Grey: Chapter 14 (Sunday, May 29, 2011)

The sun is shining – despite it being ridiculously cold – I have eaten cake and waffles this weekend and generally speaking, life feels pretty good, today.  So, let’s dive into chapter 14 of Grey and see if I can muster some enthusiasm for this crap…

Grey1.gif

With the Rolling Stones’ “Shake Your Hips” blasting in my ears, I sprint down Fourth Avenue and turn right on Vine. It’s 6:45 in the morning, and it’s downhill all the way…to her apartment. I’m drawn; I just want to see where she lives.

Aaaaand my good mood was crushed by the first damn paragraph of this chapter.  Dude, this is stalking.  You are in some kind of relationship with Ana, so why not just wait until she inevitably invites you over?  Why jog past her apartment at some crazy hour in the morning, just to see where she lives?  This isn’t love, this is obsession.  This dude is crossing all kinds of unhealthy lines.  Like, all the time.

Of course, because this book is the kind of trash that needs to be immediately dumped in the sea, Grey remembers Ana making a quip about a word that comes “between control freak and stalker” in the dictionary (after she emailed him the words “rules schmules” and he asked her where “schmules” was in the dictionary) and he thinks to himself:

It’s between control freak and stalker.

I chuckle to myself. I’m just running. It’s a free country.

You’re just running to her apartment.  On purpose.  And you’re chuckling to yourself, because you know this is stalking and you think it’s funny.  I hate you and I wish you were a character in a video game, just so I could kill you over and over and over…

grey13

Grey reaches the apartment building, gives us a quick description of it and then tells the reader that he’s imagining Ana curled up in bed.

He then jogs through the market, seemingly in a buoyant mood, because “today’s the day.”

If you’re thinking “oh wow, he’s had a change of heart about Ana meeting his family and now he’s really excited about it,” then…  Oh, please hold onto that innocence.  But also know that nope.

He returns home, showers, puts a hair tie in his shirt pocket and emails Ana the access code for Escala’s underground carpark, plus the bay number she should park in and the code for the elevator.  We get to read all this, because EL James finds dull detail much easier to write than actual, decent content.

Ana replies:

Yes, Sir. Understood.

Thank you for the champagne and the blow-up Charlie Tango, which is now tied to my bed.

Ana

This is your regular reminder of my irrational hatred of that damn balloon.

Because Grey is only capable of thinking with his penis, he immediately thinks:

An image of Ana tethered to her bed with my tie comes to mind. I shift in my chair. I hope she’s brought that bed to Seattle.

No, she was planning to sleep on a bed of freaking nails.

He replies “lucky Charlie Tango,” which is painfully predictable, then has croissants and apricot jam for breakfast.  He also feels the need to tell us that apparently Mrs Jones has made enough chicken Caesar salad for two as a lunch option and she’s left it in the fridge for him and it’s the sort of meal that you can eat over two days and he doesn’t mind eating it again with Ana, when she comes over.

THESE ARE THE KIND OF MIND-NUMBINGLY DULL THINGS I USUALLY SKIP PAST IN THESE RECAPS, BUT I NEED YOU TO KNOW HOW MUCH I’VE SUFFERED.  MOVE ON WITH YOUR “PLOT,” EL!  I DO NOT NEED TO KNOW WHAT CHRISTIAN GREY HAS FOUND IN HIS FRIDGE.

That woman is a multi-millionaire, thanks to these books.

grey2.gif

We then get one of those delightful moments where EL James literally can’t remember her own characterisation from one chapter of this garbage to the next.  Because Taylor arrives and, during the brief conversation he has with Grey, Grey tells him that he and Ana will be having dinner with his parents that evening.  And this happens:

Taylor cocks his head, looking momentarily surprised, but he remembers himself and leaves the room. I return to my croissant and apricot jam.

Yeah. I’m taking her to meet my parents. What’s the big deal?

YOU LITERALLY WENT ON AND ON ABOUT NOT WANTING TO TAKE HER TO MEET YOUR PARENTS IN THE LAST CHAPTER.  YOU REFERRED TO YOUR FAMILY AS HOLDING SOME KIND OF INQUISITION EVERY TIME THEY ASKED A QUESTION ABOUT ANA AND YOU CALLED ELLIOT A BASTARD WHEN HE TOLD YOU HE WAS BRINGING KATE TO DINNER, BECAUSE IT MADE YOU FEEL AS THOUGH YOU OUGHT TO TAKE ANA AGAINST YOUR WISHES.  YOU MADE IT A BIG DEAL, YOU LUDICROUS MORON.

I mean, I’m not the best writer in the world, but even I know that you can’t depict a character being all “oh God, I don’t want my girlfriend meeting my parents; the thought makes me really uncomfortable” in one chapter and then shrugging “so what? No biggie,” the next.

grey3.gif

Of course, because Grey is super excited to flog Ana (I was going to put “see Ana,” but we all know he’s only excited about inflicting potentially non-consensual pain on her…), he can’t settle on anything and he paces around a bit, before reading the paper.  He notices a photo of himself and Ana on the local news page, taken at her graduation ceremony and describes Ana as looking “lovely, if a little startled.”

Hands up who remembers why Ana might have been a bit startled at that ceremony?  Who remembers Grey grabbing her and locking her in a changing room to have a private discussion she wasn’t ready for?  Anyone?!

Ana finally arrives, wearing Kate’s plum dress and with her hair worn down.  Grey greets her…

“You’re on time. I like punctual. Come.”

…And I honestly expected her to orgasm on cue, seeing as that appears to be her major skill in this universe.

Grey shows her the photo of them together in the newspaper and she finds it funny:

“So I’m your ‘friend’ now,” she teases.

“So it would appear. And it’s in the newspaper, so it must be true.”

