Chapter 31: Wait for you
Hi, yes. I'm only seventeen. Thank you very much. I'm going right under my workload, so don't be expecting constant updates! My exams ar in a month )':Enjoyyyy this one.
Ethan never came home that night.
It was not like I had needed him to anymore. I could see how my reliance on him was torturous and made it difficult for him to move on. Ethan was a sweetheart and I would never allow myself to hold him back again.
"Hey, Ana." Jack greeted me as he walked by my office. "You're really early today."
I smiled at him and nodded. "Bright and early, catch the worm, right?" Jack did not need to know that I had left the apartment before dawn to beat the reporters and any complications that could happen if I left at lunch time. Like a hardworking student, I had started to finish up today's workload by seven.
Jack paused for a moment, his eyes sweeping across my attire. It was not a pervasive sweep, but rather one out of mutual concern and care, as if he was in search of any telltales sign of my abuse that he had been tricked into thinking. "You look good, Ana." He said appreciatively, and I knew he wanted to add 'now that you're no longer with Christian Grey'.
Flushing, I cast my eyes back to my work. "Thanks, Jack."
"How's the nose?" He continued, placing his palms on the sides of my desk.
That gesture forced me to meet his gaze. "This silly thing?" I asked, wobbling my nose brace a little. "I've got an appointment with the good doctor, I'm sure it'll come off."
"That's good to know, Ana." Jack gave me a lingering smile.
"MORNING!" Cheered Anthony as he stepped into the office, carrying his usual huge work bag. Anthony had a habit of bringing things he did not need everywhere he went.
Jack shifted his weight onto his heels and folded his arms as he nodded at Anthony, "Good morning."
"Good morning, Ant!" I beamed at him and waved as he walked past us.
"Right," Jack said. "I'll just talk to you later then." We exchanged smiles and he headed into his office.
The telephone flashed red at my line and I picked it up, "Hello?"
"Hey, Ana!" Hannah greeted. "Kate was calling to check if you were into work yet."
That was right. The only person I had not beat to work was the security man who opened all the doors at an unearthly hour. Kate must be worried. "Is she downstairs?"
"No, Kate's on the other line."
"Oh, well then, let her through." I told her, I had to apologize to my best friend before she could crucify me.
In the morning, I had initially wanted to tell her before I left but she had been fast asleep in her own room. She had came in rather late after helping Ethan and Mia out, even past after I had fallen asleep. I was only woken by her closing my room door as quietly as she could after checking to make sure I had fallen asleep. The Kavanaghs' concern for me always made me feel protected and secure.
The line beeped as the call was transferred. "Hey Kate, I'm so sorry." I started.
"Hey." Came a low and familiar voice that I would recognize even if a distortion machine was used on it.
"Kate?" I swallowed.
He chuckled. "Hello, Anastasia."
My fingers clenched around the receiver and I could not decide if I should hang up. "I don't want to talk to you, Christian."
His laughter cut off midway and he became absolutely serious. "Anastasia, it was a misunderstanding."
" I don't want to listen." I whispered, fighting the confusion that threatened to steal my sanity. "I think it's over, Christian." He was about to say something, but my heart could not take it. Without deliberation, I slammed the headset down once more.
I was suddenly distracted by the red light that showed that Jack Hyde was currently on the line. Leaning back into my seat, I saw his eye brows furrowed in frustration as he had a muted discussion with someone on the line.
Another piece of the puzzle, my inner goddess threw a clenched fist of victory in the air.
Very subtly, I picked up the headset once more and covered the receiver with my palm to prevent him from picking up on my breathing. With my eyes fixed on Jack, I made sure he was busied before I pressed the button to connect my line with his.
"So it's lunch then. Our final meeting." He grunted. "That's it. Bye." And he slammed down the phone.
Jack was probably meeting John Doe for lunch today! This could be it, if I could only find out where he was off the meal. Getting to my feet, I walked nervously towards his office. I observed as he fell back into his seat and put his head on his palm. Taking in a deep breath, I knocked on the door gently.
His head snapped up and a fierceness blazed in his eyes. Upon seeing me, his gaze softened and he smiled, waving me in. Plastering a grin on my face, I sheepishly opened the door. "How may I help you?"
Without thinking, I was driving my train into a wall. "Where are you going for lunch today?" My heart stopped as the words left my mouth and my hand went clammy around the metal handle. I was so screwed. I had just blown my cover. My life was over, I began to break into panic when Jack broke out into a huge grin.
What?! "Where would you like to go?"
My mind went blank. What did Jack know? Why was he accommodating to my desires? Had he known I was spying on him?
At my lack of response, Jack chortled and raised his palms up to me in surrender. "Right, right. Gentleman's initiative." I could hear my heartbeat in my ears as I stared wide-eyes at him. "I'll be ready in..." He turned back to look at the clock on his wall. "Two hours?"
