(Disclaimer: This fanfic is based on the characters of Fifty Shades of Grey, only my original ideas belong to me.)
Everything returned to it's regular balance as the storm officially rolled out of Washington by Tuesday morning. After the run in with my creepy professor while walking home from work, last night had been disappointingly uneventful with Kate. We ended up watching reruns of Friends until we fell asleep together on the living room couch. She had finally calmed down about the whole weekend I spent away from home and no longer seemed suspicious about it.
But now Christian wanted me to spend another weekend with him.
It's not that I didn't want to be with him- I did! Sometimes in the middle of the day, I would just close my eyes and daydream about us being together. The way he would hold me in his bed or kiss me so hard on the lips that it made my mouth sore. Something tingled inside of me and my knees felt weak as my mind traveled to his warm living room rug in front of the beaming fireplace...
I grunted at myself while slipping a beige knitted scarf around my neck.
There was no way I could fool Kate again.
"Come on, Ana. We're going to be late!"
Speak of the devil...
I followed my roommate's voice out of my bedroom and into the kitchen where she was already throwing her coat on. From behind, I noticed that her hair was straight, smooth and flowed down her back today. I raised an eyebrow at her, "You flat-ironed your hair today?" I was so used to seeing her with her natural curls, but she looked equally beautiful with straight hair. Usually she was against using any heat-products on her hair because of the "damage" it caused.
"Yeah, I have a date with Elliot tonight. He's taking me ice-skating down by Coldwater Lake."
I could already picture the dreamy look on her face and the sparkles in her eyes. She shook her head lightly, "Speaking of Elliot, he texted me last night inviting me to Mr. Christian Grey's dinner party on Saturday. It supposed to be like this boring business promotion. He said I could bring one guest, would you like to come?"
Something felt stuck in my throat and then I suddenly remembered when Christian said he'd be having a dinner party to promote the opening of his company. I just didn't think it would be this soon. She finally turned around to face me after buttoning up her long black pea coat. A smile appeared on her face, "I love the outfit. Lately you've been dressing exceptionally well. Are you trying to impress someone?" Her head tilted to the side and her long hair flowed over one shoulder.
I looked down at myself and shrugged, hiding the fact that I spent nearly half an hour picking out this ensemble. I was wearing an outfit that Kate would definitely approve of: beige scarf, tight black jeans, brown cardigan and military boots.
"It's Jose, isn't it?"
"What?" I choked on my saliva.
"You like Jose, don't you? Ever since the semester started, you've been dressing differently and you've been wearing makeup and styling your hair... it's so obvious now! Oh my God, I can't believe I never noticed it before... ever since we started having the same class together... and you guys sit next to each other-"
"No no no, you got it all wrong," I held my hands defensively in front of me. "There is nothing going on with me and Jose; I promise you!" I don't know what I was more disgusted by: the excited look on her face or the thought of me and Jose being more than friends. I knew that he was attracted to me but I just never felt the same way about him.
She nodded, but the expression on her face didn't look like she was totally convinced.
We made it to the lecture hall a minute to eight, and my chest heaved up and down as I set my messenger bag down on the wooden table. Surprisingly, Jose was already seated next to me, with his spiral notebook on the table and pen in hand. His leg was shaking impatiently, as if he was waiting for a long time for something to happen. For some reason he looked completely flustered and anxious. He didn't even wait until I was completely lowered into the chair before he whispered in my ear.
"Are you okay? I couldn't stop thinking about your stalker last night."
"Shhh!" I placed a finger across my lips, "I haven't told Kate about it," I turned around but noticed she was busy texting someone on her phone. She was smiling over her screen and was totally oblivious to us. I returned to Jose and gave him a knowing look, "I don't want her to worry. And yes, I'm fine. Just a little freaked out."
"Shouldn't you tell her? Or someone, like the police?"
"No!" I exclaimed, "I don't want to make a big deal out of this. And anyway, he hasn't actually done anything illegal, so I can't really charge him for anything."
"You can charge him for stalking you," his voice dropped.
"I don't have any proof."
He looked as if he was going to say something else, but just then Christian came strolling into the room with his briefcase in hand. The room grew quiet as he made it to the center of the front end. I watched as he opened his laptop from behind the podium, looking rushed and disheveled. I gulped and turned away from Jose, focusing on the gorgeous man that seemed to dominate all of my thoughts.
"I trust everyone had a good weekend. You even had an extra day due to that glorious storm. I know the snow made my weekend... amazing," his eyes traveled up from his illuminating screen and locked onto me. I felt my heart leap out of my chest but the people around me didn't seem to notice the innuendo. The playful look in his eye gave me the eery feeling like he was thinking about something naughty... like something we did over the weekend.
How is it that he can make my entire body quiver with just one look?
