The elevator doors opened and Richard stepped out with Olivia hanging limply at his side, his movements more rough than she deserved. This was not going the way he had planned, but he knew it would not mean the end of everything if she was dead. Even if she could not feel the blows he dealt her the effect on him would be the same. He could imagine the pain, and in that he could find pleasure; he was talented at imagining and ruthless in his enjoyment.
Further down the corridor there were two doors leading in from the stairwell beyond, and he kept one eye on it while he dragged her limp body towards a different set of doors in the opposite direction. His fingers, which had been so skilled when they had touched the girl, were clumsy as he sought out the key that would enable them inside his office. He had had the lock installed for this reason, so that when he had company he wouldn't be disturbed. It was bad enough if anyone from the company saw him taking an attractive young lady into his office alone, and not reappear until hours later, but it would be worse if anyone caught him red-handed in the act of forcing himself on her. He had done many a woman in this office during his time here, and with each he had threatened terrible and horrible things if they spoke about it to anyone. This policy had worked until now, because he felt certain that if Olivia spoke out against him, to anyone, it didn't matter who, all his previous victims would make the mistake of thinking that they could too. He couldn't allow that.
Finally, he had the right key in the right place and had the door open. With barely a glance downwards to check that he wasn't dropping her into anything sharp or deadly, he released her from his grasp and she fell, the only sound her dead weight hitting the floor. She was not dead, her heart was still forcing blood from the gash in her neck as he watched, but it would not be long now.
The clock is ticking, Richard thought as he watched the second hand move on his expensive platinum-plated watch. Better hurry up Christian Grey.
Olivia made a sound that was half gurgle half speech. Even as her world was fading into black, she could appreciate how amazing it was that she was even capable of that. Her eyes were too heavy to open but she could move her lips, which was strange. The pain was gone and nothing was left in it's place; she was numb all over except for a tingling in her finger-tips, and she could feel coldness. It was only a tiny bit of sensation, but she focused on it entirely to keep anchored in the moment. All she knew in that moment was that she could not let Christian think she was dead.
He crouched down beside her and his smile grew unsure around the edges. His eyes were gentle, even, as he stroked her cheek. "Maybe I will regret this after all," his fingers were so soft against her cheeks, smoothing her descent into darkness. He extracted from his pocket a thin piece of plastic and caught both her wrists up in just one of his hands. If things had been different, if his pride would allow such a thing, he would have done things differently and this beautiful woman would not have had to die.
Elliott called something up from down below, but Christian could not comprehend the words and ignored his brother. His leg muscles were starting to burn with exhaustion and his lungs felt like they were on fire—smouldering in his chest. Two more flights of stairs to go and then he would be on the top floor, where he knew he would find Olivia. The thought of her helpless and afraid made him feel reckless, and he knew that if he lost his mind he would also lose her. He had to be indifferent to her state when he found her, he had to shut off any part of him that would not want to dominate, and become the man he never wanted her to see.
If she was still alive.
Richard pinched her cheeks when the tears had dried and watched as a faint pink bloomed on the surface. She wasn't dead, and that was good; he wanted her alive and conscious, so she could feel all the things he was doing to her. "Are you awake, Olivia?" He asked anyway. "Can you feel this?" He ran a fingernail down from her chin to the base of her neck, grazing the flesh and leaving a shallow scratch. He pulled at her top and listened with sublime satisfaction as the thin cloth tore down the middle and revealed beneath more flesh yet to be marked, though marking her was only part of his plan. Scars were not what he did this for, it was her pain he desired most and it did not matter to him what he had to do to find it.
She was a prisoner in her own body. She could see nothing, hear nothing but white noise in her ears, but she could feel everything and what she felt now was pain. She did not know where it was coming from, what part of her hurt the most, but she could feel that it was only getting worse. What was he doing to her now? She knew that he would not be satisfied just because now she was barely conscious, but it was sickening to imagine what else he could have planned for her.
"Why so quiet, Olivia?" There was a groan of satisfaction and the sound was all primal satisfaction, the sound of the darkness every man had somewhere within him. Most of the human population kept that part of themselves hidden from themselves, if they felt it at all, but not Richard. She could sense his growing need, thick and palpable, in the air and her heart leapt when his head suddenly turned to something just out of her sight. He growled and it was a sound more menacing than any she had heard before. "Christian Grey..."
