Darker (Fifty Shades 5) - Page 112


Ana has her claws out, and she’s sinking them into me.

But I deserve it. “Well, I wouldn’t have put it quite like that, but yes.”

She’s angry, maybe? Hurt, possibly? She knows my secret. My dark, dark secret. And now I await her verdict.

Love me.

Or leave me.

She closes her eyes. “Christian, I’m exhausted. Can we discuss this tomorrow? I want to go to bed.”

“You’re not going?” I can’t believe it.

“Do you want me to go?”

“No! I thought you would leave once you knew.”

Her expression is softer, but she still looks confounded.

Please don’t go, Ana.

Life will be unbearable if you go.

“Don’t leave me,” I whisper.

“Oh, for crying out loud—no!” she shouts, startling me. “I am not going to go!”

“Really?” Unbelievable. She astonishes me, even now.

“What can I do to make you understand I will not run? What can I say?” She’s exasperated.

And to my surprise an idea springs to mind. An idea so wild and out of my comfort zone that I wonder where it came from. I swallow. “There is one thing you can do.”

“What?” she snaps.

“Marry me.”

Her mouth drops open, and she gapes at me.

Marriage, Grey? Have you taken leave of your senses?

Why would she want to marry you?

She’s stunned but then her lips part and she giggles. She bites her lip—I think it’s to try and stop herself. But she fails. She flops down on the floor and her giggling turns to peals of laughter that echo through my living room.

This is not the reaction I was expecting.

Her laughter becomes hysterical. She drapes her hand across her face and I think she might be sobbing.

I don’t know what to do.

Gently I lift her arm off her face and wipe her tears with the back of my knuckles. I try for something light. “You find my proposal amusing, Miss Steele?”

She sniffles and, reaching up, caresses my cheek.

Again, not what I expected.

“Mr. Grey,” she whispers. “Christian. Your sense of timing is without doubt…” She stops, her eyes searching mine as if I’m a crazy fool. And maybe I am, but I need to know her answer.

“You’re cutting me to the quick here, Ana. Will you marry me?”

Slowly she sits up and places her hands on my knees. “Christian, I’ve met your psycho ex with a gun, been thrown out of my apartment, had you go thermonuclear Fifty on me—”


I open my mouth to plead my case, but she holds up her hand to stop me, so I remain mute.

“You’ve just revealed some quite frankly shocking information about yourself, and now you’ve asked me to marry you.”

“Yes, I think that’s a fair and accurate summary of the situation.”

“Whatever happened to delayed gratification?” she asks, confounding me once more.

“I got over it, and I’m now a firm advocate of instant gratification. Carpe diem, Ana.”

“Look, Christian, I’ve known you for about three minutes, and there’s so much more I need to know. I’ve had too much to drink, I’m hungry, I’m tired, and I want to go to bed. I need to consider your proposal just as I considered that contract you gave me. And”—she pauses and purses her lips—“that wasn’t the most romantic proposal.”

Hope stirs in my chest. “Fair point well made, as ever, Miss Steele. So, that’s not a no?”

She sighs. “No, Mr. Grey, it’s not a no, but it’s not a yes, either. You’re only doing this because you’re scared and you don’t trust me.”

“No, I’m doing this because I’ve finally met someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. I never thought that would happen to me.”

And that’s the truth, Ana.

I love you.

“Can I think about it, please? And think about everything else that’s happened today? What you’ve just told me? You asked for patience and faith. Well, back at you, Grey. I need those now.”

Faith and patience.

I lean forward and smooth a wayward lock behind her ear. I would wait an eternity for her answer, if it meant that she didn’t leave me.

“I can live with that.” Leaning forward again, I give her a swift kiss.

She doesn’t recoil.

And I feel a brief sense of relief. “Not very romantic, eh?”

She shakes her head, her expression solemn.

“Hearts and flowers?” I ask.

She nods and I give her a smile.

“You’re hungry?”


“You didn’t eat.”

“No, I didn’t eat,” she says without rancor, and sits back on her heels. “Being thrown out of my apartment after witnessing my boyfriend interacting intimately with his ex-submissive considerably suppressed my appetite.” She places her hands on her hips.

I get to my feet, still amazed that she’s here. I hold out my hand. “Let me fix you something to eat.”

“Can’t I just go to bed?” She puts her hand in mine and I help her to her feet.

“No, you need to eat. Come.”

I lead her a few feet to a barstool, and once she’s sat down I explore the fridge.

Tags: E.L. James Fifty Shades Billionaire Romance
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