Soooo yes, I promised to get this chapter finished before Christmas and yes, I have failed spectacularly. I can only apologise and truthfully tell you I got wrapped up in family Christmas/New Year stuff and then, last weekend when I fully planned to be writing this recap, I was instead sitting in the small hours of the morning, with my head firmly down the toilet.
So, you know, at least I felt like I’d finished recapping the chapter…
But, I’ve had a few days to regain my appetite and my energy, so what better way to reward myself (and all of you) than by diving straight back into the abyss?! Don’t say I never do anything for you…
Oh, and as usual, TRIGGER WARNINGS. Please exercise self care.
So, when we left Abusey-McAbuseFace, he was trying to persuade Ana not to give him back the first editions of Tess of The D’Ubervilles he gave her.
“I will buy you lots of things, Anastasia. Get used to it. I can afford it. I’m a very wealthy man.”
And that makes everything okay, ladies. It’s perfectly fine for a guy to stalk, threaten, control and manipulate you, as long as he buys you lots of stuff. At least, that seems to be one of the big take-home messages of this crappy book, so… Meh.
Ana is less than thrilled:
“It makes me feel cheap,” she says.
“It shouldn’t. You’re overthinking it. Don’t place some vague moral judgment on yourself based on what others might think. Don’t waste your energy. It’s only because you have reservations about our arrangement; that’s perfectly natural. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.”
I find it so sexy when a man tells me how to feel.
Look, instead of telling her she shouldn’t think the way she does, how about listening to her, you total plank?! Because sure, you might think she’s overthinking and wasting her energy, but if you asked her why it makes her feel cheap, you might get an answer that enables you to understand each other better. Maybe it’s because you refuse to refer to her as your girlfriend and therefore she feels like you’re throwing her gifts just to ensure she still has sex with you?! Maybe it’s because she’s not very materialistic and she’d really rather you spent time with her, instead of blowing cash on her?! ASK HER.
But no, because then there’d be no pointless drama and I could go back to reading a good book…
As is Christian Grey’s wont, when he doesn’t get immediate agreement to anything from Ana (sexual or otherwise), he decides the best bet is to give her alcohol:
“Have some champagne,” I whisper, and she rewards me with a small smile.
“That’s better.” I open the champagne and fill the dainty teacups she’s placed in front of me.
“It’s pink.” She’s surprised, and I haven’t the heart to tell her why I chose pink.
He doesn’t tell us either, but my guess is it’s because he wants to slap her ass until that’s pink, because literally everything about him has something to do with his enjoyment of supposedly kinky sex, because that’s literally the only personality trait he has.
Ana suggests they begin discussing her soft limits and they move to the sofa. There is a boring conversation about how Grey had Ana’s stepfather eating out of his hand, then the subject changes to the wine served at Ana’s graduation, as they sip their champagne:
She takes another sip and closes her eyes, savoring the taste. Opening them again, she asks, “Did you try the wine at the reception?”
“Yes. It was foul.” I grimace.
“I thought of you when I tasted it. How did you get to be so knowledgeable about wine?”
“I’m not knowledgeable, Anastasia, I just know what I like.” And I like you.
You know you’re with a keeper when you’re actually thinking about how much your new partner would detest the wine being served at your graduation, rather than thinking about the small fact that you just, you know, graduated.
Also, notice again that Grey only thinks the “and I like you,” part. Because he never says the important stuff out loud. I can’t decide if it’s EL James’ lousy writing, his stupid personality or both.
Anyway, buckle up, because deliberately getting someone drunk in order to gain consent is about to happen!
“Some more?” I nod toward the bottle on the table.
I fetch the champagne and refill her cup. She regards me suspiciously. She knows I’m plying her with alcohol.
“This place looks pretty bare. Are you ready for the move?” I ask, to distract her.
A stereotypical Fifty Shades fan sent us a rather abusive tweet, today, advising us to “read the fucking books and learn about consent.” Well, duh, we’ve read the books, sweetie, and as for consent? PLYING SOMEONE WITH ALCOHOL TO DELIBERATELY COERCE AGREEMENT IS NOT FREAKING CONSENT AND THE SOONER YOU LEARN THAT, THE BETTER.
I obviously replied in a very polite way, explaining that we have read the books and that we’re trained in abuse, as well as being survivors of it. The fan blocked our page. Because they have no argument when presented with evidence.
Anyway, in case you’re not aware, deliberately encouraging a person to drink lots of alcohol in order to make them more likely to consent to your sexual demands is a form of rape. So, Christian Grey is, yet again, showing himself to be a rapist, here (hence the red ink). Or a “raper” as the fan said, earlier…
Grey uses having to pick Mia up from the airport as an excuse for not helping Ana and Kate move and casually mentions that he knows Elliot will be assisting them. He ponders the fact that it’s unusual that Elliot’s still interested in Kate and inwardly thinks that their “liaison” makes his relationship with Ana more complicated.
I mean, it doesn’t at all really, but sure. Anything to cover up the lack of a decent plot, I guess.
