A/N: Alright guys – here's my next attempt at an FSOG story! (Try to contain your excitement.) It'll be mostly romantic with a little drama thrown in, no cheating, and no BDSM, but a couple changes have been made to Christian's character (you've been warned). Hope y'all like it!
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Chapter 1: Orientation
Four months and thirteen days.
Ana knew that she was one of the lucky ones, since many college grads couldn't get a decent job even a year after graduation. It hadn't been an easy process, though… the unforgiving job search had consisted of countless resumes and cover letters being sent out to companies, a barrage of email applications, only a handful of follow-ups, half a dozen networking events and informational interviews, a couple real interviews, and finally… a job offer. She could hardly believe that the search was finally over – and only four months and thirteen days after graduation! Ana Steele was now officially the new secretarial assistant at Grey Enterprise Holding's corporate office right here in Seattle.
And she honestly didn't know how to feel about that.
GEH was a great company, don't get her wrong, but it was very prestigious, and to be quite honest, a bit high-handed. She felt way out of her league here, like she was going to be swallowed up by the great corporate machine if she stayed here for too long. She had been hoping rather fruitlessly to find a job at a smaller company, perhaps one that focused on book publishing or small-scale marketing, but that wasn't about to happen. Not in a world where Fortune 500 companies like GEH got to run the show.
It was through some incredible coincidence that she was able to meet the CEO's personal assistant Andrea Parker last month at a marketing and communications convention here in Seattle. Andrea talked to her about potential job openings at their corporate office, and Ana had automatically handed over her resume, thinking there was practically no chance she would get a call from her, let alone an interview.
And yet… two weeks later, here she was. Ana was currently standing and staring up at the metal and glass monstrosity that was the Grey Enterprise Holdings corporate office building. She tugged at the collar of her light blue Ann Taylor blouse and straightened her charcoal pencil skirt, both of which felt oddly constricting now that the moment was finally upon her. It was her first official day as the secretarial assistant here at GEH – she was to report to Human Resources first, and then she would meet up with Andrea for her orientation and to begin her training.
Taking a deep breath, Ana started walking up toward the large glass front doors, hoping to God the people here wouldn't sense her mounting fear and anxiety.
"Hello. How may I help you?" A pristine-looking woman at the front desk with a Bluetooth in her ear greeted Ana as soon as she walked up.
"Hi, my name is Anastasia Steele. It's my first day here, and I'm supposed to meet with Jerry Parlow in HR to fill out some paperwork," Ana said, her heart beating frantically in her chest.
"Miss Steele, welcome to the GEH team," the woman said kindly, typing something in her computer. "Do you have your job acceptance letter and identification on you?"
Ana produced the necessary items, and within five minutes she had a brand new ID badge and instructions on where to find Jerry Parlow on the fifteenth floor. She followed a small crowd of businessmen and women into one of the huge elevators on the other side of the lobby, still feeling nervous, but also a bit excited that this first day she had been stressing out about all weekend was finally beginning.
Jerry was in a meeting with someone when Ana arrived, so she was directed by his receptionist to sit in the waiting area outside his office until he was done. She sat there for about ten minutes, her leg bouncing nervously as she waited, until he finally stepped out of his office to greet her. His attitude was rather clipped and brusque, and Ana couldn't tell if that was how he was every day of the week or that he was just annoyed to be meeting her. Despite his attitude, however, he helped her fill out all the necessary paperwork for payroll before sending her on her way to the top floor where she would meet with Andrea to start her first day of training.
God, this was actually happening.
The elevator ride up to the twentieth floor was a bit less crowded than from the lobby, but Ana still couldn't help but feel a bit suffocated. She had no idea what to expect once she made it to the top floor, but she at least knew her first-day anxiety would be short-lived, at least until she became more used to this place. She took a deep, steadying breath, reminding herself of that fact.
The doors finally dinged open, and the two or three other people in the elevator with her got out. Ana stepped out last, glancing around at the sleek, silver, modern-looking office she figured was going to be her new workplace.
Ana glanced over at the large receptionist desk and noticed Andrea Parker, the blonde, proper-looking woman she had met at the recruiting convention and during her interview a couple weeks ago. Andrea stepped out from behind her desk and walked up toward Ana, smiling at her in a friendly way.
