Grey Chapter 8 (Monday, May 23rd 2011)

Okay, everyone.  I’ve had a really lovely day, mooching around Christmas markets with one of my best friends.  I’ve tried so many free cheese samples, I’ve probably had my dairy intake for the week.  My mood is good.  LET’S DESTROY ALL THAT BY RECAPPING ANOTHER CHAPTER OF GREY!

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So, when we last left Grey, he had sent a laptop to Ana, who inexplicably didn’t even have an email address, despite being a college student, and he was chilling at home, reading books about poor people, whilst having daydreams in which he infantilised his dead mother.

So, you know, the usual.

Now, just in case anyone was thinking “well, he seems to be pretty into Ana, maybe he really likes her as a person,” let me just clarify that HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, NO.  Because literally in the first couple of sentences of chapter 8, he’s thinking of her not as a person, but a project:

It’s after one in the morning when I go to bed. Staring at the ceiling, I’m tired, relaxed, but also excited, anticipating what the week will bring. I hope to have a new project: Miss Anastasia Steele.

I love it when a guy thinks of me as a project, don’t you, ladies?!

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Then immediately after that brief opening, it’s suddenly half six in the morning and Grey’s going for a jog.  Because it’s very important that we know that he doesn’t sleep well without Ana and that he keeps himself fit, like the big, manly, God-like creature he truly is.

He’s also nothing if not over-dramatic, because his internal monologue tells us:

Today the streets are paved with possibility.

Will she respond to my e-mail?

Will she let me control literally every detail of her life?  Who cares, I’ll do it, anyway.  Oooh, it’s so exciting!

There’s a brief and boring paragraph about him rearranging meetings so he can work from Portland (because his full name is Christian Stalky McStalkerson Grey) and then he decides to email Elena, who has apparently been texting him over the weekened (super healthy).  He tells her he’s sorry not to have gotten back to her sooner and says he’ll let her know if and when he’s next free.  He tells her that the “latest results for the beauty business look promising” and he adds “Good going, ma’am.”

Have I mentioned that I find this aspect of the story super healthy?!  It’s definitely totally cool for him to be talking this way to the woman who raped him.  Yep.  Totally fine.

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As he sends his email, he ponders what Elena would make of Ana and vice versa.  Then, as if by magic, he gets an email from Ana:

To: Christian Grey

I slept very well, thank you—for some strange reason—Sir.

I understood that this computer was on loan, ergo not mine.

Ana

I don’t know about you, but this definitely sounds like a young, American student to me.  Yep.  They say “ergo” all the time.

Christian is pleased by the email, even though he’s frustrated by the fact that she seems unwilling to keep the computer:

“Sir” with a capital S; the girl has been reading, and possibly researching. And she’s still talking to me. I grin stupidly at the e-mail. This is good news. Though she is also telling me that she doesn’t want the computer.

Well, that’s frustrating.

I shake my head, amused.

He responds telling her that the computer is on loan indefinitely.  Because if Christian Grey says something is happening, it really doesn’t matter whether or not someone else consents.

After his reply, we have a dull and frankly pretentious paragraph about how Christian’s company is working on a solar powered tablet and that “Bringing affordable first world technology to the third world is something (he’s) determined to do.”

Is he your hero, yet?  He’s definitely mine.

Ana emails back (because EL James is nothing if not determined that we read all their damn correspondence, rather than see them communicating face to face).  She tells him that she neither needs or wants a computer indefinitely, which is laughably stupid, particularly for someone who wants to work in publishing.  She also quips “some of us have to work for a living,” which causes Grey to sadly realise it’ll be the last email he gets from her for a little while.  He’s annoyed by the fact that Ana won’t accept the computer, but tells himself at least it means she’s not “acquisitive,” whereas most of the women he’s known have been gold-diggers.  He tells us that Leila was the other exception and then we get another weird Leila flashback:

“Sir, I am not deserving of this beautiful dress.”

“You are. Take it. And I’ll not hear another word on this. Understand?”

“Yes, Master.”

“Good. And the style will suit you.”

Ah, Leila. She was a good submissive, but she became too attached and I was the wrong man. Fortunately, that wasn’t for long. She’s married now and happy. 

Yeeeeaaaah, Leila’s super happy…

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I guess EL tossed that line in there to make it look like Grey really thinks Leila’s fine, so her later mental breakdown comes as a surprise, but let’s face it; we’re all familiar with what happened in the original trilogy, so this line just comes across as crass and insensitive.

So, typical Grey.

He rereads Ana’a email and is annoyed by her “some of us have to work for a living” line.

The sassy wench is implying I don’t do any work.

Well to hell with that!

I spy Fred’s rather dry summary report open on my desktop and decide to set the record straight with Ana.

Okay, firstly: Sassy wench?!  It doesn’t sound like something a young, American business tycoon would say.  But this grated on me for reasons I couldn’t work out for ages, until I realised that my abuser used to say “wench” all the time.  He deliberately used it as a misogynistic slur, too.  So, if EL James was going for a “haha, he’s so cute with his teasing insults” vibe here, what she actually gave me was “hey, remember the guy who abused you?!”  I mean, I get that constantly with these books, but this was like a little bonus mini-trigger.  Thanks, EL.

Secondly, you’re pissed off that Ana’s implied that you don’t do any work, so you decide to prove how much work you do by… Emailing her instead of working?!  Dude, your logic sucks.

He replies:

Laters, baby.

P.S.: I work for a living, too.

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

That tagline – the CEO bit – is at the end of every single email, by the way.  Which, sure, if you have an email signature, it comes up in every email you send (mine is “‘it’s a good thing to be strange, normalness leads to sadness.’ – Phil Lester,” in case you’re wondering, because that’s the quote I live by), but do we really need to see it every time?!  I can only assume that EL James couldn’t fill the book with actual plot, so had to make do with cramming in pointless words, instead.  I mean, I’m leaving out the fact that with each email, EL also includes the sender, subject line and time stamp.

Oh, and in case you think I’m kidding, Christian immediately gets an email from Elena, in which we get HER bloody tagline, sender and subject line, too:

From: Elena Lincoln

Subject: The Weekend

Date: May 23 2011 08:33

To: Christian Grey

Christian, you work too hard. What’s in Portland? Work?

Ex

ELENA LINCOLN

ESCLAVA

For The Beauty That Is You™

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I just find this hugely irritating.  But then, the same can be said about the whole franchise, so…

He emails back, telling her it’s work stuff, because he knows if he tells her the truth, she’ll have loads of questions.  Which, you know, she has zero right to know the answers to.

We get yet another boring paragraph about Grey’s oh-so-important work, then Taylor comes in purely so EL James can shoe-horn in a scene in which Grey comes across as the freaking hero of the piece.  It doesn’t work, because in his internal monologue, Grey has already huffed that the interruption is annoying and he’s disappointed that it’s Taylor and not – for some inexplicable reason – Ana.  All I can say to EL James on this is if you want to have people actually think your hero is a good guy, make him one.  Because this scene smacks of desperation, written by an author who’s read criticism of her hero, yet is too arrogant to change him in any way:

“Taylor, I don’t think I’m going to need you for the next couple of days. Why don’t you take the time to see your daughter?”

“That’s very good of you, sir, but her mother and I—” He stops, embarrassed.

“Ah. Like that, is it?” I ask.

He nods. “Yes, sir. It will take some negotiating.”

“Okay. Would Wednesday be better?”

“I’ll ask. Thank you, sir.”

“Anything I can do to help?”

“You do enough, sir.”

He doesn’t want to talk about this. “Okay. I think I’m going to need a printer—can you arrange it?”

“Yes, sir.” He nods. As he leaves, closing the door softly behind him, I frown. I hope his ex-wife isn’t giving him grief. I pay for his daughter’s schooling as another incentive for him to stay in my employment; he’s a good man, and I don’t want to lose him. 

YOU DO ENOUGH, SIR.  YOU ARE MY HERO.  YOU ARE A SEX GOD AND PROBABLY THE ONLY MAN ON THE PLANET WHO CAN SOLVE WORLD HUNGER.  I ADORE YOU AND AM NOT WORTHY OF YOU.  ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO SAY YOU’RE AN ABUSIVE CONTROL FREAK ARE JUST JEALOUS AND PROBABLY HAVEN’T EVEN READ THIS BOOK.

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As Grey’s working day finally ends, he starts wondering how Ana’s day at work was.  This – naturally – starts him thinking kinky thoughts…

I wonder how her day at Clayton’s has been, pricing cable ties and measuring out lengths of rope. I hope one day I’ll get to use them on her. The thought conjures images of her tethered in my playroom. I dwell on this for a moment…then quickly send her an e-mail. All this waiting, working, and e-mailing is making me restless. I know how I’d like to release this pent-up energy, but I have to settle for a run.

Let me tell you, Christian, all this emailing is making me bored and annoyed.  Also, notice that so far in this chapter, he’s thought of Ana as a “project” and now, yet again, as merely a sex object.  Are you all in love with him, yet?!

He emails her asking if she had a good day at work.  She replies saying that she did and she calls him “Sir” again.

Now, remember how he was the one who emailed her?  Well, he’s now annoyed that she’s replying, because somehow, he’s decided that if she’s messaging him, it means she hasn’t done the BDSM research she promised she’d do.  You know, despite the fact that earlier, he was praising her for calling him “Sir” and thinking that it proved she’d done some research.  Christian Grey is a man who will never, ever let you win.  If you do what he wants, he’ll find a way to criticise.

He responds, telling her:

Delighted you had a good day.

While you are e-mailing, you are not researching.

 

YOU LITERALLY EMAILED HER FIRST, YOU TOTAL AND UTTER MORON.

But when she replies to his email, suggesting he stops contacting her if he wants her to research, he takes a brief moment out of his busy schedule of harassment to reduce her to a sex object again, then replies telling her not to email him.

Seriously, look at this shit:

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: Nuisance

Date: May 23 2011 17:53

To: Christian Grey

Mr. Grey, stop e-mailing me, and I can start my assignment.

I’d like another A.

Ana

I laugh out loud. Yes. That A was something else. Closing my eyes, I see and feel her mouth around my cock once more.

Fuck.

Bringing my errant body to heel, I press send on my reply, and wait.

* * *

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Impatient

Date: May 23 2011 17:55

To: Anastasia Steele

Miss Steele,

Stop e-mailing me—and do your assignment.

I’d like to award another A.

The first one was so well deserved. 😉

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

STOP EMAILING HER IF YOU DON’T WANT HER TO REPLY, YOU PUBIC LOUSE.

And hey, you know what I said about never being able to win with him?  You know how he literally just told her not to reply?!  Well…

Her response is not as immediate, and feeling a little crestfallen, I turn away and decide to go on my run.

You TOLD her not to reply, you dickhead.  If you wanted her to reply instantaneously, maybe don’t tell her not to?!

Of course, because the universe hates me, Ana then replies before Grey has even left the room.  She asks what she ought to be typing into a search engine and he realises – shock, horror – that maybe he should have given her some books.  And of course, he doesn’t give her the help she actually needs, instead thinking:

Numerous websites spring to mind—but I don’t want to frighten her off.

Perhaps she should start with the most vanilla…

Or maybe, juuuuust maybe, you could actually be honest with her about how far you want to take this, thus leaving her informed enough to give consent?  But that would require you not being a massive tosspot, so…

He tells her to always start with Wikipedia, which is probably not the best advice, but okay.  He then – laughably – adds:

No more e-mails unless you have questions.

Understood?

Are you sure, this time?!  What if she takes more than three seconds to respond and you’re left crestfallen again?!  I CAN’T COPE WITH ALL THE DRAMA IN THIS HUGELY EMOTIONAL AND NOT AT ALL POINTLESS CHAPTER.

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Naturally, because not only does our universe hate me, but every universe that may exist beyond it hates me too, Ana replies telling him he’s bossy and he responds “you’ve no idea” and then yet again tells her to stop emailing him.  Thankfully, he then decides to go for a run before Ana can distract him again and I am saved from having to throw my laptop across the room.

Phew.  I really can’t afford a new one.

As a side-note, I am about 90% sure all of these emails featured in the original book, too.  So, technically, EL James is plagiarising herself.  Or, at the very least, she’s being exceptionally lazy.

Anyway, Grey goes off on his run and starts thinking about Ana:

Miss Steele has questions. She is still in the game—this is not a “no.” Our e-mail exchange has given me hope.

Whereas their email exchange gave me a strong desire to pour acid into my own eyes.

As I run under the Hawthorne Bridge I reflect on how at ease she is with the written word, more so than when she’s speaking. Maybe this is her preferred medium of expression. Well, she has been studying English literature. I’m hoping that by the time I get back there’ll be another e-mail, maybe with questions, maybe with some more of her sassy banter.

Yeah. That’s something to look forward to.

I CAN’T WAIT FOR MORE EMAILS!

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When he gets back to his hotel room, he has dinner (served by “Miss Dark, Dark Eyes, again”) and begins reading some work stuff about a brownfield site in Detroit.  This annoys him, because although his childhood hunger makes him want to feed the world (and let them know it’s Christmas time), apparently having lived in Detroit doesn’t make him want to provide employment opportunities for anyone living there, or do anything that might boost the local economy.  Because Grey’s an asshole.  You know, just in case you missed the memo.

Now, these email exchanges he’s been having with Ana have, up until now, been utterly boring and supremely irritating, but it was when I reached this point in the chapter that I remembered just what is about to happen.  So… Trigger warnings.  All the trigger warnings.

Ana sends Grey the following email:

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: Shocked of WSUV

Date: May 23 2011 20:33

To: Christian Grey

Okay, I’ve seen enough.

It was nice knowing you.

Ana

And Grey’s immediate reaction is to think:

Shit!

I read it again.

Fuck.

It’s a “no.” I stare at the screen in disbelief.

That’s it?

No discussion?

Nothing.

Just “It was nice knowing you”?

What. The. Fuck.

I sit back in my chair, dumbfounded.

He asks himself if maybe she’s joking (a line I am utterly convinced EL James only included because of the amount of justified criticism his reaction to the email had in the first book), but dismisses it as “some joke!” ie “not a very good one, if she’s trying to make jokes.”  So, the point is, he is – whatever EL James tries to insist – taking her email as a serious “no” to his proposal.  At this point, a good Dominant – sod it, a good human – would either respond asking what it was that made Ana say no (and therefore inadvertently clear up the whole “it was just a joke” thing), or take her at her word and cease contact.

We all know that’s not what Grey does.

Here, have a puppy, just in case things are about to get bad:

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Nice?

Nice.

NICE.

She thought it was more than nice when her head was thrown back as she came.

Don’t be so hasty, Grey.

Maybe it’s a joke?

Some joke!

I pull my laptop toward me to write a reply.

* * *

From: Christian Grey

Subject: NICE?

Date: May 23 2011

To: Anastasia Steele

But as I stare at the screen, my fingers hovering over the keys, I can’t think of what to say.

How could she dismiss me so easily?

Her first fuck.

Christian Grey: the guy who doesn’t realise that just because he took her virginity, that doesn’t mean she owes him the rest of her life.  We’re meant to believe he’s built a business empire, despite this level of non-intellect.  Okie dokie.

Having realised that he can’t find the right words for an email, Grey ponders the situation further:

Get it together, Grey. What are your options? Maybe I should pay her a visit, just to make sure it’s a “no.” Maybe I can persuade her otherwise. I certainly don’t know what to say to this e-mail. Perhaps she’s looked at some particularly hardcore sites. Why didn’t I give her a few books? I don’t believe this. She needs to look me in the eye and say no.

No, she really doesn’t.  Okay, you and I both know the email was a joke, but at this point, Grey doesn’t.  And yet he’s already thinking about going round to her apartment to persuade her to change her mind.  He thinks she somehow needs to say no to him in person for it to actually count.

And so, of course, he sets out to her place:

Yep. I rub my chin as I formulate a plan, and moments later I’m in my closet, retrieving my tie.

That tie.

This deal isn’t dead yet. From my messenger bag I take some condoms and slide them into the back pocket of my pants, then grab my jacket and a bottle of white wine from the minibar. Damn, it’s a chardonnay—but it will have to do. Snatching my room key, I close the door and head toward the elevator to collect my car from the valet.

He is literally heading to her apartment to have sex with someone who, as far as he is aware, just said no to him.

For those of you at the back, still insisting this is not a book featuring an abusive rapist as the “hero”:

HE THINKS SHE HAS SAID NO TO HIM, SO HE’S ON HIS WAY TO HER APARTMENT TO HAVE SEX WITH HER.  THINKING SHE DOESN’T WANT HIM.  THAT WOULD THEREFORE BE SEX WITHOUT CONSENT.  SEX WITHOUT CONSENT IS RAPE.  YOUR HERO IS PLANNING TO RAPE THE HEROINE.

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I just want to remind anyone reading this to exercise self-care, first and foremost.  If you need to stop reading at any time, please do.  If you find you can’t come back to these recaps, I don’t blame you in the slightest.  Put yourself and your wellbeing first.

On arrival – in more “EL James is clearly not of this planet” news – Grey does briefly think about whether or not he should be turning up at Ana’s apartment.  But less because she’s said no to him and more because it might make her think he’s a hearts and flowers type and he doesn’t want to give her the wrong freaking idea.  I kid you not:

AS I PULL UP in the R8 outside the apartment she shares with Kavanagh, I wonder if this is a wise move. I’ve never visited any of my previous submissives at their homes—they always came to me. I’m pushing all the boundaries that I’ve set for myself. Opening the door of the car and climbing out, I’m uneasy; it’s reckless and too presumptuous of me to come here. Then again, I’ve already been here twice, though for only a few minutes. If she does agree, I’ll have to manage her expectations. This won’t happen again.

He then even confesses to himself:

Getting ahead of yourself, Grey.

You’re here because you think it’s a “no.”

So, yep, you read that correctly.  EL James has just confessed in black and white that Grey has turned up at Ana’s apartment, with condoms and therefore planning on having sex with her, because he thinks she doesn’t want him.

Don’t you dare tell me this guy isn’t a rapist.  Don’t you damn well dare.

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Kate answers the door to him and she is – naturally – surprised to see him, seeing as Ana hasn’t mentioned that he might be coming over.  Grey literally pretends to want to give Ana a romantic surprise when Kate says that she’ll go and tell Ana that he’s there:

“No. I’d like to surprise her.” I give her my most earnest and endearing look and in response she blinks a couple of times. Whoa. That was easy. Who would have thought? How gratifying. “Where’s her room?”

How gratifying that I’ve convinced her best friend that I’m a decent guy and not a rapist who’s turned up to fuck a hugely naive girl into agreeing to let me do whatever I like with her for the rest of her life.

I hate him.  I hate him so much I may die.

He finds Ana’s bedroom, thanks to Kate’s instructions, having left his jacket and the wine in the living room.  He opens the door and sees that Ana is wearing sweats.  EL James has once again only thrown this observation in here because we know that Grey’s going to ignore Ana saying “no” soon and we know from Ana’s perspective that she’s only saying no because Grey is kissing her feet and she worries they’re smelly from running; this is clearly EL’s way of trying to say “see!  HE DID KNOW THAT!  He knew she didn’t really mean no!” and it is total and utter bullshit.  She might have been wearing sweats because she’s packed all her other clothes for moving to the new apartment.  Maybe she wears sweats around the apartment in the evenings because they’re comfy?!  There’s no way you can associate “wearing sweats” with “when she says no, she’s only saying it because she’s been exercising and might smell.”

Anyway, she’s reading the contract and has earbuds in, hence not hearing Grey enter her room, uninvited.  He looks at her and her bedroom and thinks of the sexual possibilities the scene presents (I wish I was kidding):

Standing there for a moment, I watch her. Her face is scrunched in concentration; her hair is braided and she’s wearing sweats. Perhaps she’s been for a run this evening…perhaps she’s suffering from excess energy, too. The thought is pleasing. Her room is small, neat, and girlish: all whites, creams, and baby blues, and bathed in the soft glow of her bedside lamp. It’s also a little empty, but I spy a closed packing crate with Ana’s room scrawled on the top. At least she has a double bed—with a white wrought-iron bedstead. Yes. That has possibilities.

Possibilities that you believe she has just said no to, you disgusting piece of shit.

When Ana notices him and jumps, he thinks:

Yes.  I’m here because of your email.

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“I felt that your e-mail warranted a reply in person.” I try to keep my voice neutral. Her mouth opens and closes, but she remains mute.

Miss Steele is speechless. This I like. “May I sit?”

She nods, continuing to stare in disbelief as I perch on her bed.

“I wondered what your bedroom would look like,” I offer as an icebreaker, though chitchat is not my area of expertise. She scans her room as if seeing it for the first time. “It’s very serene and peaceful in here,” I add, though I feel anything but serene or peaceful right now. I want to know why she’s said no to my proposal with no discussion whatsoever.

He feels anything but serene or peaceful.  Good to know.  It sounds as though he’s feeling annoyed or mad.  Which is definitely the right mood in which to go to someone’s house with the intention of having sex with them, despite your belief that they’ve turned you down.

Eventually, Ana offers him a drink.

“Would you like a drink?” she squeaks.

“No thank you, Anastasia.” Good. She’s found her manners. But I want to get on with the business at hand: her alarming e-mail. “So, it was nice knowing me?” I emphasize the word that offends me most in that sentence.

She’s found her manners?

SHE’S found HER manners?!

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YOU have chosen to ignore her saying “no.”

YOU have turned up unannounced at her apartment.

And you question HER manners?!  I hope you die in the most painful manner possible.  I hope rats eat your face off, but really slowly.  I hope your sentient penis decides it no longer wants to be attached to such a heinous cretin and breaks free, leaving you with a gangrenous stump.

Ana tells him she thought he would reply by email, rather than in person.  Because Ana is not a psychopath.

Instead of responding to her comment, Grey says:

“Are you biting your lower lip deliberately?” I inquire, my voice sterner than I’d intended.

Because Ana, you know that if you bite your lip, Grey simply cannot help himself.  You’re asking for it.  This book makes me want to burn down the entire planet.

