"It stands for Unknown Subject. Ryan is ex-FBI."
"Don't ask." Christian shakes his head. It's obvious he's deep in contemplation.
"Well, where is this female unsub?"
"On the I-5, heading south." He glances at me, his eyes grim. Jeez - from passionate to calm to anxious in the space of a few moments. I reach over and caress his thigh, running my fingers leisurely up the inside seam of his jeans, hoping to improve his mood. He takes his hand off the steering wheel and stops the slow ascent of my hand.
"No," he says. "We've made it this far. You don't want me to have an accident three blocks from home." He raises my hand to his lips and plants a cool kiss on my index finger to take the sting out of his rebuke. Cool, calm, authoritative . . . My Fifty. And for the first time in a while he makes me feel like a wayward child. I withdraw my hand and sit quietly for a moment.
"Apparently so." He sighs, turns into the underground garage at Escala, and punches the access code into the security keypad. The gate swings open and he drives on, smoothly parking the R8 in its designated space.
"I really like this car," I murmur.
"Me too. And I like how you handled it - and how you managed not to break it."
"You can buy me one for my birthday," I smirk at him. Christian's mouth drops open as I climb out of the car.
"A white one, I think," I add, leaning down and smirking at him. He smiles. "Anastasia Grey, you never cease to amaze me."
I shut the door and walk to the end of the car to wait for him. Gracefully he climbs out, watching me with that look . . . that look that calls to something deep inside me. I know this look well. Once he's in front of me, he leans down and whispers, "You like the car. I like the car. I've f**ked you in it . . . perhaps I should f**k you on it."
I gasp. And a sleek silver BMW pulls into the garage. Christian glances at it anxiously, then with annoyance and smirks down at me.
"But it looks like we have company. Come." He grabs my hand and heads for the garage elevator. He pushes the call button and as we wait, the driver of the BMW joins us. He's young, casually dressed, with long, layered, dark hair. He looks like he works in the media.
"Hi," he says, smiling warmly at us.
Christian puts his arm around me and nods politely.
"I've just moved in. Apartment sixteen."
"Hello." I return his smile. He has kind, soft brown eyes. The elevator arrives and we all walk in. Christian glances down at me, his expression unreadable.
"You're Christian Grey," the young man says.
Christian gives him a tight smile.
"Paul Harrison." He holds out his hand. Reluctantly, Christian takes it. "Which floor?" Paul asks.
"I have to input a code."
"Oh." Paul smiles broadly. "Of course." He presses the button for the eighth floor and the doors close. "Mrs. Grey, I presume."
"Yes." I give him a polite smile and we shake hands. Paul flushes a little as he gazes at me a fraction too long. Oh no. I mirror his flush and Christian's arm tightens around me.
"When did you move in?" I ask.
"Last weekend. I love the place."
There's an awkward pause before the elevator stops at Paul's floor.
"Great to meet you both," he says sounding relieved and steps out. The doors close silently behind him. Christian taps in the entry code and the elevator ascends again.
"He seemed nice," I murmur. "I've never met any of the neighbors before."
Christian scowls. "I prefer it that way."
"That's because you're a hermit. I thought he was pleasant enough."
"Hermit. Stuck in your ivory tower," I state matter-of-factly. Christian's lips twitch with amusement.
"Our ivory tower. And I think you have another name to add to the list of your admirers, Mrs. Grey."
I roll my eyes. "Christian, you think everyone is an admirer."
"Did you just roll your eyes at me?"
My pulse quickens. "I sure did," I whisper, my breath catching in my throat.
He cocks his head to one side, wearing his smoldering, arrogant, amused expression. "What shall we do about that?"
He blinks to hide his surprise. "Rough?"
"You want more?"
I nod slowly. The doors to the elevator open and we're home.
"How rough?" he breathes, his eyes darkening.
I gaze at him, saying nothing. He closes his eyes for a moment, and then grabs my hand and hauls me into the foyer.
When we burst through the double doors, Sawyer is standing in the hallway, looking expectantly at the two of us.
"Sawyer, I'd like to be debriefed in an hour," Christian says.
"Yes, sir." Turning, Sawyer heads back into Taylor's office. We have an hour!
Christian glances down at me. "Rough?"
"Well, Mrs. Grey, you're in luck. I'm taking requests today."
"Do you have anything in mind?" Christian murmurs, pinning me with his bold gaze. I shrug, suddenly breathless and agitated. I don't know if it's the chase, the adrenaline, my earlier bad mood - I don't understand, but I want this, and I want it badly. A puzzled expression flits across Christian's face. "Kinky f**kery?" he asks, his words a soft caress. I nod, feeling my face flame. Why am I embarrassed by this? I have done all manner of kinky f**kery with this man. He's my husband, damn it! Am I embarrassed because I want this and I'm ashamed to admit it? My subconscious glares at me. Stop overthinking.
"Carte blanche?" He whispers the question, eyeing me speculatively as if he's trying to read my mind.
Carte blanche? Holy f**k - what will that entail? "Yes," I murmur nervously, as excitement blooms deep inside me. He smiles a slow sexy smile.
