Two posts in a day?! I KNOW, GUYS. But tonight is the night this ends. I am finishing recapping Grey this evening, if it’s the last thing I do (and I hope it isn’t, because… Well, I have plans and stuff).
So, as far as I can guess, the chapter I about to start recapping in this lousy excuse for literature must be the last one, but even if it isn’t, I’m just going to go straight into the one after, without starting a new blog post, because this, right here, is the LAST ONE I AM WRITING IN THIS SERIES OF RECAPS. I AM DONE.
Get yourself cosy, pour yourself a drink and buckle up, because we’re finishing this particular adventure together right now (before we start on the next one, in a couple of weeks, when I’ve scraped my brain up off the floor).
The first words of this chapter made me laugh so hard, I almost spat out the crisps I’m binge-eating as compensation for having to read this crap:
We’re fucking. Fucking hard.
You know that episode of Friends, where Monica gets stung by a jellyfish and Chandler has to pee on her? When she recounts the story to the others, she tells it like she’s reliving a war experience and her first words are: “I got stung. Stung bad.” That was literally all I could think about when I read the opening words of this chapter and consequently, it is hilarious.
Grey is dreaming that he’s banging Ana against the bathroom door. It’s basically exactly the same as any sex scene in this book. He thinks something that once again, makes it sound like all he wants Ana for is sex, rather than anything beyond that:
Oh yes. I’m home, she’s home. This is the place I want to be…inside her…
In my head, he’s going to shave “home sweet home” into her pubic hair, like some kind of welcome mat.
Even in his sex dreams, he has to be a possessive weirdo, so he thinks:
She. Is. Mine.
Then, after the sexy times, the dream changes slightly:
She stands and gazes at me, that playful smile on her lips, then pushes me away and walks backward, saying nothing. I grab her and we’re in the playroom. I’m holding her down over the bench. I raise my arm to punish her, belt in hand…and she disappears. She’s by the door. Her face white, shocked and sad, and she’s silently drifting away…The door has disappeared, and she won’t stop. She holds out her hands in entreaty. Join me, she whispers, but she’s moving backward, getting fainter…disappearing before my eyes…vanishing…she’s gone. No! I shout. No! But I have no voice. I have nothing. I’m mute. Mute…again.
Literally every chapter in this book has some deeply unsubtle reference to Christian’s tragic past, as though we’re supposed to go “aaaw, well we’ll let him off being a manipulative stalker with control issues, then.” And NOPE.
Of course, Grey’s dream has had an effect on him:
Hell! I’m a sticky mess. Briefly I feel that long-forgotten but familiar sense of fear and exhilaration—but Elena doesn’t own me now.
I’m guessing from this that Elena did the same “I own all your orgasms” bollocks with him that he did to Ana. Still not an excuse, by the way.
Jesus H. Christ, I’ve come for Team USA. This hasn’t happened to me since I was, what? Fifteen, sixteen?
As an adult, Christian ejaculates only sadness and rage.
Disgusted with himself, Grey cleans up and then goes to sleep, whereupon he immediately has yet another dream, but this time it’s another childhood flashback (so TW):
He is gone. Mommy is sitting on the couch. She is quiet. She looks at the wall and blinks sometimes. I stand in front of her, but she doesn’t see me. I wave and she sees me, but she waves me away. No, Maggot, not now. He hurts Mommy. He hurts me. I hate him. He makes me so mad. It’s best when it’s just Mommy and me. She is mine then. My Mommy. My tummy hurts. It is hungry again. I am in the kitchen, looking for cookies. I pull the chair to the cupboard and climb up. I find a box of crackers. It is the only thing in the cupboard. I sit down on the chair and open the box. There are two left. I eat them. They taste good. I hear him. He’s back. I jump down and I run to my bedroom and climb into bed. I pretend to be asleep. He pokes me with his finger. Stay here, you little shit. I’m going to fuck your bitch of a mother. I don’t want to see your fuck-ugly face for the rest of the evening. Understand? He slaps my face when I don’t reply. Or you get the burn, you little prick. No. No. I don’t like that. I don’t like the burn. It hurts. Got it, retard? I know he wants me to cry. But it’s hard. I can’t make the noise. He hits me with his fist—
But hey, at least Grey doesn’t immediately place responsibility for stopping these traumatic flashbacks on Ana, or anything.