Jumping into “Emma’s Personal Trigger List” territory, this made me a bit queasy, because my abuser insisted on referring to me as merely his “friend” for the entire 20 months we were together.  So, I loathed this bit for my own reasons, even though it isn’t in itself particularly awful.

Grey tells us he’s calmer now that she’s there, which is probably supposed to be yet more evidence of how much Ana “changes” him, but meh.

He reminds her that she knows more about his lifestyle and his kinks since they last met and yet she’s still come back for more.  And he thinks to himself:

I can’t believe my luck.

I knew you were a freak, Ana.

Just, you know, your regular reminder that she literally cried hysterically after the last time and he’s had to placate her a whole lot, to reach this point.  I feel I should mention it, seeing as not only has Christian Grey apparently forgotten about it, but so has this shitty book’s shitty author.

grey4.gif

Speaking of how terrible this is…  Who’s ready for some cut and paste boring repetition?!  YOU ARE?!  IT’S YOUR LUCK DAY:

“Have you eaten?”

“No.”

Not at all? Okay. We’ll have to fix this. I drag my hand through my hair, and in as even a tone as I can manage I ask, “Are you hungry?”

“Not for food,” she teases.

Whoa. She might as well be addressing my groin.

I would find this book so much more fun if she was.  Like “hey, Christian’s penis?  I’m hungry, but not for food, wink, wink!”

They have a really dull conversation about the ob-gyn who’s coming over to see Ana and then Grey decides to bring up the idea of her going to his parents’ house for dinner in the least appealing way possible:

“Anastasia, my mother would like you to come to dinner this evening. I believe Elliot is asking Kate, too. I don’t know how you feel about that. It will be odd for me to introduce you to my family.”

“Hey, person who really likes me?  My mother wants me to do a thing that I am literally going to tell you makes me feel odd, rather than say that I want you there.”

It’s not difficult to see why Ana takes offence:

She takes a second to process the information, then tosses her hair over her shoulder in that way she does before a fight. But she looks hurt, not argumentative. “Are you ashamed of me?” She sounds choked.

But Christian Grey, with his supposedly superior intellect, simply cannot compute why his wording might have made her feel that way, so he piles all the blame onto her and gets genuinely angry:

Oh, for heaven’s sake. “Of course not.” Of all the ridiculous things to say! I glare at her, aggrieved. How could she think that about herself?

This leads Ana to have to explain:

“Why is it odd?” she asks.

“Because I’ve never done it before.” I sound irritable.

“Why are you allowed to roll your eyes, and I’m not?”

“I wasn’t aware that I was.” She’s calling me out. Again.

“Neither am I, usually,” she snaps.

Shit. Are we arguing?

Not as much as I’d like, dude.  I’d like her to have the ob-gyn stab you in the eye with a needle.

grey5.gif

Taylor arrives and tells them that Dr Greene (the ob-gyn) has arrived.  Grey makes Ana briefly think that he’s coming with her to her examination.

Ana turns and looks at me and I hold out my hand to her.

“You’re not going to come as well, are you?” She’s horrified and amused at once.

I laugh, and my body stirs. “I’d pay very good money to watch, believe me, Anastasia, but I don’t think the good doctor would approve.”

I mean, sure, whatever.  I would have thought he’d have hated watching someone else touch Ana’s vagina, but we all know that consistent characterisation is not a thing in this universe.

They go to meet Dr Greene together and I immediately like her, because she makes Grey uncomfortable:

Dr. Greene has one of those myopic stares; it’s penetrating and that makes me a tad uncomfortable. “Mr. Grey,” she says, shaking my outstretched hand with a firm, no-nonsense grip.

“Thank you for coming on such short notice.” I flash her my most benign smile.

“Thank you for making it worth my while, Mr. Grey. Miss Steele,” she says politely to Ana, and I know she’s sizing up our relationship. I’m sure that she thinks I should be twiddling a mustache like a silent-movie villain. She turns and gives me a pointed “leave now” kind of look.

And then he left and the book ended and Ana and Dr Greene lived happily ever after.

grey6

Grey has to leave and yet again, he informs us that he wishes he could watch Ana receive her medical exam:

“I’ll be downstairs,” I acquiesce. Though I would like to watch. I’m sure the good doctor’s reaction would be priceless if I made that request. I smirk at the thought and head downstairs to the living room.

It would be a massive red flag, for most doctors.  Just saying.  But then, this dude is just one massive, walking, talking red flag, so…

Of course, because Ana’s magical vagina is the only thing that makes poor ickle Christian feel better, he immediately starts feeling agitated because she’s not with him.  He starts preparing for lunch:

Now that Ana’s no longer with me, I’m restless again. As a distraction I set the counter with two placemats. It’s the second time I’ve done this, and the first time was for Ana, too.

You’re going soft, Grey.

…?  Do you usually not feed your subs, then?  Or do they have to eat separately from you?  I don’t understand why setting Ana a placemat is such a big deal, here.

He also literally has to turn his iPod up loud, in order to try to stop himself from thinking about what’s going on between Dr Greene and Ana.  I just…  This seems to be the kinkiest thing he’s into, to be honest.  I hope all the clinics in the area have very thick blinds in the windows, that’s all I’m saying.

When Ana’s examination is over, she and Dr Greene return and Dr Greene can clearly see something in Ana that proves my theory that theyd make a better couple than Ana and Christian:

“Yes, Mr. Grey. Look after her; she’s a beautiful, bright young woman.”

What has Ana told her?

“I fully intend to,” I say, with a quick what-the-fuck glance at Ana.