Grey starts harping on about their chemistry and he begins trying to seduce Ana:

We gaze at each other.

And the air almost crackles between us.

Fuck.

Can’t you feel this, Ana? This tension. This attraction. My breathing shallows as I watch her pupils dilate. Slowly, deliberately, I reach for her hair and gently tug on the elastic, freeing one of her braids. She watches me, captivated, her eyes never leaving mine. I loosen her second braid.

“So you decided on some exercise?” My fingers trace the soft shell of her ear. With great care, I tug and squeeze the plump skin of her earlobe.

He asks her why she was exercising and she explains that she needed time to think about him.  He reminds her that she said it was “nice knowing” him and asks if she meant in the Biblical sense.  Ana nervously quips that she didn’t think he’d be that familiar with the Bible and he tells her that he learned a lot from Sunday school, internally adding:

Catechism. Guilt. And that God abandoned me long ago.

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I could not give less of a shit.  In fact, I’d high-five God if I could.

“Well, I thought I should come and remind you how nice it was knowing me.” The challenge is there in my voice, and now between us. Her mouth drops open in surprise, but I glide my fingers to her chin and coax it closed. “What do you say to that, Miss Steele?” I whisper, as we stare at each other.

Suddenly she launches herself at me.

Shit.

Somehow I grab her arms before she can touch me, and twist so that she lands on the bed, beneath me, and I have her arms stretched out above her head. Turning her face to mine, I kiss her, hard, my tongue exploring and reclaiming her. Her body rises in response as she kisses me back with equal ardor.

Oh, Ana. What you do to me.

Sure, she’s responsive.  But he didn’t know she would be.  Fans will insist “he did know!  Because of their TRUE LOVE,” but they can sod all the way off, quite frankly.  And notice “Ana, what YOU do to ME.”   As I said earlier, everything he does is somehow her fault.

He asks if she trusts him and she nods, because although she’s not a psychopath, she is being manipulated by an abusive git and therefore not thinking straight.

He ties both of her wrists to the bedstead with his tie.

She wriggles beneath me, testing her bindings, but the tie holds fast. She’s not escaping. “That’s better.” I smile with relief because I have her where I want her. Now to undress her.

Grabbing her right foot, I start to undo her sneakers.

“No,” she grumbles with embarrassment, trying to withdraw her foot, and I know it’s because she’s been running and she doesn’t want me to remove her shoes. Does she think perspiration would put me off?

Sweetheart!

“If you struggle, I’ll tie your feet, too. If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you. Keep quiet. Katherine is probably outside listening right now.”

She stops. And I know that my instincts are right. She’s worried about her feet. When will she understand that none of that stuff bothers me?

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Nope.  No, a billion times no.  Biiiiig bag of nope.

He does not “know” she’s embarrassed in case her feet are sweaty.  EL James knows that’s why Ana’s saying no.  Ana knows that’s why she’s saying no.  But Grey doesn’t and writing it as though he does, with his whole “sweetheart!  As if that would put me off!” is clumsy and actually, damn offensive.  It’s also way too late.  We already know he doesn’t give a shit.  We’ve seen him receive “no” in an email and purposefully come over with the intention of having sex with Ana to change her mind.  It doesn’t matter that it was a joke, because he didn’t know that, either.  This is EL James, yet again, having read all the perfectly valid criticism of this rape scene (someone saying “no” and the supposed hero then threatening them and carrying on anyway rather than stopping and asking what was wrong is rape), thinking: “well, if I write it from his perspective and make it clear that he knows she’s only saying no because her feet smell, then everyone will have to shut up because I’ll have proved how great he is.”

Nope.

You can’t prove that he doesn’t care about consent literally paragraphs earlier, then expect us to fall for his sudden ability to understand why a woman is saying no.  You certainly can’t expect us to be cool with him threatening her, when we’ve already seen him sexualise this woman and make several internal comments about wanting to do things to her without any thought of whether she’d consent.

Here’s a tip, EL James:  Have him stop and say: “Are you worried your feet smell?  Don’t worry about that; I’m not worried about that.”  Just because the line wasn’t in the original book, doesn’t mean you can’t shove it into this one.  If you want to address the very real and, again perfectly valid criticism of this shit show by rewriting the story from the villain’s perspective, have him remove the trainer and say: “You smell fine, Anastasia.”

Don’t have him hear the word “no,” decide it must be because of her stinky feet and then have him threaten her without actual verbal confirmation as to why she’s saying no.  Because the way you’ve written it?  You’ve made him a rapist.  Now, I know you’re a lousy writer (I’ve read all your books – they’re literally dreadful), but are you so bloody stupid you can’t understand why people got upset the first time around?!  Are you so arrogant that you actually believe that by having Grey apparently read Ana’s sodding mind when you retell the story from Grey’s perspective, that will make everything okay, rather than you doing anything to actually undo the harm you caused by writing a rape scene as romance?!

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Grey removes his shirt, now that Ana can’t touch him, then he pulls Ana’s t-shirt up over her eyes and uses it as a blindfold.  Then he tells her he’s going to get a drink.

Hey, anyone wondering if Grey will be less of an asshole during this brief interlude?!

NOPE!

It’s time for him hate on Kate and slut-shame her for no reason!  AGAIN!

Kavanagh looks up from where she’s sitting on the sofa, reading, and her eyebrows rise in surprise. Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a shirtless man, Kavanagh, because I won’t believe you. “Kate, where would I find glasses, ice, and a corkscrew?” I ask, ignoring her scandalized expression.

“Um. In the kitchen. I’ll get them for you. Where’s Ana?”

Ah, some concern for her friend. Good.

What is your problem, you total and utter waste of oxygen??!!

Grey makes a deeply unfunny joke about Ana being “a little tied up,” but says she wants some wine.  He follows Kate into the kitchen and she explains it’s all a bit untidy because they’re still getting ready for the move.  Then this exchange happens:

“We still have to pack in here. You know Elliot is helping us move.” Her tone is critical.

“Is he?” I sound uninterested as I open the wine. “Just put the ice in the glasses.” With my chin I indicate two glasses. “It’s a chardonnay. It’ll be more drinkable with the ice.”

“I figured you for a red-wine kind of guy,” she says, when I pour the wine. “Are you going to come and help Ana with the move?” Her eyes flash. She’s challenging me.

Shut her down now, Grey.

“No. I can’t.” My voice is clipped, because she’s pissing me off, trying to make me feel guilty. Her lips thin, and I turn around to leave the kitchen, but not before I catch the disapproval in her face.

Fuck off, Kavanagh.

No way am I going to help. Ana and I don’t have that kind of relationship. Besides, I can’t spare the time.

a) It’s a reasonable question.  Elliot has only known Kate five minutes and he’s helping.

b) You and Ana don’t have any relationship beyond you fucking and abusing her.

c) You do literally nothing beyond send childish emails and bark orders all day.  You can spare the time.  You’re just too much of an asshole to.

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He goes back into the bedroom, gets naked and starts spitting wine into Ana’s mouth.  It wasn’t sexy when I read it in the first book and it sure as hell isn’t sexy now.

Taking a sip of wine, I lean down and kiss her, pouring the wine into her mouth. She laps it up, and deep in her throat I hear a faint hum of appreciation.

“More?” I ask.

She nods, smiling, and I oblige.

“Let’s not go too far; we know your capacity for alcohol is limited, Anastasia,” I tease, and her mouth splits in the widest of grins. Leaning down, I let her have another drink from my mouth, and she wriggles beneath me.

And notice he just has to shame her for the time she got drunk and he stalked her and took her back to his hotel room.  Yep, she was definitely the bad one in that situation.

He spits ice into her mouth – mmm, sexy – and then deposits ice and wine into her navel.  Now, I have a thing about my belly button (not a sexy thing, more a HORROR thing, which, if you want distracting from this awfulness, you can watch me talk about in this YouTube video), so quite frankly, this whole part makes me feel kind of sick.

But then so does this whole franchise.

 

He starts asking how “nice” this all is, because you know, she told him it was “nice knowing you” and that made his penis shrivel up and die or something.  Ana is not allowed to spill the wine from her navel, or he’ll punish her.

Then he threatens orgasm denial on a woman who hasn’t consented to that, whilst congratulating himself on turning her “no” into a “yes,” like the creepy and disgusting maggot he is:

Whining and panting beneath me, she’s tensing but managing to stay still. “If you spill the wine, I won’t let you come,” I warn.

“Oh. Please. Christian. Sir. Please,” she begs.

Oh, to hear her use those words.

There’s hope.

This is not a “no.”

Because you have gone over to her apartment uninvited, ignored her when she said “no” and pretended it’s because you knew she had smelly feet, and then manipulated her with sex into saying “yes.”  Because you are scum.

This chapter has gone from being mind-numbingly boring, thanks to the incessant emailing, complete with bloody subject headers and signatures, to being unimaginably grotesque in its unashamed glorification of an abusive man, all in the space of a few paragraphs.  I am starting to think EL James needs actual medical help and I don’t say that to be funny or to make light of any kind of mental health issue, but because I quite genuinely cannot understand how someone can write a character as shockingly abusive as Grey, hear from survivors and anti-abuse campaigners as to just how triggering and offensive the character is and think “I’ll write the story from his perspective” and make it worse, without being genuinely messed up.  I’m sorry for whatever happened to you to make you think this is okay, EL, but it doesn’t excuse what you’ve done any more than your lousy bastard character is excused by his experiences.

We get an epic (by which I mean bad) description of what Ana tastes like:

 She tastes of wine and need and Ana.

Thanks for that.

What does need taste like?  What does Ana taste like?  Who needs actual writing ability?!

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And, despite Ana not consenting to orgasm denial, he (yet again) starts doing it:

And she kisses me back with a hunger I’ve not felt in her before. I cradle the top of her head, keeping her in place, and continue to kiss and finger-fuck her. As her legs stiffen, I drop the pace of my hand.

Oh, no, baby. You’re not coming yet.

And then they have an exchange during which Ana confesses that her email was just a joke.  And Grey once again confirms – internally at least – that he didn’t know she was joking.  I want him thrown into the sun.

“How nice is this?” I ask, as I wrap my fist around my erection.

“I meant it as a joke,” she whimpers.

Joke?

Thank. The. Lord.

All is not lost.

“A joke?” I query, as my fist slides up and down my cock.

“Yes. Please, Christian,” she begs.

“Are you laughing now?”

“No.” Her voice is barely audible, but the little shake of her head tells me all I need to know.

This is not sexy.  This is not romance.  This is not, as EL James likes to tell journalists, with a completely straight face: “A passionate love story.”  This man has gone over to a woman’s house after she sent him an email that he believed was rejecting him.  He went there with the sole purpose of having sex with her in order to change her mind.  She said no during foreplay and he threatened her (and do not even go there with the “he knew she was only saying no because of her feet” thing, because we’ve gone over that and it’s crap).  He practised non-consensual orgasm denial on her.  And now he thinks he’s won.

This.  Is.  Abuse.

They have sex, she comes on command like some kind of horny Jack Russell and then she tells him the sex was “nice.”

“That was really nice,” she says with a mischievous smile.

“There’s that word again.” I smirk at her.

“You don’t like that word?”

“No. It doesn’t do it for me at all.”

“Oh—I don’t know…it seems to have a very beneficial effect on you.”

“I’m a beneficial effect now, am I? Could you wound my ego any further, Miss Steele?”

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your ego.” Her frown is fleeting.

“You think?”

Dr. Flynn would have plenty to say about that.

If you consider a guy turning up at your house to have sex with you because he thinks you’ve said no to him to be “a very beneficial effect” of having used the word “nice,” I can give you some numbers for abuse helplines, because no.

Also, Doctor Flynn is a quack, Grey.  And even if he wasn’t, anything he did have to say would be ignored by you, because you’re a dick.

Maaaaan, I want this chapter to end.

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Ana asks why Christian doesn’t like to be touched and he tells her he just doesn’t and kisses her forehead to distract her from asking any further questions on the subject.  Because open, honest communication is one of those pesky things you really don’t need in a relationship, as long as you have all the important stuff, like stalking and lack of consent.

Ana tells him she really was just joking in her email and that she’s still considering his proposal, but she has some questions, which she would have sent to him later had he not interrupted her.  Grey makes a lame “coitus interruptus” joke (which sounds like a spell you don’t learn at Hogwarts) and Ana congratulates him on his sense of humour (HAHAHAHAHA, no girl), causing him to reply:

“Only certain things are funny, Anastasia. I thought you were saying no—no discussion at all.”

Only certain things are funny.  Things on his terms and things he says.  Duh.

Ana asks if Grey has ever been collared and when he says yes, she asks if Mrs Robinson did it and Grey thinks that description of Elena is hilarious:

“Mrs. Robinson?” I laugh out loud. Anne Bancroft in The Graduate. “I’ll tell her you said that; she’ll love it.”

“You still talk to her regularly?” Her voice is high-pitched with shock and indignation.

“Yes.” Why’s that such a big deal?

“I see.” Now her voice is clipped. She’s mad? Why? I don’t understand.

Again, we’re meant to believe this guy is intelligent.

Look, Grey, I despise you with such vehement passion that it could power an entire continent, but let’s be very real, here:  You were raped by Elena.  You were underage, you were, in your own words, Fifty Shades of fucked up and therefore couldn’t give full, legal, informed consent.  You may have liked the stuff she did to you and you may think it’s acceptable to still be chummy with her, but Ana is right, here.

Ana goes on to explain that it isn’t fair that Grey has someone from the lifestyle that he can discuss things with, whereas she has nobody.  He suggests that he introduces her to some of his former subs and Ana is understandably unimpressed:

Is this your idea of a joke?” she demands.

“No, Anastasia.” I’m surprised by her vehemence and shake my head to reinforce my denial. It’s perfectly normal for a submissive to check with exes that their new Dominant knows what he’s doing.

“No—I’ll do this on my own, thank you very much,” she insists, and reaches for her comforter and quilt, pulling them up to her chin.

What? She’s upset?

“Anastasia, I…I didn’t mean to offend you.”

“I’m not offended. I’m appalled.”

I’m not as informed about the BDSM scene as I could be, but surely Grey can tell that Ana, being hugely inexperienced and really, really into him (which, despite his supposed lack of confidence, he has actually referenced himself several times), won’t want to talk to his exes about what they’re doing in bed?!  And I’m surprised Grey would even suggest it, seeing as he’s a shitty, awful Dom and would be called out as such by most people in the community if they knew how he operated.

He asks her if she’s jealous and inwardly thinks: Sweetheart, I had a life before you.

So, you know, it’s cool for him to have had “a very active life,” but the mere idea of Ana so much as kissing anyone before him is unacceptable.  Good to know.

Ana asks him if he’s staying over and Grey tells her no:

What? Of course not. “I have a breakfast meeting tomorrow at The Heathman. Besides, I told you, I don’t sleep with girlfriends, slaves, subs, or anyone. Friday and Saturday were exceptions. It won’t happen again.”

Those two times, where I was all over you and desperate to sleep next to you and when I treated you like a girlfriend were the exceptions and I will now arms length the crap out of you until I next feel like making another exception.

This guy is such an asshole.

Of course, Grey’s incredulous at the idea of Ana kicking him out, but she does just that:

Fuck.

“Are you kicking me out?”

This is not how this is supposed to go.

“Yes.”

What the hell?

Disarmed again, by Miss Steele. “Well, that’s another first,” I mutter.

Kicked out. I can’t believe it.

“So nothing you want to discuss now? About the contract?” I ask, as an excuse to prolong my stay.

“No,” she grunts. Her petulance is irritating, and were she truly mine, it would not be tolerated.

“God, I’d like to give you a good hiding. You’d feel a lot better, and so would I,” I tell her.

“You can’t say things like that. I haven’t signed anything yet.” Her eyes flash with defiance.

Oh, baby, I can say it. I just can’t do it. Not until you let me.

Because he CARES about CONSENT, guys!

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Ana asks him to pass her sweatpants to her, which causes him to think of her as bossy and he quips “yes ma’am,” admitting inwardly that he’s making fun of her, because she won’t get that it’s a reference to her being a Domme, like “Mrs Robinson.”  Hahaha, I love a guy who mocks me in ways I don’t understand or know about.

Grey makes out that he gives the tiniest of shits about Ana’s emotional wellbeing as she walks him to the door:

“You okay?” I ask, and brush her lower lip with my thumb. Perhaps she doesn’t want me to go—or perhaps she can’t wait for me to leave?

“Yes,” she says, her tone soft and subdued. I’m not sure I believe her.

He thinks to himself that he doesn’t want to go and leave her seeming so uncertain, but he doesn’t say anything, because that would resolve this pointless drama and we can’t possibly have that.  But let’s be honest, if you didn’t really want to leave someone, because you were worried they weren’t okay, you’d say “are you sure you want me to go?  I’ll stay if you need me to.”  Again, and I feel like this is going to come up a lot as the story goes on, this concern for Ana’s wellbeing is tossed in because EL James got a lot of justified crap for having him turn up at her place, have sex with her and then walk out on her.  So, we get him internally worrying about whether he ought to go, not because he actually gives a damn, but because so much of these books were written as a big “screw you” to EL James’s critics.  Too bad that in writing them, she proved us all correct.

Grey gets into his car and is confused by the fact that Ana hasn’t waited to wave him off:

When I look back, she’s gone.

Shit. What just happened? No wave good-bye?

I start the car and begin the drive back to Portland, analyzing what’s taken place between us.

She e-mailed me.

I went to her.

We fucked.

She threw me out before I was ready to leave.

For the first time—well, maybe not the first time—I feel a little used, for sex. It’s a disturbing feeling that reminds me of my time with Elena.

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She said no to him in an email.

He went over anyway, planning on sex.

She kicked him out when he offended her.

Now he feels used?!

Find a really tall building, Christian Grey.  One near a really busy road.  Walk to the top of that building.  And leap the heck off.

He wonders whether it’s just the thrill of the chase that he’s enjoying so much, or whether it’s Ana that’s having this all-new effect on him.  But he doesn’t dwell on it for too long, because he’s too busy being pleased with himself for what he did that night:

 And on a positive note, that was one hell of a nice way to spend an evening. I smirk in the rearview mirror and pull into the garage at the hotel.

I know he’s fictional, but can I hire a hitman, anyway?

Because we simply can’t end this chapter without yet another bloody email, once Grey’s back in his hotel room, he sends one to Ana:

From: Christian Grey

Subject: This Evening

Date: May 23 2011 23:16

To: Anastasia Steele

Miss Steele,

I look forward to receiving your notes on the contract.

Until then, sleep well, baby.

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

And I want to add, Thank you for another diverting evening… but that seems a little over the top. Pushing my laptop aside because Ana will probably be asleep, I pick up the Detroit report and continue reading.

And that, thank HEAVENS, is where this horrific chapter ends.

Here’s another puppy for making it through:

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Seriously, this was horrendous and awful and if anyone feels like defending Fifty Shades to me, or telling me what a great guy Christian Grey really is, please take those words you were planning on typing, shove them up your own backside and wait until you crap them out into the toilet where they belong.

I’m feeling pretty gross, right now.  I’m sorry if you are, too.  I’m going to go to bed and dream of cutting Christian Grey’s penis off with a rusty spoon.  Take care of yourselves and I’ll be back with more of this genuinely awful shite next week.

Yay.

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Grey Chapter 8 (Monday, May 23rd 2011)

Grey Chapter 7 (Sunday, May 22nd, 2011)

Well,  we’re here again, folks.  Back at the foot of a mountain of abuse-romanticising crap, ready for the long climb up.  In the last chapter, Ana revealed that she was a virgin, Grey reacted totally normally (HAHAHAHA) and then they did the sexy times.  It was just as horrifying as you’d imagine.

The next chapter starts the following morning, with Grey waking up (because if there’s one thing EL James is good at, it’s starting chapters with characters waking up and ending them with characters going to sleep)…

I wake with a start and a pervading sense of guilt, as if I’ve committed a terrible sin.

Is it because I’ve fucked Anastasia Steele? Virgin?

She’s snuggled up fast asleep beside me. I check the radio alarm: it’s after three in the morning. Ana sleeps the sound sleep of an innocent. Well, not so innocent now. My body stirs as I watch her.

I could wake her.

Fuck her again.

There are definitely some advantages to having her in my bed.

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Red ink, because this dude isn’t remotely considering whether Ana wants him to wake her up and immediately fuck her again.  But then, consent is just a word he once saw in a dictionary and didn’t bother to look up the meaning for, so… *shrug*

Grey then tells himself to stop being so ridiculous and reminds himself that the sex – however good it might have been – was “merely a means to an end and a pleasant diversion.”  So, you know, in case you’re wondering when the sudden change for the better that fans keep talking about is coming, it’s… Well, it’s not now.  Or ever.  He enjoyed having sex with Ana, but he only did it so she’ll have had some experience when she becomes his sub.  Because that is all he wants her for.  Gosh, she’s so very lucky.

After some boring crap about how he’d never had “vanilla sex” before and how Ana is “a carnal creature,” Grey wanders off to play piano moodily in the dark:

Back in the living room I sit down at my piano. This is my solace, where I can lose myself for hours. I’ve been able to play well since I was nine, but it wasn’t until I had my own piano, in my own place, that it really became a passion. When I want to forget everything, this is what I do. And right now I don’t want to think about having propositioned a virgin, fucked her, or revealed my lifestyle to someone with no experience. With my hands on the keys, I begin to play and lose myself in the solitude of Bach.

Here’s this funny little thing for you to consider, Grey: if you don’t want to have to think about the things you’ve done to Ana, maybe don’t do them?  Also, it’s less having sex with a virgin that should be playing on your mind, and more the fact that you’re manipulating the crap out of her, tracking her phone and already attempting to exercise more control over her and her life than she has agreed to – or ever will agree to, for that matter.

Just a thought.

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Of course, Grey’s maudlin playing wakes Ana and the next thing he knows, she’s standing by the piano, giving him a chance to feel sorry for himself.  Again.

“Sorry,” she says. “I didn’t mean to disturb you.”

Why is she apologizing? “Surely, I should be saying that to you.” I play the last notes and stand. “You should be in bed,” I chide.

