Anastasia Steele almost had her happily ever after. Almost. After her boyfriend breaks up Ana leaves the country to return five years later. Then she sees the man that broke her heart, Christian Grey. He wants her back. He wants a second chance. The pull between them is stronger than ever, but will Ana be able to trust him after everything that happened?
Chapter 1 – Unexpected meetings
Before closing my little studio for the weekend I look at my schedule for next week. Marked in red is the appointment I have with Grace Grey on Monday at two in the afternoon. Not something I am really looking forward too. That has nothing to do with Grace however it has everything to do with her youngest son. Christian Trevelyan Grey. Christian fucking Grey. The only man I ever loved. The only man I ever trusted.
Grace was as polite and sweet as I can remember when I spoke her on the phone. And even though I could hear that she was curious about what happened between me and her youngest son five years ago she was all businesslike. Not that I was even entertaining the idea to discuss my relationship with her son with her, but I appreciated it that she didn't mention it. Instead of explaining over the phone what the assignment entailed she offered me to come over and discuss it at her home in Bellevue. The only thing she told me was that it had everything to do with The Coping Together gala. They want to raise awareness among other things.
I couldn't come up with a valid reason to reject her. Grace and Carrick have always been good to me. Just like Mia and Elliot.
I can totally do it. Because from what I've heard from Kate who has been dating Elliot for the past three years Christian shows up at the gala for one hour, he mingles with the crowd and then he leaves again. Maybe this year he will get this horrible flue that will make it impossible to leave his house. I don't mean him any harm, but it's just that I don't want to see him. And I am sure that he doesn't want to see me.
I mean I have been living in Seattle for six months now and I never bumped into him. Christian Grey, twenty six years old and already a billionaire. But then again, Christian's was determined in becoming a successful entrepreneur. And what Christian Grey wants, what Christian Grey gets.
Annoyed at myself for letting my thoughts to wander off to Christian, I close the lid of my laptop a tad too forcefully. Just forget him Ana. He is not worth it.
I still have one hour before I have to meet Kate, giving me enough time to drive home and change to something else. Maddened with myself, because I can't seem to get Christian out of my head, I make my way to my car, a new shiny black Volkswagen Beetle. Jesus Christ Steele! Just get over it. It has been what? 5 years? Actually it has been five years, three months and seventeen hours since Christian Grey decided to hurt me. Christian, the guy I trusted and thought loved me left me with one single note. Annoyed with my train of thought I pull my sun glasses over my eyes and drive out of the parking lot into Seattle's busy traffic. Unnoticed, my thoughts go back to that peculiar day and the events that led to my broken heart. I remember that day being the happiest of my life. Christian, who had been my boyfriend, soulmate and confidant for the last year took me away to for a romantic weekend. And then not even a week later everything went to shit.
"Well I really wish you hadn't told them that I was back Kate…" I look around in the crowded bar and make eye contact with a really hot looking guy on the other side of the room. He is tall, blonde and has an amazing body. It's a pity that I can't see the color of his eyes from here.
"It wasn't like that Ana. Grace started talking about the Coping Together Gala next May and she told me she was looking for a photographer and in my enthusiasm it might have slipped that you were in town…" At least she has the decency to look contrite. She takes a sip of her cosmopolitan and her eyes wander around the bar.
"We really should get something to eat Kate…"
"Aw, come one…just one more…" She signals the waiter and points to our now empty glasses. "The hot blond over there is totally checking you out Banana…"
"I'm not looking for a relationship Kate…" Been there done that…
"Geez Ana…you are twenty five years old and how long has it…"
"Kate…" I warn her. Here we go again.
"Really Ana, just must be collecting cobwebs down there!" Smirking she points at my lady parts and thanks the waiter with a wink as he places the cosmopolitans in front of us.
"There is absolutely nothing wrong with my…my…lady parts thank you very much!" I hiss in her ear.
"Ana…I don't know what happened between you and Christian…at least not everything because I somehow think you didn't tell me the entire story. All I know is that you guys were inseparable for almost one year then the two of you disappeared one night and then a week after that you called me asking me to pick you up from the airport. I drove you to your dad's house and then one week later I get a call that you are in England working for this amazingly rich lady as an au-pair."
"Just drop it Kate…" But of course she doesn't.
"He is miserable too you know. He changed after that day." I bet he did.
"I don't want to talk about him Kate…" I hiss.
