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The perfect birthday present – Chapter 9

Elena


"Christian?" I place a hand on his arm to get his attention. He stands staring in front of him, not knowing what to make of the situation I'm sure. He's always had such an exaggerated sense of morals. I'm guessing Grace has taught him that; all I know is that it sure as hell wasn't me.

It takes a couple of seconds before he reacts, snapping his head towards me all while replacing the dumbfounded expression on his face with a stern one. "Elena, can I talk to you in private for a minute?"

I fight the urge to roll my eyes as I turn to Anastasia. "Will you excuse us for a moment, Anastasia?" She nods, looking fairly uneasy as she shifts her legs beneath her again. I sigh as I gesture for Christian to follow me into my office. Is it too much to ask for a man to be grateful when you go through the trouble of finding him the perfect birthday present?

We walk in silence and it is not until I've closed the door behind us that he breaks it. "What the hell is going on here Elena?" His voice is clearly upset and angry and I take a deep breath not to let my voice follow in its footsteps. It isn't his fault he's been cursed with a set of moral standards even I couldn't beat out of him.

"I just wanted to give you a birthday present I knew you would appreciate."

He simply glares at me and if he were a cartoon character, I'm pretty sure smoke would be starting to come out of his ears right about now. "Don't you like it?" I tease. I know there's a battle going on inside of him right now and I can't help but push it to see which side of him will win.

I know he wants the girl, his actions speaks clearly on that matter – not to mention the hunger in his eyes when he looks at her. He can claim to have all the morals he want, but he can't hide that look. I also know that the control freak inside of him is furious that he wasn't the one to close this deal. And of course, that ridiculous moral is there to put a huge damp over it all.

"Like it?" Ah, there's that glint of hunger again. Unmistakable. But of course, he has to go hide it behind that wall of moral again, hence the sarcasm in his voice. "You can't give someone a human being as a birthday present." I sigh as he goes on. Ranting. "It's outrageous!"

"Calm down, Christian." He flinches momentarily as I pull out my Dominant voice. I haven't really used it in his presence since he stopped being my sub, but I'm certain he'll recognize the sting in it.

I sooth my voice when I continue, I've already got his attention, there's no need to push my luck. "Anastasia came to me after your little visit and told me you wanted to be her Dominant and that she was considering signing with you instead. We just thought it would be a fun ploy to wait until your birthday to tell you." That should deal with his moral issues.

His eyes narrow. "Why did she come to you and not to me?" Yes, the moral issues got the answer they needed – now it's the control freak's turn.

It's a good thing I foresaw this and have an answer already thought out. "I think she was worried about how the man she was going to sub for before your interruption would react and wanted to hear my thoughts about it."

He still looks utterly suspicious and I sigh audibly for him to hear before I continue. "That's all there is too it. Now come on, how do you think Anastasia feels all alone out there, probably thinking you have changed your mind on her?"

He flinches as if the thought of what she might think about his request for a talk in private hadn't even crossed his mind. But he doesn't seem willing to go back out there just yet. "She read the contract?"

I nod. "Yes. She read it, made a few changes to things she didn't feel comfortable with at the moment and signed."

Christian simply stares at me for the longest time, making me feel very uneasy to say the least, before he speaks again. "What changes?"

"They're highlighted in your copy of the contract. I know you'll probably have a problem with a few of them; but keep in mind that they're all to be re-negotiated in a week once she's gotten a firmer grip on what it means to be a sub." And truly embraced her true subservient self.

"So she wants this?" He still hasn't taken his eyes off me, but there's a different look in them now; one that reminds me so, so much of the troubled teenager he used to be.

"Yes." I nod again. So far I haven't strayed too far from the truth. Not that I care about that; but it could cause problems if Christian and Anastasia were to start talking. I've assured that Anastasia is in on the whole "the birthday present was just a ploy" thing. I should take this opportunity to assure another of my little manipulations of the truth doesn't see the light anytime soon.

"She wants this, but if I were you, I wouldn't mention the other Dominant in conversation any time soon. He got pretty upset and she feels bad enough as it is about breaking the promise she kind of had already made to him about signing his contract." That ought to do it.

He nods thoughtfully. "You still won't tell me who he is?"

"Why would you want to know now? You've got the sub."

"I don't know." He shrugs his shoulders. "I stole his sub right from under his nose, I feel like I should reimburse him somehow."

I can't contain my laugh. He literally just said he wants to buy Anastasia off the other guy's hand. Christian is every bit as depraved as me; he just doesn't want to see it. He shies away from it whereas I embrace it.