He pushed through the stairwell doors into the hallway of the top floor and stopped dead in his tracks. "What have you done to her?" he asked, but of course he knew. The run up here had given him time to think and he had imagined a situation like this, but it still felt as though he had been punched in the stomach. He had hoped that he would not be too late, but he should have known better and run even faster. Could he have? He could not know, but if it had been possible it was too late now.
It was too late.
Richard raised his fingers to her face and stroked her cheek almost fondly, smiling at his foe all the while. He knew how this must be killing him and wanted to make his suffering last for as long as possible. After all the scheming and plotting, he knew he deserved some kind of reward and this was reward enough... for now... but there would be more chances he knew.
Christian's face was impassive as he fought to keep his anger in control. Losing control would do neither him nor Elliott, nor Olivia for that matter, any good. He had to remain in control. Control was everything. His fist tightened and his eyes grew harder that stone as he considered Richard and what he would do next—he had to be in control and be ready for anything. "Why?" Why? Why her? Why me?
Christian? She thought, feeling fingers touching her face gently and knowing in her heart that it must be him. The pain was going away now, which was nice, but what would be left once it finally ceased? She hadn't wanted to be feel that agony any more, but this numbness was maybe even worse, this feeling of nothing. The pitch-blackness was slippery and wet and she felt as though she were falling through it faster and faster, feeling it rush around her. Christian!
Fuck this, he thought, and unleashed the fury that had been clawing at his throat from the moment hew knew who was behind Olivia's disappearance. Richard did not even look up, he remained lost in his own success and blinded by it, and he did not comprehend what Christian was about to do until his throat was squeezed between Christian's two fingers. He did not even struggle as the life was choked out of him.
"You will never do this to a woman again." Christian was speaking to the limp man as if the man was still capable of hearing him, but the man wasn't. And so, as he let Richard's body fall to the ground at his feet, he did not feel even a little guilty about having killed a man—there had been no other choice, because if he had been allowed to live and continue doing what he had his fetish would have made Christian an accessory to murder, even if only in his mind.
If he had told her about his own... he did not want to think the word fetish... his... his preferences, would she have been willing to even try it? He shook his head. How messed up would he have to be to be thinking of these things with her lifeless body at his feet? Was he as much of a monster as Richard had been?
"It's not the same," Elliott said, watching his brother jump. He could see the bodies, see his brother standing over them, but he was not afraid. He put a hand on Christian's shoulder and murmured something almost too quiet for him to hear. "You wouldn't do this kind of thing, it's not your style."
But Christian had to wonder what Olivia would have thought about that statement.
The next day, mid-day by the time Christian was able to make himself get out of bed and get dressed, he stopped at the reception of Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc and demanded to know where Olivia was, and why she hadn't answered the e-mails he had sent her the night before. This was just for show, to set up the lie that he and Elliott had devised to explain the disappearance of his recently hired employee. There would be questions, they knew, and it would be better to set the ground-work for the lies now.
"I don't know, Mr Grey," the pert blond behind the desk said, not meeting his angry eyes, "Should I call her, her cell number is recorded right here in..."
"No," he said, perhaps too hastily, thinking it was a bad idea to seem too interested. He made a mental note to get her details deleted as soon as possible—the last thing he wanted was for his receptionist to ring her number, leave a message, only for it never to be picked up. Which reminded him...
Even though the wound Olivia had left, open and bleeding, in his heart was still fresh, he knew on a practical note that he would need to replace her immediately if he was going to distract himself from the doom and gloom and get any work done. He had a meeting in fifteen minutes, but after that he would ask Andrea to set up interviews for a new personal assistant.
Elliott knew people, and for that Christian was glad. By the time Christian arrived at work the next day there was no sign of the bodies being found by the police, and no policemen knocking at his door. He knew there must have been evidence linking him to the murders, but somehow his brother had fixed it so nothing was found by the police and their dogs. He would have to thank him somehow.
"The first interviewee is waiting for you in the reception, Sir,"
Christian turned suddenly, his heart giving a lurch. First interviewee... how many would there be, and how likely was it that he would ever find the right one, the first time? He knew that he could not expect her to be anything more than an assistant, and that knowledge felt like a lead weight in his stomach. "Who—what's her name?"
The employee, he didn't know her name, answered without missing a beat—eager to please him, but unable. "Miss Kavanagh,"
"The one with the paper," he remarked dryly, already regretting ever having made this interview, but he knew instinctively Miss Kavanagh would be exactly what he needed.
A/N: How was it? Review please!