"Come," he says and tugs me toward the stairs. His intention is clear. Playroom! My inner goddess wakes from her post-R8-sex slumber, wide-eyed and raring to go.
At the top of the stairs, he releases my hand and unlocks the playroom door. The key is on the Yes Seattle keychain that I gave him not so long ago.
"After you, Mrs. Grey," he says and swings the door open. The playroom smells reassuringly familiar, of leather and wood and fresh polish. I blush, knowing that Mrs. Jones must have been in here cleaning while we were away on our honeymoon. As we enter, Christian switches on the lights and the dark red walls are illuminated with soft, diffused light. I stand gazing at him, anticipation running thick and heavy through my veins. What is he going to do to me? He locks the door and turns. Inclining his head to one side, he regards me thoughtfully and then shakes his head, amused.
"What do you want, Anastasia?" he asks gently.
"You." My response is breathy.
He smirks. "You've got me. You've had me since you fell into my office."
"Surprise me then, Mr. Grey."
His mouth twists with repressed humor and carnal promise. "As you wish, Mrs. Grey." He folds his arms and raises one long index finger to his lips while he appraises me. "I think we'll start by ridding you of your clothes." He steps forward. Grasping the front of my short denim jacket, he opens it and pushes it over my shoulders so it falls to the floor. He clasps the hem of my black camisole.
"Lift your arms."
I obey, and he peels it off over my head. Leaning down, he plants a soft kiss on my lips, his eyes glowing with an alluring mix of lust and love. The camisole joins my jacket on the floor.
"Here," I whisper gazing nervously at him as I remove the hair tie from around my wrist and hold it up for him. He stills, and his eyes widen momentarily but give nothing away. Finally, he takes the small band.
"Turn around," he orders.
Relieved, I smile to myself and oblige immediately. Looks like we've overcome that little hurdle. He gathers my hair and braids it quickly and efficiently before fastening it with the tie. He tugs the braid, pulling my head back.
"Good thinking, Mrs. Grey," he whispers in my ear, then nips my earlobe. "Now turn around and take your skirt off. Let it fall to the floor." He releases me and steps back as I turn to face him. Not taking my eyes off his, I unbutton the waistband of my skirt and ease the zipper down. The full skirt fans out and falls to the floor, pooling at my feet.
"Step out from your skirt," he orders. As I step toward him, he kneels swiftly down in front of me and grasps my right ankle. Deftly, he unbuckles my sandals one at a time while I lean forward, balancing myself with a hand on the wall under the pegs that used to hold all his whips, crops and paddles. The flogger and the riding crop are the only implements that remain. I eye them with curiosity. Will he use those?
Having removed my shoes so I'm just in my lacy bra and panties, Christian sits back on his heels, gazing up at me. "You're a fine sight, Mrs. Grey." Suddenly he kneels up, grabs my h*ps and pulls me forward, burying his nose in the apex of my thighs. "And you smell of you and me and sex," he says inhaling sharply. "It's intoxicating." He kisses me through my lace panties, while I gasp at his words - my insides liquefying. He's just so . . . naughty. Gathering up my clothes and sandals, he stands in one swift, graceful move, like an athlete.
"Go and stand beside the table," he says calmly, pointing with his chin. Turning, he strides over to the museum chest of wonder. What is he going to do to me?
He glances back and smirks at me. "Face the wall," he commands.
"That way you won't know what I'm planning. We aim to please, Mrs. Grey, and you wanted a surprise."
I turn away from him listening acutely - my ears suddenly sensitive to the slightest sound. He's good at this - building my expectations, stoking my desire . . . making me wait. I hear him put my shoes down and, I think, my clothes on the chest, followed by the telltale clatter of his shoes as they drop to the floor, one at a time. Hmmm . . . love barefoot Christian. A moment later, I hear him pull open a drawer. Toys! What the hell is he going to do? Oh, I love, love, love this anticipation. The drawer closes and my breathing spikes. How can the sound of a drawer render me a quivering mess? It makes no sense. The subtle hiss of the sound system coming to life tells me it's going to be a musical interlude. A lone piano starts, muted and soft, and mournful chords fill the room. It's not a tune I know. The piano is joined by an electric guitar. What is this? A man's voice speaks and I can just make out the words, something about not being frightened of dying. What is this?
Christian pads leisurely toward me, his bare feet slapping on the wooden floor. I sense him behind me as a woman starts to sing . . . wail . . . sing?
"Rough, you say, Mrs. Grey?" he breathes in my left ear.
"You must tell me to stop if it's too much. If you say stop, I will stop immediately. Do you understand?"
"I need your promise."
I inhale sharply. Shit, what is he going to do? "I promise," I murmur breathless, recalling his words from earlier: I don't want to hurt you, but I'm more than happy to play.
"Good girl." Leaning down, he plants a kiss on my n**ed shoulder then hooks a finger beneath my bra strap and traces a line across my back beneath the strap. I want to moan. How does he make the slightest touch so erotic?
"Take it off," he whispers at my ear, and hurriedly I oblige and let my bra fall to the floor.
His hands skim down my back, and he hooks both of his thumbs into my panties and slides them down my legs.
"Step," he orders. Once more I do as I'm told, stepping out of my panties. He plants a kiss on my backside and stands.