But I know better than to point that out to him. "Reimburse him how?"

"I don't know." He shrugs again. "Help him acquire a new sub or anything to show my good will. I would be furious if anyone pulled this on me and I don't need another enemy."

"Well…" I tap my forefinger against my lips, as if I'm deep in thought. "…now that you mentioned it, there is this convention in Nebraska next weekend. They have a huge display of toys and their collection of floggers is said to be something else. I know he really wanted to go but thought it to be a bit too expensive." Or rather yet; I've already planned to go, but with a little donation from Christian Grey at hand – I could go on a shopping spree without even looking at the price tags.

"Give me his name and I'll make the arrangements."

"Oh, no." I smile and shake my head. How stupid does he think I am? "I know you, Christian. If I give you his name, you won't stay away. You'll be at his doorstep first thing tomorrow morning." He looks guilty as charged and doesn't try to contradict me, so I continue. "I'll make the arrangements and let you know about the costs. You can write me a check or place the money in my account, whichever is more convenient to you, and I'll make sure he knows this your way of showing repentance."

He doesn't say anything, so I repeat: "I won't give you his name, Christian. If you want to reimburse him – which you really don't have to – this is the way you do it."

I know he will budge. Christian Grey doesn't like to be in debt to anyone – whether it's debt of gratitude or other.

"Okay." He finally nods. "Make the arrangements and inform me about the costs."

"I'm sure he'll be thrilled." I wonder how much I can milk from this without raising any suspicions? Christian is a generous man, I'm sure he will want the reimbursement to be over the top, right? It's a hard work to keep a serious face on right now, but I'm nothing if not a master of keeping my emotions and inner thoughts under control.

"Let's go back out to Anastasia, shall we?" I point towards the door and with a short nod, he opens it and we both step out of my office.


The perfect birthday present – Chapter 9

Christian


I feel Anastasia's eyes on me as I sit in the back of the car, reading through the contract paying special attention to the highlighted changes. Her soft limits are joke. It practically states we can practice a spiced version of vanilla. No toys, no whips, no floggers, hardly any bondage. What was Elena thinking during negotiations? Doesn't she know me at all?

I sink the contract onto my lap and search eye-contact with Anastasia. The changes do speak of her involvement and understanding of the contract, but I have to make sure. Elena's sense of right and wrong sometimes ends up on the wrong end of the scale and I can't take only her word on it that Anastasia has read the contract.

When my eyes latch on to hers, I feel that strange pull I felt the first time I saw her. Like it's impossible to look away. To stay away. I try to ignore the feeling and clear my throat before I speak to make sure it doesn't show I'm affected by her presence or her innocent, blue eyes looking into mine.

Maybe that's what it all comes down to: the innocence. I'm certainly not used to innocent girls and the thought of being the one getting to sully that innocence is intoxicating. Yes, that all there is. She may think she wants vanilla, but in a week's time – I'll have this innocent little girl forgotten what vanilla even tastes like.

My cock hardens at the thought of letting this innocent little girl feel the bite of my whip. If it's the last thing I'll do – I will get her to put at least a whip and a flogger onto the acceptable forms of punishment in the soft limits during negotiations. The challenge that lies in getting her to agree to that doesn't exactly help to calm my hardening cock down.

I take a deep breath. Having lost my thread, I push my thoughts aside and give Anastasia my full attention. "I know you've signed the contract, but as I was not present during negotiations I must ask whether you've read the contract in full and are familiar with its contents?"

"Yes." There's a short pause, before her eyes widen and she hurriedly adds: "I mean, yes, Sir. Mr. Grey." She blushes and the look on her face is so worried, I feel an urgent need to put her mind at ease.

"I haven't signed the contract yet Anastasia; you needn't worry about the slip." Since when am I in the habit of letting slips past or placing anyone's mind at ease in my presence? Contract signed or not. "This time." There's no mistaking the threat that lies beneath my words as I try to smooth over my impulsive act of kindness. I wouldn't want her thinking slips like that is something that will be okay in the future.

She nods seriously. "You can call me Ana, if you want, Mr. Grey."

"Ana."I try the name on my lips. I like the way her full name rolls over my tongue; but I also like having choices – something I'll make sure to let her know once the contract is up for re-negotiation.

Judging by her changes to the contract I would say she has a problem not being able to control what will happen. Not knowing. Hence her need to minimize my choices regarding almost anything in the contract. I can't fully repress the smirk. You just wait Miss Steele…I still have a lot of tricks up my sleeve and I can't wait to show them to you.