“That was a beautiful piece. Bach?”

“Transcription by Bach, but it’s originally an oboe concerto by Alessandro Marcello.”

“It was exquisite, but very sad, such a melancholy melody.”

Melancholy? It wouldn’t be the first time someone has used that word to describe me.

I can think of a whole list of words to describe you, Grey.  “Melancholy” wouldn’t even make the top fifty.

Grey then has a flashback to Leila calling him melancholy:

“May I speak freely? Sir.” Leila is kneeling beside me while I work.

“You may.”

“Sir, you are most melancholy today.”

“Am I?”

“Yes, Sir. Is there something that you would like me to do…?”

I shake off the memory. Ana should be in bed. I tell her so again.

Of course, we all know who Leila is and so this doesn’t really build the tension that EL James is angling for, here.  And I’m firmly on Leila’s side, so any future effort to paint her as some kind of deranged villain will get short shrift from me.  Just so you know.

Back in the present day, Ana asks Christian about his piano playing:

“How long have you been playing? You play beautifully.”

“Since I was six.” I’m abrupt.

“Oh,” she says. I think she’s taken the hint—I don’t want to talk about my childhood.

Sure, you don’t want to talk about your childhood.  But Ana isn’t asking for your freaking life history, here.  She’s asking about a musical instrument.  There’s no need to be so rude.  I don’t feel any kind of sympathy for Christian here (or basically ever), because it’s not like Ana was digging for any further personal information.  Besides which, it’s apparently not long after 3am.  You’ve woken her up with your “melancholy” piano playing, so the least thing you could do is answer a couple of questions about it, particularly as they’re coming from the girl you were literally just feeling guilty about, for taking her virginity.

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Ana and Grey had back to the bedroom, where they both realise that there is blood on the sheets.  Grey sneers that it’ll “give Mrs Jones something to think about,” but to be fair, Mrs Jones washes his butt plugs, so I would imagine she has to take her mind to a faraway happy place, each time she cleans anything.

Of course, Ana’s embarrassed by the blood and by Grey’s smirking reaction to it and he worsens the situation by yet again thinking the right response in his head, but refusing to actually say it out loud:

She looks mortified.

It’s just your body, sweetheart. I grasp her chin and tip her head back so I can see her expression.

And, even if he was going to say it out loud, it turns out that he’d do it as a lecture (surprise, surprise…).  Luckily for Ana, he doesn’t get to have a go at her, however, because Ana reaches out to touch his chest…

I’m about to give her a short lecture on how not to be ashamed of her body, when she reaches out to touch my chest.

Fuck.

I step out of her reach as the darkness surfaces.

No. Don’t touch me.

“Get into bed,” I order, rather more sharply than I’d intended, but I hope she doesn’t detect my fear. Her eyes widen with confusion and maybe hurt.

Damn.

“I’ll come and lie down with you,” I add, as a peace offering, and from the chest of drawers I pull out a T-shirt and quickly slip it on, for protection.

She’s still standing, staring at me. “Bed,” I command more forcefully.

I would imagine her eyes are wide with confusion and hurt, you total jackass.  Look, I know Christian is supposed to be all “tortured” and he can’t bear to be touched, but as I’ve said what feels like ninety three times already, it’s a stupid plot, because he chops and changes as to where he can and can’t be touched all the time and he doesn’t appear to have ever made any attempt to have sorted out this problem with his entirely useless therapist.  His solution to his touch-phobia is just “NOBODY IS ALLOWED TO DO IT, EVER.”  Which is, you know, not exactly super-healthy.  Besides, although he has already internally bleated about not wanting to discuss his childhood, Ana is a naive young woman who he is aware has some kind of feelings for him.  He wants a relationship – of sorts – with her and so all he has to do in this situation is say “look, I’m sorry, I don’t want to go into it right now, but I’ve got some issues with being touched.  If I think someone might touch me, especially on my chest, I get freaked out.  Do you mind not?”  Instead, he just barks orders at her and only lies with her in bed so he can ensure she’s actually asleep and no longer any kind of risk.  What a charmer.

As he lies with Ana, he starts thinking of how content he feels and his mind wanders to an earlier time when he felt so replete (as a gripe, it bugs the hell out of me that there’s no section breaks for these little flashbacks):

Mommy is happy today. She is singing.

Singing about what love has to do with it.

And cooking. And singing.

My tummy gurgles. She is cooking bacon and waffles.

They smell good. My tummy likes bacon and waffles.

They smell so good.

So, this bitch we’re all supposed to hate because she traumatised our precious ickle Christian, was actually a mother who tried to feed her young son food she knew he liked.  We know that they were incredibly poor, so I assume food like this would have been a treat.  So, when Ella had enough cash to spare, she used it to feed Christian food that she knew would make him happy.

What a cow.

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Seriously, consider me to be firmly both Team Ella and Team Leila in this story.

Grey wakes from his bacon and waffles dream (to be fair, that’s what I dream of most nights, too) and realises he can actually smell bacon cooking.  He gets up and wanders to the kitchen, where he finds Ana, wearing his shirt, with her hair in braids, listening to music through earphones as she cooks for him.

She’s whisking eggs, making breakfast, her braids bouncing as she jiggles from foot to foot, and I realize she’s not wearing underwear.

Good girl.

Because Grey likes his women “accessible,” remember?  Take a moment to vomit, if you need to.

He thinks about how well he slept, thanks to her being there (again, subtle pressure on Ana to be the one who “fixes” him, because God forbid he take any action to fix himself) and he internally mocks her dancing.

“I don’t know where you keep your placemats,” she says, seeming at a loss, and I think she’s embarrassed, because I caught her dancing. Taking pity on her, I offer to set places for breakfast and add, “Would you like me to put some music on so you can continue your…er…dancing?”

Her cheeks pink and she looks down at the floor.

Damn. I’ve upset her. “Please, don’t stop on my account. It’s very entertaining.”

With a pout she turns her back on me and continues to whisk the eggs with gusto. I wonder if she has any idea how disrespectful this is to someone like me…but of course she doesn’t, and for some unfathomable reason it makes me smile. 

I… I have so much to say, here.

Firstly, don’t take the piss out of the girl who’s making you breakfast.  Because that is one sure-fire way to encourage her to spit on your pancakes.  Secondly, she has signed nothing beyond an NDA, so no matter how “disrespectful” you think it is that she’s turned her back on you, she’s entitled to do it.  You truly are an ass-face.

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Pictured: Christian Grey, patiently awaiting breakfast.

But all his internal mockery pales into insignificance, compared to what happens next:

Sidling up to her, I gently tug one of her braids. “I love these. They won’t protect you.”

Not from me. Not now that I’ve had you.

It’s bad enough that he bangs on about how much younger she looks with her hair braided, but that comment?  Is freaking VILE.  And the fact that he makes it even worse in his internal monologue, by somehow insinuating that now he’s had her once, he can have her again, whenever he wants, is like the poop-covered cherry on top of a shit sundae.  Nope.  You don’t get to have her whenever you like.  If she doesn’t agree to something, you’re supposed to STOP, regardless of what hairdo she’s rocking at the time.

Grey sets the placemats and thinks of this as some amazing feat, seeing as he’s literally never done that for someone else in his entire life, apparently.  He thinks about the fact that over a weekend, his submissive would usually take care of all domestic tasks.

Ana opens a cupboard and sees that Grey already has her favourite tea waiting for her:

“Bit of a foregone conclusion, wasn’t I?”

“Are you? I’m not sure we’ve concluded anything yet, Miss Steele,” I answer with a stern look.

And don’t talk about yourself like that.

I add her self-deprecation to the list of behaviors that will need modifying.

“WE LOVE CHRISTIAN GREY BECAUSE HE THINKS ANA IS PERFECT JUST THE WAY SHE IS,” scream the fans of this series.  And I just think: “Never mind ME, did YOU read the books???!!!”

She avoids my gaze, busy with serving up breakfast. Two plates are placed on the placemats, then she fetches the maple syrup out of the fridge.

When she looks up at me I’m waiting for her to sit down. “Miss Steele.” I indicate where she should sit.

“Mr. Grey,” she replies, with contrived formality, and winces as she sits.

“Just how sore are you?” I’m surprised by an uneasy sense of guilt. I want to fuck her again, preferably after breakfast, but if she’s too sore that will be out of the question. Perhaps I could use her mouth this time.

Perhaps you could actually consider someone else’s needs besides your own?

Ana responds that she has nothing to compare it to, then asks if he would like to offer his commiseration.  Grey internally thinks that a sarcastic response like that ought to result in a spanking, at least.  He tells her that he wants to continue her “basic training” (I don’t know about you guys, but if a sexual partner constantly referred to having sex as my “training” and expected me to come on demand, I’d be concerned that what he actually wanted was a golden retriever, rather than an actual human woman).

Grey asks her if she wants to stay and Ana says for the day, yes.  She has to be at work the following morning and needs to go home that evening.  There’s a line shoe-horned in about “because she doesn’t agree, I can’t make her stay,” which seems so uncharacteristic, I’m fairly certain EL James threw it in there to make it look like Grey cares about consent.  Hahaha.  No.

Then, because we’ve not had this for, ooh, at least seventeen paragraphs, there’s a big argument about food, because Ana, having excitedly made breakfast for herself and Christian, is now not hungry.  Now, forgive me for obsessing over Ana’s behaviour, but… She didn’t really eat much beyond grapes last night, right?  And she had sex twice, so… Girl, I am loathe to agree with Grey on anything, but why aren’t you sticking your head in the trough, right now?!

She examines her food.

“Eat, Anastasia. You didn’t eat last night.”

“I’m really not hungry,” she says.

Well, this is frustrating. “I would really like you to finish your breakfast.” My voice is low.

“What is it with you and food?” she snaps.

Oh, baby, you really don’t want to know. “I told you, I have issues with wasted food. Eat.” I glare at her. Don’t push me on this, Ana. She gives me a mulish look and starts to eat.

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Here’s the thing, you genuinely horrific idiot: SHE DOES WANT TO KNOW.  She has literally just asked the question.  And again, it would be very easy not to be a melodramatic plank about it, by just saying: “Look, I experienced hunger when I was young.  I don’t want to go into it at the moment, but it’s made me very aware about food waste.”  All Christian Grey does is create drama where there needn’t be any.

He thinks about how challenging Ana is and honestly, I think it’s more a case that he surrounds himself with yes-people, whereas she has at least seven brain cells of her own.

Ana’s phone rings and she walks across the room to answer it out of Christian’s earshot.  It’s Kate and of course this causes Grey to turn into an obsessive creep (well, okay, he already was one…), constantly wondering what they’re talking about.  When Ana returns, she asks what the NDA covers and whether she can ask Kate some questions about sex.  Grey isn’t happy about that, because he’s vile:

“Why?” Where’s she going with this? What has she said to Kavanagh?

She takes a deep breath. “Well, I have a few questions, you know, about sex. And I’d like to ask Kate.”

“You can ask me.”

“Christian, with all due respect—” She stops.

She’s embarrassed?

“It’s just about mechanics. I won’t mention the Red Room of Pain,” she says in a rush.

“Red Room of Pain?”

What the hell?

“It’s mostly about pleasure, Anastasia. Believe me. Besides, your roommate is making the beast with two backs with my brother. I’d really rather you didn’t.”

I don’t want Elliot to know anything about my sex life. He’d never let me live it down.

So, because Kate’s sleeping with Elliot, Grey automatically assumes that she’ll repeat anything Ana asks her and Grey will somehow become a laughing stock.  Even though Ana has literally just confirmed that she won’t mention anything about Grey’s kinks.  This makes me hate Grey even more than I already did, because Ana is inexperienced and needs a friend to talk to.  There might be things she doesn’t feel comfortable asking him about sex, but he’s purposefully isolating her from her best friend, so that his view is the only one she ever gets.  That’s manipulative and unfair.

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Grey insists that she talks to him:

“What do you want to know?” I ask, standing in front of her, scrutinizing her face.

What is it, Ana?

“Nothing specific at the moment,” she whispers.

“Well, we can start with: how was last night for you?” My breathing shallows as I wait for her answer. Our whole deal could hang on her response.

“Good,” she says, and gives me a soft, sexy smile.

It’s what I want to hear.

And that’s my exact problem.  She’s going to tell him what he wants to hear, because a) she’s besotted with him and b) she’s already admitted that he intimidates her.  So, she’ll have nobody else to talk to and that means Grey can mould her any way he likes.  Great.

Grey decides he wants to have a bath with Ana, so he instructs her to head to the bathroom, where he begins running the water.  We get a frankly confusing passage, in which Grey is both seemingly annoyed and delighted by Ana’s lack of modesty and modesty…

Normally, I would expect any woman I was about to bathe with to have her eyes cast down in modesty.

But not Ana.

She doesn’t drop her gaze, and her eyes glow with anticipation and curiosity. But she has her arms wrapped around herself; she’s shy.

It’s arousing.

And to think she’s never bathed with a man.

I can claim another first.

You just know that Grey is one of those guys who keeps some sort of list in his bedside drawer: “Ana’s first orgasm – MINE.  Ana’s first naked dinner – MINE.”

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Ana starts biting her lip (because that’s her sole character trait?!) and Grey tells her to stop, because it’s making him want to fuck her and he can’t, because she’s sore.  Again, it’s as though EL James is going “see, he DOES care!” when actually, he’s only concerned that he can’t do what he wants to.

Grey removes her (well, his) shirt and when Ana looks down at her feet, he tells her not to be ashamed of her naked body, because she’s beautiful.  I would enjoy the fact that he’s actually saying something nice, if he didn’t then immediately think:

Don’t hide from me, baby.

Thus making it all about himself and the fact that he wants to see her.

They both get into the bath and he starts washing her, lathering soap on her neck, breasts and eventually between her legs.  I’m going to just say that being masturbated with a soapy wash cloth could probably lead to thrush, but hey – sexy, sexy fun times.

Speaking of sexy, sexy fun times, hey ladies, don’t you just love it when a guy works you up just so he can get you to do what he wants, regardless of whether it gives you any pleasure?  Look, I’m going to be very honest and open, here: this is what my abuser did to me for the last probably 3 months or more of our relationship.  He’d work me up, make me think we were going to have sex, or that he was at the very least going to do something to me, then he’d make me do things to him until he got what he wanted, then he’d command me not to touch him and leave me with the female equivalent of blue balls.  Sometimes, he’d tell me he felt physically sick that I’d done something sexual to him, afterwards, just for added “you disgust me” emphasis.  So, this little moment was pretty triggering for me:

Enough.

Now that she’s all worked up into a lather I’m ready to proceed.

“I think you’re clean enough now,” I announce, and take my hands off of her.

“Why are you stopping?” she protests, her eyes fluttering open, revealing frustration and disappointment.

“Because I have other plans for you, Anastasia.”

She’s panting and, if I’m not mistaken, pouting.

Good.

I hope you die in a fire, Christian Grey.

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Ana gets ready to use the soapy washcloth on Grey’s “favourite and most cherished part of (his) body,” whilst Christian proves my point about his “no touching” bollocks:

My breath hisses out through clenched teeth and I close my eyes, savoring the moment.

Here, I don’t mind being touched.

No, I don’t mind at all…

Ana gives him her first ever BJ and of course, she’s magically amazing at it and has no gag reflex, whatsoever.  Her instant brilliance quickly concerns Grey, however, as he wonders whether she might have done it before:

Wait, that was so good, perhaps she has some experience after all. “Have you done that before?” I ask, and I’m not sure I want to know.

“No,” she says with obvious pride.

“Good.” I hope my relief is not too obvious. 

And later that night, Christian Grey can write in his weirdo book of firsts: “First BJ – MINE.”

Remember how in Fifty Shades, Ana used to describe Grey as “starting to move, really move” whenever they had sex?  Well, you’ll be delighted to know that EL James is such a shitty author, she can’t differentiate between characters and so, as they climb out of the bath, this happens:

I hold her against me, kissing her, really kissing her.

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I WASN’T JUST PRETENDING, YOU GUYS.  I DID TONGUES AND EVERYTHING.  I LITERALLY KISSED HER.  WITH MY MOUTH.

Grossly, it’s tasting his own sperm in Ana’s mouth that apparently makes Grey decide that he really wants her (REALLY wants her… sorry):

I taste my ejaculate in her mouth. Grasping her head, I deepen the kiss.

I want her.

All of her.

Her body and soul.

I want her to be mine.

Staring down into bemused eyes, I implore her. “Say yes.”

“To what?” she whispers.

“Yes to our arrangement. To being mine. Please, Ana.” And it’s the closest I’ve come to begging in a long time. I kiss her again, pouring my fervor into my kiss. When I take her hand, she looks dazed.

Dazzle her further, Grey.

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Grey decides to “dazzle” her by tying her hands together with one of his ties.  I’m not sure I can handle such kinky fuckery…

Gently I tug both her braids. “You look so young with these.” But they’re not going to stop me.

Stop being gross.

Stop being gross.

Stop being gross.

I drop my towel. “Oh, Anastasia, what shall I do to you?” I grasp her upper arms and push her gently back on the bed, keeping hold of her so that she doesn’t fall. Once she’s prostrate, I lie down beside her, grab her fists, and raise them above her head. “Keep your hands up here, don’t move them. Understand?”

She swallows.

“Answer me.”

“I won’t move my hands,” she says, her voice husky.

“Good girl.” I can’t help my smile. She lies beside me, wrists bound, helpless. Mine.

Not quite to do with as I wish—yet—but getting there.

Nobody is ever yours to do with as you wish, you dick.  If she ever wants to stop you, she can.

But hey, this is Christian Grey.  And he seems to think he has a say in everything, even down to whether or not Ana shaves her pubic hair:

I blow gently up and down over her pubic hair. “I like this,” I mutter. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen pubic hair up close and personal like this. I tug it gently. “Perhaps we’ll keep this.”

Perhaps that’s her decision?!

He tells her that “tit for tat is not (his) usual style,” but goes down on her in reward for her giving him a blow job, earlier.  Oh, what a saint.

They have sex and immediately afterwards, Grey hears his mother’s voice.  But this time it’s not one of his traumatic flashbacks; it’s actually Grace, having come round to visit.  He respectfully considers Ana’s soreness as he uncouples from her:

“Shit! It’s my mother.”

Ana cringes as I pull out of her.

ONLY JOKING, OF COURSE HE DOESN’T!

Grey demands that Ana puts on some of his clothes and goes out to meet his mother.  He heads out first and we see how loving and respectful he is when talking about the woman who adopted him and raised him:

“Hello, Mother.” I kiss her proffered cheek. “I’ll deal with her from here,” I say to Taylor.

“Yes, Mr. Grey.” He nods, looking exasperated, and heads back into his office.

ONLY JOKING, OF COURSE HE TALKS ABOUT HER LIKE SHE’S NOT THERE, HAHAHAHA!

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Grace does at least call him on his “I’ll deal with her” bullshit.  She says she wouldn’t have come over if she’d known he had someone with him and Grey says “she’ll be out in a minute,” causing Grace to marvel that it’s a “she.”  I can’t decide if this is meant to be because everyone really does think that Grey is gay, or just because he’s meant to be this sexless dude who never has anyone over.  Either way, it’s a bit weird.

Ana comes out dressed in her own clothes (which I’m sure Grey wants to flay her alive for) and he introduces her to Grace:

“Mother, this is Anastasia Steele. Anastasia, this is Grace Trevelyan-Grey.”

They shake hands.

“What a pleasure to meet you,” Grace says with a little too much enthusiasm for my liking.

“Dr. Trevelyan-Grey,” Ana says politely.

“Call me Grace,” she says, all at once amiable and informal.

What? Already?

I just… Does he actively want his mother to dislike Ana?!  I’m so confused by this.

Ana excuses herself to take a call and Grey is instantly furious when he realises that the caller is José.

When Grace leaves, Christian immediately starts interrogating Ana:

Ana is worrying her bottom lip, radiating anxiety…as she should be.

“So the photographer called?” I sound gruff.

“Yes.”

“What did he want?”

“Just to apologize, you know—for Friday.”

“I see.” Maybe he wants another shot at her. The thought is displeasing.

You know, wank-stain, Ana has no reason to be anxious about who she talks to on the phone.  You do not own her, however much you want to believe you do.  And if she chooses to forgive José for his behaviour, that’s her decision to make.

Thankfully, their conversation is interrupted by a boring conversation between Christian and Ros regarding the “Darfur shipment.”

Once that’s over, Christian tells Ana to go away and research BDSM.  She tells him that she doesn’t have a computer – a fact hard to believe of a college student – and says she needs to make a call:

“I’ll just make a call,” she says, her voice soft and hesitant.

“The photographer?” I snap. She looks guilty.

What the hell? “I don’t like to share, Miss Steele. Remember that.” I storm out of the room before I say anything else.

Is she hung up on him?

Was she just using me to break her in?

Fuck.

Maybe it’s the money. That’s a depressing thought…though she doesn’t strike me as a gold digger. She was quite vehement about me not buying her any clothing. I remove my jeans and put on a pair of boxer briefs. My Brioni tie is on the floor. I stoop to pick it up.

She took to being tied up well…There’s hope, Grey. Hope.

Yeah, she pushed José away, but only because she wanted to sleep with you first and then go running back to him.  Good lord, Christian Grey is both an arrogant asshole and an insecure loser AT THE SAME TIME.

And I love that he thinks there’s “hope” that she’ll become his full time sub based solely on the fact that she liked having her hands tied together during sex.  Yep.  That definitely means she also wants to enter into a total power exchange.

He then decides he’s going to pack some stuff because when he drops Ana off at her apartment, he knows he won’t be able to stay away:

I stuff the tie and two others into a messenger bag along with socks, underwear, and condoms.

What am I doing?

Deep down I know I’m going to stay at The Heathman all next week…to be near her.

Not at all stalkery.  No, Sir.  Nothing to see, here.

As they head out of Grey’s apartment, Ana starts biting her lip and it apparently has the power to turn Christian Grey back into the rapist we all know he is:

Ana fidgets beside me as we wait for the elevator, her teeth on her plump lower lip.

