The sun is shining – despite it being ridiculously cold – I have eaten cake and waffles this weekend and generally speaking, life feels pretty good, today. So, let’s dive into chapter 14 of Grey and see if I can muster some enthusiasm for this crap…
With the Rolling Stones’ “Shake Your Hips” blasting in my ears, I sprint down Fourth Avenue and turn right on Vine. It’s 6:45 in the morning, and it’s downhill all the way…to her apartment. I’m drawn; I just want to see where she lives.
Aaaaand my good mood was crushed by the first damn paragraph of this chapter. Dude, this is stalking. You are in some kind of relationship with Ana, so why not just wait until she inevitably invites you over? Why jog past her apartment at some crazy hour in the morning, just to see where she lives? This isn’t love, this is obsession. This dude is crossing all kinds of unhealthy lines. Like, all the time.
Of course, because this book is the kind of trash that needs to be immediately dumped in the sea, Grey remembers Ana making a quip about a word that comes “between control freak and stalker” in the dictionary (after she emailed him the words “rules schmules” and he asked her where “schmules” was in the dictionary) and he thinks to himself:
It’s between control freak and stalker.
I chuckle to myself. I’m just running. It’s a free country.
You’re just running to her apartment. On purpose. And you’re chuckling to yourself, because you know this is stalking and you think it’s funny. I hate you and I wish you were a character in a video game, just so I could kill you over and over and over…
Grey reaches the apartment building, gives us a quick description of it and then tells the reader that he’s imagining Ana curled up in bed.
He then jogs through the market, seemingly in a buoyant mood, because “today’s the day.”
If you’re thinking “oh wow, he’s had a change of heart about Ana meeting his family and now he’s really excited about it,” then… Oh, please hold onto that innocence. But also know that nope.
He returns home, showers, puts a hair tie in his shirt pocket and emails Ana the access code for Escala’s underground carpark, plus the bay number she should park in and the code for the elevator. We get to read all this, because EL James finds dull detail much easier to write than actual, decent content.
Yes, Sir. Understood.
Thank you for the champagne and the blow-up Charlie Tango, which is now tied to my bed.
This is your regular reminder of my irrational hatred of that damn balloon.
Because Grey is only capable of thinking with his penis, he immediately thinks:
An image of Ana tethered to her bed with my tie comes to mind. I shift in my chair. I hope she’s brought that bed to Seattle.
No, she was planning to sleep on a bed of freaking nails.
He replies “lucky Charlie Tango,” which is painfully predictable, then has croissants and apricot jam for breakfast. He also feels the need to tell us that apparently Mrs Jones has made enough chicken Caesar salad for two as a lunch option and she’s left it in the fridge for him and it’s the sort of meal that you can eat over two days and he doesn’t mind eating it again with Ana, when she comes over.
THESE ARE THE KIND OF MIND-NUMBINGLY DULL THINGS I USUALLY SKIP PAST IN THESE RECAPS, BUT I NEED YOU TO KNOW HOW MUCH I’VE SUFFERED. MOVE ON WITH YOUR “PLOT,” EL! I DO NOT NEED TO KNOW WHAT CHRISTIAN GREY HAS FOUND IN HIS FRIDGE.
That woman is a multi-millionaire, thanks to these books.
We then get one of those delightful moments where EL James literally can’t remember her own characterisation from one chapter of this garbage to the next. Because Taylor arrives and, during the brief conversation he has with Grey, Grey tells him that he and Ana will be having dinner with his parents that evening. And this happens:
Taylor cocks his head, looking momentarily surprised, but he remembers himself and leaves the room. I return to my croissant and apricot jam.
Yeah. I’m taking her to meet my parents. What’s the big deal?
YOU LITERALLY WENT ON AND ON ABOUT NOT WANTING TO TAKE HER TO MEET YOUR PARENTS IN THE LAST CHAPTER. YOU REFERRED TO YOUR FAMILY AS HOLDING SOME KIND OF INQUISITION EVERY TIME THEY ASKED A QUESTION ABOUT ANA AND YOU CALLED ELLIOT A BASTARD WHEN HE TOLD YOU HE WAS BRINGING KATE TO DINNER, BECAUSE IT MADE YOU FEEL AS THOUGH YOU OUGHT TO TAKE ANA AGAINST YOUR WISHES. YOU MADE IT A BIG DEAL, YOU LUDICROUS MORON.
