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Home > Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(13)

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(13)
Author: E.L. James

He grins.

"After you, Miss Steele." He stands up straight, holding his hand out for me to go first.

I make my way down the corridor, my knees shaky, my stomach full of butterflies, and my heart in my mouth thumping a dramatic uneven beat. I am going to have coffee with Christian Grey... and I hate coffee.

We walk together down the wide hotel corridor to the elevators. What should I say to him My mind is suddenly paralyzed with apprehension. What are we going to talk about?

What on Earth do I have in common with himHis soft, warm voice startles me from my reverie.

"How long have you known Katherine Kavanagh?"

Oh, an easy questions for starters.

"Since our freshman year. She's a good friend."

"Hmm," he replies, non-committal. What is he thinking?

At the elevators, he presses the call button, and the bell rings almost immediately. The doors slide open revealing a young couple in a passionate clinch inside. Surprised and embarrassed, they jump apart, staring guiltily in every direction but ours. Grey and I step into the elevator.

I am struggling to maintain a straight face, so I gaze down at the floor, feeling my cheeks turning pink. When I peek up at Grey through my lashes, he has a hint of a smile on his lips, but it's very hard to tell. The young couple says nothing, and we travel down to the first floor in embarrassed silence. We don't even have trashy piped music to distract us.

The doors open and, much to my surprise, Grey takes my hand, clasping it with his long cool fingers. I feel the current run through me, and my already rapid heartbeat accelerates. As he leads me out of the elevator, we can hear the suppressed giggles of the couple erupting behind us. Grey grins.

"What is it about elevators?" he mutters.

We cross the expansive, bustling lobby of the hotel toward the entrance but Grey avoids the revolving door, and I wonder if that's because he'd have to let go of my hand.

Outside, it's a mild May Sunday. The sun is shining and the traffic is light. Grey turns left and strolls to the corner, where we stop waiting for the lights of the pedestrian crossing to change. He's still holding my hand. I'm in the street, and Christian Grey is holding my hand. No one has ever held my hand. I feel giddy, and I tingle all over. I attempt to smother the ridiculous grin that threatens to split my face in two. Try to be cool, Ana, my subconscious implores me. The green man appears, and we're off again.

We walk four blocks before we reach the Portland Coffee House, where Grey releases me to hold the door open so I can step inside.

"Why don't you choose a table, while I get the drinks. What would you like?" he asks, polite as ever.

"I'll have... um - English Breakfast tea, bag out."

He raises his eyebrows.

"No coffee?"

"I'm not keen on coffee."

He smiles.

"Okay, bag out tea. Sugar?"

For a moment, I'm stunned, thinking it's an endearment, but fortunately my subconscious kicks in with pursed lips. No, stupid - do you take sugar?

"No thanks." I stare down at my knotted fingers.

"Anything to eat?"

"No thank you." I shake my head, and he heads to the counter.

I surreptitiously gaze at him from beneath my lashes as he stands in line waiting to be served. I could watch him all day... he's tall, broad-shouldered, and slim, and the way those pants hang from his hips... Oh my. Once or twice he runs his long, graceful fingers through his now dry but still disorderly hair. Hmm... I'd like to do that. The thought comes unbidden into my mind, and my face flames. I bite my lip and stare down at my hands again not liking where my wayward thoughts are headed.

"Penny for your thoughts?" Grey is back, startling me.

I go crimson. I was just thinking about running my fingers through your hair and wondering if it would feel soft to touch. I shake my head. He's carrying a tray, which he sets down on the small, round, birch-veneer table. He hands me a cup and saucer, a small teapot, and a side plate bearing a lone teabag labeled 'Twinings English Breakfast' - my favorite. He has a coffee which bears a wonderful leaf-pattern imprinted in the milk. How do they do that I wonder idly. He's also bought himself a blueberry muffin. Putting the tray aside, he sits opposite me and crosses his long legs. He looks so comfortable, so at ease with his body, I envy him. Here's me, all gawky and uncoordinated, barely able to get from A to B without falling flat on my face.

"Your thoughts?" he prompts me.

"This is my favorite tea." My voice is quiet, breathy. I simply can't believe I'm sitting opposite Christian Grey in a coffee shop in Portland. He frowns. He knows I'm hiding something. I pop the teabag into the teapot and almost immediately fish it out again with my teaspoon. As I place the used teabag back on the side plate, he cocks his head gazing quizzically at me.

"I like my tea black and weak," I mutter as an explanation.

"I see. Is he your boyfriend?"

Whoa... What

"Who?"

"The photographer. Jose Rodriguez."

I laugh, nervous but curious. What gave him that impression?

"No. Jose's a good friend of mine, that's all. Why did you think he was my boyfriend?"

"The way you smiled at him, and he at you." His gray gaze holds mine. He's so unnerving. I want to look away but I'm caught - spellbound.

"He's more like family," I whisper.

Grey nods slightly, seemingly satisfied with my response, and glances down at his blueberry muffin. His long fingers deftly peel back the paper, and I watch, fascinated.

"Do you want some?" he asks, and that amused, secret smile is back.

"No thanks." I frown and stare down at my hands again.

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