It reminds me of her teeth on my cock.

“What is it, Anastasia?” I ask, as I reach out and pluck her chin. “Stop biting your lip, or I will fuck you in the elevator, and I don’t care who gets in with us,” I growl.

She’s shocked, I think—though why would she be after all we’ve done…

Aaah, threatening sex regardless of whether the person consents or not.  *wipes away a tear* THIS IS SO ROMANTIC.

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As they travel in the thankfully rape-free elevator, Ana again asks if she can talk to Kate about sex and – shockingly – Christian agrees.  But internally he thinks this:

she can talk about what we’ve done so far. Her roommate would have my balls if she knew my real intentions.

TEAM KATE.

And that last part is red just because it sounds like an admission of something gross.  Because, let’s face it, Kate is supposed to be pretty sexually liberated (and is utterly shamed for it, but that’s beside the point).  It’s unlikely she’d be horrified at the idea of someone being into a bit of spanking, as long as the spanking in question was consensual.

Grey and Ana then have this uber creepy exchange:

“The sooner I have your submission the better, and we can stop all this.”

“Stop all what?”

“You, defying me.”

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She still has her agency and she can still say no to anything she likes.  Seriously, what part of this is Grey not getting??!!  I think it’s highly unlikely that he really goes for experienced women, usually.  I reckon he seeks out women who know nothing of BDSM, so he can tell them it means he gets to control them all the time and punish them if they step out of line and they have no say in the matter, as long as they say yes at some point, that yes will count for everything ever.

This guy is human excrement.

They stop for lunch on the way back to Portland and Grey orders for Ana:

“Two glasses of the pinot grigio,” I order from the waitress, who’s making eyes at me from beneath blond bangs. It’s annoying.

Ana scowls.

“What?” I ask, wondering if the waitress is annoying her, too.

“I wanted a Diet Coke.”

Why didn’t you say so? I frown. “The pinot grigio here is a decent wine. It will go well with the meal, whatever we get.”

“Whatever we get?” she asks, her eyes round with alarm.

You literally didn’t give her a chance to “say so,” you unadulterated moron.  And yet again, he’s thinking the responses he should be giving out loud.  A decent guy would say “oh, sorry,” and change the order.

Whilst they eat, Ana asks lots of questions about sex and Christian’s kinks.  He eventually tells her about Elena:

“One of my mother’s friends seduced me when I was fifteen.”

“Oh.” Ana’s spoon pauses midway from the bowl to her mouth.

“She had very particular tastes. I was her submissive for six years.”

“Oh,” she breathes.

“So I do know what it involves, Anastasia.” More than you know. “I didn’t really have a run-of-the-mill introduction to sex.” I couldn’t be touched. I still can’t.

Raped you.  She raped you when you were fifteen.  You weren’t old enough to consent.

Ana asks if he had any girlfriends when he was in college and Grey says no, because Elena would have “beaten the shit out of me.”

Super healthy.  That’s absolutely normal and fine.  But hey, this whole book is abuse, after abuse, after abuse, so…

She blinks a couple of times as she absorbs this news. “So if she was a friend of your mother’s, how old was she?”

“Old enough to know better.”

“Do you still see her?” She sounds shocked.

“Yes.”

“Do you still…er—” She blushes crimson, her mouth turned down.

“No,” I say quickly. I don’t want her to have the wrong idea about my relationship with Elena. “She’s a very good friend,” I reassure her.

“Oh. Does your mother know?”

“Of course not.”

My mother would kill me—and Elena, too.

Your mother would have no place blaming you for what someone “old enough to know better” did to you.

Ana is quiet for a while and doesn’t want to eat (I KNOW, RIGHT?  SUCH A SHOCK).  When Grey starts ordering her to, she asks:

“Is this what our, um…relationship will be like?” she asks. “You ordering me around?” She scrutinizes the plate of food in front of her.

“Yes.”

“I see.” She tosses her ponytail over her shoulder.

“And what’s more, you’ll want me to.”

SPOILER:  No she won’t.  She literally never likes him ordering her around.  And yet he literally never stops.

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They have a long and frankly dull conversation about their relationship and Grey repeatedly tells her how much he wants her to agree to their arrangement.  He suggests he takes her out to dinner on Wednesday to discuss things further and he reassures her that he’s not going to be seeing anyone else, because he’s monogamous in his relationships.  And yet… When he drops her off at her apartment, he suddenly reverts back to the “no strings, no romance” bullshit:

Do you want to come in?” she asks, after I’ve switched off the engine.

“No. I have work to do.” I know that if I accept her invitation I’ll be crossing a line I’m not prepared to cross. I’m not boyfriend material—and I don’t want to give her any false expectations of the kind of relationship she’ll have with me.

Her face falls and, deflated, she looks away.

She doesn’t want me to go.

It’s humbling. Reaching across, I grasp her hand and kiss her knuckles, hoping to take the sting out of my rejection.

He doesn’t want a relationship with her.  But he tells her how beautiful she is, he’ll be faithful to her and he’s desperate to make things work with her.  This is manipulative – deliberate or not.  He’s giving her mixed signals and it only serves to make me think he’s ever more of an asshole.

I kiss her hand again and climb out of the car to open her door. I have to get out of here before I do something I’ll regret.

Is this similar to the whole “I might rape her whilst she’s unconscious” or something else?  It’s so hard to tell…

Ana tells him she’s wearing his underwear as she disappears into her apartment and this drives Christian crazy, so well done, Ana.

Back at his hotel, Grey sends Ana an email, knowing that he’s arranged a laptop that she’ll receive the following day.  Then he settles down to read a book and the chapter ends on a frankly disturbing flashback, in which he seems to be comparing his dead mother to Ana:

Picking up my latest read, I settle onto the sofa. It’s a book by two renowned economists who examine why the poor think and behave the way they do.

Christian Grey is RICH.  Just in case you forgot…

An image of a young woman brushing out her long, dark hair comes to mind; her hair shines in the light from the cracked, yellowed window, and the air is filled with dancing dust motes. She’s singing softly, like a child.

I shudder.

Don’t go there, Grey.

I open the book and start to read.

Don’t go there, Grey.  Just find someone who looks a bit like her and beat the shit out of her, instead.

Ugh, see you next time, folks.

Grey Chapter 7 (Sunday, May 22nd, 2011)

Grey Chapter 6 (part 2 – because this chapter is FREAKISHLY long…)

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Well hello, everyone!

I had hoped to finish recapping Chapter six of Grey (or Saturday May 21st 2011) on the same day I started it, but alas, this is apparently THE CHAPTER THAT DOES NOT END.

Let’s dive back in…

When we left our “hero” (Sorry, just had to throw up in my mouth a little bit), Grey had worried that Ana might still be hankering after hearts and flowers, despite him being NOT THAT KIND OF GUY.  He’d just said “laters, baby” to her for the first time after dropping her back off at her apartment and I… Well, I had lost the will to live.

We rejoin this hell as Christian and Elliot drive away from the apartment and Elliot asks his brother whether he and Ana had sex:

“How about you, hotshot?  Did she pop your cherry?”

I give him a sideways “fuck off” glare.

Elliot laughs.  “Man, you are one uptight son of a bitch.  He pulls his Sounders cap over his face and nestles down in his seat for a nap.

I turn up the volume of the music.

Sleep through that, Lelliot!

Yeah.  I envy my brother: his ease with women, his ability to sleep…and the fact that he’s not the son of a bitch.

I have so much to say…

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Okay, firstly, when you write a spin-off novel, re-telling the story from the POV of a different character, although you expect readers of the original novel(s) to be your biggest audience, you have to make allowances for new readers coming on board.  So, calling Elliot “Lelliot” really does seem weird, here.  We know from Fifty Shades that that’s how young Christian pronounced his brother’s name, but in this book, we’ve not been told that yet, so it just comes across as though Christian is being weirdly puerile and resorting to the equivalent of sticking his tongue out in the playground.

Secondly, for a guy who claims to envy his brother, Christian slags him off a lot.  I get that he’s bitter, but he acts like he hates the guy.

Finally, I am so, so done with making Ella this poisonous bitch who Christian has every right to hate.  From what we discovered in the first three books, Christian’s mum was trying to raise a son whilst battling drug addiction and dealing with an abusive pimp, before dying tragically young.  Any good therapist (not that Christian has one; Doctor Flynn is a total quack) would have helped Christian to realise that his mother is not the person to put all of his hatred onto.  I can only assume that EL James has some pretty twisted idea of what a “good” woman is, considering the truck-load of nastiness she heaps onto Christian’s mother, whilst the woman who abused Christian when he was in his teens is – for the most part at least – passed off as some kind of glamorous, strong person to be admired.

Aaaanyway…

Christian arrives back and checks the disclosure he ordered on José.  It reveals that he once got a ticket for possession of marijuana, but there is nothing to indicate sexual harassment:

Maybe last night would have been a first, if I hadn’t intervened.

Oh, you freaking HERO.  Thanks for rescuing Ana and then perving over whilst she slept, to the point that you had to leave the room before you did something “(you) might regret.”  Don’t think I’ve forgotten that.  Don’t think I will ever forget that.

And the little prick smokes weed?  I hope he doesn’t smoke around Ana – and I hope she doesn’t smoke, full stop.

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Christian sends the NDA Ana will need to sign to his printer at home, before he also decides to fill in Ana’s details on his Dom/sub contract, just in case she decides to sign that later, too.  Presumptuous, much.

Elliot comes to Christian’s room to suggest they go hiking and EL James takes one of her regular “I’m going to beat you over the head with the fact that Christian had a sad start in life, as though that makes any of his adult behaviour okay” breaks, by telling us that young Christian loved being outside with his adoptive family:

Here in the great outdoors I could forget.

Here was a refuge from my nightmares.

Christian begins to think about Ana and gets excited at the prospect of seeing her again and having her agree to his proposition:

I picture her sleeping beside me, soft and small….and my cock twitches with expectation.  I could have woken her and fucked her then – what a novelty that would have been.

I’ll fuck her in time.

I’ll fuck her bound and with her smart mouth gagged.

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What a “novelty” that would have been, Christian?  To wake a woman up, after you’ve taken her back to your hotel room without consent, undressed her without consent and then fuck her without consent?  Because there is zero reference to consent here, and we have a shiny word for sex without consent, oh Christian Fuckwit Grey: RAPE.  That’s what you’re fantasising about and it’s not the first time.

“I could have woken her up and fucked her then,” so says this weapons-grade piece of crap and yet we’re supposed to like this guy?!  The only way in which I’d like Christian Grey right now is if he was hanging from his shrivelled dick.  Whilst on fire.

And whilst sex involving gags or binds isn’t abusive when there is informed consent on both sides and safety taken into consideration, Christian is thinking about doing those things to Ana (rather than with) as a foregone conclusion, regardless of her answer.

I literally can’t believe someone wrote this, thinking “this guy is so hot.”

I can’t believe someone published it, thinking “yeah, this is great.”

I can’t believe we still get abuse for pointing out that this is literally horrific.

We skip ahead to Grey going to pick Ana up from work and despite the fact that we’ve been smashed around the heads with “he doesn’t want a relationship” for so long that we all have collective concussion by this point, he thinks:

This is it: either the beginning of a new relationship or the beginning of the end.

Calm your tits, Grey.  The melodrama is getting seriously dull.

Ana and Grey have to go up in an elevator to reach Charlie Tango and of course, their earlier kiss is referred to:

She gives me a quick knowing look.

She’s remembering the kiss from this morning, but then…so am I.

“It’s only three floors,” I mutter.

As we stand inside, I make a mental note to fuck her in an elevator one day.  That’s if she agrees to my deal.

As if you give even half a toss about consent.

Honestly, I’m less recapping this book at this stage as I am trying not to allow it to poison me.

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Christian takes his time strapping Ana into her helicopter seat, trying not to picture her naked as he does so.  Obviously, strapping her in makes him think of other restraints he’d like to use on her, because the only reason he really wants to be with Ana is because he’s interested in her sexually.  We get told that her “smart mouth” catches him off guard, or that her innocence charms him, but he spends half his time trying to change her personality once they’re together, so I’m calling bull on that.  The guy is just obsessed with wanting to have sex with her.

“Do you know what you’re doing?”  She asks with wonder.  I inform her that I’ve been a fully qualified pilot for four years.  Her smile is infectious.

“You’re safe with me,” I reassure her.  “Well, while we’re flying.”  I give her a wink, she beams and I’m dazzled.

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I can’t believe we’ve gone this far into these recaps without me digging out a Twilight gif, frankly.

There’s a really boring description of getting Charlie Tango ready to take off, which basically reads like EL James did some research into flying a helicopter, just so she could say she’d researched something.

Once they’re flying in the night sky, Christian takes one of his regular melodramatic moments:

To me this is a comfort.  Nothing can harm me here.

I’m safe and hidden in the dark.

Meanwhile, I have never wished for a sniper more…

Ana asks how Christian knows he’s going the right way in the darkness:

“Here,” I point to the panel.  I don’t want to bore her talking about instrumental flight rules, but the fact is it’s all the equipment in front of me that guides us to our destination: the attitude indicator, the altimeter, the VSI, and of course the GPS.

I don’t want to bore you, but HERE ARE ALL THE FACTS I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT HELICOPTERS WHEN I SHOULD HAVE BEEN RESEARCHING BDSM AND THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSENT!

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Ana asks if he always impresses women with his big chopper (okay, so she may not have used those exact words) and he tells her that she’s the first woman he’s ever taken up in Charlie Tango.  He asks if she’s impressed and she replies that she’s “awed.”

“Awed?”  My smile is spontaneous.  And I remember Grace, my mother, stroking my hair as I read out loud from the Once and Future King.

“Christian, that was wonderful.  I’m awed, darling boy.”

I was seven and had only recently started speaking.

But of course, as soon as he does, it’s the best speaking ever.  But hey, this is just chucked in there yet again, to provide further evidence that poor Christian had a tough start and we should all go easy on him.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.

He tells Ana that he also loves soaring – or gliding – and wonders whether he should take her, sometime.  There’s a whole lot of melodramatic “ooh, will she agree to my fiendish desires” subtext as they approach Escala, which I just can’t be bothered with, to be honest.  When they arrive, Ana looks up at Christian and he thinks how young and trusting she is.

And I want her to look at me this way once she knows me…knows what I’m capable of.  “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.  You know that, don’t you?”  She needs to understand this.  I want her submission, but more than that I want her consent.

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This just feels like it’s shoe-horned in there.  I can’t take it seriously, because this guy’s done nothing but sexualise this woman since he met her and his own internal monologue is constantly reminding us that he’s thought about raping her.  It’s like EL James tossed the word “consent” in as often as possible, without realising that literally everything else she writes for this dude makes a mockery of it.

Christian gets some wine from his “wine fridge” (because he’s super rich, so he has to have an entire fridge just for wine, even though he hates seeing people get drunk and out of control) and when he asks if it’s okay for Ana, he’s concerned that she’s suddenly very quiet:

“I know nothing about wine, Christian.  I’m sure it will be fine.”  She sounds subdued.

Shit.  This isn’t going well.  Is she overwhelmed?  Is that it?

I pour two glasses and walk to where she stands in the middle of my living room, looking every bit the sacrificial lamb.  Gone is the disarming woman.  She looks lost.

Like me…

Welcome to the “EVERYTHING COMES BACK TO ME” show!

They make painfully awkward and frankly dull small-talk, in which Christian tells us that his apartment is more than ten thousand square feet.  Ana notices the piano and asks if Christian plays.  Obviously he does and he plays well, too, because he is perfect in every way.  She asks him if there’s anything he’s not able to do well and he thinks:

Cook.

Tell jokes.

Make free and easy conversation with a woman I’m attracted to.

Be touched…

Just as a heads up, Grey, you could have actually said the first two out loud.

Ana asks him why he sent her Tess of The D’Urbervilles specifically and he admits:

“It seemed appropriate.  I could hold you to some impossibly high ideal like Angel Clare, or debase you completely like Alex D’Uberville.”

Ana says that given the choice, she’d pick debasement and of course, Grey’s cock is all “ooh yay” at this news.  He goes to get the NDA and tells her that his lawyer insists on her signing it (which seems like bull, seeing as he insists on it, but hey).  Ana asks what happens if she doesn’t and Grey tells her that it’s “Angel Clare high ideals,” so Ana signs without having read the form at all.

“Anastasia, you should always read anything you sign.”  How could she be so foolish?  Have her parents taught her nothing?

“Christian, what you fail to understand is that I wouldn’t talk about us to anyone, anyway.  Even Kate.  So it’s immaterial whether I sign an agreement or not.  If it means so much to you, or your lawyer, whom you obviously talk to, then fine.  I’ll sign.”

Frankly, Ana, you should be talking to Kate about this.

She has an answer for everything.  It’s refreshing.  “Fair point well made, Miss Steele,” I note dryly.

With a quick, disapproving glance, she signs.

And before I can begin my pitch, she asks, “does this mean you’re going to make love to me tonight, Christian?”

What?

Me?

Make love?

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DOES SHE NOT KNOW THAT I AM CHRISTIAN GREY, HE WHO DOES NOT DO HEARTS AND FLOWERS?!  HAVE I NOT MADE THIS CLEAR?!  I AM SHOCKED!  SHOCKED, I TELL YOU!

He responds, as we all probably remember from the first book, by telling her that no, he doesn’t make love.  He fucks.  Hard.

She gasps.  That’s made her think.

It’s made me think you sound like a laughable prick.  Just in case you were wondering.

Christian takes Ana to his playroom and it’s revealed with the melodrama you’ve come to expect by now:

This is the crossroads.  I don’t want her to run.  But I’ve never felt this exposed.  Even in Elena’s hands…and I know it’s because she knows nothing about the lifestyle.

I open the door and follow her into my playroom.  

My safe place.

The only place where I’m truly myself.

Ana walks silently through the room for a while, whilst Christian agonises over what she might be thinking.  Eventually, he asks her to say something.  She asks whether he does this stuff to other people, or whether they do it to him.

“People?”  I want to snort.  “I do this to women who want me to.”

It may shock you, Grey, but women are people.  I can’t decide if this sounds homophobic (because Ana said “people” rather than “women” and we all know Grey hates having his uber heterosexuality questioned) or whether he just thinks he’s somehow above “people” in general.  Either way, it’s a very weird thing to snort at.

“You’re a sadist,” she says, startling me.

Fuck.  She sees me.

“I’m a Dominant,” I say quickly, hoping to move the conversation on.

She “sees” him.  And he wants to move the conversation quickly on.  Who else is getting “shit, she’s realising I do this because I just want to beat women regardless of their actual consent or enjoyment” vibes?!

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Christian tells Ana that he wants her to surrender to him in all things.  She asks why she’d do that.

“To please me,” I whisper.  This is what I need from you.  “In very simple terms, I want you to please me.”

“How do I do that?” She breathes,

“I have rules, and I want you to comply with them.  They are for your benefit and my pleasure.  If you follow these rules to my satisfaction, I shall reward you.  If you don’t, I shall punish you and you will learn.”

And I can’t wait to train you.  In every way.

So, she’s just learning about BDSM here and literally nowhere has he said “this can be hugely pleasurable for you.  It’s all “this is what I want.”

“Okay, and what do I get out of this?”

“Me,” I shrug.  That’s it, baby.  Just me.  All of me.  And you’ll find pleasure, too…

Okay, firstly, I hate this line, because he knows Ana wants a “vanilla” relationship, so by offering himself as what she gets if she agrees to this, he knows she’s more likely to do it, because he’s presenting it as the only way she can have him.  Secondly, TELL HER SHE WILL FIND PLEASURE, YOU MORON.  DON’T JUST THINK IT.  This guy is the lousiest Dom ever.

I hold my hand out to her and for the first time she looks from my hand to my face, undecided.

Shit.

I’ve frightened her.  “I’m not going to hurt you, Anastasia.”

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Grey shows Ana the room she’d be staying in if she agrees to his terms.  She’s confused as to why she wouldn’t be sleeping in his bed and he reminds her that he doesn’t usually sleep with women and that he only made an exception for her when she was blind drunk (I guess that’s… a compliment?!  I don’t even know, anymore).

He suggests they eat dinner.

“Weirdly, I seem to have lost my appetite,” she declares, with her familiar stubborn expression.

“You must eat, Anastasia.”

Her eating habits will be one of the first issues I’ll work on if she agrees to be mine… that, and her fidgeting.

Stop getting ahead of yourself, Grey!

Yeah, please do.  Because she never signs your damn contract and we know you’re going to start trying to control her eating habits all the same.

There’s only bread, cheese and grapes for dinner, so Christian wonders whether he ought to take her out to eat.

Like a date.

Another date.

I don’t want to raise expectations like that.

I don’t do dates.

Only with her…

If we were playing a drinking game, where you took a shot every time this asshole proclaims that he doesn’t do any form of romance, I’d be dead by now.  But, we’ve reached the point where he starts acknowledging that he’ll do that stuff with her.  This is the “she’s changing him” crap the fans go on about and this is where it begins.  Ana is different to all the other girls and that makes everything that happens somehow magically okay.

They begin discussing the other paperwork:

“What paperwork?”

“Well, apart from the NDA, a contract saying what we will and won’t do.  I need to know your limits and you need to know mine.  This is consensual, Anastasia.”

“And if I don’t want to do this?”

Shit.

“That’s fine,” I lie.

“But we won’t have any sort of relationship?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“This is the only sort of relationship I’m interested in.”

See, if he actually liked her, the way the author is so desperate to have us believe he does – if she really did charm him with her personality and made him feel things he’d never felt before – he would surely be open to discussing taking baby steps towards incorporating his sexual kinks into an otherwise fledgling vanilla relationship.  Instead, he’s all “my way or the highway.”  It’s manipulative and shitty and it forces Ana into a corner.

Ana asks why he is the way he is and Grey makes an analogy about some people liking cheese and some people not liking cheese, and frankly, now I’m just hungry.

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Oh, but I like YOU, Phil…

Ahem.

