Grey: Chapter 11 (Part two, because EL James has no idea about brevity…)

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…

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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…

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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.

Probably both…

Anyway, buckle up, because deliberately getting someone drunk in order to gain consent is about to happen!

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“Some more?” I nod toward the bottle on the table.

“Please.”

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…

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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.

“Well, what?”

“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.

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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 thats 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?”

She nods.

“Answer me.”

“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.

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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.

“Yes.”

“With a man?”

“No. I’ve never had sex with a man. Not my scene.”

“Mrs. Robinson?”

“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.

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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.

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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?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

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.

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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.”

Ana pales.

“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.

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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.”

“Something painful?”

“No—stop seeing pain everywhere. It’s mainly pleasure. Have I hurt you yet?”

“No.”

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.

Jump.

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!

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Of course, Grey isn’t just making this promise to trymaybe, 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.

Shit.

“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.

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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.

Good girl.

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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

Just ew.

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?”

Yes.

“Why?”

“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.”

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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?”

“Oh yes.”

“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?”

“No!”

“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!

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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.

Panting.

Anticipating.

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.

SWOON.

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.

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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.

Ana

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:

Dear Sir,

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.

Ana

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.

Christian Grey

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.

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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.

Miss Steele

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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.

Shit.

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…

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Grey: Chapter 11 (Part two, because EL James has no idea about brevity…)

Grey: Chapter 11 (Thursday, May 26, 2011)

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Greetings, people.  Before I begin this recap, I want to tell you about something that happened on Twitter this morning.

Sometimes, I run a search for “fifty shades abuse” into Twitter.  Not to search for the campaign I co-run (I haven’t forgotten my log-in details or anything… at least not recently), but to see if there have been any new articles written, highlighting the abuse contained within the Fifty Shades franchise.  We have a policy of not sharing any articles unless we’ve checked them to ensure the writing quality is good, we agree with the tone of the article and that the piece isn’t limiting their definition of abuse as simply “BDSM” (because don’t get me started on the amount of rubbish we get, from people claiming that consensual BDSM is abuse and that that’s the only abuse within the books… UGH, stupid people get everywhere, these days).

But it’s a search that often makes me mad.  Because frequently, what it brings up, are fans insisting “FIFTY SHADES IS NOT ABUSE,” in various ways.  This morning, I stumbled upon a tweet just saying: “This is me and my friends throwing copies of the book at people who say Fifty Shades is abuse,” accompanied by a gif similar to this one (weirdly, I can’t find the tweet, anymore):

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It infuriated me for myriad reasons. The main reason being that, as with so many of them in the past, this fan was implying that you couldn’t possibly think there was abuse in Fifty Shades if you had actually read it.

BULL.

It’s because I read the damn thing that I know it’s riddled with abuse.  And it’s because I’m reading it from the abuser’s perspective now, that I know Grey makes the abuse even more plain.  Yet there are still fans who refuse to believe that people like me have read the books at all, because they don’t recognise the abuse in it, meaning, apparently, that it can’t possibly exist.  Well, wake up and smell the stalking, folks.  Because I’m reading your “love story” and I’m horrified.  Just because you don’t recognise Fifty Shades as abuse, doesn’t mean I haven’t actually read the books.

And just to prove myself that bit further, onto the next recap!

Guess how it opens?  DID YOU SAY MOMMY DREAM?!  THEN YOU GET A PRIZE!

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As always, italics indicate quotes from this steaming dog-pile that somehow shifted millions of copies…

Mommy is gone.  Sometimes she goes outside.

And it is only me. Me and my cars and my blankie.

When she comes home she sleeps on the couch. The couch is brown and sticky. She is tired. Sometimes I cover her with my blankie.

Or she comes home with something to eat. I like those days. We have bread and butter. And sometimes we have macrami and cheese. That is my favorite.

It is dark now, and my mommy is gone. I can reach the light when I stand on the stool.

On. Off. On. Off. On. Off.

Light. Dark. Light. Dark. Light.

I’m hungry. I eat the cheese. There is cheese in the fridge. Cheese with blue fur.

Look, young Christian had a tough time.  I get that and I’m not about to belittle this experience.  What grinds my gears is that we know these flashback dreams are only here to explain his behaviour and that’s not okay.  Christian’s mother being a drug addicted prostitute with an abusive pimp does not somehow absolve Christian of the fact that he’s an abuser himself, as an adult.  So, I can find room in my icy, cold heart to sympathise with Christian as a child, without also leaping to “hey, it doesn’t matter that he threatens to beat Ana despite her lack of consent, or that he stalks her when she asks for space!  He once had to eat mouldy cheese!”

Sometimes she comes home with him. I hate him. I hide when he comes. My favorite place is in my mommy’s closet. It smells of Mommy. It smells of Mommy when she’s happy.

Notice how young Christian hates the abusive pimp and hides from him, yet as an adult, his hatred is solely for his dead mother.  What a nice guy.

Thankfully, he then wakes from this nightmare, so that the real nightmare of me having to read romanticised abuse can begin…

I hate my dreams. They’re riddled with harrowing memories, distorted reminders of a time I want to forget. My heart is pounding and I’m drenched with sweat. But the worst consequence of these nightmares is dealing with the overwhelming anxiety when I wake.

Don’t worry, Christian.  I’m sure you can threaten to non-consensually beat a woman who looks a bit like the mother you inexplicably blame for everything and that’ll make you feel loads better.

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He decides to go for a run, then immediately begins brooding over the fact that he’s had no email or text from Ana.

Leave it, Grey.

Just fucking leave it!

I know I’ll see her at the graduation ceremony.

But I can’t leave it.

Yes, you can.  You are an adult, with free will.  You won’t leave it, because you’re also a vile pubic louse of a man, who hounds women until they do as he says.  And subtly adding “but I can’t” here is a pathetic attempt to absolve Grey of guilt.  Nice job, EL James.  You tried.

Before my shower, I send her another text.

Call me.

I just need to know she’s safe.

Another piece of crap straight from The Big Bumper Guide To Abuse.  Abusers love to use the “I need to know you’re safe” line to ensure they can keep constant tabs on their victims.  It’s not about caring for their wellbeing at all.  It’s about being in control.  If one editor (hahahaaa, as if these books saw an editor!) had just gone “you know, we ought to think about whether or not this level of concern might come across as possessive or stalkerish…” we could have been saved this whole mess.

Grey decides to work on his commencement address, in a vain effort to take his mind off Ana:

At the graduation ceremony later this morning I’ll be honoring the extraordinary work of the environmental sciences department and the progress they’ve made in partnership with GEH in arable technology for developing countries.

“All part of your feed-the-world plan?” Ana’s shrewd words echo in my head, and they nudge at last night’s nightmare.

And then he thinks this:

Sam, my VP for publicity, has sent a draft that is way too pretentious for me. It takes me an hour to rework his media-speak bullshit into something more human.

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Christian Grey is the most pretentious man on the entire planet and he actually thinks he can turn the speech into “something more human?!”  Okaaaay.

Nine thirty and still no word from Ana. Her radio silence is worrying—and frankly rude. I call, but her phone goes straight to a generic voice mail message.

I hang up.

Show some dignity, Grey.

Remember, the last email he sent her the previous night, was one in which he subtly mocked her car, as though she might not make it home in it, because it didn’t match up to his high standards.  And also, remember that it’s an important day for her, yet he is bombarding her with unnecessary messages.  But sure, she is being rude for not responding.  Again, I say: Okaaaay.

Grey gets an email and briefly hopes it’s from Ana, only to realise it’s from Mia.  He thinks this:

In spite of my bad mood, I smile. I’ve missed that kid.

Point 1) Mia is an adult and you’ve just proved that you’re patronising as well as pretentious.

Point 2) You do little besides internally bitch about your siblings, so… I don’t believe you.

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This is Mia’s email:

Hey, Christian,

I can’t wait to get out of here!

Rescue me. Please.

My flight number on Saturday is AF3622. It arrives at 12:22 p.m. and Dad is making me fly coach! *pouting!

I will have lots of luggage. Love. Love. Love Paris fashion.

Mom says you have a girlfriend.

Is this true?

What’s she like?

I NEED TO KNOW!!!!!

See you Saturday. Missed you so much.

À bientôt mon frère.

Mxxxxxxxxx

And this is Christian’s reaction:

Oh hell! My mother’s big mouth. Ana is not my girlfriend! And come Saturday I’ll have to fend off my sister’s equally big mouth and her inherent optimism and her prying questions. She can be exhausting.

“I’ve missed that kid” to “she can be exhausting” in under a minute.  Told you.

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Grey begins to choose his outfit for the commencement address he’s going to give and he purposefully chooses to wear that tie:

It will be my subtle message to Ana that I haven’t given up, and a reminder of good times.

Which good times?  The time when you decided you’d rape her into changing her mind when she said no to you?  Or the time you illegally tracked her phone and took a barely conscious woman back to your hotel?  There are just so many to choose from!

He tries to call Ana again and is annoyed when there’s still no answer.  Just a thought, oh dude whose brain is clearly as small and shrivelled as his dick, IT IS HER GRADUATION DAY.  She’s probably nervous and fairly damn busy.  Back the heck off.

Taylor comes in to explain that the A3 Grey ordered for Ana is due to be delivered that afternoon.  They have a brief conversation about Taylor’s daughter, which is blatantly shoe-horned in so that EL can scream: “SEE!  HE CARES ABOUT A CHILD!  CHRISTIAN IS A GOOOOOOD MAAAAAAAN!”

Then, it’s time to set off and Grey thinks:

And though I’m loath to admit it, I’m anxious to see Miss Steele.

You have literally done nothing but try to get hold of her since you woke up, you idiot.  Who are you loathe to admit this to?!  Because you’ve admitted it to yourself like, ninety times already, today alone.

Upon arriving at the university, Grey is escorted into a small room by a young woman who blushes, because he is so freaking divine that all who see him immediately wet themselves.  In the room, he notices Kate:

“Hi, Christian,” she says, strutting toward me with the confidence of the well-heeled. She’s in her graduation gown and appears cheerful enough; surely she’s seen Ana.

This just reads as though anyone who sees Ana must immediately become cheerful, which… Nah.  Reading about her could cure insomnia.  Just saying.

Kate informs Christian that she’s valedictorian and is surprised Elliot didn’t tell him in advance.  Grey thinks snippily that he and Elliot don’t live in each other’s pockets, before asking whether Ana got home safely in “that deathtrap she calls a car.”

Kate replies:

“Wanda. She calls it Wanda. And yes, she did.” She gazes at me with a quizzical expression.

In this moment, I love Kate more than any other character in fiction, purely because she clearly loathes Grey and enjoys cutting through his crap.

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I’m relieved that Ana is in one piece, but pissed that she hasn’t replied to any of my messages.

Because it was never about her safety.  It was about her being under his control.  And it always will be.

Grey, Kate and the other academics head into the auditorium for the graduation ceremony.  Grey is super professional about it:

Where is she? Methodically I inspect each row.

There you are.

I find her huddled in the second row. She’s alive. I feel foolish for expending so much anxiety and energy on her whereabouts last night and this morning. Her brilliant blue eyes are wide as they lock with mine, and she shifts in her seat, a slow flush coloring her cheeks.

You… You literally just confirmed that she was alive, by speaking to her roommate.  Or did you forget?!

Yes. I’ve found you. And you haven’t replied to my messages. She’s avoiding me and I’m pissed. Really pissed. Closing my eyes, I imagine dripping hot wax onto her breasts and her squirming beneath me. This has a radical effect on my body.

Shit.

Get it together, Grey.

That first bit is red, because he’s fantasising about something that could physically hurt her (burning) whilst he’s angry with her, which makes the whole “this is for your pleasure” thing a load of crap.  You don’t go into a BDSM scene to take out your genuine rage at your partner.  Guess what it’s called if you just want to hurt your partner in anger?  Abuse.  It’s called abuse.

