Darker (Fifty Shades 5) - Page 6

“Don’t start, Anastasia.”

“I am not a child, Christian.”

“Well, stop acting like one.”

“I’m a child because I don’t like steak?” She doesn’t hide her petulance.


“For deliberately making me jealous. It’s a childish thing to do. Have you no regard for your friend’s feelings, leading him on like that?”

Her cheeks pink and she examines her hands.

Yes. You should be embarrassed. You’re confusing him. Even I can see that.

Is that what she’s doing to me? Leading me on?

In the time we’ve been apart, maybe she’s finally recognized that she has power. Power over me.

The waiter returns with the wine list, giving me a chance to regain my cool. The selection is average: only one drinkable wine on the menu. I glance at Anastasia, who looks like she’s sulking. I know that look. Perhaps she wanted to select her own meal. And I can’t resist toying with her, aware that she has little knowledge of wine. “Would you like to choose the wine?” I ask and I know I sound sarcastic.

“You choose.” She presses her lips together.

Yeah. Don’t play games with me, baby.

“Two glasses of the Barossa Valley Shiraz, please,” I say to the waiter, who’s hovering.

“Er, we only sell that wine by the bottle, sir.”

“A bottle, then.” You stupid prick.

“Sir.” He retreats.

“You’re very grumpy,” she says, no doubt feeling sorry for the waiter.

“I wonder why that is?” I keep my expression neutral, but even to my own ears I’m now sounding childish.

“Well, it’s good to set the right tone for an intimate and honest discussion about the future, wouldn’t you say?” She gives me a saccharine smile.

Oh, tit for tat, Miss Steele. She’s called me out again and I have to admire her nerve. I realize our bickering will get us nowhere.

And I’m being an ass.

Don’t blow this deal, Grey.

“I’m sorry,” I say, because she’s right.

“Apology accepted. And I’m pleased to inform you I haven’t decided to become a vegetarian since we last ate.”

“Since that was the last time you ate, I think that’s a moot point.”

“There’s that word again, ‘moot.’ ”

“Moot,” I mouth. That word, indeed. I remember I last used it while discussing our arrangement on Saturday morning. The day my world fell apart.

Fuck. Don’t think about that. Man up, Grey. Tell her what you want.

“Ana, the last time we spoke, you left me. I’m a little nervous. I’ve told you I want you back, and you’ve said…nothing.” She bites her lip as the color drains from her face.

Oh no.

“I’ve missed you…really missed you, Christian,” she says, quietly. “The past few days have been…difficult.”

Difficult is an understatement.

She swallows and takes a steadying breath. This doesn’t sound good. Perhaps my behavior over the last hour has finally driven her away. I tense. Where’s she going with this?

“Nothing’s changed. I can’t be what you want me to be.” Her expression is bleak.

No. No. No.

“You are what I want you to be.” You are everything I want you to be.

“No, Christian, I’m not.”

Oh, baby, please believe me. “You’re upset because of what happened last time. I behaved stupidly, and you—so did you. Why didn’t you safe-word, Anastasia?”

She looks surprised, as if this isn’t something she’s considered.

“Answer me,” I urge.

This has haunted me. Why didn’t you safe-word, Ana?

She wilts in her seat. Sad. Defeated.

“I don’t know,” she whispers.



I’m rendered speechless. I’ve been in hell because she didn’t safe-word. But before I recover, words tumble from her mouth. Soft, quiet, as if she’s in a confessional, as if she’s ashamed. “I was overwhelmed. I was trying to be what you wanted me to be, trying to deal with the pain, and it went out of my mind.” Her look is raw, her shrug small and apologetic. “You know…I forgot.”

What the hell?

“You forgot!” I’m dismayed. We’ve been through all this shit because she forgot?

I can’t believe it. I clutch the table for something to anchor me to the now as I let this alarming information register.

Did I remind her of her safe words? Christ. I can’t remember. The e-mail that she sent me the first time I spanked her comes to mind.

She didn’t stop me then.

I’m an idiot.

I should have reminded her.

Wait. She knows she has safe words. I remember telling her more than once.

“We don’t have a signed contract, Anastasia. But we’ve discussed limits. And I want to reiterate we have safe words, okay?”

She blinks a couple times but remains mute.

“What are they?” I demand.

She hesitates.

“What are the safe words, Anastasia?”




“Remember those.”

She raises an eyebrow in obvious scorn and is about to say something.

“Don’t start with your smart mouth in here, Miss Steele. Or I will fuck it with you on your knees. Do you understand?”

“How can I trust you? Ever?” If she can’t be honest with me, what hope do we have? She can’t tell me what she thinks I want to hear. What kind of relationship is that? My spirits sink. This is the problem in dealing with someone who isn’t in the lifestyle. She doesn’t get it.

Tags: E.L. James Fifty Shades Billionaire Romance
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