Darker (Fifty Shades 5) - Page 60

He issues swift instructions to the other two and they scatter to search the apartment. I switch on all the lights so that the living room and corridor are well lit and bright, and I head upstairs with Taylor.

He’s thorough. He checks under the four-poster bed, the table, and even the couch in the playroom. He does the same in the sub’s room and in each of the spare rooms. No sign of any intruder. He proceeds into his and Mrs. Jones’s quarters, and I head downstairs. My bathroom and walk-in closet are clear, as is my bedroom. Standing in the middle of the room, I feel like a fool, but I squat down and check under the bed.


Not even dust. Mrs. Jones is doing a stellar job.

The balcony door is locked, but I open it. Outside, the breeze is cool and the city is laid out, dark and somber, at my feet. There’s the hum of distant traffic and the faint moan of the wind, but that’s it. Inside again, I lock the door.

Taylor comes back downstairs. “She’s not here,” he says.

“You think it’s Leila?”

“Yes, sir.” His mouth forms a hard, flat line. “Do you mind if I search your room?”

Though I’ve already done this, I’m too tired to argue. “Sure.”

“I want to check all the closets and cupboards, sir,” he says.

“Fine.” I shake my head at the preposterous situation we’re in, and I open the foyer doors to find Ana. Sawyer brandishes his gun but lowers it when he sees it’s me.

“All clear,” I tell him. He holsters his pistol and stands aside. “Taylor is overreacting,” I say to Ana. She looks exhausted, and she doesn’t move—she just stares at me pale-faced, and I realize she’s scared. “It’s all right, baby.” I fold her in my arms and kiss her hair. “Come on, you’re tired. Bed.”

“I was so worried,” she says.

“I know. We’re all jumpy.”

Sawyer has disappeared, presumably into the apartment.

“Honestly, your exes are proving to be very challenging, Mr. Grey,” she asserts.

“Yes. They are.” They really are. I lead her into the living room. “Taylor and his crew are checking all the closets and cupboards. I don’t think she’s here.”

“Why would she be here?” Ana sounds bewildered, and I reassure her that Taylor is thorough and that we’ve searched everywhere, including the playroom. To calm her, I offer her a drink, but she declines. She’s tired. “Come. Let me put you to bed. You look exhausted.”

In my bedroom, she empties the contents of her evening bag on top of the chest of drawers. “Here.” She passes Elena’s note to me. “I don’t know if you want to read this. I want to ignore it.”

I scan the note.


I may have misjudged you. And you have definitely misjudged me. Call me if you need to fill in any of the blanks—we could have lunch. Christian doesn’t want me talking to you, but I would be more than happy to help. Don’t get me wrong, I approve, believe me—but so help me, if you hurt him…He’s been hurt enough. Call me: (206) 279-6261.

Mrs. Robinson

It provokes my temper.

Is this one of Elena’s games?

“I’m not sure what blanks she can fill in.” I put the note in my pants pocket. “I need to talk to Taylor. Let me unzip your dress.”

“Are you going to call the police about the car?” she asks, as she turns around. I move her hair out of the way and pull down the zipper.

“No. I don’t want the police involved. Leila needs help, not police intervention, and I don’t want them here. We just have to double our efforts to find her.” I kiss her shoulder. “Go to bed.”

IN THE KITCHEN, I pour myself a glass of water.

What the hell is going on? My world seems to be imploding. Just when I’m beginning to get back on track with Ana, my past is coming back to haunt me: Leila and Elena. I wonder for a moment if they might be colluding with each other, but then I realize that I’m being paranoid. What an absurd notion. Elena is not that crazy.

I rub my face.

Why would Leila be targeting me?

Is it jealousy?

She wanted more. I didn’t.

But I would have been happy to continue our relationship as it was…She was the one who ended it.

“Master. May I speak freely?” Leila says. She’s sitting at my right at the dinner table, wearing a fetching lacy La Perla one-piece.

“Of course.”

“I have developed feelings for you. I had hoped you would collar me and that I would stay by your side forevermore.”

Collar? Forevermore? I think to myself. What’s this once-upon-a-time bullshit?

“But I think that is beyond my dreams,” she continues.

“Leila. You know that’s not for me. We’ve discussed this.”

“But you’re lonely. I can see it.”

“Lonely? Me? I don’t feel that way. I have my work. My family. I have you.”

Tags: E.L. James Fifty Shades Billionaire Romance
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