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Home > Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(6)

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)(6)
Author: E.L. James

"Ana! You're back." Kate sits in our living area, surrounded by books. She's clearly been studying for finals - though she's still in her pink flannel pajamas decorated with cute little rabbits, the ones she reserves for the aftermath of breaking up with boyfriends, for assorted illnesses, and for general moody depression. She bounds up to me and hugs me hard.

"I was beginning to worry. I expected you back sooner."

"Oh, I thought I made good time considering the interview ran over." I wave the mini-disc recorder at her.

"Ana, thank you so much for doing this. I owe you, I know. How was itWhat was he like?" Oh no - here we go, the Katherine Kavanagh Inquisition.

I struggle to answer her question. What can I say?

"I'm glad it's over, and I don't have to see him again. He was rather intimidating, you know." I shrug. "He's very focused, intense even - and young. Really young."

Kate gazes innocently at me. I frown at her.

"Don't you look so innocent. Why didn't you give me a biographyHe made me feel like such an idiot for skimping on basic research." Kate clamps a hand to her mouth.

"Jeez, Ana, I'm sorry - I didn't think."

I huff.

"Mostly he was courteous, formal, slightly stuffy - like he's old before his time. He doesn't talk like a man of twenty-something. How old is he anyway?"

"Twenty-seven. Jeez, Ana, I'm sorry. I should have briefed you, but I was in such a panic. Let me have the mini-disc, and I'll start transcribing the interview."

"You look better. Did you eat your soup?" I ask, keen to change the subject.

"Yes, and it was delicious as usual. I'm feeling much better." She smiles at me in gratitude. I check my watch.

"I have to run. I can still make my shift at Clayton's."

"Ana, you'll be exhausted."

"I'll be fine. I'll see you later."

I've worked at Clayton's since I started at WSU. It's the largest independent hardware store in the Portland area, and over the four years I've worked here, I've come to know a little bit about most everything we sell - although ironically, I'm crap at any DIY. I leave all that to my dad. I'm much more of a curl-up-with-a-book-in-a-comfy-chair-by-the-fire kind of girl. I'm glad I can make my shift as it gives me something to focus on that isn't Christian Grey. We're busy - it's the start of the summer season, and folks are redecorating their homes. Mrs. Clayton is pleased to see me.

"Ana! I thought you weren't going to make it today."

"My appointment didn't take as long as I thought. I can do a couple of hours."

"I'm real pleased to see you."

She sends me to the storeroom to start re-stocking shelves, and I'm soon absorbed in the task.

When I arrive home later, Katherine is wearing headphones and working on her laptop.

Her nose is still pink, but she has her teeth into a story, so she's concentrating and typing furiously. I'm thoroughly drained - exhausted by the long drive, the grueling interview, and by being rushed off my feet at Clayton's. I slump on to the couch, thinking about the essay I have to finish and all the studying I haven't done today because I was holed up with ... him.

"You've got some good stuff here, Ana. Well done. I can't believe you didn't take him up on his offer to show you around. He obviously wanted to spend more time with you."

She gives me a fleeting quizzical look.

I flush, and my heart rate inexplicably increases. That wasn't the reason, surelyHe just wanted to show me around so I could see that he was lord of all he surveyed. I realize I'm biting my lip, and I hope Kate doesn't notice. But she seems absorbed in her transcrip-tion."I hear what you mean about formal. Did you take any notes?" she asks.

"Um... no, I didn't."

"That's fine. I can still make a fine article with this. Shame we don't have some original stills. Good-looking son of a bitch, isn't he?"

I flush.

"I suppose so." I try hard to sound disinterested, and I think I succeed.

"Oh come on, Ana - even you can't be immune to his looks." She arches a perfect eyebrow at me.

Crap! I distract her with flattery, always a good ploy.

"You probably would have got a lot more out of him."

"I doubt that, Ana. Come on - he practically offered you a job. Given that I foisted this on you at the last minute, you did very well." She glances up at me speculatively. I make a hasty retreat into the kitchen.

"So what did you really think of him?" Damn, she's inquisitive. Why can't she just let this goThink of something - quick.

"He's very driven, controlling, arrogant - scary really, but very charismatic. I can understand the fascination," I add truthfully, as I peer round the door at her hoping this will shut her up once and for all.

"You, fascinated by a manThat's a first," she snorts.

I start gathering the makings of a sandwich so she can't see my face.

"Why did you want to know if he was g*yIncidentally, that was the most embarrassing question. I was mortified, and he was pissed to be asked too." I scowl at the memory.

"Whenever he's in the society pages, he never has a date."

"It was embarrassing. The whole thing was embarrassing. I'm glad I'll never have to lay eyes on him again."

"Oh, Ana, it can't have been that bad. I think he sounds quite taken with you."

Taken with me Now Kate's being ridiculous.

"Would you like a sandwich?"

"Please."

We talk no more of Christian Grey that evening, much to my relief. Once we've eaten, I'm able to sit at the dining table with Kate and, while she works on her article, I work on my essay on Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Damn, but that woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong century. By the time I finish, it's midnight, and Kate has long since gone to bed. I make my way to my room, exhausted, but pleased that I've accomplished so much for a Monday.

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