Hey guys- My first version of this story got taken down because you cant write FF about a real person... Who knew... I changed a few names and details so here is Fifty Shades of New York... If you floowed and reviewed before please do it again... Thanks XOXO PPP
It's an early Friday morning in August and I am dressed and ready for work, a simple pair of leather sandals and a tank sundress that ties at the waist, it is way too hot for much else. I look out of the window of our new apartment off Central Park West, the bustle of the city a few floors away. Bright yellow checkered cabs passing by, a few busses filling the air with toxic fumes, two police cars with flickering lights and blaring sirens. The streets are full of people moving separately but some how together like grains of sand blowing in the wind. Its fascinating to watch as it all some how works together. The movement of the city is a complicated ballet, scored to an orchestra playing Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms. I was merely a stage hand, cloaked in black unseen by anyone but I was still happy to be in the theater at all.
I never saw myself in New York, I was content with my simple sheltered life in Portland and the idea of moving Seattle after graduation. I had applied for several internships in my field and I thought I would find a job at one the publishing houses the area and over time make a name for myself. I dreamed of becoming an editor and finding that small story that was magic and bring that magic to the masses. Maybe I would meet a man, someone kind and decent like my dad and we would get married and have a few kids. That was the plan and it was a good plan, a really good plan but I guess even the best laid plans can change.
Kate Kavanaugh my best friend and roommate wrote this article about a local billionaire for the school paper and it caught the eye of a editor for the New York Times. They offered her a job, not an internship and the idea of working for The Times was too much for her to pass up so our plans of Seattle and an apartment by Pikes Place Market went up in proverbial smoke.
"Ana, you have to come with me to New York. I mean you and me and the Big Apple. Dad is buying me an apartment and I just can't imagine being there without you." She looked at me with her big green eyes, hands clasped together begging me to join her. The idea of leaving the safety of Portland behind for Seattle was unnerving but New York well that was worthy of a full on panic, so I knew I had to do it. My father was convinced that it was a once in a life time chance and I had to take it and so I did. Even though I had this nagging feeling that I was leaving something behind, the life that I was supposed to be living.
We moved in on a Saturday of July fourth weekend. It was hot as hell but the city was empty. Literally empty, everyone off on Long Island to escape the heat. Her father bought us a two bedroom apartment near the park, it was small but perfect, like a French pied-a-terre. The main room was flanked on each side with our respective bedrooms the kitchen was small and pushed against the far wall when you walked in the front door. The floors were old worn herringbone hardwoods the color of honey and the walls were high in the middle, sloping down and capped off by intricate moldings painted a bright shiny white. There was a small wood burning fireplace that took center stage, we didn't need it now but come Christmas time I could imagine myself curled up in front of it reading Little Women and sipping a hot cup of tea. Her father had it furnished and the designer really hit the nail on the head. The walls were a pale blue grey that added warmth and sophistication to the small space, the curtains a sheer white letting the natural light stream in from the large windows. The sofa was compact, modern clean lines and covered in a pale grey velvet and crisp white piping. A worn pine table and trendy clear acrylic chairs were in the small dining nook and our bedrooms were just as simple awaiting our own personal things that should be arriving any day.
That first night we ate pizza straight from the box on the floor and drank wine from paper cups. We talked for hours about all the things we were going to see and do. Kate and I could not be more opposite, she wanted to go to the hottest clubs and I wanted to go to MoMa. She was looking forward to shopping on Fifth Avenue and I wanted to go to the Union Square Farmers Market. She was blonde, I was brunette. She was a sex goddess and I was a virgin. We were a true testament to the theory of opposites attract but we offered each other a very important thing - balance.
I knew that because of Kate I, Anastasia Rose Steele would in fact dance in the hottest clubs NYC had to offer. I knew that I would stroll down Fifth Avenue and imagine myself buying something. I knew that she was allow me to drag her to art openings and farmers markets, Shakespeare in the park; Sitting together on an old blanket sipping beer listing to the Bards time worn words. I felt free for the first time in my life, free like anything was possible and that I was at the start of something great. I knew I didn't belong here, of that I was sure but I couldn't wait to explore and make it home.