"Do you know that he went to your dad's house the day you left the States?" No I didn't. "From what Elliot told me Christian practically disappeared for an entire year. When he came back he lived with Elliot for a few months. He was working day and night when he first started GEH. It took him almost six months before he started showing up at Grace's mandatory dinners and even then he left with some stupid excuse immediately after he finished. I have never seen him with someone else Ana…" And that's where you are wrong Kate. "Trust me Ana. Christian eats, breathes and shits GEH…" She pats my hand and the moment I get sight of the enormous rock on her finger a jab of pain crashes through my body. Kate is ready to get married to Elliot Grey in just a few months. She went to interview Christian for an interview but bumped into Elliot. The interview never took place, instead she went out for coffee with Elliot and they have been inseparable ever since.
"You know Kate you were right…I never told you the whole story so you really can't judge about me or him. Like I told you…he was the one that broke up with me. He left me that shitty piece of paper telling me that everything was a mistake…" I feel my voice waver and I instantly get mad at myself that with only the mention of his name my stomach is in knots and my mind goes into overdrive. "Please don't ruin this evening…please Kate…"
"I just want you happy Ana…"
"I am happy Kate. I have my own business. I have a few good friends, my parents I have travelled like I always wanted and I have Matilda of course." I giggle and I am insanely happy that I was able to divert that horrible conversation into a more pleasant topic.
Kate laughs at the mention of Matilda. "Your crazy neighbor huh?"
"She bakes the most amazing cookies Kate…and she is not crazy…she is just different…" And lonely just like I am. Because I can pretend all I want…because I have never been completely happy again after that night. There is always that undercurrent of loneliness. Geez, get a fucking grip. You are pathetic Steele!
"You should spend more time with that neighbor who lives on the first floor…" She wiggles her eyebrows and plays with the straw in her cocktail. "Come on what's his name again?"
"Justin…" I sigh.
"Oh yeah Justin with that great piece of ass and those amazingly blue eyes…shit Ana that guy is hot…" Yes he totally is. "And that beard of his Jesus…"
"Kate…he is a total playboy. He owns a club and from what Mathilda told me he comes home with a different girl every night…"
"Elliot was a playboy before I met him and look at him now!" She says smugly.
"Elliot doesn't have any commitment issues. Justin has that written all over his face Kate…" His very handsome face that is.
"Maybe…but then again. You just told me you aren't looking for a relationship…so why don't you live a little. Just bang the guy already Steele…he asked you out how many times?" Every day since I moved into that apartment complex six months ago.
"I don't keep count Kate…" I lie effortlessly.
She shakes her head shaking her perfect strawberry blond curls. "Elliot is spending the evening with Christian…it's rare you know…"
I groan frustrated. "Kate please…please. You know I am perfectly okay that you are going to marry Elliot, because he is amazing. He is funny, loving and he is crazy in love with you. But we made a deal. We were never ever going to discuss Christian Grey. I don't want to talk about him. I just don't."
"I'm sorry…I won't mention him again." She acquiesces. Well, about damn time!
Half an hour later I have finally convinced Kate to have dinner. We pick out a small Italian restaurant that opened just a few months ago. The reviews are amazing, so of course Kate just needed to check this place out.
A very beautiful looking brunette welcomes us at the door and guides us to a table at the end of the restaurant. Walking behind Kate and the brunette I scan my eyes through the restaurant because I have this weird feeling in my belly. The hairs on the back of my neck rise as I look at the table in the far end. I see Elliot first. He is talking animatedly, signaling with his hands like he always does when he gets excited about something. My eyes move to the man sitting across from him. Christian. He is probably reacting at something that Elliot just told him because he throws his head back and starts laughing a deep belly laugh gaining the attention of all the other woman in the restaurant. I didn't think it would be possible but he is even more handsome than I remember. How is that even possible?
"Ana…I didn't know they would be here…" Kate whispers in my ear. Suddenly I regret the mimosa's I had in the bar.
"It's okay Kate…but I would like to go." Without awaiting her answer I am already turning to get the hell out of here and quickly as possible.
"I will meet you up front in two minutes I am just going to say hi to Elliot…" Kate has her hand clasped around my arm, making it impossible for me to move.
"No…you stay here with him. I know that you barely saw each other this week…just go and join them. I will call you later…" I am already walking towards the exit when I hear Elliot's voice booming through the restaurant.
