bigger and bigger in my throat, and I´m afraid that if it keeps growing, I won´t be able to breath properly any longer. But, still I can´t look away from his mesmerizing grey eyes, so full of some emotion I can´t place, and burning into mine.
This evening had started with so much promise, and now I only see one end to it, and it is too much for me to take.
I bite my lip, but that doesn´t keep the tears from falling. I clench my jaw, in an unsuccessful attempt to control myself, and gulp, this is it, I know it...
I look down to where his hands are clasping mine and that makes me smile, but then I come back to reality and a sharp pain presses on my chest, and I have to screw my eyes shut and finally let my tears run freely, there is no sense in trying to prevent that now, it is just too late.
I let out the breath I was holding, take a big gulp of much-needed air, open my eyes and look up at him once more. Apparently, he hasn´t taken his eyes off me this whole time.
“I...I really wanted to be with you,” I´m trying to convey every single one of my words with my eyes. My tears haven´t stopped falling, and his face...God that face. “But... I can´t do this, I will never be what you want, nor what you need, no matter how hard I try”
I´m sobbing now and his eyes are no longer watching me, they are staring at our hands clasped together.
“I don´t understand what happened. You said ‘yes’ today, I was so happy...” Suddenly he looks at me again. “You are wrong, Anastasia. You are exactly what I want. Ever since I saw you at my office, you´ve been on my mind. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you.
And after that night you spent at my place... Anastasia, that night was wonderful to me, it was amazing. What you gave me that night, your body, your trust, your first time, it was so important to me”
Listening to his beautiful words calmed my crying.
“I felt the same, Christian. I still do, every time you are near me is like... I can´t explain it, but I just never want to be apart. That was the best night of my life, Christian, and I will never forget it...”
“Then don´t do this, Anastasia.”
“Christian, don´t you see?, I´m afraid that something bad will happened, or I will keep saying yes to you, until the time comes that I will just resent you for it, and I don´t want that.
You need someone who can agree to all your rules, conditions and limits, someone who doesn´t think of every single step she takes. Someone who won´t impose you any limits, and who won´t need to rationalize your every action, just to be able to go along with your wishes-”
I´m cut off by his phone
“Damn it!,” he growls “Grey”, he yells at the caller and listens. “I´m busy, call me tomorrow”, just like that he hangs up, no ´Hello´, no ´Goodbye ´.
I can´t look at him, I don´t want to talk about this when he is in this mood. There are a few seconds of silence, I think he is trying to calm himself down. He takes a deep breath and speaks.
“Look, you´ve got a lot to drink, maybe it wasn´t such a good idea to have the ‘limits conversation’ with so much alcohol after all. We´ll talk about it tomorrow, ok?”, it almost sounds like a plea.
But I have to be strong, for the both of us. I’m no good for him. I look into his eyes and let it go. “It won´t make any difference, a day, a week, nothing will change. You´ll be the same and I´ll be the same.
And I don´t mean that in a bad way, Christian. I think you are wonderful, and you deserve everything, you deserve the best. I just have to accept that is not me”
There go the tears again.
He shakes his head slowly and then lets it fall down, “If that´s what you want,” he sighs “I´ll go”. He stands up and I follow suit.
Christian walks towards the entrance, and I walk behind him. At the door he stops, turns and looks at me. He raises his hand to caress my face, and I can´t help but close my eyes and lean into his touch. I sigh at the feel of his skin against mine.
He puts his other hand on my other tear striken cheek, and I open my eyes to find him watching my face.
“Goodbye Anastasia, and good luck with the new apartment in Seattle.”
All I can do is nod. I raise on the tip of my toes and give him a small kiss on the corner of his perfect lips. When my feet are back on the floor, a few seconds pass and then he kisses me on the lips. It was a chaste but lingering sweet goodbye kiss.
“Goodbye Christian.” After a moment, he drops his hands, opens the door, and walks out. Without looking back, he gets into a seemingly new red two door car and drives away.
I stay there frozen, not able to move, and watch the car as it gets farther and farther away as Christian gets from me.
After what seems like hours, I close tho door and walk absent-mindedly to my bedroom. I take Kate´s dress off, letting it on the back of the desk chair, walk back to my bed and let my weak knees give, allowing my body to collapse on it.
Nothing can stop the crying now, the sobbing, the unbearable pain in my chest.
So I curl up under the covers and let it all go...
.~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~.
The next day, my last day at Clayton´s, José phones me.
“Hey, Ana, wanna have lunch together so I can properly congratulate you for your graduation?, you know, since I couldn´t be there yesterday...”
“Um...” I don´t wanna be mean, but I really don´t feel like socializing right now.
“Come on, you are moving on Saturday, who knows when I´m gonna see you again”
He is right, he is one of my best friends after all, and I´m gonna miss him so much. “Ok José, come to the store around 12.30”
“Great!, see you there Ana”
Today has been awful so far, I can´t stop thinking about Christian. I´ve been distracted and quiet all day, only answering with inexpressive monosyllables.