Red ink, because why should this be Ana’s fault?  He’s asked for a doctor to come over to see Ana for contraceptive purposes.  The doctor knows he’s having a sexual relationship with Ana.  Yes, it’s arguably unprofessional for Dr Greene to tell him to look after his girlfriend, but I’ve known people say similar things in total innocence.  It bugs the life out of me that Grey’s immediate thought is that Ana must have said something about him to cause the doctor to remind him to look after her.  It bugs me partly because he’s constantly looking to blame Ana for things, and partly because it’s proof that somewhere, deep down, he knows he’s not looking after her and he doesn’t like to be reminded or challenged.  And when you read it like that, the “I fully intend to” part sounds like a threat.

grey7.gif

And it’s only when Ana seems oblivious as to why Grey’s evil-staring at her, that he realises she hasn’t done anything wrong:

She bats her lashes, clueless. Good. It’s nothing she’s said, then.

I hate this jerk so much, I could power entire continents with my rage.

Ana jokes that the doctor says she has to abstain from sex and although Grey seems to eventually appreciate Ana’s sense of humour, I feel as though his initial response is not that of a caring, considerate partner:

 “She said that I had to abstain from all sexual activity for the next four weeks.”

What the hell? I gape at her in shock.

Ana’s earnest expression dissolves into one of taunting triumph. “Gotcha!”

Well played, Miss Steele.

WHAT THE HELL?!   BUT THAT’S ALL I WANT YOU FOR!

Of course, Grey then has to make a “joke” of his own, based on the fact that he knows his temper frightens Ana.  I wish I was making that up:

My eyes narrow and her grin vanishes.

HAHAHAHAHA, BECAUSE I YELL AT HER AND CONTROL HER AND THREATEN TO HIT HER WITHOUT CONSENT, SO IF I LOOK MAD, SHE’LL BE FREAKED OUT, HAHAHAHA.

He goes on:

“Gotcha!” I can’t help my smirk. Reaching around her waist, I pull her against me, my body hungering for her. “You are incorrigible, Miss Steele.” I weave my hands through her hair and kiss her hard, wondering if I should fuck her over the kitchen counter as a lesson.

All in good time, Grey.

As a lesson for what??!!  Making a joke?  Not saying anything to Dr Greene?  And you shouldn’t be fucking her anywhere without enthusiastic consent, nor should you be planning on fucking her to teach her any lessons, because that doesn’t sound like you give a shit about her pleasure, it sounds like rape.  Please, please die.

Grey tells her she has to eat (because reading that never gets dull) and says he doesn’t want her passing out before he’s had time to do all the things he wants to do with her.  Ana responds with a question:

“Is that all you want me for—my body?” she asks.

Look, I know couples tease each other a lot, in a kind of “oh, you only want me for sex, haha” way, but Ana has had genuine concerns about feeling used by him.  So, you know, this would be a really good time for him to say he wants her for much more than just that.  But naturally, since this guy is an absolute pillock, what he actually says is:

“That and your smart mouth.” 

grey8.gif

There’s a load of boring pre-inevitable-sex-scene drivel, in which Ana coos over Christian Grey’s classical music choices, he takes salad that someone else made out of the fridge and thinks of himself as “domestic” and Ana compliments him on the way he moves.  I could not possibly care less.

Grey asks Ana what form of contraceptive she’s chosen and she tells him she’ll be taking the mini pill.  He asks her whether she’ll remember to take it every day and once she’s replied, he laments that he couldn’t control exactly what form of contraception she uses:

“I’m sure you’ll remind me,” she says with a hint of sarcasm, which I choose to ignore.

You should have had the shot.

Dude, this is already so invasive.  Ana should have been able to choose her own doctor, see that doctor at a place of her choosing and, most importantly, decide for herself whether she even wanted to start taking any kind of contraceptive.  Ana may have been perfectly happy to keep using condoms.  Just remember that this has all been done because he wanted to ride bareback, not because he had any kind of genuine concern for Ana’s medical health.  And yet, here he is, wishing he could control her more in this deeply personal area.

I would really appreciate someone removing his balls.

They eat the chicken Caesar salad and he’s stunned because Ana’s actually consuming food.  Afterwards, his mind immediately turns to sex (as if it hadn’t been there literally the whole time) and we get the regular attempt at proving consent in this horror show:

“Do you want to do this?” I whisper, inwardly begging her to say yes.

“I haven’t signed anything.”

“I know—but I’m breaking all the rules these days.”

He’s asking for her consent, but he hasn’t told her what for.  Considering their contract – which, as Ana points out, she hasn’t signed – features a long list of BDSM things she will or won’t allow him to do, this is important to note.

And then this happens:

“Are you going to hit me?”

“Yes, but it won’t be to hurt you. I don’t want to punish you right now. If you’d caught me yesterday evening, well, that would have been a different story.”

Her face turns to shock.

Okay, I’m going to say this in loud, shouty-capitals:

BDSM IS NOT ABOUT TAKING YOUR ANGER OUT ON SOMEONE.  IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO PHYSICALLY PUNISH SOMEONE BECAUSE YOU ARE ANGRY AND WANT TO HURT THEM, YOU ARE ABUSIVE TRASH.  ANA DID NOTHING WRONG, YESTERDAY.  SHE JUST DIDN’T CALL YOU INSTANTLY AFTER WORK.  SHE IS ALLOWED A LIFE AND YOU DON’T GET TO FUCKING BEAT HER FOR SOCIALISING WITH HER FRIENDS.  I HATE YOU AND I HOPE SOMEONE TUGS OUT ALL OF YOUR PUBIC HAIR WITH A RUSTY SET OF TWEEZERS AND YOU DIE FROM THE RESULTING INFECTION.

He then tells her:

“Don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise, Anastasia. One of the reasons people like me to do this is because we either like to give or receive pain.”

