I hit send.

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Frustrating women who can't take compliments Date: May 26 2011 23:26

To: Anastasia Steele

Dear Ms. Steele

I am not flattering you. You should go to bed.

I accept your addition to the hard limits.

Don't drink too much.

Taylor will dispose of your car and get a good price for it too.

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: Taylor - Is he the right man for the job?

Date: May 26 2011 23:40

To: Christian Grey

Dear Sir

I am intrigued that you are happy to risk letting your right hand man drive my car - but not some woman you f**k occasionally. How can I be sure that Taylor is the man to get me the best deal for said carI have, in the past, probably before I met you, been known to drive a hard bargain.

Ana

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Careful!

Date: May 26 2011 23:44

To: Anastasia Steele

Dear Ms. Steele

I am assuming it is the RED WINE talking, and that you've had a very long day.

Though I am tempted to drive back over there to ensure that you don't sit down for a week, rather than an evening.

Taylor is ex-army and capable of driving anything from a motorcycle to a Sherman Tank.

Your car does not present a hazard to him.

Now please do not refer to yourself as 'some woman I f**k occasionally' because, quite frankly it makes me MAD, and you really wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: Careful yourself

Date: May 26 2011 23:57

To: Christian Grey

Dear Mr. Grey

I'm not sure I like you anyway, especially at the moment.

Ms. Steele

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Careful yourself

Date: May 27 2011 00:03

To: Anastasia Steele

Why don't you like me?

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: Careful yourself

Date: May 27 2011 00:09

To: Christian Grey

Because you never stay with me.

There, that's given him something to think about. I shut the machine down with a flourish I don't really feel and crawl into my bed. I switch off my sidelight and stare up at the ceiling. It's been one long day, one emotional wrench after another. It was heartwarming to spend some time with Ray. He looked well, and weirdly he approved of Christian. Jeez, Kate and her gargantuan mouth. Hearing Christian speak about being hungry. What the hell is that all aboutGod, and the car. I haven't even told Kate about the new car. What was Christian thinking?

And then this evening, he actually hit me. I've never been hit in my life. What have I gotten myself intoVery slowly, my tears, halted by Kate's arrival, begin to slide down the side of my face and into my ears. I have fallen for someone who's so emotionally shut down, I will only get hurt - deep down I know this - someone who by his own admission is completely f**ked up. Why is he so f**ked upIt must be awful to be as affected as he is, and the thought that as a toddler he suffered some unbearable cruelty makes me cry harder. Perhaps if he was more normal he wouldn't want you, my subconscious contributes snidely to my musings... and in my heart of hearts I know this is true. I turn into my pillow and the sluice gates open... and for the first time in years, I am sobbing uncontrollably into my pillow.

I am momentarily distracted from my dark night of the soul by Kate shouting.

"What the f**k do you think you're doing here?"

"Well you can't!"

"What the f**k have you done to her now?"

"Since she's met you she cries all the time."

"You can't come in here!"

Christian bursts into my bedroom and unceremoniously switches on the overhead light, making me squint.

"Jesus, Ana," he mutters. He flicks the switch off again and is at my side in a moment.

"What are you doing here?" I gasp between sobs. Crap. I can't stop crying.

He switches on the sidelight making me squint again. Kate comes and stands in the doorway.

"Do you want me to throw this ass**le out?" she asks, radiating thermo-nuclear hostility. Christian raises his eyebrows at her, no doubt surprised by her flattering epithet and her feral antagonism. I shake my head, and she rolls her eyes at me. Oh... I wouldn't do that near Mr. G.

"Just holler if you need me," she says more gently. "Grey - your cards are marked,"

she hisses at him. He nods at her, and she turns and pulls the door to but doesn't close it.

Christian gazes down at me, his expression grave, his face ashen. He's wearing his pinstriped jacket, and from his inside pocket, he pulls out a handkerchief and hands it to me. I think I still have his other one somewhere.

"What's going on?" he asks quietly.

"Why are you here?" I ask, ignoring his question. My tears have miraculously ceased, but I'm left with dry heaves racking my body.

"Part of my role is to look after your needs. You said you wanted me to stay, so here I am. And yet I find you like this." He blinks at me, truly bewildered. "I'm sure I'm responsible, but I have no idea why. Is it because I hit you?"

I pull myself up, wincing from my sore behind. I sit and face him.

"Did you take some Advil?"

I shake my head. He narrows his eyes, stands, and leaves the room. I hear him talking to Kate but not what they are saying. He's back a few moments later with pills and a teacup of water.

"Take these," he orders gently as he sits on my bed beside me.

I do as I'm told.

"Talk to me," he whispers. "You told me you were okay. I'd never have left you if I thought you were like this."

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