Tall...dark...beautiful. Everything you would expect from the proverbial hero. From his rich, raven locks to his crisply tailored suit, to his European shoulder bag?
"Christian Gray," he said, looking me up and down as if I were a streetlamp. I must have hesitated too long, because he cocked an eyebrow, leaned forward and whispered "PreSCRIPtion?"
I felt as though I had been shot. With a syringe. And, God knows, I knew what that feels like.
"Oh, yes, sorry," I mumbled.
"Sorry, WHAT?" he barked, a glint in his eye.
"Sorry, Sir?" I offered, backing away from the counter. I could tell my life had changed. I just couldn't tell yet exactly how.
As I handed him the box, his eyes traveled yet again over the length of me, like I was a piece of wood he was measuring for a a spanking paddle. As he tucked the box into his beautiful, Italian leather bag (which was growing on me by the minute), he again leaned forward and whispered.
"You will write your email address on my receipt. NO - no talk. Just do it now. Slowly."
And so I did. I don't know why. There's just something so compelling about a shoulder bag on a man.
TO: Anastasia Steal
FROM: Christian Gray
RE: What you WILL do
I want no argument about the following. You WILL meet me for dinner at the Palmer House. You WILL be there at 6:00. And you WILL do whatever I ask you to do for the next 12 hours.
TO: Christian Gray
FROM: Anastasia Steal
RE RE: What you WILL do
Um...look, I think you're hot and all, but the Palmer House probably doesn't have a lot that I can eat. Do you think we could make it the Outback instead?
TO: Anastasia Steal
FROM: Christian Gray
RE RE RE: What you WILL do
I do not think you understand the nature of our relationship. When I say "jump", you will jump. Me. Now, if that is what I wish.
Palmer House at 6:00. No questions.
OMG. Now what? I had only attempted to eat at the Palmer House once before and had a horrible reaction to shrimp. Was this man worth risking my life for?
I thought about the shoulder bag and sighed to myself: Yes. Oh, yes!
Excitement? Anticipation? Expectation?
But then I realized that it was probably the fumes from the shrimp appetizer.
"Oh, Christian, I have to tell you —" I started to sputter, but with that, he placed a hand over my mouth and said, "There are rules, Miss Steal, and you would do well to start learning them now, while the lessons involve no pain."
I didn't have the nerve to tell him the pain was already starting. I could feel a tightening sensation in my throat, and it wasn't solely from admiring the form-fitting jacket he was wearing (although that didn't help matters).
"I know you must think this is unusual," he murmured, extending a glass to me. "But there was just something about your eyes that told me you were going to do whatever it was I asked of you." I swallowed.
—" was all I could get out before he again clamped a hand over my mouth.
"Shhh!" he managed to whisper both forcefully and so those at the tables around us didn't stare. "I told you: no talking, no arguing, no thinking."
Regardless of what he wanted from me, I couldn't help but think. The taste on my lips was sweet...unknown...something I couldn't match to any previous experience.
Except the one that sent me to the hospital as a child. Almond.
"Your lips are so beautiful," he expelled, gently tracing the outline. "So luscious. Like an overripe apple, just waiting...to be..."
"I'm gonna...need..." I started to croak, but Christian was quicker. Like a flash, that European shoulder bag was on the table and the contents were pouring out.
Benedryl, asthma inhaler...ah. Epi-Pen!
"Lift up your skirt," he barked, kicking his chair over in his hurry to get to me.
"But I don't have any underw—"
"Just LIFT IT UP!" he shouted, ensuring that every single eye was on me as he exposed my most private parts to public view and jammed his long needle into my quivering thigh.
The elderly man at the table across from us fainted.
My heart was racing. I felt flushed and fevered. For God's sake, my teeth were chattering. It was unbelievable what this man could do to me.
OK, maybe the epinephrine was affecting me a little too.
Christian was close enough to me now to lick, if I chose to lick him.
His look was intense, smoldering. His lips parted and I waited for the next command, which I knew I would follow, no matter how difficult, no matter how demeaning.
"We have to go to the emergency room," he breathed.
"Um...o-o-o-o-k-k," I managed to squeak. Christian withdrew the Epi-Pen from my thigh. Only 10 seconds had gone by? I thought. Every moment seems like a lifetime with this man!
"Do you need my inhaler before I call an ambulance?" he sighed into my ear, clearly disappointed that the skirt had been readjusted to hide my creamy thighs from his sight.
"How do you KNOW what I NEED without asking?!" I wheezed. "It's like you're INSIDE me, inside my, my, MIND, listening to MY, every THOUGHT!"
His hand gently held out the inhaler, allowing me to sip from it as I had sipped from the Frangelico snifter just a few moments before.
"I am your fate, Ana Steal," he said, the intensity in his eyes like a burning ember. "Oh, and I have a peanut allergy."
Oh well, I concluded. Perhaps total surrender is overrated.
But, oh, the things this man could do with latex! I looked forward to the next six hours in the ER with the anticipation of a six-year-old on Christmas Eve.
I was pretty sure I was going to get everything I desired. Once the vomiting stopped, of course.
Or is it only the beginning?
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