This is the week I did not want to be writing a recap. I wanted to be pacing anxiously, taking my inhaler every five minutes and counting down the minutes until I watched England in a World Cup final for the first time in my life.
But sometimes, we don’t always get what we want. Football’s not coming home. And I have to read about Christian Grey, instead. So, forgive me if this week, I have zero time for Grey’s bullshit. I would much rather be swooning over Gareth Southgate and his genuine decency, than reading a badly written book in which the “hero” is an absolute bastard, who comes quicker than an Amazon Prime order.
This chapter starts with a dream that turns into a nightmare:
Grandpa is laughing.
Mia has fallen down on her butt. She’s a baby. Mia.
Mommy and Daddy sit on a blanket. We are in the orchard.
My favorite place.
Elliot is running between the trees.
I lift up Mia and she walks again. Shaky steps. But I am behind her. Watching her. Walking with her. I keep her safe.
We have a picnic. I like picnics.
Mommy makes apple pie.
Mia walks to the blanket. And everyone cheers.
Thank you, Christian. You take such good care of her, Mommy says.
Mia is a baby. She needs someone to watch over her, I tell Mommy.
Grandpa looks at me.
He’s talking now?
Well, that’s just great. Grandpa looks at Mommy.
He has tears in his eyes. But he’s happy. Happy tears.
Elliot runs past us. He has a football. Let’s play. Mind the apples.
I look up and behind a tree Jack Hyde is watching us.
DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUN.
Grey wakes, startled. He tells us he’s not startled by fear, but by something in his dream. The trouble is, he can’t remember what. Convenient.
It’s almost 6:30am and Grey has woken up before his alarm has gone off, which, he tells us, is something that almost never happens anymore – not with his “dreamcatcher” lying next to him. Is anyone else picturing Ana as just a face in the centre of a web, with feathers instead of arms and legs, now? Because I sure as hell am.
Grey nuzzles Ana’s neck and immediately initiates sex. Ana is compliant, because she isn’t a human, she is a sex doll. And also a dreamcatcher. I’m so confused. I’m also horrified by the idea that someone would expect sex before six thirty in the morning. Because if someone woke me up at that hour, I would be less horny than I would be grumpy as all HELL. I have to get up at half six for work, some days, and on those days, I am not even remotely human until I’m showered, dressed and have eaten something. Like I said, Ana is a sex doll.
There is also basically no foreplay, which is just further evidence of the inhuman nature of Ana’s constant horniness. He literally just nuzzles her neck to wake her up, sticks his erection against her ass, touches between her legs and then rolls on top of her and gets a condom on. Wow, Ana. You lucky, lucky girl.
Also, we get this grossness:
I ease her legs apart, then kneel up and rip open the foil packet. “I can’t wait until Saturday.”
She looks up at me eagerly. “Your party?”
“No. I can stop using these fuckers.” I roll the condom on.
Today, in healthy relationships 101, I’d like to remind you all that birth control should be discussed by both partners. If one person is railroading you into a method you didn’t get to choose for yourself, or at least discuss, that’s abusive! Yay for this fucking book.
Of course, rather than assert her right to choose, Ana merely giggles, because “fuckers” is an apt name for condoms. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAKILLMENOW.
There then follows a passage that manages to be grossly unsexy and hilariously badly written all at once. YAY!
“Now is not the time for giggling.” I stare her down, daring her to giggle again.
Red, because there is no way of knowing what form of non-consensual “punishment” this jackass might mete out.
“I thought you liked it when I giggle.”
“Not now. There’s a time and a place for giggling. This is neither. I need to stop you, and I think I know how.”
Slowly, I ease into her. “Ah,” she says in my ear.
And we make sweet, unhurried love.
No more giggling.
Rarely have I gone so fast from:
Whilst Ana has a shower, Grey goes into his playroom, where he sadly removes all of his canes, because they’re “not Ana’s thing.” I don’t know if this scene is meant to be evidence of how much he changes, but… It’s not enough evidence, given that he’s still a controlling, manipulative dick.
He heads to the kitchen, where Gail is busy working. Ana comes in and Gail asks what she’d like for breakfast. As Ana answers, Grey looks at her and thinks how hot she looks in a skirt. But because her “cheeks pink” as she sits beside him, he also has to reduce everything about their relationship down to sex:
I wonder what she’s thinking about? This morning? Last night? The spreader bar? “You look lovely,” I offer.