Grey listens to Kate give a speech about seizing opportunities and thinks:

She’s obviously smart and popular and confident. Not the shy and retiring wallflower that is the lovely Miss Steele. It really amazes me that these two are friends.

Because, to Christian Grey, two people can only be friends if they are exactly the freaking same.  Which must explain why Grey doesn’t have any friends, himself.  It must be hard to find someone who’s that much of an abusive arsehole.  I guess at least he has Elena.

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His name is announced, he thinks “showtime, Grey” and, I kid you not, we have to read his entire damn speech.  The WHOLE thing.

One of the only really relevant bits is this:

Over a billion people, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America, live in abject poverty. Agricultural dysfunction is rife within these parts of the world, and the result is ecological and social destruction. I have known what it’s like to be profoundly hungry. This is a very personal journey for me.

I think we’re supposed to decide this makes it okay for him to yell at Ana when she doesn’t want to eat, but… That’s not gonna happen.

The rest of it is all yadda, yadda, Grey Enterprises Holdings is solving world famine, yadda, yadda, doesn’t actually sound human despite his supposed rewrite, yadda, yadda, yadda.

He ends it thusly, with one of the best known Native American quotes of all time (my old dentist used to have it on his surgery wall):

We’re all privileged here. Some more than others, and I include myself in that category. We have a moral obligation to offer those less fortunate a decent life that’s healthy, secure, and well nourished, with access to more of the resources that we all enjoy here.

“I’ll leave you with a quote that has always resonated with me. And I’m paraphrasing a Native American saying: ‘Only when the last leaf has fallen, the last tree has died, and the last fish been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.’  ”

But, coming from a guy who is constantly snooty about cheap wine, orders everything from the menu because he’s not sure what the girl he kidnapped might want to eat, who sends First Editions to her when they barely know one another and who decides on sight that her car is a “deathtrap” because it’s not as posh as his, this sentiment falls flatter than a bum note in a choir rehearsal.

And he tells us that he receives “rousing applause.”

Only out of politeness, dude.  I suspect you think it’s because you’re the best public speaker ever and everyone just admires you so much and…

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As soon as his speech is done, Grey returns to being incredibly mature and professional:

 I resist looking at Ana and examine the WSU banner hanging at the back of the auditorium. If she wants to ignore me, fine. Two can play at that game.

The vice chancellor rises to commence handing out the degrees. And so begins the agonizing wait until we reach the S’s and I can see her again.

I SHALL IGNORE HER!

BUT OH, SUCH AN AGONISING WAIT UNTIL I SEE HER AGAIN!

Grow up, dude.

When he calls her name and she begins walking up to get her degree from him, Grey describes Ana as “looking pensive and worried.”  She has every reason to be, because as she goes to collect her degree, this happens:

“Congratulations, Miss Steele,” I say as I give Ana her degree. We shake hands, but I don’t let hers go. “Do you have a problem with your laptop?”

She looks perplexed. “No.”

“Then you are ignoring my e-mails?” I release her.

“I only saw the mergers and acquisitions one.”

What the hell does that mean?

Her frown deepens, but I have to let her go—there’s a line forming behind her.

“Later.” I let her know that we’re not finished with this conversation as she moves on.

This is so unprofessional, I literally can’t even stress enough how much this guy would never be asked to do something like this again.  But above that, it’s damn abusive.  He’s grabbing her hand and refusing to let go, so he can take a moment – her freaking moment, seeing as it’s her graduation – to snarl at her for not responding to his emails.  And she’s telling him that she hasn’t seen his later messages and he can’t even lessen his vileness enough to let the damn thing go.

I hate this man.

But of course, I’m alone in that.  Because he’s the most beautiful, wonderful man in the whole universe:

I’m in purgatory by the time we’ve reached the end of the line. I’ve been ogled, and had eyelashes batted at me, silly giggling girls squeezing my hand, and five notes with phone numbers pressed into my palm.

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Listen, EL James?  When the literal only way you can make your character out to be a guy worthy of being with, is to make practically every female character in the story make it obvious she fancies him?  YOU’RE JUST A BAD WRITER.  Because you’ve given us no reason why anyone would actually want Christian Grey.  He’s wealthy, but not all women are shallow.  He’s supposedly attractive, but attractiveness is subjective and there is nobody who gets hit on as much as we’re meant to believe this guy does.  You’ve never shown us a redeeming quality, a niceness to him.  You’ve never portrayed him as someone who is charming or polite, or even someone who smiles and generally seems nice.  The only way you can think of to make this grotesque specimen seem remotely likeable is to have loads of women fawn over him for NO REASON.  Why?  Because you’re an appallingly bad writer.  There are shopping lists written better than this crap.

Anyway, back to the abuse…

In the corridor I grab Kavanagh’s arm. “I need to speak to Ana. Can you find her? Now.”

Kavanagh is taken aback, but before she can say anything I add, in as polite a tone as I can manage, “Please.”

Red, because we know he’s acting in anger and Ana hasn’t actually done anything worthy of it.  Also, grabbing Kate like this is just gross in general.

Naturally, because nothing Christian Grey does makes him a redeemable character, we have to have someone else praise him before the story can continue, so we get to see the university chancellor congratulating him on his speech.  Yay.  Best.  Speech.  EVEEEEER.

Kate returns with Ana, then we continue:

“Thank you,” I say to Kate, who gives Ana a worried glance. Ignoring her, I take Ana’s elbow and lead her through the first door I find. It’s a men’s locker room, and from the fresh smell I can tell it’s empty. Locking the door, I turn to face Miss Steele. “Why haven’t you e-mailed me? Or texted me back?” I demand.

Ooooooh, this is gonna take some time…  BRING ON THE BULLET POINTS:

  • If you are a responsible person, you don’t ignore the concern of your partner’s best friend.  But then again, if you’re a decent person, you don’t grab people roughly and demand they fetch your partner immediately.  All Grey had to do was show a little decency; calmly say “hey Kate, do you know where Ana is?  I’d really love to see her” and then, when Ana arrives, show her some respect, too.  Grey does neither.
  • He doesn’t even address Ana.  He thanks Kate for bringing Ana to him, then simply manhandles Ana through the first door he sees.  Without so much as a “hello.”
  • HE LOCKS THE DOOR BEHIND THEM.  There’s no reason for this, beyond wanting complete control and to know he can do as he pleases without getting caught.  If it was merely for privacy, he only needed to shut the door and, if someone opened it, politely say “sorry, we just needed some private space for a quick talk.”  Given that there’s a graduation ceremony going on, it’s unlikely that the locker room would be in use and it’s equally unlikely that any of the graduation guests would be wandering in there.  Locking the door is unnecessary and creepy.
  • The ONLY reason he’s this enraged, is because Ana didn’t reply to his messages.  Look, I know how annoying it is when you don’t get a response.  At the time of writing, I’ve sent three messages trying to arrange a catch up with a friend, pre-Christmas, none of which has garnered a reply.  But I’m sure as hell not about to grab my friend roughly and shove her into a room, which I LOCK behind us, so I can demand answers.

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She blinks a couple of times, consternation writ large on her face. “I haven’t looked at my computer today, or my phone.” She seems genuinely bewildered by my outburst. 

Because, despite the fact that she frequently lacks any semblance of a personality, Ana is a normal human being.  Of course she’s bewildered by your outburst, you totally vile moron!

And of course, she tries to change the subject by congratulating him on his “great” speech.  Ana, I read it.  It was average at best.

“Thank you,” I mutter, derailed. How can she not have checked her phone or e-mail?

I don’t know, maybe because IT’S HER GRADUATION DAY AND NOT EVERYTHING REVOLVES AROUND YOU AND YOUR PENIS??!!

“Explains your food issues to me,” she says, her tone gentle—and if I’m not mistaken, pitying, too.

“Anastasia, I don’t want to go there at the moment.”

I don’t need your pity.

No, you just need her total and utter subservience to you in all areas of life, whether she wants that or not.

He tells her he was worried about her driving home in such a deathtrap.

Ana bristles. “What? It’s not a deathtrap. It’s fine. José regularly services it for me.”

“José, the photographer?” This just gets better and fucking better.

“Yes, the Beetle used to belong to his mother.”

“Yes, and probably her mother and her mother before her. It’s not safe.” I’m almost shouting.

“I’ve been driving it for over three years. I’m sorry you were worried. Why didn’t you call?”

I called her cell phone. Does she not use her damned cell phone? Is she talking about the house phone? Running my hand through my hair in exasperation, I take a deep breath. This is not addressing the fucking elephant in the room.

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The elephant in the room is that Grey wants an answer as to whether Ana will agree to be his sub.  But up until now, he’s just been angry at her for not messaging back immediately.  Oh, and supposedly annoyed that her car isn’t “safe.”  Read: posh enough.

“Anastasia, I need an answer from you. This waiting around is driving me crazy.”

Her face falls.

Shit.

“Christian, I…look, I’ve left my stepdad on his own.”

“Tomorrow. I want an answer by tomorrow.”

“Okay. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you then,” she says with an anxious look.

He’s pressuring her into making a decision on something huge, which she knows literally nothing about.  She needs time to educate herself and to decide whether this is something she can handle, but he’s railroading her into a snap decision.  This is a major red flag and this is not healthy, consensual BDSM.  Consent should be informed and Ana is still nowhere near informed enough to make a proper decision on this.

Well, it’s still not a “no.” And once more, I’m surprised by my relief.

It’s not a “yes,” either, douchebag, but then you don’t really care about consent and I’m not remotely surprised by my rage.

What the hell is it about this woman? 

VICTIM-BLAMING A-GO-GO!  SHE MAKES ME BEHAVE THIS WAY!

She stares up at me with sincere blue eyes, her face etched in concern, and I resist the urge to touch her.

For once in your life, you’ve resisted an urge.  Congratulations.  You’re still a pig, though, so…

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Grey asks Ana if she’s going for drinks and says he wants to meet Ana’s stepfather.  Ana is not certain that that’s a good idea (and I agree).  But of course, Grey doesn’t like the word “no,” so he continues to press for it.  He inwardly wonders if Ana’s being hesitant because she now knows that he was poor as a kid (because she really comes across as such a materialistic, judgemental woman…), or whether it’s because she’s ashamed of his sexual kinks.  And frankly, if you genuinely think she might be ashamed of your kinks, then you should not be pursuing a BDSM relationship with her, because she is blatantly not up for it.

Grey insists that she can introduce him to her stepfather as her “friend” and whilst this isn’t the most abusive part of this hell, I find it really triggering, because, combined with the whole “Ana is not my girlfriend” thing, it reminds me of my own abuser, who always insisted on being introduced as my “friend” (and would introduce me the same way) and, despite telling me he loved me, would constantly insist that we weren’t in a relationship.  It was a way of controlling me and it worked.  I did everything he wanted, hoping he’d eventually say “yes, we’re a couple” and everything would be okay.  So, yeah, if I seem extra snarky right about now, this is why.

Anyway, Grey finally unlocks the door and they leave the locker room, despite the fact that Ana is still not fully on board with the idea of going for drinks and introducing Grey to her stepfather:

I open the door and follow her out but stop when I reach the chancellor and his colleagues. As one they turn and stare at Miss Steele, but she’s disappearing into the auditorium. They turn back to me.

Miss Steele and I are none of your business, people.

You’ve literally just locked a student in a room with you.  It’s totally their business, if they believe you’ve potentially been acting improperly.

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The chancellor asks Grey to come and have some canapés and meet some more people (and frankly, I wonder if the chancellor is doing that just to get him away from the student he’d locked in a freaking room).  Thirty minutes later, as he heads to find Ana, Grey catches up with Kate, who asks if him if he’s invited Ana to lunch at his parents’ house on Sunday.  But before Grey can answer, this happens:

What the fuck?

A tall blond guy who looks as if he’s walked off a beach in California has his hands all over her.

Who the hell is that? Is this why she didn’t want me to come for a drink?

Ana looks up, catches my expression, and pales as her roommate stands beside that guy.