"Two hours." I repeated, my soul having left the building a long time ago.
"Alright, back to work!" Jack teased with a grin, pointing my office area and waving me away.
"Yes yes." I said, still unsure of what was going on. But I pulled myself together in time to close the door and stalk back to my seat. Like a broken Microsoft computer it was, my brain began to process the information, hanging at crucial points. "Hell." I cursed under my breath.
Jack had mistaken my question as a lunch request. He had thought I was asking him out. Oh my goodness. What had I done! Now my boss thought I was romantically interested in him. I clasped my head in between my palms to steady myself.
At least you know it's not today, my inner goddess was trying to be helpful.
So what? I had to ask Jack Hyde out for lunch every day until the day he tells me he's busy, so I can stalk him? Great plan, Steele. I rolled my eyes and sighed. Then, a bright spark ignited the light bulb in my head and I got an idea.
Maybe I could trick Jack into telling me who he was assisting over lunch! But how? I could use two possible approaches. Either I act depressed and go on and on about how Christian had abused me and wait for his testosterone levels to kick in or I act extremely happy that Christian was finally out of my life and maybe Jack would casually fill me in on what he had done. But which seemed more like Jack's personality?
I sighed. Things were getting exponentially complicated. Exactly why I had to boycott all things Christian until I set these few things straight, in a way, I was protecting him too. Somehow, I felt that if I got to the bottom of this little funny business, I would manage to get to a conclusion in the relationship crisis that was Christian and I.
But then again, I missed him. My computer desktop lit up with the screen saver, preceding a picture of Ray and myself was Christian and I at my graduation. My body yearned for him and my fingers felt empty and under-utilized without him. How he would lace his own through mine and bring them up to nuzzle my knuckles... It spread a surge of sadness and longing through me.
Why did he have to cheat on me? I swallowed the lump within my throat and forced myself to focus on the fact that I did not know that for sure.
Yeah, keep telling yourself that. My inner goddess rolled her eyes at me again in disbelief. Christian probably enjoyed his time away from you.
My insecurity bloomed once more as the thought haunted me. Eventually, it got too depressing that I had to rest my head down on the table for a while. The feeling of closing my eyes and relaxing weighed in the exhaustion and I was pulled off into the darkness.
I stirred to the sound of movement in my little office area follow by a door clicking shut. My eye lids felt heavy with sleep and I instantly knew that I was in big trouble with Jack. My clean streak was now disrupted by my inability to stay awake.
The strength slowly returned to my muscles and I pushed myself up from the wooden table, the ache in the right side of my neck settling it. Cupping the sore, I groaned as I forced my eyes open to face the music.
Instead of Jack, Christian was standing in front of the closed door with his arms folded across his chest. "Am I dreaming?" I whimpered, not fully awake.
"You'd wish." Christian said sourly, taking a few steps towards me.
"What the hell are you doing here?" I asked, stretching my neck as I straightened my posture. Thankfully, my heart was still fast asleep and so was my memory reel.
Christian's face set into an angry line. "I'm your fiancé, Anastasia Steele, and you didn't return home last night."
I shook my head at him in disbelief. "You're delusional. I've returned your ring, good bye and farewell."
Stalking up to me, Christian took me by surprise by slamming his fists into my wooden table. I jumped, fully alert now. "You. Had. No. Right. To." He seethed, breathing through his nose.
I had never seen Christian this angry before. His grey eyes torched with the emotion like they had a home within those beautiful cores. But there was no way I was letting him slip into my life once more. "Cheating on me stripped you of all rights." I was breathless, trying hard to regain my confidence. "I'm single and ready to mingle, Mr Grey."
His jaw clenched. "I will not conceal the fact that I am fuc**ng pissed, Anastasia."
I gave him a twisted smile, "You and me both."
"Stop this right now." He growled.
But, I was on a roll. "Is Leila donning my beautiful ring now?"
"WHAT THE FU**?"
"Mrs Leila Grey sounds divine, by the way." My heart squeezed.
"YOU CAN'T FU**ING ACCUSE ME FOR SOMETHING I DIDN'T DO." He barked, feral on so many different levels.
I flinched and leaned away. "I saw you, Christian."
It only seemed to piss him off even more. "WHAT THE F*** DID YOU SEE EXACTLY?"
I had expected begging and groveling, but never in a million years would I imagine that he would be furious with me. But here he was, balled fists and all, looking like he wanted to tear me apart with his sharpened teeth.
"ANSWER ME, ANASTASIA." He hollered, his voice level stinging my ear buds. "WHAT THE FLYING FU** DID YOU SEE?!" Before I could answer, he pursued his case. "YOU DID NOT CATCH US FUC*ING EACH OTHER, YOU ONLY SAW WHAT YOU WANTED TO."