I mean, I’m not the best writer in the world, but even I know that you can’t depict a character being all “oh God, I don’t want my girlfriend meeting my parents; the thought makes me really uncomfortable” in one chapter and then shrugging “so what? No biggie,” the next.
Of course, because Grey is super excited to flog Ana (I was going to put “see Ana,” but we all know he’s only excited about inflicting potentially non-consensual pain on her…), he can’t settle on anything and he paces around a bit, before reading the paper. He notices a photo of himself and Ana on the local news page, taken at her graduation ceremony and describes Ana as looking “lovely, if a little startled.”
Hands up who remembers why Ana might have been a bit startled at that ceremony? Who remembers Grey grabbing her and locking her in a changing room to have a private discussion she wasn’t ready for? Anyone?!
Ana finally arrives, wearing Kate’s plum dress and with her hair worn down. Grey greets her…
“You’re on time. I like punctual. Come.”
…And I honestly expected her to orgasm on cue, seeing as that appears to be her major skill in this universe.
Grey shows her the photo of them together in the newspaper and she finds it funny:
“So I’m your ‘friend’ now,” she teases.
“So it would appear. And it’s in the newspaper, so it must be true.”
Jumping into “Emma’s Personal Trigger List” territory, this made me a bit queasy, because my abuser insisted on referring to me as merely his “friend” for the entire 20 months we were together. So, I loathed this bit for my own reasons, even though it isn’t in itself particularly awful.
Grey tells us he’s calmer now that she’s there, which is probably supposed to be yet more evidence of how much Ana “changes” him, but meh.
He reminds her that she knows more about his lifestyle and his kinks since they last met and yet she’s still come back for more. And he thinks to himself:
I can’t believe my luck.
I knew you were a freak, Ana.
Just, you know, your regular reminder that she literally cried hysterically after the last time and he’s had to placate her a whole lot, to reach this point. I feel I should mention it, seeing as not only has Christian Grey apparently forgotten about it, but so has this shitty book’s shitty author.
Speaking of how terrible this is… Who’s ready for some cut and paste boring repetition?! YOU ARE?! IT’S YOUR LUCK DAY:
“Have you eaten?”
Not at all? Okay. We’ll have to fix this. I drag my hand through my hair, and in as even a tone as I can manage I ask, “Are you hungry?”
“Not for food,” she teases.
Whoa. She might as well be addressing my groin.
I would find this book so much more fun if she was. Like “hey, Christian’s penis? I’m hungry, but not for food, wink, wink!”
They have a really dull conversation about the ob-gyn who’s coming over to see Ana and then Grey decides to bring up the idea of her going to his parents’ house for dinner in the least appealing way possible:
“Anastasia, my mother would like you to come to dinner this evening. I believe Elliot is asking Kate, too. I don’t know how you feel about that. It will be odd for me to introduce you to my family.”
“Hey, person who really likes me? My mother wants me to do a thing that I am literally going to tell you makes me feel odd, rather than say that I want you there.”
It’s not difficult to see why Ana takes offence:
She takes a second to process the information, then tosses her hair over her shoulder in that way she does before a fight. But she looks hurt, not argumentative. “Are you ashamed of me?” She sounds choked.
But Christian Grey, with his supposedly superior intellect, simply cannot compute why his wording might have made her feel that way, so he piles all the blame onto her and gets genuinely angry:
Oh, for heaven’s sake. “Of course not.” Of all the ridiculous things to say! I glare at her, aggrieved. How could she think that about herself?
This leads Ana to have to explain:
“Why is it odd?” she asks.
“Because I’ve never done it before.” I sound irritable.
“Why are you allowed to roll your eyes, and I’m not?”
“I wasn’t aware that I was.” She’s calling me out. Again.
“Neither am I, usually,” she snaps.
Shit. Are we arguing?
Not as much as I’d like, dude. I’d like her to have the ob-gyn stab you in the eye with a needle.
Taylor arrives and tells them that Dr Greene (the ob-gyn) has arrived. Grey makes Ana briefly think that he’s coming with her to her examination.
Ana turns and looks at me and I hold out my hand to her.
“You’re not going to come as well, are you?” She’s horrified and amused at once.
I laugh, and my body stirs. “I’d pay very good money to watch, believe me, Anastasia, but I don’t think the good doctor would approve.”