You said yourself that she is not your girlfriend.  And she hasn’t signed your contract, insisting that she belong to you and not see anyone else.  So, she’s free to greet any tall, blond guys she likes.  Notice how he leaps to the impression that this guy must be interested in her romantically.  The idea of a friend hugging another friend is totally beyond him.  He views Ana as his property and this person is not allowed to go near her.

Even more importantly, notice how Ana reacts.  She knows, this early on in their “relationship,” that Grey is possessive, jealous and has a capacity to get angry.  MASSIVE.  RED.  FLAG.

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Grey describes Ray Steele as wearing an “ill-fitting suit” and notes his rough hands, as he greets him.  Kate refers to Grey as Ana’s boyfriend, which both Grey and Ray are a little taken aback by.  Kate then introduces her brother to Grey:

“And this is my brother, Ethan Kavanagh,” says Kate, introducing the beach bum who has his arm wrapped around Ana.

Ah. The Kavanagh offspring, together.

I mutter his name as we shake hands, noting that they are soft, unlike Ray Steele’s.

Now stop pawing my girl, you fucker.

She’s not your girlfriend, remember?  You fucker.

“Ana, baby,” I whisper, holding out my hand, and like the good woman she is, she steps into my embrace. She’s discarded her graduation robe and wears a pale gray halter-neck dress, exposing her flawless shoulders and back.

Two dresses in two days. She’s spoiling me.

Okay, firstly…  She’s not dressing for you, you total twonk.

Secondly, “like the good woman she is”????!!!!  Is it 1952???!!  Come at me, women claiming this shit is feminist, because I’ll just point to this crap and say “OH NO IT ISN’T” like I’m in a freaking pantomime.

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As Ray makes small talk with the “couple,” Grey purposefully traces his thumb along Ana’s back, making her tremble.  Because trying to arouse or unnerve your new “girlfriend” in front of her stepfather is really romantic and not at all weird and disrespectful.

As they get onto the subject of fishing, Ana excuses herself and heads off to talk to Kate and Ethan, again.  Of course, this means that whilst they’re talking, Grey is constantly staring at Ana.  Which, again, is so totally healthy and cute.

“You still get out much to fish?” I refocus on Mr. Steele.

“Sure do. Annie’s friend José, his father, and I sneak out as often as we can.”

The fucking photographer! Again?

“He’s the guy that looks after the Beetle?”

“Yeah, that’s him.”

“Great car, the Beetle. I’m a fan of German-made cars.”

“Yeah? Annie loves that old car, but I guess it’s getting past its sell-by date.”

“Funny you should mention that. I was thinking of loaning her one of my company cars. Do you think she’d go for it?”

“I guess. That would be up to Annie, mind.”

GO RAY!  I mean, Grey lied to him about him thinking of it as a “great car,” clearly, but Ray made the point of saying that a new car would be “up to Annie.”  It’s her decision and Ray realises and respects that.  What a shame Grey doesn’t – he’s already ordered the replacement Audi, remember.

Grey asks if Ana is also into fishing:

“No. That girl takes after her mother. She couldn’t stomach seeing the fish suffer. Or the worms, for that matter. She’s a gentle soul.” He gives me a pointed look. Oh. A warning from Raymond Steele. I turn it into a joke.

Of course you do.  Because a father figure showing concern should always be turned into a joke.  Yup.

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As Ray excuses himself to go to the toilet, Ana and Grey briefly have their photo taken together and she compliments his choice of tie.  Because LOL, they had sex using that.  Man, I’m so aroused by this book.

Grey then tries to manipulate/seduce (senipulate?  Maduce?!) her into saying “yes” to what he wants.  But Ana clearly wants something beyond just using a tie during sex:

“You look lovely, Anastasia. This halter-neck dress suits you, and I get to stroke your back, feel your beautiful skin.”

Her lips part and her breath hitches, and I can feel the pull of the attraction between us.

“You know it’s going to be good, don’t you, baby?” My voice is low, betraying my longing.

She closes her eyes, swallows, and takes a deep breath. When she opens them again, she’s radiating anxiety. “But I want more,” she says.

“More?”

Fuck. What is this?

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Once again, tell me how we’re supposed to believe this guy is remotely intelligent?!  I mean, in no way has Ana done anything but make it pretty clear that she wants more than just a sexual relationship with him!  HOW IS THIS NEWS TO HIM?!

“More?” I whisper again. Her lip is pliant beneath my thumb. “You want hearts and flowers.” Fuck. It will never work with her. How can it? I don’t do romance. My hopes and dreams begin to crumble between us.

THEN WALK AWAY, YOU LOW-LIFE.  IF YOU CAN’T DO ROMANCE AND THAT’S WHAT SHE WANTS, HAVE THE BLOODY DECENCY TO LISTEN TO HER AND DO THE DECENT THING.

But then there wouldn’t be this pathetic excuse for a story, so… Ugh.

“Anastasia. It’s not something I know.”

“Me, neither.”

Of course; she’s never had a relationship before. “You don’t know much.”

Yep, belittling her lack of experience is a really sweet, kind and romantic thing to do.

“You know all the wrong things,” she breathes.

“Wrong? Not to me. Try it,” I plead.

Please. Try it my way.

There’s this crazy little thing called “compromise.”  Grey blatantly doesn’t really want to try that.  But you know what?  Compromise is crucial in a healthy relationship.  But hahahahahahaaaaa, this isn’t one.

“Okay,” she whispers.

“What?” Every hair on my body stands to attention.

“Okay. I’ll try.”

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

“Subject to the soft limits, yes. I’ll try.”

Sweet. Lord. I pull her into my arms and wrap her in my embrace, burying my face in her hair, inhaling her seductive scent. And I don’t care that we’re in a crowded space. It’s just her and me. “Jesus, Ana, you’re so unexpected. You take my breath away.”

She’ll try.  She says “I’ll try” twice.  Remember how we always talk about enthusiastic consent?  This is barely that.  This is:

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When what we’re looking for is:

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What he should be saying here is “I promise you we’ll go at your pace.  I’ll take things really slow.  And I’ll try to give you a little more, too.”  Because that is compromise.

But instead, he just thinks:

Deal done, Grey!

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Ray returns and suggests he and Ana go to get some lunch.  He invites Grey to join them, but Grey reckons he can tell that Ana is pleading with her eyes for him to say no, because she wants some alone time with her father.  This guy has some kind of magical powers…

This then happens:

“Thank you, Mr. Steele, but I have plans. It’s been great to meet you, sir.”

Try and control your stupid grin, Grey.

“Likewise,” Steele replies—sincerely, I think. “Look after my baby girl.”

“Oh, I fully intend to,” I respond, shaking his hand.

In ways that you can’t possibly imagine, Mr. Steele.

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This is just a kinky business deal to Grey.  Ana has said she’ll “try” to do what he wants.  And now that’s it.  That’s a blanket “yes” to everything as far as he’s concerned and all he’s bothered about now is using Ana for sex.  There’s nothing romantic about this.  If he had any real ability to read Ana at all, he’d know how hesitant she is and that he ought to be reassuring her, but nope.  He just cares about all the things he now feels he has blanket consent for.

Taylor collects Grey and they discuss the fact that the Audi A3 is ready for Grey to give to Ana.  Grey thinks:

No doubt this will involve a discussion, and deep down I know it will be more than just a discussion. Then again, she’s agreed to be my submissive, so maybe she’ll accept my gift without any fuss.

Who are you kidding, Grey?

She’s agreed to try.  And if you already know she’ll argue with you about this, why are you continuing to try to change her into something she isn’t, when you claim to like her just as she is?!

On his way back to his hotel, Grey thinks about a business meeting he has arranged with Kate’s father, then starts staring out of the window at couples, reminding himself that Ana wants a real relationship:

Ana wants “more.” I sigh heavily and plow my fingers through my hair. They always want more. All of them. What can I do about that? The hand-in-hand couple strolling to the coffee shop—Ana and I did that. We’ve eaten together at two restaurants, and it was…fun. Perhaps I could try. After all, she’s giving me so much. I loosen my tie.

Could I do more?

So, all of his ex subs have wanted more.  And he’s never given them it.  This is blatantly supposed to convey two things: 1) That Grey is just so wonderful, everyone wants a serious commitment from him and 2) That Ana is the special one, destined to change him.  But to me, it just shows him up as a shitty person.  He has never tried to give anything back to any of his subs, even when it’s been obvious they’ve had feelings for him.  It wouldn’t kill him to take someone out for dinner, or spend a bit of time just snuggled up on the sofa with a DVD, but he’s viewed every single one of “the fifteen” as being there purely to serve him sex and agree to whatever he wants.  He talks the talk about mutual pleasure, but his is the only pleasure that matters, here.

Back at the hotel, he has to go to the gym to work off his excess energy, because socialising with people has tested his patience.  Plus he needs time to think about “more.”

I’ve got the feeling that I will hate the word “more” by the end of this.

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Grey has a video call with Andrea:

“Will do. How was the graduation ceremony?” she asks.

“Good. Unexpected.”

Ana agreed to be mine.

She agreed to TRY.  I literally can’t emphasise this enough.  This prick is taking a very cautious “maybe” as a full-on “HELL YES” and that’s not right.

Grey then emails Ana to say he’s happy to talk through her soft limits, adding that she looked beautiful.  Then he muses on the fact that just that morning, he’d thought it was all over between them, and that his therapist would have a field day if he knew how much he’d been obsessing over this girl.

Grey then thinks about the fact that the whole problem of her not responding to his messages was the fact that she hadn’t had her phone on her.  And inexplicably, he decides that she needs a more reliable form of communication and contacts Taylor to ask him to have a Blackberry sent over to Ana.

I… I just don’t understand how this guy is so thick.  She didn’t have her phone on her.  It wasn’t a problem with the quality of phone!  Just… ARGH, you moron.  You controlling moron.

Grace (Grey’s adoptive mother, for those who might have forgotten) calls him and suggests he might like to bring Ana round for dinner:

“And then on Sunday Elliot is bringing his friend Kate to dinner. Would you like to come? You could bring Anastasia.”

That’s what Kavanagh was talking about today.

I play for time. “I’ll have to see if she’s free.”

“Let me know. It will be lovely to have all the family together again.”

I roll my eyes. “If you say so, Mother.”

“I do, darling. See you Saturday.”

She hangs up.

Take Ana to meet my parents? How the hell do I get out of that?

His first instinct is to try to get out of this, having just pondered whether he could really offer Ana “more.”  It’s so typical of him.  He knows that his family want to meet Ana and he also knows that Ana would probably like to meet them, but his first thought is of trying to wriggle out of the whole thing, because it doesn’t fit with what he wants.

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Ana then emails to say she’s happy to drive over to Grey’s hotel to discuss her soft limits.  Grey is pleased, because he wants an excuse to give her the car she hasn’t asked for and doesn’t want.

No, no baby. Not in that car. And my plans fall into place.

Grey calls Taylor to say that he’s on his way to deliver the car to Ana, asking Taylor to pick him up at 9:30.  He takes two condoms, because he “might get lucky.” . He stops off to buy some pink champagne, because it’s pink, which is apparently symbolic?!  I’m guessing EL James thinks “pink” means “hearts and flowers.”  Good to know.  That’s not condescending at all.

When he arrives at Ana’s apartment, Grey sees that she seems nervous:

“Come in.” She seems shy and awkward. Why? What’s happened?

“If I may.” I hold up the bottle of champagne. “I thought we’d celebrate your graduation. Nothing beats a good Bollinger.”

“Interesting choice of words.” Her voice is sardonic.

“Oh, I like your ready wit, Anastasia.” There she is…my girl.

SHE IS MY GIRL.

BUT SHE IS MOST CERTAINLY NOT MY GIRLFRIEND.

I loathe this guy.

Grey realises that Ana has packed up the first editions of Tess Of The D’Urbervilles to give back to him.

The room is empty, except for packing crates, the sofa, and the table. There’s a brown parcel on the table with a handwritten note attached.

“I agree to the conditions, Angel; because you know best what my punishment ought to be; only—only—don’t make it more than I can bear!”