Then Grey changes the subject to Ana’s future career plans and gets angry that she hasn’t told him literally everything about them. No, really:
“So what are you doing about work in Seattle?” I ask.
“I have a couple of interviews for intern places.”
“You were going to tell me this when?”
“Um… I’m telling you now,” she says.
“Where?” I ask, hiding my frustration.
IT HAS NAFF ALL TO DO WITH YOU, YOU WEASEL-DICKED MORON.
Seriously, the level of aggression there is utterly unnecessary. “You were going to me this when?!” is the kind of sentence I might have been able to understand him using had it been the night of their anniversary, with a romantic meal booked and the champagne already on ice, only for Ana to announce she was blowing it off in favour of a girl’s night out with Kate. But she has no reason to feel compelled to tell him what internships she’s applying for. According to their arrangement, all she has to do is let him know when she’s going to be available to meet. That’s it. And his attitude is the exact reason why Ana spends most of the trilogy not telling him things.
Oh and Grey? You’re not hiding your frustration. Like, at all.
And his gross attitude only continues when Ana answers him:
“A couple of publishing houses.”
“Is that what you want to do, something in publishing?”
She nods, but she’s still not forthcoming.
“Well?” I prompt.
“Don’t be obtuse, Anastasia. Which publishing houses?” I mentally run through all the publishing houses I know of in Seattle. There are four…I think.
I want her to throw her drink in his supposedly-perfect-but-actually-very-average face.
SPOILER: She doesn’t.
Instead, she explains why she doesn’t want him knowing about where she’s applying for jobs:
“Just small ones,” she says evasively.
“Why don’t you want me to know?”
“Undue influence,” she says.
“What does that mean?” I frown.
“Oh, now you’re being obtuse,” she says, her eyes twinkling with mirth.
“Obtuse?” I laugh. “Me? God, you’re challenging. Drink up, let’s talk about these limits.”
So, let’s just look at that in black and white (and red): He’s angry with her because she didn’t explain in detail where she might be applying for internships after university (which she was never under any obligation to do), then when she tries to explain that she doesn’t want him using his influence on her career, rather than address her concern, he pops right back to getting her drunk so he can gain her consent.
GOLLY GEE, I LOVE THIS FRANCHISE SO MUCH.
Her eyelashes flutter and she takes a shaky breath, then drains her cup. She’s really nervous about this. I offer her more liquid courage.
“Please,” she responds.
Bottle in hand, I pause. “Have you eaten anything?”
“Yes. I had a three-course meal with Ray,” she says, exasperated, and rolls her eyes.
Oh, Ana. At last I can do something about this disrespectful habit.
Okay, I personally think EL’s atrocious writing makes it unclear as to what the disrespectful habit is here, because Ana rolling her eyes makes her sentence sound like sarcasm – and let’s be honest, we know Ana eats, what? A lettuce leaf a week? So, originally, I thought Grey was excited because now he gets to beat the sarcasm out of her. But then he goes on to talk about her rolling her eyes, so I’m guessing that‘s the disrespectful habit he can’t wait to smack out of her.
Also, note how he’s already decided that he gets to “do something” about her “disrespectful habit,” despite the fact that a) Ana hasn’t signed anything beyond a non-disclosure agreement (and never will) and b) the fact that they haven’t even started discussing her limits, yet.
I hate him and I hope an army of green ants bite his penis to oblivion.
Leaning forward, I take hold of her chin and glare at her. “Next time you roll your eyes at me, I will take you across my knee.”
“Oh.” She looks a little shocked, but a little intrigued, too.
“Oh. So it begins, Anastasia.” With a wolfish grin I fill her teacup, and she takes a long sip.
“Got your attention now, haven’t I?”
“Yes, you’ve got my attention,” she says with a contrite smile.
I’m sure this would be sexy if Ana had any idea about BDSM and was really up for it. But we all know she’s not keen on physical punishment, so it just makes me dry heave.
AND DAMNIT EL JAMES, I HAVE DONE ENOUGH OF THAT, LATELY.
They begin looking at the list of limits. This is basically regurgitated word for word from the original Fifty Shades, because EL James is lazy as well as awful.
“No fisting, you say. Anything else you object to?” I ask.
She swallows. “Anal intercourse doesn’t exactly float my boat.”
“I’ll agree to the fisting, but I’d really like to claim your ass, Anastasia.”
Look, sure, we don’t know we don’t like something until we’ve tried it, but for the love of JEBUS, what was the point of having a discussion on limits, if you’re going to ignore her when she says she’s not really up for something, purely because you want to do it?!
IT’S INTERESTING YOU WANT TO “CLAIM HER ASS,” SEEING AS YOU ARE IN FACT, ONE HELL OF A MASSIVE ASSHOLE, CHRISTIAN GREY.
Grey tells her that her “ass will need training.” Ana asks some questions and discovers that Christian has had anal sex, himself:
“Have you done that?” she asks.
“With a man?”
“No. I’ve never had sex with a man. Not my scene.”
