The moment the words were out of my mouth, I knew it was a bad idea. Fuck Grey, look what you've done now. She was silent, staring at me. I could tell she was trying to piece things together in her head, trying to come to terms with what I'd just told her. I liked to beat her because she had brown hair… like her. Finally, she broke the silence, shattering my own thought process as well.

"You said you weren't a sadist," She whispered, her voice barely even audible. She held herself together well on the outside, but I knew her better than that. On the inside, she was falling apart, and I was the cause. I shook my head.

"No, I said I was a Dominant. If I lied to you, it was a lie of omission. I'm sorry." I looked down at my hands, unable to look at her anymore. It hurt too much. She's going to run. She has every right to run. I would run too in her shoes. Finally, I spoke again.

"When you asked me that question, I had envisioned a very different relationship between us," I murmured. I looked back up at her, terrified. It was true. I'd never planned on our relationship coming to this point. I wanted a submissive. I had no idea that I wanted more. I watched as an excruciating expression came over her face. Here it comes. Here comes good-bye. She put her head in her hands, shielding her emotions from me.

"So it's true," She whispered. She glanced up at me, meeting my gaze for a second before looking away. What's true? "I can't give you what you need." How can she fucking think that? She is everything. She's crying again, causing me to want to break down again as well. It all comes down to this, Grey. What is it you want more?

"No no no. Ana. No. You can. You do give me what I need." I clenched my fist. God, this was so unnerving. "Please believe me," I begged her. I need her to believe me. I need her to understand that she is all I want. I can do without everything else. My lifestyle, the playroom, I'd give it all up for her.

"I don't know what to believe, Christian. This is so fucked-up," She said, her voice hoarse. She was breaking. You're doing this to her. Look at what you've caused, Grey.

"Ana, believe me. After I punished you and you left me, my worldview changed. I wasn't joking when I said I would avoid ever feeling like that again." The ache of loss, the pain of knowing I drove her away, knowing what I did, it was too much. I can't do that again. "When you said you loved me, it was a revelation. No one's ever said it to me before, and it was as if I'd laid something to rest—or maybe you'd laid it to rest, I don't know. Dr. Flynn and I are still in deep discussion about it." I want to fix it. Please, let me fix it. She gazed at me intently, looking for the strength she needed to keep going, to keep moving forward with this, with us.

"What does all that mean?" She whispered, hope in her voice.

"It means I don't need it. Not now." There it was. I'd been fighting with myself for the longest time over what I wanted and what I needed. The whipping, the caning, that was all something I wanted, yes. But now, I wanted and needed Ana, and I'd give that up for her.

"How do you know? How can you be so sure?" She asked. I don't know, I just do. Why the fuck do you make me question everything?

"I just know. The thought of hurting you… in any real way…it's abhorrent to me." I explained. I remembered her face that night. The night she left. It's haunted my dreams since. I refuse to ever have to see that face again. I'll be damned if I ever hurt her like that.

"I don't understand. What about rulers and spanking and all the kinky fuckery?" She wasn't going to let this go. She had no know everything. She had to understand it. And you are in no right mind to explain it right now. I ran a hand through my hair, and started to smile, but it was cut short as I sighed.

"I'm talking about the heavy shit, Anastasia. You should see what I can do with a cane or a cat." I told her. Her mouth dropped opened, completely stunned at my words. Fuck, out of line Grey.

"I'd rather not." She whispered. I nodded.

"I know. If you wanted to do that, then fine… but you don't and I get it. I can't do all that shit with you if you don't want to. I told you once before, you have all the power. And now, since you came back, I don't feel that compulsion at all." My head was pounding as I tried to make her understand. I'd never get her to understand, but I'd spend my life trying. She stared at me for a moment before speaking again.

"When we met, that's what you wanted, though?" She asked. I started to lie, but I knew she'd know. Truth Grey.

"Yes, undoubtedly." I said, simply.

"How can you compulsion just go, Christian? Like I'm some kind of panacea, and you're—for want of a better word—cured? I don't get it." I sighed. God damn it, Ana. Why can't you just believe me? Just this once don't question how much you mean to me.

"I wouldn't say 'cured'… You don't believe me?" I finally asked. Her eyes flashed, as she met my gaze again. Please, believe me.

"I just find it—unbelievable. Which is different." She explained. No it isn't.

"If you'd never left me, then I probably wouldn't feel this way. You're walking out on me was the best thing you ever did… for us. It made me realize how much I want you, just you, and I mean it when I say I'll take you anyway I can have you." I explained. She just stared at me. I could tell she wanted to believe me. She wanted to stay, but deep down inside, she was scared, just as I was.

"You're still here. I thought you would be out of the door by now," I whispered, honestly. I also never planned on telling you this. Another reason I thought you'd be gone.

"Why? Because I might think you're a sicko for whipping and fucking women who look like your mother? Whatever would give you that impression? She hissed, lashing out at me. I winced at her words. God, why don't you just kick me in the balls?

