lunes, 3 de marzo de 2014
Después del polémico capítulo 8, por fin el acabé el esperado capítulo 9. Aunque en realidad es como 2 o 3 capítulos juntos, no sólo por su extensión, sino también por la cantidad cosas que pasan en él.
Espero que os guste...
After de controversial chapter 8, at the end I ended the expected chapter 9. Infact, it is like 2 or 3 chapters put together, not only for its lenght but for the so many different things happening in it.
I hope you like it...
"Annie, dear, you should rest," Ray said as he caressed his daughter's face.
"I'm fine, daddy. You are the one who should rest. Do you fancy an orange juice?" Ana stood up and rubbed her hands on her thighs. She felt exhausted after spending three days beside his father, only barely leaving the hospital to shower and change clothes.
"I would love it. Thank you, darling. Take another one for yourself."
"Sure dad. I'll be back shortly," Ana kissed the top of his head and went out of the room.
She had an important issue to manage before going to the cafeteria, but she kept it to herself, not wanting Ray to worry about anything. She had to talk urgently with the hospital administrators about the insurance coverage. She was pretty sure it won't cover all the necessary treatment and she wanted to come to a financial agreement. She was conducted to the right office almost immediately just saying her name.
"Don't worry about all the expenses, Ms' Steele. It is all covered" The man on the other side of the desk said with a beaming smile intertwining his fingers on the table.
"But... there must be an error. I'm sure our insurance does not cover all the necessary treatment..." Ana said trying to keep calm.
"I know, madam. Your insurance is quite far from covering the basic treatment your father needs... but someone has it covered".
"I don't understand... Someone... Who?" Ana said suspiciously.
"Mr Grey," the man said proudly.
"Mr Grey... as in, Mr Elliot Grey?" Ana muttered incredulous. Maybe Kate had asked him to help them...
"No, Mr Christian Grey," The man replied slowly, like he was speaking to a child.
"But... I don't understand. Are you sure?" Ana made a face. She was astonished.
"I'm positively sure, madam. I think you should ask Mr Grey if you have any questions, but I suggest you simple accept the help and thank his generosity," the man reprimanded her.
"Oh, of course," Ana blushed profusely. She didn't want to sound rude, but it was weird and very unexpected.
She walked out of the office and called Kate; surely she was aware of all that, but she didn't take the call and Ana left a voice message. It had to be some kind of error, or that man was one of the most generous people in the world.
Then, she went to the cafeteria, bought two orange juices and returned to Ray's room.
_§ § 0 § §_
José was checking the mixing desk in the radio studio. He was thinking about Ana. He had screwed it up by far. Ana didn't deserve what he had done, and then, on top of that, Ray's accident had happened... He sighed. At least, he had been able to talk to her by phone, but they had avoided the club incident. Lost in his thoughts, he didn't hear Michael coming.
"Hey, José! How is it going? Do you have any news about Ana's father?"
"Oh, hi Michael! Well, he's doing quite fine. He has been moved from the ICU to a regular room now, but I think he will remain in hospital for quite a long time".
"Of course... and has Ana already come here?"
"No, not yet. But I think that she will return tomorrow. She and Kate are moving to
this week, so she
has to pack all her stuff". Seattle
"Oh, well then," Michael hesitated. "Can you do me a favour?"
"Of course, man. Shoot".
"Here you are" Michael gave him a closed envelope "It is supposed to be for Ana... well... it is for Midnight Sun, but you know..."
"Yeah, I know" José's tone was harsh "And who gave you this envelope?"
"You would never tell... Mr Grey gave me! He said one guy gave it to him. You know... they thought he knows everyone in the world" Michael said air quoting his last words.
"Well, ok. I will give it to her," José took the envelope and inspected it.
"You know... maybe it is from that mysterious guy Ana likes. Don't you think so?" Michael said smiling.
"Yes, I think so," José had a straight face and a lost look in his eyes.
"Well, man. I have to go. See you!" Michael waved his hand and went out of the soundproof room whistling.
José stared at the envelope for ages. It was from that guy that was for sure. He frowned. Maybe Michael was that guy and he had made up that story about Mr Grey to cover himself. He remembered the way he was grabbing Ana's waist when they were dancing at the club and his blood boiled in his veins. He folded the envelope in two and kept it in the back pocket of his jeans. Would he tell Ana or would he keep it to himself?
_§ § 0 § §_
Christian was sitting on the armchair in his office. He had his right leg bent, with his ankle on his left knee. His left arm was resting on the armrest and the other one holding a tumbler filled with an amber liquid. It was dark outside and he hadn't bothered to switch on the lamp of his office; the distant city lights barely projecting odd shades upon his face. He took a gulp of whiskey and felt the burning heat running through his throat. He was in hell. He felt loss and hatred. He had a permanent oppression on his chest, about to explode at any time. But the worst was that he was feeling self-pity and that was a thing he couldn't tolerate; not he, not Christian Grey. He was strong; he was the master of his own universe. He took another big gulp until finishing the beverage and smashed the glass to the opposite wall. He had to regain control; he needed it. He took the remote control of his iPod and turned up the volume of the song that was playing in the background.
"No one knows what it's like
to feel these feelings
like I do.
And I blame you.
No one bites back as hard
on their anger.
None of my pain and woe
can show through.
But my dreams
They aren't as empty
as my conscience seems to be.
I have hours, only lonely.
My love is vengeance
That's never free"
His face turned into determination as he grabbed his Blackberry. The one on the other side of the line didn't make Christian wait, the velvet sound of her voice caressing his ears.
"Elena, we have to talk. I want you to get me another submissive. You know what I like"
"Well Christian. Welcome back. And yes, I know you so well... and I know what you need..."Her devilish smile could be heard through the phone line.
_§ § 0 § §_
Kate hugged Ana tightly when she arrived to the apartment.
"Oh, Ana, I'm so glad Ray is doing well! What about you? You might be exhausted!" Kate let her go and led her to the coach.
"Don't worry about me, Kate. I'm ok now my dad is well. The worst is gone," Ana smiled.
"By the way, here is your degree" Kate handed it out to Ana with a sad smile. "I'm sad you couldn't be there! Christian gave it to me".
