I do not own the Fifty Shades Trilogy or its characters; those belong to E. L. James. However, my characters do belong to me.
Chapter 1 | I Want to Be Certain I Understand
I can’t remember life before my Ana. Those days have faded to black.
I stand staring out of the ceiling to floor window in my office at Grey House. I’ve been alone and lonely, angry and miserable, misguided and confused for a long time. I shake my head. I thought my “closest friend” had my best interest at heart, that was a big joke. And for all it’s worth, the cow still won’t leave me the fuck alone. Now, I’ve seen love; simple, pure with no need for embellishment. I only ever wanted my Ana.
I sigh again, still staring out of the window, remembering the best decision I ever made, my heartfelt plea. I needed to pour my soul into my second proposal to Ana. It wasn’t just a matter of a romantic gesture. I gave her my reasons, told her how I feel, told her my intentions and ask her to share what I have, “Anastasia Rose Steele, I love you. I want to love, cherish and protect you for the rest of my life. Be mine, always. Share my life with me. Marry me.” I mean every fucking word.
She said she’d never leave me. She asked me to never let her go. Now, she’s feeling overwhelmed and smothered. She wants time to herself, away from me, so she can think things through. I don’t understand what there is to think about, unless she feels she made a mistake by saying yes. We told our friends and families; hell, I even got Ray’s permission. So what’s there to think about? I begged her not to leave me, again. She knows my intentions are to protect her and make her happy. To see that fabulous smile, hear her sweet, innocent giggle and have her by my side, safe and sound, but she said she had to go…for now. What have I done wrong? I don’t understand.
Ahem, allow me to explain. You’re over the top. You expect too much of the mere human population and when you finally concede you’ve made an error, you over compensate.
Pause. I’ve heard this all before and I knew it long before I met her. I also realize she’s young and we haven’t known each other very long. So, unless you have an original point of view, keep your thoughts to yourself.
This has been the longest three months of my life, but I kept to my word. Ana asked that I not try to influence her thoughts and feelings in anyway, so I haven’t. Don’t get me wrong, I make contact with her at least once a week whether it’s by email, text or telephone, I still need my Ana. But I’ve forgone any gifts or grand gestures that she could misconstrue as my conspiring to win her affections. I know she could give a fuck less about my money and I’d be disappointed in her if she did.
“Hi beautiful.” I can’t keep the smile off my face. I love knowing she’s on the other end of the line.
“Hello Christian, how are you?” Instantly, my smile slips with her tone of voice.
“I’m good. I could be better.” Oops.
Watch it Grey.
“Christian, please don’t do this.”
See what I mean? I told you this telephone call was a bad idea.
“Don’t do what? You asked me a question and I answered it. End of.” Give me a break. I’m not gonna hide my feelings. If she doesn’t want me anymore I might approach this situation differently, but she hasn’t said that and I’m not giving up that easily.
“I guess.” She sounds bored with this conversation.
I’ll get to the point then, “Anastasia, I didn’t call to hassle you. I wanted to say ‘hello’ and let you know how much I love and miss you.”
“I know Christian, I apologize. I just…” She stops abruptly. Have I caught her at a bad time?
“You just what Baby?” I say with caution.
“I just need time to think.” I sigh.
Here we go with this bullshit again, or shall I say still.
Careful, I love her. “I understand. Please don’t forget how much I love and miss you.”
“I’ll never forget how much you love me. I feel the same way about you.” Well that’s something. I’ll leave it at that and count this as a win.
Next on the list, although, I already know the answer, “Anastasia, you do remember the gala is this Friday evening, right? Grace is looking forward to our being there. How would you like to do this.” I do not want to cross the line on this one. “Should I pick you up after work? You can get ready at Escala then we leave together or would you rather we meet at the venue?” Please say we can arrive together…please. I have managed to keep my family and the Press at bay. We haven’t been see out together since she left me and I haven’t been interested in answering any questions. I wrote checks to the organizations of the few functions we missed. They don’t care if I show my face or not, as long as my check clears the bank.
“Oh no, Christian, I totally forgot! You’re being recognized as well right? I apologize.” For some reason, although I’m not surprised, I’m very disappointed it slipped her mind. I thought she might miss me and want to use this time just to get reacquainted.
“That’s right, but don’t fret, Taylor and I can pick you up at the publishing house after work. You have gowns at the apartment, any of them can be delivered to you or you can set up an appointment with Carolyn Acton.” Again, I want to give her as many options as I can. Hell, she can have whatever her heart desires.
“No Christian, I think it best I not go.” What? Why? I can feel an icy cold vice closing around my heart. Is this it? Has she decided to break off our engagement? Is she leaving me for good this time?