"Well, I wouldn't have put it quite like that, but yes." I said, trying to keep the pain from my voice. I think I failed that task. God, why does she make me feel so weak? Because she's in control Grey. She always has been. We stared at each other for an immeasurable amount of time, neither of us speaking. She was thinking about where to go from here, and I was just praying that it wasn't away from me and out of my life. Finally she opened her mouth to speak.

"Christian, I'm exhausted. Can we discuss this tomorrow? I want to go to bed." She said. Bed? Our bed? Bed here in our apartment? I blinked a few times in surprise, knowing I'd heard wrong.

"You're not going?" I asked, excitedly.

"Do you want me to go?" Are you out of your fucking mind? NO!

"No! I thought you would leave once you knew." I said. Once again, her eyes fell on me. She was seriously thinking about it this time. Should she go? Of course she should. You get kicks out of beating her because she looks like you crack-whore of a mother. I couldn't help my next words. Fear gripped me once again. God damn it.

"Don't leave me," I whispered. She fell silent for a few moments. She was thinking about it. She was considering her options, considering what was best for her. If she chose what was best for her, she'd be leaving. Oh, God damn it. She's leaving.

"Oh, for crying out loud—no! I am not going to go." She shouted. My eyes went wide.


"What can I do to make you understand I will not run? What can I say?" She asked me. Fear and anguish gripped me once again, as I realized what it was she could do. I swallowed hard, my mouth completely dry.

"There is one thing you can do." I told her simply. Now or never, Grey. This may be your only shot.

"What?" She snapped. Maybe this is not a good time. I don't care. If I don't do it now, I'll never do it.

"Marry me," I whispered. The look that crossed her face scared me, but amused me at the same time. She then started giggling, biting her lip to keep her from laughing harder. She laid back on the hardwood floor, and started rolling with laughter. Did she find my proposal amusing? Did she think I was joking? She covered her face with her arm, as she cried from laughing so hard. I leaned towards her, lifting her arm from her face. I was completely amused at her sudden outburst of hysteria. I reached down and wiped a stray tear with my finger.

"You find my proposal amusing, Miss Steele?" I asked. Please, marry me.

"Mr. Grey… Christian. Your sense of timing is without doubt…" She trailed off, words failing her. I smirked down at her, but I couldn't deny the fear and pain I was feeling.

"You're cutting me to the quick here, Ana. Will you marry me?" I asked again. Please, answer me. Please, just say yes. Promise you'll never leave me. She sat up, leaning towards me, placing her hands on my knees.

"Christian, I've met your psycho ex with a gun, been thrown out of my apartment, had you go thermonuclear Fifty on me-." I opened my mouth, going to protest. I'm always thermonuclear Fifty. Take it or leave it, Ana. I preferred she took it. "You've just revealed some quite frankly shocking information about yourself, and now you've asked me to marry you." I moved my head, shaking it slightly.

"Yes, I think that's a fair and accurate summary of the situation," I said, dryly. Answer, all I want is a fucking answer. She shook her head at me. God, was that a no?

"Whatever happened to delayed gratification?" She asked.

"I got over it, and I'm not a firm advocate of instant gratification. Carpe diem, Ana," I whispered. Why can't you ever be simple, and just answer my questions?

"Look, Christian, I've known you for about three minutes, and there's so much more I need to know. I've had too much to drink, I'm hungry, I'm tired, and I want to go to bed. I need to consider your proposal just as I considered that contract you gave me. And"—She pressed her lips together, and showed me she was displeased with me. God, what did I do? "that wasn't the most romantic proposal." I tilted my head to once side, smiling at her. I was just relieved. She hadn't said no. She hadn't told me no.

"Fair point well made, as ever, Miss Steele," I breathed. "So, that's not a no?" She sighed. She's annoyed with you, Grey. Keep pushing and she'll leave.

"No, Mr. Grey, it's not a no, but it's not a yes, either. You're only doing this because you're scared and you don't trust me." She said, obviously still displeased with me.

"No, I'm doing this because I've finally met someone I want to spend the rest of my life with." I said, the words rushing out of me like running water. Woah, Grey… where the hell did that come from? Her mouth popped open in complete shock. Got her.

"I never thought that would happen to me," I continued. That was true. Marriage, a family, I never considered any of that. Until her. She gaped at me for the longest time, looking for the right words.

"Can I think about it… please? And think about everything else that's happened today? What you've just told me? You asked for patience and faith. Well, back at you Grey. I need those now." No, I want your fucking answer now. I searched her eyes, and sighed. I leaned forward and tucked a piece of hair behind her ear.

"I can live with that." I gave her a gentle kiss on the lips. "Not very romantic, eh?" I raised an eyebrow at her, and she shook her head. Damn. "Hearts and flowers?" I asked softly. She nodded, and I gave her a slight smile. I'd have to work on that then.