"Christian? You mean Mr Christian Grey?" Ana said amused.
"Well, yes. You know, he's my boyfriend's brother, so I can call him Christian," Kate replied waving her hand nonchalantly.
"Ummm... By the way, I need to talk to him. Did you know he is paying Ray's treatment? It's very generous, but I can't allow him to do it!"
"I know, Ana. He told us the graduation day. I was very impressed; he did not doubt for a minute to offer his help. It was... so unselfish. He's a good man indeed".
"I think so, but I don't want to take advantage of him".
"And what are you going to do? I mean... Ray needs the treatment".
"I know. I've tried to reach him by phone, but there's a wall of personal assistants, lawyers and other different kinds of employees who had prevented me to talk to him. So... I've decided that I will pay him back a little amount of money every month, even if I have to keep doing it until I die." Ana stated with a determined expression on her face. "I will tell him directly once I have my first salary. This way he won't be able to say no!" Ana said with a winning smile. "But I will need you or Elliot to intercede".
"Ok, I will help you... but I'm not sure Christian will give up so easily. I think he is a bit stubborn".
"So do I," Ana replied crossing her arms on her chest.
"Oh, hell yes," Kate chuckled. "By the way... there's another thing I have to tell you. After the interview for the newspaper he asked me who Midnight Sun was".
"Yes. He told me something about someone telling him how good you were. I didn't tell him anything, but I think that if he thinks you are good, you should consider telling him. I mean, it could mean some great job opportunities, don't you think so?"
"Well... I'll give it a thought." Ana wanted to change the subject rapidly. "So... Elliot and you have something serious, haven't you?"
"Definitely, yes," Kate nodded fervently.
"I'm so glad for you both... You two made such a perfect couple!" Ana smiled warmly to her friend.
"I think he is perfect for me!" Kate's eyes flashed with sparkles.
Ana remained quiet for some seconds, fidgeting her fingers and staring at them. "Did he show up?" Ana asked almost imperceptibly.
"What?" Kate frowned. Then, she realized who Ana was talking about. "Do you mean that Fifty guy?" Ana nodded. "I...I don't know, Ana. Has he e-mailed you?"
"No, he has not." Ana sighed. "I didn't show up, so... I understand him. But I thought he maybe would want to contact me again. It seems I was wrong". Ana had a knot in the pit of the stomach. "Anyway... sure it was another one of my silly things". Ana sighed again.
"I don't think so, Ana. I mean... I know I've always told you that you had to grow up, face reality... you know... but this... it seemed so special. It was weird, but even so, I think you two are connected in some deep level".
Kate was right. Ana couldn't fool herself. There was something indelible between them. Even Kate had noticed it. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath to calm down. What could she do now?
_§ § 0 § §_
José and Ana were in the meeting room of the multimedia classroom building, sitting one opposite the other, with the large table between them. She was sure he wouldn't try anything after their encounter outside the pub; she could see his guilty expression, but still she was so pissed off with him. José felt ashamed, he could barely look Ana in the eye, but he wanted to get back their relationship. Ana's friendship, although insufficient for him, was valuable enough.
"Soooo that... the last program. Do you have something in mind? It has to be something big; the great Midnight Sun will leave college". José chuckled.
"Yes, the great Midnight Sun... that's who I am". Ana remained silent for some seconds, and then smiled sadly. "José, I have to thank you for this opportunity you gave me."
Ana's words surprised José and he frowned. "You are very welcome, Ana, but you don't have to. It's been a pleasure to work with you. If someone has to be grateful that is me."
"It's been fun, educational and challenging. I've enjoyed a lot. And I had the chance to know..." Ana stopped in her tracks.
"To know him?" José whispered, finishing her sentence. Ana just stared at him saying nothing. "You really like him, don't you?" He felt that awful mixed feeling of rejection and remorse eating him.
"Yes I do." Ana didn't want to elaborate.
Then, José reached for his backpack and took out a closed envelope. He stared at it for a few seconds and then gave it to Ana. She took it with trembling fingers and read the written name.
"Michael gave me this the next day of the graduation. He told me some guy gave it to him. I do not think that he were the guy who wrote the letter”.
"Thank you" Ana whispered and almost automatically stood up and left the room, holding onto the envelope with both hands as if her life depended on it.
Ana began walking numbly. Her limbs moved automatically. Her view was blurred and she was breathing in an uneven way. She reached her apartment without realizing it, walked in her bedroom and closed the door. She stared at the envelope. She brushed with her fingertips her penname, written with a neat handwriting with slightly cursive letters leant to the left, indicating the strong and intimidating surface of the person who wrote it, just hiding his need for contact with people. So Fifty, she thought.
With trembling hands, she opened the envelope and read the letter:
I've been waiting for you for hours. In fact, I think I've been waiting for you all my life, but I didn't know. But you didn't come.
I've bared my soul to you. I felt that if I showed you the real me, with all my shades, you wouldn't escape from me. I trusted you. But you fucking didn't come.
Ana gasped reading the last words.
I believed there was something special between us. I only felt this way once in my life, during one brief and precious moment that escaped from my fingers because I behaved as a coward. I didn't want to be a coward again. But it has been in vain.
The first time I heard you I felt something similar that in that occasion. That scared me as hell, but at the same time it gave me hope. The loneliness seemed to fade. And this feeling grew bigger and bigger every time I listened to you. It seemed you understood me... What a fool have I been!
That precious person told me not to give up. But she had to go away, and I didn't reach out to her at the time to tell her what I felt. Anyway, I probably didn't deserve her. I know it was for the best. You also told me not to give up. I even found similarities between both of you; the way she pierced my soul with her deep blue eyes, reaching to my black core, was the same way you warmed my soul with your words. With your sweet voice. Sweet and spicy. Yes, sweet and spicy.
Her memory has walked with me during these six years, but you replaced her in my mind. Funnily, I put her image as yours when I thought about you... Don't blame me. I couldn't help it. I put the image of the most beautiful creature I have ever seen as the face of the most incredible woman I've ever heard. I still can feel the tingling sensation in my fingertips as they caressed her soft lips...
