Recap – following their engagement our couple attended a benefit event at the home of Ana's co-worker and arch frenemy, Darcy. Darcy had tried to entice Ana into modeling some questionable lingerie, but Ana refused, leaving Darcy, Kate and Mia to do the honors instead, much to the dismay of Elliot. Following a little light nookie in Darcy's bathroom, the couple left and are now ready to face their first day in the office as a betrothed couple…

Chapter 35

There's a spring in my step this morning as I return to work. I woke up to the delicious sensation of Christian sliding slowly into me, murmuring into my ear. I came around him blissfully and toe-curlingly hard almost before I fully awoke. A perfect way to start the day.

Gail had a packed lunch ready and waiting for me on the counter that I know without looking will taste better than anything I can buy from the local delis and even Sawyer is whistling tunelessly under his breath as he stands beside me in the elevator on our way to my floor ready to start my first working day as a betrothed woman. I smile to myself and glance down at the rock sitting resolutely on my left finger; it already feels like today is going to be a good day.

Christian left for work before Sawyer and I this morning, citing an early meeting with section heads, but he has promised to stop by my desk later on. I glance at my watch; it's been barely an hour since I saw him, but it feels like longer. That's what spending all day together does I chastise myself – makes you clingy. That's not sexy Ana.

As the elevator doors slide open and we step out, my sprightly step falters a little at the sight that greets me.

On the far side of the office, floating directly over my desk are several bright shiny balloons bobbing around enjoying their own private party. Andy is standing under them, his beaming gaze fixed on me as he bounces excitedly on his heels. Sawyer clears his throat nervously. "Ah..Miss Steele should I have them removed?" I shake my head quickly, try to smile and take a few tentative steps towards my desk.

That seems to be all the opening Andy needs. With a squeal, he takes off and bounds towards me, several balloons streaming out behind him. He truly is a one man welcome wagon.

"Ana! My congratulations sweetie. I can't believe it. C'mere," he says, crushing me into a hug. "I'm so, so happy for you sweetie. So happy," he mutters into my neck. He pulls back and clasps me by my shoulders, looking straight at me. "Lemme see that rock," he grins, bright eyed.

"Thanks Andy," I murmur, conscious that all work has ceased on the floor and all eyes are on me. On the far side of the office, some people are actually climbing up onto their desks to get a better view. Shit that's embarassing. I just want the floor to open up and let me slide away out of sight. So much for slinking in quietly and professionally this morning.

I offer up my hand and he takes it reverently, turning my finger first one way and then the other, sighing dramatically as the diamond glitters and flashes under the lights.

"Just beautiful, so beautiful. You lucky, lucky girl," he whispers dreamily, his eyes fixed on the ring. A smiling Sam, my immediate boss appears at the side of him.

"Hey Ana, congratulations again." Her eyes widen as her gaze drops to my finger. "Wow. That really is a breathtaking ring. I had my work cut out trying to persuade the hacks that it was costume jewelry from the pics, but seeing it for real, fuck me, there's no way that story was going to wash."

Chuckling, she puts her hand on Andy's shoulder and smiles sympathetically at him. "Come now Andy, I know it's exciting times but we've got to let Ana get to work. It's kind of busy in here this morning."

I look up sharply at her words and immediately see what she means.

Unusually for this time of day, all 20 of the inbound call desks are occupied with people engrossed in intense calls and according to the display screen, there are still several calls waiting. Beside the display screen, the social media feed and the TV news feed feature one main topic.

Our engagement.


There is a host of pictures of us getting out of the car and walking into Darcy's parents' house taken on Saturday night. Occasionally the pictures zoom in on my ring, flashing the legend "Grey proposes to intern girlfriend with $10m Cartier diamond." Fuck…really? No, they've made that up. Definitely.

In the pictures I'm smiling but I look dazed; by contrast, Christian is glaring furiously at the camera, his arm gripping me protectively to his side.