I mean, sure, whatever. I would have thought he’d have hated watching someone else touch Ana’s vagina, but we all know that consistent characterisation is not a thing in this universe.
They go to meet Dr Greene together and I immediately like her, because she makes Grey uncomfortable:
Dr. Greene has one of those myopic stares; it’s penetrating and that makes me a tad uncomfortable. “Mr. Grey,” she says, shaking my outstretched hand with a firm, no-nonsense grip.
“Thank you for coming on such short notice.” I flash her my most benign smile.
“Thank you for making it worth my while, Mr. Grey. Miss Steele,” she says politely to Ana, and I know she’s sizing up our relationship. I’m sure that she thinks I should be twiddling a mustache like a silent-movie villain. She turns and gives me a pointed “leave now” kind of look.
And then he left and the book ended and Ana and Dr Greene lived happily ever after.
Grey has to leave and yet again, he informs us that he wishes he could watch Ana receive her medical exam:
“I’ll be downstairs,” I acquiesce. Though I would like to watch. I’m sure the good doctor’s reaction would be priceless if I made that request. I smirk at the thought and head downstairs to the living room.
It would be a massive red flag, for most doctors. Just saying. But then, this dude is just one massive, walking, talking red flag, so…
Of course, because Ana’s magical vagina is the only thing that makes poor ickle Christian feel better, he immediately starts feeling agitated because she’s not with him. He starts preparing for lunch:
Now that Ana’s no longer with me, I’m restless again. As a distraction I set the counter with two placemats. It’s the second time I’ve done this, and the first time was for Ana, too.
You’re going soft, Grey.
…? Do you usually not feed your subs, then? Or do they have to eat separately from you? I don’t understand why setting Ana a placemat is such a big deal, here.
He also literally has to turn his iPod up loud, in order to try to stop himself from thinking about what’s going on between Dr Greene and Ana. I just… This seems to be the kinkiest thing he’s into, to be honest. I hope all the clinics in the area have very thick blinds in the windows, that’s all I’m saying.
When Ana’s examination is over, she and Dr Greene return and Dr Greene can clearly see something in Ana that proves my theory that they‘d make a better couple than Ana and Christian:
“Yes, Mr. Grey. Look after her; she’s a beautiful, bright young woman.”
What has Ana told her?
“I fully intend to,” I say, with a quick what-the-fuck glance at Ana.
Red ink, because why should this be Ana’s fault? He’s asked for a doctor to come over to see Ana for contraceptive purposes. The doctor knows he’s having a sexual relationship with Ana. Yes, it’s arguably unprofessional for Dr Greene to tell him to look after his girlfriend, but I’ve known people say similar things in total innocence. It bugs the life out of me that Grey’s immediate thought is that Ana must have said something about him to cause the doctor to remind him to look after her. It bugs me partly because he’s constantly looking to blame Ana for things, and partly because it’s proof that somewhere, deep down, he knows he’s not looking after her and he doesn’t like to be reminded or challenged. And when you read it like that, the “I fully intend to” part sounds like a threat.
And it’s only when Ana seems oblivious as to why Grey’s evil-staring at her, that he realises she hasn’t done anything wrong:
She bats her lashes, clueless. Good. It’s nothing she’s said, then.
I hate this jerk so much, I could power entire continents with my rage.
Ana jokes that the doctor says she has to abstain from sex and although Grey seems to eventually appreciate Ana’s sense of humour, I feel as though his initial response is not that of a caring, considerate partner:
“She said that I had to abstain from all sexual activity for the next four weeks.”
What the hell? I gape at her in shock.
Ana’s earnest expression dissolves into one of taunting triumph. “Gotcha!”
Well played, Miss Steele.
WHAT THE HELL?! BUT THAT’S ALL I WANT YOU FOR!
Of course, Grey then has to make a “joke” of his own, based on the fact that he knows his temper frightens Ana. I wish I was making that up:
My eyes narrow and her grin vanishes.
HAHAHAHAHA, BECAUSE I YELL AT HER AND CONTROL HER AND THREATEN TO HIT HER WITHOUT CONSENT, SO IF I LOOK MAD, SHE’LL BE FREAKED OUT, HAHAHAHA.
He goes on:
“Gotcha!” I can’t help my smirk. Reaching around her waist, I pull her against me, my body hungering for her. “You are incorrigible, Miss Steele.” I weave my hands through her hair and kiss her hard, wondering if I should fuck her over the kitchen counter as a lesson.