I know you are good. Too good for me. That's the reason you didn't show up; you realized it. Now I know my place. Now I know what I have to do. I know it was just a sweet delusion... but it was nice to fantasize about you and me.
Now I have to take control again. Good bye.
Her mind travelled six years before, spinning around in a frenzy trip, as her hand reached her bottom lip. Was it that possible? Was it possible that Fifty was the boy in Mr Harris' shop...? She closed her eyes and his grey eyes appeared in her mind; sad, smouldering, beautiful. Was it possible that he came to see her again? It would be too much of a coincidence, wouldn't it? She recalled his written words... in fact, she remembered all the e-mails he had written word by word:
"I don't know you, but I feel somehow connected to you. I think you remind me of someone I met in the past; someone who I really didn't get to know neither."
"From the very first time I heard your voice I was drawn to you, and transported to a place I was only once, and where I thought I would never return. That was a door I never thought would be opened again."
It was him all the time, and although she had felt it from the very beginning, she had been too blind to acknowledge it. Then, she realized that it was her that hadn't appeared in this occasion. Her eyes filled with longing tears and the load that was in her chest became heavier. Was he giving up on her? She suddenly felt she couldn't breathe properly. She could not lose him. Not again.
_§ § 0 § §_
Ana was about to begin her last program as Midnight Sun. She turned her head and looked at José through the glass window of the studio. He nodded to her with a sad smile and left the room, closing the door quietly. Ana had asked him to leave; after all that happened, she did not want him to be there to witness her feelings towards another. She sighed heavily and modulated her shaky voice.
"Hello ladies and gentlemen, I'm Midnight Sun and here we are to fill your heart with music". She sighed again and placed both her elbows on the desk, leaning her head between both her hands. "This is our last program. As most of you know, the other day I got my graduation degree. Another life is waiting for us. A lot of expectations. New experiences. New challenges. New opportunities. But I think I have lost mine. Do I?" She hid a sob and continued. "Now I'm talking to you, Fifty. I know how you feel... I fucking know so well! Just let me explain... I couldn't come to meet with you... but we can... we should... we have to! I can't believe it was you all the time... you... my grey-eyed boy. The man with the most beautiful and sad eyes I have ever seen. Are you, indeed? Believe me; I know how you feel... Please, I beg you not to give up. Not yet. I think that this song by A Great Big World could help me to explain..."
Ana pressed the precise button and the neat and sweet notes of a piano filled the space. She placed her head on the desk, with her eyes closed, the tears moistening her eyelashes.
I'll be the one, if you want me to.
Anywhere I would've followed you.
Say something, I'm giving up on you.
And I am feeling so small.
It was over my head,
I know nothing at all.
And I will stumble and fall.
I'm still learning to love,
Just starting to crawl.
Say something, I'm giving up on you.
I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you.
Anywhere I would've followed you.
Say something, I'm giving up on you.
"I still feel that tingling sensation on my bottom lip. I still feel your fingertips brushing slightly against it. The fear I felt when you did it has transformed into a longing sensation. I've dreamed it were your lips thousands of times". Ana closed her eyes and touched her lips. "I never thought you came. I was just a silly girl, and you were... you were unattainable." Ana smiled and chuckled sourly. "But somehow I felt it; there was something in your words that remind me of that incredible boy... I could feel the same sadness that filled your music. I could feel the same passion that filled your eyes. People said I was silly for falling for a dream. In fact, I thought the same way, but I couldn't help it. Now, knowing you're there... I have to reach to you".
Ana took the guitar that was on the floor besides her, and positioned the microphone.
"This song tells a lot about my feelings during all these years. It is Talking to the moon by Bruno Mars". She strummed her guitar and began singing with her eyes closed, trying to put all her soul into the words.
I know you're somewhere out there,
somewhere far away.
I want you back.
I want you back.
My neighbors think I'm crazy
but they don't understand.
You're all I have.
You're all I have.
At night when the stars
light up my room
I sit by myself
talking to the moon, tryin' to get to you.
In hopes you're on the other side talking to me too.
Or, am I a fool who sits alone talking to the moon.
She finished the song with that heavy load in her chest.
"You have walked with me since we met. Your presence was always there, reassuring me, warming me and, I can't deny it, also torturing me sometimes. But I craved it. I wanted it to be that way." She left the guitar on the floor again and pressed some other buttons. "I want to show you something. This piece was recorded almost six years ago. My father did it during one of my piano lessons. I always thought it was charming and full of hope, and I couldn't help thinking about you while playing. I hope you like it".
The sweet piano notes of Debussy's Claire de Lune enveloped Ana. It wasn't a very good recording; there was some kind of white noise and you could hear the piano teacher muttering something in the background, but it was very special for her. That song always eased that heavy load. She hoped he could feel the same too.
When it finished, Ana remained silent. That was it. She only hoped he gave her another try.
"We are finishing the program, and all I can do is thank you all for the support you gave us during this incredible year. It has been filled with up and downs, a well-known secret and lots of feelings. But it was worth it, and I don't regret anything. I want to share with you this last song by Nelly Furtado, All the good things, and wish you luck and a life full of happiness". The gipsy-like tune began and Ana leaned back on her chair, massaging her temples with her fingers. Now she had to face reality.
Honestly, what will become of me
Don't like reality
It's way too clear to me
But really life is dandy
We are what we don't see
Miss everything daydreaming
Flames to dust
Lovers to friends
Why do all good things come to an end
José leaned on his bed after the end of the program. It was crystal clear that Ana was totally smitten with that guy, and probably he was feeling the same. He felt guilty for almost not showing her the letter. He loved her, well, some kind of, but he knew she was not for him.
Christian let out the breath he didn't know he was holding. He had been there, staring at the screen of his laptop for two hours, waiting for the program to be finished, without switching on the volume. He didn't need to hear her lies, but he wanted to see the end of the story. That was it. He had now the so treasured control he needed. He did not need her anymore. He turned up the volume of the laptop and then switched it off.
_§ § 0 § §_
Ana put the last bag into the moving van. Although Kate had a lot of items, mostly books, clothes and shoes, Ana's keyboard, guitar and LPs collection occupied most of the trunk. She also had a huge collection of books.
