Read Darker Online

Authors: E L James

Darker (9 page)

I ask her a question of my own. “Why didn’t you have any food in the apartment?”

Her expression clouds. “You know why.”

“It was you who left me,” I remind her. If you’d stayed we might have worked things out and avoided all the misery.

“I know,” she says, sounding contrite.

I stand in line beside her. There’s a woman in front of us, trying to wrangle two small children, one of whom is whining incessantly.

Jesus. How do people do this?

We could have gone out to eat. There are enough restaurants around here. “Do you have anything to drink?” I ask, because after this real-life experience, I’m going to need alcohol.

“Beer, I think.”

“I’ll get some wine.”

I put as much distance as I can between me and the screaming boy, but after a brief look around the store I realize there’s no alcohol or condoms for sale here.

Damn it.

“There’s a good liquor store next door,” Anastasia says, when I return to the line which doesn’t seem to have moved and is still dominated by the wailing child.

“I’ll see what they have.”

Relieved to be out of the hellhole that is Ernie’s, I notice a small convenience store beside
Liquor Locker. Inside, I find the only two remaining packs of condoms.

Thank heavens. Two packs of two.

Four fucks if I’m lucky.

I can’t help my grin. That should be enough even for the insatiable Miss Steele.

I grab them both and pay the old guy behind the counter and leave. I’m lucky in the liquor store, too. It has an excellent selection of wine and I find an above-average pinot grigio in the fridge.

Anastasia is staggering out of the grocery store when I return.

“Here, let me carry that.” I take both grocery bags and we walk back to her apartment.

She tells me a little about what she’s been doing during the week. She’s obviously enjoying her new job. She doesn’t mention my takeover of SIP, and I’m grateful. And for my part I don’t mention her asshole of a boss.

“You look very domestic,” she says with ill-concealed amusement when we’re back in her kitchen.

She’s laughing at me. Again. “No one has ever accused me of that before.” I place the bags on the kitchen island and she sets to work unloading them. I grab the wine. The grocery store was enough reality for today. Now, where would she keep a corkscrew?

“This place is still so new. I think the opener is in that drawer there.” She points using her chin. I smile at her multitasking and locate the corkscrew. I’m pleased that she hasn’t been drowning her sorrows during my absence. I’ve seen what happens when she gets drunk.

When I turn to look at her, she’s blushing.

“What are you thinking about?” I ask as I shrug out of my jacket and toss it on the couch. I make my way back to the waiting bottle of wine.

“How little I know you.”

“You know me better than anyone.” She can certainly read me like no one else. It’s unsettling. I open the bottle, mimicking the cheesy flourish of the waiter in Portland.

“I don’t think that’s true,” she responds, as she continues to unpack the bags.

“It is, Anastasia. I’m a very, very private person.” It comes with the territory, doing what I do.
What I did.

I pour two glasses and hand one to her.

“Cheers.” I raise my glass.

“Cheers.” She takes a sip and then starts busying herself in the kitchen. She’s in her element. I remember her telling me how she used to cook for her dad.

“Can I help you with that?” I ask.

She gives me a sideways I’ve-got-this look. “No, it’s fine. Sit.”

“I’d like to help.”

She can’t hide her surprise. “You can chop the vegetables.” It sounds like she’s making a huge concession. Perhaps she’s right to be wary. I know nothing about cooking. My mother, Mrs. Jones, and my submissives—some with more success than others—have all fulfilled that role.

“I don’t cook,” I tell her while examining the razor-sharp knife she hands me.

“I imagine you don’t need to.” She places a chopping board and some red peppers in front me.

What the hell am I supposed to do with these? They are such a weird shape.

“You’ve never chopped a vegetable?” Anastasia asks in disbelief.


She looks smug all of a sudden.

“Are you smirking at me?”

“It appears this is something that I can do and you can’t. Let’s face it, Christian, I think this is a first. Here—I’ll show you.”

She brushes past me, her arm touching mine, and my body springs to life.


I step out of her way.

“Like this.” She demonstrates, slicing into the red pepper and removing all the seeds and shit from the inside with one smooth twirl of her knife.

“Looks simple enough.”