Here I go again…

A RESPONSIBLE DOMINANT ENJOYS GIVING PAIN BECAUSE HE KNOWS HIS SUBMISSIVE ALSO WANTS THAT PAIN.  IT IS MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL.  IT IS NOT DONE IN GENUINE ANGER.  YOU HAVE SPOKEN ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS ABOUT WANTING TO HIT HER BECAUSE YOU’RE MAD AT HER AND THAT IS NOT BDSM, THAT IS ABUSE.

grey5

He tells her that he’s been thinking a lot about the fact that she doesn’t actually like receiving pain.  She asks if he’s come to any conclusion and he replies:

“No, and right now, I just want to tie you up and fuck you senseless. Are you ready for that?”

I don’t care that he’s asking for her consent, here.  I care that he openly admits he hasn’t reached a conclusion on what to do about her dislike of pain, having just told her that he’d have beaten her in anger, had she been there the night before.  This guy is grotesque.

But of course, Ana says yes and Grey thinks “thank fuck,” which doesn’t make it sound like he’s the sort of person who would have accepted her saying “no” without a fight.  Swoon, ladies.  Go on.

He takes her to the playroom:

“When you’re in here, you are completely mine. To do with as I see fit. Do you understand?”

That would be a sexy sentence, if uttered by basically anyone else.

Ana agrees and so the sexy, sexy fun times begin.

He tells her to strip down to her panties and braids her hair, tying it with the hair tie he put in his pocket, earlier.  He tells her this is how he expects her to be dressed whenever she’s in the playroom, then commands her to kneel in the corner and informs her that that is where she is to position herself whenever they go into the room.  He gets her to spread her legs and tells her to keep her head bowed.  So far, it’s just like “do this thing.  Now do that thing” and I’m wondering why anyone finds this level of unimaginative “erotic” writing even remotely hot.

He brings out the riding crop he ordered:

I quickly flick the end across her palm. She startles and cups her hand, blinking at me in surprise.

“How does that feel?” I ask.

Her breathing accelerates, and she glances at me before looking back at her palm.

“Answer me.”

“Okay.” Her brows knit together.

“Don’t frown,” I warn. “Did that hurt?”

“No.”

I love that he genuinely thinks he can control her subconscious facial expressions.

Anyway, he cuffs her to a grid and tells her this isn’t going to hurt, this time.  He takes off her panties and sniffs them (much to Ana’s shock) and then puts them in his jeans pocket.

He gives her an orgasm with the flogger, just like in her dream.  I’m not posting any of it here, because it’s just boring.  I’ve read sexier IKEA self-assembly instructions.

grey9.gif

The sex is exceptionally dull and afterwards, Grey asks her if she found the flogging painful:

“Well done, baby. Did that hurt?”

“No.” Her voice is barely audible.

“Did you expect it to?” I ask, and I push stray strands of her hair off her face so I can see her better.

“Yes.”

“You see? Most of your fear is in your head, Anastasia.” I caress her face. “Would you do it again?” I ask.

She doesn’t answer immediately, and I think she’s fallen asleep.

“Yes,” she whispers a moment later.

Thank you, sweet Lord.

I wish he’d stop with the whole “your fear is in your head” stuff.   Yes, there’s probably some truth to it; she almost certainly does build things up in her mind, because she has no frame of reference for this stuff and it’s fairly natural that she might imagine it to be worse than it is.  But she’s also experienced pain at his hands and although she was aroused, she also said she felt “abused” and didn’t want him to do it again.  So, not all of her fear is “in her head” and each time he says this, I feel as though he’s trivialising her concerns.

This post-sex scene is where we also start to get suggestions that Grey – icy and aloof – is actually falling for Ana:

I’m so proud of her. She did it. She did everything I wanted.

She’s everything I want.

And suddenly I’m overwhelmed by an unfamiliar emotion that rocks through me, slicing through sinew and bone, leaving unease and fear in its wake.

Falling in love is scary sometimes (I speak as one who has feelings for someone totally unexpected and I’m much, much too terrified to tell that person ever), but this level of melodrama is just irritating, because I loathe the character and genuinely don’t give a rat’s ass about his feelings.

grey10.gif

Ana then leans her head against Grey’s chest and naturally, this gives him a chance to be even more melodramatic:

The darkness swells, startling and familiar, replacing my unease with a sense of dread. Every muscle in my body tenses. Ana blinks up at me with clear, unflinching eyes as I struggle to control my fear.

“Don’t,” I whisper. Please.

She leans back and peers at my chest.

Get control, Grey.

“Kneel by the door,” I order, uncurling around her.

Go. Don’t touch me.

He’s just made it sound as though he’s falling for her, but now he’s pushing her away immediately after sex.  AGAIN.  If he gave half a shit about her, he’d use this opportunity to at least speak a little to her about his phobia of being touched.  Instead, he forces her out of bed when she’s just had an intense BDSM experience and could be at risk of sub drop – something he knows he caused her last time, due to his total lack of aftercare.  He doesn’t really care about her as a person.  She’s a vagina.  That’s it.

As she kneels by the door, she looks every bit the ideal submissive. Her eyes are glazed; she’s tired. I’m sure she’s coming down from the adrenaline high. Her eyelids droop.

Oh, this will never do. You want her as a submissive, Grey. Show her what that means.

He even recognises that she’s coming down from her high and is exhausted.  And that still doesn’t stop him.

“You’re shattered, aren’t you?”

She nods with a bashful smile.

Oh, baby, you’ve done so well.

“Stamina, Miss Steele. I haven’t had my fill of you yet..”

grey11.gif

He uses cable ties to bind her wrists and tells her to grab onto one of the posts on his four-poster bed.  And there’s a warning:

“Lower,” I order. She moves her hands down to the base until she’s bending over. “Good. Don’t let go. If you do, I’ll spank you. Understand?”

