Since this is a really long story, I wanted to remind everyone (in case people are confused) about what is happening:
1) Ana sent out her résumé to several publishers and received an interview with Fox Publishing. It is scheduled to occur during her lunch break on her first day back at work. Chapter 28 gives details about why she wants this job if you need a refresher.
2) Christian does not know that Ana is pregnant, that Jack has been acting creepy or that Ana has an interview. Chapters 25, 28 and 29 explain these issues.
3) The couple postponed their honeymoon for a week because Ana wanted to return to work (so after this work week is when they agreed to leave).
4) It remains unknown who took the incriminating photos of Ana and Ethan and who broke into Kate's apartment and vandalized Ana's room. It is also unknown who sent Kate the email from Ana's work email address. Chapters 16, 18, and 23 talk about these issues.
Hope this helps =) Feel free to ask me anything if you are still confused.
Ana blinked her eyes a few times to get rid of the sleepiness that had overcome her the night before. Daylight was streaming in through the windows and across her big bed. Her big, empty bed.
Fuck! Christian was already up, so it was likely that she was running late. She propelled herself out of bed and scurried to the closet. On her way, she caught a glimpse of the clock, which set he pulse back into the safe zone.
It was only a quarter until 7, which meant that she had a solid amount of time to prepare herself for work and to get ready for the big interview. Ana gathered up her work clothes and made her way to the bathroom, humming to herself quietly.
The shock of being pregnant had begun to wear off. Since she was not showing yet, it was almost possible to forget that there was a little person growing inside of her. For today, Ana was determined to focus on something else, namely landing that amazing job at Fox Publishing.
She stripped out of her sweats and slowly stepped into the shower, relishing the hot water against her skin. It felt so luxurious to get a moment to herself, to get away from her guilt about lying to Fifty about the baby and to get away from the reality that crazy Jack was her boss.
To get away from the creep who took all of those photos.Ana's eyes snapped open at the unwanted thought. Yes, that was still an issue, too. It had been so violating to know that someone had been following her and had they had even been watching her from outside Kate's apartment. Plus, there was the whole issue of her email account at work being hacked into...
Yep, that was just another reason to score the job today.
Christian stared at the computer screen in his home office. He had left Ana asleep in their bed a few hours ago and he still had a little time before he needed to wake her up for work.
He had been going through the SIP reports that he had requested. Kate had confessed to him via email that she had sent the pictures of Ana and Ethan to him. While that had been enough to elicit a few obscenities from him, what had sent him over the edge was Kate's explanation for her actions. Apparently, she had received a bogus email from Ana's work account that had inspired her to send the photos.
Christian had demanded a report for Ana's email account for the day in question and it had confirmed that the message had been sent from her own desktop without any suspicious activity. It seemed like the only possibility was that Ana had left her desk without logging out and someone had sent the message in her absence.
Just the thought that an employee was responsible made Christian's blood boil and it tempted him to forbid Ana from returning to work at all. Hell, he should just liquidate it to punish the bastard who was responsible.
Images of how meticulously Ana had prepared for her first day back flashed in his mind. She had been so happy to get back to work and Christian felt like a heel for wanting to take that away from her. Just to see her happy was incentive enough to work around his desire to wash his hands of the company.
Damn, he really was getting soft. Normally, Christian would just barge in and fix the problem, no questions asked, no prisoners taken. Now, Ana's smile was worth changing all of his plans.
He leaned back in his chair and rubbed his eyes. For now, he would have to be satisfied with beefing up Ana's security. He had also instructed IT to change Ana's email settings so that she would have to manually log in before sending any messages. Maybe after this week of working and then a few weeks of traveling he could convince her to stop working, though the likelihood of that seemed remote. Stubborn woman.
He had to smile when he thought about their upcoming honeymoon. Yes, a few weeks of Ana to himself was just what the doctor ordered. He heard Ana greet Mrs. Jones in the kitchen, so Christian gathered his papers into his briefcase and prepared himself for the longest week of his life.
Mrs. Jones had made a huge breakfast and Ana dug into it without reserve. Christian had given her a raised eyebrow as he watched her inhale two pancakes, several pieces of bacon and a few fried eggs. She had smiled back at him, trying not to act ashamed about her lack of decorum.
