Darker (Fifty Shades 5) - Page 164

I watch her sashay out of my study as I zip up my jeans and I feel…lighter. I turn and look at the view from the window. It’s late afternoon and the sun is shining, although it’s beginning to dip toward the Sound. There are shadows on the streets below. Down there it’s already dusk, but up here the light is still golden. Maybe that’s why I live here. To be in the light. I’ve been striving for it since I was a small boy. And it’s taken an extraordinary young woman to make me realize that. Ana is my guiding light.

I’m her lost boy, now found.

ANA IS STANDING WITH a frosted chocolate cake that’s adorned with a solitary flickering candle.

She sings “Happy Birthday” to me in her sweet musical voice, and I realize I’ve never heard her sing.

It’s magical.

I blow out the candle, closing my eyes to make my wish.

I wish that Ana will always love me. And never leave me.

“I’ve made my wish,” I inform her.

“The frosting is still soft. I hope you like it.”

“I can’t wait to taste it, Anastasia.”

She cuts us each a slice and hands me a plate and a fork.

Here goes.

It’s heavenly. The frosting is sweet, the cake moist, and the filling…Mmm. “This is why I want to marry you.”

She giggles—relieved, I think—and watches me devour the rest of my cake.

ANA IS QUIET IN the car on the way to my parents’ place in Bellevue. She stares out of the window but gives me an occasional glance. She looks sensational in emerald green.

There’s little traffic tonight, and the R8 roars along the 520 bridge. About halfway across, Ana turns to me. “There was an additional fifty thousand dollars in my bank account this afternoon.”


“You don’t—”

“Ana, you’re going to be my wife. Please. Let’s not fight about this.”

She takes a deep breath and is silent for a while as we cruise just above the pink and dusky waters of Lake Washington. “Okay,” she says. “Thank you.”

“You’re most welcome.”

I breathe a sigh of relief.

See, that wasn’t so hard, was it Ana?

On Monday, I’ll take care of your student loans.

“READY TO FACE MY family?” I switch off the R8 ignition. We’re parked in my parents’ driveway.

“Yes. Are you going to tell them?”

“Of course. I’m looking forward to seeing their reactions.” I’m excited. I step out of the car and open her door. It’s a little cool this evening and she pulls her wrap around her shoulders. I take her hand and we head to the front door. The driveway is choked with cars, including Elliot’s truck. It’s a bigger party than I had anticipated.

Carrick opens the front door before I can knock.

“Christian, hello. Happy birthday, son.” He takes my hand and engulfs me in a surprise hug.

This never happens. “Um…thanks, Dad.”

“Ana, how lovely to see you again.” He gives Ana a quick affectionate embrace and we follow him into the house. There’s a loud clatter of heels, and I expect to see Mia running down the hallway, but it’s Katherine Kavanagh. She looks mad.

“You two! I want to talk to you,” she gripes.

Ana gives me a blank look and I shrug. I have no idea what Kavanagh’s beef is but we follow her into the empty dining room. She shuts the door and turns on Ana. “What the fuck is this?” she hisses and waves a piece of paper at her. Ana takes it from her and reads it. Almost immediately she blanches and her startled eyes meet mine.

What the hell?

Ana steps between me and Katherine.

“What is it?” I ask, feeling anxious.

Ana ignores me and addresses Kavanagh. “Kate! This has nothing to do with you.” Katherine is surprised by her reaction.

What the fuck are they talking about?

“Ana, what is it?”

“Christian, would you just go, please?”

“No. Show me.” I hold out my hand and reluctantly she passes the piece of paper to me.

It’s her e-mail response to the contract.


“What’s he done to you?” Katherine asks, ignoring me.

“That’s none of your business, Kate.” Ana sounds exasperated.

“Where did you get this?” I ask.

Kavanagh blushes. “That’s irrelevant.” But I stare at her and she continues. “It was in the pocket of a jacket, which I assume is yours, that I found on the back of Ana’s bedroom door.” She scowls at me, ready for battle.

“Have you told anyone?” I ask.

“No! Of course not,” she snaps, and has the gall to look offended.

Good. I walk over to the fireplace and taking a lighter from the small porcelain bowl on the mantelpiece I set fire to the corner of the printout and let it float, burning, into the grate. Both women are silent, watching me.

Once it’s reduced to ashes, I turn my attention back to them.

“Not even Elliot?” Ana asks.

“No one,” Katherine says, and she sounds emphatic. She looks a little puzzled and maybe hurt. “I just want to know you’re okay, Ana,” she says, concerned.

Tags: E.L. James Fifty Shades Billionaire Romance
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