She has expressly told him not to spank her, because she didn’t enjoy it.  Remember when he told her that he’d been thinking all day about her dislike of pain?  Well, he’s clearly not decided to stop threatening it if she does anything wrong.

And hey, why just threaten it?

“Yes.”

I smack her hard across her backside.

“Yes, Sir,” she says immediately.

Red, because she DID NOT CONSENT TO THAT and Grey KNOWS that being hit like that is something she didn’t enjoy, when he last did it.

He even toys with attempting anal sex without consent, too.

I’d like to claim her ass. Now. But it’s too soon for that.

Not only is it too soon, but you freaking ASK before you go there, you vile wank stain.

They have sex, it’s boring, she comes on demand…Yawn.

grey12

After the sex, we get another little “look how Ana is changing him” nugget:

 I stare up at the karabiners, wondering if she’ll ever let me suspend her.

Probably not.

And I don’t care.

See!  He doesn’t care!  Because he luuuuuurves her.

Grey removes the cable ties and makes a lame “I declare this Ana open” joke, which makes Ana giggle.

She giggles, her body juddering against mine. It’s a strange and not unwelcome feeling that makes me grin.

“That is such a lovely sound,” I whisper as she rubs her wrists. I sit up so that she’s in my lap.

I love making her laugh. She doesn’t laugh enough.

“That’s my fault,” I admit to myself as I rub some life back into her shoulders and arms. She turns her face to me with a weary, searching look. “That you don’t giggle more often,” I clarify.

If you know it’s your fault, here’s a fantastic idea: TREAT HER BETTER.

We then discover that poor Taylor and Mrs Jones have had to see nude Christian, post-playroom, in the past:

I reach for my jeans and slip them on. “Don’t want to frighten Taylor, or Mrs. Jones, for that matter.”

It wouldn’t be the first time.

Those guys do NOT get paid enough for this shit.

He carries Ana to her bedroom (the one he presumedly gives all his subs) and they lie on the bed, together and fall asleep.

Now… You know how Grey likes to tie up little brown haired girls who remind him of his birth mother?  Well, guess why he enjoys braiding their hair?  YEP.  In a flashback, we discover that ickle Christian watched his mother braid her own hair when he was little.

I brush her hair. It’s soft and smells of Mommy and flowers.

She takes the brush and winds her hair round and round.

So it’s like a bumpy snake down her back.

There, she says.

And she turns around and smiles at me.

Today, she’s happy.

I like when Mommy is happy.

I like it when she smiles at me.

She looks pretty when she smiles.

Christian Grey wants to fuck and beat his dead mother.

grey13.gif

Grey wakes up because he can smell Ana (I’m not making that up) and he realises he’s never slept with a sub in their room.  This makes him freak out, because of course it does.

When have I ever slept in this room?

Never.

The thought is unnerving, and for some unfathomable reason it makes me uneasy.

What’s going on, Grey?

I sit up carefully, not wanting to disturb her, and stare down at her sleeping form. I know what it is—I’m unsettled because I’m in here with her.

I LOVE HER AND I AM ONLY CALM WHEN I’M WITH HER, BUT I AM ALSO UNSETTLED BECAUSE EW, THERE’S A GIRL IN BED WITH ME.

Whatevs, Grey.

He then starts acting super creepy.  He leaves her to sleep, but forms a “plan” with her stolen panties, despite the fact that they’re going to his parents’ place for dinner, later.  And he even treats himself to a shower before they go, because he needs to be clean before he sees his family…

He does some work in his study and then goes to wake Ana up:

“Come on, sleepyhead. Get up.” I kiss her temple again. “I’ve brought you a drink. I’ll be downstairs. Don’t go back to sleep, or you’ll be in trouble,” I warn as she stretches her arms. I kiss her once more and with a glance at the chair, where she won’t find her panties, I saunter back downstairs, unable to suppress my grin.

Playtime, Grey.

This is just so gross.  Ana is being taken to meet his parents and he’s forcing her to do it without underwear.  She’s bound to be nervous – supposedly so was he – and he does this to her?!

grey14.gif

Grey expects Ana to be embarrassed and to ask for her underwear back, but she doesn’t.  Instead, she seems to be into the idea of going knicker-less in front of his parents, so… These two are definitely meant to be together.  Mainly to keep either of them from being with anyone else.

Now I will have to sit through dinner with my parents, knowing my girl is not wearing any underwear. In fact, I’m traveling down in this elevator right now, knowing she’s naked beneath her skirt.

She’s turned the tables on you, Grey.

You did this, you moron.  Don’t be all “oh God, I have to sit through dinner whilst she’s not wearing pants!”  This was your idea.  All she’s doing is going along with it.

On the way to his parents’ house, Grey thinks about the fact that Ana is about to meet his family and he decides that, despite not having an orthodox relationship, and despite the huge fuss he made about it last chapter, he actually does want her to meet his parents:

Who am I kidding? If I didn’t want her to meet my folks, she wouldn’t be here. I just wish I wasn’t so anxious about it.

Yeah. That’s the problem.

YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

grey15.gif

Ana interrupts his thoughts by asking him where he learned to dance (they danced before they left the apartment, but it was boring as hell so I skipped it).  Turns out, it was his molester!  Hooray!

Oh, Ana. She’s not going to want me to go there.

“Christian, hold me. There. Properly. Right. One step. Two. Good. Keep in time to the music. Sinatra is perfect for the fox-trot.” Elena is in her element.

And Christian just danced to Ana to Sinatra, so…  Ew.

“She must have been a good teacher.” Her whisper is tinged with regret and reluctant admiration.

“She was.”

I say again: EW.  Every time I think this book must have finished romanticising abusive behaviours, it proves me wrong.

