Ana paced back and forth on the floor of her apartment thumbing anxiously at her lip. Tomorrow was her family reunion and to say she didn’t want to go, was the understatement of the year. The sound of heels clacking against the hardwood of her penthouse was the only sound that could be heard, as her anxiety continued to skyrocket. A knock on the door startled her and she jumped a bit, freezing on the spot. She looked down at herself and shrugged looking down at herself in her skinny jeans, heels and tank top , she looked like a mess but who gave a fuck it was her home and no one could judge her for how she looked. Walking to the door she continued to let her thoughts race around the disaster that would be tomorrow. Shaking off the troubling thoughts she opened the door and rolled her eyes at the person standing on the other side.
“Mr.Grey” she looked the man up and down, good lord was this man sex on a stick, an ass but hot ass “ to what do I owe the pleasure of your presence today?” she plastered on a fake smile as she stared him down.
“Ms. Steele,” the smirk that danced on his lips as he said her name was nearly enough to push her to roll her eyes, but her upbringing kept her from doing so. That damned smirk was going to get her in trouble someday.
“My apologies Christian, I’m a little stressed right now” she walked back into the penthouse and resumed her frantic pacing while Christian closed the door behind him and sat on the sofa behind her. She cocked an eyebrow at the sight of him behind her and tilted her head to the side and sitting next to him with a huff.” My family reunion is tomorrow and let’s just say there’s some skeletons in that closet that need to stay there.” She shook her head and looked up at her neighbor with angry tears in her eyes. Christian shuffled around uncomfortably next to his neighbor, the only times he ever talked to her was when they were bickering, but seeing her cry and looking so out of sorts was something that made his heart hurt for some bizarre reason.
“Anastasia, is there anything I can do to help? I know we aren’t friends but surely I can help somehow.” She raised her head and looked at him shaking her head slowly.
“ There’s nothing you can do, I have to go to this reunion, b-but.” She buried her face into her hands and shuddered. Lifting her head, a little bit,” my sister, god I don’t know why I’m telling you this but, my sister is dating the guy that raped me in college.” He opened and closed his mouth several times before he was able to get anything out.
“I am so sorry that happened to you,” he reached forward and tucked a stray hair behind her ear. He sat for a moment in silence before continuing “does she know?”
Anastasia lifted her head and shook it again,” No it wasn’t I mean; it wasn’t rape like you see on TV where its violent and bloody, I just laid there while he did his thing and didn’t fight back. After he passed out, I just laid there in silence and cried myself to sleep, never reported it and never confronted him about it. Afterwards I was too ashamed to tell anyone about it.” She paused taking a shaky breath” I didn’t tell anyone until about a year ago when I started going to therapy.” She shook her head and looked at Christian “by the time I was ready to talk about it they were already dating, and I couldn’t do anything.”
He frowned softly and wrapped an arm around her pulling her into his side, this was not what he had planned when he came to confront his neighbor about the incessant clacking back and forth for hours. Christian began to absentmindedly rub his hand up and down her arm while he thought about what to say. “without a doubt, this situation is one that you don’t deserve to be in by any means, guys like that deserve to shot in the dick.” He chuckled humorlessly,” What are you going to do about tomorrow? Is seeing this douchecanoe going to set you back?” she laid her head on Christians shoulder and groaned.
“probably but I have to go I can’t miss this” she stood up and straightened out her top before wiping her eyes,” I’m sorry for dumping this on you Mr. Grey, I’m sure you didn’t come up her to play therapist for a sad girl.” She headed to the door and opened it swinging her arm in the direction of it. She was so incredibly embarrassed to have unloaded on her neighbor, Seattle’s most elite bachelor and angry recluse.
Christian stood up with a frown on his face and walked over to the door, he paused in the doorway and turned to her tapping his fingers on his chin. “ I’ll go with you Anastasia, and you can lean on me if this gets to be too much for you.”
Anastasia’s head whipped around and she let go of the door, wincing as the door slammed shut. “Christian…I can’t ask you to do that. This- “Christian stood up shaking his head and walking into her space.
“Anastasia you aren’t asking. I’m offering” He smiled and shook his head” besides, who wouldn’t want to fake date me?” He grinned and wiggled his eyebrows” I’m irresistible, or so they tell me. I promise I won’t let this guy cause you any more pain, that’s my job as the annoying neighbor.”