She admits that she’s sending them back and that the note is her way of asking him to take things easy on her.

“It’s also a plea,” she whispers.

“A plea? For me to go easy on you?”

She nods.

To me these books were an investment, but for her I thought they’d mean something.

“I bought these for you.” It’s a small white lie—as I’ve replaced them. “I’ll go easier on you if you accept them.”

DO AS I SAY AND THEN I WON’T HURT YOU, OH VERY NERVOUS WOMAN WHO IS JUST “TRYING” TO DO THIS THING SHE KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT.

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“You see, this is what I was talking about, you defying me. I want you to have them, and that’s the end of the discussion. It’s very simple. You don’t have to think about this. As a submissive you would just be grateful for them. You just accept what I buy you because it pleases me for you to do so.”

“I wasn’t a submissive when you bought them for me,” she says quietly.

As ever, she has an answer for everything.

“No…but you’ve agreed, Anastasia.”

See what I mean about Grey deciding that “I’ll try” is blanket consent for everything he wants?!

Ana suggests that if the books really are hers, then she’ll donate them to a Darfur charity, seeing as that seems to be something he really cares about.  He thinks:

You can burn them, for all I care…

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When Ana says she’s going to think about what she should do with the books, Grey responds:

“Don’t think, Anastasia. Not about this.” Keep them, please. They’re for you, because your passion is books. You’ve told me more than once. Enjoy them.

And once again, as is so often his way, he internally thinks all of the things he ought to be saying out loud.  Because otherwise, how could we keep all the DRAMA going?!

Speaking of which, this is the point at which I’m going to end this recap.  This is yet another ludicrously long chapter, which really ought to have been split into two or even three, but EL James was obviously determined to go with the whole dates, rather than chapter numbers thing, and that means we have to read FOR NINETY BILLION HOURS just to get through one day in the Shadesverse.

I’ll do my best to get the rest of the chapter uploaded in recap form before Christmas.  What a wonderful gift to you all.

Don’t worry, I’ve kept the receipt.

 

Grey: Chapter 11 (Thursday, May 26, 2011)

Grey: Chapter 10 (Wednesday, May 25, 2011)

It’s Sunday, it’s cold outside and I’m wearing a Christmas pudding jumper.

Oh, and I’m about to delve into the depths of Grey, Chapter 10…

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We open with Grey waiting at the bar where he’s asked Ana to meet him.  He tells us he’s been waiting for this moment all day and proceeds to fill us in on some of the very important work he’s been doing: apparently, he’s sat through several meetings, bought a business and fired three people.  Such busy.  Very important.  Wow.

Oh, and interestingly, the guy who doesn’t do romance actually describes this as a “first date.”  So, good to see he’s not being confusing, or anything…

Ana arrives wearing Kate’s plum dress:

I glance toward the entrance of the bar…and my mouth dries. She’s standing on the threshold, and for a second I don’t realize it’s her. She looks exquisite: her hair falls in soft waves to her breast on one side, and on the other it’s pinned back so it’s easier to see her delicate jawline and the gentle curve of her slender neck. She’s wearing high heels and a tight dark purple dress that accentuates her lithe, alluring figure.

Wow.

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But Grey can’t resist being Creepy McCreeperson of Creepsville for too long, so after kissing her cheek, he says:

 “A dress, Miss Steele. I approve.”

I’m red-lettering that one, because if you remember from previous chapters, Grey has openly admitted that he likes women to wear dresses around him, because he likes them “accessible.”  So… Ew.

He asks what she’d like to drink and Ana gives him a “knowing smile” and replies that she’ll have whatever he’s having.  This causes Grey to think:

Ah, she’s learning.

Yes.  She’s learning that she’ll have literally no free agency whatsoever, once she’s involved with you, despite never signing your damn contract and despite explicitly asking you not to control everything she eats and drinks.  What a good little student she is.

He asks Ana if she’s nervous and she admits that she is.  He tells her that he feels the same:

Leaning forward, in a candid whisper, I tell her that I’m nervous, too. She looks at me as if I’ve grown three heads.

Yeah, I’m human, too, baby…just.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  “I’m human, too, baby…just.”  HAHAHAHAHA.  You could create wallpaper out of the horrendously bad, overly cheesy lines in the entire Fifty Shades franchise and you’d have enough to decorate the whole of Buckingham Palace and not repeat lines in any of the rooms.

Although, I doubt the Queen would be impressed.

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So, now that Grey has Ana here to discuss the contract – something, if you remember, he told us just paragraphs earlier that he’d been waiting for all day – he starts to mock Ana for being “impatient” when she wants to start the discussion.  He even decides to try to drag it out and make her wait longer.  This guy is such an asshole:

Ana squares her shoulders, an indication that she means business, like she did when she first interviewed me. “So, how are we going to do this? Run through my points one by one?” she asks.

“Impatient as ever, Miss Steele.”

“Well, I could ask you what you thought of the weather today,” she retorts.

Oh, that smart mouth.

Let her stew for a moment, Grey.

Yes, let her stew.  How dare she want to get on with the very important discussion of limits that you yourself were hugely keen to have?!

Ana points out that the contract is not legally enforceable and notes that he didn’t bother to tell her as much.  She’s making a good point, because for a novice like Ana, it could be really frightening to have this strongly worded contract put in front of her and wonder whether he can legally hold her to it.  But Grey wouldn’t tell her he couldn’t, because that would make him less of a shitty Dom:

She purses her lips to stifle her smile. “You know this contract is legally unenforceable.”

“I am fully aware of that, Miss Steele.”

“Were you going to tell me that at any point?”

What? I didn’t think I’d have to…and you’ve worked it out for yourself. “You’d think I’d coerce you into something you don’t want to do, and then pretend that I have a legal hold over you?”

“Well, yes.”

Whoa. “You don’t think very highly of me, do you?”

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Now, you remember how in previous chapters, I’ve spoken about the fact that Grey will often think the things he should be saying out loud, but stay silent, presumedly because EL James thinks this either creates more drama or because she thinks it makes him somehow more broody and mysterious?!  Well, we’re about to get a prime example of it.  This is what Grey actually says out loud:

“Anastasia, it doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not. It represents an arrangement that I would like to make with you—what I would like from you and what you can expect from me. If you don’t like it, then don’t sign. If you do sign and then decide you don’t like it, there are enough get-out clauses so you can walk away. Even if it were legally binding, do you think I’d drag you through the courts if you did decide to run?”

Then he thinks about trust and – shockingly – openly talks about it, too:

What does she take me for?

She considers me with her unfathomable blue eyes.

What I need her to understand is that this contract isn’t about the law, it’s about trust.

I want you to trust me, Ana.

As she takes a sip of her wine I rush on, endeavoring to explain. “Relationships like this are built on honesty and trust. If you don’t trust me—trust me to know how I’m affecting you, how far I can go with you, how far I can take you—if you can’t be honest with me, then we really can’t do this.”

But he only thinks the absolutely crucial part and doesn’t say it out loud:

And if she thinks so little of me, then we shouldn’t do this at all.

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SAY THAT TO HER!!

Not in a manipulative “if you don’t agree to everything I say, then you can’t have me at all” way, like you usually do.  Just bloody SAY “look, if you think I’d hold you against your will to a contract that’s not legally enforceable, maybe you don’t think very highly of me and that indicates that you might not trust me, so we shouldn’t do this.  If something about me doesn’t sit right with you, it’s a good sign that this won’t work, because there has to be trust.  If there isn’t, we can call it quits here and now and that’s okay.  It has to feel right to you.”

Well, hey, look!  I just wrote a much healthier version.  I’ll have my millions deposited straight into my bank account, please.

But instead, he keeps that thought in his head.  Why?  Because he knows if he says “maybe we shouldn’t do this,” it will speak to any nagging doubts in Ana’s head and he might not “close this deal.”

He proves himself utterly unable to understand Ana’s thought processes immediately after this, too, when Ana asks about his previous submissives:

“Did you have similar discussions with, um…the fifteen?”

“No.” Why is she going off on this tangent?

She…  She’s not going off on a tangent, you utter imbecile!  She’s asking whether having a discussion about the contract is a normal thing to do at the start of a BDSM relationship.  Which I would argue that it freaking IS.

“Why not?” she asks.

“Because they were all established submissives. They knew what they wanted out of a relationship with me and generally what I expected. With them, it was just a question of fine-tuning the soft limits, details like that.”

I just don’t understand why he can’t be a normal, decent person for a second and just say: “I didn’t have a conversation about the legality of the contract, no, but it’s very normal to discuss limits and make any changes that need to be made, to ensure we’re both happy with the contract as it stands.”

Hey, look!  I made it healthier again!  I’ll have a mansion overlooking the sea, thanks.

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Ana makes a joke about Grey heading to “Submissives R Us” to find women to have these kinds of relationships with and for some reason, Grey reacts as though it’s a line worthy of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, telling us that he laughs out loud to the point that it rids him of any tension in his body.

Coming soon, Anastasia Steele’s live stand-up DVD.  It’ll make you laugh and rid you of your anxiety.

Changing the subject to his absolute favourite topic of discussion, Grey starts banging on about food:

“Are you hungry?” I ask.

She looks suspiciously at the olives. “No.”

“Have you eaten today?”

She hesitates.

Shit.

“No,” she says. I try not to let her admission anger me.

Okay, I have a couple of things to say about this.  Firstly, screw you Grey, she hasn’t signed anything and it’s up to her if she wants to eat or not.

However, secondly… What the hell is up with this girl?!  Does she eat air?!  I get being too nervous to want to eat, but not all freaking day.  You’ve already slept with this guy, you already know a fair amount about what he’s like (he’s a massive douche canoe).  You don’t need to be sweating it so much about this date that you don’t eat anything all day.  If Ana was a real person, she’d be fainting every other hour.  And I know we’re meant to admire her because she’s just so slim, but you know what?  Slim girls eat, too.  I’m really sick of this “Ana never eats anything” bullshit.  It’s harmful.

Thankfully (HAHAHAHA, no), this car-crash of a book gives me something else to be pissed off about, in order to take my mind off the apparent glorification of eating disorders:

“You have to eat, Anastasia. We can eat down here or in my suite. Which would you prefer?”

She’ll never go for this.

“I think we should stay in public, on neutral ground.”

As predicted—sensible, Miss Steele.

“Do you think that would stop me?” My voice is husky.

She swallows. “I hope so.”

Put the girl out of her misery, Grey.

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love it when the hero in a romance novel threatens to publicly rape the heroine.  That’s my favourite thing.  *SWOON*

Seriously, at which point am I supposed to stop wanting to remove Christian’s tiny dick with a hacksaw and actually start liking him?  Because… I’m not seeing it happening.  Like, ever.

I mentioned on Twitter earlier that last night I dreamt that my real-life abusive ex was actually Christian Grey.  And in the dream, he had started seeing another member of my family.  She absolutely adored him and wouldn’t listen to anything I said about what he’d done to me.  In fact, the whole family basically worshipped him.  I actually woke up in the early hours, feeling incredibly stressed and upset and then it hit me:  My subconscious was just trying to sum up what it feels like to know what this guy is really like, yet be ignored by all these fans who are utterly vehement in their assessment of him as some kind of sex God, to be desired above any other man.  Sometimes, being anti Fifty Shades feels like you’re screaming and nobody can hear you.  Because nobody wants to.  If they listened, they’d have to admit they might have missed the signs of abuse, despite them being there in black and white and that would never do, because people like to “other” abuse victims: “it would never happen to me.  I’d recognise it and leave.”  Bullshit.  When it’s happening to you, you don’t always realise it.  But when it’s written in a book, portrayed as romance and thousands of abuse survivors and abuse experts are saying “hang on, this isn’t right,” it’s not a case of you simply not recognising it, anymore.  It’s a case of fans being wilfully ignorant, using any argument they can clutch at, in order to shut survivors and experts down, the way they’ve seen the author of this shit, do.