Ana starts asking questions about their afternoon together, including asking why he used cable ties to restrain her (he says he knows they’re “quite brutal,” which sounds like ELJ’s way of responding to all the criticism she got for putting them in the first book).  Then she sighs and Grey wants to know what’s on her mind:

“I wish I knew what you were thinking,” she says.

I smirk, relieved to hear this, and glad she doesn’t know what’s really on my mind.

“Ditto, baby,” I reply.

Like…  This isn’t healthy.  If you’re falling for someone and you want your relationship to go somewhere, you’re supposed to be honest and open.  You’re not supposed to smirk because your partner wants to know what you’re thinking and you’re not prepared to tell them.

grey16.gif

As they arrive at his parents’ place, Grey makes a point of whispering “I bet you wish you were wearing your underwear, right now.”  

Mia regresses to the age of about 10 upon meeting Ana, screeching and bear-hugging.  Remember how Grey really loves Mia?  How he told us last chapter that she’s the one he can be himself around?  Well, he thinks this:

Yes, for fuck’s sake, Mia. Stop making such a scene.

There’s a weird passage about everyone wanting to hug Ana (including Elliot, which naturally makes Grey grossly possessive over her) and how everyone seems very touchy-feely all of a sudden.  Grey therefore deliberately doesn’t touch Ana as he sits down beside her, thinking: I need to set an example for my overly demonstrative family.

Grey discovers that Elliot is going to Barbados with Kate and her family and he proves that he genuinely believes a woman’s only worth is in her sexual ability:

Dude! I stare at Elliot. What the hell happened to Mr. Love ’Em and Leave ’Em? Kavanagh must be good in the sack. She certainly looks smug enough.

Smug women are just naturally good in bed?  Okaaaaay.

grey17.gif

Grey’s father asks whether Ana will be taking a break now that she’s finished her studies.  She tells him she’s thinking of going to Georgia for a few days.  Grey’s reaction is… Not great.

“Georgia?” I exclaim, unable to hide my surprise.

“My mother lives there,” she says, her voice wavering, “and I haven’t seen her for a while.”

“When were you thinking of going?” I snap.

“Tomorrow, late evening.”

Tomorrow! What the fuck? And I’m only learning of this now?

Ugh, you know what?  I’m tired.  I’m sick of this abusive shit.  I’m fed up of pretending this isn’t harmful.  I hate to do this to you guys, but I’m getting angry and this is depressing me.  I’m going to call a friend and mope over my unrequited crush.  We’ll finish this recap over the coming week.

 

 

Advertisements
Grey: Chapter 14 (Sunday, May 29, 2011)

Grey: Chapter 13 (Saturday 28th May 2011)

Grey1

I woke up this morning with a stinking cold.  I’m already on medication this week for other ailments, so…  I’m feeling mardy, is what I’m trying to say.  Let’s see how far I get through this chapter recap, before I spectacularly combust.

Ooh, and before I get into the recap proper, some of you may remember a guy called The Dom made an amazing video about Fifty Shades of Grey, highlighting the abuse in it.  It’s a long watch (well, half an hour, but that’s a lifetime in this day and age), but if you’ve not seen it, I heartily recommend it.  Anyway, that same guy is now reading the subsequent books and tweeting his thoughts, ahead of making another video on the subject, so…  Yay!  It’s well worth checking him out.

To refresh your memories, at the end of the last chapter, Grey was planning on buying a riding crop to use on Ana, because she’d dreamt of him using one on her and it gave her special feelings down there.  Of course, in the waking world, he’s recently spanked her and she referred to herself as feeling “abused” and told him she didn’t want to be physically punished again, so…  Meh.

We open this chapter with Grey picking Mia up from the airport.  Mia immediately asks about “this girl” he’s been seeing, but he swerves the subject by insisting on hearing all about Mia’s trip to Paris.  Apparently she went there to learn to cook, but she talks more about fashion and shopping and doesn’t want to cook dinner for the family that night.  Grey tells us:

I’ve missed her chatter; it’s soothing and welcome. She is the only person I know who doesn’t make me feel…different.

We then get a flashback, because this book simply has to reiterate that Christian Grey is a poor ickle man-baby and we should wuv him vewwy vewwy much.

“This is your baby sister, Christian. Her name is Mia.”

Mommy lets me hold her. She is very small. With black, black hair.

She smiles. She has no teeth. I stick out my tongue. She has a bubbly laugh.

Mommy lets me hold the baby again. Her name is Mia.

I make her laugh. I hold her and hold her. She is safe when I hold her.

Elliot is not interested in Mia. She dribbles and cries.

And he wrinkles his nose when she does a poop.

When Mia is crying Elliot ignores her. I hold her and hold her and she stops.

She falls asleep in my arms.

“Mee a,” I whisper.

“What did you say?” Mommy asks, and her face is white like chalk.

“Mee a.”

“Yes. Yes. Darling boy. Mia. Her name is Mia.”

And Mommy starts to cry with happy, happy tears.

grey2.gif

Forgive me; if this was any other book, about any other non-psychopath, it would be cute that gaining a baby sister was what made a mute child suddenly start to speak.  But a) this is convenient Mia-love in a book where Grey constantly bitches about literally every member of the family he then claims to love so much, making this scene seem rather contrived and b) I hate him and I do not care about any of this because I just want a mug of honey & lemon and a nap.

Upon arriving back at Grey’s parents’ house, Mia is disappointed to see that nobody’s home.  Well, almost nobody.  Because if this book isn’t shoving ICKLE CHRISTIAN into our faces, it’s reminding us that adult Christian is irresistible to every woman who has ever existed.

Where is everyone?” Mia is in full pout. The only person around is my parents’ housekeeper—she’s an exchange student, and I can’t remember her name. “Welcome home,” she says to Mia in her stilted English, though she’s looking at me with big cow eyes.