Ana smiled and rolled her eyes “Christian all we do is bicker, what makes you think we can make it through a reunion pretending to like each other? I leave first thing in the morning, so if you’ll excuse me I need to finish packing” She turned back to the door and opened it, firm in her resolve that she could not ask this man for this. Christian nodded and walked out, Anastasia hurried and shut the door before he could say anything more. She hurried to her room to prepare for the week from hell.
Christian grinned to himself as he walked down the stairs and back to his own apartment. This poor girl was not going to go through this alone, no matter how little they got along. He called up Taylor and got him to work on finding out the details of Miss. Steele’s flight and canceling in favor of his own jet. This was going to be a long week but no one should have to face their abuser on their own, he knew from experience what that could do to someone.
The next morning found Christian standing on the sidewalk in front of the building waiting for Anastasia to come down. When she emerged from the building he grinned and looked her up and down, her blue sundress and curled hair were something that made him want to take her back upstairs and lock them both behind the door of his apartment. At least that was until he noticed the bags under her eyes and the determined set of her jaw. “Anastasia, are you ready?” She looked at him with her eyes blown wide in shock and put a hand over her heart. “Our plane leaves in an hour, Miss. Steele and I would like to get some food on the way”
“Mr. Grey- “
“Please call me Christian, if we are to pretend to be dating then we should at least be a little less formal in how we speak to one another.” Anastasia shook her head and began to protest before she could open her mouth he leaned in close and gripped her elbow softly. “No one offered to help me, when I had to face my rapist, let me help you…please.” He let go of her elbow and opened the door to the SUV that was idling against the curb. Anastasia searched his eyes and nodded attempting to grab her bags when a man materialized seemingly out of nowhere and grabbed them nodding at her.
Anastasia slid into the car and buckled up as Christian shut the door and walked around to the other side of the car to his seat next to her in the backseat. The guy that grabbed her bags, slipped into the driver’s seat and drove off in the direction of the airport.
Anastasia sat stiff as a board in the unfamiliar car still processing what Christian had just told her, her quiet musings were interrupted when a tap on the arm got her attention. A file was slid onto her lap and as she met Christian’s eyes he was frowning slightly.
“Anastasia, I don’t mean to be rude or crass, but what I disclosed to you, and whatever I continue to disclose to you has to remain confidential.” He passed her a pen and tapped the file,” This is a non-disclosure agreement, I ask that you please sign it for my peace of mind” Anastasia frowned and opened the file to the document. Tapping her finger on her thigh she nodded to herself and signed the paper. Christian smiled softly and placed the file on the seat behind them. He looked at her worriedly “I’m sorry about that. I want to be able, to be honest with you, but I need to make sure nothing gets out to the public”
Anastasia smiled and patted his arm,” Christian, I get it. If I was in your position I would do the same thing.” He smiled and nodded his head. When Anastasia looked out the window she noticed they had already arrived at the airport and the strange man that was driving was getting out to get their bags, while Christian got out and opened her door for her.
Ana knew she should have been less surprised that Christian had not only canceled her flight but arranged for them to leave on his private jet. As they boarded his jet she looked around in awe, Anastasia and her family weren’t poor by any means, but they were not nearly as well off as Christian was. She grinned and tapped her fingers on her chin as she watched women trying to flirt with him as he made his way into the jet. He pulled off his aviators and shook his head as he took the seat next to her.
“Anastasia, these women only see this face, and instantly swarm, I must have dollar signs floating over my head.” He leaned back in his seat and turned to look at Anastasia, when he did his face grew somber and he put a hand on her thigh “I promise you that I won’t let this bastard make this weekend anything less than perfect for you. I still think he needs to be shot in the dick and thrown into a pack of wolves, but that’s just me.” He smiled and squeezed her thigh before returning his hand to his own armrest.” Together we are going to get through this weekend”
As soon as they hit the tarmac at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, Ana tensed up, she could feel the panic and anxiety hitting her full force as she struggled to stay in the present moment. Jesus, how was Ana supposed to get through this weekend when she was already a mess and she hadn’t even seen him yet. Christian’s hand shot out and gripped her hand softly as he slid his aviators on to the top of his head, his brows furrowed as he took in the anxiety on her face. “It’s okay to be scared Anastasia, you’ve been through a lot and you’re going to have to face your attacker and that’s hard but I will be right here the whole time.” He squeezed her hand and smiled softly,” this is going to be tough I won’t lie to you, but I will do everything in my power to make sure that this won’t break you. You’re stronger than this and definitely stronger than this asshole.”