“So do you.” Her smile is demure. Ana hides her inner freak well.
She might have been thinking about breakfast. Or the fact that it’s warm and her face is hot. She could have been thinking about anything, but Grey is so full of himself – and so utterly one-track-minded – that he has to assume it’s to do with sex.
Get a hobby, dude. You’re not fifteen.
Grey tells Ana she should wear more skirts, which makes me dry-heave, because I remember his “I like my women accessible” line from the first book. Ana is worried about her job, given yesterday’s events (which could well explain her flushed cheeks), but Grey even manages to turn that conversation into sexual thoughts:
“I hope they take on a woman as my new boss.”
“Well, you’re less likely to object to me going away with her,” she says.
Oh, baby, you’d appeal to women, too.
Mrs. Jones places my omelet in front of me, distracting me from my brief and extremely enjoyable fantasy of Ana with another woman.
Red, because a woman shouldn’t be hoping for a female boss, just so her possessive, controlling boyfriend is less likely to try to stop her from going away on business trips.
Also, Grey’s reaction? Is exceptionally hypocritical. It’s horrific and soul-crushing to imagine Ana with another dude, but it’s hot as hell to imagine her with another woman? I know it’s a common male fantasy, but it still pisses me off. And does Ana really think Grey would let her go on a business trip with a female boss?! He doesn’t even like her seeing her mother, without him showing up.
Finally, speaking as one who finds women attractive as well as guys… Nah. Ana has the personality of a teaspoon. You’re welcome to her.
Ana asks if she can drive her Saab to work and Grey tries to insist that he and Taylor will drop her off as usual. Ana reminds him that there is no longer any kind of threat and that the car shouldn’t just be sitting in the garage. Grey internally moans about the way everything is “a battle” with Ana and tells her she can drive it if he goes with her. Ana says she’ll be fine driving on her own, which makes Grey “change tack” and tell her he’d like to go with her. Ana decides that’s fine.
Such change. Much progress. Very healthy relationship. Wow.
Once in the car, Ana is hugely excited, saying it has a great new-car smell and that she can’t wait to drive it. Grey thinks:
If I had known how thrilled she would be about driving this car, I might have relented and let her drive it sooner.
Because he is a prick. I mean, did he think she’d be anything but pleased about driving a car she chose?! He goes on to think how much he loves seeing her happy, but seriously, if he loved it that much, he’d have let her drive the damn thing when she first got it.
He then tries to insist that she’s not allowed to listen to music, because she has to “concentrate,” but Ana tells him she can concentrate and puts the radio on, anyway. Grey tells us that he’s “ignoring her attitude,” as though that makes him somehow not an asshole.
Importantly, as they drive to work, Ana once again asks Grey not to interfere in her career. I’m highlighting this, because if Grey had really changed, the way fans insist, he’d be listening to Ana and taking this on board:
“I’m just thinking about work.”
“Baby, you’ll be fine. Trust me.”
“Please don’t interfere—I want to do this on my own. Please. It’s important to me,” she says.
Me? Interfere? Only to protect you, Ana.
Bullshit. It’s about control. You’ve no need to protect her, anymore. Hyde is gone. Leila is gone. Let the woman get on with her own bloody career, you massive, blistering bellend.
As they reach their destination, we get a lovely bit of misogyny in Grey’s internal thoughts:
ANA DRIVES INTO THE SIP parking lot and parks the Saab. Ordeal over. She’s not that bad a driver.
As they walk to the building, Grey reminds Ana of their appointment with Flynn, that evening. He then takes an opportunity to be manipulative again, melodramatic again and to pressure Ana to answer his proposal. Again.
“I won’t forget. I’ll compile a list of questions for him.”
“Questions? About me? I can answer any questions you have about me.”
Her smile is indulgent. “Yes, but I want the unbiased, expensive charlatan’s opinion.”
I fold her into my arms, my hands cupping hers and holding them behind her back. “Is this a good idea?” I stare into her startled eyes. They soften and she offers to forgo seeing Flynn.
She shakes one of her hands loose from my grip and tenderly strokes my face. “What are you worried about?”
“That you’ll go.”
“Christian, how many times do I have to tell you—I’m not going anywhere. You’ve already told me the worst. I’m not leaving you.”
“Then why haven’t you answered me?”
“You know what I’m talking about, Ana.”
She sighs and her expression clouds. “I want to know that I’m enough for you. That’s all.”