Ana is not particularly hungry, but Grey orders her to eat several times.  See, this whole “everything is consensual” thing is already losing water.  She’s not signed anything and he’s trying to boss her around against her will.

Ana begins asking questions and Grey, just like earlier in the playroom, gives all the important answers in his freaking head instead of out loud.

“Have you ever hurt anyone?”

“Yes.”

“Badly?”

“No.”  Dawn was fine, if a little shaken by the experience.  And if I’m honest, so was I.

Tell her what happened, you utter maggot.  Consent has to be informed and you’re not giving her the details she’s asking you for!

“Will you hurt me?”

“What do you mean?”

“Physically, will you hurt me?”

Only what you can take.  

“I will punish you when you require it and it will be painful.”

See, again, a good Dominant would be saying the “only what you can take” bit out loud.  That’s the important bit; Ana is coming across as though she might be scared of being physically hurt and if you care for her, your job is to calm those nerves and let her know that you’ll never go too far.  Explain about safe words being put in place to ensure her safety.  Remind her that she’s in control.  But instead, you keep that stuff in your head and just tell her “it will be painful.”  What the fuck is this, BDSM for the lobotomised?!

Also, he then thinks:

For example, when you get drunk and put yourself at risk.

So, he really does want to beat her because she got drunk.  Not for her pleasure, but because he was pissed off about it.  Drink that in.  That’s not BDSM.  I can’t stress this enough: THIS IS NOT SAFE, CONSENSUAL BDSM.

Ana asks if he has ever been beaten, himself:

“Yes.”

Many, many times.  Elena was devilishly handy with a cane.  It’s the only touch I could tolerate.

This series is so messed up.

He takes her into his office and shows her the Dom/sub contract he has for her.  Ana begins finding things to quibble:

“I’m not sure about accepting money for clothes.  It feels wrong.”

“I want to lavish money on you.  Let me buy you some clothes.  I may need you to accompany me to functions.”

Grey, what are you saying?  This would be a first.  “And I want you dressed well.  I’m sure your salary, when you do get a job, won’t cover the kind of clothes I’d like you to wear.”

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Oh, this freaking guy.  Not content with being an abusive ass-wipe, he has to be a snob, too!  Ana is graduating and she seems to have done well – why can’t she get a job that pays a decent enough salary for her to buy nice clothes?!

Ana says she doesn’t want to exercise four times a week and Grey starts insisting on it.

“I thought this was a negotiation?”

Again, she’s disarming me, calling me out on my shit.

If you KNOW you are being a shit, or giving her shit, maybe make the choice to stop and actually comply with all those rules about consent that you keep bleating on about?!

He hands Ana his list of hard limits and asks if there’s anything she wants to add.  When Ana remains silent, he asks if there’s anything she wouldn’t do in bed.  She responds that she doesn’t know.

Patience, Grey.  For fuck’s sake.  You’ve thrown a great deal of information at her.  I continue my gentle approach.  It’s novel.

So, you’d normally be yelling, or demanding she answer?  Good to know.

Ana finally admits that she’s never had sex and Grey’s reaction is… Well, sit down, pour yourself a cuppa and I promise I’ll have some gifs of puppies ready afterwards:

The Earth stops spinning.

I don’t fucking believe it.

How?

Why?

Fuck!

“Never?” I’m incredulous.

She shakes her head, eyes wide.

“You’re a virgin?”  I don’t believe it.

She nods, embarrassed.  I close my eyes.  I can’t look at her.

How the hell did I get this so wrong?

Anger lances through me.  What can I do with a virgin?  I glare at her as fury surges through my body.

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This…  This is not a normal reaction.  Sure, Grey has put himself out there by showing her what he’s into, but she is under no obligation to agree and she’s signed his precious NDA, so it’s not like she’s likely to go rushing off to tell the world that Christian Grey likes it rough.  There is no excuse for being this unreasonably angry about the fact that Ana hasn’t had sex.  He wonders whether their kiss in the elevator (Where I could have just fucked her there and then ) was also her first kiss.

“Have you ever been kissed, apart from by me?”  Please say yes.

“Of course I have,” she looks offended.  Yeah, she’s been kissed, but not often.  And for some reason, the thought is…pleasing.

So, let me get this straight: you really want her to have been kissed, but the idea that she hasn’t been kissed too much is a relief.  So, she has to have been kissed the RIGHT amount.

I wonder what it would be like if literally anyone in the world held Christian Grey to his own impossible, eternally-shifting standards.

Grey can’t understand how Ana has “avoided sex,” particularly at college, even though he admits that he was the only student not at it like a rabbit when he was at college, so yet again, we have that good old double standard…

“Why are you so angry with me?”  She whispers.

Of course she would think that.  Make this right, Grey.

“I’m not angry with you.  I’m angry with myself.  I just assumed -”  Why the hell would I be angry with you?

I don’t know, you seem pretty damn angry with her, jerk-weed.

He asks if she wants to go and she says no.  He starts wondering if he could have “vanilla” sex with her and seriously, this is the guy we’re supposed to get our knickers in a knot for:

I could take her to bed.  Break her in. 

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Ana bites her lip, which of course turns Christian on.  She apologises and he tells her not to; it’s just that he wants to bite her lip, too.  And then this happens:

Her breath hitches.  

Oh.  Maybe she’s interested.  Yes.  Let’s do this.  My decision is made.

Red, because during a consensual sexual encounter, both parties have to make the decision to actually have sex.  But in this case, it’s all down to Christian.  He’s decided.

It isn’t until he’s told her that he’s going to “rectify the situation” that he bothers to add:

“That’s if you want to.  I mean, I don’t want to push my luck.”

He refers to having sex with her as a “means to an end,” which we all want to hear, am I right, ladies?!

“But I haven’t done all the things you require from your list of rules.”  Her voice is timid.  Is she afraid?  I hope not.  I don’t want her to be afraid.

Here’s a pro-tip, in that case: Don’t start freaking out and getting angry over something like her not having sexual experience.

Vanilla sex?

Can I do this?

I can draw you a freaking picture, if you need me to.

In yet more swoon-worthy internal thoughts, Grey is pleased that at least he doesn’t have to think about “every other dick she’s slept with.”

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Grey has some doubts, which he of course ignores, like the sensible, considerate wannabe Dom he is:

Deep down I know I should send her home.  But the simple truth is, I don’t want her to go and I want her.

So, hey.  Whatever you want…

We’ve reached the sexy, sexy, sexy-times, guys.  I’m not going to recap this is much detail, because I relish my sanity, but there’s a lot of internal monologue about how innocent Ana is and how much Grey wants to see her skin pink from the snap of a cane.  And of course, there’s a lot of panic about whether Ana will touch him and where.

For a moment, I worry where she’ll touch me next.  She caresses my cheek, then strokes my hair.  It’s a little unnerving, but when she twists her fingers in my hair, pulling gently…

Damn, that feels good.

I groan in response, but can’t let her continue.  Before she can touch me again, I push her against the bed and drop to my knees.  I want her out of these jeans – I want to strip her, arouse her some more, and…keep her hands off me.

EL James is killing me with these endless Oxford commas.

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Grey asks Ana to show him how she pleasures herself.

She frowns.

“Don’t be coy, Ana.  Show me.”  Part of me wants to spank the shyness out of her.

Yep, that’s super healthy.  She’s completely sexually inexperienced and that makes you want to beat her.  Okay, then.

Grey’s internal monologue tells us that Ana is incredibly responsive and is allowing him free reign over her body.  He thinks “she wants this, she really wants this” and I don’t know if it’s him telling the reader, or EL James addressing her critics, at this point.

He makes her orgasm just by playing with her nipples, which would definitely happen with a nervous virgin, but then again, this is Ana, who can instantly climax on demand…

EL James is clearly terrified of any sexual words for female genitalia, which is why Grey reaches down for Ana’s “vulva.”

This just makes me think of that episode of Friends, where “vulva” is the only dirty word Ross can think of.

Finally, Grey is ready to take Ana’s virginity and he ponders how to go about it:

Should I be gentle and prolong the agony, or do I go for it?

I go for it.  I need to possess her.

She’s a virgin who has never even masturbated, before.  Who gives a shit what you need, Christian?  Quit thinking about yourself the entire bloody time!

Afterwards, Christian asks Ana if he hurt her.  Ana finds this amusing, what with the whole wanting to hurt her, thing.

“You haven’t answered me,” I growl.  I need to know if she found that enjoyable.  All the evidence points to a “yes” – but I need to hear it from her.

Insecure Christian is insecure.

While I’m waiting for her reply I remove the condom.  Lord, I hate these things.  I discard it discreetly on the floor.

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PUT IT IN A DAMN BIN, WEIRDO!!!!!

Of course, because these two are such magical sex beasts, they’re both ready to go again within seconds.  And during their second time, Christian tells Ana:

“You are mine…Only mine.  Don’t forget it.”

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Nope.  You shagged her twice, that’s literally it.  She is not yours.  She hasn’t signed your contract and if she wanted to, she could get up after this and just go home.  Owing you nothing.  Your obsessive behaviour is creepy and gross.

I’m waiting to suddenly become aroused.  It’s not happening.  I’ve read sexier toaster manuals.

Christian starts masturbating Ana and she squirms beneath him, circling her hips in rhythm with his touch.

“Keep still,” I warn.

Or I might stop…

The dude is literally preventing her from doing things that are heightening her pleasure.  Where is the feminist empowerment I was told I’d find in these books??!!

Ana bites his thumb and Christian thinks of all the ways he’d punish her for it, if she was his sub.

He then starts a bit of non-consensual orgasm denial on her.

Her insides start to tremble.

“Oh no baby, not yet.”

No way am I letting you come.

Not when I’m enjoying this so much.

“Oh please,” she cries.

“I want you sore, baby.”  I pull out and sink into her again.  “Every time you move tomorrow, I want you to be reminded that I’ve been here.  Only me.  You are mine.”

“Please, Christian,” she begs.

“What do you want, Anastasia?  Tell me.”  I continue the slow torture.  “Tell me.”

“You, please.”  She’s desperate.

She wants me.

Good girl.

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He doesn’t let her come, until he’s ready for her to.  That’s the kind of thing he shouldn’t be enforcing on someone sexually inexperienced and entirely new to BDSM.  Whilst orgasm-denial is hugely pleasurable for some, Ana is, in Grey’s own words, “desperate.”

This isn’t the last time he engages in non-consensual orgasm denial, either.

Thankfully, as soon as she orgasms, Ana falls asleep and this horrifically long chapter is finally over.

I wish I had something productive to say, but I don’t.  I just despise this book and I know it’s going to get worse.

Yay.

 

 

Grey Chapter 6 (part 2 – because this chapter is FREAKISHLY long…)

Grey: Chapter 6 (Saturday May 21st 2011)

HI THERE, EVERYONE!

So, in the week where a weirdly obsessive troll on the internet set up a page impersonating me and trying to discredit my fledgling career as a children’s author, I also get to recap another chapter of the nightmare that is Grey.

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

If you remember, in the last chapter, Grey illegally stalked Ana to a bar, took her home when she was too out of it to consent, undressed her whilst she was barely conscious and all of this was meant to somehow prove he lurves her and just wants to protect her or some nonsense.  We’re getting dangerously close to the sexy times, so…

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As always, italics indicate text straight from the book and red ink indicates particularly abusive moments.

Alright, I can’t put this off, anymore…

The chapter begins with Grey finally coming to join Ana in bed (which she hasn’t consented to, but hey, I think we’re well beyond pretending he cares about that, by now…).  We’re reminded that he doesn’t like to be touched:

She’s comatose; it’s unlikely she’s going to thrash around and touch me.  I hesitate for a moment as the darkness swells within me, but it doesn’t surface and I know it’s because I’m watching the hypnotic rise and fall of her chest and I’m breathing in sync with her.

Aah, I love it when the author subtly makes the heroine responsible for curing the hero’s problems just by being there, don’t you?

Also, I know EL James is trying to make Grey’s past all the more mysterious and tragic by referring to “the darkness” all the time, but I have two issues with it:  Firstly, most readers of this genuinely awful excuse for a novel have already read all three Fifty Shades books, so they know what happened in his past and will expect him to refer to “my childhood” or “what happened to me as a kid.”  Which brings me neatly onto my second issue, because literally every time Christian Grey internally monologues about “the darkness,” this is all I see:

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Don’t be scared, Christian!  There’s a chance we can make it now; we’ll be rockin’ till the sun goes down!  I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOOOOOOOOVE, WOOOAH OOOH OOOH OOOOH! GUITAR!

Ahem.  Sorry.

Anyway, Ana is dreaming and softly talking in her sleep.  At one point she licks her lips and Grey tells us how arousing it is, except he says it likes he’s James Bond:

“It’s arousing, very arousing.”

The name’s Grey.  Abusive Asshole Grey.

We then jump to the morning (or rather, later that morning, seeing as Grey went to bed shortly before 2am) and I just need to quote some of this verbatim for you guys, because it’s just… It’s just so badly written:

It’s quiet when I open my eyes, and I’m momentarily disorientated.  Oh yes.  I’m at The Heathman.  The clock at my bedside says 7:43.

When was the last time I slept this late?

Ana.

I’m sorry, what?!  That’s like asking: “When did I last have peanut butter for breakfast?” and casually responding: “Steve.”

Grey turns to look at Ana’s beautiful face and then we get this:

I have never slept with a woman.  I’ve fucked many, but to wake up beside an alluring young woman is a new and stimulating experience.  My cock agrees. 

This will not do.

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Is… Is his penis sentient?  Are we reading its internal monologue, too?!

And I love how, just after Christian and his penis have a little agreement on something, we have to be told that it simply WILL NOT DO.  Because, dear reader, Christian Grey does not do romance.  AND NEITHER DOES HIS PENIS.  I really don’t feel that EL James has mentioned that enough, yet.  It’s very possible that people are reading this and still thinking Grey is looking for “The One.”  She really needs to be a little more heavy-handed in her portrayal of Christian Grey as a guy who isn’t looking for love, because I’m just not getting it, yet.

Sorry, my sarcasm-o-meter just exploded.

Christian gets out of bed and goes to check his emails, but he finds himself distracted by the thought of Ana being in the next room.  He decides to get her some orange juice and two Advil in the hope of staving off her hangover and he takes it back into the bedroom for her:

She’s still alseep when I enter, her hair a riot of mahogany spread across her pillow, and the covers have slipped below her waist.  Her t-shirt has ridden up, exposing her belly and her navel.  The sight stirs my body once more.

Stop standing here, ogling the girl, for fuck’s sake, Grey.

I have to get out of here before I do something I’ll regret.

So, he’s literally admitting that he’s tempted to assault a sleeping woman, because he can’t control himself at the mere glimpse of some exposed belly.  There is nothing else that that line could be referring to.  He’s not suggesting that he’s tempted to climb back into bed and lie next to her, all innocent.  He’s genuinely just thinking “damn, that comatose woman is so hot.  Better go out before I’m tempted to rape her.”

This is the hero we’re being sold.  And you know what?  We deserve better.  Every single one of us deserves a hundred million times better.

And the worst bit is knowing there’ll be fans who actually use this as proof that he’s a good guy, just because he didn’t rape her.

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Grey goes out for a jog, to work off all those pesky rape-urges, and when he returns, he notices that Taylor has dropped off the clothes Grey ordered him to get for Ana.  Grey decides it’s time to wake her up and goes back into the bedroom:

I knock on the door and enter.  To my delight, she’s sitting up in bed.  The tablets are gone and so is the juice.

Good girl.

She pales as I saunter into the room.

Keep it casual, Grey.  You don’t want to be charged with kidnapping.

She closes her eyes, and I assume it’s because she’s embarrassed.

Okaaaay, point one: I do so love it when the hero of the supposed love story I’m reading is making little internal reminders to himself that he’s literally kidnapped a woman, as though this is some cute joke and I’m supposed to want to find a creepy guy like this for myself, rather than disembowel the one I’m reading about.

Point two: ANA DOES NOT NEED TO BE EMBARRASSED.  YOU are the one who kidnapped her.  YOU are the one who illegally tracked her phone and took her away from her friends.  YOU are the one at fault, here.  All she did was go out and have a few too many drinks.  People do that all the time.

“How did I get here?”  She asks, as though she’s afraid of the answer.

Probably because she is afraid.  She’s just woken up in a strange room and she’s with a guy who frequently admits to purposefully intimidating her.

“Did you undress me?”

“Yes.”  Who else would have undressed you?

Christian Grey – the superhero literally nobody asked for.  Special abilities include stripping comatose women.

She blushes and at last she has some colour in her cheeks.  Perfect teeth bite down on her lip.  I suppress a groan.

“We didn’t – ?”  She whispers, staring at her hands.

Christ, what kind of animal does she think I am?

Um… I don’t know… Maybe the kind that literally had to leave the room barely an hour ago, because he was tempted to “do something (he’d) regret?!”

Christian tells her that he likes his women sentient and receptive (like his penis, apparently):

She sags with relief, which makes me wonder if this has happened to her before, that she’s passed out and woken up in a stranger’s bed and found out he’s fucked her without her consent.  Maybe that’s the photographer’s modus operandi.  The thought is disturbing.  But I recall her confession last night – that she’d never been drunk before.  Thank God she hasn’t made a habit of this.

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I actually worry this book will kill me through a rage induced heart attack.

Excuse my language, but WHAT THE FLYING FUCK????!!!!

First, we’re supposed to think Christian is this super great guy because he didn’t rape her whilst she was asleep, yet mere paragraphs later, we’re meant to hate on someone else just because Christian thinks he might have, given the chance?!  Yo, EL?  Having your potential rapist “hero” decide another guy is a potential rapist villain does not make the first potential rapist okay!!  You can’t make Christian somehow acceptable by literally just having him think “well, I didn’t rape her, but someone else might have and that would be bad.”  That’s setting the bar for your sodding hero so damn low that I hope he trips over it and smashes his freaking face in.

Also, this is victim-blaming at its finest (and by that, I mean its utter worst).  Because it reads as though Christian is not disturbed by the thought of someone else raping Ana, but of her putting herself in the position to be raped.  He’s relieved that she doesn’t make a habit of getting comatose through alcohol and ending up in a stranger’s bed, not knowing if they’ve had sex – consensual or otherwise.  And yet the only reason she is in this position is because he put her in it.

I hate this man.  I hate this author.  I hate this book.

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And I’m so sorry if you thought it might improve from there, because… It doesn’t:

“I’m so sorry,” she says, her voice full of shame.

Hell.  Maybe I should go easy on her.

YA THINK???!!!

Ana then stands up to him (Ana is way more assertive in these books than she is when we’re reading from her POV, which is a small mercy at this point, but I’ll take it, just the same…):

“You didn’t have to track me down with whatever James Bond gadgetry you’re developing for the highest bidder.”

Whoa!  Now she’s pissed.  Why?

LITERALLY HOW LONG HAVE YOU GOT?  BECAUSE THIS GIRL HAS AMPLE REASON AND I WOULD LIKE TO EXPLAIN THEM ALL IN THE FORM OF PUNCHES TO YOUR SMUG FACE.

But alas, I don’t get to do that, because despite having just told himself to “go easy” on the girl he kidnapped and considered sexually assaulting, Christian decides to list reasons why he’s done nothing wrong:

“First, the technology to track cell phones is available over the Internet.”

Well, the Deep Net…

“Second, my company does not manufacture any kind of surveillance devices.”

My temper is fraying, but I’m on a roll.  “And third, if I hadn’t come out to get you, you’d probably be waking up in the photographer’s bed, and from what I can remember, you weren’t overly enthused about him pressing his suit.”

Again, EL, listen really damn carefully: CHRISTIAN THINKING THAT JOSÉ MIGHT HAVE RAPED HER DOES NOT MAKE THE FACT THAT CHRISTIAN HAD TO STOP HIMSELF FROM DOING THE EXACT SAME THING ANY BETTER.

Ana starts laughing at the way Christian’s talking and she tells him he sounds like a “courtly knight.”

Grey’s internal monologue tells us that he finds her irreverence beguiling, but of course, we’ve not had a “deep, mysterious, dark Christian” moment for at least seven paragraphs, so he also thinks:

I’m under no illusion that I’m a knight in shining armour.  Boy, has she got the wrong idea.  And though it may not be to my advantage, I’m compelled to warn her that there’s nothing chivalrous or courtly about me.  “Anastasia, I don’t think so.  Dark knight, maybe.”  If only she knew…

Don’t care.

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Christian changes the subject, asking if Ana had eaten anything before she went out drinking.  Apparently, Ana belongs to the “Eating Is Cheating” school of thought, because she confesses that no, she hadn’t.  Christian tells her that that’s why she was so ill and Ana asks if he’s going to keep on scolding her:

“Is that what I’m doing?”

“I think so.”

“You’re lucky I’m just scolding you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, if you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week after the stunt you pulled yesterday.  You didn’t eat, you got drunk, you put yourself at risk.”  The fear in my gut surprises me; such irresponsible, risk-taking behaviour.  “I hate to think what could have happened to you.”

I’m sorry (well, no, I’m not remotely sorry), but no amount of fear in your gut makes it okay that you just admitted to wanting to beat someone out of anger, rather than as part of a consensual, sexual act.  That’s not BDSM, that’s just abuse.  Pure and simple.

Ana explains that she would have been fine, because she was with Kate and she explains that José “just got out of line.”  Grey goes on to say that someone should teach José some manners and Ana laughs that he’s “quite the disciplinarian.”

This causes Grey to picture Ana shackled to his bench with a peeled ginger root in her ass, whilst he uses a “belt or a strap” to “teach her not to be so irresponsible.”  Again, there is zero consideration for consent or for Ana’s pleasure in this mental image; this is just the creep who abducted a girl too drunk to consent, admitting to wanting to physically punish her so she does as he wants from now on.  Hence the red ink.

And I say to that “wanting to beat her without consent and by way of punishing her:” Ew.

Ana stares at him and Christian worries that she might be able to read his mind – not for the first time, either.  I can only assume he’s binge-watched way too much Derren Brown.  Then he wonders whether she’s maybe “just looking at a pretty face.”