I smile crookedly at the image – he does look kinda hot actually. Unfortunately, it seems I'm not the only person to think so. The ticker tape across the bottom of one screen is asking "Men want to be him – women want him – what makes an alpha male a true man?" while two earnest looking middle aged ladies are locked in an intense studio conversation about the many ways a captain of industry can use his sphere of influence to win over the object of his desires. I snort and look away; Alpha man? If only they knew how alpha he really is…

Sam is still smiling at me as my attention returns to her. She winks briefly before raising her voice to address the entire office. "I need everyone in the conference room at 9.30 sharp this morning for a comms update." She scowls openly in the direction of someone's low groan. "It's a mandatory meeting just for this department and I believe you will all find it very enlightening," she adds, raising her eyebrows in a tantalizing fashion.

Grinning enigmatically to herself she wanders off in the direction of her office, knowing full well that she has launched a proverbial cat into the pigeons with that little tease. My short tenure in this office has already taught me that nothing excites comms people more than learning new information – especially secretive stuff.

At least it has taken some of the heat off of my arrival this morning. I pick up my pace and head over to my newly-decorated party central desk. I wonder what this meeting is all about? I don't know whether I'm being paranoid, but Sam's wink suggests I'm somehow involved. If I'm involved then surely Christian would have mentioned something wouldn't he? I'm still pondering the possibilities as I attempt to shift the balloons tethered to my chair to one side so that I can sit down.

"Hey Ana, good morning. I brought you a tea, bag out. That's how you have it right?" I look up at Darcy's smiling face in amazement and wonder whether I've been parachuted into some parallel universe. She looks like Darcy, she sounds like Darcy…but…

What. The. Fuck?

"Er…thanks Darcy, morning to you too. Yes, that's right, but you didn't need to, I can get my own tea". I find it hard to hide my irritation; Darcy doesn't hand out favors without expecting something in return.

She shrugs and throws me a smile over her shoulder. "I was just making one for myself. It's no trouble. No trouble at all." I watch her in astonishment as detours over to a bemused Sawyer sitting at his close-but-not-too-close desk and hands him a coffee before she returns to her own seat, sipping her drink as she goes.

"You've got a friend for life there," mutters a smirking Andy under his breath. He appears to be studying something on his screen, but I know he didn't miss any of that. I roll my eyes and brush away a few stray flakes of confetti from my keyboard before logging into the system and beginning my day.

Scanning through my emails I'm unpleasantly surprised to see a request from Miranda in HR to pay her a visit today regarding Greg Kadens, the bullying analyst who Christian spectacularly fired when we were out in Portland. Just the sight of his name written down is sufficient to make me shudder. I had hoped that had all gone away, but it seems that his complaint against what he considers to be unfair dismissal has to be heard and I, along with a few other members of the new acquisitions team have been called upon to provide witness statements. I hope he's no longer alleging that we were in some sort of clandestine relationship at the time. That would not go over well with my Fifty. I smirk as I remember the look of horror on his face as Christian sent him skidding across the floor on his ass when he was rude and outspoken about my girls. No, that wouldn't go over well at all.

My diary's pretty busy today. As well as the impromptu 9.30am meeting that Sam just teased us all with, I have a morning meeting with the other interns to – as Dex's email puts it – 'finalize' the presentation about our key learning points from the New York conference. I glance in the direction of his desk but see he hasn't arrived yet; it's possible that he's making a shitty point about the fact that I haven't been around until today to work on the presentation. I hope Dexter is not as spiteful as that. Had it have been Darcy, I would have no doubt that the wording was intended to slight me. I take a sip of my tea and watch her over the rip of my cup. She is very quiet this morning. She has a serene smile on her face and I haven't felt her beady eyes boring into my head at all. The weirdest thing is that her dress today is demure, elegant even. Her shoulders, décolletage and knees are all swathed in fabric, and it's not even clingy fabric. Darcy behaving out of character is…disconcerting to say the least.

