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Home > Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)(6)

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)(6)
Author: E.L. James

"Christian Grey?" The photographer from the Portland Printz approaches Christian.

"Can I have a picture, sir?"

"Sure." Christian hides his scowl. I step back, but he grabs my hand and pulls me to his side. The photographer looks at both of us and can't hide his surprise.

"Mr. Grey, thank you." He snaps a couple of photos. "Miss... ?" he asks.

"Steele," I reply.

"Thank you, Miss Steele." He scurries off.

"I looked for pictures of you with dates on the Internet. There aren't any. That's why Kate thought you were g*y."

Christian's mouth twitches with a smile. "That explains your inappropriate question.

No, I don't do dates, Anastasia - only with you. But you know that." His eyes burn with sincerity.

"So you never took your" - I glance around nervously to check no one can overhear us - "subs out?"

"Sometimes. Not on dates. Shopping, you know." He shrugs, his eyes not leaving mine.

Oh, so just in the playroom - his Red Room of Pain and his apartment. I don't know what to feel about that.

"Just you, Anastasia," he whispers.

I blush and stare down at my fingers. In his own way, he does care about me.

"Your friend here seems more of a landscape man, not portraits. Let's look round." He holds his hand out to me, and I take it.

We wander past a few more prints, and I notice a couple nodding at me, smiling broadly as if they know me. It must be because I'm with Christian, but one young man is blatantly staring. Odd.

We turn the corner, and I can see why I've been getting strange looks. Hanging on the far wall are seven huge portraits - of me.

I stare blankly at them, stupefied, the blood draining from my face. Me: pouting, laughing, scowling, serious, amused. All in super close up, all in black and white.

Holy crap! I remember Jose messing with the camera on a couple of occasions when he was visiting and when I'd been out with him as driver and photographer's assistant. He took snapshots, or so I thought. Not these invasive candids.

I glance up at Christian, who is staring, transfixed, at each of the pictures in turn.

"Seems I'm not the only one," he mutters cryptically, his mouth settling into a hard line.I think he's angry. Oh no.

"Excuse me," he says, pinning me with his bright gray gaze for a moment. He turns and heads to the reception desk.

What's his problem now? I watch mesmerized as he talks animatedly with Miss Very Short Hair and Red Lipstick. He fishes out his wallet and produces his credit card.

Shit. He must have bought one of them.

"Hey. You're the muse. These photographs are terrific." A young man with a shock of bright blond hair startles me. I feel a hand at my elbow and Christian is back.

"You're a lucky guy." Blond Shock smirks at Christian, who gives him a cold stare.

"That I am," he mutters darkly, as he pulls me over to one side.

"Did you just buy one of these?"

"One of these?" he snorts, not taking his eyes off them.

"You bought more than one?"

He rolls his eyes. "I bought them all, Anastasia. I don't want some stranger ogling you in the privacy of their home."

My first inclination is to laugh. "You'd rather it was you?" I scoff.

He glares down at me, caught off guard by my audacity, I think, but he's trying to hide his amusement.

"Frankly, yes."

"Pervert," I mouth at him and bite my lower lip to prevent my smile.

His mouth drops open, and now his amusement is obvious. He strokes his chin thoughtfully."Can't argue with that assessment, Anastasia." He shakes his head, and his eyes soften with humor.

"I'd discuss it further with you, but I've signed an NDA."

He sighs, gazing at me, and his eyes darken. "What I'd like to do to your smart mouth,"

he murmurs.

I gasp, knowing full well what he means. "You're very rude." I try to sound shocked and succeed. Does he have no boundaries?

He smirks at me, amused, and then he frowns.

"You look very relaxed in these photographs, Anastasia. I don't see you like that very often."

What? Whoa! Change of subject - talk about non sequitur - from playful to serious.

I flush and glance down at my fingers. He tilts my head back, and I inhale sharply at the contact with his long fingers.

"I want you that relaxed with me," he whispers. All trace of humor has gone.

Deep inside me that joy stirs again. But how can this be? We have issues.

"You have to stop intimidating me if you want that," I snap.

"You have to learn to communicate and tell me how you feel," he snaps back, eyes blazing.

I take a deep breath. "Christian, you wanted me as a submissive. That's where the problem lies. It's in the definition of a submissive - you e-mailed it to me once." I pause, trying to recall the wording. "I think the synonyms were, and I quote, 'compliant, pliant, amenable, passive, tractable, resigned, patient, docile, tame, subdued.' I wasn't supposed to look at you. Not talk to you unless you gave me permission to do so. What do you expect?"

I hiss at him.

He blinks, and his frown deepens as I continue.

"It's very confusing being with you. You don't want me to defy you, but then you like my 'smart mouth.' You want obedience, except when you don't, so you can punish me. I just don't know which way is up when I'm with you."

He narrows his eyes. "Good point well made, as usual, Miss Steele." His voice is frigid. "Come, let's go eat."

"We've only been here for half an hour."

"You've seen the photos; you've spoken to the boy."

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