I hate him so much, I’m getting a weird pulsing behind my eye. Seriously, if my eyeball actually bursts, I’m taking EL James to court for damages.
How dare he try to manipulate her into not seeing his therapist, when he knows how important it is to her to get a (supposedly) unbiased account of their relationship?! And how dare he continue to try to force an answer out of her, when she’s asked him several times to let her think about it?! And as for the whole “you’ll leave me” bollocks, don’t even get me started. He knows she won’t go, because she’s told him over and over. The more he says it now, the more manipulative it becomes. It’s just to get her to stay with him no matter what, so he can bring out the “but you said you’d never leave me” argument if she does have enough of his shit.
I hate him so much, I may die.
Ana makes a valid point:
“Christian, this has all been so quick,” she says. “And by your own admission, you’re fifty shades of fucked up. I can’t give you what you need. It’s just not for me. But that makes me feel inadequate, especially seeing you with Leila. Who’s to say that one day you won’t meet someone who likes doing what you do? And who’s to say you won’t, you know, fall for her? Someone much better suited to your needs.”
Grey insists that he knows plenty of women who enjoy the things he likes, but that he never had any kind of emotional connection with them. Ana says that’s because he never gave any of them a chance, because he’s always locked himself away in his personal fortress, which is another valid point. They agree to discuss it all properly with Dr Flynn, later.
After dropping Ana off at work, Grey mulls over what she said:
Am I locked in a fortress? Maybe. I stare out of the window. Commuters hurry to work, wrapped up in minutiae of their daily lives. Here, in the back of my car, I’m removed from it all. I’ve always been that way. Removed: isolated as a child or isolating myself as I grew up, walled off in a fortress. I’ve been scared of feeling. Feeling anything except my anger.
My constant companion.
Is that what she means? If it is, it’s Ana who’s given me the key to escape. And all that’s holding her back is Flynn’s opinion.
It really shouldn’t be all that’s holding her back. Your abusive behaviour, the fact that you barely know each other and the knowledge that she’ll never have the career she wants if she marries you, should all be holding her back, too.
Grey is torn out of his thoughts by a call from Ana, telling him she’s been given Jack’s job. She wants to know if he had anything to do with it, which Grey strongly denies, although he does wonder if Ana’s been given the position because he wouldn’t allow the company to recruit anyone from outside. It’s a fairly natural thing for Ana to wonder, considering that he literally bought the company to keep tabs on her, but the fact that she’s asked if her promotion was down to him makes Grey angry, because everything does.
Grey ends the call, having placated Ana enough that she says goodbye and tells him she loves him. Grey starts fantasising about their married life, together, despite the fact that Ana hasn’t agreed to his proposal, thinking that he should buy a house for them, in case Escala has too many memories of other women. That said, he thinks he’ll still keep the apartment, because of its convenient location.
This book is riveting.
Grey gets to work and can’t remember the new girl’s name. I don’t know why these minor pieces of misogynistic shit were important enough to be thrown in with such alarming regularity, but maybe EL James hates women as much as I hate her. Who knows?!
Grey organises flowers to be sent to Ana, congratulating her on her promotion.
I’m so fucking bored.
Grey decides he’s going to buy a house and knock it down, so he and Ana can build a new one. This is all without actually asking Ana, remember. But, this billionaire businessman is now yet again doing literally no work, but instead, browsing property sites:
A couple of the listings meet my criteria; one of the homes looks out across the Sound. The house is old, built in 1924, and has only come on the market in the last few days. The photographs are spectacular. Especially at twilight. For me, it will be all about the view. We can knock this house down and start again. I check what time the sun will set this evening: 9:09 p.m. Maybe I could get an appointment to see the house at dusk one night this week.
“For me, it will be all about the view.”
Answer me this: where is his concern for what Ana might want?
Nowhere. It’s nowhere.
He has Andrea arrange a viewing, just the same.
He dictates a message for the card to go with Ana’s flowers, which sounds as sexy as genital warts:
“Congratulations, Miss Steele. And all on your own! No help from your overfriendly, neighborhood, megalomaniac CEO. Love, Christian.”
Grey then immediately calls Dr Flynn and attempts to manipulate him, regarding the appointment Grey and Ana have, later:
“Christian, what is it?”
“This evening. Ana.”
“What will you say?”
“To Ana? I don’t know what she’s going to ask me. But whatever she asks, I’ll give her the truth.”
“That’s what I’m worried about.”
He sighs. “I have a different perception of you than you have of yourself, Christian.”