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Grey goes off to shower and thinks about jerking off, but decides not to:

…The familiar fear of discovery and disclosure, from an earlier time in my life, stops me.

Elena would not be pleased.

Old habits.

I say again: EW.  I’m guessing we’re going to discover where Grey got his creepy “all your orgasms are belong to me” shit from Fifty Shades of Grey from in this book?  Did Elena demand to “keep” all of his?  Don’t get me started on the way Kim Basinger is describing Elena as some kind of feminist icon, all “strong, independent woman” when promoting the films, because Elena Lincoln is a freaking child molester and I want to burn not only this book, but the entire franchise to the ground.

As he showers, Grey wonders whether Ana is interested in him and he decides that there must be “hope” because she’s still there and she’s been staring at him.  He wonders whether she’d make a good submissive and considers how innocent she seems.

She’s probably been subjected to a few fumbling encounters with boys like the photographer.

The thought of her fumbling with anyone irks me.

I could just ask her if she’s interested.

No.  I’d have to show her what she’d be taking on if she agreed to a relationship with me.

No, you wouldn’t.  Not immediately.  If you like her, ask her if she’s interested and if she says yes, go on a few “vanilla” dates and then, if you think things are going well after a couple of weeks or so, tell her you’ve got some kinky stuff you’d like to try and ask if she’d be up for it.

Of course, that wouldn’t occur to you, Christian, because you’re a prize creep who wants everything his way from the get-go.

Have I told you lately that I hate you?

When Grey returns from his shower, Ana is searching for her jeans.  He thinks about how her legs are too good to be hidden in pants, because obviously, he has to control literally every aspect of her life.  He explains that he sent her jeans to the laundry, because they were spattered with vomit.  He adds that he had Taylor bring her some new clothes.

She raises her eyes – in surprise, I think.  “Um, I’ll have a shower,” she mutters, and then as an afterthought, she adds, “Thanks.”

Grabbing the bag, she dodges around me, darts into the bathroom and locks the door.

Hmm… She couldn’t get into the bathroom quick enough.

Away from me.

Sensible girl.  I fail to see how we’re supposed to believe, even for a second, that Grey is this super-intelligent guy.  He seems constantly bemused by the idea that a young girl whose phone he tracked and who he brought back to his hotel room when she was basically comatose, might be freaked out by some of the stuff he’s been saying and doing.  I get that he’s all “tortured and dark” and shit, but he’s meant to be clever.  He comes across as a completely thick weirdo.

Breakfast arrives whilst Ana is in the shower and because we have to be reminded on every page that Christian Grey is the hottest, most desirable man in the entire universe (because that’s apparently the only good thing about him, besides his cash), we’re told that the two young women who bring the huge selection of food he ordered for breakfast are giving him “furtive looks.”

If you don’t fancy Christian Grey, you’re not a real woman, damnit!

Elliot texts Grey to say that Kate wants to know if Ana is alive.

I chuckle, somewhat mollified that Ana’s so-called friend is thinking about her.

Literally jump into the sun, you shit weasel.  Kate is a better person than you will ever be.  Kate farts better people than you.

Ana emerges from the shower and Grey says that he’s told Elliot to let Kate know that Ana’s okay.

Ana sits to have breakfast and eats pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and maple syrup, which of course makes Grey delighted, what with his major obsession with Ana’s eating habits, and it also assuages the guilt he’s been feeling at having ordered so much food, because he wasn’t sure what she’d like to eat.  Remember, Grey hates waste.  But he will also not tolerate hunger.  EVER.

He comments that her hair is damp from the shower and Ana replies that she couldn’t find a hairdryer.  Grey internally worries that she’ll get sick and quite frankly I’m so done with him treating her like a kid already and I know it gets worse, so I’m glossing over it so I don’t retch.

As they eat, Ana offers to pay Christian back for the clothes:

“I should give you some money for these clothes.”

What?

I glare at her and she continues, quickly, “you’ve already given me the books, which, of course, I can’t accept.  But these, please let me pay you back.”

Sweetheart.

Anastasia, trust me, I can afford it.”

“That’s not the point.  Why should you buy these for me?”

“Because I can.”  I’m a very rich man, Ana.

“Just because you can, that doesn’t mean you should.”  Her voice is soft, but suddenly I’m wondering if she’s looked through me and seen my darkest desires.  “Why did you send me the books, Christian?”

Because I wanted to see you again, and here you are…

Normal people might just send a text.  Juuuuust sayin’.

Christian then gives her the “I don’t do romance” speech, because EL James hasn’t written that for a few minutes and she’s got the shakes:

“I felt I owed you an apology and a warning.  Anastasia, I’m not a hearts-and-flowers kind of man.  I don’t do romance.  My tastes are very singular.  You should steer clear of me.  There’s something about you, though, and I’m finding it impossible to stay away.  But I think you figured that out already.”

STAY AWAY FROM ME!  EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE SUBCONSCIOUSLY FORCING ME TO BE UNABLE TO STAY AWAY FROM YOU!

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Ana tells him not to stay away from her (which is lucky, because he’s basically just admitted he has no intention of doing so) and when he tells her she doesn’t know what she’s saying, she replies:

“Enlighten me, then.”

Her words travel straight to my cock.

Fuck.

“You’re not celibate?”  She asks.

“No, Anastasia, I’m not celibate.”  And if you’d let me tie you up I’d prove it to you right now.

Her eyes widen and her cheeks pink.

Oh, Ana.

Notice how in his internal thoughts, he calls her Ana, which is what she prefers to be called.  But out loud, he insists on calling her Anastasia, despite her wishes.  He continues to do it even after she tells him, later on in this very chapter, that she’d rather be referred to as Ana.  Because he’s a prick.  This is a small way of showing it, but it’s a way, all the same.

Grey decides he has to show her what his interests are, as that’s the only way he’ll ever know if she could share them.  He asks her what her plans are and she explains that she’s working from midday to eight that day and that she and Kate are moving to Seattle the following weekend.  Ana bites her lip and Grey says out loud “I’d like to bite that lip,” to which Ana replies: “Why don’t you?”

“Because I’m not going to touch you, Anastasia – not until I have your written consent to do so.”

This is enough to intrigue Ana and so, once Grey suggests that they either head to his place in Seattle that evening when she finishes work.

“Why can’t you tell me now?”

“Because I’m enjoying my breakfast and your company.   Once you’re enlightened, you probably won’t want to see me again.”

She frowns as she processes what I’ve said.  “Tonight,” she says.

Whoa.  That didn’t take long.

“Like Eve, you’re so quick to eat from the tree of knowledge,” I taunt her.

“Are you smirking at me, Mr Grey?”  She asks.

I look at her through narrowed eyes.

Oh baby, you asked for this.

That’s getting red-inked, because all she’s asked for right now is to be told what his big secret is.  But we all know that Grey will use Ana’s initial intrigue and desire to be with him to explain away how she somehow knew what she was getting into.  So, red.

Grey calls Taylor and demands to have Charlie Tango on standby.  Ana notices how he bosses people about and calls him out on it:

“Do people always do what you tell them?”  She asks, and the disapproval in her voice is obvious.  Is she scolding me, now?  Her challenge is annoying.

But it’s okay for him to scold her constantly.

He informs her that he has a helicopter that will fly them to Seattle, later.  Ana is suitably impressed and Grey thinks:

Sometimes, it’s just fucking great to be me.

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Of course, then he has to immediately prove why being around him is anything but great, by commanding her to eat:

She seems stunned.

“Eat!”  My voice is more forceful.  “Anastasia, I have an issue with wasted food.  Eat.”

“I can’t eat all this.”  She studies all the food on the table and I feel guilty once more.  Yes, there is too much food here.

“Eat what’s on your plate.  If you’d eaten properly yesterday, you wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t be declaring my hand so soon.”

Hell.  This could be a huge mistake.

It is.  For her.

Ana laughs at him as she finishes eating and we’re supposed to be charmed by the fact that it makes Grey want to laugh at himself, too.  But this guy is such a massive anal polyp that I can’t be charmed by anything he says or does, so…

He tells her to dry her hair when she’s finished breakfast.

Suddenly, she gets up from the table and I have to stop myself from telling her that she doesn’t have permission.

She’s not your submissive…yet, Grey.

And even when she agrees to “try,” she never signs your unenforceable contract, so… She can get up whenever she bloody wants, ass-hat.

As Ana goes off to dry her hair and get ready to leave, Grey texts Andrea asking her to email over an NDA for Ana to sign, thinking:

If Ana wants enlightenment, she’ll have to keep her mouth shut.

Charmer.

They head out to the elevator and Ana bites her lip.  This is the point where Christian can no longer control himself.  He tells himself she’s “doing it on purpose,” growling “fuck the paperwork” and kissing Ana as he pushes her against the back wall of the elevator.

She tastes every bit as good as she looks.  Reminding me of a time of plenty.

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Plenty of what?!  Food?  Virgins?  I’m… I’m so confused.

Afterwards, he can tell that she’s cleaned her teeth and she admits to using his toothbrush, which kind of makes me want to dry heave, so let’s skip that part…

They get in the car and Grey receives calls from Welch saying he has the “information” Grey required (about José) and from Andrea, confirming that she’s sent the NDA.  Elliot then calls and immediately asks if Christian got laid.

“Yo, bro, did you stick it to the girl who’d passed out and therefore couldn’t consent?!”

Almost everyone in this is awful.  I want to like Elliot, purely because he’s not Christian, but damnit, the dude is making is bloody difficult, being this creepy right now.

Grey informs his brother that he’s not alone in the car and Ana says hi to Elliot.  After the call, Ana asks Grey why he insists on calling her Anastasia.  He says it’s because it’s her name and when Ana says she prefers to be called Ana, he still starts the next sentence with “Anastasia,” because, as we mentioned earlier, he is dreadful.

“Anastasia,” I say, ignoring her disapproving look.  “What happened in the elevator – it won’t happen again – well, unless it’s premeditated.”

You know, like murder.

Ana tells him she liked what happened in the elevator.

They finally reach Ana’s apartment (for real, this is the longest chapter in the history of chapters and I’m going to have to stop soon before I pass out from either boredom or rage – whichever comes first).  When they go inside, Kate is relieved to see Ana:

Kavanagh jumps up and gives me a critical once-over as she hugs Ana.

What did she think I was going to do to the girl?

I know what I’d like to do to her…

Yeah, that’s probably what she’s afraid of.

As kavanagh holds her at arm’s length, I’m reassured; maybe she does care for Ana, too.

“Good morning, Christian,” she says, her tone cool and condescending.

“Miss Kavanagh.”  And what I want to say is something sarcastic about how she’s finally showing some interest in her friend, but I hold my tongue.

You are an asshole.  Kate has never tracked Ana’s phone or kidnapped her.  You have.  You are only interested in Ana because you want to beat her and fuck her.  Kate actually cares for her and you know nothing about their friendship to suggest that she doesn’t.

Elliot hugs Ana and Grey can’t stand it:

Elliot hugs Ana, holding her for a moment too long.

“Hi Ana,” he says, all fucking smiles.

“Hi Elliot,” she beams.

Okay, this is becoming unbearable.  “Elliot, we’d better go.”  And take your hands off her.

Why don’t you just pee on her, Christian?  That way, everyone will know she’s your territory.

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Kate and Elliot kiss in a way that Christian describes as “unseemly,” despite having just shoved Ana up against the wall of an elevator and shoving his tongue down her throat.  Because PDAs are only acceptable if they are made by he and Ana, obviously.  Anyone else is just gross.  Ana watches Kate and Elliot and Christian realises:

Hell!  This is what she wants.  To be courted and wooed.

I don’t do romance, sweetheart.

But can I interest you in some stalking and threats of non-consensual violence, instead?

Christian says goodbye with the first appearance of the nauseating “laters, baby” and I’m going to call it a day, here.  We’ve got a heck of a lot of chapter left, but I am done with this shit and I really want to watch an episode of Stranger Things and long for a demogorgon to eat Christian Grey’s face off.

We’ll finish this chapter later in the week.

 

 

 

Grey: Chapter 6 (Saturday May 21st 2011)

Grey, Chapter 5 (Friday, May 20, 2011)

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So, guys and gals, it’s Sunday afternoon here in sunny Cornwall, England and a combination of a potential chest infection, mixed with the cool air today, has just caused me to have an asthma attack.  YAY!  Basically, what I’m saying is… I’ve not got a lot of patience for Christian Grey, today.  Well, okay, I never have a lot of patience for Christian Grey, but today in particular, I’m totally up for nailing his balls to the wall.

Okay?  Right, now that’s out there, let’s crack on with this recap, shall we?!

When we last saw Grey (yesterday, in the story), he was ordering Welch to send some First Editions of Tess of The D’Ubervilles to Ana’s apartment, to celebrate her final exams being over.  Which would be nice, if Ana had, you know, ever given him her address.  But seeing as Grey only has it because he had an illegal background check done on her, it’s… Well, it’s not so cute.

The chapter opens with Grey seemingly having an argument with himself:

I’ve slept well for the first time in five days.  Maybe I’m feeling the closure I had hoped for, now that I’ve sent those books to Anastasia.  As I shave, the asshole in the mirror stares back at me with cool, gray eyes.

Liar.

Fuck.

Okay, okay.  I’m hoping she’ll call.  She has my number.

I just don’t understand the “fuck” part of this.  I mean…  Is he actually responding to himself?  He inwardly calls himself a liar and then thinks “FUCK, I’m onto me!  How did I find out from me?  I’ve kept it such a secret, hidden in my dark, black soul!”  It just feels a bit weird, when I read it.  Maybe I’m just so aware that EL James’ writing is about as good as a toddler scribbling on a pavement with chalk, that I’m looking to pick holes where – unbelievably – there aren’t any.  Yet.  The chapter is only a few lines old, give her time.  There’ll be rich pickings…

Also, can I just say that I’ve found something I agree wholeheartedly with Christian Grey on?  That guy in the mirror is an asshole!

Whilst Gail – aka Mrs Jones, Grey’s housekeeper and Taylor’s partner – is cooking Grey an omelet, Elliot calls Christian’s mobile phone.  And yay, Christian Grey gets to prove he’s an asshole!

It’s Elliot.  What the hell does my big brother want?

Yes, how dare he call his brother?!  HOW DARE HE???!!

Sadly, it’s at this point I wish I could say Elliot comes across as a super-nice, decent guy in their telephone exchange, just to further ram home my point that Grey is being a massive tool by getting annoyed simply by the fact that Elliot’s calling him, but alas…

“Elliot?”

“Dude, I need to get out of Seattle this weekend.  This chick is all over my junk and I’ve got to get away.”

“Your junk?”

“Yeah.  You would know if you had any.”

I ignore his jibe, and then a devious thought occurs to me.  “How about hiking around Portland?  We could go this afternoon.  Stay down there.  Come home Sunday.”

Because nothing says brotherly bonding like a good old fashioned stalking trip, right?!  This isn’t just “devious,” it’s downright creepy.  Grey has told Ana that he doesn’t do relationships and that he’s not the man for her.  He picked out a quote from Tess of The D’Ubervilles to back up that point.  But now, despite the fact that he’s turned her down, he’s going to go and stalk Ana.  Again.  And we’re meant to find it cute that he’s obsessing over her and is longing for her to call him, despite the fact that he’s done nothing but harass the girl, turning up at her workplace and gaining access to deeply private information about her without her consent.  Swoon.

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Of course, just in case anyone gets the slightest whiff of how invasive and gross Grey’s behaviour actually is, EL James has to toss us some judgement on Elliot’s lifestyle, just to ensure that we know that Christian is a gentleman in comparison:

Elliot has always had a problem containing himself.  As do the women he associates with: whoever the unfortunate girl is, she’s just another in his long, long line of casual liaisons.

But you don’t have a problem containing yourself at all, right, Christian?  You’d never stalk someone, or threaten to beat them out of anger or anything, right?  You’re positively buttoned up, compared to Elliot.  Also, way to go on the slut-shaming, there.  Nice little reminder that only girls like Ana – whose sexuality lies completely dormant until her one true abusive dick-wad love awakens it – deserve romance.  Ugh, this series…

Mrs Jones asks Grey what to do about food over the weekend, seeing as he’s going away and he subtly informs the reader that he’s already hoping to sleep with Ana:

“Just prepare something light and leave it in the fridge.  I may be back on Saturday.”

Or I may not.

She didn’t give you a second glance, Grey.

Having spent a great deal of my working life, managing others’ expectations, I should be better at managing my own.

Yes, you should be.  But hey, feel free to expect sex from the girl you’ve recently turned down.  That’s super normal and healthy and makes you waaaaay better than your brother.

There’s some boring rubbish about Elliot snoring in the car on the way to Portland and Grey makes some dull calls; first to Andrea about hiring bikes for he and his brother and then to Taylor about having Taylor bring the R8 with him when he checks into The Heathman.  Then Grey decides to blast some music and says:

Let’s see if Elliot can sleep through The Verve.

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Dude, they’re hardly thrash-metal.  Bittersweet Symphony is practically a lullaby.  Let’s not pretend you’re some hard-rock tough guy.

Grey then wonders whether Ana has received the books yet and is tempted to call Andrea again, but decides not to, thinking:

I don’t want to give my staff an excuse to gossip.  I don’t normally do this kind of shit.

And I say again:

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REALLY?!  Because you seem pretty well-versed in the art of stalking and you’ve already made a big display of how you like to manipulate, control and intimidate everyone.  Dude, you live for this shit.

When Elliot wakes up, Grey informs him that they’re going mountain-biking (because presumedly “we’re going to hang around this apartment building, in case I see the girl I want to sleep with, despite having turned her down” might not sound as much fun?) and Elliot begins reminiscing about how they used to go mountain-biking with their dad when they were kids.  This causes Grey to host yet another of his infamous pity parties:

I shake my head at the memory.  My father is a polymath, a real renaissance man: academic, sporting, at ease in the city, more at ease in the great outdoors.  He’d embraced three adopted kids…and I’m the one who didn’t live up to his expectations.

But before I hit adolescence we had a bond.  He’d been my hero.  He used to love taking us camping and doing all the outdoor pursuits I now enjoy: sailing, kayaking and biking, we did it all.

Puberty ruined all that for me.

Okay, I’m just going to say: I saw no evidence in the original books of Grey’s dad being disappointed in him in any way.  Yes, we know Grey was a troubled teen who got into fights, but his parents always come across as people understand he had a difficult start in life and it was bound to affect him.  Besides which, Grey is a billionaire, running a supposedly global empire.  In what way has he not lived up to his father’s expectations?!

And if it’s because he turned to BDSM as a teenager (which isn’t the business of his parents and isn’t unhealthy when consensual and safe) and became this “dark, twisted soul,” then we have Elena Lincoln to blame for that, rather than merely puberty.  She’s the one who raped him, after all.

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Anyway, EL James hasn’t quite finished making us all think of Elliot as a grade-A creep (thus trying to make his brother so much better in the process), because before any mountain-biking can occur, we get this exchange, after Grey asks him exactly who he’s running away from:

“Man, I’m a love-’em-and -eave-’em type.  You know that.  No strings.  I don’t know, chicks find out you run your own business and they start getting crazy ideas.”  He gives me a sideways look.  “You’ve got the right idea, keeping your dick to yourself.”

“I don’t think we’re discussing my dick, we’re discussing yours, and who’s been on the sharp end of it recently.”

Elliot snickers.  “I’ve lost count…”

It did occur to me that maybe EL James was throwing all this “look how much of a douche Elliot is” stuff in here because then she can show how Kate “tames” him with her glorious love, but let’s be honest, Kate is treated like crap in these books, so I’m certain it’s more likely that EL is just thinking “if I make Elliot look as bad as possible, it’ll make Christian look like the better of the two.”

SURPRISE!  Nope, it just makes them both look like the kind of guys you want to avoid!

Anyway, we discover that Elliot only runs his own business because Grey invested in it (because any situation in which people are not somehow beholden to Christian is NOT ALLOWED in these books) and we’re told that Elliot is an “eco-warrier.”

As they arrive at The Heathman, Christian manages to persuade Elliot to “give your dick a rest,” by staying in to watch the Mariners on TV that night.

Laughably, as the brothers ride their mountain-bikes, Grey’s internal monologue also tells us that Elliot has a devil-may-care attitude and that’s why Grey admires him.  Which is, you know, totally at odds with the whole “what the hell does my brother want?” and the internal judging attitude towards his brother that we’ve seen from Grey so far.  I’ve literally seen no “admiring” until this point.  Of course, we also learn that Grey wishes he could take in the scenery more, instead of having to rush to keep up with Elliot, because he’s just so gloriously poetic and so much deeper than his brother.  Has EL rammed that home enough for you guys, yet?!

After the ride, when Elliot announces “that was the most fun I’ve had with my clothes on in a while,”  Grey starts thinking back to holding Ana in his arms after he saved her from the cyclist.  He had his clothes on then and apparently that was the most fun he’d had in a while.

By the time they return to The Heathman, it’s almost 7pm and Grey hasn’t heard from Ana:

It’s just before 7:00 – she must have received the books by now.  The thought depresses me: I’ve come all the way to Portland on a wild-goose chase again.

NOBODY MADE YOU GO THERE, YOU MASSIVE JERK!!  Here’s a thought, then: stick to women who have expressly told you they want you to travel to see them.  And don’t go stalking girls who you’ve already sodding rejected.

Meanwhile, Elliot is moaning about how many missed calls and texts he’s had from the “chick” he’s trying to escape from.  He whines about how “desperate” she looks and I laugh, because his brother looks just as desperate.  At least this woman isn’t stalking anyone, as far as we know.

In Elliot’s hotel room, Grey and his brother watch the Mariners game, whilst eating steak and fries and drinking beers.  After the match is over, Grey’s phone finally buzzes with a call from Ana.  Now, brace yourselves, everyone.  Stalker-justification is coming.

“Anastasia?”  I don’t hide my surprise or my pleasure.  The background is noisy and it sounds like she’s at a party or in a bar.  Elliot glances at me, so I get up off the sofa and out of his earshot.