"Wow, Ana, your stuff is way better than Kate's" Elliot mocked as he made a face to Kate "but it is heavier than anything!"
"Oh, Elliot, I thought it wouldn't be a problem for such a strong man like you" Ana mimicked Elliot's face.
Kate hugged Ana with affection and smiled to Elliot, blowing a kiss to him. She had asked him to cheer Ana up. She was behaving almost like a ghost since the last radio program; quiet, subdued… always with a sad smile on her face, trying to hide her real feelings. Elliot, of course, didn't know exactly what was eating her; Kate had not elaborated at all, but he liked Ana and he didn't want to see her like this. He kept joking all the time. Kate and Elliot convinced Ana to carry Wanda in another truck to move it as it was kind of dangerous to drive all the way to Seattle, so they did the trip in Kate's Mercedes, taking turns to drive. Chatting with Ana, he discovered that she could also speak a bit of Spanish; she had studied it as a second language in college instigated by some of the music José used to listen to. So they teased Kate from that moment. Elliot mentioned his brother's sudden interest for that language too, but he didn't elaborate his reasons, and Ana and Kate assumed it was due to some big deal in South America.
The moving went well, but they were exhausted when they arrived to Seattle. The apartment was quite spacious, with an open space concept and three big bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms. It was situated in the Pike Place Market District, near the financial district, the Elliot bay, and plenty of little fancy restaurants and shops.
Christian also had something to do the day of the moving; he had to pick up his sister Mia from Sea-Tac Airport. She was coming from Paris, where she had been for some months working for an eminent chef. She was excited to see her brother, especially since Elliot had told her how he had dramatically changed since Christmas. She was sure it had to do with a woman… or maybe a man, although she had never thought her brother was gay, so she was willing to see him and ask him about it.
"Oh, Christian, I've missed you so much!" Mia approached him and hugged him tightly. She was the only one who could touch Christian in such a way. Christian did not fear her; he had thought about it a lot, and he and Dr Flynn had arrived to the conclusion that it was because Christian had never seen her as a threat.
"Wow, Mia! Slow down please!" Christian yelled at her.
She frowned and looked him in the eye. "What's wrong, Christian?"
"Nothing, Mia. It's only that you almost knocked me down. How was the trip, Mia?"
"Bufff… long. Tiresome," Mia made a face. "But I know you're not telling me the truth. I can see it in your eyes…"
"Let me be, Mia" Christian's tone was harsh. Then, he softened a bit. "I'm sorry. I've had a bad day, that's all. Let's drive you home; you must be exhausted". What could he tell his sister? My soul is lost in a black pool. I'm a shell of a man, Mia. But it is not something new… it's always been this way.
Mia knew there was something more, but she decided to leave her brother in peace and save her grilling for a better moment.
_§ § 0 § §_
Ana went out for a walk. First, she went to Mr. Harris’ shop. She wanted to say hello, and maybe ask him about something about that boy… but she found the shop closed. So, she decided to look around her new neighbourhood. She also wanted to give Kate and Elliot some privacy. They were acting as if she was made of crystal, afraid of breaking her. It was kind of them, but it was also very unnerving. Ana didn't want them to feel sorry for her; she was not that kind of person who gloated over her self-pity.
She loved the little cozy restaurants and fancy shops that surrounded their apartment. One vintage music shop caught her attention and she entered into it. There was a huge section of second hand LPs and another one of different collector items. It was almost paradise! Lost in thoughts, she walked through the corridors enjoying the smell of cardboard and dust while Shirley Manson's hypnotizing moans filled her brain with sick declarations of love. She didn't notice the young man standing at the end of the shop. He was watching her intently, with a huge grin showing his perfect teeth and a spark of amusement in his green eyes.
"Hey you". He told.
"Oh, hey yourself". Ana answered, startled.
"I've never seen you before, so you must be a newcomer at Pike Place Market. I could never forget those beautiful eyes". He said with a beaming smile.
"Ummm… yes, I am. I've just moved from Vancouver," Ana blushed furiously. "I like your shop. You know, I'm a freak when it comes to all of this stuff," Ana said to change the subject.
"Not only beautiful but also interesting," he teased her. He had noticed she was a shy girl and was enjoying her embarrassment. "By the way, do you sing?"
"Why do you ask?" Ana asked arching a brow.
"Look; there's a local radio station that holds a singing contest. It's kind of a karaoke. We record the songs here and they play them on the radio during the week."
Ana widened her eyes. If he still was living in Seattle, maybe she could reach to him again like this. She felt her limbs go weak for a moment, but recomposed herself almost immediately.
"A local radio station? Ok, let's do it!"
"Perfect! Your name is…?"
"My name is Ana, but I will be singing as Midnight Sun. One more thing… may I ask you to sing with me?"
_§ § 0 § §_
Christian yelled for the umpteenth time in the morning. He was pissed off as all his employees seemed to fail miserably again and again in all their basic tasks. He couldn't stand the minimum mistake, and he was taking all his frustration out on them.
"Andrea! I want Barney here right now!" Christian snapped at his personal assistant.
"Right away, Mr Grey," Andrea quickly ran away from Christian's office.
He rubbed furiously his face with both his hands and then pulled his hair on the way back. He was over the edge. He couldn't stand people around him; he would have wanted to be isolated, but he had an empire to run. For fuck's sake; he couldn't even stand to look at his own image in the mirror.
There was a shy knock at the door and Barney entered the room nonchalantly doing the geek salute. At least, he was a fucking genius and never failed, Christian thought.
"Hello, Mr Grey. Andrea told me you wanted me to come."
"Yes, Barney. The security protocols have to be updated a.s.a.p. It has to be your top priority".
"They were updated this past night, sir. I'm well aware of the importance of the matter. I've just e-mailed you the summary." He said calmly.
Christian felt his nerves calm a bit. Yes, he needed the fucking control and everything around him to be like it should be. "Well done, Barney."
"Do you need anything more, sir?" Barney requested.
"No, Barney. You can leave now."
"Ok…" He was leaving when he turned on his heels and began talking. "Did you listen to the last program of that girl in WSU radio?"