By the time Amanda, Dex and Tyler have arrived and spent a few minutes cooing over the balloons around my desk and congratulating me on my news, people are starting to drift towards the large conference room in preparation for the meeting. I grab a tablet and join them in the hope that whatever we are about to learn will continue to be more interesting than my personal life. I know I'm not imagining the curious glances coming my way, but I'm growing used to them now. What I didn't expect was Darcy falling in step beside me and chattering away about the highlights of Saturday night as though we are BFFs.

At least they are her highlights – my highlight occurred in her downstairs bathroom thanks to my smoking hot fiancé, but I keep that to myself. Sawyer stays close too. Jeez, he's not going to sit in on every meeting I go to is he? I really need to speak to Christian about that.

The conference room is already packed when I arrive so I join a group of employees leaning against the window at the side of the room, ignoring the nudges the sudden silence and wide eyed smiles they exchange when they see me join them. My belly flickers with excitement and I suppress a sigh as I recall Christian's plans for this window; he's pretty good at following through on promises and I know he was deadly serious when he promised to fuck me on every conference table and against every window in the building.

I adjust the neck on my dress; is it getting hot in here or is it me?

"Thanks for coming in at such short notice, I won't keep you long," Sam begins loudly, dropping into a seat at the head of the long conference table. The room immediately hushes to an expectant silence. "We all noticed the reno work going on upstairs last week and at the weekly meeting this morning, Mr Grey updated us on a few changes he has planned for the building."

A few expectant faces seek me out to read my reaction but my eyes are fixed on Sam, my face stoic. The lusty warmth I was feeling for him moments ago is rapidly being replaced with annoyance. What hasn't he mentioned this time?

"Essentially, he's rearranging the location of some teams within this building to accommodate a new company acquisition to be located adjacent to the Executive Suite on the twentieth floor. The security functions will be relocated to this floor and elsewhere through the building. There will be some disruption during the next couple of weeks, but most of the works will continue out of hours, as they have upstairs." She looks around and smiles openly. "I know a few of you inquisitive souls were speculating on what was going on up there last week, so there you go, mystery over huh? A new floor plan will be emailed around later today. If you are moving, I'd ask you to crate up your belongings before you leave today and they will be waiting for you on your new desk tomorrow morning. Any questions?"

Tiffany, the sour faced former tabloid journalist who was cheeky enough to ask me whether Christian was an ass or a tit man last time I ran into her in the rest room sticks up her hand. "What is this new division and why does it need to be up on the twentieth floor? There is vacant space on the second and fourth floors already." The silent nods from around the table tell me that she's not the only person wondering this.

"Sorry, but the identity of the new acquisition is commercially sensitive right now Tiffany. Anything else about the move specifically?" Sam replies, expertly stonewalling Tiffany's question. Tiffany's color rises and she leans over to whisper furiously in the ear of the girl sitting next to her. Their eyes are fixed on me, leaving me in little doubt about the target of their speculation.

Sam replies to a few more questions from her staff about the practicalities of the move, but already my mind is in overdrive and I barely catch any of it. What is he up to?

By the time I get stuck into the presentation planning meeting with the other interns an hour later, I've decided to put my questions about the sudden office refurbishment and move to one side until later. Nobody has asked me anything directly, but I deliberately kept my distance from my co-workers as we left the meeting in order to discourage any questions. I know will look pretty stupid if I have to admit that I'm as much in the dark as they are. I only hope this isn't a preview of how our married life will be.

I'd spent a little time over the weekend working on some ideas so that I had something to contribute to the meeting but guiltily I have to concede that my co-workers have already done much of the work while I was getting up to no good in New York city last week. At least Andy, Dex and Amanda seem to be treating me normally again. Where last week it felt uncomfortably like they were hanging on my every word and listening a little too intently to my ideas, today to my relief they are interrupting me and challenging me, just like before.