"It's too late to get rid of me now, Mr. Grey. Even if I let myself go and gain 60 pounds, you are stuck with me." She finished her assertion with the final bite of her pancake and made a sassy show of hopping off of the bar stool.
Christian rolled his eyes. "I still think you could stand to gain a few pounds, Mrs. Grey, so be my guest and eat all you want." He finished his orange juice and pulled her into his lap. "I should tell you, though, that I know about the email that was sent from your account to Kate."
She looked back at him cautiously, trying to gauge his reaction. If he thought that he was going to keep her from going to work, he had another thing coming. No way was she going to turn into an overly protected housewife.
"Don't look at me like that, Ana. I am not going to make you stay at home. You can go to work, but I am increasing security and you will have to log in each time before you send an email from your account at work."
That didn't sound too bad. For Christian, it was downright reasonable, but of course it had to take place on the day of her interview: the one day that she needed security to be a little lack...or non-existant. Ana scrambled to come up with a response. "What...what will increased security involve?"
She tried to ask the question innocently, like she was just curious, but Christian saw through her tone easily. "It will involve Sawyer waiting at the elevator on your floor and Ryan, a new hire, waiting in a car outside of SIP. It has already been arranged, so don't bother arguing with me."
Shit! Her office at SIP was on the 9th floor, so taking the elevator was the only practical way of getting out of the building. Sawyer would probably be responsible for keeping track of everyone who came and went during the day and for escorting her throughout the building, should she need to leave her immediate vicinity. She had been having a hard enough time trying to figure out how to evade Sawyer from his usual station in the car and now there were two forces to be reckoned with.
Ana realised that she had been biting her lip in concentration when she saw Christian's eyes darken. Maybe she should try to reschedule the interview...
"You know what that does to me, Anastasia," he growled as he pressed his hand against the small of her back.
"Sorry, baby, but I've got to go to work. Wouldn't want to be late on my first day back." She gave him a fake smile and slid off his lap with considerably less enthusiasm.
Feeling ill again, she motioned to Sawyer and trudged over to the elevator. In the corner of her eye, she saw Christian wipe his hands with his napkin before following her.
"Hey, are you okay?" He grabbed her arm through her new beautiful jacket. To her surprise, Ana felt tears forming in her eyes. What? Why the fuck am I crying? Get a grip, Steele!
"I just want to live a normal life, Christian. Why does everything have to be so complicated? I guarantee you that no other 22-year-old female has to deal with this shit." She stopped and began full-on sobbing.
"I...just...want...to go to work. Why is that so hard?" She leaned into Christian and he wrapped both arms around her, not caring that she was blubbering into his expensive suit.
"Shhhh, baby. Don't cry. I'm sorry about the security, but it really shouldn't change your day at all. If you want to work, well, that is fine. You won't even notice the difference."
Under normal circumstances, Christian would likely be right. How could she explain herself without telling him about the interview? If Christian found out she was interested in another job...well, he would try to buy the fucking company before she ever had a chance to have an interview.
"Okay, I've got to go." She tried to give him another smile, but this one came out shaky from all of her crying. Christian tucked her hair behind her ear and kissed her tear-stained cheek.
"Call me if you need anything, okay, Ana?" She nodded and gave him one more smile before following Sawyer into the elevator. As promised, a new man was also waiting for her. She was pretty sure that Christian had said his name was Ryan, but she couldn't remember so she just gave him a smile, too, as the doors closed.
As usual, Sawyer had the car keys in one hand and her purse in the other. How he had found it after she had hidden it from Christian the night before she didn't know, but she was glad that he had because she defiantly would have forgotten it that morning.
How the hell am I going to make it to this damn interview? She glanced at Sawyer, who smiled back, trying to gauge whether he would keep her secret. She would hate to put him in that position with Christian, though. It could ultimately cost him his job if he were to help her go behind his boss's back.
"Mrs. Grey, are you feeling alright?" Ana chuckled at his use of her name; he had called her Ana for weeks when Christian had abandoned her after the incident with Leila and now she was "Mrs. Grey" to him.
"Sawyer, please go back to calling me Ana. I hate the formality. And, yes, I am upset about this arrangement, but you have to have guessed that."
Sawyer just nodded his response, while the new guy remained facing forward with no expression on his face. God, this one is going to be the worst. Ana could tell already that he was the classic "bad cop" to Sawyer's "good cop."