Startled awake again, I lie panting in the pale dawn light, waiting for my heart rate to slow, trying to lose the acrid taste of fear in my mouth.
She saved you from this shit, Grey.
ONLY Ana can save him from these dreams. Not therapy, not sleeping pills, not hypnosis, meditation or any other number of things he might want to try. ONLY Ana. And by leaving him, she has abandoned him, causing him to suffer.
EL James is hitting the reader over and over with the idea that Ana has to go back to Grey because only she can ever really cure him. It’s toxic bullshit. Grey’s an adult and he’s not Ana’s responsibility. As a survivor of abuse, who suffered horrendous levels of guilt after walking away from the abuser I thought I’d “abandoned,” seeing this repeated over and over in a multi-million-selling novel is honestly more disgusting than I can say. Too often, people stay with abusers, hoping they can fix them. They don’t want to walk away, because they’re manipulated into thinking if they do, they will be the one in the wrong. And EL James has written a franchise that just goes: “Yep. The abuser is the one we should sympathise with. Fuck what you feel.”
He also adds:
You didn’t relive the pain of these memories when she was with you. Why did you let her leave?
How about: BECAUSE YOU HAD NO RIGHT TO MAKE HER STAY, BELL-END?! Or we could try: BECAUSE YOU KNEW YOU’D BROKEN YOUR PROMISE TO HER AND HAD HIT HER HARDER THAN NECESSARY AND CAUSED HER MORE PAIN THAN SHE COULD TAKE AND YET YOU STILL DIDN’T STOP?! Ana left of her own free will, knowing that the two of you are utterly incompatible. Her being good for stopping your nightmares (not that she did – they just seemed to happen less) does not mean you get to force her to stay. Hence the red ink.
Grey decides to get up and go for a stalk:
HER BUILDING LOOKS GLOOMY; it’s still in shadow, untouched by the early-morning sun. Fitting. It reflects my mood. Her apartment is dark inside, yet the curtains to the room I watched before are drawn. It must be her room.
I hope to God that she’s sleeping alone up there. I envisage her curled up on her white iron bed, a small ball of Ana. Is she dreaming of me? Do I give her nightmares? Has she forgotten me?
You give me nightmares. You are a nightmare.
He then plays the self-pity card, before openly admitting that he is a stalker:
I’ve never felt this miserable, not even as a teenager. Maybe before I was a Grey…my memory spirals back. No, no—not awake as well. This is too much. Pulling my hood up and leaning against the granite wall, I’m hidden in the doorway of the building opposite. The awful thought crosses my mind that I might be standing here in a week, a month…a year? Watching, waiting, just to catch a glimpse of the girl who used to be mine. It’s painful. I’ve become what she’s always accused me of being—her stalker.
Grey decides that he has to see Ana, in order to have a different last memory of her.
I can’t go on like this. I have to see her. See that she’s okay. I need to erase the last image I have of her: hurt, humiliated, defeated…and leaving me.
I have to think of a way.
Ugh, knowing he succeeds in not only seeing her, but actually getting her back is making my feel physically sick, right now. And knowing that anyone feels sorry for this pillock, when he brought ALL OF THIS on himself and has mistreated the woman he claims to care about for the ENTIRE DURATION of their relationship, makes me feel worse.
Back at home, Gail has made an omelette for Grey. He didn’t ask for one and inwardly refers to her as an “interfering woman,” but clearly Gail can tell something is wrong and has decided to feed him, whether he likes it or not.
But remember, as he insisted last chapter, nobody cares about him.
At work, Grey begins wondering whether he could just call Ana up. And – I wish I was making this up – he even thinks about calling her and hanging up when she says hello, just to hear her voice. Because that’s not at all creepy…
COULD I JUST CALL Ana and say hi? Would she take my call? My eyes wander to the glider on my desk. She asked for a clean break. I should honor that and leave her alone. But I want to hear her voice. For a moment I contemplate calling her and hanging up, just to hear her speak.
