Dull gray clouds unleashed their visible mass of liquid droplets blanketing the sky letting not a single star through. This was the Seattle skyline on a cold and wet evening in May, and it matched his mood to perfection. The journey to his parent's home was a familiar scene. The same landscape, the same smells, and sounds, the same people running to get away from the deluge that had already soaked them to their core. It surprised him how nothing had changed in his eyes despite been away for months. The rain was strangely welcomed after months of stifling heat in three different countries on the other side of the world.
Home had been on his mind for weeks, and though he was on home soil, he wasn't home. He had arrived to find a message from his mother and Sawyer waiting at the private terminal with a tux. He loved his mother, he truly did, but on nights such as this one, he could very easily hire someone to murder her. He chuckled at the thought, the would-be assassin would more than likely end up the victim. Dr. Grey was that formidable. In no time he arrived at his parents' home.
His mother stood in the doorway waiting for him as always. She looked impeccable as always in a blue dress that fit her to perfection. He was sure there was a name for the style of dress she had on, but things of such nature had never held his interest. According to Mia, it was why he was single. He knew it was bullshit, he was single because he chose to be single.
"You know there is nothing wrong with going to these events solo. It wouldn't besmirch your reputation one iota." She had stopped him from getting out of the car to greet her, allowing Taylor to get the car door for her.
"Hello Christian, glad to have you home." She quipped. "And I am aware of that, but unlike some people I know, not all of us are comfortable at such events alone." She appraised his appearance but said nothing. He looked tired, and she knew it. He could see the regret in her eyes for asking him to do this. "We will be there for a couple of hours at the most." He nodded knowing even if she didn't leave he could sneak out after the dinner portion of the event was over.
The ballroom of the Four Seasons was hosting another charity event. A chance for the higher echelon of society to flex their checkbook muscles. Of course, he was there to do the same, but he made zero effort to pretend he loved socializing with these people. Most of these people were his parent's friends and acquaintances who only bothered with him because of who he was in business. There weren't many people his age at such events and the ones that were there simply grated on his nerves. He smiled when he finally spotted Elliot and his flavor of the week. "Elliot."
"Christian, when you did get back?" He drew him into a hug.
"I just did. Didn't even get the chance to go home before mom dragged me here."
"You poor thing." Elliot teased. The two continued talking with Elliot completely ignoring his date.
"Couldn't you have accompanied mom?"
"I would have had I known she needed a date," Elliot admitted. "At the same time, I need to get laid." He added conspiratorially.
"Not if you keep ignoring your date you are not." Christian chuckled as he walked away.
His hands came down on the alarm clock forcibly. He cracked his eyelids open with some effort. He stared at the alarm clock with some hatred as though it was at fault for him staying out late two nights in a row. He had intended to leave the charity gala after the dinner portion of the event, in the end, he had stayed much later than his mother drinking the night away with Elliot and a couple of ladies. Last night he had again gone out with Elliot and found himself repeating the events of the previous night.
Monday morning was here, and he had only had a couple of hours sleep. He knew there was no feasible way he was getting out of bed and rolled over and went back to sleep.
It took his brain a while to wake up to the deafening noise. "Okay, Okay... I'm up." He bolted up glaring at his mother.
"I allowed you two hours of sleep, you have to go in today there is no excuse. You can glare all you want; you are still going to work."
"I'm not a child, and you can't just come into my room." He groused.
"Boy, you are in my house, and you will do as you are told in my house no matter how old you think you are." For the first time, he looked around and realized he was indeed in this parents home instead of his own.
"How did I get here?" He mumbled to himself. "Fucking Elliot." He forced his body out of the rather comfortable bed into the bathroom. In record time he was showered, shaved and dressed.
"Good morning, mother." He greeted with a broad smile.
"I take it you want breakfast, hence the sudden kiss ass attitude."
"Mother, such language is unbecoming for a lady of your stature." His hand was placed dramatically on his chest as he stared at her with something akin to a horrified look.
"I could very well be talking about a donkey." She quipped. "Your breakfast is in the warmer."
"Oh, you are the best." He planted a wet kiss on her cheeks. "At least you've brushed your teeth, God knows where your lips were for most of the weekend." He groaned knowing where the conversation was going. Yes, he was something of a playboy, but he worked incredibly hard and played hard too. The two as far as he was concerned went hand in hand.
Where is Elliot when you need him?
"Where is Elliot?" He asked hoping to change the subject.
"Still in bed, he has concrete that has yet to dry, so he's not needed."
"Lucky bastard." He grumbled.
"Christian, you are twenty-seven years old, don't you think it's time you started giving some serious thought to your personal life. How long do you think you can continue on this route for? Your grandfather would like some great grandkids before he leaves us. I would like some grandkids as well." She was the queen of emotional blackmail.
"We are not talking about Elliot, we are talking about you."
"When I meet the right girl I will have no problem taking things seriously." He prayed the right girl wouldn't come along for another decade because he would screw it up.
"I hope so." His mother whispered. "By the way, Bradley Doherty called, he left a message. He will be in Seattle tomorrow and wanted to meet."
"I take it you will meet with him," Christian asked.
"Of course, that man gave me a chance when no one else will. I owe him more than I could ever repay. It will be nice to see him, it has been a while." She smiled at the thought of seeing her mentor.
"Bring him by the office or call me when you guys are done with whatever he wants to talk about. I will have a table made ready for you at the Mile High club." Christian smiled at his mother. "I have to get going, the Kavanagh girl is coming for the interview in a couple of hours." He moaned. "I can't believe you got me out of bed for this."
"Kavanagh is the media king of Washington, it helps if he owes you one. You might one day need him to return that favor. You of all people should know that business is very much about people and how we deal with them." She gave him one of her stern looks that made him feel as though he could wet his pants.