"Okay class, today we'll be talking a bit about supply and demand, as well as all of the factors that go with it," he paced the front of the classroom as his power-point lesson appeared on the screen, "All of you should already know from personal experience and common sense that usually, if the price of a good increases, then the quantity demanded would decrease and vice versa. For an example, if the price of a jar of peanut butter were to drop, more people would buy it because of the lowered price. But if the price were to increase, less people would buy it and just settle for something substitutable like butter or cheese."
My pencil ran across the clean notebook in front of me rapidly. He was speaking fast, but I managed to copy all the bullet points that were emphasized on the slideshow.
"Miss Steele," I jumped at the sound of his voice as it boomed against the walls of the lecture hall. Looking up, I could feel everyone's eyes on me and my pencil slipped from between my fingers, "If the price of ties were to increase, what would happen to the demand of suit jackets?"
It took me a couple of seconds to register that I was indeed the Miss Steele he was speaking to in front of the class.
I blinked my eyes a few times as he stroked the silver tie that hung loosely around his neck. Oh my God, I almost fell out of my seat as the exact tie reflected something in my memory: That was the same tie he used to blindfold me just a couple nights ago! I gulped and my palms felt sweaty as I wiped them on my jeans.
"Well," my voice was shaky, "If the price of ties were to increase, then the demand for suit jackets would decrease."
"Because they're complimentary goods."
"Excellent," he smiled showing all his teeth, "It looks like someone's been studying the textbook."
I returned a limp smile, but I still felt everyone's eyes on me as I returned my gaze to the notebook in front of me. He definitely did that on purpose! He knew that I was going to choke up in front of the whole class- especially when he mentioned the tie! Oh God the same tie he used to blindfold me... Something ached in my lower stomach and it reminded me of the same feeling I had the first night he touched me and the moment that I had in his shower.
He continued with the lesson, and although he didn't call on me anymore, his eyes still traveled to mine a couple times. It made me feel uncomfortable- but of the kind of uncomfortable feeling that I would get around Hyde. It was mostly a giddy feeling that fluttered around my heart and in my lower stomach area. The looks he sent me made my body feel like it was on fire and my heart swooned with every smile.
An hour later, the entire class filed out of the room, but I stayed behind and slowly shimmied my notebook into my bag. Kate muttered something about going to the bathroom and Jose had another class to go to. After waiting for the last person to leave, I charged to the front of the room where he was turning off the laptop and projector.
"That wasn't funny," I crossed my arms over my chest.
There was a grin on his face, but he pretended to be innocent, "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"The whole tie thing?" I rolled my eyes, "You knew I was going to make a fool of myself in front of everyone."
"No," he finally looked up at me, "I knew you were going to tell me the right answer, because you are the best student in this class. I just wanted to see that adorable blush on your face," he reached a finger out and stroked my chin softly, "And don't roll your eyes at me."
My body warmed at his touch as his finger traveled from my chin and traced the soft outline of my lips. I closed my eyes and felt my breathing hitch as his thumb rubbed against the bottom lip that often finds its way in between my teeth. I reached for his hand and pulled it away from my face, knowing that if he kept this assault going any longer I might just explode. He didn't complain and instead squeezed my hand as I opened my eyes.
"What's on your mind? I've missed you so much, have you thought about my offer for the weekend?"
I cleared my throat and regained my composure, "When were you going to tell me that you invited Kate to your business party?"
He leaned against the podium, "I told Elliot to invite her and for her to bring a guest, because I knew she would bring you. It's the only way I could have you there. It would be too suspicious if I just have one of my students there with me. It would look like a date or something. It's not that big of a deal," he shrugged, "You guys can come as my most dedicated students that are curious about my new line of work."
"Well, I'm going to feel like a third wheel while Kate and Elliot practically dry hump each other in public," my face felt hot, but I couldn't tell if it was from blushing or from embarrassment, "I would feel better if I had my own date. Would it be okay if I invited Jose?"
It was a last minute idea and the words were flowing out of my mouth before I even had the chance to think about it. Not even a second passed by before something flashed over his eyes, I couldn't distinguish it between anger and disappointment.
"I'd rather you didn't, but if it makes you feel more comfortable, then sure."
"It would make me feel a lot more comfortable."
"Okay, then it's settled. I don't care who you bring, as long as you show up I'll be happy," he lifted my hand and placed a warm, loving kiss on my knuckles, "Lets meet somewhere tonight, just you and me."
"Well Kate and Elliot are going on a date tonight. Do you want to come over?"
"Sounds like a plan, I can be there at 8:30."
It was almost eight o'clock when I was spraying the register and counter at Clayton's with an all-purpose cleanser. The chemical made my hands smell like lemons, but I didn't complain as I wiped down the surface. The hardware store was getting ready to close for the night, and it was usually my job to take care of cleaning the register and sweeping the floor.
"Hey Ana, need any help?"
I turn around at a familiar voice, "Oh, hey Paul, when did you get here?"
Paul was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Clayton, who used to work at the store last year, but now he just stops by every once in a while. He's tall, with wavy blonde hair and bright green eyes that always seem to be smiling. Seriously, I don't think I've ever seen a frown on his face.