"Hi," Ana greeted her nervously.
"Welcome to Grey House, Anastasia. You found our offices okay?"
"Yeah, I did. I was just filling out the paperwork in HR before coming up here." Ana held out the manila folder Jerry had given her that contained her new job information.
"Great! I'll take that, and we can get the rest of the paperwork sorted in a minute," Andrea said, taking the folder from her. "Let me just board the phones, and then I can give you a quick tour of the offices before starting your orientation."
"Alright," Ana muttered, glancing around at the work space again. It was so big and sterile-looking – how on earth was she going to feel comfortable working here?
"So first things first, your desk is going to be right here," Andrea directed Ana toward the large, circular desk that dominated the north wall of the foyer. "Don't worry – it'll be big enough for the both of us, and you're not going to be at it much anyway. Your chair, computer, and phone are all set up now, and if you like, you can leave your things here before I show you around."
"Okay," Ana said, setting down her purse in the chair. She wished she could formulate more than just one-word responses.
"If you'll follow me," Andrea said after hitting a couple buttons on her desk phone, picking up her BlackBerry, and taking her Bluetooth out of her ear. Ana wondered if she would have to wear one of those Bluetooth things, but didn't mention it as she followed Andrea down the large, spacious corridor.
"We'll try to make this pretty quick," Andrea said over her shoulder, and Ana scurried to keep up with her, glancing around. "Most of the workers are coming in for the day right now, so we'll just make some quick introductions while showing you around this particular office floor. You're going to be doing a lot of gopher work, unfortunately, so it would be best if you familiarized yourself with this floor layout as quickly as possible."
Andrea continued to walk at a brisk pace – Ana had the impression that Andrea was used to doing everything quickly and efficiently, and made a mental note of it.
"These are all the executive suites up here: our CEO, Christian Grey has the main one obviously, but you won't have to deal with him very much. You would just bring him a coffee or his lunch every once in a while if I'm not available," Andrea explained. "Your job is really just to answer phones or relay messages from Mr. Grey or myself to other departments and department heads – memos, mail, documents, and pretty much anything else that needs to be interdepartmentally transported. I'll go over it a bit more in orientation."
"Okay. Will I have to schedule appointments for Mr. Grey too?" Ana asked.
"No, that's my job," Andrea said curtly, and Ana blushed, embarrassed. "Like I said, I'll explain everything to you in orientation. Now come."
They continued to walk down the spacious corridor that led to the other departments; Ana glanced around, trying to take everything in. The carpets were a dark gray color while the ceiling and walls were an eggshell white. The left side of the corridor was filled with glass windows and doors that led to offices and conference rooms; the west wall was simply a massive window overlooking the city of Seattle. They were so high up, Ana could even see a little bit of the Puget Sound all the way near the horizon.
"Here is the financial department," Andrea said once the corridor widened into a large area filled with desks and cubicles. A great many people, obviously just arriving for the day, stood around the vast area, mingling with each other or settling in at their desks. "Here you have all of GEH's finest accountants, financial analysts, CPAs, and the like. The head of the financial department is Mr. Rand Ralston, over there," Andrea pointed to the far east corner, where Ana saw an elderly black gentleman sitting at his desk behind another glass wall. "I'll introduce you…"
Andrea led Ana over to Mr. Ralston, whom she was introduced to a moment later. He was a kind old man, and Ana honestly liked him, but her nerves prevented her from saying anything more than just good morning. After a minute or two of polite small-talk, Andrea then led Ana around and introduced her to some of the other financial workers: there were a few CPAs named Francesca and Sam, as well as their assistants, Josh and Marian. There were also some regular accountants, like Frederick, Joseph, and Annette, and even a young 17-year-old finance intern named Min Lee. After Ana was introduced to all of them, Andrea then led Ana down another corridor, which turned into the marketing department. This area was a little smaller than the financial department, but the people here seemed nice – several of them glanced up when they saw Andrea and Ana pass, and gave them friendly smiles.
"Anastasia, this is Dahlia Martin," Andrea introduced her to a young blonde woman sitting at a secretary's desk near a large corner office. She glanced up at Ana and waved at her, smiling kindly. "She's the secretary for our head of marketing, Beth Vasquez. Do you know if Beth's in today, Dahlia?"