Anastasia smiled halfway and held on to his hand as she willed her heart to slow down and breathed in slowly counting to herself. 1…2...3...4…5… out…6...7...8…9...10 in, she repeated this process a few times before the panic receded and she could be completely in the present and remember where she was. Looking down at where her hand was in Christian’s, she gasped in horror and pulled it back once she noticed the nail impressions she’d left on his hand during her freak-out. “Christian I’m- “
He shook his head and smiled “Don’t worry about it, I’ve definitely had worse.” He stood up and gestured toward the exit. “Shall we get this show on the road? I could definitely use some food and a nap.” Anastasia nodded and stood up grabbing her purse and crossed her arms across her chest and hurried toward the exit.
Christian took a deep breath as he slid into the car next to Anastasia and took in her tense posture in the passenger seat, inwardly he was battling with himself she was scared and something in him was greatly angered by this. The caveman part of his brain wanted nothing more than to lock her away in a room while he pummeled this idiot in to the pavement, which made no sense because this was just his irritating neighbor that bickered with him nonstop. Shaking his head at the thoughts rattling in his head, he turned his head to Anastasia, “so food, I was thinking we hit a drive through and then collapse into our beds at my villa”
He knew it wasn’t good when she grimaced and shook her head,” unfortunately the ‘festivities start today and we have to go to lunch with my mom, well I do, you don’t. You can hit a drive thru and go take that nap but I-.” He shook his head and smiled, “Lunch with the mother it is, wherever you go that involves this, I go.”
When Christian pulled up the address Anastasia had typed into the GPS, Christian immediately admired the place, it was a classic white farmhouse with a big porch and a large yard that encompassed the place. He surveyed the driveway as he parked and noticed that there were cars everywhere, Anastasia tensed up as she looked around at the various cars. “Hey,” He put his fingers under her chin and turned her head to face him “I know that I’m just this annoying neighbor who shoved his way into this trip, but I’m here for you, you say the word and we leave there’s nothing that says that we have to stay because of this dickbag thinks that he got away with hurting you.” She smiled and chuckled as she patted his face placidly. “Thank you, irritating neighbor I appreciate your pushiness and persistence to accompany me. Annoying neighbor or not I am glad you pushed your way in cause this is about to suck.” She undid her seat buckle and braced herself as she got out of the car and when Christian joined her he grabbed her hand with a reassuring squeeze.
The front door of the home flew open and a petite blonde woman stepped out, her brown eyes sparkling and the laugh lines on her face growing and she grinned at the pair before throwing her arms around Anastasia. After the brief hug, she stepped back and held out her hand to Christian, “Carla Wilks, and if my eyes aren’t mistaking you would be Christian Grey correct?”
Christian Chuckled and shook her hand before sliding his arm around Anastasia’s waist, “yes ma’am that would be me, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” She stepped back and gestured towards the inside of the house. Upon stepping past the threshold Anastasia immediately tensed up and wrapped her arms around Christian’s middle as she nodded at a thin young girl standing inside the door grinning at Anastasia her blue eyes taking in Christian appreciatively and he just barely held in the eyeroll that threatened to come to the surface. When Anastasia’s grip grew tighter around his waist and she forced a smile on to her face, he connected the dots and registered that this was the sister dating her attacker. Walking up behind the sister was a rail thin Hispanic man with deep-set eyes as Ana started to tremble slightly against him he turned and kissed the top of her head.
He nodded toward the couple and smiled tersely, “Christian Grey, it’s nice to meet you.” The girl grinned at him and winked “I’m Skylar, Anastasia’s sister, I had no idea my sister was dating again, let alone dating America’s most eligible bachelor.” She gestured to the man that was now wrapping an arm around her waist but was shifting between glowering at Christian and checking Anastasia out. “ This here is Jose, my boyfriend.” She giggled and settled into his side while eyeing Christian and he nodded in the man’s direction before leaning down to whisper in Ana’s ear. “ Just say the word and we’ll leave, or I could get one of my security team members to take him out and make it look like Santa Claus did it.” She smiled and turned her head into his shoulder and cuffed his left arm lightly with a giggle. “I’m fine, let’s just go find my step-dad.’