“I’m not sure whether to be reassured or not.”
“I’ll see you this evening,” he responds.
If Flynn’s perception of Christian is anything but “controlling, manipulator with stalker tendencies and unhealthy behaviour patterns in relationships,” then he is a lousy, lousy therapist and a piss-poor judge of character. Just saying.
Later, Ana emails to thank Grey for the flowers he sent. She tells him they arrived in a wicker basket that made her think of picnics and blankets. She also refers to him as her favourite kind of “maniac,” because he signed the card from “your friendly neighbourhood megalomanic.” Grey, however, has the memory of a sideboard and immediately replies, joking that they’d have to see what Dr Flynn made of the word “maniac.” He also takes her reference to picnics and blankets as an excuse to make suggestive comments about having fun in “the great outdoors.” Because he only ever thinks of himself and sex.
Hilariously, when Ana adds a PS to her next email, telling him not to worry about Dr Flynn, Grey thinks:
How does she know that I’m fretting about him?
Um… You literally said you’d have to see what Dr Flynn said about calling you a maniac in your last email, you utterly ridiculous buffoon.
We get a short and entirely pointless scene of Grey training with Bastille, during which Bastille says that he loves knowing Grey has a woman giving him a hard time (is she?!) and asks when he’ll get to meet her. Grey replies that he’s not sure that’ll happen, which seems odd, considering he’s promised Ana to set up a training session for her.
Grey gets a text from Andrea saying that he has an appointment to view the house he looked at online, at 8:30pm. That sounds to me like it’ll be a bit of a rush to squeeze that in as well as their session with Dr Flynn, but hey… I don’t want to sound like I give a toss about the plot of this novel or the characters within it, so… Whatever.
Grey goes to pick Ana up from work and she’s super excited about her new position at SIP. She also tells him that she had to cancel a lunch date with Mia, because she was so busy and that Ethan took her to lunch, instead. Grey isn’t exactly thrilled and tells us he’s never thought about Mia dating anyone, before. I refuse to believe that for a second, given how possessive and controlling this asshole is.
Ana gives Grey his birthday present, telling him he must not open it before Saturday. Grey thinks she seems nervous about it, but shakes the box and decides it sounds like something “small and plastic.” This causes him to wonder:
What the hell has she given me?
Cyanide tablets, if she has any sense.
Grey and Ana head into their session with Dr Flynn. This is going to be a massive clusterfuck, I can feel it in my bones.
Sure enough, the session begins with Ana kind of dropping Grey in it, by mentioning that Grey makes all his partners sign NDAs:
“Christian has requested that you accompany him to one of our sessions,” Flynn says. “Just so you know, we treat these sessions with absolute confidentiality—”
He stops when Ana interrupts. “Oh—um, I’ve signed an NDA,” she says quickly.
Shit. I release her hand.
“A nondisclosure agreement?” Flynn gives me a puzzled look. I shrug but say nothing. “You start all your relationships with women with an NDA?” he asks me.
“The contractual ones, I do.”
Flynn stifles a smile. “You’ve had other types of relationships with women?”
“No,” I respond, amused by his reaction. He knows this.
“As I thought.”
A good therapist definitely finds your decision to make women sign a non-legal NDA totally amusing, for sure. This rings true. I can practically smell the many hours of research EL James did.
Flynn announces that this means they “don’t have to worry about confidentiality,” which, again, seems totally legit. He suggests they have a discussion at home about the fact that they’re no longer entering a contractual relationship, leading Grey to remark:
“Different kind of contract, hopefully.”
Oh, nice. How romantic. He views marriage as just a different form of contract. SWOON.
Ana blushes at Grey’s comment, prompting Flynn to admit that he already knows a lot about her and her relationship with Grey, because “Christian has been very forthcoming.”
Flynn asks whether being asked to sign an NDA shocked Ana, but she replies that Grey’s more recent revelations have shocked her far more. Flynn asks Grey what he’d like to discuss and Grey suggests it’s up to Ana, considering she wanted the session. Which doesn’t at all make him sound petulant and as though he doesn’t want to do this, of course…
To Grey’s horror, this happens:
“Would you be more comfortable if Christian left us for a while?” Flynn asks her.
Ana’s eyes dart to me. “Yes,” she says.
Fuck. But? Shit.
I stand up. “I’ll be in the waiting room.”
“Thank you, Christian,” Flynn says.
I give Ana a long look, trying to tell her I’m ready for this commitment that I want to make to her.