Once again, I have to stop my thoughts from wandering onto all the things I want to do to her and focus on the very important think I'm trying to discuss here. It's vital to get these things cleared up before we can move on. And I really want to move on, preferably into my playroom.

But, I know Elena too well and am well aware that her methods for acquiring new subs might be a bit…unconventional at times. Hence, my next question is of great importance.

"Did you sign this contract out of your own free will?" Anastasia flinches and stares at me for a long time before she answers and a thousand thoughts rushes through my mind. Elena is blackmailing her into this. I wouldn't put it beneath her.

"How do you mean?" Due to the paleness on her face and the fact that she looks like she's going to be sick, I decide not to comment on her slip. Besides, didn't I just say she didn't need to be formal until I signed?

"Does Elena have a hold on you or did you sign the contract because this is something you want?" Her eyes widen and I add: "You won't get in trouble as long as you tell the truth."

"This is something I want and I signed of my own free will." Her voice is steady as she speaks, but I can't quite let it go. Her uneasiness when the question was posed was too obvious to be ignored.

"Are you sure?"

She nods. "Yes."

A part of me wants to let it go at that, if I push further and some sort of foul play on Elena's side were to be revealed, I would lose her. But still, with the plans I have for her future as my sub – I have to make sure she really wants this.

"So what's with the reaction to my question?" I make an effort to make my voice sound soft; non-threatening.

"What reaction, Sir?" She sounds considerably calmer, but she's still as pale as a ghost.

I smile. I don't know why I feel this constant need to make her feel comfortable and at ease in my company, but I'm guessing it has something to do with the unusual way she came to be my sub.

"You looked like you were about to faint." I point out and there's a small spark of something warm and light in my chest when she returns my smile. What the fuck is that?

"Oh." She lets out a small laugh and the spark flickers into flame for a short second. "I just…" She shakes her head, still smiling. "I just couldn't believe you would think that about Elena."

This time it's my turn to let out a laugh. "You obviously don't know her the way I do."

We don't talk much for the rest of the ride and the sexual tension between us is palpable. Or is it just me? But still it doesn't feel the least bit uncomfortable sitting in silence together as Taylor guides us through the traffic towards my penthouse at Escala.

I know I have to get her into my playroom sooner rather than later and I've already thought out the perfect scene for tonight's session when the car finally stops inside Escala's garage.

Along with a few instructions on keeping a low profile tonight, Taylor grabs Anastasia's bags and head for the service elevator while I lead Ana towards the regular don't have to wait long before the doors open and we're able to step inside. I press the code and the elevator starts moving.

We both stand in silence watching as the floors tick by on the panel next to the door. The silence isn't the same as the comfortable one in the car, but I don't know how to break it. I'm afraid that if I open my mouth I will speak of all the things I want to do to her – all of the things she's listed as not-acceptable-yet in her soft limits and I'm sure that would scare her away. Not to mention it would be a breach of the contract as I'm also sure the beast inside me wouldn't be satisfied by words alone.

It feels like the air around us is loaded with electricity and if we were to touch, sparks would fly. I inhale a deep breath, I desperately need to focus on anything other than the pressing want to throw myself at Miss Steele and take her against the wall of the elevator. I want to take my time with this one.

It feels like an eternity before we reach the penthouse and I'm able to rush the both of us out of the elevator. I don't know what it is about confined spaces like that, but I've never experienced such a strong tension building that quickly.

"Let's have a talk in my office." My voice sounds like it's not used to speaking as I growl out the words, already leading us in the direction of my office.

Talk, talk, talk…The beast inside me rattles the bars of his cage, impatient to be over with all the talking and be let out. Soon, I promise him.

I walk up to my desk, place the contract on it and grab a pen. Ana is waiting a few steps behind me and I see her in the corner of my eye. The little black dress she's wearing leaves enough to the imagination to have it run wild, but at the same time shows enough skin to leave a few hints for which direction it should run in. And the way she bites down on that lip!

I put my pen down hard enough to make a noise. "I'm warning you Miss Steele." I'm still growling, but right now I couldn't care less. Slowly, I move closer to her as I continue speaking. "In a few seconds that contract will be signed, and you'll be mine do with as I please." I take a moment to let the words sink in.