Anastasia stayed tucked tightly against his side as more and more of her family filtered in she was shaking like a leaf and after an hour of mingling and gritting his teeth every time that dirtbag so much as looked at her, he made their excuses and they left with people looking at him suspiciously and that creep had the nerve to follow them outside. “Anastasia could I have a moment of your time please? Alone?” Against his side, Anastasia was shaking and the arm around his waist had tightened to a vice-grip. Ignoring the idiot, he opened the passenger side door and guided her into the seat, he leaned down and kissed her head before shutting the door and glared at the younger man before heading to his side of the car and peeling away. He made it two blocks over before pulling off to the side of the road, “Ana please look at me, it’s okay we can go back home or we can fuck off to Italy for all I care. Just please let me help you, it took everything in me not to punch this guy or have my security guy look the other way while I shot him in the dick.” She tilted her head up and whimpered loudly before wrapping her arms around him and sobbing.” Can we please just go to wherever we’re staying?” Christian nodded and put the car into drive leaving his hand on her knee as she sobbed into his shoulder.
When they pulled up to Christian’s villa there was no talk between either of them, their bags had been delivered earlier by his team and they were waiting for them inside. Walking around to Ana’s side of the car he leaned down and kissed her head before pulling her into his arms and carrying her inside, shutting the door behind them he led her into the guest room closest to his. He sat down on the bed and held her as she cried and cried.
“I was so lonely when we started dating, my friends all had moved forward on to different things and I was so tired of being alone. So, I turned to online dating, I met Jose and we talked for a month or so, and then he went radio silent, I thought that he’d just decided that it wasn’t something he was interested in.” She broke of and burrows further into his chest, “A couple days later I heard from him and he had tried to kill himself. I know that, that should have been a huge red flag but it wasn’t. When he got back to the area we started dating, and he started self-medicating, alcohol, drugs you name it he was doing it. I was still a virgin and I wasn’t ready by any means, but we made out heavily and we got naked and then he was on top of me and he was so drunk and high and I had already told him I wasn’t ready, but he kept going. I should have gotten out then but he was cheating and emotionally and mentally abusive and It took me another two months before I was able to get out. After that first time I just didn’t care anymore because it didn’t matter anymore.” Anastasia turned her head into Christian’s chest and cried while keeping her hand fisted in his shirt.
He adjusted them so they were laying down on the bed, with Ana curled into his side, he held her and rocked her as she cried. Lifting her head up Ana wiped at her eyes and looked at him, “I know that other people have been through- “he settled a finger on her lip and shook his head.
“No. Your experience is just as traumatizing as other peoples, just because you didn’t get hurt physically, and you didn’t fight, doesn’t mean your story doesn’t matter and that it doesn’t suck or hurt. Everyone experiences rape or sexual assault differently; no story is the same and there should be no way that you should feel as though what you went through is insignificant because it doesn’t match up with the stories we hear in the media. You got through it, you’re here and you made it through and nothing can change that, not his sorry ass and not certainly not someone who didn’t experience what you went through.” That made her cry again and she buried his face in his chest and cried herself to sleep.
Christian lay awake watching the rise and fall of Ana’s chest as she laid beside him holding on to his shirt, he thought about the smug look on that asshole’s face. He wanted nothing more than to squash him like a bug. As she whimpered in her sleep and he pulled her closer running a hand down her back and kissing the top of her head. It was amazing to think that the irritating neighbor that liked to pace at all hours of the night in high heels right above his bedroom, the tapping driving him insane, he bickered with her constantly. She was so strong, and she’d been through a lot, there was no doubt in his mind that she had purposefully left out some of the more terrible things. He vowed to protect this woman regardless of what happened from here on out. Christian closed his eyes and pulled her closer letting himself take comfort in the fact that she was here and she was safe, and if he had his way that scumbag would have nothing left.
When Anastasia woke up the following day she was alone in the large bed, the only indication that anyone else had been in the bed was a note that stood out against the red pillowcases. As Ana yawned she got a good look for the first time. The room was large and had access to the outside balcony, it kind of reminded her of her apartment back home. The walls were decorated with what appeared to be art that had at one point belonged in a gallery, the landscapes and abstract works stood out against the red walls with their white frames. Against the wall to the left of the bed there was a long white dresser which housed a small alarm clock and beautiful white roses, there were three dozen or so arranged artfully in a clear vase. Anastasia got off the soft warm bed and walked out on to the balcony that looked out over the mountains and the thin pine trees that littered the land.