This is so damn gross. The guy knows Ana wanted a clean break. She didn’t want to hear from him, or see him, because she told him it would hurt her. He’s making out that he cares about her, but he’s showing zero sign of anything beyond sheer obsession. He’s already been past her apartment multiple times, trying to look at her. He’s sent her flowers. They dated for what, two weeks?! And this is his reaction to a break up he basically caused with his shitty behaviour?! STOP ROMANTICISING THIS BULLSHIT.
Grey is so lost in his own thoughts that Ros has to get his attention by asking if he’s okay, during their meeting. Which is, you know, super professional and I totally believe this guy is capable of building a hugely successful business empire, with this level of dedication. Ros tells him that SIP are in financial trouble, but seeing as his keenness to take over the company has nothing to do with business and everything to do with stalking Ana, Grey snaps that he still wants the deal to go ahead.
We cut to Grey in a therapy session with Flynn.
“The nightmares are back. Like never before.”
Flynn lifts a brow. “The same ones?”
“What’s changed?” He cocks his head to one side, waiting for my response. When I remain mute, he adds, “Christian, you look as miserable as sin. Something’s happened.”
I feel like I did with Elena; part of me doesn’t want to tell him, because then it’s real.
“I met a girl.”
“She left me.”
He looks surprised. “Women have left you before. Why is this different?”
I stare at him blankly.
Why is it different? Because Ana was different.
My thoughts blur together in a colorful tangled tapestry: she wasn’t a submissive. We had no contract. She was sexually inexperienced. She was the first woman I wanted more from than just sex. Christ—all the firsts I experienced with her: the first girl I’d slept beside, the first virgin, the first to meet my family, the first to fly in Charlie Tango, the first I took soaring.
Flynn interrupts my thoughts. “It’s a simple question, Christian.”
“I miss her.”
I’m just interrupting this beautiful moment of Grey not actually saying anything important out loud to his therapist, to say: the first women he wanted more from than just sex? COULD’VE FOOLED ME, DUDE. Sure, he did some activities he enjoyed outside of the bedroom with her, but show me where he willingly had a long conversation with her, without trying to distract her with sex? Show me him going to do something he wasn’t already keen on, just because he knew she had an interest in it? Show me a chapter since they split up, where he hasn’t either dreamt about shagging Ana or looked at a piece of furniture and felt sad that he can’t fuck her on it? YOU CAN’T, BECAUSE THEY DON’T EXIST.
As for him having never missed a woman until now… If you needed any further evidence that this guy is a shitty human, who views women as solely interchangeable sex objects, congratulations, you just got it.
Grey tells Dr Flynn that he broke his own rules to chase Ana, only for her to tell him that his lifestyle wasn’t for her. He apparently tells Dr Flynn the whole story, right from the moment Ana fell into his office, up until her leaving him, just days ago. Flynn decides to fixate on how Grey felt when Ana told him she loved him (so, either Grey didn’t admit to tracking her phone, taking her back to his hotel when she was barely conscious or any of the other vile, abusive things he’s done, or Dr Flynn is – as suspected – a lousy therapist who casually ignores all of that).
“There are many issues here, Christian. But right now the one I want to focus on is how you felt when she said she loved you.”
I inhale sharply, my gut tightening with fear.
“Horrified,” I whisper.
“Of course you did.” He shakes his head. “You’re not the monster you think you are. You’re more than worthy of affection, Christian. You know that. I’ve told you often enough. It’s only in your mind that you’re not.”
He’s not the monster he thinks he is, that’s true.
He’s much, much worse.
Dr Flynn asks whether Grey would consider having a relationship with Ana on her terms and the idea shocks Grey, because he’s an asshole, so of course he’s never considered such a thing. Dr Flynn asks Grey whether he wants to beat Ana again and, despite even his own internal monologue reiterating countless times that he beat her because he wanted to rush to the place in their relationship where he could beat her, Grey replies that no, he doesn’t, because he couldn’t stand to see her leave, again.
Do that to her again? And watch her walk out—again?
“And why’s that?”
“Because it’s not her scene. I hurt her. Really hurt her…and she can’t…she won’t…” I pause. “She doesn’t enjoy it. She was angry. Really fucking angry.” Her expression, her wounded eyes, will haunt me for a long time…and I never want to be the cause of that look again.
