"I'm teasing you, Steele," Christian said as he turned back to the stove and gave the sauce a quick stir.

"Very mature, Grey," she shot back.

He couldn't help but chuckle at her surly tone. "I can't help it if I like watching your cheeks turn pink."

"You like watching my cheeks turn pink?"

Christian put the spoon down and stepped to the side, then turned around so he was resting against the counter behind him. "I like making them pink," he clarified. "It's fun to get you going."

"Oh," she said, obviously surprised by his admission.

When she turned to walk away, Christian immediately groaned, and she she spun back around,

"What?" she asked, panicked.

He cleared his throat. "Are you aware that the word 'luscious' is splayed over your ass?"
"What!?"

When she peeked over her shoulder to try and get a look at her ass, her chest thrust forward and Christian had to force himself to avert his gaze. She's only 18. She's only 18. She's only 18, he chanted over and over in his head.

With a sigh, she resumed her way to the other side of the kitchen island and sat down on the bar stool. "OK. Well, these were the only clothes in there," she said motioning to the pink sweatpants and white button up shirt she was wearing. "So I'm assuming you took my other clothes and replaced them with these ones." She shrugged nonchalantly. "Maybe you did it on purpose so you'd have a reason to check out my ass."

"The bottom of your pants were wet," he reminded her, then grinned. "And do you really think I need a reason to look at your ass?"
"I'm surprised you didn't steal my bra," she joked. "It would've given you a reason to look at my chest."

His grin widened. "Ana, do you really think I need a reason-"

"OK. I get it," she interrupted shrilly, her pink shade darkening until she was almost red.


Ana could hardly believe she was sitting in a kitchen across from Christian Grey, that he was cooking dinner for her...and that he was actually flirting with her. She was no expert on men, but even she recognized this for what it was. She just didn't know if his flirting was an effort to calm her nerves or if he was attracted to her. And, unfortunately, she wasn't bold enough to ask him.

So she asked him something else instead. "What made you decide to join us this year?"

He shrugged as he hoisted himself up onto the counter; Ana couldn't help but notice how the muscles in his arms flexed beneath the fabric of his sweater with the action. She absently licked her lips as she imagined skimming her hands over his bunched flesh.

"I knew Elliot and Mia were going to be here," he answered, drawing her gaze to his face. "And my mom has been hinting heavily at how little she's seen of me lately."

"The guilt card, huh?" Ana asked with a laugh.

"That's the thing! She turns it all onto herself, and I know it's a ploy, but it works every damn time." He softened his voice as he tried to imitate his mother. "I know you have a life of your own. I just miss you when I go so long without having seen you. Don't worry about me; I'm just being selfish."

Ana wrinkled her nose. "Oh, yeah. That's hard to say no to."

Christian nodded. "Yes," he agreed dryly. "I believe most people find it impossible to say no to my mother."


Since it was almost dark and the wind had picked up, Christian had ventured outside in search of dry firewood. He insisted they build a fire now instead of waiting to see if the power went out, so Ana took the opportunity to go upstairs and look around. She wasn't big on television, so she was hoping to find a deck of cards or some games or books. Something to do while they were stranded here. But she sighed as she made her way down the stairs.

"There is not a single book in this place," she griped to Christian's back as he stoked the fire. "No games...nothing. What the heck do they do when they come here?"

As she descended the last step, she saw Christian's back stiffen and immediately regretted her question. OK, so maybe she could think of a few things to do, but...what would they do with the rest of their time?
"Maybe it's a romantic getaway," he said, his voice sounding a bit strained.

"But..." she sighed again, hesitant to ask her question. "What do they do when they aren't...being romantic?" she asked.

Apparently satisfied with the blaze in the fireplace, he stood and turned around; even from all the way across the room, she could see his eyes dancing. "Maybe they don't stop being romantic," he said with a shrug.

"Maybe," she said doubtfully.

"Do you want to watch a movie?" Christian suggested, changing the subject. "Who knows when the power is going to go out?"

"Sure," she said as she made her way to the couch.