I apologise for that rant, but it needs to be said.  There is no way on EARTH that saying “do you think that would stop me?” in response to your date saying she’d rather remain in public, on neutral ground, can be taken as anything but a rape threat.  And having your “hero” say something so disgusting in a book you insist is a “LOVE story” is just abhorrent.

He then, just after Ana has insisted she thinks it would be better to stay somewhere public, tells her they’re going somewhere with “no public.”

“Come, I have a private dining room booked. No public.” Rising, I hold out my hand to her.

Will she take it?

She looks from my face to my hand.

“Bring your wine,” I order. And she picks up her glass and places her hand in mine.

“Bring the alcohol I’m making you drink on an empty stomach, because discussing hard limits with someone inebriated is definitely part of Risk-Aware Consensual Kink.”

I hate this asshole so much, I may die.

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As they head to the private dining room Ana didn’t want to go to, Christian Grey manages to both show that he’s a possessive creepazoid AND insult all his former submissives in one go:

As we leave the bar, I notice admiring glances from other guests, and in the case of one handsome, athletic guy, overt appreciation of my date. It’s not something I’ve dealt with before…and I don’t think I like it.

Did you go out with really ugly subs, before?  Because it states in the contract that submissives need to wear clothes chosen by the Dominant, as their appearance in public is a reflection on him.  Now, if they’re out alone and nobody knows they’re Christian Grey’s submissive (because he makes everyone sign an NDA, so nobody finds out he – shock, horror – owns handcuffs), how is what they’re wearing a reflection on him?  The only logical answer is that either a) Christian Grey is just THAT egotistical and THAT big a control freak (I know, I know, we all know the answer to that) or b) he has been seen in public at some point with a submissive.  In which case, he just casually made out that not one of them was worthy of a second look from anyone but him.  What.  A.  Charmer.

The young maitre d’ “only has eyes for Miss Steele,” which causes Grey to give him “a withering look.”  Suddenly, I realise this might have less to do with Ana being so stunningly beautiful that EVERYONE actually fancies her, and more to do with EL James being a lazy and appallingly bad writer.  After all, in the stories from Ana’s perspective, we know Grey is super-sexy, because every woman on the planet wants to get into his pants.  Presumedly, because EL James knew no other way of actually making him appear attractive.  So, it stands to reason that from Grey’s PoV, he has to notice everyone drooling over Ana, because EL has no talent for actually writing a character in a way that makes it obvious she’s beautiful, besides “OMG, SHE IS SO PRETTY THAT ALL THE GUYS WANT HER.”

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Grey has already ordered food for Ana, which she seems fine with, despite having recently told him that she wasn’t hungry.

Grey tells us that Ana is ready to discuss the “nitty gritty,” and decides that the fact that she takes a large swig of wine must mean she needs courage:

she takes a large gulp of wine and her cheeks color. She must be looking for courage. I’ll have to watch how much she’s drinking, because she’s driving.

She could always spend the night here…then I could peel her out of that enticing dress.

Perhaps you could have considered how much she’s likely to drink before you ordered her wine.

He tells her that he has a clean bill of sexual health and then goes off on an anti-drug rant:

“My sexual health? Well, all of my previous partners have had blood tests, and I have regular tests every six months for all the health risks you mention. All my recent tests are clear. I have never taken drugs. In fact, I’m vehemently antidrug. I have a strict no-tolerance policy with regards to drugs for all my employees, and I insist on random drug testing.”

In fact, one of the people I fired today failed his drug test.

If this is supposed to make him look somehow morally superior to literally anyone, well done on failing in such spectacular style, EL James.  *slow clap*  You can’t make a guy who lies, stalks, controls, coerces, threatens, manipulates and gaslights other people suddenly look like a beacon of decency, just by making him “vehemently antidrug.”

Immediately after this, Christian decides to start piling on the manipulation, of the very variety I mentioned earlier:

“Your next point I mentioned earlier. You can walk away anytime, Anastasia. I won’t stop you. If you go, however—that’s it. Just so you know.”

No. Second. Chances. Ever.

“Okay,” she replies, though she doesn’t sound certain.

See, this is where he’s a vile fuckwit.  Because he could word this differently, or, you know, not put her in this position of All or Nothing in the first place.  He knows she wants to be with him, so doing this whole “if you won’t do this, you can’t have me at all” schtick just makes him a grade A pillock.  She should be doing it because she genuinely wants to, not because it’s the only way she gets to be with him.  And we know from reading this book from her perspective that she really does just agree to it because she knows it’s the only way to have him in her life.

Also, notice he admits to himself that she doesn’t sound certain?  That’s the point where a responsible Dom has yet another chance to say “look, if this isn’t for you, I totally get it and I won’t pressure you.  We can call it quits, this doesn’t have to go any further.”  But he doesn’t say anything, because he’s determined to get her to agree.

Bastard.

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Grey wonders whether they should have held this meeting at his office, to ensure they wouldn’t be disturbed, but then remembers that only fools mix business with pleasure.  He reminds himself that Elena was the exception to this rule, but apparently she helped him set up his business.

Grey has ordered oysters as their appetiser and we get an excruciatingly cringe-worthy few paragraphs in which he teaches Ana how to eat them and many sexual puns on the word “swallow” are made.  Ana asks him whether he picked oysters because of their notorious aphrodisiac qualities and he tells her he doesn’t need an aphrodisiac around her, adding in his internal monologue: “I could fuck you right now.”

They move on to Ana’s next quibble regarding the contract, which is the idea that she has to obey him in all things:

“Obey me in all things. Yes, I want you to do that.” This is important to me. I need to know she’s safe and will do anything for me. “I need you to do that. Think of it as role-play, Anastasia.”

So.. Role-play where you’re not pretending?  Because there’s no way Christian Grey will relent if she gets tired of role-playing obeying and actually stands up to him…

Ana admits that she’s frightened that he might physically hurt her and laughably, he says:

“Do you really think I would do that? Go beyond any limit you can’t take?”

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Ana quite rightly counters that he’s already admitted to having hurt someone before and Christian explains that he suspended someone from the ceiling of his play room and one of the ropes was tied too tightly.

Ana is “appalled” as Grey explains this and holds her hands up for him to stop.  This is yet another sign that she’s not probably up for this and yet Grey still doesn’t question her, or offer her a get-out.  He instead just tells her that suspension can be one of her hard-limits and she is relieved.  He decides to just “move on” from that conversation.

He asks her if she thinks she could obey him:

“So, obeying, do you think you can manage that?”

She stares at me with those eyes that see through to my dark soul, and I don’t know what she’s going to say.

Shit. This could be the end.

“I could try,” she says, her voice low.

It’s my turn to exhale. I’m still in the game. “Good.”

You know how we say all the time that consent should be informed and enthusiastic?  Does this sound either of those things?!

Ana still doesn’t really know how much she’ll have to obey him, because as usual, he kept his “I need to know she’ll do anything for me” bit inside and didn’t speak it aloud.  Ana is, at this point, just trying to balance what she can tolerate doing or having done to her, with how much she wants to be with this rat bastard.  And she says “I could try.”  Not “hell yeah, the thought turns me on,” or even just “yes, let’s do it for a while and see if I really like it,” she just quietly agrees “I could try.”

Again – and I’m sorry if I’m repeating myself over and over, here – a responsible Dominant would recognise that she’s not as up for this as a potential submissive should be.

He then decides that the one month Ana suggested, instead of a trial three month period is no good for him:

 

We’ll get nowhere in that time. She needs training and I can’t stay away from her for any length of time. I tell her as much. Maybe we can compromise, as she suggested. “How about one day over one weekend per month you get to yourself—but I get a midweek night that week?”

Now, remember I literally just talked about enthusiastic, informed consent and how important it is?  Well, look how Ana responds to this and how Grey takes her response:

“Three months,” she says. Is she agreeing? I’ll take it as a “yes.”

I’m red-inking the crap out of that, because she might have been merely speaking aloud as she mused over the idea of whether she could agree to three months as his sub.  But Grey decides it has to mean “yes.”

This guy is literal garbage.

Grey then decides to go a little deeper into the “ownership” part of the contract:

“I want you to know that as soon as you cross my threshold as my submissive, I will do what I like to you. You have to accept that, and willingly. That’s why you have to trust me. I will fuck you, anytime, any way I want—anywhere I want.”

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Look, I get it.  I’m not well-versed in BDSM, so I’m maybe not as qualified as others to talk about this.  But NOWHERE is he saying “unless you use your safe word, in which case obviously everything stops, because you have that control.”  It’s just “I will fuck you whenever I want, however I want.”  And that implies with or without her actual consent, because consent is simply expected at all times.  And we’ve already seen above that she doesn’t even have to actually say “yes” for Grey to decide she means “yes.”

He then adds:

“But I know you’ve not done this before. Initially, we’ll take it slowly, and I will help you. We’ll build up to various scenarios. I want you to trust me, but I know I have to earn your trust, and I will. The ‘or otherwise’—again, it’s to help you get into the mind-set; it means anything goes.”

Without reprinting the contract in this chapter, I genuinely can’t remember what “or otherwise” refers to.  Apparently, EL James thinks we were so riveted by her page after page of sodding boring contract, that we can simply call back chunks of it at any given time.  But given that he adds “anything goes,” I’m guessing that it’s just another way of saying he has total control over her, all the time.  I think it refers to him being able to do whatever he wants to her, sexual or otherwise.  But yet again, despite saying he’ll take things slow and she should trust him yada, yada, yada, he at no point says “and hey, any time you’re not comfortable, just use your safe word and I’ll stop.”  He’s talking about the importance of trust, but he’s not giving her a reminder of what she can do to ensure he stops.  That, for me, obliterates any trust being discussed.

He offers her more wine, just so he can be pleased when she says no, because she’s driving.

He moves on to a discussion about pain:

“Discipline. There’s a very fine line between pleasure and pain, Anastasia. They are two sides of the same coin, one not existing without the other. I can show you how pleasurable pain can be. You don’t believe me now, but this is what I mean about trust. There will be pain, but nothing that you can’t handle.” I cannot emphasize this enough. “Again, it comes down to trust. Do you trust me, Ana?”

“Yes, I do,” she says immediately. Her response knocks me sideways: it’s completely unexpected.

Again.

Have I gained her trust already?

He’s…  He’s shocked she trusts him.  Because he’s given her literally no reason to.  I… I just don’t understand how we’re meant to have any faith in this guy at all.

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Indeed, Grey then decides that just because she says she trusts him, it’s basically a done deal and Ana – the one with NO experience – has to actually remind him that it’s still important to talk everything else through:

“Well, then, the rest of this stuff is just details.” I feel ten feet tall.

“Important details.”

She’s right. Concentrate, Grey.

A waiter arrives with black cod for both of them.  Ana takes a bite, which Grey is thrilled by and he decides to start discussing food, which, if you remember, Ana said was a deal breaker for her:

“The rules,” I continue. “Let’s talk about them. The food is a deal breaker?”

“Yes.”

“Can I modify to say that you will eat at least three meals a day?”

“No.”

Suppressing an irritated sigh, I persist. “I need to know that you’re not hungry.”

She frowns. “You’ll have to trust me.”

“Oh, touché, Miss Steele,” I mutter to myself. These are battles I’m not going to win. “I concede the food and the sleep.”

HAHAHAHAHA.  He doesn’t.  He literally never drops the food thing, ever.  EVER.

Ana asks why she can’t look at him and he replies that it’s just a Dom/sub thing she’ll have to get used to.  She asks why she can’t touch him and instead of saying anything helpful, he just gets all vague and mysterious yet again:

“Because you can’t.”

Shut her down, Grey.

“Is it because of Mrs. Robinson?”

What? “Why would you think that? You think she traumatized me?”

She nods.

“No, Anastasia. She’s not the reason. Besides, Mrs. Robinson wouldn’t take any of that shit from me.”

“So nothing to do with her,” she asks, looking confused.

“No.”

I can’t bear to be touched. And, baby, you really don’t want to know why.