“Are you surprised?”
I shake my head. “She was mad,” I whisper. “I’d never seen her so angry.”
“How did that make you feel?”
Buckle in, everyone, because Dr Flynn is now going to equate Ana leaving to Grey’s mother dying.
“And that’s a familiar feeling,” he prompts.
“Familiar, how?” What does he mean?
“Don’t you recognize yourself at all? Your past?” His question knocks me off balance.
Fuck, we’ve been over and over this.
“No, I don’t. It’s different. The relationship I had with Mrs. Lincoln was completely different.”
“I wasn’t referring to Mrs. Lincoln.”
“What were you referring to?” My voice is pin-drop quiet, because suddenly I see where he’s going with this.
I gulp for air, swamped by the impotence and rage of a defenseless child. Yes. The rage. The deep infuriating rage…and fear. The darkness swirls angrily inside me.
“It’s not the same,” I hiss through gritted teeth, as I strain to hold my temper.
“No, it’s not,” Flynn concedes.
IT’S NOT THE SAME, BUT I FIGURED I’D BRING IT UP, ANYWAY, BECAUSE THE READERS OF THIS BOOK NEED TO REMEMBER THAT YOU WERE ONCE A POOR, ABUSED KID AND THAT THAT EXCUSES ALL YOUR GENUINELY DESPICABLE BEHAVIOUR AS AN ADULT.
Grey goes into full on victim-blaming mode:
“I know what you’re trying to do here, Doctor, but it’s an unfair comparison. She asked me to show her. She’s a consenting adult, for fuck’s sake. She could have safe-worded. She could have told me to stop. She didn’t.”
Remember, in the last chapter he admitted to himself that he could TELL he was hitting her too hard. He KNEW he was breaking his promise not to hurt her too much. And he STILL DID NOT STOP. Even to his own damn therapist, Grey refuses to be honest and just keeps piling the blame onto someone who isn’t here to defend herself.
Dr Flynn then says:
“I know. I know.” He holds his hand up. “I’m just callously illustrating a point, Christian. You’re an angry man, and you have every reason to be…”
Okay, firstly, “callously” feels like the wrong word for a therapist to be using in this way. Why would your therapist deliberately cruelly illustrate a point? I honestly think EL meant to write “casually” – which makes a bit more sense, perhaps – and this is either more proof that these books weren’t edited at all, or at that EL refused to make any changes.
Secondly, Dr Flynn should be saying “you’re an angry man and we’re working on reducing that anger for your own sake,” or words to that effect. Telling him he has every reason to be angry and then not building on that with something more helpful, only legitimises the way he behaves, using his past as an excuse. He does have a right to be angry about his early childhood, but the way he takes his anger out on others is extremely unhealthy (I don’t mean consensual BDSM, here, I mean his temper).
Dr Flynn continues:
“She’s obviously had a profound effect on you. Her leaving has triggered your abandonment issues and your PTSD. She clearly means much more to you than you’re willing to admit to yourself.”
Again, nice bit of blaming Ana and subtly suggesting she’s also responsible for curing Grey.
I take a sharp breath. Is that why this is so painful? Because she means more, so much more?
“You need to focus on where you want to be,” Flynn continues. “And it sounds to me like you want to be with this girl. You miss her. Do you want to be with her?”
Be with Ana?
“Yes,” I whisper.
“Then you have to focus on that goal. This goes back to what I’ve been banging on about for our last few sessions—the SFBT. If she’s in love with you, as she told you she is, she must be suffering, too. So I repeat my question: have you considered a more conventional relationship with this girl?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“Because it’s never occurred to me that I could.”
“Well if she’s not prepared to be your submissive, you can’t play the role of dominant.”
I glare at him. It’s not a role—it’s who I am.
I’m not being funny, but Grey has admitted to beating Ana with a belt to the point that she cried and left him and his therapist is just… Not interested in discussing that?! Instead of “hey, you miss her, you should try to win her back,” this guy should be addressing why the HELL Grey went so far on someone so inexperienced and what that means for his future relationships, regardless of who he has them with.