Darcy however is still behaving oddly. I watched in amazement at the beginning of the meeting when she almost broke into a sprint to get into the seat beside me and now, to Andy's obvious amusement she grabs my arm and catches my eye every time she laughs, as though we're sharing a private in-joke. The eye rolling and the scornful tutting that she previously used to great dramatic effect whenever I made a suggestion has also been noticeably absent today. I do hope she isn't trying to be friendly – that ship sailed some time ago.

Tyler on the other hand has withdrawn from all of us. He contributes little to the discussion, his anxious eyes darting to his phone every few minutes, his limbs twitching nervously as he perches on the edge of his chair. I can't imagine what's got into him. Dex tries several times to draw him into the conversation or tease him about his obsession with clock watching, but Tyler barely replies.

I can't imagine what's with him now. Happily though, all thoughts of Tyler's woes and Darcy's odd behavior disappear when I return to the office. Christian is hanging around next to my desk kicking his heels impatiently. His jacket is missing so I take a moment to admire the fine view of his ass as he stands with his back to me, his hands thrust in his pockets surveying the balloons floating around my desk. It really is a mighty fine ass indeed and all mine.

Turning to greet me, he treats me to a panty melting grin and then, ignoring our 'no PDAs in the office' rule, he nuzzles into the spot under my ear and kisses me, inhaling with a soft sigh. "Hey," he mutters. "How's your day Mrs Grey?"

I smile at his words and drop my forehead briefly onto his shoulder. It's the closest approximation to a hug I can manage in public when actually I want to jump on him and wrap my thighs around his damned fine ass. Well crap, everyone's watching now anyway, might as well give them a show.

"My day is ok so far thank you Mr Grey. And I'm still Miss Steele," I reply as quietly as I can to avoid our audience getting a free show. He smells so good and he looks like he needs a shave. I guess his time waking me so thoroughly put him a little behind schedule this morning. A pulse throbs between my legs and my nipples harden as I remember the feel of his body moving inside mine. His eyes widen knowingly and he chuckles as he watches my body's tell tale reaction.

"Get used to it baby, you're all mine," he replies softly. His heated gaze slides over my face and lingers on my lips. He swallows then sighs heavily, taking a reluctant step back.

"Andrea has set up a lunchtime appointment with the wedding planner. 12.30. My office." Typical Fifty – it's not really a request.

I balk. "Already?...shit, I mean, that's pretty fast work".

"The sooner the better. Andrea was able to pull a few strings." Christian's attention returns to the balloons floating around my desk. "Hmmm…Nobody decorated my office," he muses, staring at the balloons again. "So you're celebrating down here I see?"

I smile to myself at the thought of the ice queen Andrea filling Christian's sterile office with balloons and confetti. I would love to have seen that. "Yes, that's Andy. He's pretty excited," I reply, glancing at Andy who is pretending to work on something on his screen. His immediate face-splitting grin betrays him; he was totally listening to every word.

Christian offers him his hand. "Thank you Mr Taylor, we appreciate the sentiment." Andy stands and shakes his hand, his puppy dog eyes glazing over in an expression of sheer bliss. If he was a heterosexual woman looking at Christian like that I'd be drop-kicking him to the ground right about now.

"Congratulations, I hope you'll both be very happy Mr Grey," Andy splutters, his eyes now brimming with tears. He looks like he might be on the verge of throwing his arms around Christian. Christian seems to share my concern; looks mildly alarmed and takes a step back towards me, hurriedly shoving his hand into his pants pocket. "Thank you, we will."

He kisses me chastely and begins to walk away. "12.30, my office," he reminds me over his shoulder. I narrow my eyes: "Yes Sir" I mutter. He freezes and spins on his heel, his smouldering eyes narrowing at me. With an almost imperceptible quirk of a brow he stretches out his hand and carefully examines his palm. My entire body clenches with need. Gah, how does he do that to me with just a look? With a final dark and meaningful glance at me he walks away.

I actually fear I may have a wet patch on my panties.