I’m almost annoyed we don’t get this scene from Ana’s perspective, because I remember Flynn breaking all kinds of rules and basically placing the responsibility for Grey changing his vile behaviour on Ana’s shoulders, where it does not belong, and I so wanted to tear it a new one.
Instead, we see Grey stomp into reception, where Flynn’s female receptionist (I mention her gender only because Grey consistently treats women like shit) looks up as he enters and he tells us he ignores her.
Grey tries to go to his “happy place.” This changes erratically from his grandfather’s apple orchard, to kayaking as kids with Mia and Elliot, to racing across Lake Washington on a Hobie Cat with Elliot as (presumedly) an adult, to having sex with Ana.
He then tries reading a magazine for a while, before getting up and going for a walk around the block. He tells us he does this three times before deciding he’s going to return to Flynn’s office:
Flynn gives me a benevolent smile. “Welcome back, Christian,” he says.
“I think time is up, John.”
“Nearly, Christian. Join us.”
I sit down beside Ana and place my hand on her knee. She gives nothing away, and that’s frustrating, but she doesn’t pull her knee out of my reach.
“Did you have any other questions, Ana?” She shakes her head. “Christian?”
“Not today, John.”
“It may be beneficial if you both come again. I’m sure Ana will have more questions.”
If that’s what she wants. If that’s what it takes. I clasp her hand and her eyes meet mine.
Oh, EL. Don’t try to make Grey’s inner thoughts sound okay with this, when he’s literally just barged back into the session he was asked to leave, because he can’t stand knowing Ana’s talking about him with his therapist. For the love of God, understand that we are in Grey’s head. We see all the shit you put there. You can’t pretend he’s something he’s not. We see him as you made him. Vile.
Grey asks after Leila and tells Flynn to keep him posted about her progress. He then tells Ana it’s time they went and celebrated her promotion.
As soon as they’re out of the office, Grey gets aggressive, trying to prise information out of Ana:
“How was that?” I ask, aiming for nonchalance, as we walk out onto the street.
“It was good.”
And? I’m dying here, Ana. She looks at me and I have no idea what she’s thinking. It’s unnerving, and annoying. I scowl.
“Mr. Grey. Please don’t look at me that way. Under doctor’s orders I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt.”
“What does that mean?”
Will she marry me or not? Her winsome smile doesn’t give me any clues. Hell. She’s not going to tell me. She’s leaving me hanging.
“Get in the car,” I snap, and I open her door.
He’s literally getting angry with her because she won’t immediately divulge the details of a private conversation she just had with his therapist. I don’t care that she was talking about him, that doesn’t mean he automatically has the right to know everything that was said. I wish to God Ana had been as honest as she should have been and Flynn had been a decent therapist and told her to get the fuck away from Grey.
Instead, we all know Ana’s birthday present for Grey is a big YES to his marriage proposal and we know Flynn has dumped responsibility for “fixing” him on Ana’s shoulders. UGH.
Ana receives a call from José, who’s dropping off the photos of Ana to Grey’s apartment, the following evening, then staying over. Shockingly, Grey agrees that Ana can go out for a drink with him alone, although he adds: “See? I can be reasonable.” And that immediately reminds us of how unreasonable he is.
Speaking of which, Grey then tries to insist that he drives Ana’s car and Ana, amazingly, sticks up for herself and refuses:
She purses her lips—amused, I think. “Can I drive?”
“I’d rather you didn’t.”
“Because I don’t like to be driven.”
“You managed this morning, and you seem to tolerate Taylor driving you.”
“I trust Taylor’s driving implicitly.”
“And not mine?” she exclaims, and puts her hands on her hips. “Honestly, your control-freakishness knows no bounds. I’ve been driving since I was fifteen.”
I shrug. I want to drive.
“Is this my car?”
“Of course it’s your car.”
“Then give me the keys, please. I’ve driven it twice, and only to and from work. Now you’re having all the fun.” She folds her arms, standing firm, stubborn as ever.
Grey protests that Ana doesn’t know where she’s going and she responds that he can “enlighten” her, seeing as he’s been doing such a great job of that in their relationship, so far. That mere hint that he’s good at sex is enough to break the tension between them and everything is magically rosy again.
I hate this book.