Shit like this made her miss Washington, with its non-wimpy evergreen trees that sprawl as far as the eye can see. Shaking her head Ana walked out of the room to look for Christian and some food, after last night she was famished. The long hallway was daunting as she tried to remember which way they walked yesterday, but finally after a long search and a couple of wrong turns she found Christian standing in the kitchen over the stove. The kitchen like the rest of the house was modern and pristine with beautiful stainless steel appliances and dark cabinets with marble countertops. Christian stood shirtless in a pair of ass hugging black sweatpants and lordie did it make a fine view. No girl…down.
Clearing her throat, she giggled as Christian jumped and dropped the pan he was working with. She covered her mouth with her hand sat down at one of the stools that lined the island, “smooth Grey”. He turned toward her and pointed at her with his spatula, “watch it Steele”. After cleaning up the mess on the floor and throwing both the pan and the spatula into the sink he opened the fridge with a frown. “Well, with that disaster we have yogurt and granola and maybe some cereal? I don’t know what you eat so” He drew out the o and looked at Ana as she pointed to the fridge. “Yogurt is fine Christian, Thank you.”
Once they were situated with their food Ana grimaced and looked at him. “I want to apologize for- “Christian was already shaking his head before she was got any further. “There’s no need to apologize Ana, I’ve been there before and I can only imagine what you are going through. So, what’s on the agenda for the wonderful family reunion today? Just remember if all else fails, we can run off to Barbados or Turks and Caicos” Ana chuckled and shook her head with a sigh. “As heavenly as that sounds, I can’t bail on this reunion, it’s important to my mother. Today we’re going off Tybee Island to spend the day on the beach and barbeque. It’s going to be a boring day but it’s a family event with everyone.” The slow grin that spread across Christian’s face. “Well let’s make it a little less boring.” He tapped his spoon against his chin and pulled his phone out with a smirk across his face.
“Hey Taylor can you have the Jet skis hooked up to the Lexus in thirty minutes and prepare a team for the beach please? Thank you” He locked his phone and winked and Anastasia. “There we can make today a little bit more bearable and there will be a security team with us on the beach, you won’t notice that they are there unless we need them. So, sand, sun, good BBQ and jet skis. We shall have a wonderful day and if that jackass tries anything again I’ll throw him off the island.” Anastasia smiled and cuffed his arm with a roll of her eyes.
‘Christian you can’t just throw him off the island but I will accept that running away idea if he tries anything.” He grinned and nodded while collecting their bowls and patting her on the head. “Everything is going to be okay Ana, I promise.” An hour later they had both showered and were sitting in a beautiful jet black 2017 Lexus LX 570 with a gorgeous leather interior. The trailer hooked behind the car held two brand new Yamaha skidoo’s in red. Christian looked delicious in pink and blue swim trunks with a white V-neck and dark aviators, while Ana wore a bright yellow bikini with a sundress over it. She had to admit that they looked fucking hot and damn good together, it was getting harder to remember that this was her annoying neighbor. The closer they got to the island the more Ana started to tremble in both excitement and fear, she was excited to see her family, but she was terrified at the thought of having to deal with Jose again. He had never hit her or even raised his voice at her but she still had a deep-rooted fear of him after going to pick him up one night and finding the cops at his apartment.
There had been a big bloody fight with Jose’s roommate that had ended up with him being angry with Ana and him being placed into her car and his ID being handed to Ana. Jose had waited until she stopped at a stop sign before jumping out of the car and going back to the apartment. Ana had had to pull over to let her friend drive because she was shaking and couldn’t drive. So, while Jose had never hurt her she had seen what he could do and it scared the shit out of her, she never wanted to feel that way again. Just remembering that night had her shaking even worse as Christian pulled off to the side of the road and put his arm around her and ran a soothing hand down her back. “Ana, we can leave right now and run off for the rest of the week in the sun.” She shook her head and buried her face against his shoulder. “I have to do this Christian, I can’t avoid my family because of some POS.”
Ok here is what had been written on the the other posting with the tenses corrected.