"No, she's at a convention in Pasadena all day today. But it's nice to meet you, Anastasia." Dahlia, grinning brightly, got to her feet and shook Ana's hand.
"Please, call me Ana," Ana smiled, and Dahlia smiled widely back.
"So Ana – are you our new Olivia, then?"
"Um…" Ana glanced questioningly at Andrea, who nodded.
"Olivia was my assistant before you," she explained to Ana. "She worked here for a few months, but Mr. Grey ended up firing her for incompetence."
Ana raised her eyebrows. "Oh," she said, not really sure what to say to that.
"She was awful," Dahlia exclaimed rather bluntly, and Ana looked over at her. "Seriously, none of us were sorry to see her go. I'm sure you'll be much better than her, Ana."
Ana wasn't entirely sure about that, but smiled gratefully anyway. She found herself really liking Dahlia, and wondered if she would be willing to give her a few tips on how to be a good secretary here.
"Anastasia has more qualifications than Olivia had," Andrea said staunchly. "She graduated from WSU summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA, and her references were glowing. We're not going to run into another 'Olivia' situation, I promise you."
Ana blushed – Andrea's faith in her was flattering, but it was an uncomfortable amount of pressure put on her. What if she was as bad as this Olivia girl?
Dahlia whistled. "Damn, girl! Summa cum laude and a 4.0 GPA? What the hell are you doing at GEH as a secretarial assistant?"
Ana blushed even more. "Money, honestly. I've been applying for jobs for several months now, but it's very difficult to land a good job in my field straight out of college, regardless of my GPA."
"Ugh, the world is so unfair," Dahlia rolled her eyes sympathetically. "But seriously, GEH is a great place to start working. It looks great on a resume, and even us lowly secretaries get benefits and paid vacations."
"I like the sound of that," Ana grinned, and Dahlia giggled. Suddenly, Andrea's BlackBerry buzzed.
"Sorry, ladies. We're going to have to cut this short," Andrea said, reading something on her phone screen. "Mr. Grey needs the M.B. Investment contracts right now. Dahlia, since Beth's not here today, d'you mind covering the phones at my desk for a couple hours? Ana and I just need to meet with Grey before finishing up her orientation."
"Sure, not a problem," Dahlia said easily, pressing a few buttons on her phone before taking her Bluetooth out of her ear.
"Thanks. Come on, Anastasia," Andrea gestured for Ana to follow her back to the main lobby. Ana obediently followed her, her heart hammering anxiously. Holy crap, was she actually about to meet the CEO?
"I need to run by Marcus to get the contracts," Andrea said briskly, striding and texting busily at the same time. Ana was barely able to keep up. "Mr. Grey also said he would like a cup of black coffee – you could probably go and grab that. The coffee machine's in the break room over there." Andrea pointed to a room they were passing on their right. "Meet me by our desk when you're ready."
"Okay," Ana said quickly, scurrying over to where Andrea indicated, her heart still beating frantically. Wow, her first coffee run as a GEH secretary!
After a minute or so of figuring out the giant, state-of-the-art coffee machine, Ana strode out of the break room with a tall, to-go cup of strong black coffee, heading back down the hallway toward where she remembered Andrea's (and now her) desk was. As she walked back through the financial department, the assistant she remembered was named Josh greeted her as she walked by. Ana said hello back, thinking optimistically that she would be able to make some friends while working here.
Andrea was already back at the desk when Ana returned; she was holding a thick file folder in her hand. "All set?" Andrea asked, and Ana nodded. Andrea then began walking toward the large double doors adjacent to their desk, and Ana hurried to follow.
"Alright – now, I wasn't planning on doing this so soon on your first day, but since Mr. Grey's asking for me, I think now would be a good time to introduce you two." She and Ana had both stopped in front of the closed doors. "As I said before, you most likely won't have to deal with Mr. Grey too much, but it'll be good for you to at least know the face of the man you're working for. He can come off a bit authoritative at times, but try not to be too intimidated – just speak when you're spoken to, and do what he asks of you without question. Got it?"
Ana nodded nervously, her anxiously speeding heart now skyrocketing to a frenetic pace. Good God, how scary was this Grey guy in person that Andrea felt she needed to be primed before meeting him face-to-face?