Two and a half movies and a few bowls of popcorn later, the power went out; Christian was amazed it had held on for this long. He stood from the couch he'd been sitting on—there were two placed across from each other in the living room, a coffee table separating them; he'd taken the one that had been Ana-free—and made his way upstairs to get some blankets to make a bed on the floor.

Thankfully, Ana had fallen asleep in the middle of the second movie. The sound her laughter, the twinkling in her eyes—it fucking turned him on like nothing else ever had. He was struggling to keep his libido in check. Her sleeping helped...until he thought of how sexy her long, chestnut hair would be strewn over his pillow at home...his hand tangled in her hair as he pounded into her.

With a light groan, he made his way back down the stairs—his arms full of blankets. After making sure Ana was sufficiently covered on the couch and refusing to let himself linger, he made a bed for himself in front of the fireplace; the rooms upstairs wouldn't be warm enough for sleeping tonight.

He put his phone on his favorite play list, lowered the volume, then crawled beneath the blankets and closed his eyes to sleep.


Christian had no idea how much time had passed, but he was just dozing off when he felt Ana's warm body climbing in beside him.

"Ana?" he asked sleepily as he turned to face her. "What are you doing?"

"I kept slipping to the edge of the couch," she answered with a yawn. "When I almost fell off, I decided it wasn't worth risking my life," she joked.

"Oh," he said, his throat suddenly dry.

The firelight cast a light glow behind her, and he watched as her eyelids slid shut. He should roll onto his other side; he really should. Otherwise his libido was likely to rise again. But he couldn't bring himself to look away from her. Her hair was as sexy as he'd imagined, spread out over the light pillow case. With her lips parted slightly he could just hear her light breathing, followed by a sigh that seemed to go straight to his cock.

He rolled over onto his back—there really was no use taunting himself—and put his arms behind his head, watching the moving display the flames made on the ceiling as he took a deep breath and released it slowly. He needed to calm his body down, and settled on logic to aid him:

Fact – Ana was 18 years old.

Fact – Most likely, she was virgin.

Fact – She probably thought of him as an older brother, and would be mortified by his attraction to her.

Fact – Her fucking hand had just snaked beneath his sweater, and her fingertips were tracing the dips in his stomach!

"Ana," he hissed, reaching down and grabbing her wrist, halting any movement; it nearly killed him—where in the hell else had she been planning to touch him? "What the hell are you doing?" He kept his gaze on the ceiling, unable to look at her. If she saw the desire he was sure plagued his gaze, it would probably scare the shit out of her.

"I..." She sighed again, and again...southern regions of his body stirred. "I'm thinking about what it would be like to kiss you," she finally admitted in a whisper.

He tried to swallow but was unable, so he turned to face her. Big fucking mistake. The want in her eyes very nearly rivaled his own, and he couldn't lay there next to her any longer. Standing; they needed to be standing. He did, anyway. He jumped to his feet and looked down at her; the deflated look in her eyes nearly broke him, so he reached down for his phone, turned the volume up and tossed it on the nearest couch. The soft strains of Howie Day's Collide filled the room as he reached his hand toward her. "Dance with me," he said softly.

She didn't hesitate, just reached for his hand; he gave her a soft tug until she was on her feet. She did hesitate as she stepped toward him, but he splayed his free hand on her lower back and pulled her body closer to his, her hand trapped between them as it rested on his chest.

Standing—he found—had its own issues. Her soft curves pressed into him practically molding her body to his, and her raspberry scent taunted him. It wasn't the scent she usually wore, but it must have been what was in the shower.

They swayed gently from side to side, and when Ana's hand began to explore the hard planes of his chest, Christian's entire body stiffened. "Ana." His warning tone did nothing to stop her, and he took a small step back; maybe a warning glare would work.

But when he looked down at her, she didn't even need to speak. The pleading in her eyes was enough; her hand fell to his waist, and her fingers clenched at the soft fabric of his sweater.

"Dammit, Ana.," he rasped helplessly as he locked his gaze on hers and lowered his head.

Before their mouths could meet, he slid his tongue along the seam of her lips, and she parted instantly for him. His tongue slid inside of her mouth, and the sweet little moaning noises she made as she wiggled against him was enough to elicit a growling sound from his own throat.