The protagonist of this book is a young, naive college student of twenty one years named Anastasia Steele. Anastasia acquiesces to interview a 27 year old business magnate named Christian Grey in lieu of her ill roommate and best friend, Katharine Kavanaugh. What she doesn’t count on, however, is how attracted yet intimidated she is by him. She nervously rushes through the interview and then pushes all thoughts of him to the back of her mind. She was counting on the fact that their paths might never cross again.
Christian Grey, in the meantime, is equally taken in by the innocent Anastasia. A man with a fervent need to be in control, he is constantly battling his inner demons. He visits her at her part-time job and agrees to do a photo shoot to accompany the article Kate was writing on him. At the photoshoot, he asks her out for coffee, and the process of the pair getting acquainted with each other begins. However, Christian does not plan on indulging in a typical relationship. He presents Anastasia with a full non-disclosure statement that she must sign in order to continue seeing him. The contract contains clauses about a purely physical, non-romantic, dominant/submissive relationship. Anastasia, initially taken aback, is intrigued nonetheless and decides to give it a shot.