Grey goes on to recall an email he sent to Ana, reminding her that it’s the sub who really holds all the power. He starts to wonder whether he could really have a vanilla relationship with her.
Flynn carries on blowing smoke up Grey’s ass and making out like he and Ana have some kind of tremendous love story and not a relationship she’ll be recounting to a decent therapist in years to come:
“Christian, you have demonstrated that you are an extraordinarily capable person, in spite of your problems. You’re a rare individual. Once you focus on a goal, you drive ahead and achieve it—usually surpassing all your own expectations. Listening to you today, it’s clear you were focused on getting Anastasia to where you wanted her to be, but you didn’t take into account her inexperience or her feelings. It seems to me that you’ve been so focused on reaching your goal that you missed the journey that you were taking together.”
AKA: You were so busy abusing her, you didn’t realise how much in lurve you both are.
Thanks to Flynn, Grey goes on yet another voyage on board the good ship self-pity, before deciding he’s still going to pursue Ana:
My thoughts take a darker turn.
She doesn’t know the depths of my depravity, the darkness in my soul, the monster beneath—maybe I should leave her alone.
I’m not worthy of her. She can’t love me.
But even as I think the words, I know that I don’t have the strength to stay away from her…if she’ll have me.
Oh, fuck off.
Back at home, Grey carries on zig-zagging between “I’m not good enough for her” and “I MUST get her back” so much it makes me feel dizzy. He’s distracted by thinking he’s seen someone behind him, but when he turns, there’s NOBODY THERE.
This chapter ends and another one fucking starts.
FINE, EL JAMES, HAVE IT YOUR WAY. I’M JUST GONNA FUCKING POWER THROUGH.
Chapter 24 (Wednesday, June 8, 2011)
I told you I was ending this tonight and I meant it…
GUESS HOW THIS CHAPTER BEGINS?! WITH A TRAUMATIC DREAM!!
Mommy! Mommy! Mommy is asleep on the floor. She has been asleep for a long time. I shake her. She doesn’t wake up. I call her. She doesn’t wake up. He isn’t here and still Mommy doesn’t wake up.
I am thirsty. In the kitchen I pull a chair to the sink and I have a drink. The water splashes over my sweater. My sweater is dirty. Mommy is still asleep. Mommy, wake up! She lies still. She is cold. I fetch my blankie and I cover Mommy and I lie down on the sticky green rug beside her.
My tummy hurts. It is hungry, but Mommy is still asleep. I have two toy cars. One red. One yellow. My green car is gone. They race by the floor where Mommy is sleeping. I think Mommy is sick. I search for something to eat. In the icebox I find peas. They are cold. I eat them slowly. They make my tummy hurt. I sleep beside Mommy. The peas are gone. In the icebox is something. It smells funny. I lick it and my tongue sticks. I eat it slowly. It tastes nasty. I drink some water. I play with my cars and I sleep beside Mommy. Mommy is so cold and she won’t wake up. The door crashes open. I cover Mommy with my blankie. Fuck. What the fuck happened here? Oh, the crazy fucked-up bitch. Shit. Fuck. Get out of my way, you little shit. He kicks me and I hit my head on the floor. My head hurts. He calls somebody and he goes. He locks the door. I lay down beside Mommy. My head hurts. The lady policeman is here. No. No. No. Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me. I stay by Mommy. No. Stay away from me. The lady policeman has my blankie and she grabs me. I scream. Mommy. Mommy. The words are gone. I can’t say the words. Mommy can’t hear me. I have no words.
Again, very sad. Again, not an excuse to abuse people as an adult.
And as per usual, Grey places responsibility for stopping these nightmare flashbacks on Ana’s shoulders:
I used to have my nightmares under control. Maybe one every couple of weeks, but nothing like this—night after night.
Since she left.
I need her in my life, in my bed. She was the day to my night. I’m going to get her back.
Grey is trying to decide how to win her back and replaying their “romantic” moments:
She wants hearts and flowers. Can I give her that? I frown, trying to recall the romantic moments in my life…And there’s nothing…except with Ana. The “more.” The gliding, and IHOP, and taking her up in Charlie Tango.