"Okay, got to go... love you." He practically bolted out of the house bumping into his father.
"Hi dad, bye dad."
"Oh yes, bye Christian." His father watched him go with a shake of his head. He chuckled knowing more than likely his mother had put the fear of God into him.
He'd been gone for three months, and in that time it had all been about business. Despite what his mother thought, he hadn't had sex during the weekend. The women Elliot introduced him to wouldn't put out. Unlike Elliot he didn't have a reputation, he made good use of NDAs and expensive gifts. He was a saint in the eyes of the citizens of Seattle.
He got out his prepaid phone out and scrolled through, he quickly landed on Crystal. Crystal… and he was not unkind thinking this… couldn't hold a conversation with a three-year-old more or less someone her age. That was what he needed this weekend. Someone who didn't talk simply did as told and took a good hard fuck for hours on end. Crystal was the kind of girl that could take it whichever way he liked without complaint.
"Hiya." Her shrill voice said in answer.
"Crystal, Christian Grey, want to meet this weekend." He didn't have time for ideal chitchat.
"Yes, same place?"
"Same place." He confirmed.
"Excellent." He hung up and smiled to himself. "Finally, something to look forward to." He mumbled.
"Mr. Grey." Andrea's distorted voice came over the intercom.
"Your next appointment is here."
Oh shit, the Kavanagh girl. "Send her in." This was one of the days he could seriously strangle his mother. He still couldn't believe she had talked him into agreeing to the interview.
"I have offended you." Her tone was different… self-assured, surprisingly so.
"Wouldn't you be offended?" He countered. She smiled cocking her head to the side as if to study him.
"No, not if there was a reason to ask that question. Do you not think there is a reason to ask that question?" He felt as though he was now the hunted not the hunter.
"Even if there is, it's an inappropriate question to ask." He countered.
"Why? In this day and age, what is wrong with that question. Would you have preferred if I asked it the other way round?" She intoned with a wry smile.
"What other way?"
"Are you straight Mr. Grey?" She stared at him waiting for his answer. His hesitation in answering had nothing to do with the question itself. She was biting that goddamn lip again, and he was losing it.
"Would you prefer I demonstrated just how straight I am?" She blushed and shifted in her seat. Now he was hunting.
"A yes or no would suffice, but if you feel the need to demonstrate I suggest you call Miss Kavanagh as these are her questions." Talk about a counter to end all counters.
Point well made Miss Steele." He conceded. "But I would still love the opportunity to show you just how straight I am." This was one of the downsides to keeping a tight lid on his private life. The world thought he was gay and hiding. He had nothing against gay people and would happily fuck his share of men if he leaned that way.
"I have heard enough horror stories about the way girls have lost their virginity to know I do not want to lose mine bent over your desk." He was sure she hadn't meant to say that out loud by the look of shock on her face. He had no response none whatever as he was in shock as well. A knock on the door snapped him out of it.
"Sir, your next appointment is in…" Andrea starts.
"CANCEL IT." He wanted more time with the delightful Miss Steele.
"That will not be necessary; I have to get back. I have a long drive back to Portland."
"You can't drop that statement about your virginity and leave." He said hoping to keep her in her seat.
"We both know you weren't meant to hear that… even so, what else would you like me to say?" She asked packing up.
"How have you remained a virgin? I mean look at you, you are beautiful." Despite the hideous and shapeless clothes, he could tell she was hiding a beautiful body under there.
"I may be shy, but I have standards. The man that takes my virginity isn't just about to take it and run, and I have to feel something for them." She made her way to the door.
"What do you want?" He asked before he could catch himself. He would for sometime wonder why he asked when it was apparent he was not in a position to give her what she wanted.
"Are you in a position to give me what I want?" There it was.
"Not in the long term… no, but I could for a weekend. I can with every confidence and assurance say that if you give me the opportunity, you will have no horror stories to tell." Something about that sentence didn't ring true to him. He was lying to himself, and he knew it. A weekend with her would not be enough.
"No, thank you." She said, and he had to admit he was surprised by her answer. Most women bargained in some way to get more out of him. An outright no was not something he'd ever had to contend with.
"What would it take?"
"What would what take?" She asked.
"What would it take for you to at least go out on one date with me?"
"Why?" That's a good question. The answer was simple, he had finally met the right one, but he couldn't say that.
"I will think about it. I will, after all, see you at my graduation. You will have my answer then." He smiled. She was intelligent and what do you know, he loved that about her.
"That is fair." He smiled down at her. "Allow me to walk you out." He placed his hand on the small of her back as they walked out.
"Christian." He looked up and smiled at the familiar face. "I heard you were back, it is great to see you."
"Hello, aunty Grace." His hand reluctantly left Ana's back and hugged her.
"Ah, there you are." His mother walked down the hall towards them. She stared at Ana the entire time earning an eye roll from Christian.
"Mother, aunty Grace, this is Anastasia Steele, she stepped in for Miss Kavanagh who is currently unwell with the flu." Christian then turned his attention back to Ana with a smile that had his mother lifting her eyebrows. "Ana, this is my mother Dr. Ella Richardson Grey and my aunty, Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey."
"Hello, lovely to meet you," Ana greeted with a shy smile and a blush.
"Hello, it was kind of you to step in for Miss Kavanagh." His mother said. Ana simply nodded as Christian helped her into her coat.
"Christian, we will take Ana down so you can get back to work." There was no room left for an argument where his mother was concerned.
"Thank you, mother." He turned to Ana. "Miss Steele, I will see you soon." With that, he turned and headed back to his office dreading whatever conversation was going to take place in the elevator.