“Great. Ana will join me shortly.”
“Shall I make her scrambled eggs?”
“I think she likes pancakes and bacon.”
Gail places a coffee and my breakfast at one of the places she’s set at the kitchen counter.
Ana appears about ten minutes later, wearing some of the clothes I bought her.
A silk blouse and a gray skirt. She looks different.
She’s beautiful. Not a gauche student but a confident young working woman.
I approve and I wrap my arm around her. “You look lovely,” I say, kissing her behind her ear. My only misgiving about her appearance is that she has to spend time, looking like this, with her boss.
Don’t dwell, Grey. This is her choice. She wants to work.
I release her when Gail places her breakfast on the bar. “Good morning, Miss Steele,” she says.
“Oh, thank you. Good morning,” Ana replies.
“Mr. Grey says you’d like to take lunch with you to work. What would you like to eat?”
Ana shoots me a look.
Yeah, baby. I was serious. No going out.
“A sandwich. Salad. I really don’t mind.” She gives Gail an appreciative smile.
“I’ll rustle up a packed lunch for you, ma’am.”
“Please, Mrs. Jones, call me Ana.”
“Ana,” Gail says.
“I have to go, baby. Taylor will come back and drop you at work with Sawyer.”
“Only to the door,” she reiterates.
“Yes. Only to the door.” That’s what we agreed. “Be careful, though,” I add in a hushed tone. Standing, I grasp her chin and give her a swift kiss. “Laters, baby.”
“Have a good day at the office, dear,” she calls after me, and though it’s a corny thing to say—it delights me.
This feels so normal.
In the elevator Taylor greets me with an update. “Sir, there’s a coffee shop opposite SIP. I think Sawyer can station himself there during the day.”
“If he needs backup? You know, bathroom breaks.”
“I’ll send Reynolds or Ryan.”
I’D FORGOTTEN THAT ANDREA is out for her wedding but she won’t be having much of a honeymoon if she’s back at work tomorrow. The woman who’s replaced her and whose name I still can’t remember is browsing the Vogue Facebook page when I arrive. “No social media during office hours,” I say with a grunt.
Rookie mistake. But she should know this. She’s already an employee here.
She’s startled. “I’m so sorry, Mr. Grey. I didn’t hear you arrive. Can I get you some coffee?”
“Yes. You may. A macchiato.”
I shut my office door and, at my desk, switch on my computer. There’s an e-mail from the Saab dealership: Ana’s car will arrive today. I forward the e-mail to Taylor so he can organize delivery, thinking that it will be a nice surprise for Ana this evening. Next, I e-mail Ana.
* * *
From: Christian Grey
Date: June 13 2011 08:24
To: Anastasia Steele
Good morning, Miss Steele
I just wanted to say thank you for a wonderful weekend in spite of all the drama.
I hope you never leave, ever.
And just to remind you that the news of SIP is embargoed for four weeks.
Delete this e-mail as soon as you’ve read it.
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc. & your boss’s boss’s boss
I check Andrea’s notes. The replacement’s name is Montana Brooks. She knocks and brings in my coffee.
“Ros Bailey is running a little late, but Vanessa Conway is here.”
“Let her wait for Ros.”
“Yes, Mr. Grey.”
“I need some ideas for wedding presents.”
Ms. Brooks looks taken aback. “Well, it depends how well you know the person and how much you’d like to spend and—”
I don’t need a lecture. I hold up my hand. “Write them down. It’s for my PA.”
“Does she have a bridal registry?”
“A bridal registry at a store?”
“I don’t know. Find out.”
“Yes, Mr. Grey.”
“That will be all.”
She leaves. Thank God Andrea’s back tomorrow.
Welch’s report on Jack Hyde is in my inbox. While I wait for Ros, I take the opportunity to look it over.
MY MEETING WITH ROS and Vanessa is brief. Vanessa and her team are conducting a thorough audit of all our supply chains, and they are proposing we source our cassiterite and wolframite from Bolivia and our tantalum from Australia to avoid the conflict mineral problem. It will be more expensive but will keep us on the right side of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. And it’s what we, as a company, should be doing.
When they leave, I check my e-mail. There’s one from Ana.
* * *
From: Anastasia Steele
Date: June 13 2011 09:03
To: Christian Grey
Dear Mr. Grey
Are you asking me to move in with you? And, of course, I remembered that the evidence of your epic stalking capabilities is embargoed for another four weeks. Do I make a check out to Coping Together and send to your dad? Please don’t delete this e-mail. Please respond to it.
Assistant to Jack Hyde, Editor, SIP
Am I asking her to move in with me?
Grey, this is a bold, sudden move.
I could look after her. Full-time.