Chapter 1

Start Me Up


"I'm serious, Ana. How many bad things have you actually done?" Kate raises her perfectly arched eyebrow.

"Well..." I begin, racking my brain for something even remotely dangerous. "There was that time when I stole that belt from Essence?"

"That doesn't count."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm the one who stuffed it in your purse!" Kate giggles. "You didn't even know it was in there until we left the store!"

I shrug, laughing along with her. "Still, that's pretty bad ass, right? I mean, what's the worst thing you've done?"

She raises her eyebrows again, looking over her shoulder. "God, Ana, you don't even want to know."

"You'll never know unless you tell me," I challenge, squinting at her.

Kate turned back to me with glowing, devious blue eyes. She points to an older Vin Diesel-bald guy with tattoos and a rough face. "It was somewhere along the lines of that guy."

"I... don't understand," I confess, looking away from tattoo guy. Kate could get any man she wanted. "Why him?"

"Why not?" She shrugs demurely, then leaned towards me with a secret smile. "I'll tell you this much... it was exciting."

"But he's so much older... and looks like he's been through the rings."

"And the sex was mind-blowing," she sighs.

Amazed at her sexual discoveries, I shudder one more time. "Well, I could never-"

"That's my point exactly," her eyes travel up and down me, smiling. Then she meets my eyes with a sarcastic roll. "You're so innocent. It turns people off."

I cough on my drink, laughing unexpectedly with discomfort. "What does that got to do with anything?"

She shakes her head slightly. "All I know is, we've been sitting in this bar for over an hour and I've gotten 3 drinks from semi-attractive men, while you've gotten one. And I'm pretty sure it's just because he felt sorry for you."

I feel crimson rush to my cheeks and I look down at my napkin. "Your point?"

"Maybe you should spruce up your image a bit. Those stockings aren't doing anything for your legs, and that lumpy brown dress is such an eye sore-"

"Who cares?" I say defensively, reminding myself of a stubborn child. "Not everyone's sole mission each morning is to attract the opposite sex."

"Well, it should be." But after a moment she becomes quiet, studying me. "You wanna leave?"

I let out a sigh of relief, "Yes, please."


The next morning, I can't get Kate's words out of my head. Maybe I am dressing a little too... dull. Maybe I should show off my body a little. Not so much to land a date, but more to embrace my sexuality. Kate seems to have embraced hers and she couldn't be happier.

So instead of slipping on my usual neutral brown dress, I throw on a deep blue shift dress. And rather than donning loafers, I wear practical black kitten heels that belong to Kate. Black tights and a trench coat complete the look, as Kate put it. Then she proceeds to help me with my makeup. I never really understood fashion or makeup, so I was thankful for her help. It's great having a roommate.

Kate told me we were going to the bar that night, to show off my new look. I rolled my eyes at her announcement, but part of me also felt excited. Who knows, maybe I would meet someone.

On my way to work, I take the subway then walk across 56th to get my morning tea. As I'm crossing the street, my ankle wobbles a little in the tiny heels. I manage to catch my balance only to lose it again while skipping across a drainpipe. I probably would have landed on my ass, until someone's hands caught me.

The hands are strong and hard gripping my elbow and closing around my waist. I was nearly about to swoon until I realize I fell into him. I tripped onto the guy while he was probably on his way to an early meeting. I blush as I see the look of surprise on the older man's face.

"Agh, watch out!"

"I'm sorry," I blurt, meeting stern grey eyes. "I didn't see... I'm so sorry."

He lets me go slowly, watching my face in a way that makes my heart flutter. I convince myself it's only to make sure I have my bearings. He can't be interested.

"Are you hurt?" He asks in a deep, throaty voice that does things to me.

I shake my head while trying to form a coherent thought. "Of course not. I'm sorry, I guess I just... lost my balance." I add ruefully, "I'll be on my way now..."

"Wait," he calls, searching my face with careful eyes.

I turn back to him, nearly colliding with a woman in a power suit. "Yes?"

"My name is Christian. Christian grey." He waits, probably to see if I'd recognize his name.

I don't. "Pleased to meet you, Christian," I say, trying not to linger on his name. "I'm Ana. Steele."

He tips his head to a limo, almost as if he was showing off. "Would you like a lift, Ana?"

"No." I say, too quickly. Then add a soft smile. "I can manage. Thanks, though." That was when I further embarrass myself by doing a curtsey of all things. I try to make a hasty retreat after that.


Kate was waiting when I got off work. She decides I need to put more makeup on, as if I needed anymore goop on my face. I comply though, acting like her little toy doll. Or the younger sister she never had.

We skip hand and hand across the damp streets, heading to Kate's favorite bar. "Trust me, we are going to find you your very own little slice of badness."

I gawk at her. "I don't want bad, Kate. I just want... something." I finish, unsure of my thought. I remember the man from earlier. Christian Grey. Would I ever forget that name? Truth was, I didn't know what I wanted. But I sure as hell didn't want her to tell me. Which, of course, she did anyway.

"I'll tell you what you want. You want a guy to take you home tonight and make you forget about your dull, ordinary life, right?"

I shrug. "Maybe. I don't know. Do any of us ever know what we truly want?"

"Yes, we do," she giggles. We arrive at the bar, she held the door open for me, giving me a little wink. "The beginning of your life starts now."

I couldn't help thinking, maybe she was right.


A/N Thanks for reading! Please continue reading, also leave a short review and follow if this story seems promising. :)