Beside me, Andy moan of pain is so low it's barely audible. His eyes are screwed shut, intense concentration furrowing his brow. "You OK there Andy?" I venture.

"Just storing that. Yep, got it." He opens his eyes and gazes at me. "You've seen that naked. That's so fucking unfair."

Even though Sam had warned me about the renovations, I'm surprised to see that extent of the works when I arrive in the lobby outside Christian's office at lunchtime. The entire twentieth floor looks like a building site with sheets of plastic sheeting sheathing the walls and creating little rat runs for the construction workers in their high visibility desks to scurry around in moving equipment and supplies. I halt to allow a man pushing a trolley piled high with stacks of paperbacks to pass by. He nods his thanks and carries on his way, oblivious to my puzzled stare.

Huh? Paperbacks? Really?

Andrea and Olivia are sitting at their sandstone desks in a small island of calm in the centre of the lobby apparently unconcerned about the frenetic activity going on around them. Andrea jumps up and greets me with a huge smile before to my astonishment, crushing me to her in a tearful hug and blubbering her congratulations into my ear after which she quickly transforms back into her usual ice maiden demeanor.

"The wedding planner I've engaged came highly recommended, but if you don't feel like she's a good fit, just let me know and I'll set something up with the next one on the shortlist. Companies are incredibly keen to be associated with your wedding, we've been fielding speculative calls all morning, so you're absolutely not limited on options. Her name is Edith Moss and she's already signed a NDA so you can speak freely. Please go right in Miss Steele and I'll let you know the moment Mrs Moss arrives."

"I'm sure she'll be fine Andrea, thanks so much for organizing this at short notice, I appreciate that. And it's Ana, please," I remind her as I head into Christian's office…and stop, amazed.

Holy shit, the construction work is going on in here too.

One whole section of the wall behind Christian's desk is sheathed from floor to ceiling with plastic. Under the plastic I can see the outline of a door similar to the one I just came through. Christian is sitting at his desk and grinning at me as he watches my reaction. His large frame unfolds out of the chair and stalks towards me slowly, like an animal approaching its prey. His eyes are alight with excitement and…lust.

"Hey" he breathes as we meet, brushing his lips across my jaw and wrapping his arms around my body.

"Hey" I reply, raising an eyebrow and showing him I mean business. He's not getting out of this that easily. I need some answers. My traitor body misses that memo as it reacts spontaneously to the feel of him pressed tightly to me. I try to ignore the sparks flying from his touch. "What have you got to tell me?"

His lips continue their track across my jaw and down my throat, occasionally nipping and suckling my skin. I groan softly and arch my body into his, pushing my hands into his hair and guiding his mouth. Jeez that feels so good.

"I needed to create a little space for a new acquisition. Just a little construction work. I'll show you once we're through with the wedding planner." He promises in a low throaty voice, his lips pressed to my skin. He could tell me anything right now and I wouldn't care; I am totally lost.

Unfortunately, the sound of Andrea's voice suddenly echoes through the intercom interrupting my plans. Gah. "Mr Grey, Miss Steele. Your 12.30 appointment has arrived."

Christian scowls openly then kisses me once more before guiding me over to the conference table. We exchange a knowing smile as he helps me into a seat. I know he's also recalling our last lunch sitting at this table. At least I was kind of sitting, but Christian was definitely standing…oh my. I suppress a moan as I feel my body react to the delicious memory of him pounding hard into me as I lay on this very table, my feet hooked around his neck.

"Are you trying to fucking kill me? Please don't look like that or I will clear my diary for the rest of the day and give you exactly what you want. Repeatedly," he promises. His eyes have darkened as he stares intently at me.

I smirk. "I was just reminiscing about our last lunch at this table. It was very enjoyable indeed Mr Grey. Will we be having the same today?" I tease, widening my eyes innocently and ignoring his low growl.

"Oh baby, you'll pay for that later," he promises darkly. "You've made my palms twitch once already this morning Anastasia, my patience is wearing thin".