“Why did you send me the books?” She’s slurring her words and a wave of apprehension ripples down my spine.

WHY?  She is allowed to be drunk and her being so is no concern of yours.

“Anastasia, are you okay?  You sound strange.”

“I’m not the strange one, you are.”  Her tone is accusatory.

SHE IS ALSO SPOT ON.

“Anastasia, have you been drinking?”

Hell.  Who is she with?  The photographer?  Where is her friend Kate?

HOW DO YOU KNOW KATE ISN’T WITH HER?!  THEY MIGHT BE HAPPILY GETTING DRUNK, TOGETHER, MORON.  ANA IS AN ADULT AND SHE CAN DRINK WHENEVER SHE LIKES, WITH WHOEVER SHE LIKES.  Also, I love how he decides José must be there, because she’s drunk and therefore in danger.  I know she is with José and he does try it on with her, but Grey has literally no way of knowing that right now.  He just leaps to the conclusion, because a) he’s a shitty person and b) EL James is a shitty writer.

“What’s it to you?”  She sounds surly and belligerent, and I know she’s drunk, but I also need to know she’s okay.

This is meant to come across as him caring for Ana, but given that we know he’s about to trace her call, turn up unannounced and take her away from her friends, undress her and put her in his bed, it really, really doesn’t come across as anything but obsessive and controlling.

“I’m… Curious.  Where are you?”

“In a bar.”

“Which bar?”  Tell me.  Anxiety blooms in my gut.  She’s a young woman, drunk, somewhere in Portland.  She’s not safe.

HOW THE HELL DO YOU KNOW THAT???!!!  Young women go out drinking all the time and are perfectly safe.  This comes across as misogynistic and victim-blame-y.  Literally nothing Ana has said has implied she is in any kind of trouble, or needs to be “rescued.”  His infantilising of her isn’t romantic or cute, it’s gross.  If she had called him and was saying things like “hey, get off me” in between talking to him directly, sure, she’d sound like she was in trouble.  But this is a young woman, drunk dialling the guy who recently rejected her, but then sent her hugely expensive books directly to an apartment she never gave him the address of.  She sounds pissed off and she has every right to be.

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She tells him she’s in a bar in Portland and he continues trying to get information out of her:

“How are you getting home?”  I pinch the bridge of my nose in a vain hope that the action will distract from my fraying temper.

YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE GETTING ANGRY, YOU UTTER PIECE OF HUMAN GARBAGE.

“I’ll find a way.”

What the hell?  Will she drive?  I ask her again which bar she’s in and she ignores my question.

“Why did you send me the books, Christian?”

“Anastasia, where are you?  Tell me now.”

How will she get home?

She doesn’t.  Some abusive stalker takes her back to his hotel room, instead.

“You’re so..domineering.”  She giggles.  In any other situation, I would find this charming.  But right now – I want to show her how domineering I can be.  She’s driving me crazy.

Your hero, ladies.  If he’s suggesting he wants to spank her now, it’s out of anger, not any kind of sexual desire.  And that’s not BDSM, it’s abuse.  And if he’s merely saying he wants to control her and make her do as he wishes, he does not have her consent for that, which makes it also abuse.  And notice, he’s placing the blame on her for his reaction to the situation.  Ana, to reiterate, is merely out at a bar, getting drunk with her friends.  She’s rung him wanting to know why he sent expensive books to her home, after telling her to stay away from him – a perfectly valid, reasonable question.  But she is driving him crazy, because she doesn’t want to tell him where she is.  And she has every right not to.

“Ana, so help me, where the fuck are you?”

She giggles again. Shit, she’s laughing at me!

Again!

“I’m in Portland…’s a long way from Seattle.”

“Where in Portland?”

“Good night, Christian.”  The line goes dead.

“Ana!”

She hung up on me!  I stare at the phone in disbelief.  No one has ever hung up on me.  What the fuck!

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Elliot asks what’s up and Christian explains that he’s just been drunk dialled.  Elliot expresses his surprise, as Christian calls Ana back:

“Hi,” she says, all breathy and timid, and she’s in quieter surroundings.

For the love of GOD, EL James, this is not the most important thing right now, but QUIT with the Oxford commas!  You need some sort of support group to wean you off your addiction.

“I’m coming to get you.”  My voice is Arctic as I wrestle with my anger and snap my phone shut.

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I literally cannot say this enough: HE HAS NO RIGHT TO BE ANGRY.  SHE WAS UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO TELL HIM HER WHEREABOUTS.  SHE HAS DONE LITERALLY NOTHING WRONG. 

I am so close to another asthma attack, I can’t even tell you.

Grey informs Elliot that he “has to go get” a girl from a bar and asks if Elliot wants to tag along.  Elliot is all excited about seeing his apparently sexless brother with a girl and hurries to get ready.

And whilst Elliot’s distracted, this happens:

I wander into his bedroom while I decide if I should call Barney or Welch.  Barney is the most senior engineer in the telecommunications division of my company.  He’s a tech genius.  But what I want is not strictly legal.

Best to keep this away from my company.

This douche knows that what he’s doing is illegal.  But he doesn’t care, because Ana has pissed him off by being drunk and not telling him where she is.

He calls Welch and demands to know exactly where Ana is, thinking to himself:

I know this is outside of the law, but she could be getting herself into trouble.

Oh, save me from the “this is for her own good” line.  It’s straight out of chapter sodding one of The Big Bumper Guide To Being An Abusive Arse.  I’m sure you own a copy.  In fact, you may well have written it.  Fans use this argument as justification for Grey tracking her phone and turning up, uninvited, but from his POV, we can see that his main reaction is anger.  He talks about being concerned for her wellbeing, but he has no evidence whatsoever that he should be.  Instead, he just rages because she doesn’t tell him where she is and he struggles to control his anger at her.  Don’t forget, in the original book, when she wakes up the next morning, he tells her that if she was his, she “wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week after the stunt (she) pulled last night.”  His primary justification in going to pick her up is anger.  Don’t listen to anyone who insists otherwise.

When Christian and Elliot arrive at the bar, Christian quickly spots Kate, sitting at a table with three guys.  He tells us that the table is “littered with shot glasses and tumblers of beer.”  I think this is meant to convince the reader that Kate’s immoral or something, but to be honest, it just sounds like she and her friends have been having a good night out.

Kate tells Christian it’s a surprise to see him and he shrugs that he was “in the neighbourhood.”  Kate then notices Elliot and asks:

“And who’s this?”  She smiles rather too brightly at Elliot, interrupting me again.  What an exasperating woman.

Oh, dear.  Poor you.  It’s almost as though she knows you’ve illegally traced Ana’s phone in order to take her away from her friends when she’s too comatose to consent and is trying to stop you.  Alas, Kate doesn’t have those kinds of psychic abilities.  Boy, do I wish she did…

Elliot and Kate exchange grins, as Kate finally tells Christian that Ana has gone outside for some fresh air.

Eventually, Christian sees Ana with José and even though José is trying it on with her and is therefore right at this moment as bad as Christian is, I’m not giving Christian a pass for coming out here and demanding to take Ana home.

Hell!  She’s with the photographer, I think, though it’s difficult to tell in the dim light.  She’s in his arms, but she seems to be twisting away from him.  He mutters something to her, which I don’t hear, and kisses her, along her jaw.

“José, no,” she says, and then it’s clear.  She’s trying to push him off.

She doesn’t want this.

Interesting that Christian is suddenly the King of Consent, in this situation.  Rarely bothers him the rest of the time…

For a moment, I want to rip his head off.  With my hands fisted at my side, I march up to them.  “I think the lady said no,” my voice carries, cold and sinister, in the relative quiet, while I struggle to contain my anger.

Yep – all of that is in red, because whilst Christian may be justifiably angry that José isn’t listening when Ana has said no, we all know that this isn’t a truly chivalrous act.  Grey’s just pissed off that another guy has his paws on his woman.  Besides which, we all know he’s going to victim-blame Ana for this, so… Red ink, dude.  Red ink.

José recognises Grey and Christian charmingly announces that “it takes every ounce of my self-control not to smash the disappointment off his face.”

Would that be the same self-control that lapses when you feel like it?  You know, like when you fancy stalking young women, or not signing contracts?

Ana throws up and it would appear that Christian has a side-career as a vomit-inspector.  He tells us:

It’s with some annoyance that I note she doesn’t appear to have eaten.

ewwww

I have emetophobia and no matter how much I wanted to get into someone’s pants, I would not, under any circumstances, be inspecting their puke to see whether they’d eaten an adequate amount, that day.  This whole chapter has made me feel sick, without needing a description of Ana’s.

Once Ana’s finished her multiple chucking-up session, Grey gives her his handkerchief  and decides that not only can he inspect her vomit, but he can also read her mind:

Wiping her mouth, she turns and rests against the bricks, avoiding eye contact because she’s ashamed and embarrassed.

How do you know how she’s feeling?  Maybe she’s creeped out by the weirdo she didn’t give her location to, suddenly barging in to her “rescue?”

And yet I’m so pleased to see her.  Gone is my fury at the photographer.

Yep, you’ve got her all to yourself, now, so what does it matter that he tried to force himself on her?  Now, she has you for that!  Grey also immediately reminds us of what a piece of shit he is:

“I’m sorry,” she says finally, whilst her fingers twist the soft linen.

Okay, let’s have some fun.

What normal, sane person has that reaction to someone apologising, especially when the person saying sorry has done nothing to apologise for?!

“What are you sorry for, Anastasia?”

“The phone call, mainly.  Being sick.  Oh, the list is endless,” she mumbles.

“We’ve all been here, perhaps not quite as dramatically as you.”  Why is it such fun to tease this young woman?

BECAUSE YOU ARE AN AWFUL PIECE OF SHIT WHOSE FATHER SHOULD HAVE JUST WANKED INTO A SOCK, INSTEAD.

I hate this man.  I hate this book.  I hate EL James.  I hate the fans who defend this.  Right at this moment, I hate everything about Fifty sodding Shades.

“It’s about knowing your limits, Anastasia.  I mean, I’m all for pushing limits, but really, this is beyond the pale.  Do you make a habit of this kind of behaviour?”

EVEN IF SHE DOES, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU, ASSHOLE.  

Perhaps she has a problem with alcohol.  The thought is worrying and I consider whether I should call my mother for a referral to a detox clinic.

Ana gets drunk and throws up and now Grey has her pegged as an alcoholic?!

Anyway, she tells him that no, she has never been drunk before and never wants to be drunk again.  Which is, you know, interesting, seeing as Grey purposefully gets her drunk in order to gain consent, as the story continues…

Ana starts to sway and Grey thinks she might pass out, so he scoops her up into his arms, like the wonderful white knight he truly isn’t.

She’s surprisingly light.  Too light.  The thought irks me.  No wonder she’s drunk.

REPEAT AFTER ME, EVERYONE: HER WEIGHT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU, ASSHOLE.

Grey tells her that he’ll take her home (which we know is a lie – he takes her back to his hotel).  Ana asks to go to see Kate so she can explain where she’s going, but Grey tells her not to worry, because his brother will tell her.  He tells her that he’s staying at The Heathman, thinking:

And my wild-goose chase has paid off.

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Ana insists on going back into the bar to let Kate know where she is, which gives Grey more chance to internally slag Kate off (because I’m never going to tire of that):

Kavanagh wasn’t worried about her being out there with the overamorous photographer. Rodriguez.  That’s his name.  What kind of friend is she?

Yo, dick-weed.  Kate didn’t know what was happening.  She doesn’t have the ability to see through walls.  She and Ana both know José, so it’s not like she sent Ana off with a total stranger.  It’s hugely unlikely that she would have thought: “Oh, hang on, I ought to just double check that José isn’t planning on molesting Ana, tonight…”  Quit blaming the wrong people, you grotesque pubic louse.

As much as it pains me, I put her down and agree to take her inside.

What a freaking hero you are.

Holding hands, we walk back into the bar…

Okay, make a note of that physical contact, everyone.

Kate isn’t at the table when Ana returns.  Only one of the guys from earlier is still there and he informs Ana that Kate is dancing.  Ana collects her jacket and purse and then clutches Christian’s arm and this happens:

I freeze.

Shit.

My heart rate catapults into overdrive as the darkness surfaces, stretching and tightening its claws around my throat.

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So, notice how he strolled into the bar holding Ana’s hand, but the second she touches his arm, suddenly the “darkness surfaces?”  It’s literally minutes between these two physical actions, yet one of them is fine and the other is supposedly this enormous trigger for him.  It’s totally inconsistent and it’s one of the big problems I have believing Grey’s “I don’t like to be touched” bullsh!t; it apparently comes and goes as he chooses.

Ana shouts over the music that Kate is on the dance floor, and her voice supposedly “tickles” Grey’s ears and “Suddenly the darkness disappears.”

They’re still not even a couple, but EL is subtly reminding us – not for the first time – that Ana is responsible for “fixing” Grey, because she’s freaking magic.

He takes her to the bar and gets her a large glass of water, ordering her to drink all of it.

I’m hoping this will be enough damage control to prevent one hell of a hangover tomorrow.

What might have happened to her if I hadn’t intervened?  My mood sinks.

You know what?  I think she’d have told José no, thrown up, José would have scarpered (he does when she’s sick, anyway) and she’d have gone back to her friends, who would have actually taken her back to her home.  But, by all means, imply that you’re the hero of the piece.

And I think of what just happened to me.

Her touch.  My reaction.

My mood plummets further.

Ana sways a little as she’s drinking, So I steady her with a hand on her shoulder.  I like the connection – me touching her.  She’s oil on my troubled, deep, dark waters.

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Oh and notice once again, that this touching makes him feel better.  Because it’s him touching her.  Sure, I’m certain that there are people who really do have trauma that only allows them to do particular things on their own terms, but this touching thing is just so inconsistent, I give up.

Ana finishes her drink and Grey thinks:

Okay.  She wants to talk to her so-called friend.

Remember, he has no real reason to believe that Kate isn’t a good friend to Ana.  Kate has no idea what has happened, tonight.

I grab her hand and lead her toward the dance floor.  She hesitates, but if she wants to talk to her friend, there’s only one way; she’s going to have to dance with me.

Nope.  Kate is dancing with your brother.  You could have just gone over, interrupted and said “hey Kate, Ana wants to speak to you.”  But you’re an asshole, so…

Oh and Grey does mention that he’s horrified about the idea of lots of people touching him on the dance floor, but in that case, he could have just sent Ana to go and find Kate.

With a tug, she’s in my arms.

Sounds… Aggressive.

This I can handle.  When I know she’s going to touch me, it’s okay.  I can deal, especially since I’m wearing my jacket.  I weave us through the crowd to where Elliot and Kate are making a spectacle of themselves.

By… Dancing?  In a club?  That’s… That’s not unusual.  But of course, we have to know that Elliot and Kate are trashy and awful, whereas Ana and Grey are the world’s greatest ever love story!!1!!ONE!!

Grey tells Elliot that he’s taking Ana home and asks him to pass the information on to Kate.

Right.  Let me take Little Miss Drunk Bookworm home, but for some reason she’s reluctant to go.

If so, you should leave her with her friend and back the fuck off.

Then, Ana passes out and Grey catches her.  He takes her out to his Audi.

She mumbles something incoherent and I know she’s still conscious.  I know I should take her home, but it’s a long drive to Vancouver and I don’t know if she’ll be sick again.  I don’t relish the idea of my Audi reeking of vomit.  The smell emanating from her clothes is already noticeable.

I head to The Heathman, telling myself that I’m doing this for her sake.

Yeah, tell yourself that Grey.

He KNOWS he should take her back to her own home.  He KNOWS he isn’t really taking care of her by bringing her back to his hotel room.  But he does it anyway, because he is freaking atrocious.

I’d really like to give her a bath, but that would be stepping beyond the bounds of propriety.

And this isn’t?

THEN STOP, ASSHOLE.  If you know that what you’re doing is wrong, stop.

We know this is wrong, because as he undresses Ana for bed, he’s imagining having sex with her:

She falls back on the bed, splayed out like a starfish, all pale arms and legs, and for a moment I picture those legs wrapped around my waist as her wrists are bound to my Saint Andrew’s cross.

In red, because he’s sexualising a woman who is barely conscious and who he has brought back to his hotel room without her consent.

Laughably, once Ana is asleep in bed, this happens:

Before I check my emails, I text Welch, asking him to see if José Rodriguez has any police records.  I’m curious.  I want to know if he preys on drunk young women.

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YOU MEAN LIKE YOU DO??!!

Then Grey texts Elliot to let him know that Ana is at The Heathman with him and to tell Kate, if he’s still with her.  He texts back:

Will do.

Hope you get laid.

You soooooo need it. 😉

Aw, cute.  His brother hopes he has sex with the girl who passed out on the dance floor and isn’t in a fit state to give consent.

His response makes me snort.  

I so do, Elliot.  I so do.

And then he goes off to read his work emails and this excruciatingly long and vile chapter finally ends.

I’m off to cry in the corner.

Grey, Chapter 5 (Friday, May 20, 2011)

Grey: Chapter 4 (Thursday, May 19, 2011)

Hello again, good people of the interwebs.  I am here with another instalment of misery, in the form of Grey, chapter 4!  Try to contain your joy…

Now, you may remember that at the end of the last chapter, Ana had wanted Grey to kiss her, but instead, he’d warned her off with the classic “I’m not the man for you” manipulative bullsh!t that abusers so dearly love to use.  As we start this chapter, Grey is having a terrible nightmare and gets up, only to glance at himself in the mirror and look away in disgust.  Sadly, it’s not because he realises he’s a vile creature who treats women appallingly.  It’s because he turned Ana down.

The thing is, this whole opening is so exceptionally melodramatic, I feel I can’t possibly keep it from you.  It simply wouldn’t be fair.  So…

No!  My scream bounces off the bedroom walls and wakes me from my nightmare.  I’m smothered in sweat, with the stench of stale beer, cigarettes and poverty in my nostrils…

What, exactly, does “poverty” smell like?!

…and a lingering dread of drunken violence.  Sitting up, I put my head in my hands as I try to calm my escalated heart rate and erratic breathing.  It’s been the same for the last four nights.  Glancing at the clock, I see it’s 3:00am.

So, hey, who wants to make a guess as to how many days it’s been since Grey turned Ana down?  Anyone?  Yup, four.  See, EL James is doing two things, here.  Firstly, she’s reminding us that poor ickle Christian had a truly awful time as a child, therefore nobody can blame him for his behaviour as an adult.  Secondly, she’s highlighting that his nightmares have gotten worse since he turned Ana down.  The incredibly obvious subtext being that if Ana was there, he’d be okay.  Because she could “fix” him.  It’s important to note, because this is where the “Ana is responsible for fixing Christian” crap really starts.  It’s the same in the original Fifty Shades; once Grey tells Ana he’s no good for her, she’s intrigued and starts wondering about his past and whether she could change him.  Here, from his POV, EL James is very clearly setting up Ana as the one who can change Christian’s life and rescue him from himself.  Never mind that she doesn’t change him at all; it’s not her job to change him in the first place.  That’s up to him.  He has to recognise his behaviour and want to change.  Which, you know, he literally never does.

But hey, on with the drama…

I have two major meetings tomorrow…today…and I need a clear head and some sleep.  Damn it, what I’d give for a good night’s sleep.  And I have a round of fucking golf with Bastille.  I should cancel the golf; the thought of playing and losing darkens my already bleak mood.

Christian Grey: a man so precious, the thought of losing a game of golf has the capacity to affect his mood.  He really needs a better therapist than Dr Flynn, because WOW, issues.

Clambering out of bed, I wander down the corridor and into the kitchen.  There, I fill a glass with water and catch sight of myself, dressed only in pyjama pants, reflected in the glass wall at the other side of the room.  I turn away in disgust.

You turned her down.

She wanted you.

And you turned her down.

It was for her own good.

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Good LORD man, get over yourself.  Most of us have, at some point in our lives, turned down a person who was romantically interested in us.  It’s not like you burned down her apartment (although I wouldn’t put it past you).

Grey ponders whether he needs a new sub to take his mind off Ana and he informs the reader that Elena usually finds him “suitable candidates,” which is super healthy, given that she’s the older woman who molested him when he was underage…

He whines on for a few paragraphs about how beautiful Ana is and how much he wants her.  He contemplates calling his shrink, if Dr Flynn wasn’t in England on vacation, explaining charmingly:

His psychobabble shit would stop me feeling this lousy.

Would it?  Because you don’t seem to listen to any of it.  Besides which, Dr Flynn enables your awful behaviour, so…

Anyway, Grey starts wondering if he can find a way to apologise to Ana.  This becomes relevant, when he hears a news item about a rare Jane Austen manuscript being auctioned off and thinks:

Christ.  Even the news reminds me of Little Miss Bookworm.

Why does his internal monologue so often make it sound like he really doesn’t like Ana?!  In the last few chapters, he’s criticised her dress sense constantly and now he’s calling her “Little Miss Bookworm,” which, I don’t know, maybe it’s just because I know he’s an asshole and I’m looking for stuff, just seems to come off as a little sneering towards her.

He remembers he just happens to have two Thomas Hardy first editions – Jude The Obscure and Tess of The D’Ubervilles in his library.

Both are bleak books, with tragic themes.  Hardy had a dark, twisted soul.

Like me. 

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He decides to send Ana the first edition of Tess of The D’Ubervilles “with a suitable quote.”  He admits that it’s “not the most romantic book,” but to be honest, the way he talks about the plot and the non-romantic parts just makes it sound like EL James has read the CliffsNotes and wants to sound knowledgeable, after critics questioned the choice of book and quote, in the original Fifty Shades of Grey.

As he sits in the back of the car on his way to work, Grey tells the reader that he used fiction as an escape as a teenager.

My mother always marvelled that I read; Elliot not so much.  I craved the escape that fiction provided.  He didn’t need an escape.

Because Grey is SO MUCH MORE TRAGIC than Elliot and nobody could ever understand such things!  Also, the way that sentence is worded makes it look as though Elliot didn’t marvel that Christian read, but their mother did.  Just saying.

