Her eyes were closed, but she could feel her skin prickle as his fingers trailed across her skin. A tingly feeling emerged in the pit of her stomach, almost like she was excited and scared at the same time. She didn't want to open her eyes because she didn't want to face the reality of her situation - that she had willingly crawled back to where she started.
"What would my mother think of me?" She groaned quietly, trying to ignore the feeling of his hands on her.
"That you're beautiful," Christian responded, sitting up on his elbow to look down at her, "and smart," he added, kissing the side of her neck. Ana gasped, a warm sensation spreading over her body. She bit her lip, silencing herself and cursing her body for reacting. Christian softly brushed his lips over her jawline, leaving sweet pecks across her face. "And that you're a slut," he finished, nipping at her earlobe.
Ana's eyes flew open, her mouth wide in astonishment. She glared at Christian, a playful and devilish smirk on his face. She punched his arm, turning away from him and wrapping her arms around herself.
Christian laughed, the deep timbre of his voice echoing throughout her apartment. Her kissed her shoulder blade as he draped his arm around her waist. "I'm just kidding," he whispered, pulling her closer, "you're the furthest thing from that."
"Really? Am I?" She retorted, pulling away from him. She sat up, quickly pulling her shirt over her naked chest. "Because the way I see it, I'm naked and on the floor - for the second time, might I add - with a man who doesn't even know my middle name, much less who loves me," she spat, running her fingers through her hair. She sighed, convinced that she looked a mess. She was just a mess in general; she didn't know what she was doing with herself. Her emotions changed like night and day - too much so that she couldn't keep up anymore. She didn't know what she wanted and she couldn't understand why she felt the way that she did.
"It's Rose," he said.
"What?" She asked, turning towards him. She frowned, forcing herself to look him in the eyes - and only the eyes.
"Your middle name is Rose. Your birthday is September 10, you have an undying love for literature, and your favorite color is blue," he stated, staring deeply at her. His eyes were hooded and serious, intense even.
"You could've done a Google search," she grumbled, staring down at her hands. She twisted and prodded at her fingers, biting her lip as she remained immersed in her thoughts. She couldn't trust Christian or his intentions even though she desperately wanted to. He was miles away from the type of man she thought she'd end up with, but she didn't know if that was a bad thing.
It probably wasn't good, though.
One minute he would be cold and demanding, then he would be sweet and endearing. It was hard to keep up with, and it made her question what he really wanted. What he really felt. If it was so easy for him to switch emotions, couldn't he switch what he wanted from her just as easily?
"Why would I need Google when the answers are right in front of me?" He questioned, cocking his head to the side. "You're more interesting than you think, and I notice a lot more than I put on."
"That doesn't change anything," she argued, "I still don't know what exactly you want out of this… Relationship. If I can even call it that," she scoffed.
"I just want… You," he mumbled. "Is that hard to believe?"
"Yeah, actually, it is. Based on your lifestyle, I hardly believe that you want to talk about the meaning of life, cuddle, and have boring missionary sex," she hissed.
"It was boring?" He asked, slightly offended.
Ana rolled her eyes. "You know what I mean, Christian. I can't keep up with what you do, and I know you'll get tired of this eventually. What happens when you get an urge? Are you gonna up and leave? Are you going to hit me?" She whispered, her voice squeaking. She continued to look down, too embarrassed and nervous to see his reaction.
Christian laughed bitterly, anger seeping into his pores. His hands balled into fists as he forced himself to take a deep breath. "It doesn't work like that, Anastasia," he growled. "What I do is pleasurable for both parties. I'm not a woman beater!" He exclaimed. "I wouldn't do that to you if you didn't want it."
"I can't believe that someone would enjoy being hit," she countered, her resolve slightly withering under his harsh stare.
"Yeah, well, believe it," he snapped. He sighed, running his hands through his hair. He reached for his shirt, slipping it over his head. He quickly pulled up his pants, buttoning them as he stared down in Ana's direction. She looked small and weak, her face contorted into an expression of confusion and hurt. Christian crouched down to her level, placing his hand on her chin and forcing her to look at him. "If you need time to think, that's okay - but don't shut me out, Anastasia."
"Isn't that what you're doing to me?" She asked, her voice pained. "I don't know who or what you are, Christian. It's scary."
He let her go, standing up to pull at his hair. "I know," he answered.
"How is that fair? How is it that you get to know all of my thoughts and secrets and I get nothing from you?"
"It's hard for me-"
"Oh, yes, I know!" She yelled, her voice bitter and sarcastic, "It's hard for you to open up, it's hard for people to see the real you. Do you want to know what's hard for me? Giving myself to someone who can't and won't have the decency to clue me in on what I'm getting myself into."
"Fine!" He snapped, his eyes lit with rage. His grey orbs were hard and deranged, his frustration over the past few weeks finally exploding. "You want to know what you're getting into?" He hissed, kneeling down to get her to face him.
"My mother was an addict and a prostitute who was too high and selfish to even feed her own son, not to mention to protect him from her abusive pimp who could never find an ashtray," he growled, pulling his shirt off, exposing his bare chest. Underneath the scars from his accident, Ana could faintly make out the appearance of small, white marks that were scattered across Christian's torso.