Then we get a scene straight from HELL, in which Ana is driving apparently badly, slamming her brakes on and speeding through built-up areas, causing Grey to keep telling her off (although from memory, in the story from Ana’s perspective, she’s driving erratically because he’s yelling at her). Ana then stops in a no-stopping area and gets out of the car, telling Grey to drive, instead. Grey reminds her of how adamant she was that she was going to drive and Ana replies that he needs to either shut up and let her get on with it, or just take over. Then, for some reason, Ana finds this whole situation cute and starts giggling at Grey, all lovingly. Grey laughs and says he’ll drive, thus getting exactly what he wanted, all along.
True story: my abuser, who had passed his driving test, but never got a car and hadn’t therefore driven for years since having done so, used to criticise my driving quite frequently (the frequency increased as the relationship went on/got worse). At no point did I ever think “oh, he’s so cute. I love it when we argue like this.”
Something is seriously wrong with EL James. I don’t know if her marriage is abusive and she’s got Stockholm Syndrome, or if she is abusive and thinks her behaviour is cute when it’s anything but, but for her to write this shit constantly (Grey yells at Ana, she gets justifiably upset, then randomly decides it’s hot or cute), there is a problem somewhere. Because this isn’t cute or funny.
Grey continues to press Ana, asking what she talked with Flynn about. Ana admits that he told her about a new therapy treatment he wanted to try with Grey, and that they discussed Grey’s fear of being touched, as well as his “self-abhorrence.”
It’s still not enough for Grey, who keeps pushing for more:
“You were talking forever, Anastasia. What else did he say?”
“He doesn’t think you’re a sadist.”
“Really?” Flynn and I have differing views on this. He cannot step into my shoes. He doesn’t really understand.
Ana continues. “He says that that term’s not recognized in psychiatry. Not since the nineties.”
“Flynn and I have differing opinions on this.”
“He said you always think the worst of yourself. I know that’s true. He also mentioned sexual sadism—but he said that was a lifestyle choice, not a psychiatric condition. Maybe that’s what you’re thinking about.”
Ana, you have no idea. You will never know the depths of my depravity.
Oh, fucking get over yourself. You’ve got a few nipple clamps and you like whipping women who look like your dead mother. It’s like you want to be the monster you claim to hate being.
Grey keeps pressing for information:
“I want to know what you discussed,” I say in a tone that I hope sounds conciliatory. I leave I-5 and head west on Northwest Eighty-fifth Street.
“He called me your lover.”
“Did he, now? Well, he’s nothing if not fastidious about his terms. I think that’s an accurate description. Don’t you?”
“Did you think of your subs as lovers?”
Lovers? Leila? Susannah? Madison? Each of my submissives comes to mind. “No. They were sexual partners. You’re my only lover. And I want you to be more.”
“I know. I just need some time, Christian. To get my head around these last few days.”
I look over at her. Why didn’t she say that earlier?
SHE FUCKING DID. SHE HAS TOLD YOU SHE NEEDS TIME. SHE HAS SAID SO MORE THAN ONCE. YOU ARE A FUCKING TWAT WAFFLE AND I HOPE YOU DIE.
Oh, good lord, these books are bad for my health.
They arrive at the house Grey wants to buy (and knock down). Grey spots a basketball hoop hanging on the wall and reminisces about Elliot trying to get him to play basketball as a kid/teen, whilst he only wanted to read classic novels. Yeah, that sounds consistent with the characterisation of Grey as a teen, wanting to fight and burn off energy all the time. Sure.
Grey shows Ana the view from the house and tells her his plans for knocking it down and building them a sustainable family home there. Ana wants to look around the existing house, which Grey genuinely can’t understand, because he can never understand a viewpoint that isn’t his. This is evidenced by his continued bemusement that Ana might want to keep the house as it is:
I follow Ana and the realtor as she gives us the tour. Olga Kelly is in her element as she takes us through the numerous rooms, describing the features of each. Why Ana wants to see the whole house is a mystery to me. As we file up the sweeping staircase, she turns to me. “Couldn’t you make the existing house more ecological and self-sustaining?”
This house? “I’d have to ask Elliot. He’s the expert in all this.”
Ana likes this house.
Keeping the house wasn’t what I had in mind.
Because he only ever thinks of what he wants.
I’m skimming over huge chunks of text, because this is SO DULL.
Grey realises that Ana wants to keep the existing house and accepts that he’ll have to change his plans (ERMAGERD, HE IS SO VERY CHANGED):
Back downstairs, we make our way through to the terrace once more and I rethink my plans. The house wasn’t what I imagined living in, but it looks well built and solid enough and with a comprehensive update, it could serve our needs.