Christian felt all his muscles tense again. "What girl?" He said with a poker face.
"That Midnight Sun. I thought you used to listen to the program."
"Only occasionally," Christian felt a sharp pain in his chest hearing her name. Who do you want to kid asshole?
"Oh, it was awesome! It was her last program, because she has graduated."
"I suppose it was a big party, wasn't it?" Christian couldn't hide the bitterness in his words, but Barney didn't seem to notice.
"Well, not exactly," Barney was standing in front of Christian with his hands stuffed into the pocket of his pants. "It was kind of sad actually."
"She didn't want to leave college, did she?" Christian said ironically.
"No, it was not that. She said something about losing her opportunity. She was apologizing for something… I was not paying attention. I think it had something to do with that Fifty guy."
"It must be a fake, Barney. You know show business," Christian said sourly.
"My girlfriend doesn't think so," Barney shrugged.
"Do you have a girlfriend?" Christian sounded more surprised than he wanted to show, but, again, Barney didn't mind at all.
"Yes, she's great." He took his phone and showed Christian a photo of a petite blond haired girl with smart hazel eyes and a beaming smile in a geek costume. "She says Midnight Sun is for real and that if she didn't come to some random meeting with someone there might be a good reason for sure. You know, she's kind of a romantic."
Christian didn't say anything. His mind went blank. She didn't come. She fucking didn't come. He took his iPod from a drawer and put the headphones on. He chose the song and reclined in the armchair, closing his eyes. He had a painful rage pounding in his chest. The solemn notes of a keyboard reaching his core. She had left him hanging. She had betrayed him. But deep in his heart, his cold black heart, he knew he needed her.
Out here alone, I will wear a thousand faces.
I'm still waiting, the master of disguise.
Can't you hear me calling in my deepest desperation?
I talked to the angels, cause I'd broken every rule.
And if you hurt me, there's a way back to you.
I found a reason out in this mystery.
A touch of heaven.
I opened up my soul.
Don't leave me waiting
until my heart is gone.
It takes two times.
There's no holding back now
until I found you again.
Tears of rage.
_§ § 0 § §_
Ana entered the remodeled industrial unit where Everybody's possession office, the music magazine where Jack Hyde worked as the editor in chief, was settled. She had e-mailed her resumé to him two days before, and had an appointment with him. The brick walls of the reception were all covered with tens of LPs sleeves, from the twenties to the present day. There was also a jukebox with some comfy sofas on the left side of the room, and the reception desk on the other side. Right in the middle of the front wall there was the elevator door, with an art-deco spirit that contrasted with the modern decoration. The Afro-American woman on the desk smiled at her warmly.
"Good morning. I'm Anastasia Steele to meet with Mr Hyde," Ana said trying to sound as professional as possible.
"Oh, dear, Mr Hyde is not here at the moment; something unexpected came up and he had to leave just an hour ago. But he requested me to welcome you to our magazine and gave you your schedule and other details about the job. You will start next week," She beamed, handing her out a folder.
"Do you mean that I'm in?" Ana asked incredulously.
"That's right. Your work will be as an editor, but you'll have to do some field work doing some interviews too. Mr Hyde told me you already talked about it a little some months ago. The salary details, holiday breaks, benefits and things like that are specified in the documents I've already give to you. Mr Hyde will clarify anything you are unsure of."
"Ok, thank you so much. I will be here next Monday."
Ana was about to enter Wanda when her telephone rang. "Ana Steele speaking…"
"Anastasia, this is Jack Hyde."
"Hello, Mr Hyde. I have just left the building."
"Yes, I know. I called there just a moment ago. I'm sorry I could not meet you; something came up and I had to leave. In fact, this call is related with it. I'm calling to offer you a job."
"A job?" Ana sounded puzzled.
"Well, another job. I hope you can begin in Everybody's next Monday."
"You can count with it. You know that I'm honoured with the opportunity you are bringing me."
"Ok, so you can't leave in the lurch now. Let me explain you: some friends of mine have a little orchestra, you know, something classy and intimate; a piano, a guitar, a cello and a sax. They use to play in the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. I'm here with them right now. They have been requested to play in an important charity event that will be held by one of the most influential families in Seattle. But they also want a singer, and I thought about you."
"Me, as a singer?" Ana asked with a hint of fear in her voice.
"You can sing, Anastasia. I know you do. I could recognize your signature in every piece you have sung and played at the radio," Hyde stated without a doubt whatsoever. Ana blushed at her naivety. "Besides, it will be very well paid."
Ana thought hard about it. She needed the money. She preferred to be hidden behind the safety of a studio, but she loved to sing, and if she wanted to pay Ray's bills to Mr Grey she had to do something bigger.
"Ok," she conceded. "Will I be able to play the piano too?"
"We can talk about it. Can you come to the Fairmont Olympic now? You will meet the boys and maybe you can get to know each other, rehearse together and choose the repertory."
"Ok. Give me twenty minutes."
_§ § 0 § §_
Elliot was driving his convertible on a Saturday morning. The sun was warming his skin and he was listening to music on the radio. He felt happy. He had gone to check the construction of his last project and then he was going to have lunch with his adorable Kate. Later, they will meet again to go to the Coping Together masked ball. It was a party that his parents organized every year to get funds for that charity, so close to their heart, as it was about children whose parents were abusing drugs. Christian was also a very important donor, but his involvement was from the distance; it was too painful for him yet. His phone rang and the hands free device switched on.
"Elliot Grey speaking," He said with a musical tone in his voice.
"Hello Elliot. This is Christian," His tone was breathless.
"Wait a moment, bro. I can't hear you properly". He pressed a button and the top of the car rolled down. "Talk to me little bro."
"I've revised those contracts you gave me and they seem quite good," Christian said panting. "I will hand them to you tonight at the masked ball".
"Oh, it will be so much fun, bro! What are you doing? Are you fighting with someone?"
"I'm in the gym with Claude," Christian said as he dodged a blow. Claude was his personal trainer, an ex-Olympic kickboxing champion. Then, something on the other side of the phone line caught his attention. He stopped in his tracks. "Where are you, Elliot?"
"I'm in my car. I'm driving to Kate's apartment." Elliot said nonchalantly.