All in good time, Grey.
As a lesson for what??!! Making a joke? Not saying anything to Dr Greene? And you shouldn’t be fucking her anywhere without enthusiastic consent, nor should you be planning on fucking her to teach her any lessons, because that doesn’t sound like you give a shit about her pleasure, it sounds like rape. Please, please die.
Grey tells her she has to eat (because reading that never gets dull) and says he doesn’t want her passing out before he’s had time to do all the things he wants to do with her. Ana responds with a question:
“Is that all you want me for—my body?” she asks.
Look, I know couples tease each other a lot, in a kind of “oh, you only want me for sex, haha” way, but Ana has had genuine concerns about feeling used by him. So, you know, this would be a really good time for him to say he wants her for much more than just that. But naturally, since this guy is an absolute pillock, what he actually says is:
“That and your smart mouth.”
There’s a load of boring pre-inevitable-sex-scene drivel, in which Ana coos over Christian Grey’s classical music choices, he takes salad that someone else made out of the fridge and thinks of himself as “domestic” and Ana compliments him on the way he moves. I could not possibly care less.
Grey asks Ana what form of contraceptive she’s chosen and she tells him she’ll be taking the mini pill. He asks her whether she’ll remember to take it every day and once she’s replied, he laments that he couldn’t control exactly what form of contraception she uses:
“I’m sure you’ll remind me,” she says with a hint of sarcasm, which I choose to ignore.
You should have had the shot.
Dude, this is already so invasive. Ana should have been able to choose her own doctor, see that doctor at a place of her choosing and, most importantly, decide for herself whether she even wanted to start taking any kind of contraceptive. Ana may have been perfectly happy to keep using condoms. Just remember that this has all been done because he wanted to ride bareback, not because he had any kind of genuine concern for Ana’s medical health. And yet, here he is, wishing he could control her more in this deeply personal area.
I would really appreciate someone removing his balls.
They eat the chicken Caesar salad and he’s stunned because Ana’s actually consuming food. Afterwards, his mind immediately turns to sex (as if it hadn’t been there literally the whole time) and we get the regular attempt at proving consent in this horror show:
“Do you want to do this?” I whisper, inwardly begging her to say yes.
“I haven’t signed anything.”
“I know—but I’m breaking all the rules these days.”
He’s asking for her consent, but he hasn’t told her what for. Considering their contract – which, as Ana points out, she hasn’t signed – features a long list of BDSM things she will or won’t allow him to do, this is important to note.
And then this happens:
“Are you going to hit me?”
“Yes, but it won’t be to hurt you. I don’t want to punish you right now. If you’d caught me yesterday evening, well, that would have been a different story.”
Her face turns to shock.
Okay, I’m going to say this in loud, shouty-capitals:
BDSM IS NOT ABOUT TAKING YOUR ANGER OUT ON SOMEONE. IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO PHYSICALLY PUNISH SOMEONE BECAUSE YOU ARE ANGRY AND WANT TO HURT THEM, YOU ARE ABUSIVE TRASH. ANA DID NOTHING WRONG, YESTERDAY. SHE JUST DIDN’T CALL YOU INSTANTLY AFTER WORK. SHE IS ALLOWED A LIFE AND YOU DON’T GET TO FUCKING BEAT HER FOR SOCIALISING WITH HER FRIENDS. I HATE YOU AND I HOPE SOMEONE TUGS OUT ALL OF YOUR PUBIC HAIR WITH A RUSTY SET OF TWEEZERS AND YOU DIE FROM THE RESULTING INFECTION.
He then tells her:
“Don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise, Anastasia. One of the reasons people like me to do this is because we either like to give or receive pain.”
Here I go again…
A RESPONSIBLE DOMINANT ENJOYS GIVING PAIN BECAUSE HE KNOWS HIS SUBMISSIVE ALSO WANTS THAT PAIN. IT IS MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL. IT IS NOT DONE IN GENUINE ANGER. YOU HAVE SPOKEN ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS ABOUT WANTING TO HIT HER BECAUSE YOU’RE MAD AT HER AND THAT IS NOT BDSM, THAT IS ABUSE.
He tells her that he’s been thinking a lot about the fact that she doesn’t actually like receiving pain. She asks if he’s come to any conclusion and he replies:
“No, and right now, I just want to tie you up and fuck you senseless. Are you ready for that?”