“You shouldn’t have any trouble with it.” Her tone is teasing but ironic. Does she think I’m not capable of chopping a vegetable? With careful precision, I start to slice.

Damn, these seeds get everywhere. It’s more difficult than I thought. Ana made it look easy. She pushes past me, her thigh brushing against my leg as she collects the ingredients. It’s deliberate, I’m sure, but I try to ignore the effect she’s having on my libido, and I continue to slice with care. This blade is evil. She moves past me again, this time skimming her hip against me, then again, another touch, and all below my waist. My cock approves, big-time. “I know what you’re doing, Anastasia.”

“I think it’s called cooking,” she says with disingenuous sincerity.

Oh. Playful Anastasia.
Is she finally realizing the power she has over me?

Grabbing another knife, she joins me at the chopping board, peeling and slicing garlic, shallots, and French beans. She takes every opportunity to bump into me. She’s not subtle.

“You’re quite good at this,” I concede, as I start on my second pepper.

“Chopping?” She bats her eyelashes. “Years of practice,” she states, and brushes up against me with her behind.

That’s it. Enough.

She takes the vegetables and places them beside the gently smoking wok.

“If you do that again, Anastasia, I’m going to take you on the kitchen floor.”

“You’ll have to beg me first,” she counters.

“Is that a challenge?”


Oh, Miss Steele. Bring it on.

I put down the knife and meander over to where she’s standing, keeping her pinned with my gaze. Her lips part as I lean past her, an inch away, but I don’t touch her. With a twist, I switch off the gas for the wok. “I think we’ll eat later.”
Because right now I’m going to fuck your brains out.
“Put the chicken in the fridge.”

Swallowing hard, she picks up the bowl of diced chicken, rather clumsily places a plate over the top, and puts the whole thing in the fridge. I step up behind her silently so that when she turns I’m right in front of her.

“So, you’re going to beg?” she whispers.

“No, Anastasia.” I shake my head. “No begging.” I look down at her, lust and need thickening my blood.

Fuck, I want to be buried in her.

I watch as her pupils dilate and her cheeks flush with desire. She wants me. I want her. She bites her lip and I can bear it no more. Grabbing her hips, I pull her against my growing erection. Her hands are in my hair and she’s pulling me down to her mouth. I push her against the fridge and kiss her hard.

She tastes so good, so sweet.

She moans into my mouth and it’s like a wake-up call that makes me harder still. I move my hand into her hair, pulling her head back so I can angle my tongue deeper into her mouth. Her tongue wrestles with mine.

Fuck—it’s erotic, raw, intense. I pull back.

“What do you want, Anastasia?”




Needing no further prompting, I scoop her into my arms and carry her into her bedroom. I want her naked and yearning beneath me. Putting her gently on the floor, I switch on her bedside light and draw her curtains. As I glance through the window to the street below, I realize this is indeed the room I stared at during my silent vigils, from my stalker’s hideout.

She was here, alone, curled up in her bed.

When I turn, she’s watching me. Wide-eyed. Waiting. Wanting.

“Now what?” I ask.

She flushes.

And I stay absolutely still.

“Make love to me,” she says after a beat.

“How? You have got to tell me, baby.”

She licks her lips, a nervous gesture, and lust surges through me.

Shit—focus, Grey.

“Undress me,” she says.

Hooking my index finger into the top of her blouse, careful not to touch her soft skin, I tug gently, forcing her to step toward me. “Good girl.”

Her breasts rise and fall as her breathing accelerates. Her dark eyes are full of carnal promise, like mine. Deftly I start to unbutton her blouse. She puts her hands on my arms—to steady herself, I think—and glances at me.

Yeah, that’s fine, baby. Don’t touch my chest.

I undo the last button, slip the blouse off her shoulders, and let it fall to the floor. Making a conscious effort not to touch her beautiful breasts, I reach down to the waistband of her jeans. I undo the top button and pull down the zipper.

I resist the urge to throw her onto the bed. This is going to be a waiting game. She needs to talk to me. “Tell me what you want, Anastasia.”

“Kiss me from here to here.” She trails her finger from the base of her ear down her throat.

