Disclaimer: I own nothing...
A/N: Right, no joining on from a storyline from the books, no sequel... Just a good ole AU story... Do NOT expect it to be anything remotely like the books =) Pushing the boat out here with this... expect angst and drama, and heart break... However, I really hope you enjoy this!
Beauty and the Beast – Chapter One
There it was again – the deceit.
"No mother," Christian's voice travelled through the closed door as Ana remained sat on the edge of the bed. "It's my assistants," he lied, "She came over to give me important paperwork and must have forgot it."
"Her entire purse?" Christian's mother asked back. "A woman doesn't just forget that."
"She was in a rush," Christian continued in a dishonest manner. "She said she'd come back for it as soon as she could. It's been sorted." Christian found the lies were spiralling more and more and even he found them to be becoming totally unrealistic.
"Okay, fine," Christian's mother gave up and Ana knew her boyfriend had just given his mother a look that begged her to change the subject. "When are you going to finally settle down?"
"Not this again," Christian ground out through what appeared to be clenched teeth. "I don't know how many times you want to discuss this mother but, I am not the settling down type."
Ana heard the woman sigh, "I wish you would just settle down, Christian. You deserve to do that now. It's time to stop running from commitment. It's not something to be scared off."
"I don't need a woman in my life," Christian snapped back at his mother. "I do fine alone and I will do fine for the rest of my life."
Ouch that hurt, Ana's heart clenched fiercely at hearing that. Here she was, loving him, and he had admitted he didn't want a woman in his life. If that was the truth where did that leave her? God, she didn't even want to contemplate their relationship ending. Not when Christian was the man for her.
"I don't want to settle down. Not now, not next week and not in a few years time," Christian told his mother. "So give this chat to Mia or Elliot and get off my back."
"I am just looking out for your interests here. I love you, Christian and I just want you happy," his mother tried to reason with him. "Can't you see that?"
"I do and I am happy," Christian told his mother back with a tone full of ease, "Filthy stinking rich happy in fact."
Ana began to phase the pair out now as her eyes watered. Ana couldn't control herself anymore. As she listened to Christian lie to his mother, Ana felt her heart tear away from her sleeve and begin to fall to the floor. She felt like she was Christian's world when it was just them. She healed him, made him a better man but, when it came to his family – or hers – she didn't exist. To the general public, Christian Grey was a single and not willing to change that.
His attitude to life had changed, Ana knew that. She had overheard so many conversations over the year that she knew he had better relationships with his family. She had seen him change over the year they had been together. She had a man that made her happy. He kept her sane, he protected her. He loved her for the most part.
But the biggest killer right now was the fact that no one but Christian's security knew she existed.
And the worse part of it all was that after recently celebrating their first anniversary together, Ana was done. She loved a man that didn't want her for much longer. Their demise was tittering on the edge of a dangerous cliff front ready for the freefall to death.
"I thought she would never leave," Christian commented as he came back in, ready to resume where he and Ana were. "Everything okay, baby?"
"Why are we in this relationship?" Ana asked, looking at her hands as the fingers began to tremble as the nerves erupted in her body. "What is the point in keeping this going when we don't make it public?"
"Not this again," Christian sighed as he closed the door and came in. He come from one argumentative woman to another. "We've been over this. This is better than anything else." He watched Ana look up at him. God, she was a beautiful sight with bright blue eyes and kissable lips that he wanted to bite at every given moment. He wanted a future with her and he knew it would be a perfect future. She had shown him he was worthy of that and he wasn't going to let that go.
"Yes this again," Ana told him and took a stand. "Was any of the true? That you don't want a woman?" She asked and saw him gawp at her, "It has to be somewhat true seeing as no one knows about me outside of here. I live a double life for you and I don't even know where we are going. I can't be hidden away forever from your family."
"What has brought this on?" Christian asked her, his arms crossing over his chest.
"The fact that I love you, Christian," Ana admitted and for the first time meant it. "I've fallen in love with you but, I can't continue to fall in love with you if this is the life destined for us. I don't want to be your dirty little secret anymore, Christian, when I want more. It isn't fair anymore. All these lies and sneaking around. It can't go on forever."
"You know we did this for a reason," Christian stated sternly, remembering her of their mutual decision.
"I know," Ana mumbled unhappily as she remembered them both agreed to keep their relationship on the down low. "But when we made that decision everything was new and fresh and fuck, I had just given you my virginity. I didn't expect to have a wonderful year with you, Christian. I didn't expect to fall madly in love with you." Christian closed his eyes to the idea of being loved and it broke Ana's heart. "Don't look like that hurts because you know it's true."
"I know," Christian whispered as he let the words swirl in his head. He knew Ana loved him, he had never felt more loved in his life than he had in the time since Ana was literally thrust into his life.
"I can't continue this if we're just going to be deceiving about it," Ana threatened, her tears growing in strength. Their army readying for a powerful onslaught as she readied to speak again, "I can't keep this relationship going if we aren't going to be more open."
"You don't mean that," Christian whispered at her, his voice practically stolen from him. "When the time is right we'll go public. When it's right for both of us we'll go public."