I don’t care that he’s asking for her consent, here. I care that he openly admits he hasn’t reached a conclusion on what to do about her dislike of pain, having just told her that he’d have beaten her in anger, had she been there the night before. This guy is grotesque.
But of course, Ana says yes and Grey thinks “thank fuck,” which doesn’t make it sound like he’s the sort of person who would have accepted her saying “no” without a fight. Swoon, ladies. Go on.
He takes her to the playroom:
“When you’re in here, you are completely mine. To do with as I see fit. Do you understand?”
That would be a sexy sentence, if uttered by basically anyone else.
Ana agrees and so the sexy, sexy fun times begin.
He tells her to strip down to her panties and braids her hair, tying it with the hair tie he put in his pocket, earlier. He tells her this is how he expects her to be dressed whenever she’s in the playroom, then commands her to kneel in the corner and informs her that that is where she is to position herself whenever they go into the room. He gets her to spread her legs and tells her to keep her head bowed. So far, it’s just like “do this thing. Now do that thing” and I’m wondering why anyone finds this level of unimaginative “erotic” writing even remotely hot.
He brings out the riding crop he ordered:
I quickly flick the end across her palm. She startles and cups her hand, blinking at me in surprise.
“How does that feel?” I ask.
Her breathing accelerates, and she glances at me before looking back at her palm.
“Okay.” Her brows knit together.
“Don’t frown,” I warn. “Did that hurt?”
I love that he genuinely thinks he can control her subconscious facial expressions.
Anyway, he cuffs her to a grid and tells her this isn’t going to hurt, this time. He takes off her panties and sniffs them (much to Ana’s shock) and then puts them in his jeans pocket.
He gives her an orgasm with the flogger, just like in her dream. I’m not posting any of it here, because it’s just boring. I’ve read sexier IKEA self-assembly instructions.
The sex is exceptionally dull and afterwards, Grey asks her if she found the flogging painful:
“Well done, baby. Did that hurt?”
“No.” Her voice is barely audible.
“Did you expect it to?” I ask, and I push stray strands of her hair off her face so I can see her better.
“You see? Most of your fear is in your head, Anastasia.” I caress her face. “Would you do it again?” I ask.
She doesn’t answer immediately, and I think she’s fallen asleep.
“Yes,” she whispers a moment later.
Thank you, sweet Lord.
I wish he’d stop with the whole “your fear is in your head” stuff. Yes, there’s probably some truth to it; she almost certainly does build things up in her mind, because she has no frame of reference for this stuff and it’s fairly natural that she might imagine it to be worse than it is. But she’s also experienced pain at his hands and although she was aroused, she also said she felt “abused” and didn’t want him to do it again. So, not all of her fear is “in her head” and each time he says this, I feel as though he’s trivialising her concerns.
This post-sex scene is where we also start to get suggestions that Grey – icy and aloof – is actually falling for Ana:
I’m so proud of her. She did it. She did everything I wanted.
She’s everything I want.
And suddenly I’m overwhelmed by an unfamiliar emotion that rocks through me, slicing through sinew and bone, leaving unease and fear in its wake.
Falling in love is scary sometimes (I speak as one who has feelings for someone totally unexpected and I’m much, much too terrified to tell that person ever), but this level of melodrama is just irritating, because I loathe the character and genuinely don’t give a rat’s ass about his feelings.
Ana then leans her head against Grey’s chest and naturally, this gives him a chance to be even more melodramatic:
The darkness swells, startling and familiar, replacing my unease with a sense of dread. Every muscle in my body tenses. Ana blinks up at me with clear, unflinching eyes as I struggle to control my fear.
“Don’t,” I whisper. Please.
She leans back and peers at my chest.
Get control, Grey.
“Kneel by the door,” I order, uncurling around her.
Go. Don’t touch me.
He’s just made it sound as though he’s falling for her, but now he’s pushing her away immediately after sex. AGAIN. If he gave half a shit about her, he’d use this opportunity to at least speak a little to her about his phobia of being touched. Instead, he forces her out of bed when she’s just had an intense BDSM experience and could be at risk of sub drop – something he knows he caused her last time, due to his total lack of aftercare. He doesn’t really care about her as a person. She’s a vagina. That’s it.