Grey ignores the receptionist who gives him what he calls a “flirty wave.”

Every day… Like a cheesy tune on repeat.

Ignoring her, I make my way to the elevator that will take me straight to my floor.

Here’s the thing, douche-canoe… You’re that girl’s boss.  Have you literally never considered that she smiles and waves at you whenever you come in, because you pay her freaking wages and she figures she ought to be friendly and polite towards you, even though you’re a massive ass-hat?!

Probably not.  This guy is, after all, the most arrogant human who has ever lived.

But notice how he talks to the security guy:

“Good morning, Mr Grey,” Barry on security greets me as he presses the button to summon the elevator.

“How’s your son, Barry?”

“Better, Sir.”

“I’m glad to hear it.”

See, he refers to this guy by name.  He has clearly spoken with Barry before about his life, because he references Barry’s son having been unwell.  Compare that to the way that Grey treats women who works for him.  He mentally admonishes them all for “flirting” with him when they smile or are polite towards him and he cuts them off when they try to speak.  Don’t believe me?  Look how he treats Andrea, his PA, when he gets out of the elevator:

“Good morning, Mr Grey.  Ros wants to see you to discuss the Darfur project.  Barney would like a few minutes…”

I hold my hand up to silence her.

Yup.  Christian Grey is a misogynist.

Just to ram home the point, he informs the reader that he can’t see Olivia around and that it’s a relief, because she’s “always mooning over me and it’s fucking irritating.”  And when Andrea asks Grey if he’d like milk in the coffee he originally wanted Olivia to get, he replies “not today” and then smirks to himself, because he likes to keep the office girls guessing as to how he likes his coffee.

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Because women are beneath him, duh.

Of course, once he’s at his desk and should be working, Grey immediately calls Welch and tells him to find out when Ana’s last exam is, “as a matter of priority.”  Because what’s more important, eh?  Running the global business you brag about, or gaining further information without consent?!

Next up, there is a seriously, seriously dull meeting with Ros about business stuff, which genuinely, I might print out and keep beside my bed for when I next struggle to get to sleep.  You can really tell the sections where EL James knew she had to pad this crap out and just decided to fill it with unnecessary details that I doubt even the biggest fan of this abomination is interested in.  The only thing that may be of interest is Grey pouting over the idea of opening up an arm of his empire in Detroit, because he was born there and spent the first four, tragic years of his life, there.  But that doesn’t make much sense, because if he knows there are poor people there, and he’s dedicated part of his business to feeding the hungry in Africa because he went hungry as a kid, why doesn’t he want to create job opportunities for poor families in his home city?!

Andrea interrupts this meeting to let Grey know that Welch is back on the line with the information he asked for: Ana’s last exam is – conveniently – tomorrow.

Before long, it’s lunchtime (thank goodness; we know Grey does not tolerate hunger – EVER), but EL James can’t even write a simple lunch scene without reminding us that all women love Christian Grey, but Christian Grey hates all women:

At 12:30, Olivia shuffles into my office with lunch.  She’s a tall, willowy girl with a pretty face.  Sadly, it’s always misdirected at me with longing.  She’s carrying a tray with what I hope is something edible.  After a busy morning, I’m starving.  She trembles as she puts it on my desk.

Tuna salad.  Okay.  She hasn’t fucked this up for once.

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Dude, if she’s “shuffling” into your office and “trembles” as she gives you your lunch, it might not be that she has this big, giant crush on you.  She’s probably freaking terrified of the vile boss who treats all of the women in his company with such enormous contempt.  Ugh.

Anyway, Olivia also has some blank notecards for Grey to choose from, in order to write a quote to send to Ana.

“Great,” I mutter.  Now go.  She scuttles out.

I take one bite of tuna to assuage my hunger, then reach for my pen.  I’ve chosen a quote.  A warning.  I made the correct choice, walking away from her.  Not all men are romantic heroes.  I’ll take the word “men-folk” out.  She’ll understand.

Why didn’t you tell me there was danger?  Why didn’t you warn me?  Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks.

Grey then buzzes for Andrea and tells her to send the books to Ana, ensuring they arrive the next day.  Andrea apparently smiles as she leaves the office, which Grey thinks is odd, because apparently Andrea “never smiles.”  I think the reader is supposed to be all “aaaw, Andrea’s smiling because her cold-hearted boss has melted because he’s in luuuuurve,” but for all we know, she might just have wind.

She never smiles.  Dismissing the thought, I wonder if that will be the last I see of the books, and I have to acknowledge that deep down, I hope not.

And that, friends, is the end of this truly riveting chapter.  Yes, literally all that happened is Grey had a nightmare, which the author subtly put responsibility on Ana for stopping, he went to work and was a misogynist sh!t-weasel, got yet more information about Ana without her consent and sent her some books.

Wow.  I think that might have been the dullest chapter of a so-called erotic novel I have ever read.  Ever.

At least I know I’ll sleep like a baby after reading that drivel…

See you next time!

 

Grey: Chapter 4 (Thursday, May 19, 2011)

Grey: Chapter 3 (Sunday May 15 2011)_

Right, everyone.  The last chapter proved that Christian Grey is a possessive, obsessive stalker.  So, I’m super excited for this chapter…

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We open with Grey going for a 6:30am jog.  He informs us that he’s been having sexual dreams about Ana and he wonders what his therapist would think about it, if he told him.

The thought is disconcerting, so I ignore it…

Yeah, that’s Christian Grey: always so very keen on self-analysis and positive change…  Pffft.

He begins wondering whether he ought to invite Ana out for coffee, and we’re treated to yet another glimpse of what a totally swoon-worthy Romeo we’re dealing with:

Maybe I should take her for coffee.

Like a date?

Well.  No.  Not a date.  I laugh at the ridiculous thought.  Just a chat – an interview of sorts.  Then I can find out a little more about this enigmatic woman and if she’s interested, or if I’m on a wild-goose chase.

The idea of a traditional date is “ridiculous” – all Grey wants to do is “interview” Ana to see if she’s up for fulfilling his desires.  He hasn’t once considered what she might like.  This is literally all about him.  Please do let me know at which point I’m supposed to get my knickers in a knot over this guy.

He returns from his run and finds that his breakfast has been delivered.  He tells us:

I’m famished.  It’s not a feeling I tolerate – ever.

Okay, so this is meant to be a callback to his tragic youth and a reminder that Grey is, much like Band Aid, on a mission to Feed The World (and possibly let them know it’s Christmas time, I don’t know…), but to be honest, it just made me do a little giggle.

I AM CHRISTIAN GREY AND I DO NOT TOLERATE HUNGER. EVER.

I wonder what other physical sensations he doesn’t tolerate?  Are we going to find out that he simply WILL NOT PUT UP with being clammy?  Perhaps he becomes APOPLECTIC WITH RAGE when he has pins and needles?

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Is anyone out there wondering how Grey gets himself ready to meet Ana, once he’s had breakfast and showered?  Well, wonder no longer…

My hair is wet from my shower, but I don’t give a shit.  One glance at the louche fucker in the mirror and I exit to follow Taylor to the elevator.

Is…  Is EL James trying to make him laughably egotistical?!  Because LOL.  And not in a sexy “ooh, he’s got such a swagger, tee-hee, he doesn’t care what anyone thinks, haha” kind of way.  More of a “MWAHAHAHAAAAA THIS GUY STINKS MORE THAN A STILTON LEFT IN A WARM CUPBOARD FOR SIX MONTHS” type way.

Ana is wearing jeans and chucks, which Grey genuinely describes as “not very convenient.”  Yep, there’s the wannabe rapist we all know and love.  He’s annoyed because her clothes don’t provide easy enough access.  Phwoar.

He tells us that he wants to kiss Ana’s hand upon greeting her, but tells himself:

Don’t be absurd, Grey.”  

Because we have to know at all times that Christian Grey does not do romance.  Consider me to be eye-rolling pretty darn hard, right now.

He is introduced to Katherine Kavanagh, aka Ana’s roommate Kate and, as in the original Fifty Shades book, he instantly dislikes her.  He “reluctantly” releases Ana in order to shake Kate’s hand and has to remind himself that had Kate not been ill, he wouldn’t have met Ana.  That is literally the only charitable thought he has towards Kate.  Indeed, he admits:

The thought makes me feel a little more benevolent towards her.

Wow, I’m sure Kate’s thrilled.

And yet, the insta-hate he feels for Kate continues immediately, as he judges her without knowing anything about her:

She has a firm, confident handshake, and I doubt she’s ever faced a day of hardship in her privileged life.  I wonder why these women are friends.  They have nothing in common.

You got all that from a firm, confident handshake?!

I mean sure, Grey knows Kate’s father (if you recall, he only agreed to Kate interviewing him for the student paper as a favour to her father, which he wanted repaid at some point), so perhaps he knows (or at least thinks he knows) something of her family background, but how the HELL can he say that Kate and Ana have nothing in common, without having much more than Ana’s illegally gained bank details to go on?!  Christian Grey is engaged in some kind of bizarre reverse-snobbery, in which he dislikes the rich girl (despite being massively wealthy himself) and only wants the poor one (who he intends to lavish with expensive gifts, so… WTF?!).  Screw you, Grey.

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Ana blushes when Grey smiles at her and he wonders whether it’s only him who can make her do that.  Erm, no.  Ana spends her entire life blushing and stammering and biting her sodding lip.  But by all means, imagine only you can cause that reaction in her, or indeed anyone, you louche fucker.

Anyway, hands up if you were missing Possessive Creep Grey?!  You’re about to have a treat and a half then, because he’s about to meet José!

“This is José Rodriguez, our photographer,” Anastasia says, and her face lights up as she introduces him.

Shit.  Is this the boyfriend?

Rodriguez blooms under Ana’s sweet smile.

Are they fucking?

“Mr Grey.”  Rodriguez gives me a dark look as we shake hands.  It’s a warning.  He’s telling me to back off.  He likes her.  He likes her a lot.

Well, game on, kid.

Because, apparently, if this guy is Ana’s boyfriend, Grey is still going to steal her away with his magnificent penis, or something?  I don’t know, it’s just so tiring seeing a man with so few boundaries touted as a romantic hero…

As José turns on the studio lights and momentarily blinds Grey (nice job, dude), the internal monologue has Grey noticing that Ana always seems to stand in the background.  This causes him to think that a) that must be the basis of her friendship with Kate; she stands back and lets Kate take centre stage all the time and b) that Ana must be a “natural submissive.”

Yeah, so…  I know this one is poor research and diabolical writing more than anything else, but can we pur-lease stop with the whole “she is meek and shy, therefore perfect sub material” crap?  Because I’m 99.9% sure that there’s a whole lot more to it than that.

Anyway, Rapey McRapeFace makes another appearance, as Grey locks eyes with Ana during the photo session:

Our eyes meet; hers are honest and innocent and for a moment, I reconsider my plan.  But then she bites her lip and my breath catches in my throat.

Or, to paraphrase: “I was going to stop being such a major creep towards this clearly innocent woman I barely know, but then she did something that turned me on, so screw that.”

He continues:

Back down, Anastasia.  I will her to stop staring, and as if she can hear me, she’s the first to look away.

Good girl.

Ew.  With a side order of gross and some ick on the side.  But hey, Christian Grey can control minds, now.  He truly is the full package.

Once the photoshoot is over, Kate shakes Grey’s hand…

Followed by the photographer, who regards me with ill-concealed disapproval.  His antagonism makes me smile.

Oh, man…  You have no idea.

Christian Grey enjoys winding up a guy he just met, because said guy is good friends with the girl he has been sexualising for the past week, despite barely knowing her.  Where, oh where can I find me a man like this?!

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He’s in there, somewhere…

Grey asks Ana to walk with him and he openly admits that he’s trying to “put some distance between her and Rodriguez.”

Man, for a guy who’s so arrogant, he really is terribly insecure, isn’t he?!

He invites Ana for coffee and Ana replies that she has to drive everyone home.  This makes Grey yell for Taylor (literally) and Ana jumps.

I must make her nervous and I don’t know if this is good or bad.  And she can’t stop fidgeting.  Thinking of all the ways I could make her stop is distracting.

Thinking of all the ways I could murder you and ensure nobody ever finds the body is equally distracting, Christian.

Once Grey has asked Taylor to take Ana’s friends home, he asks her for coffee again and she hesitates:

Shit.  It’s a no.  I’m going to lose this deal.

Mmmm, I long for a man to treat me like a business deal.

Whilst Ana goes to swap cars with Kate (to save Taylor the trouble of driving anyone home), Christian wonders whether he could just blurt out “Would you like to be my submissive?” But resolves to take things one stage at a time.  Sure, dude, I mean you’ve already done the illegal background check and stalked the girl, now is the right time to slow things down and pretend you’re not an asshole.

Whilst Ana’s gone, Grey starts to panic that she might be kissing José goodbye and is relieved when she returns and “doesn’t look like she’s just been kissed.”

What was he expecting if she had?  Lipstick smeared around her ears and handprints on her butt?!

As they head off for coffee, Grey asks Ana about her friendship with Kate and notes that Ana is “clearly devoted.”  He inwardly hopes that Kate treats Ana with the same level of respect that Ana treats her with, which is weird, because he has literally no reason to suspect that Kate doesn’t, beyond his instant decision to hate her.

As Grey takes Ana’s hand, he’s genuinely annoyed that she’s not as nervous as he’d like her to be, which is, you know, totally healthy…

I take her hand, which is cool and not clammy as expected.  Perhaps I don’t affect her as much as I’d like.  The thought is disheartening.

Isn’t it annoying when your date doesn’t seem afraid of you?!

There’s a loved-up couple with Ana and Grey in the elevator and listening to their giggles, Grey admits to himself that he finds it “wholesome” and “charming.”  He thinks of Ana as being innocent, just like the giggling couple and he questions his motives, again.

I swear, EL James only put all these brief “oh, she’s too young/inexperienced” bits in to make it look like Christian wasn’t totally railroading this whole thing.  But he undoes his own doubts with comments about how much he wants her every single time, so they fall flatter than the levels of tension in this damn chapter.

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Christian is bemused by Ana asking for an English Breakfast tea with the bag out, because tea is so incredibly confusing?  I don’t know.  I stopped caring about three paragraphs ago.  As he queues up to order their drinks, this happens:

I have to wait in line while the two matronly women behind the counter exchange inane pleasantries with all their customers.  It’s frustrating and keeping me from my objective: Anastasia.

“Hey, handsome, what can I get you?” The older woman asks, with a twinkle in her eye.  It’s just a pretty face, sweetheart.

This guy is a narcissist.  Seriously, “hey, handsome” doesn’t have to mean the “matronly women” actually fancy him.  He’s literally just mentioned that they’re exchanging pleasantries with everyone.  But sure, Christian Grey is appealing to absolutely everyone who has a vagina.  At least, in his mind.

He orders Ana a blueberry muffin, despite the fact that she has told him she doesn’t want anything to eat.  Aaah, the creepy control over her eating habits has begun.  I missed those…

As the woman serving him continues to make polite small talk, Grey offers her one-word answers and inwardly tells her to “hurry the fuck up.”  He is such a dreamboat.

When the woman tells him to have a nice day, we get this additional reminder of how charming he is:

I manage a cordial response.  “Thank you.”

Oh, that must have been hard for you, Christian.  Have a sticker for your Good Boy chart.

Once he returns to their table, Grey watches Ana dunk her teabag in the hot water.

As she tells me she likes her tea weak and black, for a moment, I think she’s describing what she likes in a man.

Because you were dropped on your head as a baby?!  Seriously, who is this neurotic?

Dispensing with pleasantries, Grey then dives straight into:

“Is he your boyfriend?”

No, Christian.  It’s a cup of tea.

Grey clarifies that he’s talking about José and Ana laughs.

She laughs.  At me.

At me!

I don’t want to shock you, Christian, but I laugh at you all the time.  Because you’re ludicrous and awful and it’s my last remaining coping mechanism.  I laugh and then I face-plant whatever’s nearby

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Ana explains that José is more like family to her.  Grey asks her whether Paul from work is her boyfriend and Ana starts getting defensive, reminding him that she told him the previous day that Paul was just a friend.  He tells her that she seems nervous around men and Ana admits that she finds him intimidating.  Just as in the original book, Grey replies:

“You should find me intimidating.”

SPOILER: As I was typing that, I accidentally wrote “you should find me irritating,” which makes much more sense.

Ana enquires as to whether he always asks such personal questions and he responds by asking if he’s offended her.  When she says no, he carries on with his interrogation, avoiding her own questions to him.

“Tell me about your parents.”

She rolls her eyes and I have to fight the compulsion to scold her.

Well, fight it hard, asshole.  You’re not in any kind of relationship and she can do whatever she damn well wants.

He admits, as she answers his questions:

Of course, I knew all this from Welch’s background check, but it’s important to hear it from her.

THEN ASK HER IN THE FIRST PLACE, LIKE A NORMAL PERSON!

When Ana tells him that her father died when she was a baby, Grey internally tells us that:

For a moment, I’m catapulted into my nightmares, looking at a prostrate body on a grimy floor.

Look, I’m not going to mock his childhood trauma.  But lines like this seem to be just casually thrown in to excuse Grey’s hideous behaviour and therefore they don’t elicit much, if any sympathy from me.

He can apparently tell that Raymond Steele has been a good father to Ana, just from her “clear and bright” tone of voice when she says she doesn’t remember her birth father.  This guy has some superhuman powers going on.

As Ana hesitates with her answers and keeps them brief, Christian tells her that she’s not giving much away.  When she counters that neither is he, he reminds her that she has already interviewed him.

Christian discovers that Ana’s mother is an incurable romantic and inwardly hopes that Ana isn’t the same; remember guys, we have to shoehorn the “no romance” thing into each chapter several times, or EL James will worry that we might not “get” that Christian’s not looking for lurve.

Of course, when Ana continues trying to ask questions of Grey, he doesn’t like it very much:

“Tell me about your parents,” she demands, in an attempt to divert the conversation from her family.  I don’t like talking about mine, so I give her the bare details.

Seriously, screw this guy.  He wants all the information he can get on her (including information she isn’t aware he has), but he gets tetchy when she asks him the same things he’s been asking her?!  YUCK.

The conversation moves to travel and Ana says she’d love to visit England.  Christian asks her why and as an English person, I’m annoyed, because everyone should come, it’s bloody lovely, tally ho and crumpets and tea, what, what!

“It’s the home of Shakespeare, Austen, the Brontë sisters, Thomas Hardy.  I’d love to see the places that inspired those people to write such wonderful books.”  It’s obvious this is her first love.

Books.

She said as much in Clayton’s, yesterday.  That means I’m competing with Darcy, Rochester and Angel Clare: impossible romantic heroes.  Here’s the proof I needed.  She’s an incurable romantic, like her mother – and this isn’t going to work.  To add insult to injury, she looks at her watch.  She’s done.

I’ve blown this deal.

Why, oh why doesn’t this book end here, then?!

Christian realises that the last twenty minutes have been “…enjoyable” (wow, calm yourself, Grey) and gives her his most dazzling smile, “guaranteed to disarm.”  So, he’s given up on the whole thing, but… He hasn’t?  I’m so freaking confused right now.

“Do you always wear jeans?” I ask.

“Mostly,” she says, and it’s two strikes against her: incurable romantic who only wears jeans… I like my women in skirts.  I like them accessible.

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Grey, you are a sexual predator and I hope someone cuts your penis off with a rusty spoon.

Seriously.  “I like them accessible”????!!!!  FUCK YOU.

This guy genuinely believes he should have the right to a woman’s body at all times and I’m supposed to flip my lid over him?!  No, thanks.  The guy needs locking up.

Oh, and you know how EL James hasn’t hammered us over the head with the “no romance” crap for, ooh, at least two paragraphs?

Do you have a girlfriend?”  She asks, out of the blue, and it’s the third strike.  I’m out of this fledgling deal.  She wants romance, and I can’t offer that.

Just, as an aside, because I’m getting rage-headache from the abuse-stuff, can I just confirm that EL James uses a comma before almost every “and” she writes and it’s starting to do my also-a-published-author head in.  Yes, there’s such a thing as an Oxford comma, but this woman is OBSESSED with them.  Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Anyway, then we have the moment where Ana steps out in front of a cyclist and Grey saves her and he could “fall into her gaze and never return” and she smells of an apple orchard, apparently.  For a guy who doesn’t do romance, his PoV is frequently narrated by a hormonal boy writing sixth form poetry.  As Ana stares at him, he realises her eyes are fixated on his mouth.

Shit.  She wants me to kiss her.

And I want to.  Just once.  Her lips are parted, ready, waiting.  Her mouth felt welcoming beneath my thumb.

No. No. No.  Don’t do this, Grey.

She’s not the girl for you.

She wants hearts and flowers and you don’t do that shit.

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I close my eyes to blot her out and fight the temptation, and when I open them again, my decision is made.

“Anastasia,” I whisper, “you should steer clear of me.  I’m not the man for you.”

The little V forms between her brows and I think she’s stopped breathing.

Ladies who are rejected by Christian Love God Grey will all immediately DIE.  That’s just how it works.

Ana is clearly disappointed by Grey’s rebuff, but she politely thanks him for saving her from the cyclist.  Ever the over-dramatic man-child, Grey tells the reader:

I want to tell her that I’m saving her from me…  

Except you’re not saving her from you, because we all know you’ll carry on pursuing her, because you’re an obsessive creep.

He tells us that he feels regret as he tries and fails to stammer an apology and Ana snaps: “What, Christian?!” before she thanks him for the photoshoot and storms back across the street.

The chapter ends on a little more of that fabulous sixth form poetry:

She disappears into the building, leaving in her wake a trace of regret, the memory of her beautiful, blue eyes, and the scent of an apple orchard in the fall.

You know what they say: an apple a day keeps the abusive bastard away…

And I’m off to bed to read literally anything but more of this.  Stay tuned for chapter four, coming when I’ve mentally prepared myself for it…

 

 

 

Grey: Chapter 3 (Sunday May 15 2011)_