Except she does, because she just asked.  And it wasn’t the first time she’s asked, so I’m pretty sure she actually does want to know, you total shit stain.  Even if you don’t feel up to explaining it all to her right now, just say something like “it relates to something personal from my childhood.  I don’t feel ready to talk about it right now, but it’s something I feel strongly about.”

Don’t just say “because you can’t” and leave it there, like a bratty kid going “because I said so, so THERE.”

But hey, hating Christian Grey because he plays this “broody and mysterious” shit every time he’s asked a serious question is fun, but I’d much rather hate him for threatening to rape her in public again, wouldn’t you?!  Oh, you would?!  THEN BEHOLD:

“And I don’t want you touching yourself, either,” I add.

“Out of curiosity, why?”

“Because I want all your pleasure.”

In fact, I want it now. I could fuck her here to see if she can be quiet. Real quiet, knowing we’re within earshot of the hotel staff and guests. After all, that’s why I’ve booked this room.

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She said to him earlier that she wanted to stay in public.  He said “do you think that would stop me?” and then insisted they went to a private room.  Now he’s saying that’s why he booked the private room?!

Nope.  She wanted to stay where she felt safe and you ignored her.  You don’t then get to start suggesting you fuck her just to see how quiet she can be.  Especially since these are internal thoughts and he’s not asked her if she wants sex right now.  In fact, in paragraphs I haven’t pasted here, he comments on how quiet she seems, so she hardly seems on the edge of wild abandon.

Oh, and remember how he said he was going to acquiesce on the whole “monitoring her food” thing, seeing as it’s a deal breaker for her?!  Well, he kept to that promise for literally not even half a page:

“You’ve not eaten very much.”

“I’ve had enough.”

This is getting old. “Three oysters, four bites of cod, and one asparagus stalk, no potatoes, no nuts, no olives, and you’ve not eaten all day. You said I could trust you.”

Her eyes widen.

Yeah. I’ve been keeping count, Ana.

“Christian, please, it’s not every day I sit through conversations like this.”

“I need you fit and healthy, Anastasia.” My tone is adamant.

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You’ve made a BIG speech about trust and now you’ve literally just broken a promise you made minutes ago.  You are, as we say here in Britain, a Twat Waffle.

Christian starts trying to steer the conversation towards sex and Ana says she’d like dessert.  Christian makes the toe-curlingly cringeworthy suggestion that she could be dessert (cringeworthy because it’s so overdone) and Ana accuses him – quite rightly – of using sex as a weapon.  And look how Grey reacts:

“Christian. You use sex as a weapon. It really isn’t fair.” She looks down at her lap, and her voice is low and a little melancholy. She looks up again, pinning me with an intense stare, her powder-blue eyes unnerving…and arousing.

He’s telling us she is melancholy.  She’s trying to fend off the idea of sex and he’s aroused by the fact.

“You’re right. I do,” I admit. “In life you use what you know. Doesn’t change how much I want you. Here. Now.” And we could fuck here, right now. I know you’re interested, Ana. I hear how your breathing has changed. “I’d like to try something.” I really want to know how quiet she can be, and if she can do this with the fear of discovery.

Her brow creases once more; she’s confused.

So, she’s quiet, a little sad-seeming and is trying to change the subject, but because her breathing has changed – which could be due to anxiety or fear, rather than just arousal – he decides she’s up for it and it should definitely happen.

“If you were my sub, you wouldn’t have to think about this. It would be easy. All those decisions—all the wearying thought processes behind them. The ‘Is this the right thing to do? Should this happen here? Can it happen now?’ You wouldn’t have to worry about any of that detail. That’s what I’d do as your Dom. And right now, I know you want me, Anastasia.”

Again, I’m sorry to anyone who’s really into BDSM, because in no way am I criticising a consensual BDSM relationship, but what he’s doing here is manipulating someone who isn’t sure into thinking she should just say yes.  His version of being a Dom just means “I want sex and you have no choice but to give it to me.”

Ana licks her lip and he can tell that means she’s horny.  He tells her that her body language is giving her away.

“You’re pressing your thighs together, you’re flushed, and your breathing has changed.”

“How do you know about my thighs?” she asks, her voice high-pitched, shocked, I think.

“I felt the tablecloth move, and it’s a calculated guess based on years of experience. I’m right, aren’t I?”

She’s quiet for a moment and looks away. “I haven’t finished my cod,” she says, evasive but still blushing.

“You’d prefer cold cod to me?”

Her eyes meet mine, and they’re wide, pupils dark and large. “I thought you liked me to clear my plate.”

“Right now, Miss Steele, I couldn’t give a fuck about your food.”

“Christian. You just don’t fight fair.”

“I know. I never have.”

See?!  He was concerned about her food until he wanted to fuck her and now that he’s decided that has to happen now, he’s no longer bothered.  And he openly admits to not fighting fair, which is basically an admission that he’s manipulating her with sex.  He wants her to agree to a whole load of stuff she’s not ready for and he knows the best way to coerce that agreement is through sex, despite the fact that she’s given several indications that she’s actually not into this, right now.  SPOILER:  You can be physically aroused but still not in the mood to actually have sex.  And this is something non-rapists know and respect.

Then, in total contrast to the way her character has been written in this scene, Ana starts teasing Grey with an asparagus spear:

Please, would you just do as you’re told? I implore her with a look. But her eyes glint with sensual disobedience and a smile lifts her lips. Still holding my stare, she picks up an asparagus spear and deliberately bites her lip.

What is she doing?

Very slowly, she places the tip of the spear in her mouth and sucks it.

Fuck.

She’s trifling with me—a dangerous tactic that will have me fucking her over this table.

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Christian describes himself as being “about to pounce” (a sentence that almost made me see my dinner in reverse) when the waiter comes in to clear their plates.  And immediately, Ana is back to being hesitant and quiet.

“Would you like some dessert?” I ask.

“No thank you. I think I should go,” she says, still staring at her hands.

“Go?” She’s leaving?

The waiter exits quickly with our plates.

“Yes,” Ana says, her voice firm with resolve. She gets to her feet to leave. And automatically I stand, too. “We both have the graduation ceremony tomorrow,” she says.

This is not going according to plan at all.

Don’t you just hate it when you’ve ordered a private room to rape someone in and then they insist on leaving?!  Pah.

He asks her why she wants to leave:

“Because you’ve given me so much to consider, and I need some distance.” Her eyes are pleading with me to let her go.

But we’ve gotten so far in our negotiation. We’ve made compromises. We can make this work. I have to make this work.

Nope, there have been zero compromises.  You said you’d stop trying to control her food intake and then you went back in it literally immediately.

“I could make you stay,” I tell her, knowing that I could seduce her right now, in this room.

“Yes, you could easily, but I don’t want you to.”

LISTEN TO HER FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIFE, YOU TOTAL WASTE OF OXYGEN.

He tells her that he used to think she was a natural submissive, but now he’s no longer sure:

“You know, when you fell into my office to interview me, you were all ‘Yes, sir,’ ‘No, sir.’ I thought you were a natural-born submissive. But quite frankly, Anastasia, I’m not sure you have a submissive bone in your delectable body.” I walk the few steps that separate us and look down into eyes that shine with determination.

“You may be right,” she says.

No. No. I don’t want to be right.

“I want the chance to explore the possibility that you do.” I caress her face and her lower lip with my thumb. “I don’t know any other way, Anastasia. This is who I am.”

“I know,” she says.

HELP ME, I ONLY KNOW THIS WAY TO BE.  I NEED TO BE “CURED” FROM THE AWFUL WRONGNESS OF BDSM.

This book makes me want to pull my own nails out.

Now, at this point Ana has said more than once that she wants to leave.  She has acknowledged that whilst Christian could make her stay by seducing her, she doesn’t want him to.  So, what does he do?  This:

Lowering my head so my lips hover over hers, I wait until she raises her mouth to mine and closes her eyes. I want to give her a brief, chaste kiss, but as our lips touch, she leans in to me, her hands suddenly fisting in my hair, her mouth opening to me, her tongue insistent. I press my hand to the base of her spine, holding her against me, and deepen the kiss, mirroring her fervor.

Christ, I want her.

“I can’t persuade you to stay?” I whisper against the corner of her mouth, as my body responds, hardening with desire.

“No.”

“Spend the night with me.”

“And not touch you? No.”

Damn. The darkness uncoils in my guts, but I ignore it.

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He calls her an “impossible girl” and as a Whovian, I am enormously offended.

Ana says goodnight and Christian gets deliberately dramatic:

“Why do I think you’re telling me good-bye?”

“Because I’m leaving now.”

“That’s not what I mean, and you know it.”

“Christian, I have to think about this. I don’t know if I can have the kind of relationship you want.”

AND THIS IS WHERE A RESPONSIBLE DOM WOULD STOP TRYING TO BLOODY WELL FORCE THE ISSUE.  Or, you know what, Christian could just say “hey, I’ve never had a vanilla relationship, but maybe I could try.  Maybe we could meet somewhere in the middle?”  But then this pointless sodding drama wouldn’t exist and we’d be reading about a relationship that was at least semi healthy, so that wouldn’t do at ALL.

And Grey even admits that she’s wrong for the kind of relationship he wants to have with her:

What did you expect, Grey? She’s not cut out for this.

But he STILL doesn’t stop trying to pursue her.  He is an asshole.  He is a vile snake of a man.

We get this utter crap about how he needs to sniff her hair and commit her to memory in case he never sees her again, which is so at odds with this misogynistic, abusive dick that it doesn’t ring true.  As he says goodbye to her, this happens:

This cannot be the end. I have to show her—demonstrate what this all means, what we can do together. Show her what we can do in the playroom. Then she’ll know. This might be the only way to save this deal. Quickly I turn to her. “You’re moving this weekend to Seattle. If you make the right decision, can I see you on Sunday?” I ask.

“We’ll see. Maybe,” she says.

That’s not a “no.”

I’ve red-inked that bit because she has already said she’s not sure if she can cope with the kind of relationship he wants and he has admitted to himself she’s not cut out for it, yet he is still trying to manipulate/pressure her into agreeing.

He thinks about how she needs “looking after” because she hasn’t brought a jacket, which is gross, because she’s an adult and if she did need looking after, it wouldn’t be by someone who can’t take no for an answer.  He gives her his jacket and she inhales the scent of it, which makes him think “all is not lost,” because they’re both drawn to each other’s scent.  Apparently they’re both part lion or something.

And then Grey sees the car Ana drives and instantly starts trying to control her life yet again, despite her not being his sub and despite her having literally just said she’s not sure she will ever be:

The valet pulls up in an ancient VW Beetle.

What the hell is that?

“That’s what you drive?” This must be older than Grandpa Theodore. Jesus! The valet hands over the keys and I tip him generously. He deserves danger pay.

“Is this roadworthy?” I glare at Ana. How can she be safe in this rust bucket?

“Yes.”

“Will it make it to Seattle?”

“Yes. She will.”

“Safely?”

Dude, not all of us drive top of the range cars, okay?!  For a person who experienced poverty, Grey seems to be allergic to anyone who’s not rolling in cash.  Which makes him a hypocritical bastard, as well as all the other kinds of bastard he already is.

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Ana explicitly tells him not to buy her a car, when she realises what he’s getting at.  Remember that; it’ll be important in literally just a couple of paragraphs time.

We get yet more excruciating drivel about him being “helpless” as he watches her drive away.  And he asks himself:

Fuck. Why did that go so wrong?

I don’t know, maybe it had something to do with the fact that YOU KNOW SHE IS NOT RIGHT FOR THIS AND ARE TRYING TO FORCE HER INTO IT ANYWAY???!!!

As soon as he’s back in his room, he sends two emails.  The first to Ana, saying he doesn’t understand why she ran away and he hopes she’ll still consider his proposal and the second to Taylor, asking him to have an Audi A3 delivered the next day.  See, I told you you wouldn’t have to wait long for that to come back up!

An hour after emailing Ana, he texts to ask if she’s home safely, yet.  Now, remember she said she needed to put distance between them so she could think.  And here he is hounding her.  And when she doesn’t respond to the email, he waits less than hour before emailing her again to ask if she’s home.