As she kneels by the door, she looks every bit the ideal submissive. Her eyes are glazed; she’s tired. I’m sure she’s coming down from the adrenaline high. Her eyelids droop.
Oh, this will never do. You want her as a submissive, Grey. Show her what that means.
He even recognises that she’s coming down from her high and is exhausted. And that still doesn’t stop him.
“You’re shattered, aren’t you?”
She nods with a bashful smile.
Oh, baby, you’ve done so well.
“Stamina, Miss Steele. I haven’t had my fill of you yet..”
He uses cable ties to bind her wrists and tells her to grab onto one of the posts on his four-poster bed. And there’s a warning:
“Lower,” I order. She moves her hands down to the base until she’s bending over. “Good. Don’t let go. If you do, I’ll spank you. Understand?”
She has expressly told him not to spank her, because she didn’t enjoy it. Remember when he told her that he’d been thinking all day about her dislike of pain? Well, he’s clearly not decided to stop threatening it if she does anything wrong.
And hey, why just threaten it?
I smack her hard across her backside.
“Yes, Sir,” she says immediately.
Red, because she DID NOT CONSENT TO THAT and Grey KNOWS that being hit like that is something she didn’t enjoy, when he last did it.
He even toys with attempting anal sex without consent, too.
I’d like to claim her ass. Now. But it’s too soon for that.
Not only is it too soon, but you freaking ASK before you go there, you vile wank stain.
They have sex, it’s boring, she comes on demand…Yawn.
After the sex, we get another little “look how Ana is changing him” nugget:
I stare up at the karabiners, wondering if she’ll ever let me suspend her.
And I don’t care.
See! He doesn’t care! Because he luuuuuurves her.
Grey removes the cable ties and makes a lame “I declare this Ana open” joke, which makes Ana giggle.
She giggles, her body juddering against mine. It’s a strange and not unwelcome feeling that makes me grin.
“That is such a lovely sound,” I whisper as she rubs her wrists. I sit up so that she’s in my lap.
I love making her laugh. She doesn’t laugh enough.
“That’s my fault,” I admit to myself as I rub some life back into her shoulders and arms. She turns her face to me with a weary, searching look. “That you don’t giggle more often,” I clarify.
If you know it’s your fault, here’s a fantastic idea: TREAT HER BETTER.
We then discover that poor Taylor and Mrs Jones have had to see nude Christian, post-playroom, in the past:
I reach for my jeans and slip them on. “Don’t want to frighten Taylor, or Mrs. Jones, for that matter.”
It wouldn’t be the first time.
Those guys do NOT get paid enough for this shit.
He carries Ana to her bedroom (the one he presumedly gives all his subs) and they lie on the bed, together and fall asleep.
Now… You know how Grey likes to tie up little brown haired girls who remind him of his birth mother? Well, guess why he enjoys braiding their hair? YEP. In a flashback, we discover that ickle Christian watched his mother braid her own hair when he was little.
I brush her hair. It’s soft and smells of Mommy and flowers.
She takes the brush and winds her hair round and round.
So it’s like a bumpy snake down her back.
There, she says.
And she turns around and smiles at me.
Today, she’s happy.
I like when Mommy is happy.
I like it when she smiles at me.
She looks pretty when she smiles.
Christian Grey wants to fuck and beat his dead mother.
Grey wakes up because he can smell Ana (I’m not making that up) and he realises he’s never slept with a sub in their room. This makes him freak out, because of course it does.
When have I ever slept in this room?
The thought is unnerving, and for some unfathomable reason it makes me uneasy.
What’s going on, Grey?
I sit up carefully, not wanting to disturb her, and stare down at her sleeping form. I know what it is—I’m unsettled because I’m in here with her.
I LOVE HER AND I AM ONLY CALM WHEN I’M WITH HER, BUT I AM ALSO UNSETTLED BECAUSE EW, THERE’S A GIRL IN BED WITH ME.
He then starts acting super creepy. He leaves her to sleep, but forms a “plan” with her stolen panties, despite the fact that they’re going to his parents’ place for dinner, later. And he even treats himself to a shower before they go, because he needs to be clean before he sees his family…
He does some work in his study and then goes to wake Ana up:
“Come on, sleepyhead. Get up.” I kiss her temple again. “I’ve brought you a drink. I’ll be downstairs. Don’t go back to sleep, or you’ll be in trouble,” I warn as she stretches her arms. I kiss her once more and with a glance at the chair, where she won’t find her panties, I saunter back downstairs, unable to suppress my grin.