The first month went by so quickly, but I found a job working in the accounting department as an assistant for Global Publishing, it's main focus was its two very popular fashion magazines: Couture and Stitch. It was not my dream of working with novels and authors but it was a start and honesty I was lucky to have a job at all. My boss was a pudgy man by the name of Gregory McArdle, he was in his late forties with no personality to speak of and breath that always smelled like garlic but he was kind and treated me with respect. My days were spent in a desk answering his calls, making appointments, travel arrangements and ordering lunch. He highlight of my day was stuffing envelopes or filing documents. It sucked - a lot actually but hey everyone needs to start somewhere. Kate was in an entry level job too, her main purpose was to fact check other writers work, so it was nice that we were in the same boat.
August in Manhattan is no joke, it is a hot, smelly, sweaty mess. The subways are a daily dose of hell that I am forced to endure to get to my office. The people are all in a bad mood, seriously its like everyone in Manhattan has their period, it reminds me of tigers in the wild. There is something animalistic and primal about everyone's gait, they could fight or fuck at any given moment. There pulse that only exists here. Oh and the fact everyone is walking around half naked. I have seen more nipples poking though tank tops and butt cheeks hanging out of daisy dukes than I care to admit and even Kate has gotten in on the act. Not for nothing I like my rear end covered when I sit on a seat on the subway. Call me crazy.
The one great thing about working in the fashion industry… the office closes at noon on Fridays in the summer…NOON! So I have the rest of the day to do what I wish. Kate is not so lucky and works a full Friday. I have been spending my Friday afternoons exploring the city on my own. Columbus Circle, Washington Square Park, Little Italy but today I think I will take a walk around Central Park and relax. It's too hot for much else.
I walk through the gate in search of some shade and it quickly finds me, the lush tall trees standing so still, not even a hint of a breeze to cool the damp humidity in the air. My sun dress is a light chambray and even that feels like too much clothing as a feel the sweat on the back of my calves. A bead has formed on my top lip and I lick it gently tasting the salt of my own skin. There is something undeniably sexy about the summer in the city and energy that I have never felt before. I walk slowly sipping a smoothie I picked up at Starbucks along the way. For a moment a wave of disbelief hits me. I am living and working in New York, my apartment is a short walk away from the most famous park in the world. Ana Steele this is your life. I have come a long long way from the girl that grew up in Montesano. Heck I have come a long way from the girl I was three months ago, crying over her fathers hospital bed missing her college graduation, thinking life as I knew it was over.
"Hey baby girl." My dad's voice comes through my cell phone and it was a welcome sound of home and a reminder of how far I have come and a marker for how far I still need to go. "How is the big bad city treating you?"
"Its good dad, really good. I am at Central Park and I was thing about that time you took me out on the lake to go fishing…"
"Oh you mean the time you fell out of the boat kiddo?" I can hear the smile on his face and I know he can hear the smile on mine.
"Yup, I was never graceful was I dad?" I am giggling, I can't help myself really. My dad always makes me feel like I am ten years old and that is a good thing.
"Not even a little." I can hear the exhaustion in his voice now and I am reminded that he is fallible and human, not the superhero that lives in my mind. A few months ago his was hooked up to oxygen and tubes and wires keeping him alive.
"How are you feeling?"
"I am doing good, better then good. I am going back to work next week." My heart rises up into my throat, his job was stressful and the doctors said that stress needs to be avoided.
"Do you think that is a good idea, I mean you just had a heart attack." It was the worst moment of my life, when I saw Jose Sr. name pop up on my phone, I knew in my gut that something was wrong. He and my dad have been friends for years and his son Jose Jr. and I were as close as siblings.
"The doctors gave me the all clear Ana, I am going crazy sittin' around with nothing to do. There is only so much poker playing and Jeopardy one man can take. I am going to start back three days a week and see how that goes."
"You promise me that you will take it easy?"