He gives me one last threatening look before heading over to the door, adjusting his pants on the way before admitting the woman who is going to plan our wedding.

I am half expecting another Stepford wife clone, but Mrs Moss is the very antithesis of that. She actually reminds me a little of my dear old gran – albeit my dear old gran on a feisty day. Gray haired and small in stature but with steely blue eyes that dart around the room and take in everything, it is immediately obvious that she is on her game. Dressed in a dark tweed suit with a simple string of pearls around her neck she surprises me again when she slides a sleek mac book out of her bag to make notes. She looks more like a quill and parchment type of woman.

A wedding planner by trade long before it even became a career choice, her impressive credentials assure me she has successfully organised the nuptials of hundreds of couples over the years.

I begin to relax as she listens carefully to our opinions, only offering her own opinion when neither of us expresses any preference. She seems capable and unshockable. Amazingly she's not intimidated by Christian's looks or wealth nor is she cowed by his brusque manner. I quickly warm to her and I feel like I can trust her. As she gets up to leave promising to follow up with options for the service and catering by email in the next few days I feel a fluttering of nervous excitement in my belly.

At least I think it's a combination of nervousness and excitement. It's definitely nervousness.

Shit this is happening so quickly. I manage to thank her and accompany her to the door, but my anxious mind starts working overtime, alarmed at the extent of the huge life change I am facing.

Christian frowns as he closes the door behind the retreating Mrs Moss and catches sight of my expression. He curls his fingers around mine and twists an errant curl away from my face, his eyes watching me carefully. "Anything you want, you can have, you know that baby don't you?" he murmurs softly.

I incline my head into his hand and exhale slowly. I don't want him to think I don't want to marry him, so I lie a little. "I guess the size and scale of this whole wedding production just hit me. I had no idea there was so much planning and organizing needed."

Christian grins with relief. "You don't have to worry about any of that shit baby, that's what we're employing her for. You just say what you want and she'll make it happen. It doesn't have to be a big production; if you want something small then just say."

"What about you though? We haven't really talked about this before. What if you don't like what I choose."

He chuckles softly. "I would marry you here, now, today if I could. All I care about is making you mine forever and part of that is making you happy. Nothing else matters to me." My nerves melt away as I I stretch up onto my tip toes and curl my arms around his neck to kiss him. He's absolutely right; this is him and me. Nothing else matters.

I have to keep on telling myself that.

A sudden loud crash crash from beyond the plastic sheets behind his desk startles us and we both turn to look in the direction of the sound. I frown as I remember that Mr sweetness and light standing in front of me is actually holding out on me. Gah, I am so easily distracted.

"Speaking of making me happy Grey, I believe there is something you were going to show me?" I ask, inclining my head in the direction of the construction noise.

His eyes widen excitedly as he grabs my hand and leads me across the office to stand in from of the newly formed doorway. "Yes, there is. I want you to take a look at this…I hope you like it". He flashes me a boyish grin before removing the plastic sheet and throwing open the door.

I step through and my eyes widen in amazement.


We are standing in another vast room, the mirror image of Christian's office next door. One wall is floor to ceiling glass allowing magnificent views over the skyline of Seattle. The light from the huge window bounces on the limestone floor making the massive space feel light and spacious. Modern built in shelves cover the remaining walls. Over in the corner, the same man I saw out in the lobby is busily transferring books onto the shelves, the rainbow of spines providing a vibrant and welcome splash of colour in this otherwise white, bright room.

A white leather sectional couch currently covered in yet more plastic sheeting is in front of the window and a glass conference table surrounded by eight chairs sits in the middle of the room. Next to the wall is a huge limestone desk. Everything looks pristine and brand new.

It is a beautiful space that, thanks to the books, has the funky vibe of a quirky, independent bookstore.

The man with the books stretches to his feet and nods to Christian. "Excuse me Mr Grey," he says respectfully before disappearing through another door, leaving us alone.