This is just so gross. Ana is being taken to meet his parents and he’s forcing her to do it without underwear. She’s bound to be nervous – supposedly so was he – and he does this to her?!
Grey expects Ana to be embarrassed and to ask for her underwear back, but she doesn’t. Instead, she seems to be into the idea of going knicker-less in front of his parents, so… These two are definitely meant to be together. Mainly to keep either of them from being with anyone else.
Now I will have to sit through dinner with my parents, knowing my girl is not wearing any underwear. In fact, I’m traveling down in this elevator right now, knowing she’s naked beneath her skirt.
She’s turned the tables on you, Grey.
You did this, you moron. Don’t be all “oh God, I have to sit through dinner whilst she’s not wearing pants!” This was your idea. All she’s doing is going along with it.
On the way to his parents’ house, Grey thinks about the fact that Ana is about to meet his family and he decides that, despite not having an orthodox relationship, and despite the huge fuss he made about it last chapter, he actually does want her to meet his parents:
Who am I kidding? If I didn’t want her to meet my folks, she wouldn’t be here. I just wish I wasn’t so anxious about it.
Yeah. That’s the problem.
YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.
Ana interrupts his thoughts by asking him where he learned to dance (they danced before they left the apartment, but it was boring as hell so I skipped it). Turns out, it was his molester! Hooray!
Oh, Ana. She’s not going to want me to go there.
“Christian, hold me. There. Properly. Right. One step. Two. Good. Keep in time to the music. Sinatra is perfect for the fox-trot.” Elena is in her element.
And Christian just danced to Ana to Sinatra, so… Ew.
“She must have been a good teacher.” Her whisper is tinged with regret and reluctant admiration.
I say again: EW. Every time I think this book must have finished romanticising abusive behaviours, it proves me wrong.
Ana starts asking questions about their afternoon together, including asking why he used cable ties to restrain her (he says he knows they’re “quite brutal,” which sounds like ELJ’s way of responding to all the criticism she got for putting them in the first book). Then she sighs and Grey wants to know what’s on her mind:
“I wish I knew what you were thinking,” she says.
I smirk, relieved to hear this, and glad she doesn’t know what’s really on my mind.
“Ditto, baby,” I reply.
Like… This isn’t healthy. If you’re falling for someone and you want your relationship to go somewhere, you’re supposed to be honest and open. You’re not supposed to smirk because your partner wants to know what you’re thinking and you’re not prepared to tell them.
As they arrive at his parents’ place, Grey makes a point of whispering “I bet you wish you were wearing your underwear, right now.”
Mia regresses to the age of about 10 upon meeting Ana, screeching and bear-hugging. Remember how Grey really loves Mia? How he told us last chapter that she’s the one he can be himself around? Well, he thinks this:
Yes, for fuck’s sake, Mia. Stop making such a scene.
There’s a weird passage about everyone wanting to hug Ana (including Elliot, which naturally makes Grey grossly possessive over her) and how everyone seems very touchy-feely all of a sudden. Grey therefore deliberately doesn’t touch Ana as he sits down beside her, thinking: I need to set an example for my overly demonstrative family.
Grey discovers that Elliot is going to Barbados with Kate and her family and he proves that he genuinely believes a woman’s only worth is in her sexual ability:
Dude! I stare at Elliot. What the hell happened to Mr. Love ’Em and Leave ’Em? Kavanagh must be good in the sack. She certainly looks smug enough.
Smug women are just naturally good in bed? Okaaaaay.
Grey’s father asks whether Ana will be taking a break now that she’s finished her studies. She tells him she’s thinking of going to Georgia for a few days. Grey’s reaction is… Not great.
“Georgia?” I exclaim, unable to hide my surprise.
“My mother lives there,” she says, her voice wavering, “and I haven’t seen her for a while.”
“When were you thinking of going?” I snap.
“Tomorrow, late evening.”
Tomorrow! What the fuck? And I’m only learning of this now?
Ugh, you know what? I’m tired. I’m sick of this abusive shit. I’m fed up of pretending this isn’t harmful. I hate to do this to you guys, but I’m getting angry and this is depressing me. I’m going to call a friend and mope over my unrequited crush. We’ll finish this recap over the coming week.