The gliding was something he wanted to do and it was done calculatedly as “more” to placate her. In IHOP, he threatened her when she asked if she could pay for their meal. In Charlie Tango, he made a big deal of restraining her in her seat and mentally sexualising the situation. These aren’t big, romantic moments and it’s very, very telling that these are the best he/EL James can come up with.
Maybe I can do this. I drift back to sleep, the mantra in my head: She’s mine. She’s mine…
Except she’s not, she’s not…
He wakes up, convinced that something external is responsible for scaring him, rather than his own thoughts. We all know there’s going to be some big, dramatic Leila moment either at the end of this book, or early in the next, so these frequent “ooh, I thought I saw someone” and “something makes me feel uneasy” moments just feel really heavy-handed.
What’s a guy to do when he wakes up early? Stalk his ex, of course:
I’m going to check on Ana.
HER STREET IS QUIET except for the rumble of a delivery truck and the out-of-tune whistling of a solitary dog walker. Her apartment is in darkness, the curtains to her room closed. I keep a silent vigil from my stalker’s hide, staring up at the windows and thinking. I need a plan—a plan to win her back.
What you need is a bloody restraining order.
On his way to work, Grey begins plotting ways to get “up close and personal” with Ana, in order to get her back. He calls Andrea, instructing her to clear his schedule, so he has time for his “romantic” plans. Andrea tells him she’s cancelled everything aside from an event in Portland the following night. Grey realises it’s José’s photography exhibition and is overjoyed at having an “in.”
Later, he informs the reader that his staff are acting nervous around him, because his temper has been so explosive, recently:
MY MORNING HAS BEEN back-to-back meetings, and my staff have been watching me nervously, waiting for me to explode. Okay, that’s been my modus operandi for the last few days—but today I feel clearer, calmer, and present; able to deal with everything.
Oh, well that’s okay, then. It’s totally fine that your employees were having to watch out for you taking your mood out on them, until now. Again, totally professional behaviour from a guy we’re supposed to believe is a hugely successful businessman. Not buying it. People would quit working for him in droves.
We get another dose of heavy-handed foreshadowing:
The only fly in the ointment is that there’s no more news about Leila. All we know is that she’s split up with her husband and she could be anywhere. If she surfaces, Welch will find her.
Speaking of how shitty Grey is at running a business? He fires Olivia, because she gets his sandwich wrong. Good to see he’s keeping a lid on that temper of his…
I’m famished. Olivia sets a plate down on my desk.
“Your sandwich, Mr. Grey.”
“Chicken and mayonnaise?”
I stare at her. She just doesn’t get it.
Olivia offers an inept apology.
“I said chicken with mayonnaise, Olivia. It’s not that hard.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. Grey.”
“It’s fine. Just go.” She looks relieved but scrambles to leave the room.
I buzz Andrea.
“Come in here.”
Andrea appears at the doorway, looking calm and efficient.
“Get rid of that girl.”
Andrea pulls herself up straight.
“Sir, Olivia is Senator Blandino’s daughter.”
“I don’t care if she’s the Queen of fucking England. Get her out of my office.”
“Yes, sir.” Andrea flushes.
“Get someone else to help you,” I offer in a gentler tone. I don’t want to alienate Andrea.
Tough shit. Acting like this makes you a massive prick. We’ve seen no actual evidence that Olivia is bad at her job, beyond Grey’s insistence that she moons over him (which we only have his warped word for).
Grey later even admits that his sandwich is only slightly wrong – it’s chicken, but there’s no mayo. That’s not a sackable offence and if I was Olivia, I’d take his ass to court.
Never mind: “have you considered a relationship on Ana’s terms?” Dr Flynn should be asking: “have you ever considered not being a dick?”
Grey refers constantly to his decision to try to win Ana back as his “campaign plan,” or his “plot,” which once again dehumanises Ana and makes her little more than an acquisition. I don’t believe he has real, loving feelings for her. I believe – I know, having read this shit from cover to cover – he just wants to own her.
He tells the reader he knows the email format at SIP and has decided to send Ana an email. He ponders various messages, before sending:
Forgive this intrusion at work. I hope that it’s going well. Did you get my flowers?