"But when is that?" Ana asked him back, begging for an answer, praying it was soon. "How do I not know that the right time for you is in another four maybe five years? I can't put my life on hold for that long, Christian. Not when I feel like a sordid secret to you."
"You're not a sordid secret to me," Christian calmed her, stepping towards her to grab her.
"Then why am I locked away all the time?" Ana asked, her tone sharpening at him. "Why am I locked in here every time someone comes over? I feel like a monster. Fuck it, I feel like I'm an abomination to you at times." She locked her hands into her hair and let out a grieving sob, "Is that what you want for the rest of your life?" She looked up at him, locking his gaze with hers, "You want to live a perfect public life without a public love life whilst your woman remains hidden in this tower?"
Christian rubbed a hand to his brow. He had lived like this for so long it felt natural and he couldn't exactly just jump ship from it now. It was a comfort zone – not to mix business and pleasure. However, in doing so, in loving a life so full of duplicity, Christian Grey was seemingly going to be losing what he loved most – Anastasia Steele.
At first she had given him her body after claiming lust at first sight and now he realised it was love at first sight but, in a bid to keep self preservation and to protect them both from the media whirlwind, it was now back firing when he was losing it all.
And suddenly Ana was leaving the room. "I can't do this anymore. Christian, I love you so much but, not enough to feel like this anymore," she felt the grief explode through her body. Was this what heartbreak really felt like? "I can't live anymore feeling like you don't love me. I deserve to be loved, Christian. I deserve to go out on dates with my boyfriend and I deserve to be shown to the world like the best accessory you have. Except I'm not to you am I? I'm just the girl that you come home to who keeps the bed warm." A tear streamed down her face as the realisations fell into place, "I'm not worth more than that to you am I?" She didn't need an explanation she just grabbed her bag and began to live.
"You can't go," Christian stopped her, rushing before her to block her exit. "It's late. You cannot go out now. We need to talk this out. We need to sort this out."
"Not right now. I cannot stay here," she whimpered as she felt trapped. "I need to get out." She went to dodge his body but, he was too fast. He grabbed her and held her in place. He was going to let her go. "Let me go! I don't want to be here right now, Christian. Don't make me your prisoner," she begged him, "please." When he let her go, her heart plummeted to the ground completely. "I'm sorry," she felt a need to flee from the apartment and to apologise for doing so.
She was just sorry that her love for him wasn't enough.
And just like that she was out in the cold, running with a broken heart and she felt like her soul had been twisted and taken a major beaten. She wanted to feel loved and adored and for the most part she did but, there was a part of her that felt like she was missing out.
For Christian Grey she felt she could have waited but, now she saw she couldn't.
She'd waited a year in the shadows for this?
Wiping her face she turned and looked back at Escala. She looked right up the flat face of it and at the penthouse that topped it all. She had left the man she loved up there and she hadn't really given him an opportunity to fight. If she felt like she wasn't loved then surely words were only futile?
Turning, Ana decided to just go home and drown her sorrows. She would numb the pain with alcohol and she would prayer she would never have to feel her cracked heart ever again after today. The grief that consumed her was breaking her down. It made her knees weak and she actually just wanted to either curl up in a ball and cry out the pain or run back to Christian and beg forgiveness.
Surely she was passed that now?
Suddenly a burst of pain ripped through her face and down her neck and she barely was able to remember the sound of shattering glass and the feeling of alcohol running down her body. She stumbled backwards onto the cusp of the darkness formed by an alleyway beside a boutique and felt herself dragged a little into the pitch black. She was still so stunned she just managed to put her hands up to shield herself from more hits.
However, she wasn't able to prevent much when the darkness hid the culprit of this attack and Ana couldn't tell where the next hit was going to come from. She felt sharpness cut through her skin on her arms, on her chest and, worst of all, on her face before she heard more glass shattering. She wondered if the weapon used on her was now destroyed and she was spared.
When no more hits came, all Ana could do was fall more against the wall behind her dazed and terrified, shock filtering throughout her body. Had this really happened? Was this moment really happening right now?"
"He won't want you now," a feminine voice hovered above Ana, thrashing down one last time with something sharper than before. Once it had done the final piece of damage the attacker let it drop to the floor, allowing it to shatter before fleeing from the scene, leaving Ana behind and seriously hurt. She remembered hearing more glass break underfoot and as she looked up hazy from the shock she could only work out a hooded figure running off back into the light of the street.
Slipping to the gravelly ground, Ana couldn't even get up off of the floor anymore. She just raised her hands to her face to evaluate the damage with her fingertips only to feel deep gauges and rushes of adrenaline fuelled pain race from the left side of her face down into her chest where she had taken the attack the most.
Pulling away, she shakily held her hands up to the streetlights. She howled out as she realised her hands were covered in bright crimson. The whimpering that followed out of her mouth was almost inhuman. Christian didn't wholly love her and now she had no chance to win him back.
The blood on her hands, the blood she could fell pulsating down her body only started to make her dizzying head swirl more. She didn't need a mirror to know her fate. Even though she knew it already and she knew it was going to be dire, Ana couldn't quite believe the one thought in her head.
How could he love someone that was now so damaged?
How would Christian Grey love a monster?