"This one," he hollered, pointing to a mark on the left side of his chest, "was because I spilled juice on the floor. This one," he seethed, "was because I didn't use my 'inside voice.'"
Ana's eyes prickled, disgust and anguish settling in the pit of her stomach. She could feel bile rise in her throat as she heard of what happened to Christian.
"This one," he growled, pointing to yet another scar, "was because I tried to stop him from beating my mother. This one-"
"Stop it, Christian," Ana cried, thick, fat tears streaming down her face.
"-Was because I pissed myself. This one-"
"Christian!" Ana yelled, covering her ears and shutting her eyes, trying to scrub the picture of Christian being tortured out of her mind.
"-Was because I spilled a bag of frozen peas."
"Stop," she whispered, crying softly.
"This is what you wanted, isn't it?!" He roared, grabbing her arms. "I'm opening up to you, Ana. I'm showing you the real me! This is what you're getting into. I enjoy tying women up and beating them. You want to know to know why I enjoy it? Why it feels good to inflict pain on others? Because for once I don't have to focus on the pain inside of me," he snarled.
"Will the next woman be me?" She choked out between her tears.
Christian paused, frowning. It was almost as if the question shocked him - like he didn't know the answer himself. He snatched his shirt off the ground and yanked it back on. "Goodnight, Anastasia," he grumbled, slamming the door behind him.
And just like that, he was gone. And Ana was only left alone with more pain and confusion.
Thunder cracked outside of her window, the roar of the sky slightly shaking the walls of her apartment. Her alarm hadn't gone off yet, but she guessed that it was almost time to wake up, anyway. Rain pelted hard and fast onto her roof, the sound of the water both soothing and ominous. It was like Mother Nature knew exactly what was going on inside of her head - a storm of confusion, anger, and desire.
Every part of her wanted Christian, but her rational side knew it couldn't lead to anything good. He had baggage - too much baggage. She could understand if his problems were normal; like, having credit card debt, or being a kleptomaniac, but Christian was a sadist, he liked beating people. It helped him not focus on his past abuse and every negative emotion that constantly swirled inside of him. How the hell could Ana deal with that?
She wanted him - and she was confused why she wanted him - but most of all, she was downright angry. Of course it was just her luck that the first man she ever loved was some extremely fucked up person. It's like she secretly thrived on attaching herself to people that needed to be saved. For Christ's sake, her whole job relied on nursing people back to health. She always latched on to people who needed support - and it pissed her off. Why couldn't someone be her rock for once? Why couldn't someone swoop in and save her?
She sighed, halting her thoughts and focusing on the pitter-patter of the rain on her roof. After their fight last night, she wasn't even sure that Christian wanted anything to do with her. If she was being completely honest, she wasn't sure she wanted anything to do with him. Everything about him scared her - and she was a coward. Being tied up didn't sound pleasant, being whipped didn't sound pleasant, and most of all, Christian's inability to tell her that he had no desire to do those things with her didn't sound pleasant. She could forget his past, she could give him her whole heart, only if he told her he didn't want her that way.
But he couldn't tell her that because it wouldn't be true. Sometimes she wondered if Christian was seeing her, or if he was just seeing another prospective submissive.
The ringing of her alarm clock caused Ana to jump, her heart accelerating in response. She groaned, not wanting to leave the confines of her bed; but she knew she had a job to do. So far, it was the only thing in her life that she could count on.
The rain continued all day long. It was almost a blessing for Ana, since rain somehow always had the power to make people groggy. Her patients were easy to subdue, simply because they didn't have the energy to put up a fight. She could even feel the rain affecting her, as she was slower on her feet than usual. Her usual energetic mood was replaced with a more calm one, as she wasn't as chipper with her patients. Of course she wanted to blame the rain, but in the back of her mind she knew it had something to do with what happened last night.
She was slightly hurt when she didn't hear anything from Christian, but she wasn't surprised. He wasn't a person who easily opened up - after revealing what happened to him, he probably didn't want to be anywhere near Ana. It was revealing, but to a man like Christian, it was emasculating. He prided himself on being cool, dominating, and aloof - no one could hurt him; except that wasn't true. And Ana knew that now. So because she did, Christian had to stay away from her. Ana didn't like it, but she understood it.
She said her goodbyes to Kate, who was just as affected as everyone else. She had managed to get through the day without yelling at one of her patients - which was a miracle in itself. She collected her belongings from her station and made her way to the parking garage. She took the elevator to the second level, which housed the reserved spots for nurses and low-level doctors. She yearned for the days when she would gain a higher certification, so she could finally snag her first level car spot.
The sound of her feet against the concrete echoed throughout the garage, eerily reminding her that she was the only person present. The hues of the garage lamps casted sinister shadows on the ground and walls of the garage, which made Ana feel as if she was being followed. Her heart started to pound as she quickened her pace.
Stop being a baby, Ana, you do this every night!
