First published by The Writer's Coffee Shop, 2011
Copyright (c) E L James, 2011
The right of E L James to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her
under the Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act 2000
This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968,
no part may be reproduced, copied, scanned, stored in a retrieval system, recorded or
transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a prod-
uct of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people
living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
The Writer's Coffee Shop
(Australia) PO Box 2013 Hornsby Westfield NSW 1635
(USA) PO Box 2116 Waxahachie TX 75168
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the US Congress Library.
Cover image by: E. Spek
Cover design by: Jennifer McGuire
E L James is a TV executive, wife, and mother of two, based in West London. Since early
childhood, she dreamt of writing stories that readers would fall in love with, but put those
dreams on hold to focus on her family and her career. She finally plucked up the courage to
put pen to paper with her first novel, Fifty Shades of Grey.
E L James is currently working on the sequel to Fifty Shades Darker and a new romantic
thriller with a supernatural twist.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Sarah, Kay, and Jada. Thank you for all that you have
done for me.
Also HUGE thanks to Kathleen and Kristi who stepped into the breach and sorted stuff out.
Thank you too to Niall, my husband, my lover, and my best friend (most of the time).
And a big shout out to all the wonderful, wonderful women from all over the world whom I
have had the pleasure of meeting since I started all this, and whom I now consider friends,
including: Ale, Alex, Amy, Andrea, Angela, Azucena, Babs, Bee, Belinda, Betsy, Brandy,
Britt, Caroline, Catherine, Dawn, Gwen, Hannah, Janet, Jen, Jenn, Jill, Kathy, Katie, Kel-
lie, Kelly, Liz, Mandy, Margaret, Natalia, Nicole, Nora, Olga, Pam, Pauline, Raina, Raizie,
Rajka, Rhian, Ruth, Steph, Susi, Tasha, Taylor and Una. And also to the many, many tal-
ented, funny, warm women (and men) I have met online. You know who you are.
Thanks to Morgan and Jenn for all things Heathman.
And finally, thank you to Janine, my editor. You rock. That is all.
He's come back. Mommy's asleep or she's sick again.
I hide and curl up small under the table in the kitchen. Through my fingers I can see
Mommy. She is asleep on the couch. Her hand is on the sticky green rug, and he's wearing
his big boots with the shiny buckle and standing over Mommy shouting.
He hits Mommy with a belt. Get up! Get up! You are one fucked-up bitch. You are one
fucked-up bitch. You are one fucked-up bitch. You are one fucked-up bitch. You are one
fucked-up bitch. You are one fucked-up bitch.
Mommy makes a sobbing noise. Stop. Please stop. Mommy doesn't scream. Mommy
curls up small.
I have my fingers in my ears, and I close my eyes. The sound stops.
He turns and I can see his boots as he stomps into the kitchen. He still has the belt. He
is trying to find me.
He stoops down and grins. He smells nasty. Of cigarettes and drink. There you are, you
A chilling wail wakes him. Christ! He's drenched in sweat and his heart is pounding. What
the fuck? He sits bolt upright in bed and puts his head in hands. Fuck. They're back. The
noise was me. He takes a deep steadying breath, trying to rid his mind and nostrils of the
smell of cheap bourbon and stale Camel cigarettes.
I have survived Day Three Post-Christian, and my first day at work. It has been a welcome
distraction. The time has flown by in a haze of new faces, work to do, and Mr. Jack Hyde.
Mr. Jack Hyde . . . he smiles down at me, his blue eyes twinkling, as he leans against my
desk."Excellent work, Ana. I think we're going to make a great team."
Somehow, I manage to curl my lips upward in a semblance of a smile.
"I'll be off, if that's okay with you," I murmur.
"Of course, it's five thirty. I'll see you tomorrow."
Collecting my bag, I shrug on my jacket and head for the door. Out in the early evening
air of Seattle, I take a deep breath. It doesn't begin to fill the void in my chest, a void that's
been present since Saturday morning, a painful hollow reminder of my loss. I walk toward
the bus stop with my head down, staring at my feet and contemplating being without my
beloved Wanda, my old Beetle . . . or the Audi.
I shut the door on that thought immediately. No. Don't think about him. Of course, I
can afford a car--a nice, new car. I suspect he has been overgenerous in his payment, and
the thought leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, but I dismiss it and try to keep my mind as
numb and as blank as possible. I can't think about him. I don't want to start crying again--
not out on the street.
The apartment is empty. I miss Kate, and I imagine her lying on a beach in Barbados
sipping a cool cocktail. I turn on the flat-screen television so there's noise to fill the vacuum
and provide some semblance of company, but I don't listen or watch. I sit and stare blankly
at the brick wall. I am numb. I feel nothing but the pain. How long must I endure this?
The door buzzer startles me from my anguish, and my heart skips a beat. Who could
that be? I press the intercom.
"Delivery for Ms. Steele." A bored, disembodied voice answers, and disappointment
crashes through me. I listlessly make my way downstairs and find a young man noisily
chewing gum, holding a large cardboard box, and leaning against the front door. I sign
for the package and take it upstairs. The box is huge and surprisingly light. Inside are two
dozen long-stemmed, white roses and a card.
Congratulations on your first day at work.
I hope it went well.
And thank you for the glider. That was very thoughtful.
It has pride of place on my desk.
I stare at the typed card, the hollow in my chest expanding. No doubt, his assistant
sent this. Christian probably had very little to do with it. It's too painful to think about. I
examine the roses--they are beautiful, and I can't bring myself to throw them in the trash.
Dutifully, I make my way into the kitchen to hunt down a vase.
And so a pattern develops: wake, work, cry, sleep. Well, try to sleep. I can't even escape
him in my dreams. Gray burning eyes, his lost look, his hair burnished and bright all haunt
me. And the music . . . so much music--I cannot bear to hear any music. I am careful to
avoid it at all costs. Even the jingles in commercials make me shudder.
I have spoken to no one, not even my mother or Ray. I don't have the capacity for idle
talk now. No, I want none of it. I have become my own island state. A ravaged, war-torn
land where nothing grows and the horizons are bleak. Yes, that's me. I can interact imper-
sonally at work, but that's it. If I talk to Mom, I know I will break even further--and I have
nothing left to break.
I am finding it difficult to eat. By Wednesday lunchtime, I manage a cup of yogurt, and it's
the first thing I've eaten since Friday. I am surviving on a newfound tolerance for lattes and
Diet Coke. It's the caffeine that keeps me going, but it's making me anxious.