"A few minutes ago. My mom wanted me to close up the store and take inventory for her. Because of the storm, we're all sold out of shovels and flashlights."
He scratched the back of his head, and for a moment it looked like was a little nervous.
"What's up? You look like you have something on your mind."
I neglected the all-purpose cleanser and rag on the counter and turned to completely face him. I noticed that he was wearing a leather jacket that was firm around his muscles and low riding jeans that hugged his thighs and legs in all the right places.
"Well, I've been wanting to ask you for a while now- I know that I'm not really around as much anymore, but we did work together for a couple years and I really got to know you and-"
I chuckled at his ramblings, "What are you trying to say?"
He smiled softly and dropped his hand from behind his head, "What I'm trying to say is that I'd really like to take you out sometime. You know... just the two of us."
I gulped. He had flirted with me before, but he was notorious for having a different girlfriend every three or four months. It drove Mrs. Clayton crazy and I couldn't count how many times the older woman told me that she'd wish he would just settle down with a girl already. I hope they didn't think that that girl would be me.
"There's this great concert on Saturday night, I'd really like to take you. If you're interested..."
"That actually sounds like a lot of fun, but I already have plans for Saturday night."
He looked taken back, as if a bookworm like me would have plans on a Saturday night. My face turned red, and I wondered if he thought I was lying about having plans. It honestly wouldn't surprise me, yet the disappointment was obvious in his facial expression. He shifted his gaze on something else, "Oh okay, that's cool. Maybe another time, right?"
I nodded slowly, suddenly feeling uncomfortable. I didn't want him to think I was lying, but how could I explain that I didn't like him without being awkward? Thankfully, I glanced at the big clock on the wall, "Oh, it's passed eight, I should be going."
"I'll walk you out," he muttered.
I threw my coat on over the hardware store's maroon t-shirt. I wrapped my beige scarf around my neck, swung my messenger bag over my shoulder and allowed him to escort me out of the front door. Cold air hit my face as soon as the door whipped open. It was dark, and I felt Paul's eyes on me as I walked out before him.
"I'm sorry if I made things weird by asking you out."
I looked up at him, feeling my ponytail slide down my shoulder.
"No, no it's not weird," I lied.
"I know it seems like I never really paid much attention to you, but ever since the day my parents hired you... I just... I guess I've always had a crush on you," he was close enough to me that I could see the pleading look in his eyes.
He was right though- he never really did pay any attention to me when I first got hired. I was just another worker at the shop. He would help his dad stock things on the shelves while I tended to the register, that's how it's always been. Sure, I always admired his good looks... his chiseled features and the way his shirts used to hug his abdomen... But I never felt anything more for him. Not like what I feel for Christian.
What do I feel for Christian?
"Look," I placed a hand on his chest, "Maybe one day we can hang out or something, but now is not a really good time. And I should get going, I'm meeting up with a friend at 8:30."
He nodded, "Okay I guess I'll be seeing you around."
I couldn't help but notice the sadness of his rejection shining through his eyes. Before I knew it, he was pulling me up into a hug, a big, warm hug. My feet were on it's toes as he lifted me into his arms and against his chest. His leather jacket was cold on my face as I wrapped my arms around his neck.
"It was good seeing you again, Paul."
"You too, Steele."
I smiled and pulled away, remembering that he used to always call me by my last name. Waving goodbye, I finally left him standing in front of the store and started down the dark sidewalk. I took no more than four steps when my phone buzzed in my pocket.
Christian's name was flashing on the screen.
"Who is he?"
I felt goosebumps on my face.
"Are you watching me?" I turned around and sure enough, Mr. Grey was standing on the corner of the block, just passed the entrance of the hardware store. Paul had already went inside, and the lights in the store were already dim. I gulped and hung up the phone when I saw him walking closer to me. My legs felt weak and I was feeling guilty for some reason, "What are you doing here?"
"You didn't answer my question."
"His name is Paul, his parents own the store. Now, can you please explain what you're doing here?"
I noticed that his hair looked as if he was running his hands through it several times. It was messy in the front and hung over his forehead a little. He was wearing his usual dark coat, but instead of the slacks he was wearing this morning, he was now wearing a pair of blue faded jeans and black boots.
"I don't like the way he was touching you."
I rolled my eyes in the darkness, "It was a hug. I hadn't seen him in a long time, it was just a friendly hug, that's all," I lied, "Now can you please answer my question? What are you doing here."
His hand stroked the side of my face and he placed a soft kiss on my cheek, "I didn't want you walking home alone."
Guysss, I'm soo sorry! I know I haven't updated in about two weeks, but due to Hurricane Sandy, I lost the electricity in my house for about a week and a half. It was impossible for me to update since I couldn't use my laptop or the internet. I hope no one else was affected by the storm, I live in NY, but I know other states were also really hurt too. Was anyone else hit by the storm?
On a positive note, I just wanted to acknowledge the 200+ reviews! That's amazing! Thanks guys :)