"That I do."
"I miss you daddy. Maybe I should have stayed…" The guilt I felt for leaving him behind was eating away at me but he insisted that I go.
"Ana, don't even go there. You are right where you belong, It was bad enough that you missed your graduation for me, there was no way in hell you were going to put your life on hold. I am fine and you need to live your life and see where it takes you. Now I miss you too, and I love you very much…"
"I love you too."
"Now get off this phone and go capture your destiny."
I begrudgingly hang up and slip the phone back into my cross-body bag, taking a long sip of my melting smoothie, the condensation dripping on my dress. I lean over the edge of the of the stone bridge and just watch the stillness of water, the fish swimming just beneath the surface. There are birds flying over head and butterflies and bees everywhere I look. My father was three thousand miles away but very close to my heart and mind, here more then anywhere else. I will always associate my father with nature and the great outdoors, the smell of camp fires and the woods after the rain.
I could feel the sun beating down on my back as the sweat rolled down. Resting my drink down on the ground between my feet I pulled my hair up into a messy bun high up on the top of my head and turned to leave. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man standing a few yards beside me leaning over the bridge just like I was. His long sinewy legs stretched, showing off his tanned hard worked muscles. He is wearing tight light blue shorts that hit him just at the knee and a very thin white v-neck tee shirt. It hangs off his frame so that the sun pours through and I can see the shadow of his body that lies beneath. I am mesmerized by the muscles in his forearms and the bulge of his biceps through the white fabric of his shirt. His body is glistening with a sheen of sweat. I watch in awe when he runs his hands through the thick unruly mass of his jet black hair and then stretches his arms over his head with such ease and grace.
He turns his head to me, and I see a hint of a smile on his lips as he slowly removes his Ray Ban aviators. There is something perfectly imperfect about his face, the dark stubble across his sharp jaw line, the wrinkles and creases in the corners of his eyes that are as bright and blue as the sky hanging over the city. A small scar stretching high on his cheek. He smiles broadly now our eyes locked, his white teeth perfectly straight and he stands up tall turning his body to mine. I feel this surge of giddy energy and I can't help but smile back.
And then I hear Kate's voice in my head going on and on about this male model she is obsessed with, his face is the screen saver on her phone and his body adorns her iPad. I close my eyes tight and open them again hoping that I am wrong and that this beautiful man before me is not him but it is. I try to pull all of Kate's blubbering out of the catacombs of my memory and remember his name. David something… I know that if I leave with out getting his picture Kate will never speak to me again so I take a deep breath and take a few steps closer to him. David Green? David Golden? Goddard… David Goddard…
"Um… excuse me." His thick eyebrows raise up in amusement and he crosses his arms against what I can only assume to be his very hard his chest. I can feel my breath hitch as I catch a small whiff of him. Citrus and musk and something else I can't place but it is rich and exotic. I feel dizzy and sleepy like I am walking through the poppy fields in Oz. "I know that this is incredibly rude but are you David Goddard?" There is a brief moment of disappointment of his face and I can see his stance change just a bit, like before he was open and now he was closed.
"Yes." His one word response is clipped and tight as he looks away from me back at the water, annoyed and I regret asking him at all.
"Well, you see my best friend she just loves you… would you mind if I took your - um… picture?" He turns his eyes back to mine but the warmth has not returned.
"Just your best friend loves me?" He voice has loosened just a bit and his accent is unbelievably sexy, he is British but not stuffy. "Not you?" I laugh out loud at the idea, male models and fashion are so not my wheel house.
"God No…Uh…I mean, I am not into male models and all that crap…" Insert foot in mouth and back away slowly Steele. He looks slightly wounded and I can feel the blood rush to my cheeks. " I mean… well…not crap, what you do isn't crap… I just you know am not into fashion and celebrity and stuff like that. Its just not my thing. NOT that there is anything wrong with it… I mean fashion is very important, if not for fashion we would all be walking around naked…" Shut up Steele! Shut up! His eyes narrow and he is looking at me strangely but not speaking, it is unnerving and I am already a nervous wreck. "Anyway… never mind. I am sorry that I bothered you." I turn to walk away and I feel his fingers wrap around my wrist pulling me back. His touch is soft but commanding and I yield to it immediately. He cocks his head to one side and purses his perfectly shaped lips ever so slightly.