When she still doesn’t reply, he goes to bed and, as usual, thinks of Ana as a business deal:

You’ve really fucked up this deal, Grey.

And that’s how the chapter ends.

Who wants to beat me over the head until I forget all this?!

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Grey: Chapter 10 (Wednesday, May 25, 2011)

Grey: Chapter 9 (Tuesday May 24th, 2011)

Hi everyone!  I hope you’ve had a fab weekend.  I’m here to RUIN all that, with another recap of the horror-show that is Grey!  YAY!

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Chapter 9 begins as Grey is moaning about how much he hates the idea of siting his new electronics plant in Detroit.  Because going hungry as a child made him want to feed the entire planet, but being poor in Detroit made him really pissy about the idea of boosting their local economy in any way.  Who says this book is inconsistent?!  Oh, wait.  Me.  I say that.

I loathe Detroit; it holds nothing but bad memories for me. Memories I do my damnedest to forget. They surface, mainly at night, to remind me of what I am and where I came from.

So, he doesn’t like to remember where he came from.  Grey should definitely never listen to Take That.

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He is interrupted from his very busy moping schedule by an email from Ana.  She’s contacting him to discuss some issues she has with the contract.  This encourages Grey to bring up his own copy of the contract on his computer and – I shit you not – we have to read the entire thing.  Literally every clause, every damn word.  It goes on for pages.  And, in case you forgot, we already read the whole, excruciatingly boring thing in the original Fifty Shades of Grey.

Oh, and most of it is laughable.  Take, for example, this:

2 The fundamental purpose of this contract is to allow the Submissive to explore her sensuality and her limits safely, with due respect and regard for her needs, her limits, and her well-being.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  No.

Christian Grey has utterly no respect or regard for Ana’s needs, limits or well-being.  I’m almost certain EL James found a Dom/sub contract somewhere online and printed it in full to “prove” she’d done “research,” but she made a pretty basic error by not having her supposed hero follow one of the very first things in the damn contract.

There is a clause explaining that Ana can walk away without notice, should Grey not adhere to his part of the contract:

8 If at any time the Dominant should fail to keep to the agreed terms, limitations, and safety procedures set out in this contract or agreed additionally under clause 3 above, the Submissive is entitled to terminate this contract forthwith and to leave the service of the Dominant without notice.

Which makes me LOL, because he breaks them from day one.  And it makes me LOL further, when we reach this:

13 The Dominant reserves the right to dismiss the Submissive from his service at any time and for any reason. The Submissive may request her release at any time, such request to be granted at the discretion of the Dominant subject only to the Submissive’s rights under clauses 2–5 and 8 above.

So, Grey can tell Ana to get lost, but she has to request permission to leave him and will only be granted that permission if he agrees that he has broken his terms.  Which Grey never will admit to, so…  Congratulations, Ana.  You’re screwed.

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There’s also this bit:

DOMINANT

15.1 The Dominant shall make the Submissive’s health and safety a priority at all times. The Dominant shall not at any time require, request, allow, or demand the Submissive to participate at the hands of the Dominant in the activities detailed in Appendix 2 or in any act that either party deems to be unsafe. The Dominant will not undertake or permit to be undertaken any action which could cause serious injury or any risk to the Submissive’s life. The remaining subclauses of this clause 15 are to be read subject to this proviso and to the fundamental matters agreed in clauses 2–5 above.

15.2 The Dominant accepts the Submissive as his, to own, control, dominate, and discipline during the Term. The Dominant may use the Submissive’s body at any time during the Allotted Times or any agreed additional times in any manner he deems fit, sexually or otherwise.

I’ve been looking really hard for a clause that states that the Dominant can ignore the submissive’s requests not to interfere in her career, or that the Dominant is free to stalk the submissive at any time, but I’m not finding them, which is… Odd, seeing as these are things Grey does.  Seems he’s only happy to ignore his own contract as long as it serves him well to do so.

There’s also this part:

15.20 The Submissive shall submit to any sexual activity demanded by the Dominant and shall do so without hesitation or argument.

15.21 The Submissive shall accept whippings, floggings, spankings, canings, paddlings, or any other discipline the Dominant should decide to administer, without hesitation, inquiry, or complaint.

Pretty sure there should be a part in here about having a Safe Word to use should the sub not want to continue with “any sexual activity,” or any punishment doled out, but hey.  Funnily enough, yet again, that’s not here.  Ana’s just got a contract telling her she must agree to whatever Grey wants.

Look, I’m no BDSM expert.  Please, if you are, feel free to tell me this is all perfectly fine.  I’ll cheerfully admit to being wrong, if I am.

OOOH!  And then, all of a sudden, weirdly separate to the whole “you must accept whatever the Dominant wants” bit:

SAFE WORDS

18 The Dominant and the Submissive recognize that the Dominant may make demands of the Submissive that cannot be met without incurring physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or other harm at the time the demands are made to the Submissive. In such circumstances related to this, the Submissive may make use of a safe word (“the Safe Word[s]”). Two Safe Words will be invoked depending on the severity of the demands.

19 The Safe Word “Yellow” will be used to bring to the attention of the Dominant that the Submissive is close to her limit of endurance.

20 The Safe Word “Red” will be used to bring to the attention of the Dominant that the Submissive cannot tolerate any further demands. When this word is said, the Dominant’s action will cease completely with immediate effect.

It doesn’t point out that this particular Dominant will guilt-trip you and get mad if you do use your Safe Word, but hey.  Christian “I Care About Your Written Consent” Grey seems to have an extra little contract all of his own, to adhere to…

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There then follows a list of rules, which again stress multiple times that Ana must agree to any and all sexual activity or punishment without hesitation and, again, makes no reference to use of Safe Words to stop a scene.  It’s all very well having a section of the contract be about Safe Words and what they’re for, but surely you should be alluding to them each time you maintain that a sub must agree to sex/punishment at all times?!  Again, correct me if I’m wrong.

There’s a heap of stuff Ana’s not allowed to do, like drink to excess, smoke or take recreational drugs.  We’re also told she’ll be taken to a beauty salon of the Dominant’s choosing and undergo any treatments he desires (with him paying the cost).  Spoiler: Guess whose salon Grey is going to take Ana to?!

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We get to read Christian’s hard limits (I’m sure you’re as excited by this as I a…zzzzzz).  He’s not into fire play or being pooped on.  He’s against anything involving children, which makes his constant infantilising of Ana even weirder.

Anyway, after PAGES of this crap, we finally go back to Ana’s email, where she makes her points.  Grey responds to them in his internal monologue, in which he’s exactly as much of a douche canoe as you probably expect:

2: Not sure why this is solely for MY benefit—i.e., to explore MY sensuality and limits. I’m sure I wouldn’t need a ten-page contract to do that! Surely this is for YOUR benefit.

Fair point well made, Miss Steele!

So, just to clarify, he’s just confessing that the whole thing is actually for HIS benefit, NOT hers.

4: As you are aware, you are my only sexual partner. I don’t take drugs, and I’ve not had any blood transfusions. I’m probably safe. What about you?

Another fair point! And it dawns on me that this is the first time I haven’t had to consider the sexual history of a partner. Well, that’s one advantage of screwing a virgin.

I love (and by love, I mean hate so much it gives me a weird, pulsating vein in my forehead) the fact that rather than address the fact that he is the one with the sexual history and perhaps he ought to get himself tested just to be on the safe side, he’s more concerned with the fact that Ana being a virgin is an advantage to him.  Each time I think I can’t hate this character more, I somehow manage it.

8: I can terminate at any time if I don’t think you’re sticking to the agreed limits. Okay—I like this.

I hope it won’t come to that, but it wouldn’t be the first time if it did.

You’re damn right I’m putting that in red, because he is literally admitting that he has had a previous sub (probably the one he injured – but seeing as he doesn’t elaborate, it could have been more than one, for all we know) walk away because he wasn’t sticking to his part in the contract.  That’s a major red flag and yet it’s just tossed in here as a brief thought in his vile mind and then we’re supposed to forget about it.  We’ve just had confirmation that he has failed to stick to his own damn contract in the past, yet we’re expected to just shrug and move on, still convinced he’s a good, decent guy who is going to treat Ana with respect.

Does EL James think she has such incredible writing ability that she can throw an admission like that in there and then make us all forget it in the next instant?!

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YOUR MIB TRICKERY WILL NOT WORK ON ME, ERIKA.

Ana goes on to take issue with the whole “obeying” thing:

9: Obey you in all things? Accept without hesitation your discipline? We need to talk about this.

Grey doesn’t respond to this, which I’m stunned about, to be honest.  Ana then says she would rather commit to just one month as a trial period, rather than three, which Grey is annoyed about.  She also says she can’t commit to every weekend, because she has a life of her own (go Ana!).  She instead suggests three out of every four weekends, causing Grey to think this:

And she’ll have the opportunity to socialize with other men? She’ll realize what she’s missing. I’m not sure about this.

Here’s a pro-tip for you, Erika.  If you want your abusive shit of a “hero” not to come across as a totally gross, controlling arse-wipe, maybe don’t have him openly admit that he’s, you know, much worse than other guys.  Because that’s how this reads.  Also, he’s meant to be intelligent and yet he doesn’t seem to have figured out that Ana can meet and talk to men literally any day of the week, when she’s not with him.

Ana adds further points she’s not sure about.  She quite rightly highlights that being punished “for any reason” makes it sound like Grey is a sadist and Grey’s reaction is to think “shit!”  Seriously:

15.5: This whole discipline clause. I’m not sure I want to be whipped, flogged, or corporally punished. I am sure this would be in breach of clauses 2–5. And also “for any other reason.” That’s just mean—and you told me you weren’t a sadist.

Shit! Read on, Grey.

Yes, read on and see more valid concerns you’re going to sweep under the carpet in favour of ensuring she agrees to whatever you want, even if you have to manipulate and threaten her into it.

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I feel like I use that image in every recap, but it’s totally justified…

Ana asks several questions, including “why can’t I touch you?” which Grey doesn’t respond to.  She also has a beef with his insistence that she only eats foods from a list he has approved (and yes, I made a purposeful food pun, there…):

Food—I am not eating food from a prescribed list. The food list goes or I do—deal breaker.

Well, this is going to be an issue!

I’m red-inking that comment, because it shouldn’t be an issue.  If he’s serious about wanting to enter into a Dom/sub relationship with her, he should be well aware of the fact that she is entitled to strike certain aspects of the contract out, in order to maintain her safety and comfort at all times.  Remember, his contract insists that this is all for her pleasure (even though we know it isn’t).  So, if Ana wants to put her foot down over the food list, she has every right to.  By getting annoyed and thinking of this as being “an issue,” Grey is just showing us – again – that Ana’s comfort is not something he actually cares about.  He wants total control over her, regardless of what she wants.  And that’s not consensual BDSM.

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When he gets to the end of her email, Grey tells himself he’s glad she’s putting so much thought into the contract and her response to it, then chides her for being up late:

Her response is a relief. Miss Steele has put some thought into this, more so than anyone else I’ve dealt with over this contract. She’s really engaged. She seems to be taking it seriously and we’ll have much to discuss on Wednesday. The uncertainty that I felt when leaving her apartment this evening recedes. There’s hope for our relationship, but first—she needs to sleep.

Okay, remember how he isn’t her boyfriend and theirs is not a proper relationship?  Because apparently Grey doesn’t.

Anyway, what’s the best thing to do when you want someone to go to sleep?  EMAIL THEM, OF COURSE!

So, Grey replies.  But he doesn’t respond to literally any of her valid concerns:

To: Anastasia Steele

Miss Steele,

That’s a long list. Why are you still up?

Christian Grey

Yes, it was a long list.  Because she’s been thinking hard about this and has contacted you looking for answers.  Answers which you could easily write in an email now, seeing as you’re intent on messaging her anyway, despite having literally just thought about the fact that she ought to be getting some sleep.  But hey, that would involve keeping her informed and we all know that’s not something you believe in.  It’s way easier to manipulate someone you’re purposefully withholding answers from, after all.