“Yes.” And her large rubber strap-on.
Ana frowns and I move on quickly, before she can ask me any more questions about that.
Because God FORBID the inexperienced girl asks questions about sex from you, her sexual partner. This is yet more evidence that Grey is a lousy Dom. He wants Ana’s submission, but doesn’t listen to her when she brings up a soft limit she’s unsure about, because it’s something he wants to do. Then, when she begins asking questions about it, he shuts her down, because he doesn’t want to answer. The fact is, a good Dominant would be open to answering any questions she had – he would encourage those questions – because a huge part of BDSM is consent and for consent to be given 100%, it should always be informed. Grey is purposefully ensuring that Ana is not informed.
He goes on to become misty-eyed about his time with Elena and how much he enjoyed being a sub…
Oh, baby, Elena had my submission. She could do with me as she pleased. And I enjoyed it.
…Which makes me wonder why he’s not interested in letting Ana dominate him; if not full time, then at least switching, now and then? But I guess he enjoys beating women who look like his mother too much to ever stop being the one doling out the punishment…
And hey, you know what would really help this situation, in which Ana really needs clear judgement?! MORE ALCOHOL!
She nods and finishes her champagne.
“More?” I ask.
Steady, Grey, you just want her tipsy, not drunk.
“More,” she whispers.
I refill her cup and get back to the list.
I just… He’s openly admitting that he’s getting her “tipsy” on purpose. How are the fans wilfully blind to this?! What part of this is free, informed consent, when he’s deliberately avoiding either answering her questions or actually letting her ask them in the first place and he’s openly admitting to plying her with alcohol?!
THIS IS NOT HOW FREE, INFORMED CONSENT WORKS.
I WISH THIS GODDAMN BOOK WOULD JUST END.
They move on to a list of toys Ana is supposed to either be agreeing to or vetoing the use of:
“Butt plug? Does it do what it says on the box?” She grimaces.
“Yes. And I refer to anal intercourse above. Training.”
Her reaction is to “grimace.” His is to “refer to above,” meaning “you’re doing it, because I want to.”
I hope his butt is plugged with molten lava.
When Grey mentions “eggs,” Ana – who is entirely naive about all this stuff, remember – is horrified:
“Eggs?” Her hands shoot to her mouth in shock.
“Not real eggs.” I laugh.
“I’m glad you find me funny.” The hurt in her voice is sobering.
“I apologize. I’m sorry.”
For fuck’s sake, Grey. Go easy on her.
“Any problem with toys?”
“No,” she snaps.
Shit. She’s sulking.
You know how her “sulking” could have been avoided? If you’d maybe taken time to explain each thing on the damn list, rather than expect someone with zero experience to just know all of this. Sure, he apologises, but he’s supposed to be the experienced Dominant. Okay, all his previous subs have been fully clued up about everything, but he knows Ana isn’t and he’s still not giving her the kind of support she needs.
Have I mentioned today that I hate him? Because I hate him.
Ana agrees to be bound with various materials. Grey checks over the list of ways in which she agrees to be restrained and offers to put suspension down as a hard limit (seeing as he injured a former sub that way). He references spreader bars and this happens:
“Don’t laugh at me, but what’s a spreader bar?”
“I promise not to laugh. I’ve apologized twice.” For Christ’s sake. “Don’t make me do it again.” My voice is sharper than I intended, and she leans away from me.
HE is mad because HE was in the wrong and therefore had to apologise. And now Ana’s scared that he’ll laugh at her inexperience (because he already has) and HE is pissed off that he might have to apologise again??!!
Do not ever tell me this guy is “nice deep down.” There is no “deep down.” This is his level. This is the level he is always at. And whether or not he meant to sound as mad as he did is irrelevant. If he listened to his partner and actually read her body language as much as he thinks he can, he’d know not to snap at her when she’s already upset with him for having done it, before.
And how does the swoon-worthy Mr Grey handle the aftermath of this moment?
Ignore her reaction, Grey. Get on with it.
Yep. Pay no attention to her valid response and continue to rush her into drunken agreement.
THROW HIM INTO THE FREAKING SUN.
Ana says she’s nervous about not being able to breathe if she’s gagged and Grey says he’ll “take note.” She also asks how she’ll use her safe words if she’s gagged and Grey tells her that he hopes she never has to use them, but that she can use hand signals.
This would probably have been a good time to tell her what those hand signals might actually be, but that would involve Christian Grey being a caring partner who actually responds properly to her questions and concerns, so…
Ana asks whether he ties up his submissives so that they can’t touch him and he admits that that’s a part of it.
“You don’t like talking about that,” she says.
“No, I don’t.”
I’m not going there with you, Ana. Give it up.
So, he’s allowed to get aggressive because she hasn’t told him which publishing houses she’s applied to, but if Ana asks questions about his life, it’s an absolute no. Okay, cool.
And what’s the best way to ensure she can’t ask any probing questions? That’s right, GET HER DRUNK:
“Would you like another drink?” I ask. “It’s making you brave, and I need to know how you feel about pain.” I refill her cup and she takes a sip, wide-eyed and anxious.