"What is your name?"
"Ana…Anastasia… but everyone calls me Ana." I bite down on my lower lip, his hand still around my wrist making ever so faint circles with the tips of his fingers.
"Ana it is very nice to meet you." There is this moment where our bodies lean into to one another and I think he is going to kiss me. I am willing it to happen, wishing it would happen but instead he releases my wrist and takes a step away. "Do you have plans Ana? I would love to take you to lunch."
"Now?" I ask out of sheer shock.
"Yes Ana now. There is a place not far from here right one the lake." He extends his hand and I look at it blankly for a moment before I extend mine in kind. His hand is hot and smooth as his finger lace with mine and in the back of my mind my fathers words are playing in my head… Go capture your destiny… Somehow I think it just captured me.
I hate New York this time of year, its hot and humid as a monkeys ass. I should be on beach in Cannes, relaxing and gearing up for the new season but no I am stuck in the pits of hell because my manager Giles convinced me to sit on the panel of this film festival as a favor to a friend. Thank god the worst of nightmare is over. I spent hour after hour watching one horrid short film after another. They had no beginning, middle or end, just moderately attractive people reciting ridiculously bad dialogue on shaky film. Now all I have to do is give out the awards on Saturday night and my obligation is done. I expressed to him a strong desire to get into film work, I have a made a few shorts over the years but I am looking for more. He thinks that dipping my toe in is the best way to go if I wanted to be taken seriously and I have to admit that I agree. Everything I have done has been carefully crafted and my impending film career will follow suit.
I am trying in vain to enjoy a cup of coffee on a Friday morning but my phone wont stop ringing. Is it too much to ask for a moment of stillness and silence. Apparently it is. My agent is a bloody fool, I keep telling him over and over how much I do NOT want to do this silly ad for Japanese shaving cream. I couldn't give a dogs bullocks how much they want to pay me. My image and brand is as important as my name. I can't just bastardize it in some cheesy half cocked advertisement. He does not seem to understand or care that a million dollars won't change that. I am sure he is more concerned with his percentage then my image.
"Walter how may times do I have to tell you no. Maybe I should say it in another language, perhaps that would make it clear to you."
"David you are being unreasonable. They are going to pay you a boat load of money for one days work. I don't see what you are being so difficult." I lean back into my chair, and take a sip of my espresso. I hate Starbucks coffee, but it is better then the mud they were offering at the hotel. I am spoiled by the rich perfectly brewed coffee in Paris. But then again I am spoiled in general.
"Because I can be. I have worked long and hard for the luxury of being difficult." He continues with his best attempts to convince me and I tune him out as my attention is drawn to the front door. A girl walks in and normally women have little affect on me. I have seen them all up close. They have been draped across me for ads in magazines and wrapped around me on red carpets. But this girl is different. She walks through the door, her bright blue eyes wide and brows raised, the cold air causing her sweaty skin to pucker and I can see a chill run through her slight frame. She stands on the long line patiently, so I can tell she is not a native New Yorker. Her legs are long and despite the late summer they are still pale creamy white as her slender delicate arms and chest. This is not a sexy girl, yet there is something very sensual about her. She possesses something interesting, a spark that only she has and maybe only I can see. She fidgets, raising up and down on her toes, twisting the ends of her long chestnut hair, slapping her thighs with the flat of her palms in rhythm to a song that plays only in her head. I don't think she has had a still moment in her life.
"Walter, I have to call you back." I hang up my phone, not caring that Walter was mid-sentence and slip in into the pocket of my shorts, my eyes never leaving this slip of a girl before me. She looks at the case full of food, eying a cookie but shakes her head at the idea and orders a smoothie instead. Maybe she is a model, she lacks the necessary grace of one but that is something that can be worked on, I mean look at Kate Moss for Christ's sake. I chuckle to myself because at the last minute she does in fact order the cookie, a broad childlike smile on her face. She takes a big bite as she walks out the door. Nope, not a model.
