"Need him? I don't need him? I don't need anyone, at any time, for any reason."

She scoffs at my irritated incredulity, and throws me the look. The hand on hip, eyes narrowed, all-knowing look. I don't like that look, even if it is on Ana's face. It's a look that knows too much, sees too much and talks too much. I pretend I don't see the look, I throw my eyes down to the morning's stock figures and try to appear brooding, in the intellectual sense. My Financial Times suddenly goes sailing through the air to land with a thunk that symbolizes the demise of my masculinity on the kitchen floor. She's still giving me the look, and she doesn't quail when I give her my look.

The my palms are twitching look.

"Call him."

I snort and retrieve my precious paper, utterly unruffled.

"Never."

She tries to grab at the yellow pages of deliciousness once more, but I'm ready this time. I catch her wrist gently and offer the look again. I love this woman, I really do, but I am seriously considering shipping her off to my processing plant in Hong Kong for a second of motherfucking peace. She glares at me, a terrifying glint of steal for this hour of the morning and I raise a brow.

"Careful, Anastasia. What's done is done. Just leave it."

Blue eyes bubble over in adorable temper and I relent, just a bit.

"I ever tell you that you're hot as fuck when you're angry? Because you're hot as fuck when you're angry. Maybe we can take this non-conversation back to the bedroom and-"

"Only if he comes to. A threesome is on my bucket-list."

My eyes widen, and I shoot her the motherload of Grey glares and growl in answer.

"That is not fucking funny."

"Wasn't supposed to be."

"Eat your granola," I snap, exasperated as fuck, "Sawyer will take you to work when you're ready, I need to get going… I have an eight AM with that prick Smithton. If you're free for lunch, I'll move a few things around and join you. Does that work for you?"

She pointedly pushes her pitifully scant breakfast of granola and yoghurt away from her. I feel my teeth clench. Is it possible to die from vexation? Because if it is, I need to be on an intervention list somewhere. I close my eyes, remember that this is the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with, and killing her isn't conducive to that.

I'm not into the necrophilia shit.

"I will take myself to work, thank you very much," she replies tartly. "And I don't think lunch is optional today. You see, my boss is a proven tyrant and doesn't appreciate the many sacrifices his staff make to cater to his demanding needs, day in and day out. In fact, he's been known to fire even his most devoted employees, especially the ones that get too close… the ones that he could almost call a friend. For no real or discernible reason, other than his ego exploding to ten sizes bigger than his brain. So, I don't want to go and bring any negative attention down on my head. He's so stubbornly unforgiving, that he'd rather be miserable and right than happy and wrong. It's better not to risk it."

She grabs an apple and smiles a sweet smile that doesn't meet her eyes.

"I'm sure you understand, Mr Grey."

Her ass, tightly encased in a pencil skirt that would turn the head of a blind man, sashays out of the apartment before I can put brain to mouth and think of something suitably scathing. The elevator ping rings out in celebration of her triumph and I fuck the Financial Times in the trash. It's ruined now, the numbers don't entice me, they don't caress me with the sexiness of their decimal points and percentage profits. Mrs Jones strides into the kitchen and I regard her warily. The morning that had held so much promise was rapidly turning into a shit storm of a day.

"Morning, Mrs Jones."

She smiles a polite smile and nods her head.

But I see it.

The anger and the hurt.

Fuck.

"Mr Grey, how are you? Would you like me to prepare some lunch for you to take to the office or will you be dining out today?"

Usually, her voice is warm and accommodating. Motherly, even. Today it's polite and efficient but with the cold tinge of winter dripping from the off beats. I throw down the last of my orange juice with an odd feeling of… muscular pain? Abdominal infection? Inflammation of the small intestine?

Ana would say it was guilt.

Sometimes, Ana says some crazy shit.

"No, I'm having lunch out of the office today. Thank you."

See?

I said thank you.

Boss of the year over here.

She nods silently, pleasantly, hating me on the inside. I roll my eyes. Also on the inside, because it would be rude to do it on the outside. Standing, I smooth down my tie and remind myself that I care about nothing and no one other than my family and Ana, and this… issue, is a meaningless blip on a much bigger radar. I grab my briefcase and call the now idle Sawyer as I walk towards the elevator. Punching the call button, I call a farewell to Mrs Jones against my better judgment.

She pretends, over the clinking of dirty dishes, not to hear me.

This time… the eye rolling is on the fucking outside.

I wish all my employees were robots, humans are so motherfucking tiresome, to the point that I almost support Skynet when I pretend not to watch Terminator: Genisys with an enthusiastic Anastasia. Two minutes later, and I'm on the way to the office with a silent Sawyer. Luke is great, as humans go, he's greater than great. He uses blinkers, he turns the wheel left, he turns the wheel right… he does all the things one would expect a driver/PBG to do. I don't need his predecessor, I don't need him at all. And the fact that I'm swiftly and safely setting about my business is definitive proof of that fact.

Jason Taylor.

Please.

Does Ana really think that I can't go and stand on any street corner and get myself a brand-new Jason Taylor? He betrayed me. If ever there was anyone who deserved to be severed without a severance package, it's him. I mean… I really have to insist that Ana agrees to a drug check, because she's clearly being roofied on a daily basis. Me and Taylor? Friends? Jesus Christ… doesn't she know me at all, doesn't she know the most basic tenants of my being? I don't do friends, and I definitely don't do the friends and staff special. Last night, she tried to tell me that I missed him, and that's why I was so cranky.

Three points.

Point one; I wasn't cranky. Infants are cranky, I'm Christian Grey.

Point two; I don't miss Jason Taylor. Or is it Josh Taylor? Who knows.

Point three; Well… obviously point three is just a reinforcement of point one.

By the time we pull into my self-assigned and prime spot at Grey House, I'm thoroughly satisfied with both myself and my points. I'm great, and so are my points. Sawyer slides back into traffic and I watch the break lights of the town car disappear into the bustle of a heaving Seattle morning. I can grow to appreciate Sawyer, he is… competent. That's all that matters, competency.

And loyalty.

Something Jack Taylor knew fuck all about.

And that is why Jacob Taylor no longer works for me.

Andrea greets me as I stride onto the uppermost floor that houses my office. She hands me my memos for the day and she is the same ball breaking badass of a PA that she always is. She doesn't care about John Taylor or the fact that he no longer works for GEH, she doesn't try to analyze shit. She just does her job, the one I pay her very well to do, nothing more, nothing less. And if Jeff Taylor had been capable of doing the same fucking thing, he'd still be in the very lucrative job he was dismissed from, three days ago.

But he didn't.

So he isn't.

And I'm happier than a pig in shit about it.

Happy, happy, happy…

I am.

I am…

TBC

A/N: Just a lighter sort of fic, not gonna be a long one. Maybe two-three chapters. I need a break from the angst of my other stories! Inks x

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