“Anastasia, why don’t you want to go?” I sound confused and heartbroken at the same time.
“Well, the paparazzi will be in full force and we both know what that means.” Why does this sound like a lame-ass excuse to avoid me? Put me out of my fucking misery already. I’m getting annoyed with this bullshit.
“It means the same annoying photoflashes and off the wall questions Anastasia. You know I don’t have a problem handling the Press. Just stick with me kid.” I’m trying to lighten the mood of this call, but somehow, I think it’s too little too late. She’s already decided not to go.
“No Christian, it means questions about our engagement. It means questions about when we’ll get married, how negotiations of the prenuptial agreement are progressing and speculations about the novelty wearing off after the wedding.” Yep, she’s already decided and yep, this is a lame-ass excuse.
“Anastasia, do you think that little of me? Do you think Press questions or innuendo are gonna affect how I feel about you, about us? Do you think I give a fuck what people say?!”
Down boy, remember not crossing any lines? Exerting control or the appearance thereof is not the best tactic, especially at this juncture of your relationship.
You’re right. This is Anastasia Steele. I remember.
“I know you don’t give a fuck Christian, but I do give a fuck and I always seem to be the topic of discussion. Why can’t you understand this isn’t about you? Why can’t you consider my feelings in all of this? Why can’t you be sensitive to how this all affects me?” What the fuck is she talking about? I bust my fucking ass trying to show her I love her, show her the opinions of the rest of the fucking world don’t matter. I told her once if my wealth bothered her so much I could arrange to be bankrupt in thirty days. What the fuck did that offer get me? A fucking jaw drop and deer in headlights expression on her face. It took all I had not to laugh at her though. I guess, she’s right, I don’t understand. I don’t see how this affects her; but I will after this conversation.
I let out the breath I knew I was holding and ask the million-dollar question…again, “Anastasia is there anything I can do to comfort you regarding my feelings and devotion to you and our relationship?” Tell me Baby and I’ll do it. I’ll jump off this fucking building if that’s what you want. Just say the word.
“NO! How many times do I have to tell you? I. Love. You. Christian Trevelyn-Grey. I want nothing more than to spend my life growing old with you. I want to be your best friend. I want to be the mother of your children. This is about my insecurities and how I can fit into your world. I just need time to get my thoughts straight. I need to figure out where Christian Grey ends and Anastasia Steele begins.”
I ball my fists. She means Anastasia Grey dammit.
Down boy, what did I just tell you? I do agree with one thing though, it’s time for this shit to end. It’s time for her to make her decision and for you to take a stand. It’s shit or bust time Grey.
I need to understand this shit once and for all. “Anastasia, exactly what do you mean by ‘need time to get your thoughts and feeling straight’? Have your feelings for me changed? Are you calling off our engagement?”
I’m at the end of my tether. I love her with all that I am. I am nothing without her, just the shell of a man, at the same time, I’m tired of straddling the fucking fence here. If I am going to spend the rest of my life alone, I need to prepare for that. I can stop giving to her, I can stop buying for her too if that/s what she wants, but I can’t fight an invisible foe. Where she fits in is anywhere she wants to be; I mean that literally. If she wants an office at Grey House, she can have it. If she wants to go to every boring ass meeting and listen to these fuckers drone on about particulars that have nothing to do with their original assignment or the project at hand, be my guest. Where she fits in is where she puts herself. All the fuck I do is work.
“No, my feelings for you have not changed. I am a simple girl Christian. You knew that when you met me. I’ve always been very self-sufficient, I don’t want your money or to be praised because of my relationship with you. You of all people should understand. I want to bring something to the table other than my student loans.”
I am so fucking sick of this speech. I love Ana and would gladly lay down my life for her. I have deliberately not touched her fucking student loans so she can be Miss Independent.  What the fuck does ‘bringing something to the table’ have to do with loving or sharing a life with me? I have more money than Croesus. Please, explain is fucking shit to me? I’m getting tired of this same old song and dance.
“I can’t be in your shadow Christian. The world won’t take me seriously when it turns out I have what I have because I’m engaged or married to “the Christian Grey, CEO, Grey Enterprises Holding, Incorporated.”
Ok, I’m biting my fucking tongue here so she has the opportunity to get all of this out in the open. This is definitely a first for her, because usually I only get this type of conversation by email so I’m going to relish her verbal dialogue. “Anastasia, I want to be certain I understand what you’re saying to me. Is that alright?”
“Yes Christian.” she hisses.
Deep breathe Grey. That is right; now let it out slowly, slowly. Don’t let her hear you.
“Anastasia, what I hear you saying is that your feelings for me haven’t changed, correct?”
“Yes Christian.” She still has a shitty tone in her voice.
