Darker (Fifty Shades 5) - Page 64

“You left me once. I don’t want to go there again.”

She pales and begins fiddling with the drawstring on my sweatpants.

Yeah. You hurt me.

And I hurt you…

“Elena said she saw you last Saturday,” she whispers.

No. That’s bullshit. “She didn’t.” Why the hell would Elena lie?

“You didn’t go to see her when I left?”

“No. I just told you I didn’t, and I don’t like to be doubted.” And I realize I’m taking my anger out on her. In a gentler tone I add, “I didn’t go anywhere last weekend. I sat and made the glider you gave me. Took me forever.”

Ana looks down at her fingers. She’s still fiddling with the drawstring.

“Contrary to what Elena thinks,” I continue, “I don’t rush to her with all my problems, Anastasia. I don’t rush to anybody. You may have noticed, I’m not much of a talker.”

“Carrick told me you didn’t talk for two years.”

“Did he, now?” Why can’t my family keep quiet?

“I kind of pumped him for information,” she confesses.

“So what else did Daddy say?”

“He said your mom was the doctor who examined you when you were brought into the hospital. After you were discovered in your apartment. He said learning the piano helped. And Mia.”

A vision of Mia as a baby, a shock of black hair and a gurgling smile, comes to mind. She was someone I could take care of, someone I could protect. “She was about six months old when she arrived. I was thrilled, Elliot less so. He’d already had to contend with my arrival. She was perfect. Less so now, of course.”

Ana giggles. And it’s so unexpected. I immediately feel more at ease.

“You find that amusing, Miss Steele?”

“She seemed determined to keep us apart.”

“Yes, she’s quite accomplished.” And annoying. She is…Mia. My baby sister. I squeeze Ana’s knee. “But we got there in the end.” I offer her a brief smile, then check the rearview mirror. “I don’t think we’ve been followed.”

I take the next off-ramp and head back into downtown Seattle.

“Can I ask you something about Elena?” Ana asks, when we’re stopped at a red light.

“If you must.” But I really wish she wouldn’t.

“You told me ages ago that she loved you in a way you found acceptable. What did that mean?”

“Isn’t it obvious?”

“Not to me.”

“I was out of control. I couldn’t bear to be touched. I can’t bear it now. For a fourteen-, fifteen-year-old adolescent boy with hormones raging, it was a difficult time. She showed me a way to let off steam.”

“Mia said you were a brawler.”

“Christ, what is it with my loquacious family?” We’re stopped at the next red. I glare at her. “Actually, it’s you. You inveigle information out of people.”

“Mia volunteered that information. In fact, she was very forthcoming. She was worried you’d start a brawl in the tent if you didn’t win me at the auction,” she says.

“Oh, baby, there was no danger of that. There was no way I would let anyone else dance with you.”

“You let Dr. Flynn.”

“He’s always the exception to the rule.”

I turn into the driveway of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. A valet scrambles out to meet us and I pull up toward him.

“Come,” I say to Ana and get out of the car to retrieve our luggage. I toss the keys to the enthusiastic young man. “Name of Taylor,” I inform him.

The lobby is quiet, save for some random woman and her dog. At this time? Odd.

The receptionist checks us in. “Do you need a hand with your bags, Mr. Taylor?” she asks.

“No, Mrs. Taylor and I can manage.”

“You’re in the Cascade Suite, Mr. Taylor, eleventh floor. Our bellboy will help with your bags.”

“We’re fine. Where are the elevators?”

She directs us, and as we wait, I ask Ana how she’s holding up. She looks worn out.

“It’s been an interesting evening,” she says, with her usual gift for understatement.

Taylor has booked us into the largest suite in the hotel. I’m surprised to discover it has two bedrooms. I wonder if Taylor is expecting us to sleep apart, as I do with my submissives. Maybe I should tell him this doesn’t apply to Ana.

“Well, Mrs. Taylor, I don’t know about you, but I’d really like a drink,” I say, as Ana follows me into the master bedroom, where I set our overnight bags on the ottoman.

Back in the main living room there’s a fire burning in the hearth. Ana warms her hands while I fix a drink at the bar. She looks gamine, adorable, and her dark hair shines coppery and bright in the firelight.


“Please,” she says.

By the fire, I hand her a brandy glass. “It’s been quite a day, huh?” I gauge her reaction. I’m amazed, given all the drama of the evening, that she hasn’t broken down and wept by now.

“I’m okay,” she says. “How about you?”

I’m wired.

Tags: E.L. James Fifty Shades Billionaire Romance
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