I stop mere inches away from her and without touching any part of her body, I lean closer and whisper in my most threatening voice. "I think it's only fair to let you know beforehand how that lip-biting affects me." With the use of my thumb, I free her lip from her teeth and watch in amusement – and, I have to confess: a throbbing cock – as her eyes widen. "It makes me want to sink my teeth into that lip…and other parts of your body." As to mark my words, I let my fingers slide down slowly along her neck before I take a step back and return to my desk.

I reach for the pen again and without further ado, I sign the contract and place the pen back in the holder. "Now…" I turn to face her again. "…I think a tour of the apartment should be in order, but to be honest I can't wait to get you into my playroom, so I think the tour will have to wait."

She stiffens at the mention of my playroom and that strange need to put her at ease overcomes me yet again. "Don't worry, I have your changes and additions clear in mind, Miss Steele." I tell her as I head for the door and gesture for her to follow behind me.


Having left Miss Steele in the playroom with the instruction to wait for me kneeling by the door in only her panties, I hurry along to my bedroom to go get changed.

She did seem kind of uneasy as we walked into the playroom. I don't know how much the other guy she was about to sign with told her about BDSM, but it was pretty obvious she'd never seen a playroom before. Of course, not all Dominants have playrooms, but someone so into it he goes conventions ought to have one, right?

I didn't offer her much of an introduction to the room though; other than a quick look followed by a promise that she would be well acquainted with the room in no time. I couldn't stand there and watch her uneasiness and risk that need to make her feel comfortable to take over again. Next thing I know, I'll probably hear myself offering her a vanilla fuck in my bed to ease her state of mind. And there's no way I'll ever let that happen!

Once in my bedroom, I quickly slip out of my dress pants and shirt and grab my playroom jeans from the top drawer.

I certainly don't like some of the changes and additions she's made to the contract…no implements of any kind are to be used for disciplinary purposes for the first seven days. I pull my jeans on, leaving the top button loose as always. We'll see about that. There's plenty you can still do without using implements and by day eight I'll have her begging for a whip.

I don't know if it's the face of a challenge or if it's simply the knowledge of Anastasia waiting for me in my playroom, but I feel more alive and excited than I've done in a long, long time.


The perfect birthday present – Chapter 9

Anastasia


I keep my eyes focused on the floor as I slide my dress down to the floor. If I were to look up, I'm pretty sure that little voice of reason urging me to run would get the better of me. I can't let that happen. I can't go back to who I used to be. I need to do this. I need to find my inner strength so I can finally learn how to be in control over my life.

My hands are shaking as I take my clothes off piece by piece and fold them into a little pile next to the door. I try to focus on the task of folding instead of the reason as to why I'm taking my clothes off and folding them into a neat pile in a strange man's medieval torture chamber. It's the means to an end. I repeat the words as a mantra.

I've added a clause to protect me from the worst, most painful, forms of punishment and even if I hadn't – I haven't given him any reason to punish me yet. We've hardly spoken since he signed the contract.

My mind drifts back to the conversation in the car. It didn't seem like Christian trusts Elena's intentions; asking whether I signed out of my own free will. I wonder what she told him in their private conversation back at her house. Did she tell him why I'm doing this?

Probably not judging by his interrogation in the car and maybe it's better he doesn't know why I'm doing this. If I tell him I do this because I eventually want to be in control myself, he might not want me as a submissive. He doesn't seem like the kind of person that would gladly share control over anything.

I place my bra on top of the pile of clothes and kick of my shoes. I take a deep breath to calm my nerves before I sink to my knees and bow my head towards the floor to wait for him like he instructed me to.

It doesn't take long before the door is opened and I'm glad I have the presence of mind not to act on the reflex to turn my head and look at him as he enters. If I do this right and listen carefully to his instructions maybe he won't find a reason to punish me at all during our time together.

"Spread your legs Anastasia." He suddenly orders and I obey in an instant, keeping the contractual formulation "without hesitation or query" close in mind. I've always been a good student and I'm pretty confident I can get through tonight without earning myself any kind of punishment. The thought puts my mind at least a little bit at ease.

Have you forgotten the contractual formulation "for his own personal enjoyment"? The little voice of reason snorts at me.

I don't have time to linger on that little reminder though, as Christian's voice echoes through the room delivering another order. "Wider."

I widen my legs as far as it's possible in the position I'm in. He can't possibly punish me for not being a gymnast in possession of the ability to bend my legs behind my head.

He seems content with the wideness though, as his next order is a new one. "Now, put your hands on your thighs. Palms up."

I quickly do as I'm told and await his verdict with a pounding heart.