I glance at Ana. Who am I kidding? Wherever Ana is, that’s my home. If this is what she wants…
Outside on the terrace, I hold her. “Lot to take in?” I ask.
“I wanted to check that you liked it before I bought it.”
“I love the view, and I like the house that’s here.”
“Christian, you had me at the meadow,” she says with a shy smile.
This means she’s not leaving. Surely.
I would have thought that her saying she’s not leaving, multiple fucking times, per chapter, might mean she’s not leaving. For the sake of all I hold dear, make this end.
As they get back in the car, Ana asks if he’ll be selling Escala to pay for the new house and Grey reminds her of how rich he is. Again.
He tells her she’ll have to “get used to being rich” if she marries him. Ana says wealth has never mattered to her and he says that’s one of the things he loves about her, before adding that she probably doesn’t care about money because she’s never gone hungry.
He suggests he takes her to one of his clubs for a celebratory dinner and there’s a load of internal nudge-wink thoughts about how he belongs to Dominant clubs blah, blah, sexy blah.
They head to “The Mile High Club” and they’re both in flirty mood. Grey suggests that Ana heads to the ladies restroom and removes her panties. She does as she’s told. Why do I feel like this is going to be really unsexy? Ugh.
Meanwhile, Grey decides to order for her in her absence. As usual:
While I wait at the table I scan the menu. It reminds me of our dinner in the private room at The Heathman. I summon the waiter and hope that Ana won’t give me a hard time because I’m ordering her meal.
Here’s a funny little idea: WAIT FOR HER AND LET HER ORDER FOR HERSELF, INSTEAD. That way, she’ll have nothing to give you a hard time about. Seriously, if I was with someone who insisted on never letting me order for myself, I’d be fuming. Food is essentially the love of my life – ain’t nobody choosing what I eat, except me.
The waiter scuttles off and Ana appears, a secret smile playing on her lips. Oh, Ana. She wants to play…but I’m not going to touch her.
I want to drive her crazy.
You drive me crazy. But not in a good way.
There’s a really painfully crap scene of them eating oysters, which turns me off enormously, because oysters are gross. I can stomach them deep fried, but raw? Piss right off.
There’s loads of double entendre and it’s equally painful and I just want this chapter to end.
They have the briefest of conversations about the NDA, rather than the full discussion Flynn suggested they have:
“Speaking of contracts,” she continues. “The NDA.”
“Tear it up.”
“You’re sure I’m not going to run to The Seattle Times with an exposé?”
I laugh, knowing how shy she is. “No. I trust you. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt.”
“Ditto,” she says.
And that’s the end of the conversation. Technically, Ana should have brought up the fact that Grey referenced marriage as “a different kind of contract,” but of course she doesn’t, because she’s more bothered by the fact that she’s wearing no pants and Grey has told her he’s glad she’s in a dress, but he still won’t touch her.
Because, you guys, nothing is more important than sex, okay?!
There’s another threat of spanking her in public:
“Eat.” I change the subject. “I am not taking you home until you’ve finished your meal, and then we can really celebrate.”
“I’m not hungry. Not for food.”
Ana. Ana. So easily distracted.
“Eat, or I’ll put you across my knee, right here, and we’ll entertain the other diners.”
She shifts in her seat, making me think a spanking might be welcome, but her pursed lips tell a different story.
Red, because he admits her expression makes it look as though she wouldn’t want to be spanked in public.
We discover that Grey was definitely going to conduct a hostile takeover of Kate’s father’s business, until Ana placates him:
“Have you heard from your friend?” I ask.
“The guy staying in your apartment.”
“Oh, Ethan. Not since he took Mia out for lunch.”
“I’m doing some work with his and Kate’s father.”
“Yes. Kavanagh seems like a solid guy.”
“He’s always been good to me,” she answers, and my earlier thoughts about a hostile takeover of Kavanagh’s business recede.
Business decisions made by his dick? AGAIN?! How is this dude as successful as he claims?!
They finish dinner and get up to leave, with Grey saying as he’s a member, they’ll send him a bill, so they won’t have to slow down on the way out. He takes Ana to the elevator and, despite there being several other people in it, he makes his way to the back, slides his hand up Ana’s dress and starts to finger her. But as always, Ana is not allowed to orgasm:
“Don’t come. I want that later,” I whisper, and I splay my hand on her belly and press down, knowing that this will emphasize everything she’s feeling.