My pleasure, Miss Steele.

Smoothing her hair out of the way, I gather her soft tresses in my hand and pull her head gently to the side, exposing her slender neck. Leaning in, I nuzzle her ear and she squirms as I trail soft kisses following the path of her finger and back again. She makes a soft noise in the back of her throat.

It’s arousing.

Boy, I want to lose myself in her. Rediscover her.

“My jeans…and panties,” she rasps, breathy and flustered, and I grin against her throat. She’s getting the idea.

Talk to me, Ana.

I kiss her throat one final time and kneel down in front of her, taking her by surprise. I push my thumbs into the waistband of her jeans and her panties and slowly pull them down. Sitting back on my knees, I admire her long legs and delectable ass as she steps out of her shoes and pants. Her eyes meet mine, and I await my command.

“What now, Anastasia?”

“Kiss me,” she answers, her voice barely audible.


“You know where.”

I stifle my smile. She really can’t say the word.

“Where?” I coax.

She blushes once more, but with a determined yet mortified expression, she points to the top of her thighs.

“Oh, with pleasure,” I chuckle, enjoying her embarrassment. Slowly I let my fingers travel up her legs until my hands are at her hips, then I tug her forward, onto my mouth.

I smell her arousal.

I’m already uncomfortable in my jeans, but suddenly they’re several sizes too small. I push my tongue through her pubic hair, wondering if I’ll ever persuade her to get rid of this, but I find my goal and begin tasting her.

Lord, she’s sweet. So fucking sweet.

She groans and fists her fingers in my hair and I don’t stop. Swirling my tongue, around and around, teasing and testing her.

“Christian, please,” she begs.

I stop.

“Please what, Anastasia?”

“Make love to me.”

“I am,” I answer, and blow gently on her clitoris.

“No. I want you inside me.”

“Are you sure?”


No. I’m having too much fun. I continue the slow, lascivious torture of my exquisite, precious girl.

“Christian—please!” she moans. I release her and stand, my mouth wet from her arousal, and stare down at her through hooded eyes.

“Well?” I ask.

“Well what?” she pants.

“I’m still dressed.”

She seems at a loss, not understanding, and I hold my arms out in surrender.

Take me—I’m yours.

She reaches for my shirt.

Shit. No.
I step back.

I forget myself.

“Oh no,” I protest. I mean my jeans, baby. She blinks as she realizes what I’m asking and suddenly drops to her knees.

Whoa! Ana. What are you doing?

Rather awkwardly—her usual fingers and thumbs—she undoes my waistband and fly and tugs my jeans down.

Ah! My cock has some room.

I step out of my pants and remove my socks while she stays kneeling in her submissive position on the floor. What is she trying to do to me? Once I’ve dropped my pants, she reaches up and grabs my erection and squeezes me tightly like I’ve shown her.


She pushes her hand back. Ah! Almost too far. Almost painfully. I groan and tense and close my eyes; the sight of her on her knees and the feel of her hand around me is nearly too much. Suddenly, her warm, wet mouth is around me. She sucks hard. “Ah. Ana. Whoa, gently.” As I cup her head she pushes me deeper into her mouth, sheathing her teeth with her lips, pressing down on me.

“Fuck,” I whisper in veneration, and I flex my hips so I’m deeper in her mouth. That feels so good. She does it over and over, and it’s beyond arousing. She swirls her tongue around the end, repeatedly, teasing me. She’s all tit for tat today. I groan, reveling in the feel of her adept mouth and tongue.

She’s too good at this. She takes me deep into her mouth once more.

“Ana, that’s enough. No more,” I insist through clenched teeth. She’s unraveling my control. I do not want to come now; I want to be inside her when I explode, but she ignores me and does it again and again.

Fucking tease.

“Ana, you’ve made your point. I do not want to come in your mouth.” I grunt. And still she disobeys me.

Enough, woman.

Grasping her shoulders, I drag her to her feet, lift her quickly, and toss her onto her bed. I reach for my jeans and fish out a condom from the back pocket and dispense with my shirt, dragging it over my head and leaving it beside my jeans. She’s lying sprawled and wanton on the bed.

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