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Ana responds:

Sir,

If you recall, I was going through this list when I was distracted and bedded by a passing control freak.

Good night.

Ana

Hahahaaa, it’s so cute and adorable when a guy turns up at a girl’s house after she’s said “no” to him, planning to rape her into changing her mind.  Aaaaw, romance.  Grey thinks this is hilarious, of course:

Her e-mail makes me laugh out loud but it irritates me in equal measure. She’s much more sassy in print and she has a great sense of humor, but the woman needs sleep.

It irritates him not because she’s called him out on his behaviour, but because she’s not gone to sleep.  Why hasn’t she gone to sleep?  Because he emailed her.  And now he’s mad that she’s still not gone to sleep, so blatantly the right thing to do is EMAIL HER AGAIN.  And if she replies, he’ll be mad.  Do you see how this works?  He gets mad at her for doing things he has instigated.  This is a form of gaslighting.

He sends her a message saying: “GO TO BED ANASTASIA” and in that instant, I hope his beloved dick falls off.

He heads off to his own bedroom, taking his laptop so he can read any response she might send to his shouty-capitals email.  He tries to read a book, but finds his mind wandering:

 I can’t concentrate; my mind keeps straying to Ana, how she was this evening, and her e-mail.

I need to remind her of what I expect from our relationship. I don’t want her getting the wrong idea. I’ve strayed too far from my goal.

“Are you going to come and help Ana with the move?” Kavanagh’s words remind me that unrealistic expectations have been set.

Perhaps I could help them move?

No. Stop now, Grey.

Opening my laptop, I read through her “Issues” e-mail again. I need to manage her expectations and try to find the right words to express how I feel.

Finally, I’m inspired.

He needs to remind her of what he expects from their relationship.  Because they’re not in one.  But they are.  But they’re not.

Oh, and guess what he’s inspired to do, after shouting at her to go to bed instead of emailing him?!  EMAIL HER!

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As if the mere fact that he’s emailing her yet again, when he’s just gotten mad at her yet again, for not being asleep wasn’t irritating enough, this is what he sends her:

To: Anastasia Steele

Dear Miss Steele,

Following my more thorough examination of your issues, may I bring to your attention the definition of submissive.

submissive [suhb-mis-iv]—adjective

1. inclined or ready to submit; unresistingly or humbly obedient: submissive servants.

2. marked by or indicating submission: a submissive reply.

Origin: 1580–90; submiss + -ive

Synonyms: 1. tractable, compliant, pliant, amenable. 2. passive, resigned, patient, docile, tame, subdued. Antonyms: 1. rebellious, disobedient.

Please bear this in mind for our meeting on Wednesday.

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

That’s it. I hope she’ll find it amusing, but it gets my point across.

So, Ana has valid queries and concerns.  And he was “inspired” to address precisely none of them, but instead to send her the dictionary definition of “submissive,” along with words that mean the opposite, which she might like to “bear in mind” for when they meet to discuss the contract.  The message I get from this – in black and white – is “this man doesn’t give a shit about your safety or your concerns.  He expects you to blindly agree and obey at all times.”  THIS IS NOT CONSENSUAL BDSM.  He thinks his email is funny, yet he openly admits that it “gets (his) point across.”  That point being that if she questions anything, she is being the opposite of a sub and he will be displeased.

THIS IS NOT THE BEHAVIOUR OF A RESPONSIBLE DOM.  THIS IS HOW AN ABUSER’S MIND WORKS.  WHY ARE PEOPLE NOT GETTING THIS??????!!!!!!

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And now, gird your loins, everyone.  Christian is about to have a dream.  A dream that I’m fairly sure is supposed to, on some level, make us feel sorry for him.  But a dream that, in that objective, fails:

His name is Lelliot. He’s bigger than me. He laughs. And smiles. And shouts. And talks all the time. He talks all the time to Mommy and Daddy. He is my brother. Why don’t you talk? Lelliot says again and again and again. Are you stupid? Lelliot says again and again and again. I jump on him and smack his face again and again and again. He cries. He cries a lot. I don’t cry. I never cry. Mommy is angry with me. I have to sit on the bottom stair. I have to sit for the longest time. But Lelliot never asks me why I don’t talk ever again. If I make my hand into a fist he runs away. Lelliot is scared of me. He knows I’m a monster.

Okaaaay, look.  I am aware that Christian had a fairly traumatic start in life.  I’m also aware that children who feel cornered or attacked can lash out, because they don’t necessarily know any better.  And this scene smacks of a child who has issues with violence, more than likely as a result of his early trauma.  That is, of itself, a reason to feel sympathy for the child.

But that child was given everything he could ever possibly want, including therapy for his issues.  He was treated with patience by his adoptive parents.  He was shown love and compassion.  And he still grew into an adult who beats women who look like his mother, for fun.  Not only that, but he grew into an adult who has no desire to examine his own behaviour and who recognises his flaws only when he wants to play the sympathy card, or manipulate someone.  To me, this dream is inserted in here not to make us think “bloody hell, he had a hard start in life,” but to make us realise that he still needs “saving” and that only Ana can do that.  Because he doesn’t have these awful dreams when she’s sleeping next to him.

In short: the author is attempting to manipulate us just as much as Grey is manipulating Ana.  Yay.  And it fails, because Christian Grey acknowledges that he is a monster (he references his own terrible-ness frequently) and yet he never does a single thing to change himself.  Ever.  Because relying on his tragic past to explain away all of his vile behaviour means he can “get away” with doing as he pleases.  If he admitted to his faults, he’d have to change his ways and we can’t possibly have that.

This is insulting to abuse survivors and to children who escaped traumatic situations, then grew into decent adults.  And believe me, I’ve met plenty of those.  EL James obviously hasn’t.  And, for insinuating that a kid who experiences trauma will inevitably turn out to be violent and then become an abusive adult themselves, I have just one message for her:

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The following morning, Grey is super-bummed because Ana hasn’t replied to his email.  He consoles himself with the knowledge that it’s only 7:30.  He has a shower and a shave:

I glare at the gray-eyed prick who stares back at me from the mirror as I shave. 

At least he acknowledges he’s a prick.  It gets tiring when I have to say it, all the time…

He then has a video conference with Ros, who asks him how long he’s going to be staying in Portland and what he’s there for.  Christian, never one to shun an opportunity to refer to Ana as a business deal rather than an actual living, breathing person, refers to it as “a merger.”

We hear a lot of truly boring crap about how Grey’s business has acquired three tech companies – two booming and one struggling (which Grey wants to asset-strip and liquidate) – but I just don’t care enough to go into huge detail on any of it.  It’s already eroded too many of my brain cells.

He heads to WSU for lunch with the president and some other important folk and obviously, as he heads towards the university, he’s straining out of the window to see if he can spot Ana.  I like to imagine he’s travelling like a dog, with his tongue lolling out and his ears flapping in the breeze.  At this point, I will imagine whatever I need to, in order to get through this appalling excuse for a book.

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That dog is way more majestic and gorgeous than Christian Grey will ever be.  Probably much more respectful, too.

Damnit, guys, why can’t I be reading about a dog, instead?!

Anyway…

Christian gets a phone call and it’s Grace (his adoptive mother, in case you forgot), calling because she heard he was in Portland and assumed he must be with Ana.  He speaks to her with as much affection as he did when she popped round to his apartment in a previous chapter:

“Your PA said you were in Portland.” Her voice is full of hope.

Damn. She thinks I’m with Ana.

“Yeah, on business.”

“How’s Anastasia?” There it is!

“Fine as far as I know, Grace. What do you want?”

Yeah!  How dare the woman who raised you from a young boy just randomly call?!  HEINOUS BITCH!

It turns out that Grace would like Christian to pick Mia up from the airport on Saturday.  Christian agrees to and then promptly ends the call.

Thankfully, we don’t have to sit through Christian’s lunch meeting at WSU and we skip ahead to later that evening, where Christian hilariously thinks:

I have managed to keep Anastasia Steele out of every waking thought today. Almost.

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He goes on to tell us that he was thinking of the two of them together in his playroom during his lunch meeting, so…  Totes professional and absolutely proves he has successfully managed not to think of her all day.

Just as he’s getting ready to hit the hotel gym, he gets an email from Ana.  It makes my inner Goddess do a meringue with some salsa moves, because she is SASSY and not taking any of his “this is the dictionary definition of submissive” shit:

Subject: My Issues…What about Your Issues?

Date: May 24 2011 18:29

To: Christian Grey

Sir,

Please note the date of origin: 1580–90. I would respectfully remind Sir that the year is 2011. We have come a long way since then.

May I offer a definition for you to consider for our meeting:

compromise [kom-pruh-mahyz]—noun

1. a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands. 2. the result of such a settlement. 3. something intermediate between different things: The split-level is a compromise between a ranch house and a multistoried house. 4. an endangering, esp. of reputation; exposure to danger, suspicion, etc.: a compromise of one’s integrity.

Ana

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As usual for Christian, he doesn’t really think about what she’s saying, just bashes out his standard “good point, well made” in response and tells her what time he’ll be picking her up.

Before we can get any further emails, Elliot calls to try to persuade Christian to help Kate and Ana with their forthcoming move.  Grey plays dumb and Elliot calls him a “dipshit,” which restores some of my Elliot-love, I won’t lie.  It also makes Grey think of Elliot as “a crude asshole,” which actually ups Elliot even further in my estimation, seeing as Grey the crude asshole who finger-bangs his girlfriend under the table at his parents’ house, so this is a totally hypocritical thing to say.

Of course, Elliot then ruins it by trying to ask whether Grey and Ana had sex when he took her back to his hotel room when she was in a comatose state, so, ugh.  Way to harsh my buzz.

Speaking of which, immediately after this pointless conversation with his brother, Grey receives an email from Ana, saying she’d rather drive to their meeting and asking where he’d like her to meet him.

Remember how she just emailed him the definition of compromise?

Well, he emails back in response to her saying she’d rather drive, reminding her of the definition of submissive and asking her if she’ll ever learn to do as she’s told.

You know, I feel like a decent Dom (or just a decent human) would be thinking “she’s not cut out for the Total Power Exchange I want, maybe I should drop this.”  But not Grey.  He still thinks he can mould her into exactly what he wants.

Having used the subject “stubborn young woman” for his email to Ana, he is then wounded when she responds with the subject title: “Intractable man.”

But he is stubborn and hard to deal with, so suck it up, prick.

Ana insists that she drive, adding “please” at the end of her email.  Grey decides to let her, reminding himself that if she agrees to his terms, after their meeting the next day, she will never be able to disagree with anything he says, again.  I kid you not.  He actually thinks that:

Intractable? Me? Fuck. If our meeting goes as planned, her contrary behavior will be a thing of the past. With that in mind, I agree.

We haven’t translated Grey’s thoughts for a while, so here we go:

“If I manage to manipulate her into agreeing to what I want, I can make damn sure she does whatever I tell her in future, because I’ll threaten to beat her if she doesn’t.”

SWOON.

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Christian tells her where and when to meet him and Ana replies thanking him for letting her drive herself.  Which… I don’t know; they’ve not agreed to any of this yet and she shouldn’t have to thank the asshole for just letting her make her own way (and therefore have her own means of escape, should it be necessary – after all, he’s supposed to care about her safety).

She adds a kiss at the end of her email and Christian is positively giddy about it:

And I’m rewarded with a kiss. Ignoring how that makes me feel, I let her know that she’s welcome. My mood has lifted as I head to the hotel gym.

She sent me a kiss…

But he doesn’t want a relationship, because he’s not a hearts and flowers kind of guy, okay?!

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And that, friends, is where this exceptionally boring chapter finally comes to an end.  I’ll return next weekend, with another riveting instalment.

Seriously, I’d rather watch paint dry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grey: Chapter 9 (Tuesday May 24th, 2011)

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.

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…)