Go Ana go. Bumping against the waitress and a few chairs I finally make my way to the exit. Outside I fill my lungs with fresh air. Breathe Ana, breathe…
I fidget with my watch and the strap of my bag ... my hands are shaking and I curse myself for this strong reaction. Just when I finally find my phone to text Kate… I feel him behind me.
"Go away please…" I whisper and start typing a message to Kate. I don't know if it makes any sense because my vision is blurred due to the tears that are gathering in my eyes.
"Anastasia please…" Don't turn back Ana. Don't look at him. Ignore him. Treat him like he treated you all those years ago.
After sending Kate the text I shove my phone into my bag and start walking. I need to get away. I need to get as far away from his as possible. Why am I reacting this way? Why do I feel this amazingly yet annoying pull towards the man that broke my heart. I know why, because once upon of time Christian was the most loving and caring boyfriend a girl could wish for.
"Anastasia you deserve someone who loves you with every single beat of his heart, someone who thinks about you constantly, someone who spends every minute of every day just wondering what you are doing, where you are, who you are with and if you are ok. You need someone who can help you reach your dreams and protect you from your fears. You need someone who will treat you with respect, love every part of you, especially your flaws. You should be with someone who could make you very happy, really happy, dancing on air happy." Christian then cleared his throat and took both of my hands in his.
"Anastasia I think you are the most beautiful and sweetest girl in the world. Would you do me the honor in becoming my girlfriend?" His gray eyes looked at me with so much hope and love that the only thing I could do was to pull him down by his sweater and kiss him again and again.
"Yes, Christian. It would be an honor to be your girlfriend."
"Anastasia please…" His voice is so smooth, he sounds much more mature. Don't stop Ana. Just keep walking.
I don't know why but I stop. I might as well get this over with. He is standing so close to me that I can feel the heat emanating from his body. I can even smell his intoxicating scent. He smells good. He always smelled good.
"What do you want?" I still have my back turned towards him, because I know that the moment I lay eyes on him I will cave.
"Please Anastasia can you turn around and look at me?" Why is he doing this? Why won't he listen to me? "Please" He pleads again. He never listened to your pleading Ana. He threw you out and never looked back.
"You have one minute." I say turning around and avoiding his face. I look over his shoulder and focus on a couple that is standing a few feet away from us, laughing and kissing.
"You look beautiful Ana…" His remark goes straight to my heart. How many times didn't he tell me in the past that I was beautiful? How many times didn't he tell me that I was his everything? He lied. Everything turned out to be a huge big lie.
"You have forty five seconds…" I say still not looking at him. However from the corner of my eye I see him lifting his arm. "Don't you dare touch me…" I growl and take one step back. "Thirty seconds…"
"I need to talk to you Ana. And I can't say what I need to say in thirty seconds…"
"If I were you I would make it quick because there are only fifteen seconds left…"
"Have dinner with me Ana…"
"Ten seconds…" His hands move to his hair and I now he is brushing both hands through his beautiful copper curls. He is probably pulling at the ends because he feels frustrated, maybe even angry. Well fuck him. He deserves angry, he deserves frustration, and he deserves to be hurt. But mostly he deserves rejection.
"I can't explain five years of pain in ten seconds Anastasia. Please at least give me the chance to explain."
"You don't know pain even if it hit you right in your face. Besides your time is up…goodbye Christian."
I turn around on my heels. My surroundings are blurred because of the tears that are now falling from my eyes. The pain that I managed to tuck away for these last five years has found his place back into my heart. Maybe Kate is right. Maybe I should fuck the memories of Christian away with a complete stranger. Maybe I should take Justin's invitation and go out with him. No romance, no fuss…just sex. But first I need a drink. No make that two drinks.
"Thank you and have a nice evening" I slur to the cab driver as I step out of the taxi in front of my apartment. He mumbles something unintelligible before I am able to close the door and then drives away. How rude. "At least I didn't throw up in your car ass hole" I yell at the cab as I slowly make my way to the front door. It takes me a few minutes to finally open the door.
"Great now the elevator is out of order…" I mumble. A great idea comes to mind when I arrive at the first floor. Justin's floor. His door is calling me in…Justin lives there.
Come on Steele…grow some balls. Live a little and have sex with Justin!
I have absolutely no idea how long I am standing in the hallway staring at the closed door leading to Justin's apartment. But before I knock I fluff my long hair with both of my hands and pinch my cheeks to gain some color on my face. Here goes nothing.