"What's that music you're hearing? Christian's urgency startled Elliot.
"Sorry, bro. I was not paying attention. She sounds great, doesn't she? It's a girl singing in some kind of karaoke contest from that local radio of Pike Place Market… Wait a minute," Elliot read the information in the digital screen of his car radio. "It says Midnight Sun. Evanescence, Bring me to life. Why do you ask, Christian?"
Christian felt all the blood draining from his face. "I have to go Elliot." He left his brother wondering what just happened. He excused himself to Claude and went quickly to his Penthouse. Although he was just at the gym in Escala's basement, the trip on the elevator seemed endless. When the doors opened, he ran to the living room and searched for the radio frequency, until her voice enveloped him in a warm embrace.
Now that I know what I'm without
you can't just leave me.
Breathe into me and make me real.
Bring me to life.
(Wake me up) Wake me up inside.
(I can't wake up) Wake me up inside.
(Save me) Call my name and save me from the dark.
(Wake me up) Bid my blood to run
(I can't wake up) before I come undone.
(Save me) Save me from the nothing I've become.
Bring me to life (I've been living a lie, there's nothing inside).
Bring me to life.
He stood paralyzed in the middle of the room, the heavy load on his chest lightening a bit only hearing her sweet voice filled with longing. Why, why on earth was she doing this after standing him up like that? And who was that fucker who was singing with her? Was he that José of the WSU radio? He felt dizzy and his hands felt numb. He stared at them, flexing his fingers into a fist. He had to listen to that last program. He went to his office and locked the door behind him. His vision was blurred. He searched for the favourites bar and reached to the link of her last program. He remembered the anger he felt the last time he stared at that screen. But in that moment, he had to know. After what Barney had told him, and hearing her today… he needed answers. And he craved listening to her again. He gasped at the sound of her lovely voice. He felt a sharp pain in his chest hearing her hiding a sob.
"I know how you feel... I fucking know so well! Just let me explain... I couldn't come to meet with you... but we can... we should... we have to!"
Her urgency sent shivers through his spine and made goose bumps all over his body.
"I can't believe it was you all the time... you... my grey-eyed boy."
Christian's heart missed a beat and he reached a hand to his throat. He gulped heavily. Did she know him? Did they ever meet?
"I still feel that tingling sensation on my bottom lip. I still feel your fingertips brushing slightly against it."
Christian reached his hand to his mouth, slightly opened, and sucked the fingertips with the tip of his tongue with his eyes closed.
"I've dreamed it were your lips thousands of times."
Realization hit him. Was Midnight Sun Annie? How was it possible that she kept thinking about him all the time? He didn't deserve it, but fuck, a hot longing filled his entire body and soul, making him feel utterly incomplete without her. It was her all the time. He knew it, deep in his heart, his black heart, from the very first moment. It was like a siren call; he got trapped within it. And it seemed she also had felt it.
"Now, knowing you're there... I have to reach to you."
In that moment, he didn't mind the reasons of her standing him up. She was trying to catch his attention again; she was not giving up on him. He had to reach her too.
He listened intently to her singing Bruno Mars Talking to the moon with her guitar. "I play piano and guitar," she said six years ago biting her bottom lip. He had pleaded her to stop with his eyes, and she had obliged. Now, he wanted to bite that luscious lip. He was feeling something expanding in his chest, threatening to explode. It was overwhelming; he had to bend in his chair to catch some air.
And when Debussy's Claire de Lune began, he could not help it anymore and began crying like a child. They were the repressed tears gathered during all these years. That door was opened again, waiting for her to come. He felt vulnerable, but more alive than ever.
Christian spent all the morning and part of the afternoon in his office. He kept sat on the floor, in the same spot he had fallen when he began crying. His mind was dribbling crazy; only focusing in one thing; he had to find her. She was the only woman who had shaken him not once, but twice. There was some deep connection between them that could not be denied. And yes, he was scared to the bone, but he was more scared of not having her.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
"Christian! It's Elliot. Are you ok, bro?" Elliot's voice reflected his worry.
Christian rubbed his face with both his hands. He didn't know how long he had been there. He stood up and felt his limbs numbed. He shook them for a while and unlocked the door.
"Jesus Christ, Christian! I was about to knock down the door! Mrs Jones has told me you've been here, locked in your office, for hours. She says she came to ask you for having lunch, but you didn't answer, even when she could hear you".
"Has she called you to come here?" Christian asked dumbfounded.
"No, she hasn't. I decided to come to pick up the contracts. But Taylor was about to call mum!" Elliot said, waving his hands. "What happened, Christian? Are you ok?"
Christian frowned. How many hours had he spent in there? He sighed and looked Elliot in the eye.
"I'm ok, Elliot... only a little bit lost." He smiled. He needed some help; not only to find her but to cope with all that turmoil of feelings. Besides, he once told his brother he was going to tell him the story. "I've got to tell you something. Do you remember that Spanish song...?"
Christian explained to Elliot his encounter with Annie six years before, and then how he had revived all those feelings listening to Midnight Sun on the radio. How they had decided to meet and how he felt when she didn't appear. He told him the harsh words he wrote to her. And finally told him what he had just found out. Elliot understood all the changes in Christian demeanour the past days.
"Wow, Christian. It is kind of mystical. What are you going to do?" Elliot was astonished.
"I have to find her, Elliot. I need to. I'm sure she's the one. But I'm afraid of freaking out and screw it up, too. You know, I'm a loner."
"Well, bro. I will be here to warn you if you behave like a moron."
_§ § 0 § §_
Ana drove to Bellevue, Seattle's largest suburb across Lake Washington, where the charity party was being held. It turned out that it was the same ball Elliot had asked Kate to go to as his 'plus one', and it was being held by his parents. She was a little less stressed as Kate would be there. Moreover, she could talk to Mr Christian Grey about repaying him for Ray's hospital bills.
