characters belong to EL James. Sorry I have been away from this for awhile a lot going on. Will try and get some more up on this and my other stories soon. Hope you enjoy the update.


"I let Anastasia touch me."

John Flynn almost fell out of his chair but his long years of practice kept him looking calm and unmoved. "Is that good?"

Christian crossed one leg over the other. "I'm not sure."

"How did it make you feel?"

"At first, it scared the hell out of me." He crossed his arms over his chest as he recalled the lines he had drawn on himself, and had allowed her to draw on his skin with her lipstick.

"Then why did you do it?"

"Anastasia needed to do it, we did it."

"What about you"

Christian lifted his head. "What do you mean?"

"Did you need it?" Christian's needs had always come first and it intrigued John that the young man seemed to be considering someone else for a change. It was very good progress.

"I don't like to be touched, you know that."

"You let her touch you."

"I said so, didn't I?" Christian tugged at his earlobe, uncomfortable. "It's not the first time I let a woman touch me."

"Isn't it?"

"No!" He thought of Elena and the things she did to him, the things he wasn't permitted, as her submissive, to prevent her from doing. And yet, even then there had been boundaries. She had known to stay away from certain areas, and her touches had never been gentle; not like Anastasia's had been.

Remembering the feel of her fingers his skin had a mixed effect on him still. It had felt good, it had felt...nice, and yet it still nauseated him. Jesus he was so fucked up. She hadn't been cruel or brutal like Elena, she had been gentle and soft. That had scared him more than having her be hard and rough. What kind of reasoning was that?

He rose suddenly, moved to the small wall cabinet and pulled open the doors of the hidden wet bar to pour himself a generous helping of whisky. "It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be," he admitted as the whisky slid down his throat with a satisfying burn.

"Will you allow it to happen again?"

"I don't know. Maybe." He finished off his drink and poured another. "She's so hard to read sometimes and she gets so pissed off about the smallest things."

John watched, concerned. Christian was not usually a hard drinker. "Is that why you let her touch you. as an act of contrition?"

"No. I have nothing to apologize for!" Christian set the half empty glass on the bar and stalked to the windows, shoving his hands into his trouser pockets. "I've been honest with her, about my life, my past. I can't change who I am and I warned her. I warned her she was better off without me."

"Then why did you pursue her after she left you?"

"I don't know!" Christian tossed his hands up. "I wanted her. I like getting what I want." He ran a hand through his hair, turned to a plant in the window and picked at the leaves. "I should have left her alone. It would have been the right thing to do, but I...I just couldn't."

Allowing Christian to consider his own words, John deftly changed to another topic. "Why does she get upset with you?"

"Fuck, pick something! I took her to have her hair done at Esclava and she...she threw a hissy fit because Elena was there. Well, she's part owner, why the hell wouldn't she be there? I tried to explain that to Anastasia but she...she just see's red whenever Elena's name comes up."

"Does she?"


"Why do you think that is?"

Christian glared at him. "Oh fuck off."

"I'm serious. Why do you think Anastasia doesn't like Ms. Lincoln? Do you think it's jealousy?"

"Of course it's jealousy! I told her about Elena, explained our relationship, our very past relationship, but she's got in her head that Elena's some...some demon or something. I've tried to assure her that Elena and I are only friends. I've explained that if not for her I wouldn't be who I am now."

"That's certainly true," John agreed and received a cutting look from his patient.

"Don't start."

"I simply mean that she helped you cope with people and believe in yourself more than you had previously." Even if it was in a morally and legally corrupt manner, he finished silently.

"Yes! Right, exactly! She helped me get started in the business. So why can't Anastasia understand that?"

"Well, women tend to view things from a much different standpoint than men, more so when the heart's involved. I'm a professional and we've been speaking for several years now so I understand more of the facts. Therefore, I can consider more views, that's what my job is. Anastasia has had to adjust to several changes and ideas, far more than most young women her age. This is just one more idea that she needs to find her balance in."

Christian slumped into his seat. "So, you think she won't ever understand about Elena?"

"I think you should concern yourself more with how she feels about you, and not worry about Elena. It's completely natural for a young woman to be insecure, especially when an older woman is involved. Wouldn't you feel insecure if a man from her past, that she was incredibly close with, appeared and wanted to be reacquainted with her?"



"I'd just have the fucker shipped off somewhere that he could never find his way back."

John smirked. "Yes, well, normal non-billionaires would find it an issue and have to learn to deal with it. You have to let her deal with it in her own way and try not to push her."

Christian sighed. "I know." He hung his head, gripped his hair tightly. "It's not just that. They still haven't found Leila and I'm terrified something will happen to Anastasia every time she steps outside my door. She says I'm being over protective, but she doesn't understand. Leila is unstable, she could do anything!"

"You're doing all you can to find her," John reasoned.

Christian groaned and rose again. "I never should have allowed pictures to be taken of us. I should have keep Anastasia hidden and secret like the others."

"Do you really think she would have allowed that to continue?"

"I'm trying to keep her safe!"

"Certainly, but you can't stop living your life, or she hers."

"You sound like Anastasia. you don't understand!"

"Christian, only wooden ships can be kept in a bottle, and eventually, it just takes one tip over the edge for that bottle to shatter."

"I know, but..."

"And Anastasia isn't like the others, is she?"

"No. No she isn't." He shook his head. "It would be so much easier if she were."

"Ah, but then, you wouldn't want her as much, would you?"

Christian shook his head again. No, he wouldn't want Anastasia so badly if she was as submissive as the others had been. But damn, it was a hard thing to get used to.

Taking a deep breath Christian changed the subject. "Are you going to this damn ball my mother's obsessed about?"

"Of course." John smiled. "Grace would have me drawn and quartered if I didn't show."

"You and me both!"

"It is for a good cause." John paused. "Will you be taking Anastasia?"

Christian nodded. "No way around it. My sister and mother are demanding I take her."

"You don't want to?"

He sighed. "It's not that I don't want to, it's just...There will be so many people there and reporters and senators and all those other pissheads and I'd rather just..."

"Keep her all to yourself?"

"Something like that, yes."

"Have you told her this?"

"I tried but...Mia's got her all excited about going and she's nervous because she doesn't think she's good enough for high society...or some shit like that."

"Do you she's good enough?"

"Yes! She'll outshine every damn person there and I have absolutely no doubt that they'll all adore her."

"Perhaps not everyone will take that attitude."

Christian waved his hand. "I don't give a rat's ass what those one's think, and I never did." He rolled his eyes. "I just like my privacy and all those eyes on us, putting their noses into our business, not to mention the press will have a field day."

"Then perhaps you should stay home."

"Grace would skin me and so would Mia." He shook his head. "They don't ask me for much, so I have to give them this. Besides, I think it will be fun for Ana. All women like to dress up and go to a fancy party, right?"

"Right you are." John pause. "So, you'll have to ask her to save me a dance, then."

"Over my dead body."