It doesn't take very long before the door opens and there he is. Justin whose last name I don't even know. "Ana?"
I am momentarily stunned with his presence. Oh God. Kate should see this. Justin is wearing nothing but black boxer shorts. He has a broad chest, not overly broad actually it is perfect. Would it be weird if I licked him? Yeah…totally. Totally weird.
My eyes take him in. He really has a great body. He is muscular but not bulky. He is perfect. I have no idea if it is due to my intoxication but my eyes just want to drift down. Don't look Ana…don't look down there.
I am really fighting the urge to look down there. Instead I focus on his eyes…he has amazing blue eyes, Kate was right…and his chest. Oh shit his nipples…don't look at his nipples either. And then it happens…my eyes automatically drift to his junk. Oh my god. I bet he has a big penis. There is only one way to find out…maybe I should squeeze him just a little bit…
"Ana are you drunk?"
"Noooo…" I slur and wave my hand in the air almost losing my balance in the process. His brow furrows and I see the corners of his mouth lifting into a beautiful smile. He even has perfect teeth.
Of course he has perfect teeth. He has perfect teeth because he is Justin with the nice ass whose last name I don't know.
"I think you are drunk…" He says eying me up and down. Suddenly I feel really self-conscious. "Why don't you give me a minute I'll put on my jeans and help you up the next three floors…"
"You don't have to put your jeans on my account…really you look penis…I mean hot…I mean…" I groan and close my eyes. This is so not going the way I imagined it should go.
"Come on beautiful let me help you to your apartment…" He says chuckling. You made a complete fool out of yourself Anastasia Rose Steele.
"I think they changed the locks while I have been away…did they change your lock too?" I turn my head to look at Justin but I regret it immediately. "Maybe if you could actually insert the key it would help…" Justin chuckles. My head swipes back to my hands holding my keys when the hallway starts to spin and before I know it everything turns black.
Pancakes…coffee. Oh the smell is amazing. My eyes snap open and my heart starts furiously beating against my ribcage. Oh crap. Bits and pieces are slowly coming back to me. Kate. Drinks. Dinner…well actually it was an attempt to have dinner. Then Christian, devastation…drinks and more drinks…and drunk. And then the cataclysm of the evening. Justin.
I groan and let my head sink deeper into my pillow. And then my eyes snap open again. But who is making breakfast? Kate has a key. I almost laugh at the absurdity of that idea. Kate doesn't cook simply because she can't cook. Kate would have gone to Starbucks and not cook. Then she would have pulled the sheets from my body and she would have started talking. So this is definitely not Kate…Then who is in my apartment making breakfast? It can only be one person. Justin. Crap!
I peek under the covers and see that I am only wearing my underwear. Oh shit. Did I get undressed or did he undress me? Quickly jumping out of my bed I tiptoe to the bathroom and quickly pull on some shorts and a tank top. Damn Ana you should have done your laundry. I quickly brush my hair and pull it in a bun on top of my head. This will have to do.
Slowly without making any noise I stick my head through the door and watch Justin with the perfect ass cooking breakfast. He is still wearing those nice jeans. The muscles on his back move every time he flips a pancake. I bite my lip to suppress a groan and straighten my shoulders. It's time to face the music Ana.
"Good morning!" I say as chipper as possible ignoring the pounding in my head.
"Hey good morning…" Justin turns around with a spatula in his hand. He eyes me up and down and grins. "Sleep well?"
I watch the breakfast bar and look warily at the barstools. Shit I told Kate that they were just a tad too high when I bought them, but according to her they matched with the kitchen. So now every time I want to sit on one of those freaking barstools I almost break my neck.
"Here you go" Justin places a steaming cup of coffee on the breakfast bar.
"Milk?" He holds the bottle of non-fat milk in the air.
"Yeah…" Yeah? Yeah? So not cool Ana.
Your phone has been ringing the entire time. Justin points at my bag which is laying on the loveseat. Then my eyes wander to the couch and I see a blanket and a pillow. "You slept on the couch?" I whisper.
"Yeah…I didn't know if you would get sick again. So I stayed with you first and then when I wanted to go back to my apartment I realized that I had locked myself out. So I just called my business partner Brian and asked him if he wanted to bring me my spare set keys. He will be here shortly." He explains.
"Oh…did you sleep all right?"
"Sure…your couch is comfortable." He turns around again giving me the perfect view of his ass and back again.