Christian Grey is SUCH a good lover, he won’t allow his partner to orgasm unless he can, too. Fuck this. This isn’t erotica. A story in which the heroine is constantly told she can’t orgasm unless the “hero” lets her?! Bullshit. I know orgasm denial is a thing and some people like it, but Ana doesn’t. She wants to let go and orgasm. Evidenced by this:
“You’d be surprised what I can do, Miss Steele.” Reaching out, I neaten her hair, pushing it behind her ear. “I want to get you home, but maybe we’ll only make it as far as the car.” I give her a quick smile, check that my jacket is covering the front of my jeans, then take her hand and lead her out of the elevator. “Come,” I bid her.
“Yes, I want to.”
Then again, sometimes, she wants to build her orgasm up for a while, but he insists that she comes immediately.
This guy is the worst lover ever. How is anyone getting off to this?!
He gets grossly possessive as they head to the car:
“I’ve never had sex in a car,” she says, as her heels echo on the marble floor.
I stop and tip her head up so that we are eye to eye. “I’m very pleased to hear that. I have to say I’d be very surprised, not to say mad, if you had.”
I know he’s saying it because he knows she was a virgin when they met, so if she had sex with someone in a car, she’d have cheated on him, potentially, but this still grosses me out a bit.
Anyway, they drive back to Escala and despite knowing what Ana wants – sex in the car – Grey refuses to give it to her:
“We will fuck in the car at a time and place of my choosing,” I whisper. “Right now, I want to take you on every available surface of my apartment.” “Yes,” she says, even though it’s not a question.
Everything about that makes me feel sick. Everything. Firstly, he’s dictating their sex life, despite the fact that he is not her Dom and they supposedly no longer have to adhere to the whole “sex whenever the Dom wants” part of his shitty contract. Secondly, I dislike the fact that he highlights that his comment wasn’t a question, because it implies that he would fuck her whether she agreed or not. I repeat: EVERYTHING about this is gross.
And why is Grey not allowing her any of her sexual wants? To punish her for not answering his proposal. No, really:
“So, what happened to instant gratification?” she asks.
“It’s not appropriate in every situation, Anastasia.”
“Since this evening.”
“Why are you torturing me so?”
“Tit for tat, Miss Steele.”
“How am I torturing you?”
“I think you know.” And I watch as realization dawns on her face. Yes, baby. I love you. And I want you to be my wife. But you won’t tell me your answer.
I don’t have to explain why that’s red, right?! He denied her an orgasm because she still needs time to think about MARRYING the guy she’s barely known a month.
I’m not misinterpreting any of this, either. When Ana tries to tease him by saying she likes delayed gratification as well, Grey starts badgering her about the proposal again…
“I’m into delayed gratification, too,” she whispers, and gives me a shy smile.
She is torturing me! I tug her hand and pull her into my arms, and my fingers wrap around her nape and I angle her head so I can look into her eyes. “What can I do to make you say yes?” I beg her.
“Give me some time, please,” she says. I groan and my lips are on hers, my tongue seeking hers. The elevator doors open and we shuffle in, maintaining our embrace. And she’s lit from within. Her hands are on me. Everywhere. In my hair. Around my face. On my ass. And she’s kissing me back with such passion.
I burn for her.
Pushing her against the wall, revelling in the fervour of her kiss, I pin her with my hips and my erection. I have one hand in her hair and one on her chin. “You own me,” I whisper against her mouth. “My fate is in your hands, Ana.”
JUST STOP, YOU ASS-WIPE. STOP TRYING TO PRESSURE HER ALL THE FUCKING TIME. I HATE YOU. I HATE YOU. I FUCKING HATE YOU.
They head into Escala and fuck on the table in the foyer. Grey openly admits to lasting for less than a minute. He also admits that fucking her is the only way he knows to show love, which is tragic, but not in the “poor Grey” way, just in the “oh how pathetic” sense:
I move faster. Loving her. The only way I really know how.
Her mouth opens, slack, wide, beautiful. And her legs tense around me. This is going to be quick.
And she comes around me, taking me with her. She calls out through her climax.
“Yes, Ana!” I cry. And come and come and come.
They go to bed and fuck again. Ana tells him she really loved the house and Grey tells himself that that means she might say yes to marrying him.
Their post-coitus glow is where this chapter ends.
Guys, we have just over 100 pages left and, if my calculations are correct, just two more chapters.
The end is in sight.