“You’ve always been a self-sufficient woman and you don’t want my money, correct?” This is not a news flash.
“Yes Christian.” Why can I feel her fucking eyes roll?
Just keep your comments to yourself. Fuck the eye-rolling shit.
“You also don’t want to be praised because of your relationship with me. You want to be an equal contributor in our relationship and not live in my shadow, correct?”
“Yes Christian.” Please God let me get through this conversation.
“And, you want ‘the world’ to take you seriously because you are Anastasia Steele not because of your association with me, correct?”
Be careful Steele, this is a big one. She’s not listening to herself talk.
“Pre-fucking-cisely Christian.” She almost snarls.
All I can do is shake my head. Does she realize what she just admitted? Yes, she should have a name and a face and a voice all her own. Yes, she should be recognized based on her own actions and not feel as though she’s only being regarded because of who I am. How-the-fuck-ever, does she realize, no one under God, can run the fucking world?
This is why I don’t give a fuck about what other people think. Everyone, all my life has assumed I was some arrogant-fuck. After I dropped out of Harvard and started GEH I became the stupid, arrogant-fuck. Now, GEH is a force to be reckoned with, I’m the elitist, arrogant-fuck who got lucky after dropping out of Harvard.
I throw up may hands and say ‘uncle’. She wins. I have to give her the time and space she needs to figure this out on her own. God, I’m going to miss her. I pray our relationship can survive. “Are you sure you caught that last point Anastasia?” Now I hear crickets on the line.
I believe she realizes she’s putting her life on hold…for a long time.
“Anastasia, are you still there?”
“Yes,” she says timidly.
Yep, she knows she fucked up.
“Do you fully understand the last statement I clarified?”
Breathe Grey. Don’t intimidate her. She’s a bright woman; she knows what she just admitted.
“Yes”, her voice is smaller that it was before, if that’s possible.
“Then, for the record, would you please go over it once more for me? I really want to be sure we’re on the same page?”
You’re going to bleed this one dry aren’t you?
You better fucking believe it. This isn’t about other women ogling me, this isn’t about Elena and BDSM bullshit, this isn’t about my money or a prenup. This about how she looks and how comfortable she feels in the world.
“I said I want the world to take me seriously because of who I am and not my association with you.” B-I-N-G-fucking-O!
“The world huh, not the man you want to grow old with, not even the family who loves you? The world’s view of Anastasia Rose Steele is what’s important?” I feel like someone punched me in the ribs. I can’t compete with the world. I can’t reassure her that the world is what you make it. I won’t take on the world. If the world is what she wants, then the world is what she can have. I just have to learn to live my life without her.
“Yes.” I believe she understands now. I’m not usually magnanimous, but this time I’m gonna make a huge exception and not point out that the world doesn’t count for a fucking thing.
She matters to me and I thought I mattered to her. Our families and her friends think she walks on water. I’m absolutely worthless without her, but she’s worried about how she looks to the world. Well excuse the fuck out of me. It’s nice to know where her priorities lie.
“Alright Ana, I won’t pressure you or interfere with your introspective time anymore. You know I love you, I know you love me, that will have to be our light at the end of this tunnel and hold us through whatever life has to dish out.”
“You know how the Press will behave when they see me without you, right? Our relationship will become suspect and the tabloids will have the time of their lives.” I am not trying to use this against her or sway her decision. I want to get all of this shit out in the open now. I don’t want her wondering what’s going on and why the world has us under a microscope all of a sudden. I’ll be considered Seattle’s most eligible bachelor, again, and women will be even worse than the were before.
Yes, but remember the world thought we were gay, so I’m sure our virility will be questioned as well.
As far as I’m concerned, that won’t be a bad thing.
“Why are you telling me this Christian? Is this some kind of a warning?” She has the vague sound of indigence in her voice.
“Quite the contrary my Love. I want to prepare you for what the world takes seriously. I don’t want this to affect your time away from me. I don’t want you to question my love or fidelity to you no matter what the situation between us. My heart is always in your hands Baby. I love you” with that, I end our call.
“I’ll miss you Baby.” I whisper as I return to my place in front of the ceiling to floor window.
Taylor thinks he knows what is wrong. He has been quiet and staying out of my way all day. I am sure he thinks I am going to go ballistic any second now. Granted, I am not happy and I would like nothing better than to stay in my office tonight, but duty calls.
All I can think of on the ride home, is ‘be careful what you wish for…’ I love my Ana and I am going to miss her horribly. The world can be a cold and cruel place. If she is waiting for worldwide acceptance, she is going to be waiting a lifetime.
 Miss Independent, by Ne-Yo, Year of the Gentleman, 2008