She was wearing a chiffon pale pink maxi dress she had bought in an outlet shop the day before with Kate's help. In fact, Kate was thrilled with it. Hyde asked her to dress that colour, as it was one of the decoration theme of the party. Her companions were wearing gray suits with pink ties. She was also wearing the grey peep-toes she had bought for the graduation day and it was a little hard to drive Wanda with them, but she did it. When she arrived, she was conducted to a parking lot for employees, situated at the back of the house. She met her partners there and they entered together to the spectacular mansion by the back door. She thanked her good luck for it being a masked ball; this way she could not only hide behind the piano but also behind mask.
Grace Trevelyan-Grey welcomed them warmly at the large kitchen that was full of people working and that smelled delicious. She was a beautiful and elegant woman, with smart eyes full of kindness.
"Thank you so much for coming, guys, especially at such a short call!" She said clasping her hands together in front of her chest. Then she looked at Anastasia with motherly gaze. "Let me tell you, darling, that you are lovely in that dress. It really suits you."
Ana blushed profusely. "Thanks, madam."
"Please, call me Grace. And don't be so shy! Are you the singer?"
"Yes, madam... I mean, Grace. Well, I will be playing the piano too."
They settled all the arrangements and made all the necessary preparations in the small circular stage situated in the centre of an enormous canopy that was surrounded by circular tables decorated in pale pink and grey. Despite all the tables there was enough room for the guests to dance.
Ana took a deep breath. She was really nervous.
"Don't be nervous, I'm sure we will be enjoying your music."
Ana turned her head and saw Grace beaming at her. She also smiled.
"Thanks again, Grace. May I ask you something?"
"Of course, dear."
"Well, I suppose you know Katherine Kavanagh, Elliot's girlfriend."
"Oh, yes! She's such a clever girl! And beautiful, too. Do you know her?"
"Yes, I do. She's my roommate. In fact, she's my best friend ever!"
"Oh my God, are you Anastasia?" Ana nodded. "I'm sorry, dear. I didn't know. How's your father?"
"Oh, he's doing fine, really fine. That's why I wanted to talk to you. Did you know that your son Christian is paying his rehabilitation? I mean... I would like to thank him personally, and also to find a way to pay him back... somehow. Would you mind to introduce me to him? It's hard to get to him sometimes!"
"Don't mind, darling. It's done. Christian is a good man, really generous, although sometimes he seems not to know..." Grace voice failed a little "Although he's stubborn, and maybe he will refuse your payback."
"At least I want to try! Thank you so much, Grace."
_§ § 0 § §_
Elliot and Kate arrived at the party. They left the car at the entrance and a valet took the car. They saw Christian approaching behind them with a plain black mask on his face, and they waited for him.
"How are you doing, bro?" Elliot patted Christian's arm, and he returned him a quick hug, which startled Elliot.
"Fine, man. Hello, Kate. You are stunning."
"Thank you, Christian," Kate looked at Elliot with a questioning face, arching a brow. She knew Christian was more a "hands off" kind of guy. Elliot shrugged.
"It's a long story," He whispered in her ear.
Christian went to meet his parents and the couple went to meet Ana. Her companions were already playing some soft background music, and she was sat on a stool between them. She waved them hello from the distance.
"Wow, Ana! You are amazing!" Elliot told.
Kate hit him on the side with her elbow playfully. "I told you, Ana. And this mask really suits you too."
"Thanks you both. I'm really happy you're here."
They walked through the tables and Elliot introduced Kate to some influential people. Then, they sat on their designated table.
"Your mother is a genius! She has an excellent taste; everything is perfect, even the minimum details," Kate said.
"Yes, she is. She's amazing," Elliot answered, his voice clearly filled with love for his mother.
"And you will be speechless when you hear Ana singing."
"I didn't know she was a singer."
"Yes, she is. But she's so shy... Let me tell you something. But you have to promise you won't tell anyone. Ana will kill me..." Kate moved closer to Elliot. "She has been ruling a radio program at WSU radio our last year at college, but she used a penname. She's so shy and insecure sometimes..."
"A radio program? And she also sang?" Elliot widened his dark blue eyes.
"Yes... why do you ask?"
"Oh, oh... don't tell me she's Midnight Sun!" Elliot was almost jumping of his chair.
"How do you know? Has she told you?" Kate frowned.
"Oh, she's not. It's a long story. I have to find Christian!" Elliot kissed Kate fervently and stormed out.
_§ § 0 § §_
Grace almost cried when Christian hugged her when he arrived. She didn't know what was happening with her younger son, but she thanked the lord whatever it was.
"I have to tell you some things, mother. Can we sit down in a quieter place for a while?" Christian asked her mother brushing her hand with his. Grace was about to ask his son when Elena approached them.
"Elena, dear. How nice to see you!" Grace said.
She was wearing a black strapless dress that hugged all her curves, with a golden mask with black feathers.
"Grace, you've hit the nail again. Everything is just perfect. Congratulations to you." Elena said with her cold usual demeanour.
"Hello, Elena." Christian said with a short nod of his head.
"Hello, Christian. That mask really suits you," She said with a smirk. "Grace, I would want to speak with Christian for a while. You know, business."
Grace looked at Christian and he assented with his eyes. "Ok, we will meet later, then."
When they were alone, Elena fisted her hands on her hips and smirked again.
"I didn't know you had overcome your haphephobia."
"You didn't know me so well, Elena. Look, the other day... I was wrong. I'm sorry, but I don't want you to get me a submissive."
"What's going on, Christian? You're not the same. You are weak. You are not in control."
"Yes, you're right. I completely have lost control," Christian said enjoying Elena's astounded face.
"Don't you dare toy with me, Christian..." She approached him with a menacing glare. Christian confronted her with a death look in his eyes. In that moment, Elliot arrived.
"Christian, I was looking for you! Hi, Elena!" Elliot was almost breathless.
"Elliot, this is not a good moment," Christian's demeanour had changed; he was in his dominant persona.
"Yes, it is. This is the perfect moment. The right one. You have to come with me. Now."
Something in Elliot's words made Christian change his mood again. He didn't hesitate and followed him.
The canopy was crowded. There were people already sitting at their tables, and a lot of them also hanging around. Christian stopped in his tracks. He closed his eyes. That voice. That beautiful voice that caressed his ears. Was she here? He opened his eyes again, speechless, and looked at Elliot with pleading eyes.