Oh, God. It’s just a pretty face, sweetheart.

I’m just gonna say it: I don’t find Jamie Dornan attractive.  Way before the films, when the books first came out, I didn’t even find the written description of Christian Grey attractive.  He has grey eyes and copper hair.  Great.  Give me more to go on, EL.  And, you know, make him less of a douchebag, so I actually want to fancy him.

Anyway, Mia tells Christian So-Hot-The-Ice-Caps-Melted Grey that she bought him a present from Paris:

Warily I open the box, and inside I find a snow globe containing a black grand piano covered in glitter. It’s the kitschiest thing I’ve ever seen.

“It’s a music box. Here—” She takes it from me, gives it a good shake, and winds a small key on the bottom. A twinkly version of “La Marseillaise” starts to play in a cloud of colored glitter.

What am I going to do with this? I laugh, because it’s so Mia. “That’s great, Mia. Thank you.” I give her a hug and she hugs me back.

“I knew it would make you laugh.”

She’s right. She knows me well.

Does she, though?  Because I’ve seen precious little evidence of it, beyond the author of this crap repeating it over and over.  Show, don’t tell, EL James.  Show, don’t tell.

Mia then asks Christian to tell him about Ana, but he’s saved by Grace returning from being on call.  She asks Grey to take Mia’s bags upstairs and he reacts with typical… well, grace, funnily enough:

“I’m so sorry I wasn’t there to meet you, darling,” Grace says. “I’ve been on call. You look so grown up. Christian, can you take Mia’s bags upstairs? Gretchen will give you a hand.”

Really? I’m a porter now?

“Yes, Mom.” I roll my eyes. I don’t need Gretchen mooning over me.

Remember how much he loves Mee-a?  How she just gets him?  But heaven forbid he actually does a nice thing for her, without inwardly (and outwardly, what with the eye-rolling) moaning about how he’s just too damn important for things like that.

He then says he has to leave for an appointment with his personal trainer “before I’m pestered with more questions about Ana.”

Mia has mentioned her twice.  That’s it.  And he’s avoided answering twice, so…  Why must he be such a snot about everything?!

Grey3.gif

We get a brief scene of Christian being beaten by his personal trainer, who tells Grey that he’s “gone soft in Portland” and that he seems distracted.

As he heads back to his apartment, he texts Elliot to ask for Ana and Kate’s new address and has Andrea send champagne and the damn helicopter balloon as a moving in present (I just hate that balloon, okay?!).  When he gets home, he also discovers that the riding crop has been delivered and he has some internal thoughts that I’m going to have to pick apart, like pulling teensy bones out of a piece of fish, because…  Hmmm.

Taking the crop, I stroll into my bedroom. This will be the perfect introduction to my world: by her own admission Ana has no sphere of reference with regard to corporal punishment, except the spanking I gave her that night. And that turned her on.

She referred to herself as being horrified that she was turned on by it and she also said she’d rather you never spanked her again.  Then she experienced major sub drop because you provided little to no aftercare and you ended up having to go and see her when she was obviously incredibly upset.  It’s so weird that you would forget something like that exceptionally important fact…

With the crop, I’ll have to take it slow and make it pleasurable.

So… You admit that you rushed her into something that she wasn’t ready for and that you didn’t consider her own pleasure at all, whilst spanking her?  Because that sure as hell isn’t the point of consensual BDSM.

Really pleasurable. The riding crop is perfect. I’ll prove to her that the fear is in her head. Once she gets comfortable with this, we can move on.

Now, see what you’re doing?  You’re acknowledging that she has fears about this, but then you’re writing them off as merely being in her own head, as though they aren’t valid.  If a potential sub is showing as much fear and doubt as Ana is, it should be incredibly obvious to an experienced, caring Dom that she is not up for this and shouldn’t be pursued for this kind of relationship.

I hope we can move on …

We’ll take it slow. And we’ll only do what she can handle. If this is going to work we’re going to have to go at her pace. Not mine.

grey4.gif

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Sure.  You’ve totally been respectful and taken things at her pace rather than yours, so far, so I totally believe this not-at-all shoe-horned line.

Seriously.  This is ELJ going “SEE?  SEEEEE??!!!  NOT ABUSE!  NER, NER, NEEEER!”  And that is all it is.  Because this line is so out of character, he may as well have suggested he feels like heading to a gay bar and drinking cheap wine all night.

Then Grey’s phone rings and he hopes it’s Ana, but it’s actually his molester, hooray!

AS I FLIP OPEN my laptop to start work my phone rings. I hope it’s Ana, but it’s disappointingly Elena.

Was I supposed to call her?

“Hello, Christian. How are you?”

“Good, thanks.”

“You’re back from Portland?”

“Yes.”

“Fancy dinner tonight?”

“Not tonight. Mia’s just in from Paris and I’ve been ordered home.”

“Ah. By Mama Grey. How is she?”

“Mama Grey? She’s good. I think. Why? What do you know that I don’t?”

“I was just asking, Christian. Don’t be so touchy.”

“I’ll call you next week. Maybe we can do dinner then.”

“Good. You’ve been off the radar for a while. And I’ve met a woman who I think might meet your needs.”

So have I.

I ignore her comment. “I’ll see you next week. Good-bye.”

As I shower I wonder if having to chase Ana has made her more interesting…or is it Ana herself?