"Did you undress me?"
"Yes, I did…you threw up after I carried you inside. I already washed your clothes…" Wow, not only has Justin an amazing face and ass…he is also caring and very domesticated. Perfect.
When I hear my phone …. "It's raining men" my special ringtone for Kate, I hop of the damn stool and pull my phone out of my bag. Shit. I have twenty five text messages from Kate and ten missed calls.
Kate: Where are you? K
Kate: Call me. K.
Kate: Call me now. K
Kate: Damnit Ana…call me. K.
Kate: Ana I'm worried. Call me. K.
I skip the rest of the messages and type one back really quick.
Ana: Sorry. I'm fine. Just woke up. I will call you ASAP. Love you. A.
Not ten seconds later I receive another message. Tenacious much?
Kate: You have to call me Ana. K
Geez. Where is the freaking fire?
Ana: Later. I text back and toss my phone at the side.
"Breakfast is served…"
Clearing my throat I make my way to the breakfast bar and shoot a little prayer to the heavens that I don't fall flat on my ass while I try to get on the barstool. I am so throwing these things out. Kate is to blame if I make a complete fool of myself.
"Thank you for this." I gesture with my fork at my plate filled with pancakes. "You shouldn't have…I mean you already had to stay here to babysit me…"
"No problem…" His Adam's apple moves up and down while he swallows. "It is actually a great way to get to know each other better…" He takes a sip of his coffee and watches me.
"So tell me about yourself Ana…"
"There isn't much to tell." I shrug. "I'm Anastasia Steele, but everybody calls me Ana…I moved here six months ago. Before I moved here I lived in New York were I worked as a photographer for a model agency. Before that I worked as an au-pair in London for a single mother with the cutest daughter ever."
"So that's why you are always carrying those cameras with you." He states and slowly brings another forkful of pancakes to his perfect mouth.
"I am a freelance photographer. I studied literature, but I dropped out. Then when I moved to England I decided to take a photography course. They told me I had talent and well you know how it goes one thing led to another. And with the help of my dad I managed to start my own business…"
"So all these pictures?" He waves with his hand around my apartment where photos are all over the place.
"I made those…" I whisper.
"They are amazing. You really do have talent." He says. And he looks sincere.
"Thank you…" Brushing my sweaty hands on my bare legs I force myself to look at him.
"And what about you?"
"I'm Justin Callahan, I am thirty and I have been living here for the last three years enjoying Mathilda's cookies." He winks at me and I giggle at his statement. Mathilda makes really good cookies.
"As I already told you I am co-owner at a club and I have been doing that for three years now. Before I was a carpenter…"
"Wow…that's right the career switch."
"Guess I was ready for a new challenge. And my buddy didn't have enough funds to start the club on his own so I helped him out…"
I nod my head and I am surprised at how at ease if feel with Justin. He has proved to be the perfect gentleman.
"Where did you study literature?"
"Harvard…but like I mentioned before, I didn't finish it…much to my dad's annoyance I dropped out…" I can't even look at him after my confession.
"Have you regretted it?"
"No…" I say slowly. "I never regretted dropping out…it was more the disappointment it caused my parents…especially my dad…" He nods his head and I am glad he isn't pushing it any further.
I jump up when I hear a knock on the door. "Ah that must be Brian, my business partner with my keys…" Justin explains when he sees the confusion written all over my face. Gracefully, Justin steps from the barstool and makes his way to the door.
I hear some male voices. That's weird…why are they raising their voices? I hear the door close and footsteps approaching the living room.
"I guess it wasn't Brian…" Justin says and comes to stand next to me.
"Do you know this guy Ana?" Like we have been friends our entire life Justin slips his arm around my waist and I can only stare at the other man standing in my kitchen.
What in the hell is Christian doing here?
A/N: Hey! Well I have been toying with this idea for a while now. But first things first. There will be no cheating. This isn't a cheating story! They will have a HEA, but first Ana needs to start trusting Christian again. This story is mostly about second changes, trust and forgiveness.
Ana is slightly OOC and Christian is the same, however with a few twists and turns.
I am going and try to update this story once a week.
The 'flashback', meaning what Christian tells Ana, is something I got from Pinterest. It is written by Cecelia Ahern.
Don't forget to check out the Pinterest page: nl . pinterest 1974alner / someday /
Now…I would really like to know what your thoughts are.