At lunch time, José and I go to a deli nearby.
“So tell me, how was it? the act, I mean. And did Kate give her speech?”
“Yeah, she did, she was great. But as a whole, the day was...long”
His smile is gone now. “So... Saturday, hmm?”
“Yeah, moving day”
“I can´t believe you’ll be gone, so soon. Um, you know, Kate and you, both...”
“You are gonna have a whole lot of time now that we are not gonna be there to monopolize you”, I joke.
He gives me a sad smile, “Yeah, I suppose, I won´t have many excuses now not to find time to study more”
“Haha, that’s true. You are welcome then” I really hate seeing him so down, he is always so full of light and comforting. “I´m gonna miss you”
“I´ll miss you too, a lot”
“Hey, it doesn´t change anything though. We can still visit each other anytime, right?”
He smiles, a sincere and wide toothy smile this time. “Yes, that´s right,” he looks down where his fingers are now picking at his sandwich´s bread. “so, have you seen Grey lately?”
I really don´t wanna talk about this right now, specially not with José “Um, he gave a speech yesterday at graduation,” I change the subject, as soon as possible. “so, are you ready for your photo show at the gallery?”
“Oh yeah, I´m very excited about that, I wish dad could come though”
“I´m sorry, José. I know it´s not the same, but I´ll be there. I´m very proud of you, and I´m sure your dad is too.”
His face lights up with the biggest smile, “Yeah, the old man is very happy for me. But, you know the show is sort of late. I mean, since you won´t have a place to stay here anymore, where are you going to spend the night?, ´cause you can´t drive so late either.”
He is right, “I haven´t thought of that,” I wouldn´t wanna be driving at that time of night anyway. “I suppose I´ll rent a hotel room or something.”
Now he´s looking at me weird. “Er, you could crash at my place...”
If he didn´t have feelings for me, it would be another story, but as it is, I don´t think that´s a good idea. “We´ll see, you know I have my interviews next week, if I´m lucky I might get me a new job. And then I would have to be in Seattle really early the next day.”
“Oh, right. I guess we´ll see.” He says with disapointment in his voice.
He walks me back to work, and leaves with the promise to see me before I leave to Seattle.
When I´m about to enter the store, I see Taylor, Christian’s driver and, passed-out drunk-dailing girls’, clothing and underwear shopper, getting out of an SUV. He walks towards me and greets me in a very professional manner.
“Miss Steele” He nods.
“Taylor, what can I do for you?” Was there something wrong with Christian?, Oh God, no...
“Nothing important,” he must´ve noticed my tension, because his demeanor turns sympathetic. “Mr. Grey said he forgot a jacket at your place, and that there might be a key inside one of the pockets”
A key?, how odd. “I don´t think there is a key in there. But regardless you should take his jacket back.” Damn it, I really thought I could have it with me to keep me company now that I won´t have the real thing anymore.
But why would he come to my job?, I wouldn´t bring the jacket here, odd too.
“Ok, Miss Steele, I wanted to check with you first, to make sure you had it. You know before coming to your home for it.”
Right... still odd. “Sure, no problem, Taylor. Come by anytime, um... but it will have to be before Saturday, ´cause we are moving, so I won´t be living there any longer.”
“No worries, Miss Steele. Have a good day.”
“You too, goodbye Taylor.” He really is a man of few words, he nods and walks away, leaving me to the rest of my last day of work at the store.
.~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~.
When I get home, I finally see Kate, and I have no excuses this time, I´ll have to face the Kavanagh Inquisition.
Last night she got home late, and besides I was already in bed, then today she woke up late, and I had to go to work. So there was no time to talk, thankfully.
But now, it was time to face the music.
“Ana!, how was your last day at work?”
“You know, same all, same all...”
Her expression changes to suspicious. “Ana, what is it?”, her jaw clenches. “Is it about the hot asshole again?”
“There is no again, Kate,” I start making my way to the kitchen. I really don´t want to do this dance with her now. “It´s over... we are over”
“Oh Ana. I´m sorry. Yesterday you two seemed so... well, fine together,” she gives me a concern look. “I mean, the way he was looking at you, and glaring at every guy who dare eyeball you...,” she shakes her head a bit. “he looked like he wanted to rip Ethan´s head off right then and there when he saw him with his arm around you”
“Well, we´re done now, so there´s no point talking about it anymore.” I give her a pointed look, raising one eyebrow to put some stress on my statement.
Fortunately, Kate takes the hint, holding both her hands in front of her chest. “Enough said then. As long as you’re ok. We can talk anytime, you know that, right? I just want you to be happy Ana”
“I know Kate, thank you”
.~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~. .~.~.~.
At night, José shows up with a movie and some take out.
“José, what a surprise!”
“I know, but since I won´t be seeing either of you for a while, I thought I should treat you to our last meal and movie together in this place.”
Kate´s head peeks around the kitchen. “Hey José. Ooh you´ve brought diner. I´ll get the beers!”
We eat the chinese food from the cartons because everything, plates included, is packed already.
Half way into the movie my cellphone rings.