I am not sure what possesses me but I can't help but follow her out the door, as if an invisible string is tied from her ankle to my own and I have no choice but to go. I keep a fair distance back, still trying to figure out what in the bloody fuck I am trying to accomplish when I see her walk into Central Park. It's my favorite place in the City and I know it as well as the parks back home in London. This girl is getting better and better with each passing moment.
She walks for a while and I am starting to feel like a creepy stalker or the paparazzi that I hate so fucking much. Maybe I should just walk away, that is the smart thing to do. Just walk away but then she picks up her phone and calls her dad. He dad for crying out loud. Her voice is sweet and kind I am surprised there is no Mid-western accent to be found and that I can't place where she is from. What I can tell is that her voice heavy with concern for him and I cant help but stand there and listen. I lean against the bridge just within ear shot, he was sick and she is worried.
"I love you too."
Oh bugger she is a sweet, nice girl. Bugger, bugger, bugger. Fuck. I should go because what I am looking for out of this girl is a quick fuck and nice to meet you. She is not that girl by a long shot. She is a wake up beside you smelling of sex and heaven, making pancakes in your dress shirt kind of girl. I have just made the decision to leave, when her eyes catch mine. Her eyes devour me, literally taking me in and I have to it admit its nice being me. Looking how I look has made me a fortune that is growing by the minute. Looking like me gets me the attention and adoration of girls like her.
"Um… excuse me." Her blue eyes look scared and her voice shakes a bit, I am making her nervous "I know that this is incredibly rude but are you David Goddard?" Fuck, of course she knows who I am, which is of course what I want. The more sweet young things that know my name and face the stronger my brand becomes but there was a small part of me hoping that this sweet young thing was clueless to my existence.
"Yes." My one word response comes out somewhat harsher then I intended considering that I followed this girl like a puppy dog and I want her to like me.
"Well, you see my best friend she just loves you… would you mind if I took your - um… picture?" Yes of course a photo op, you silly quack of course that what she wants. Time to put on the show.
"Just your best friend loves me. Not you?" I lower my voice an octave and make it as thick as honey, its my fuck me voice and women love it. She laughs at me, loudly as if the idea that she could have a crush on me is the most ludicrous thing in the world. I feel foolish and slightly wounded and the worst part is the insults just keep coming.
"God No…Uh…I mean, I am not into male models and all that crap…" The nerve of this girl Crap!? I mean sure I am not saving the world or feeding starving children but what I do is hardly crap. "I mean… well…not crap, what you do isn't crap… I just you know am not into fashion and celebrity and stuff like that. Its just not my thing. NOT that there is anything wrong with it… I mean fashion is very important, if not for fashion we would all be walking around naked…" Her full cheeks flush at the word naked and I can't help but wonder how she looks out of this drab dress and in one of my dress shirts making me pancakes. "Anyway… never mind. I am sorry that I bothered you." She turns to walk away and I know I should just let her go but I reach out just catching her small wrist and pulled her back towards me. Honestly she should be slapping me across the face for even touching her, she doesn't know me from Adam, but she relaxes at my touch and I know I am headed down a slippery slope.
"What is your name?"
"Ana…Anastasia… but everyone calls me Ana." She bites on her lower lip and exhales loudly through her nose. Her skin feels like fine silk under my fingers and I can feel her pulse quicken.
"Ana it is very nice to meet you." I want to kiss her, no I bloody well need to kiss her. This is crazy, stupid and crazy. I should have kept my sorry ass in my chair in Starbucks. "Do you have plans Ana? I would love to take you to lunch."
"Yes Ana now. There is a place not far from here right one the lake." I extend my hand and there is a moment when I fear that she won't accept it, I am half hoping that she doesn't but then I feel her small delicate hand slip into mine and I know we are both very much in trouble.