Christian is watching my reaction as my eyes scan the room. "Do you like it?" he asks softly.

I frown, puzzled. A creeping sense of unease is making me feel wary. What is he up to? "It's beautiful Christian. What's with the books though? Who is this f-"

I stutter to a halt abruptly at the crooked grin on his face. I am such a dork. For who else would he create a door leading directly into his private office?

"It's for you baby". My heart sinks. Oh no.

I can feel my mouth hanging open, but I'm completely unable to do anything about it. I knew that's what he was about to say, but…What. The. Fuck?

"When we were in New York you told me about your dreams to work with books. I want to make your dreams come true baby, so I've bought a publishing house for you."

I blink and stare at him. "A publishing house?" I echo.

He nods and continues blithely as though he's telling me about some soap powder he just picked up. "Yes, Ros found a small, independent publishing house that the owner was prepared to sell quickly. It's not really very profitable right now, but the old guy running it wants to retire and he's keen to pass on his knowledge to someone." He cradles my head in his hands, his thumbs stroking my jaw and lowers his voice. "I want you to run it Anastasia. Learn the business from the old guy. You can choose who you hire, what type of material to specialize in, whether to go for popular or niche…it's your company baby." His eyes soften as he kisses me. "I want you to be near to me, so I figured a little corporate reshuffle was in order. This is your office. I created space outside for more employees just as soon as you're ready to hire any…or not, either way is fine," he adds quickly, still watching me carefully. I stare at him in stunned silence. "Tell me what you're thinking baby" he urges, the tiny break in his voice the only hint of his anxiety.

I feel like I have been rolled over by a tank…a heavy, unwielding and indomitable tank, intent on one course. I shake his hands away from my face and step back, pinching my nose between my fingers. My head feels thick and I need to take something before it grows into a full-blown headache.

"Christian…please don't think I'm ungrateful or anything because I'm absolutely not. But-"

He scowls and blows heavily as I get to the big 'but'. "What's wrong with it?" he interrupts me defensively. "I thought you liked modern, but we can get this changed to whatever you like. Anything," he pleads.

I take a deep breath and try to keep calm. He's making me feel like I'm behaving like a toddler about to throw a tantrum because I'm not getting my own way. But this is too much, too soon. And what really, really pisses me off is that he didn't just talk to me first. He spends all of that time and effort earlier consulting me on fluffy, inconsequential stuff like wedding colors but then completely fails to consult me on a huge life change like my future career.

"The room is beautiful Christian, I absolutely love it and I love that you've been so thoughtful. I just wish you'd have discussed this with me first." I swallow hard. "What happens in our future is a joint decision, it's not something you should decide for me." My voice has dropped to a whisper; I look up and meet his eyes and wince inwardly at the hurt I see reflected back at me. I feel as guilty as hell but I simply can't let this go, I have to tell him how I feel. "When I first came to work here I was always concerned that people would treat me differently because of our relationship and I absolutely didn't want that. That's why we both went along with that charade in the beginning so that I could establish myself in my own right, and I was making some progress. I've worked too hard to throw away my opportunities to make my mark on my own merits. If I do this I'll be a figure of ridicule, shut away in this ivory tower office playing around with a bullshit company you've bought for me. Not only will I lose the respect of my co-workers and of my employees, but very quickly I will lose respect for myself too." I swallow again, the back of my eyes burning. "And you will lose respect for me too. I'm sorry Christian, but I can't do this. I think it's time I left GEH and found another job."

du du duhhh. Just for the record, if I was Ana I would be in that lovely office like a shot. Ah well...

I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year. Thanks for all of your reviews and messages asking me wtf I'm doing and can I please hurry my ass up and update. It's nice to be missed. I know it's hard to follow a story when the updates take so long, so I do appreciate those of you still sticking with me.

There is some more drama to come that I'm slowly (very slowly!) setting up, so I hope this was ok for you - please review if you have a moment, they are appreciated.