More so when you read the story from his perspective, I’m going to call bull on his “it’s making you brave” assessment. So far, Ana has had four cups of wine, if my maths is right. She’s a lightweight and that’s enough to be making her tipsy. But nowhere have I seen it make her brave. She’s become upset when he’s mocked her lack of knowledge, she’s snappily agreed to all sex toys just to move past that particular conversation and she’s had basically all of her queries or concerns shut down. This isn’t about her being “brave.” It’s about getting her to say “yes.”
That’s literally it.
Grey asks Ana if she was physically punished as a child and when she says no, he realises she has no frame of reference for how much it might hurt when he physically punishes her. Ana asks a question that might make any good Dom realise she might not be 100% up for it, but which Grey pays very little attention to:
“Do you have to do it?”
You really don’t want to know.
“Goes with the territory, Anastasia. It’s what I do. I can see you’re nervous. Let’s go through methods.”
If she’s asking if this is something that has to happen, chances are, she’s not keen on the idea and is looking for a way out. Grey’s internal answer of “you really don’t want to know” is gross, seeing as we know it’s because he wants to beat his own mother. But physical punishment doesn’t just “go with the territory” of being a Dominant. He could merely tie her up, use handcuffs or be otherwise dominant in bed (and out), without having to physically punish her, too. And if it’s something he does feel he needs, he should be doing it with someone willing. Someone who consents without having to be coerced with alcohol, manipulation or threats.
If EL James did one tenth of the research she claims to have done, she would know all of this.
They look through the list of punishment methods.
“Well, you said no to genital clamps. That’s fine. It’s caning that hurts the most.”
“We can work up to that,” I state quickly.
“Or not do it at all,” she counters.
“This is part of the deal, baby, but we’ll work up to all of this. Anastasia, I won’t push you too far.”
WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU??!!
CANING IS NOT “PART OF THE DEAL.” IF SHE SAYS SHE DOESN’T WANT TO DO IT AT ALL, YOU FREAKING LISTEN TO HER AND TAKE IT OFF THE DAMN TABLE. THERE ARE MULTIPLE OTHER PUNISHMENTS SHE HASN’T YET SAID AN OUTRIGHT NO TO. AND YOU ARE A LIAR AND WE KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO PUSH HER TOO FAR AND I WOULD LIKE TO PUSH YOU INTO ONCOMING TRAFFIC.
Ana is still obviously concerned about the punishment aspect of their relationship:
“This punishment thing, it worries me the most.”
“Well, I’m glad you’ve told me. We’ll keep caning off the list for now. And as you get more comfortable with everything else, we’ll increase intensity. We’ll take it slow.”
She looks uncertain, so I lean forward and kiss her. “There, that wasn’t so bad, was it?”
Aaaaaw, is ickle Ana placated now?!
She looks “uncertain,” so rather than discuss her fears any further, he gives her a sodding kiss and says “that wasn’t so bad, was it?” No further discussion. He’s made her some very weak promises about taking it slow, railroaded her into agreeing to things she initially said she wasn’t sure about and ignored her very obvious discomfort, but hey, a little kiss and that’s the end of that.
And why is it the end of the discussion? Because he’s horny:
She shrugs, still doubtful.
“Look, I want to talk about one more thing, then I’m taking you to bed.”
“Bed?” she exclaims and color flushes her cheeks.
“Come on, Anastasia, talking through all this, I want to fuck you into next week, right now. It must be having some effect on you, too.”
Where has she seemed aroused? She has seemed scared, embarrassed and deeply unsure. The fact that she still looks doubtful is your first clue, moron, the second being the way she exclaims “bed?”
But of course, when it comes to sex, suddenly Christian Grey is king of body language recognition. Ana squeezes her thighs together and squirms in her seat and that alone makes him decide she must feel the same:
She squirms beside me and takes a husky breath, her thighs pressing together.
“See? Besides, there’s something I want to try.”
“No—stop seeing pain everywhere. It’s mainly pleasure. Have I hurt you yet?”
Of course, before any sexy times can begin, EL James has to show her beloved Christian Grey making some kind of character development (HAHAHAHAHAHA), so this is the point at which he tells her he’ll try to give her “more” than just the Dom/sub relationship he wants:
I have to try. I don’t want to lose her before we start.
I take her hand. “Outside of the time you’re my sub, perhaps we could try. I don’t know if it will work. I don’t know about separating everything. It may not work. But I’m willing to try. Maybe one night a week. I don’t know.”
You know what this reminds me of? Richard in Friends, telling Monica that he’ll have a baby with her if that’s what it takes to keep her. He doesn’t want a baby; he wants Monica. But Monica recognises that and tells him she doesn’t want a baby with someone who doesn’t really want a baby.
They break up.
Ana and Christian do not.
Life is truly unfair (although I do love Monica and Chandler… Heck, why can’t I just go and watch Friends instead of reading this horror?!).