But for some reason, this night felt different. The sound of the thunder and rain made everything worse, causing Ana to feel like she had plummeted straight into the scene of a horror movie. She could finally see her car in sight, which instantly made her feel calmer. She scurried toward her small VW beetle, unlocking the car before she reached it in order to ensure a quick entrance. Before she could grasp the door handle, she felt a pair of rough, strong hands on her shoulder. Ana screamed, quickly reaching into her purse to retrieve her can of pepper spray. She turned towards her attacker, spraying the chemical into his eyes.
Only it wasn't an attacker. Just a slightly annoying, cooper-headed asshole.
"Christian?!" Ana screeched, clutching his shoulders to keep him from falling.
Christian groaned in pain, his hands frantically rubbing his eyes. "I got you chocolate," he wheezed, weakly holding up the box towards her.
"What the hell are you doing following me this late at night?" She yelled, concerned and angry. "And stop rubbing your eyes, you're making it worse," she scolded.
"Jesus Christ, this burns!" He shouted, his hands still clutching his eyes.
"Yeah, that's the point. Come on, get in the car, you idiot," she murmured, leading Christian into the passenger seat.
She hopped in the driver's side, a small smirk forming on her face. With Christian's stalkerish ways, he should've known this would happen eventually.
"Why are you out this late?" She asked, backing out of her parking space.
"I needed to see you, so we could talk about what happened."
She groaned. "I'd rather not."
Christian grabbed a water bottle that Ana had in her cup holder, removing the cap and dumping the contents into his eyes. He yelped in slight pain and relief. Ana giggled, watching him frantically try to stop the burning.
"Hey, it's not funny," he ranted, the tone of his voice hinting at his wounded ego.
"Sorry," Ana murmured, trying to hide her smile.
"Stop touching your face!" Ana demanded, swatting Christian's hands away. She placed an ice bag around his eyes, which were swollen and red. She had managed to wash most of the pepper spray out of his eyes, but his skin was still irritated. She retrieved some aloe vera gel from her medicine cabinet and dabbed some around his eyes. "Let that sit," she said.
"I must admit, Ms. Steele, you're very good at your job," Christian praised, holding on to the ice bag.
"I try," she answered, slightly deflecting his comment.
Ana turned away and walked towards the fridge, pouring herself a glass of orange juice. She sipped slowly, taking in Christian's decrepit form. He sat in one of her kitchen chairs, an ice bag placed against his left eye, his skin red and angry. She sighed - why couldn't this man stop getting himself hurt?
"You know what you did was stupid, right? A phone call would've been suffice."
"Well, I made a bigger impression, don't ya think?" He remarked, giving her a crooked smile.
Ana rolled her eyes, but a small smirk crossed her face. She turned to put her glass in the sink before Christian could see - not that his vision was too great at the moment, anyway.
"Come here," he beckoned, his voice smooth and velvety. Ana's stomach dropped, the hair on the back of her neck standing up. She knew exactly what that tone of voice meant - and she knew that she was not going to succumb tonight.
"No," she demanded, not turning to face him. "I know exactly what you want right now and you're not getting it."
"So you're saying you don't want it either?" He asked, his voice lascivious. He stood up, placing the ice bag on the kitchen table. He walked towards her, wrapping his hands around her waist. Ana sighed and closed her eyes, trying to steady her breathing and rapid heart rate. He slid his hands up her shirt, his warm, rough palm caressing her stomach, then moving up to her chest. She moaned, leaning into his touch. He kissed her neck, softly licking and nipping at her skin. "So you don't want this?" He asked.
She grabbed his hand, removing it from under her shirt, and pushed him away. "No," she answered. She turned around, looking up at him. "Firstly, I'm not having sex with someone with red racoon eyes, and secondly, we have yet to discuss explicitly what our relationship will entail. If it's purely sexual, I don't think I can sign up for that."
Christian sighed. "It's not purely sexual. At first I thought I wanted a new submissive, but I don't - I want you."
"And what does that mean?" She asked. "Do you want me at all times of the day, doing all types of things? Or just when I'm naked and writhing underneath you?"
"Well, I like you like that the best-" Ana rolled her eyes, "-but I want more than that. I want to talk, to get to know you, to take you places and show you the finer things. I. Want. You. It's that simple, Ana," he said quietly, pressing his forehead against hers.
"And what about the BDSM? I don't want to try that. Ever."
"Then you don't have to," he responded, "That type of lifestyle relies on consent and trust. If it's not what you want then I'm not going to force you."
"But what if you miss it?" She asked, slightly insecure that she wouldn't be enough for him.
"Stop thinking, Ana," he whispered, running his fingers through her hair.
She sighed, breathing in his scent. She reached up and kissed him, desire igniting throughout her body. Christian lifted her on to the kitchen counter, their hands exploring each other in a way they had grown quite accustomed to. It seemed like his red raccoon eyes wouldn't be bothering her tonight.
Although he had told her what she wanted to hear, her rational side knew that it didn't excuse his baggage. Maybe he wouldn't tie her up and beat her, but could she really involve herself with someone who had such serious emotional problems? Eventually, it would all come crashing down - she just knew it.
Sorry for the late upload, but I hope this chapter was enjoyable. I'm really trying hard to update quicker, but I'm a master procrastinator. Thank you all for reading and supporting this story. It means a lot!