"This is the sub-position I prefer." Okay, sounds like I did it right. I let out the breath I'd been holding and as at least a little bit of the nervousness leaves me, I find that I'm strangely enough aroused by his demanding voice delivering orders. "I want you to remember it. Whenever I ask you to go wait for me in my playroom – this is the position I want to find you in. Do you understand?"

It takes a couple of seconds before I realize he's asked me a question which I'm supposed to answer. "Yes, Mr. Grey." I manage to squeak out.

"Good. You may stand up."

I do so on wobbly legs and my heart starts beating faster as I hear Christian moving closer to me. Keep your eyes on the floor, Ana. I tell myself over and over again to resist looking at him. Eyes on the floor.

He stops at what I'm guessing is a few feet away and it feels like forever before he speaks another order again. "Look at me, Anastasia."

I obey and when I turn my head up to look at him, I must gasp for air. I did a lot of googling on BDSM before I went to Elena's for negotiations and was half expecting to see Christian wearing some kind of scary leather garment with straps and chains running across it. I had steeled myself for the sight.

I had, however, not steeled myself for the sight in front of me and I hope the fact that my mouth has dropped open in amazement and I seem to have forgotten how to close it won't earn me a punishment. I don't think there was anything in the contract about not being allowed to stare shamelessly at your Dominant's perfectly chiseled chest and abs.

Far from the leather garments I had imagined, Christian looks absolutely delicious wearing nothing but a pair of worn jeans with the top button left loose, revealing just enough to make you want to see more. My pulse quickens considerably. Is it even allowed for a man to look this perfect?

"I've been waiting for this moment ever since I first laid eyes on you." Christian's soft voice forces me to rip my eyes away from his body and look into his eyes. They're certainly not as soft as his voice and I gulp.

He starts circling around me, like an animal stalking down his prey and I feel shivers running through me. I don't know whether I'm more scared or aroused and I flinch as he moves up closer behind me. He doesn't touch me, but I feel some sort of energy radiating between our bodies.

When he finally reaches out to touch me I let out a breath I wasn't aware I'd been holding. I don't know what I had expected for him to do first; slap me for having forgotten to obey a rule of any kind or simply for his own personal enjoyment or maybe let his firm, strong hands run over my body. I had certainly not expected his first touch would be soft, tender fingers combing through my hair.

He barely touches my skin as he lets his fingers run through my hair and I'm surprised at how erotic it feels. My entire body is screaming for his touch; longing for it – I just want to know how those strong hands would feel on my skin. He hasn't even touched me yet, and still I'm more aroused than I've ever been in my entire life.

The few short encounters I've had with Colin don't even begin to compare to this. This man's fingers combing through my hair apparently…braiding it?...somehow feels more erotic and arousing than Colin's sweaty body on top of mine ever did. I'm guessing the expectations and the not knowing what will happen plays a big deal in keeping my senses on high alert like this.

Once he closes the braid, he slowly twists it around his wrist and even I can hear my breathing shudder in anticipation. Still, I'm not in the least prepared for the yank forcing my head back and I stumble, crashing against his hard body behind me.

"So, Miss Steele." He whispers so close to my ear I can feel his lips moving against the sensitive skin beneath it. "It wasn't very nice of you letting me wait like that, was it?"

Oh, God. Does he want me to answer that or was the question rhetorical? He pulls down a little harder on my braid and repeats: "Was it, Anastasia?" Okay, apparently it wasn't rhetorical.

"N-no, Sir." I stutter.

Still holding onto my hair, he wraps one arm around my waist, letting his fingers trace across the skin of my stomach with feather-like touches. I shudder.

"Not answering my calls." His fingers slowly move up, now tracing the soft skin between my breasts. "Not opening your door for me." His fingers make a circling movement around one of my breasts before they start moving down again along my side.

I know I'm probably supposed to stand still, but I can't help but squirm against him. I want him to touch me so badly. My breasts are actually starting to ache from being ignored by his avoiding maneuver.

When his fingers reach my hips, he clasps his arm around me and pulls me hard against him with a firm grip around my hips. "I'm a very impatient man, Anastasia." His voice has changed from soft to threatening, but I find it hard to focus on it when I feel a very hard, and may I say very huge, part of his body pressing against the small of my back.

"I don't like to be kept on hold." His lips are tracing my neck as he speaks and I'm turning to mold in his hands. "I think that by misleading me and letting me wait – you've just earned yourself your first punishment, Miss Steele."

Wait? What? I feel like someone just poured a bucket of ice-cold water over me. No.