YOU SAID YOU’D ALWAYS BE THERE FOR ME!
Of course, Grey isn’t just making this promise to try, maybe, it might not work out of thin air. He has a condition attached, because of COURSE he does:
“I have one condition.”
“What?” she asks, her breath hitching.
“You graciously accept my graduation present to you.”
The present is, as we all know, an Audi A3.
“Anastasia, that Beetle of yours is old and, frankly, dangerous. I would never forgive myself if something happened to you when it’s so easy for me to make it right.”
She gapes at the car, speechless.
“I mentioned it to your stepfather. He was all for it.”
Perhaps I’m overstating this.
Perhaps you are OUTRIGHT LYING (hence red ink). What Ray actually said was that whilst the Beetle was old, it’s Ana’s car and therefore her decision as to whether she sells it.
Her mouth is still open in dismay when she turns to glare at me.
“You mentioned this to Ray? How could you?” She’s annoyed, really annoyed.
“It’s a gift, Anastasia. Can’t you just say thank you?”
“But you know it’s too much.”
“Not to me it isn’t, not for my peace of mind.”
Come on, Ana. You want more. This is the price.
DID SOMEONE ORDER SOME MANIPULATION?!
Sure, he only thinks this, but we’re peering through a window into his brain, by reading this from his PoV and he’s basically just admitted – if only to himself – that he’s only going to offer her “more” if she’ll accept him doing whatever he wants with her and her life. That is not “love.” That is not “romance.” That is top drawer manipulation – an abuse tactic. Christian Grey is an abuser. Stop swooning over him and damn well look at what he’s saying and how he’s behaving. It’s there in black and white. I’m not pulling this stuff out of my ass – EL James WROTE him this way. And she sold him to millions as some kind of romantic ideal.
I don’t know what’s worse: that she sold an abuser as a hero at all, or that anyone bought it.
Ana says she’ll only accept the car as a loan:
“Okay. On loan. Indefinitely,” I agree through gritted teeth.
“No, not indefinitely, but for now. Thank you,” she says quietly, and leaning up, she kisses me on the cheek. “Thank you for the car, Sir.”
Her use of the word “Sir” sends Grey into raptures and he kisses her “forcefully.” Once she responds, he tells her it’s taking all his restraint not to fuck her on the hood of the car just to prove she’s his and if he wants to buy her a car he will.
Then this happens:
Then I kiss her once more, demanding and possessive. Taking her hand, I stride back into the apartment, slamming the front door behind us and heading straight for her bedroom. There I release her and switch on her bedside light.
“Please don’t be angry with me,” she whispers.
Her words douse the fire of my anger.
“I’m sorry about the car and the books—” She halts and licks her lips. “You scare me when you’re angry.”
Shit. No one has ever said that to me before. I close my eyes. The last thing I want to do is frighten her.
Calm down, Grey.
She’s here. She’s safe. She’s willing. Don’t blow it, just because she doesn’t understand how to behave.
Are… Are you shitting me?!
Ana is openly saying he frightens her when she gets angry and his reaction is “she doesn’t understand how to behave”???!!!
Okay, I know he probably means that she should graciously accept the car, like any other sub would, but again, this is a case of a) lack of research (because a good Dom would talk to her at this point and reassure her that there’s nothing to fear and that he’s not genuinely angry – of course Grey can’t, because he’s a shitty Dom AND was genuinely angry) and b) seriously bad writing. Because this reads as though Grey is now thinking Ana doesn’t understand how to behave, because she’s openly admitted to being afraid of him, as though that’s just not an acceptable thing to do.
And you know how I talk about the fact that he says the least important things out loud and keeps the vital stuff in his head? Well, having thought about the fact that he doesn’t want to frighten Ana, how do you think he responds verbally to what she’s just said?
HE DOESN’T. HE JUST INITIATES SEX.
Opening my eyes, I find Ana watching me, not in fear, but with anticipation.
“Turn around,” I demand, my voice soft. “I want to get you out of that dress.”
She obeys immediately.
She’s probably anticipating an answer to the very serious thing she’s just said, which any decent Dominant – nay partner of any kind – would give her, you total and utter rancid bell-end.
Excuse my language. I really try not to get this angry, but… I’m reading Grey.
Grey removes his jacket and starts undoing Ana’s dress. He thinks:
Now that she’s doing what she’s told, I relax.
Because he’s a hero. A hero whose face I want to watch get eaten by wasps.
He tells her he’s going to make her come just by playing with her nipples, but then he changes his mind…
“I don’t think you’re ready to come yet.” And I still my hands, just holding her breasts, while my teeth tug at her earlobe. “Besides, you have displeased me. So perhaps I won’t let you come after all.”
Orgasm denial with consent can be hot as hell. But Ana has not consented to this. Orgasm denial without consent is confusing, frustrating and can be painful. So that gets a red mark.
He tears her panties apart with his bare hands, which with anyone else might be sexy, but with him, I’d be sending a freaking bill for new ones.