I note that tomorrow is the gallery opening for your friend’s show, and I’m sure you’ve not had time to purchase a car, and it’s a long drive. I would be more than happy to take you—should you wish.
Let me know.
So, he’s subtly trying to guilt her for not thanking him for the bouquet he chose to send (after she asked for a clean break) and he’s making insinuations about her lack of travel arrangements, which was again caused by him. I know Ana reacts differently, but this would just make me send him back a gif of someone giving the finger.
This is how Grey reacts when fifteen minutes go by without Ana sending a reply:
Come on, Anastasia, answer me. She’s always been so prompt. I check my watch…14:09.
Getting up, I pace around my office once more, peering at my watch every three seconds, or so it feels.
By 2:20 I’m in despair. She’s not going to reply. She really does hate me…who could blame her?
Unlike him, Ana has a job where she actually, you know, works. This obsessive overreaction to not getting a reply really shows Christian up, not as a poor man in love, but as a totally needy, possessive weirdo. I wouldn’t be shocked if the next paragraph showed him barging into the office at SIP, with “SAVE ME, ANA” carved into his forehead.
But of course, five minutes later, this happens:
Thank you for the flowers; they are lovely.
Yes, I would appreciate a lift.
Grey is elated and confesses to searching for clues beyond her words, which might indicate that she wants to get back together. They back and forth a little, arranging a time for him to pick her up. When things are finalised, Grey once again mentions his “campaign”:
My campaign to win her back is under way. I feel elated; the small blossom of hope is now a Japanese flowering cherry.
YOU DON’T GET TO RUIN ONE OF MY FAVOURITE FLOWERS, YOU VILE BASTARD.
Grey continues to spend his working day doing creepy, stalker shit and treating his staff like crap:
Anastasia is working for a guy named Jack Hyde. I want to know more about him. I call Ros.
“Christian.” She sounds pissed. Tough.
“Do we have access to the employee files from SIP?”
“Not yet. But I can get them.”
“Please. Today if you can. I want everything they have on Jack Hyde, and anyone who’s worked for him.”
“Can I ask why?”
She’s silent for a moment.
“Christian, I don’t know what’s got into you recently.”
“Ros, just do it, okay?”
For the record, Ros is pissed off because Grey has been skipping meetings and not seeing people he was supposed to see, whilst he’s been pining over Ana. She’s in the right.
Then, something happens that I’d like to rant about:
“Call Stephan—I’ll be flying Charlie Tango to Portland tomorrow evening, and I’ll need him to fly her back to Boeing Field,” I tell Andrea.
If he’s flying Charlie Tango to Portland and not driving there, and if he’s having someone fly the helicopter back, so he doesn’t have transportation home, is he just assuming he’ll stay overnight somewhere with Ana? Because that’s one HELL of an assumption, coming from someone was very recently – and rightfully – dumped by her. Arguably, he’s asking a pilot to be on standby to fly him home after he’s had a drink, but I worry that the first option is more likely.
We find out that Olivia has been moved to the finance department, rather than sacked outright, but that’s mainly because her father is important and so Christian had to keep him happy, apparently.
Grey then cancels the rest of his meetings for the day (again, how has this guy built up a business when he does NOTHING?!) and goes out to buy Ana an iPad. Because, once again, there is no love or romance in this, just sex and throwing money at people.
I close my eyes and contemplate which apps and songs I’m going to download and install for her. I could choose “Toxic.” I smirk at the thought. No, I don’t think that would be popular with her. She’d be mad as hell—and for the first time in a while the thought of her mad makes me smile. Mad like she was in Georgia, not like last Saturday.
He likes it when she’s mad. But only the type of mad he can make her forget with sex. I love that he’s now just not referencing the reason she was so angry and upset at all. By which I mean, I hate it so much I want to stick pins into EL James’ eyeballs.
Elliot once again texts him, asking if he wants to meet for a beer (because none of his family really love him or care about him). Again, Grey lies and says he’s busy. Elliot snarks that Grey’s always busy and then tells his brother that he’s off to Barbados, tomorrow.