"Christian, I think she is in here..."
"Yes..." Christian said breathless. He walked numbly to the stage; her love words getting closer and closer.
Dreams are like angels.
They keep bad at bay.
Love is the light
scaring darkness away.
I'm so in love with you.
Make love your goal.
And then he saw her. She was like an angel. Her dark hair was up in some kind of bun, showing her delicate flawless neck and shoulders. She was wearing an incredible lace patterned mask that covered the upper half of her lovely face. Her full rosy lips moved letting the enchanting words escape. Her chest shook to the rhythm of the music and her hands caressed the piano keys delicately. The dress was the same colour that her blush. But her eyes, those big bottomless pools he remembered so well, were closed.
I'll protect you from the hooded claw,
keep the vampires from your door.
When the chips are down I'll be around
with my undying death defying love for you.
Envy will hurt itself.
Let yourself be beautiful
sparkling light, flowers and pearls and pretty girls.
Love is like an energy
rushing in, rushing inside of me.
Ana sang with all her strength, with all her soul, like she was talking to him. And then she felt it. She felt that warmth enveloping her, like a shield of protection. She opened her eyes... and those melting grey eyes, the most beautiful she had ever seen, were staring at her. Then time seemed to stop. There were only the two of them in the room; their stares glued to each other.
This time we go sublime.
Lovers entwined divine divine.
Love is danger, love is pleasure,
love is pure, the only treasure.
I'm so in love with you.
Make love your goal.
The power of love.
A force from above
cleaning my soul.
The power of love.
A force from above.
A sky scraping dove.
Flame on burn desire.
Love with tongues of fire.
Purge the soul.
Make love your goal.
"What's happening?" Kate whispered at Elliot's ear.
"My brother is Fifty Shades. I already knew this afternoon," Elliot smiled.
"I can't believe it!" Kate opened her mouth astonished, and Elliot took advantage of it and kissed her.
"I thought you didn't know my son, Anastasia," Grace asked, slightly puzzled.
Christian and Ana looked at each other again, frowning. Then they both looked at Grace. She didn't understand what was going on, and Elliot then interceded.
"Ana, this is my brother Christian. Christian, this is Anastasia Steele, Kate's roommate." Ana gasped and covered her mouth with her hand. Christian widened his eyes. "What a coincidence, don't you think so?" Elliot said amused.
"I... I didn't know..." Ana was speechless.
"Me neither. We have to talk." Christian said to Ana. He needed to be alone with her!
Ana looked at the other musicians, who were as astonished as the rest of the people around them. "You can go for a while." Ana nodded and followed Christian, who took her hand, leading her outside the canopy.
Ana could feel his hand enveloping hers, warm and firm, but she felt as in a dream. She was floating in a cloud. Was it real? She looked at him. He had a furrow between his eyes, as in deep concentration. And he smelt divine. They entered the house and then into a room that seemed some kind of office. He closed the door and then looked her in the eye, so intently, Ana felt her skin burn and her legs go weak. He kept looking at her like this for a while. He was speechless. He even couldn't breathe properly. She was a vision. He was afraid of touching her and realize it was a dream. But the feeling of her tiny warm hand felt good, really good.
"I'm sorry about the words I wrote... if I only would have known about your father..." Christian pleaded her pardon.
"You don't have to apologize at all. In fact, you are paying his treatment. I never would be grateful enough." Ana felt a load in her chest. She wanted to say so many things, and she didn't know how to express them. "You had been always on my mind," She said in a whisper.
"You've been always haunting my dreams. It was painful because I couldn't have you, but comforting because I felt less alone," Christian said breathlessly.
Ana bit her lip and he could not help it anymore. Grabbing both her hands with his, he pinned her to the wall and crashed his mouth to hers. Ana moaned and he deepened the kiss, exploring her mouth with his tongue. They were both overwhelmed by the sensations; the softness of their lips, the wetness of their tongues, the sweetness of their unsaid words. Christian let go of her hands and grabbed her face. Ana intertwined her hands in his soft hair and pulled him close; he answered tightening his hips to her body and biting her lip, making Ana moan loudly.
"I wanted to bite that lip. It's too much delicious to have it only for yourself," Christian said playfully against Ana's mouth.
They separated, breathless. Christian caressed Ana's cheek with the back of his hand.
"I think we should go to the party again. People must be expecting you," Christian said.
"And you. You are the great Christian Grey!" Ana said smirking. Then, they realized that everyone out there would be probably talking about them.
"I think it would be better to stay on our own for the rest of the night." She sighed.
"Yes, I think so," Christian said rubbing his face.
"But I would be waiting for you to call me or to come to my apartment whenever you want. We have to... talk," Ana said with pleading eyes
"Try to stop me."
Uff, ¡qué capítulo! ¿no? Estas son las canciones que aparecen en él:
Wow, what a chapter! These are the songs that appear in it:
Behind blue eyes. The Who / Limp Bizkit. (cuando Christian decide llamar a Elena) Yo prefiero la versión de Limp Bizkit, pero creo que Christian preferiría el clásico de The Who! (when Christian decided to call Elena) I prefer the one by Limp Bizkit, but I think Christian would like the classic one by The Who!
Say something. A great big world.
Talking to the moon. Bruno Mars.
Claire de lune. Debussy.
All the good things. Nelly Furtado.
Crush. Garbage. (La canción que suena de fondo en la tienda de discos de Pike Place Market) (The song that sounds in the background at the music shop at Pike Place Market).
Tears of rage. Primal fear. (Christian escuchando su iPod después de hablar con Barney en su oficina) (Christian listening to his iPod after speaking with Barney at GEH).
Bring me to life. Evanescence. (la canción que Ana canta en la tienda de discos) (the song that Ana sings at the music shop)
The power of love. Frankie goes to Hollywood / Gabrielle Aplin. (Ana canta en el baile de máscaras. A mí me encanta la original de Frankie goes to Hollywood, pero creo que la versión de Gabrielle Aplin se ajustaría más a cómo la cantaría Ana) (Ana sings at the masked ball. I love the original by Frankie goes to Hollywood, but Gabrielle Aplin’s version is more alike Ana’s approach).