Christian decides he wants Ana to take control (spoiler: he guides her through this whole scene, only giving her the guise of control, whilst actually keeping it himself, as Ana actually points out, afterwards). He leaves his t-shirt on so that if Ana loses her balance whilst she’s on top of him during sex, she won’t accidentally touch his bare skin. I find the image of him constantly keeping just a t-shirt on during sex so hilariously un-sexy, I’m going to have to try to switch off any mental images that may occur.
I’m basically imagining him as Donald Duck.
Ana pushes Grey onto the bed and then starts trying to get his jeans off, which is hugely entertaining to him, as he inwardly keeps asking “how are you going to get these off, now?!” as though removing clothes requires some kind of PHD. Sure, pulling a guy’s jeans off when he’s already lying on a bed can be tricky, but dude, lay off the whole “MWAHAHAHA, HOW WILL YOU EVER SUCCEED?!” vibe.
Eventually, he helps her by lifting his hips and easing the jeans off.
He sits up and lowers Ana onto him, so she can take control and he actually says this out loud as he enters her:
“That’s right, baby, feel me, all of me.”
After the sex (which I am skipping most of, because it was in turns dull, hilarious and then boringly predictable), Ana tries to place a hand on Grey’s chest and he gets melodramatic as always:
She stirs and nuzzles me through my shirt, then splays her hand on top of my chest.
The darkness slithers, quick and strong, into my chest, into my throat, threatening to suffocate and choke me.
No. Don’t touch me.
I grab her hand and bring her knuckles to my lips, and roll over on top of her so she’s no longer able to touch me.
“Don’t,” I plead, and kiss her lips as I dampen down my fear.
“Why don’t you like to be touched?”
“Because I’m fifty shades of fucked up, Anastasia.” After years and years of therapy, it’s the one thing I know to be true.
And after years and years of highlighting the abuse in this trilogy, I still think that’s a stupid line.
He tells her he had a very tough introduction to life, but that she doesn’t need to know any more. He then claims to own all of her orgasms (creeeeeeeeeepy) and Ana confesses to having had a sex dream that made her come. He is delighted when he discovers that the dream was about him (God knows what he’d have done if it wasn’t…).
“What was I doing?”
She hides beneath her arm again.
“Anastasia, what was I doing? I won’t ask you again.” Why is she so embarrassed? Her dreaming about me is…endearing.
Why are you being so aggressive, again?!
Ana tells him that he had a brown plaited leather riding crop in the dream and he tells her he owns several riding crops and can get one like the one she dreamt about. Of course he also takes this to mean that she’s been researching and that the research is “affecting her.”
He then moves straight to this conversation:
“When is your period due?” I ask. “I hate wearing these things.” I hold up the knotted condom and pull on my jeans.
She’s taken aback.
“Well?” I prod.
“Next week,” she answers, her cheeks pink.
“You need to sort out some contraception.”
Grey gets up and starts getting ready to leave. Ana is surprised he isn’t staying. She offers to drive him home:
“I can drive you. I have a lovely new car.”
That’s better. She’s accepted the car as she should, but after all that champagne she shouldn’t be driving. “I think you’ve had too much to drink.”
And then they have this exchange:
“Did you get me tipsy on purpose?”
“Because you overthink everything, and you’re reticent, like your stepdad. A drop of wine in you and you start talking, and I need you to communicate honestly with me. Otherwise you clam up, and I have no idea what you’re thinking. In vino veritas, Anastasia.”
Nope, nope, nooooooo, nope.
If you want someone to communicate honestly with you, you cultivate the kind of relationship in which they feel relaxed and able to do so. You answer their questions, show them respect and explain how important honest communication is for the kind of relationship you want to have.
If you want someone to agree to things they don’t fully understand and not question you when you fail to answer their queries properly, you ply them with drink.
And notice the manipulative way he speaks to her, as though he had to get her drunk, because naturally, the communication problems are all with her.
You’re an abusive piece of shit, Grey.
This is compounded when Ana responds:
“And you think you’re always honest with me?”
No, he bloody well isn’t. But he lies and says he “endeavours to be.”
Ana asks him to stay and use the second condom he had in his pocket. He tells her he’s already crossed too many lines and has to go. Then he says he has a scene in mind for them on Sunday, if she signs the contract. Ana suggests she stretches out the current situation by not signing (another clue that she’s not as into the idea as he’d like to think…) and he responds by saying she could, but he might “crack.”
“Crack? How?” she queries, her eyes alive with curiosity.
“Could get really ugly,” I tease, narrowing my eyes.
“Ugly, how?” Her grin matches mine.
“Oh, you know, explosions, car chases, kidnapping, incarceration.”
“You’d kidnap me?”
“Hold me against my will?”
“Oh yes.” Now, that’s an interesting idea. “And then we’re talking TPE twenty-four-seven.”
“You’ve lost me,” she says, perplexed and a little breathless.
“Total Power Exchange—around the clock.” My mind whirls as I think of the possibilities. She’s curious. “So you have no choice,” I add, with a playful tone.