"I saw her giving you a blowjob, Christian."
"NO. YOU. DIDN'T." He pounded the desk once more, eyes red with fury. "YOU SAW HER ON HER KNEES AND ME IN MY CHAIR AND JUMPED TO THE FUC*ING CONCLUSION."
It was hard to admit it, but he was right. The freaking desk was in the way. This was the possibility that Kate had presented to me as well, it was a possibility that I could not ignore. "I know." But there was something I had on my chest that I had to let go off. "Christian, can you tell me something?"
That seemed to soften him a little and his biceps relaxed. "For once you're clarifying something with me, baby. I wish you'd do it more often."
But he did not understand how talking it out made me felt. It was similar to confronting your inner demons, it was the prolonging of unnecessary torture and thing would just worsen. "I want an honest answer."
"I'm always honest, Ana." He claimed, grey eyes smoldering.
I hoped so. "Did going on your business trips give you a break from me?"
He was taken surprise by the question. "What are you asking exactly?"
I fought the impending tears and remained strong. "Did you enjoy being away from me?"
He gasped, as if in awe that I would have ever had such a thought. "Never, Ana." He reached for my hand and gently cradled it. "It drives me crazy to be away from you."
My heart sang for Christian once more and I returned his grip, enjoying the feel of his hand against mine. I knew that his overseas trips were genuine, he had needed to settle the problems John Doe was causing and he could never had fabricated his exhaustion.
He lowered himself to my eye level, "You can't keep punishing both of us for my past mistakes, Ana." Just like I had craved for so recently, he brought the back of my hand to his mouth and caressed it. "I hate to see you unmarked." His eyes blazed with annoyance. "I give you no reason to doubt me, baby. I willingly and honestly told you about my mistake with Leila."
That was a fact. The concept that I had found out directly from Christian and not from snooping about was a point to be considered. He had not tried to conceal it, but rather admitted it to me when I had asked. "Then why was she there?"
He shook his head. "I've no idea. The psych ward reported her missing a week back but I missed the notification in the flood of emails I was receiving." Of course he was referring to the endless alerts and updates on his Asia businesses. "I did not see her coming, she pounced on me, Ana."
I kept quiet, giving him the opportunity to explain himself. His other hand joined with my free hand and he held them tight, his eyes boring into mine as if urging me to listen and be convinced. "I wasn't expecting her, neither have I contacted her ever since I put her away."
"I thought maybe you cleared out the entire office so that you could meet her." I heard myself say.
Christian's eyes grew and he considered my point. "Not really. I called for a mass meeting to were at the conference room, I just had to swing back to the office to get my documents." So that explained the abandoned office when I had gotten there. "Taylor, had been with me, but you bought him lunch and I released him."
"Sushi." I pointed out.
Christian nodded. "Yes, the janitor spent a long while cleaning it off my floor."
I blushed, turning my head away. I had been carrying a lot of sushi that fateful day.
"Just know that she appeared out of no where and begged me to listen." He put on his serious tone once more. "It's because I kept ignoring her advances to contact me."
"Discuss what?" My voice was shaky.
He held my hand tighter, as if assuring me of his love. "She wanted to apologize for threatening you. So I sat down to let her speak and before I knew it, she fell to her knees in front of me to beg for forgiveness." With gritted teeth, I now knew why he had bore such an frustrated look. "No matter what I did, she wouldn't get up."
"I wish I could believe you, Christian." And I genuinely meant it. "But I just..."
His eyes pained. "Can't you trust me?"
I sighed. "I do... But put yourself in my position... Would you let this go?"
He knew exactly what I was talking about. Christian would most probably have beaten up the poor man at the spot to a pulp. No questions necessary. " I understand."
" I'm sorry, Christian." I wrapped my hands around his and soothed them the best I could. He gave me a sad smile. "I need some time."
"Can I atleast take you out for lunch, baby?"
"Sure!" I agreed immediately. Just then, Jack waved to me from his office. Dammit. My heart dropped. "Sorry, I have plans." Christian was not going to like this one bit.
Judging by my embarrassed expression, he picked up on the bad vibe. "Who the fu** with, Ana?" He was unimpressed, stepping away to get a better gage on my reactions.
If only I could tell him what was going on. There was a knock on the door and Jack popped his head in, he seemed momentarily stunned that Christian was in the room but quickly collected himself. "Mr Grey," he greeted rather reluctantly. "Ana, ready to go?"
Sofi Bonde, Fallout.
Elliott Yamin ; Wait for you
State of Grace; Taylor Swift
Wake up call; Maroon 5
Falling Slowly; Glen Hansard
Leave a review!