When they reached the garage, Sawyer walked to the Audi station wagon that sat waiting for them. Suddenly, Ana had a thought. Maybe if the bad cop hated sitting in the car he would be a little more distracted while attending to his post. Ana stopped short and called out to Sawyer. "Wait, I want to take my car to work."
Sawyer gave her a quizzical look before her words dawned on him. Ana fished out her keys from her bag and held them up. "And I think that I would like to drive, if that is okay with you."
She marched over to the far side of the garage. The old Hyundai that she had purchased when they were separated was parked a good distance from Christian's fleet of fancy vehicles, as though that would cause her to forget about its existence.
Even in the relative darkness Ana could see its cheery green color, reminding her of her sacrificed independence. She pulled the door open and climbed into the driver's seat, happy to be back inside a normal car. The cloth interior and the lack of leg room was just fine for Ana, but when she caught the look on the new guy's face in the rearview mirror she knew that he was less then enthusiastic about the change.
Sawyer was chuckling next to her, reaching for his phone to inform Christian about the new arrangement. As was to be expected, Christian was less than thrilled by Ana's choice of transportation and the fact that she was driving her security team, but they had already entered traffic, so there was little that he could do to stop them.
Ana made quick time of getting to work, though she did not pay very close attention to road. Instead, she was still thinking about how to get to her interview. She pulled into her parking space, grabbed her bag from Sawyer and tossed the keys to the bad cop in the back.
"I want to drive this car home, so please make sure it is here when it is time for me to get off of work." She gave him the sternest look she could muster, hoping that it would deter him from requesting that another car be brought for him while she was at work.
Sawyer regarded her with amusement because she had never attempted to excercise authority over the security team before. She tried her best to avoid his gaze, lest the effect of her demands be ruined by her laughter.
Ana walked with Sawyer to the front door and waited with him for the elevator. "Bet you hate babysitting me, huh?" she asked, trying to make small talk.
She was surprised when Sawyer rolled his eyes at her. "I don't hate it enough to get fired, Ana. I am standing guard at the elevator today and you are not talking me out of it."
She scowled at his response. Am I that fucking transparent? They rode the elevator without speaking, but she could tell that Sawyer was still amused, so it was an amicable silence. He defiantly was the best security member for her, though she was also very fond of Taylor.
As promised, Sawyer retrieved a chair and positioned himself in front of the elevator. He removed a pad of paper and a pen and crooked an eyebrow at her, as if challenging her to get past him. It was Ana's turn to roll her eyes as she turned to wander through the cubicles to her desk.
The nameplate on her wall had been changed to read "Anastasia Grey" instead of "Anastasia Steele." She quickly removed in from the wall and tossed it into her desk drawer. She was determined to keep her maiden name at work so as to avoid at least the bulk of the preferential treatment.
She fired up her computer and looked at the clock. She was a full ten minutes early. That should satisfy her crazy boss. Wanting to face the awkwardness head-on, Ana walked over to his door and knocked.
"Come in," she heard him mutter from the other side. She opened the door and greeted him with a sweet smile.
The look he shot her resembled a snarl. "Well, it is good to see that you managed to show up today, Mrs. Grey."
The emphasis on her new name made Ana tense up, though she tried to play it cool. "It is good to see you too, Jack. Of course, please continue to call me Ana. I will remain Ana Steele here at the company, so there is no need to refer to me as Mrs. Grey. Is there anything I can get for you?"
Jack seemed a little thrown off by her positive demeanor, but he soon composed himself enough to wave her out of his office. "Go work on the stack of manuscripts that are piling up on your desk. If you just do your job, that would be good enough for me."
Ana refrained from answering and nodded as she shut the door. If she could just get through work until lunch, this could all be over soon. Normally, she would want to give her job two weeks notice or more before leaving, but in this situation she was ready to bolt the instant she received an offer from anywhere else. The only major problem is that there was no way for her to interview for a new job without Christian finding out. In all honesty, she should write back to Fox Publishing and cancel so that they could schedule someone else during her interview time slot.
She walked back to her desk to find Hanna waiting for her. Obviously, news about the wedding had spread like wildfire and Hanna would be expecting all of the details. Ana paused for a minute when she reached her desk and the wheels in her head began turning. It would be crazy, but there just might be a way for her to make the interview after all.