“Clearly.” Her tone is sarcastic and she rolls her eyes to the heavens, perhaps looking for divine inspiration to understand my sense of humor.
A list of things like that is generally only funny when they’re all things you know your partner would never actually do to you. With Christian Grey, I genuinely believe he would happily kidnap her. Technically, he already has, by taking her back to his hotel room when she was passed out and couldn’t consent. So, forgive me for not breaking into gleeful giggles.
But never mind the “jokes,” Ana has rolled her eyes at him and that can only mean one thing:
“Anastasia Steele, did you just roll your eyes at me?”
“I think you did. What did I say I’d do to you if you rolled your eyes at me again?” My words hang between us and I sit down again on the bed. “Come here.”
For a moment she stares at me, blanching. “I haven’t signed,” she whispers.
She’s “blanching.” Her words are coming out in whispers. Isn’t it funny how Christian Grey can only read subtle body language cues when he believes them to mean someone wants sex?! Because I’m getting “not sure I want to be spanked” from Ana’s body language here and he’s either not seeing that, or he’s ignoring it.
“I told you what I’d do. I’m a man of my word. I’m going to spank you, and then I’m going to fuck you very quick and very hard. Looks like we’ll need that condom after all.”
Will she? Won’t she? This is it. Proof of whether she can do this or not. I watch her, impassive, waiting for her to decide. If she says no, it means she’s paying lip service to the idea of being my submissive.
And that will be it.
Make the right choice, Ana.
Her expression is grave, her eyes wide, and I think she’s weighing up her decision.
“I’m waiting,” I murmur. “I’m not a patient man.”
Taking a deep breath, she unfurls her legs and crawls toward me, and I hide my relief.
I’ve red-inked the whole “make the right choice” bit, because he’s not remotely concerned about whether she makes the right choice for herself. It’s about what he wants.
I grasp her hand and abruptly pull her over my left knee, so that her head, shoulders, and chest are resting on the bed. I drape my right leg over her legs, holding her in place. I’ve wanted to do this since she asked me if I was gay.
Again, red ink because wanting to beat someone for asking if you’re gay, because that pissed you off, is not the same as wanting to spank someone as part of mutually pleasurable sexy fun-times.
Oh, and remember he didn’t want to say why he’d bought pink champagne? WE GUESSED RIGHT:
She has a fine, fine ass. And I’m going to make it pink…like the champagne.
Hey, remember how he said he’d take things very slowly – start softer and build up the intensity, when it came to punishment?
Lifting my palm, I smack her, hard, just above the junction of her thighs.
Of COURSE he was lying!
She gasps and tries to rise, but I hold her down with my other hand at the small of her back, and I soothe the area I’ve just hit with a slow, gentle caress.
She stays still.
Yes. I’m going to do that again.
I smack her once, twice, three times.
She grimaces at the pain, her eyes screwed shut. But she doesn’t ask me to stop even though she’s squirming beneath me.
Christian “I’m so great at reading body language” Grey can tell she’s in pain, but he’s not stopping, because she’s not telling him to. This is the first time she’s experienced physical punishment and really, he ought to be going a little easier on her (you know, like he promised to). He should also be checking in on her, to ensure he’s not going too far. She’s a novice and has had a lot to drink; using her safe word might not be at the forefront of her mind, even if she isn’t enjoying what’s happening.
“Keep still, or I’ll spank you for longer,” I warn.
I rub her sweet flesh and start again, taking turns: left cheek, right cheek, middle.
She cries out. But she doesn’t move her arms, and she still doesn’t ask me to stop.
“I’m just getting warmed up.” My voice is husky. I smack her again, and trace the pink handprint I’ve left on her skin. Her ass is pinking up nicely. It looks glorious.
I smack her once more.
And she cries out again.
“No one to hear you, baby, just me.”
I spank her over and over—the same pattern, left cheek, right cheek, middle—and she yelps each time. When I reach eighteen I stop. I’m breathless, my palm is stinging, and my cock is rigid.
“Enough,” I rasp, trying to catch my breath. “Well done, Anastasia. Now I’m going to fuck you.”
I swear, if this scene felt fully consensual, I’d be fine with it, but it just doesn’t feel that way. Not with her having to be coaxed into it, the way she was.
After he’s finished spanking her, Grey tells Ana that she’s wet and he reasons that she must have enjoyed it. You know, never mind the fact that they just had sex a few minutes ago and that she wanted to do it again right before this happened…
I stroke her pink behind gently, round and round, moving down. She’s wet.
And my body gets harder.
I insert two fingers into her vagina.
“Feel this. See how much your body likes this. You’re soaking, just for me.”
After they have sex, Grey is amazed that Ana isn’t crying. Like… He actually says as much in his own monologue:
“Well done, baby.”
She’s not in tears. She did as she was asked. She’s faced every challenge I’ve thrown at her; she really is quite remarkable.
He then starts saying he wants to buy her silks and satins to sleep in, ignoring her as she sleepily tells him she likes her sweatpants and camisole.