Grey spends his evening putting songs onto the iPad for Ana. He thinks about the night they first slept together and gets all het up over whether he should call it “fucking” or “making love.” He reiterates in his mind that being touched is a hard limit for him. Then, just like he did when he was first obsessively chasing her, he starts referring to her as a business deal again:
I recall her impassioned plea the night I introduced her to my parents. “I want you to make love to me.” How shocked I was by her simple statement—and yet all she wanted was to touch me. I shudder at the thought. I have to make her understand that this is a hard limit for me—I cannot tolerate being touched.
I shake my head. You’re getting way ahead of yourself, Grey—you have to close this deal first.
Then he badgers on about “daring to hope” for a while and… ANOTHER CHAPTER ENDS. FINE. WE’RE DOING THIS:
Grey Chapter 25 (Thursday, June 9, 2011)
We start on yet another dream:
The doctor holds up her hands. I’m not going to hurt you. I need to check your tummy. Here. She gives me a cold, round sucky thing and she lets me play with it. You put it on your tummy, and I won’t touch you and I can hear your tummy. The doctor is good…the doctor is Mommy.
My new mommy is pretty. She’s like an angel. A doctor angel. She strokes my hair. I like it when she strokes my hair. She lets me eat ice cream and cake. She doesn’t shout when she finds the bread and apples hidden in my shoes. Or under my bed. Or under my pillow. Darling, the food is in the kitchen. Just find me or Daddy when you’re hungry. Point with your finger. Can you do that? There is another boy. Lelliot. He is mean. So I punch him. But my new mommy doesn’t like the fighting. There is a piano. I like the noise. I stand at the piano and press the white and the black. The noise from the black is strange. Miss Kathie sits at the piano with me. She teaches the black and the white notes. She has long brown hair and she looks like someone I know. She smells of flowers and apple pie baking. She smells of good. She makes the piano sound pretty. She is kind to me. She smiles and I play. She smiles and I am happy. She smiles and she’s Ana. Beautiful Ana, sitting with me as I play a fugue, a prelude, an adagio, a sonata. She sighs, resting her head on my shoulder, and she smiles. I love listening to you play, Christian. I love you, Christian.
And this is how the fucking book ends (WHY WAS THERE A NEW CHAPTER JUST FOR THIS SHIT?!):
Ana. Stay with me. You’re mine. I love you, too.
I wake, with a start.
Today, I win her back.
Firstly: She’s not yours. She’s not property, she’s a person. Start treating her like it.
Secondly: You don’t love her. You’re obsessed with owning her and fucking her. That’s it. Oh, and you want to force responsibility for “fixing” you onto her shoulders. None of that is the same as love.
Thirdly: I wish to GOD you were unsuccessful.
Ugh. I have a lot of feelings. I hated this book more than I hated all three of the original Fifty Shades books put together. Why? Because the overriding message was “he can’t help his behaviour and you should feel sorry for him.” And, as I have said many, many times, that is UTTER BULLSHIT. I feel like throughout this book, EL James was personally trying to gaslight her critics into thinking “oh, maybe we were wrong to judge this guy,” when actually, all she did was show Christian Grey up as the abusive, manipulative, controlling, possessive, threatening stalker he is. There’s nowhere to hide in this book. All the thoughts are coming from his own head. There’s no rose-tinted view of the situation. Everything, when told from his perspective, is as ugly as we expected it to be. Somehow, in trying to excuse the abuse, EL James has actually managed to highlight it (so, I guess…thanks?!).
I want to say a massive thank you from the bottom of my heart to every single one of you who’ve read these recaps, who’ve sent supportive messages and who’ve joined in with the discussion on social media. You’ve been what’s kept me going when I’ve wanted to throw my laptop against the wall. Thank you so much.
I said I would recap Darker once I was done with Grey and I’m a woman of my word. I’ll be back, with more creative swearing and general blind rage before you know it. But first, I really do need a couple of weeks away from this utterly horrific franchise. I try to make these recaps as funny and entertaining as I possibly can (not always easy, given the source material!), but they can be really, seriously draining, especially given how frequently they drag up memories of my own abuse experience. So, I’m going to give myself a fortnight or so during which I will be FREE from this crap, before I jump back on board the Hell train.
Thank you again. I’M OFF TO SCRUB THIS BOOK OFF MY BODY.