Darker (Fifty Shades 5) - Page 28

The nightmares. The guilt. The despair sucking me into the abyss, drowning me.

Shit. Pull yourself together, Grey.

No. I never want to feel like that again.

She kisses me once more, a gentle, beseeching kiss, comforting me.

Don’t think about it, Grey. Think about something else.

I remember my parents’ summer ball. “Will you come with me to my father’s summer party tomorrow? It’s an annual charity thing. I said I’d go.” I hold my breath.

This is a date.

A real date.

“Of course I’ll come.” Ana’s face lights up but then falls.



“Tell me,” I insist.

“I have nothing to wear.”

Yes. You do. “Don’t be mad, but I still have all those clothes for you at home. I’m sure there are a couple of dresses in there.”

“Do you, now?” She purses her lips.

“I couldn’t get rid of them.”


You know why, Ana. I caress her hair, willing her to understand. I wanted you back and I kept them for you.

She shakes her head, resigned. “You are, as ever, challenging, Mr. Grey.”

I laugh because it’s true and also because it’s something I might say to her. Her expression lightens. “I’m gooey. I need a shower.”

“We both do.”

“Sadly, there’s no room for two. You go and I’ll change this bedding.”

HER BATHROOM IS THE size of my shower, and this has to be the smallest shower cubicle I’ve ever been in; I’m practically face to face with the showerhead. However, I discover the source of her fragrant hair. Green apple shampoo. As the water trickles over me, I open the lid and, closing my eyes, take a long sniff.


I may have to add this to Mrs. Jones’s shopping list. When I open my eyes, Ana is staring at me, hands on hips. To my disappointment, she’s wearing her robe.

“This shower is small,” I complain.

“I told you. Were you smelling my shampoo?”

“Maybe.” I grin.

She laughs and hands me a towel that is designed with the spines of classic books. Ana is ever the bibliophile. I wrap it around my waist and give her a swift kiss. “Don’t be long. That’s not a request.”

Lying in her bed, waiting for her return, I look around her room. It doesn’t feel lived in. Three walls are stark exposed brick, the fourth smooth concrete, but there’s nothing on them. Ana’s not had time to make this place home. She’s been too miserable to unpack. And that’s my fault.

I close my eyes.

I want her happy.

Happy Ana.

I smile.


* * *

Ana is beside me. Radiant. Lovely. Mine. She’s dressed in a white satin robe. We’re in Charlie Tango, chasing the dawn. Chasing the dusk. Chasing the dawn. The dusk. High above the clouds we fly. Night a dark shroud arching over us. Ana’s hair is burnished, titian, bright from the setting sun. We have the world at our feet and I want to give her the world. She’s entranced. I do a wingover and we’re in my glider. See the world, Ana. I want to show you the world. She laughs. Giggling. Happy. Her braids pointing to the ground when she’s upside down. Again, she calls. And I oblige. We roll and roll and roll. But this time she starts screaming. She’s staring at me in horror. Her face contorted. Horrified. Disgusted. At me.




She screams.

I WAKE AND MY heart is pounding. Ana is tossing and turning beside me, making an eerie, unworldly sound that rouses every hair follicle on my body. In the glow of the ambient streetlight I see she’s still asleep. I sit up and shake her gently.

“Jesus, Ana.”

She wakes suddenly. Gasping. Eyes wild. Terrified.

“Baby, are you okay? You were having a bad dream.”

“Oh,” she whispers, as she focuses on me, her lashes fluttering like the wings of a hummingbird. I reach over her and switch on her lamp. She squints in the half-light. “The girl,” she says, her eyes searching mine.

“What is it? What girl?” I resist the urge to gather her in my arms and kiss away her nightmares.

She blinks once more, and her voice is clearer, less fearful. “There was a girl outside SIP when I left this evening. She looked like me, but not really.”

My scalp tingles.


“When was this?” I ask, sitting upright.

“When I left work this evening.” She’s shaken. “Do you know who she is?”

“Yes.” What the hell is Leila doing confronting Ana?

“Who?” Ana asks.

I should call Welch. During our update this morning, he had nothing to report on Leila’s whereabouts. His team is still trying to find her.

“Who?” Ana persists.

Damn. I know she won’t stop until she has some answers. Why the hell didn’t she tell me earlier?

“It’s Leila.”

Her frown deepens. “The girl who put ‘Toxic’ on your iPod?”

“Yes. Did she say anything?”

“She said, ‘What do you have that I don’t?’ and when I asked who she was, she said, ‘I’m nobody.’ ”

Christ, Leila, what are you playing at? I have to call Welch.

Tags: E.L. James Fifty Shades Billionaire Romance
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