As they start to fall asleep together, Grey decides he can’t possibly get comfortable with her and makes a dash for it:
Closing my eyes, I relax in our quiet moment, a strange contentment warming me, filling me up inside.
This feels right. Too right.
“I have to go,” I murmur, and kiss her forehead. “Are you okay?”
“I’m okay,” she says, sounding a little subdued.
All the “ooh, she’s squeezing her thighs together! She wants sex!” in the world can’t disguise the fact that he’s literally right next to someone who is suddenly being very quiet towards him and he can’t read why.
He heads to the bathroom to get rid of his used condoms and brings back a bottle of baby oil to rub on her sore behind:
She’s dressed when I return, evading my gaze. Why so shy suddenly?
“I found some baby oil. Let me rub it into your behind.”
“No. I’ll be fine,” she says, examining her fingers, still avoiding eye contact.
“Anastasia,” I warn her.
Please just do as you’re told.
Didn’t you just go on an internal monologue about how she’s accepted every challenge you’ve thrown at her, tonight?! Cut her some damn slack.
After Grey has applied some oil to Ana’s backside, she walks with him to the front door, still very quiet. And yet again, he marvels at the fact that she didn’t cry when he hit her:
“You didn’t cry.” My voice is low.
And you let me spank you. You’re amazing.
Note that she’s not amazing because she’s kind, or because he can really open up around her. She’s amazing because she lets him do whatever sex stuff he likes to her.
He kisses her and stops himself from asking if he can stay (a line I’m certain is only in there because so many people rightfully slated EL James for having him leave immediately after a punishment scene). He gets in the car with Taylor (the poor guy has been waiting since 9pm), stares at his own “ghostly face” as it’s reflected back at him in the car window, then starts reminiscing about the sex he’s literally just had.
He tells Taylor to “dispose of” Ana’s Beetle, which is totally not his right to do, but hey, the guy’s a douche canoe.
He arrives back in his room and decides to “say goodnight to Ana,” which he does by sending her an email that is as complimentary as it is utterly creepy:
Dear Miss Steele,
You are quite simply exquisite. The most beautiful, intelligent, witty, and brave woman I have ever met. Take some Advil—this is not a request. And don’t drive your Beetle again. I will know.
He’ll know, because he stalks her, you see… That’s just one of the many dreamy things this wonderful guy does. *sigh*
Ana actually demonstrates her feisty side in her response:
Flattery will get you nowhere, but since you’ve been everywhere, the point is moot.
I will need to drive my Beetle to a garage so I can sell it—so will not graciously accept any of your nonsense over that. Red wine is always more preferable to Advil.
P.S.: Caning is a HARD limit for me.
Grey replies, telling her to “go to bed” (something he just loves to say in emails, which he then sits up and waits for a reply to, just so he can say it again). He says that Taylor will sell the Beetle and get a good price for it.
Ana is taking none of his shit:
I am intrigued that you are happy to risk letting your right-hand man drive my car but not some woman you fuck occasionally. How can I be sure that Taylor is the man to get me the best deal for said car? I have, in the past, probably before I met you, been known to drive a hard bargain.
Grey is utterly incensed by the fact that she’s referred to herself as “some woman you fuck occasionally.” He also – hilariously – thinks she’s driven a very hard bargain with him, because he’s having to make so many concessions with regards to his kinks. Not able to understand why she might be feeling unhappy or used, he inwardly insists that he’ll be devoted to her, if she agrees to be his sub. He’s so mad at her that he has to count to ten and picture himself sailing on his damn yacht in order to calm down, before he responds. Apparently, Dr Flynn would be “proud.”
This is what he sends her:
I am assuming it is the RED WINE talking, and that you’ve had a very long day.
Though I am tempted to drive back over there to ensure that you don’t sit down for a week, rather than an evening.
Taylor is ex-army and capable of driving anything from a motorcycle to a Sherman tank. Your car does not present a hazard to him.
Now please do not refer to yourself as “some woman I fuck occasionally” because, quite frankly, it makes me MAD, and you really wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
His calmed down response, is to threaten to beat her without consent and then remind her of how angry he can get, despite the fact that earlier that very evening, she got upset about the fact that he frightens her when he’s angry.
I WOULD STRAIGHT UP PAY FOR THIS GUY’S MURDER.
After sending the email, he has to calm himself further, whilst asking who else could possibly get under his skin the way she does. Which, you know, is just an abusive way of making his threatening behaviour her fault.
Ana, solid gold legend that she is in this brief section, sends back this:
Dear Mr. Grey,
I’m not sure I like you anyway, especially at the moment.
And rather than look at his own behaviour even a smidge, Grey just takes this opportunity to be a melodramatic asshole at the end of the (utterly ridiculously long) chapter:
I stare at her reply, and all my anger withers and dies, to be replaced by a surge of anxiety.
Is she saying that’s it?
OH, IF ONLY.
I wish this book ended here, at a point where I kind of like Ana and where Christian can go cry his stupid grey eyes out.
But alas, I’ll see you in a week or so, for chapter twelve…