"Alright," Andrea nodded once before knocking briskly on the door. She entered without waiting for a response, and Ana followed behind her, her nerves already frayed.
Grey's office was the most beautiful space Ana had seen yet today – just like the other parts of the building, his office had gray carpeting, white walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows, but beautiful abstract paintings and exotic-looking art fixtures hung around the walls, adding life to the large work space. A white couch and a glass coffee table were placed strategically by the large window, and a huge mahogany desk stood adjacent to them on the far right side of the room. Ana finally stopped gawking at the huge office to see the copper-haired man standing behind the desk – his back was to them as he shouted angrily into his phone, brandishing a packet of papers in his hand.
"…no, their last payment was at the end of March! I have the fucking invoice right here!"
Andrea silently gestured to Ana, and the two of them approached his desk. Grey finally turned around and noticed the two of them standing there.
"Get Francesca to look at it, and then get back to me. I gotta go." And he hung up without another word.
"You have them?" Grey walked over to his desk chair and settled himself down at his desk as Andrea handed over the folder. "Did Marcus find anything?"
"There was a questionable stipulation on page twenty-four, which I marked for you, but other than that, he said it's all fine."
"What about the quota?"
"All good, sir."
Grey nodded, paging through the file and skimming over the paragraphs. Ana, feeling too nervous to say anything, wasn't sure what to do with the coffee in her hand. She eventually decided to step forward and place it on his desk, a few inches away from his hand, before stepping back beside Andrea again.
Grey reached out to grab the coffee, and finally looked up at Ana, who blushed under his scrutinizing gaze. He didn't say anything for a moment before looking over at Andrea. "Leaving me already, Andrea?"
Andrea offered him a small smile. "Not at all, sir. This is Anastasia Steele, my new assistant. She's taken over for Olivia – it's her first day today, so I'm just showing her around and introducing her to everybody."
Grey merely nodded, his eyes back on the papers in front of him as he took a sip of coffee. He turned to the ear-marked section of the contract and started reading it; pretty soon, he started lobbing questions at Andrea about the issues Marcus had with it. Andrea answered him with seasoned efficiency and professionalism, and Ana could do little more than stand silently on the side, not trusting herself to say anything. Luckily, Grey didn't acknowledge her again as he continued to analyze the contract.
Man, this guy was just all business, wasn't he?
After a minute or so, Grey finally closed the file folder and handed it back to Andrea. "Alright, get these back to Marcus and email him my recommendations. We can set up a meeting with Jim and get the ball rolling on the investment."
"I'll send it now, sir. By the way, you have a meeting happening in ten minutes with the guys from Tallison Corp."
"Which room?" Grey asked, getting to his feet and gathering his things.
"Conference Room B, sir."
Christian snorted and shook his head, clearly unimpressed with that location. As he walked around his desk to leave, he stopped and turned to Ana, holding out his hand for her to shake. "It was nice meeting you, Anastasia. Welcome to GEH."
"Um…thank you, sir," Ana muttered, taking his hand and smiling tremulously at him. She looked him in the eye for the first time and felt a lump grow in her throat – she had been too nervous to notice before, but Mr. Grey was actually an incredibly handsome guy.
What the hell, Ana? Don't think that now!
Before Ana could expand on these embarrassing thoughts, Grey suddenly turned and strode out of his office, pulling his BlackBerry out of his suit pocket and texting on it while balancing the coffee and file folder in his other hand. Andrea gestured to Ana, and the two of them followed him out into the foyer.
Grey began to head down the corridor, and Andrea hurried to walk by his side. Ana started to follow after them, but Andrea quickly turned and stopped her.
"No – we don't need you for this," she said, pointing to the desk. "Wait by our desk, I should be back in a few minutes."
"Okay," Ana said, cheeks flushing. She just watched Grey and Andrea stride away together down the corridor, feeling somewhat humiliated for assuming she was important enough to walk beside someone like Mr. Grey.
A/N: So, yeah… sorry this first chapter is kinda lame. You can probably tell already, this story's going to be a bit different from what you're probably used to. The sexual tension between CG and Ana is going to be a slow build, unfortunately, but this story's HEA, so hopefully it will all be worth it in the end :)
Next chapter will have a bit of Christian's POV. I hope to update this within the next week or so, but until then, please review and tell me what you think so far!