Okay, a few little things, here (beyond EW this is so inappropriate, which it clearly is):

  1. Elena is supposed to be friends with Grace.  Why is she calling her “Mama Grey”?
  2. Why does someone asking after his mother’s health immediately make Grey leap to the idea that they know something he doesn’t?  People ask me how my mum is all the time.  I don’t get arsey with them.  This feels like just further evidence that Grey is a massive bell-end.
  3. Grey has not met a woman that meets his needs.  He’s met a woman he’s going to force into meeting them.  Not the same thing.
  4.  I find it so creepy and gross that Elena is still meddling in Christian’s love life that I no longer crave cake.  And I always crave cake.  Thanks a bunch, EL James.

grey5.gif

We immediately jump to dinner at the Grey family home, after the phone call and Grey refers to Mia as a “princess,” with “the rest of the family merely her minions, wrapped around her little finger.

Mia asks him to tell them all about Ana.  After various attempts at avoiding the subject for a few lines, Grace suggests that they’re surely all going to meet her the next day at dinner.  And… Well, Grey’s thrilled.

“You’ll all meet her at dinner tomorrow, won’t we, Christian?” Grace says with a pointed smile.

Oh, fuck.

“Kate’s coming,” Elliot goads.

Fucking stirrer. I glare at him.

“I can’t wait to meet her. She sounds awesome!” Mia bounces up and down in her chair.

Mia is apparently six years old in this scene.

“Yeah, yeah,” I mumble, wondering if there’s any way I can wriggle out of dinner tomorrow.

Look, I get feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of your very new girlfriend meeting your parents.  Besides, Grey is still refusing to actually refer to Ana as such.  But this feels like such a double-standard on his part.  He wants her to belong to him.  He hates her having anyone else in her life.  He insisted on meeting her stepfather.  He expects her to be in constant contact with him at all times.  He insists on having clothes bought for her so she can attend various public functions with him.  And yet when she’s invited for dinner with his family, he’s totally grossed out by the thought and suddenly doesn’t want them knowing anything about her?  Dude, you either want her in your life or you don’t.  And if it’s all about feeling as though his privacy is being invaded, why doesn’t he use his big-boy words and just say to his family: “Look, this relationship is very new.  I’ll ask her to dinner, but please don’t ask loads of probing questions – we’re still working out what we are to one another and I don’t want to scare her off.”  Job done.  But no, he has to pout and whine like a child.

Also, we know full well he’s only bothered about privacy when it suits him.  We all remember what happens during that fateful family dinner, right??!!

grey6.gif

Back at tonight’s family dinner, Grace says Elena has been asking after him:

“Elena was asking after you, darling,” Grace says.

“She was?” I affect an uninterested air, developed over years of practice.

To be fair, he has an uninterested air regarding basically everyone in his life, so sure, that practice paid off…

He explains that he’s been in Portland on business, hence not being in touch.  He then announces that he needs to leave, as he has an important call the next day that he ought to prepare for.  His mother tries to persuade him to stay, but he literally refuses based on the fear that his family will ask him more questions about Ana:

“But you’ve not had dessert. And it’s apple cobbler.”

Hmm…tempting. But if I stay they’ll quiz me about Ana. “I have to go. I have work to do.”

USE YOUR WORDS, DAMNIT.  Why, why is it so hard for this prat to say “Her name’s Ana, she’s recently graduated, she’s looking to work in publishing, but we’ve only been together a few weeks and it’s still really new, so I don’t want to say too much”?  His own father has literally defended his right not to want to talk about it in detail, when Mia was asking questions.  This guy just loves making a drama out of every sodding thing.

As payback for Elliot making comments and “stirring” by saying that he’s bringing Kate for dinner tomorrow night, Grey suggests as he’s leaving that Elliot does the washing up.  He then winks at Elliot, which…  Seems like something he wouldn’t do, seeing as he doesn’t actually have a working sense of humour, but hey.  Whoever said writing a novel had to mean you have a consistently written main character?!

Grace once again says she hopes to see him and Ana the next evening.  Then, this mercifully short chapter ends thusly:

Shit. It looks like Anastasia Steele is going to meet my family.

I don’t know how I feel about this.

Don’t worry, Christian.  I’m sure you won’t do anything wildly inappropriate.

grey7.gif

See you next time, folks!

 

 

 

Grey: Chapter 13 (Saturday 28th May 2011)

Grey Chapter 12 (Friday May 27th 2011)

grey27

Yes, we’re back in the world of lusty man-child Christian Grey.  Aren’t you just thrilled?!

At the end of Chapter 11 (which was, seemingly, nine bazillion pages long), Ana had sent Christian Grey an email telling him she wasn’t sure she liked him.  The reason?  He’d spanked her hard with very little warning, fucked her and then left shortly afterwards, without providing more aftercare than a little lotion to her sore backside.  There was no emotional aftercare, whatsoever, despite this being Ana’s first real experience of BDSM.  So, you know… Totes don’t blame Ana here, but then again I never like Christian Grey, so…  *shrugs*

Anyway, Grey took this email as the end of the freaking world and his total panic that she might be ending their “arrangement” was the cliffhanger we ended on, last time.  I swear, we circle this “is she ending things?” merry-go-round so often in this bloody book, I’m dizzy.

Chapter 12 begins with an email response.  You know, like all truly great works of literature do.

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Careful Yourself

Date: May 27 2011 00:03

To: Anastasia Steele

Why don’t you like me?

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

I get up and open another bottle of sparkling water.

And wait.

Remember, we’re supposed to think he’s INTELLIGENT.  Why might she not like you, Christian, oh guy who slapped her ass and then walked out on her?!  HUH?!

grey2.gif

Also, the whole “and wait” bit at the end of that would have been perhaps slightly dramatic, had we then seen Christian having to, well, actually wait for a response.  But that’s not what happens.  She replies instantly:

To: Christian Grey

Because you never stay with me.

BINGO.  And Christian’s reaction is… Well, this:

Six words.

Six little words that make my scalp tingle.

I told her that I didn’t sleep with anyone.

But today was a big day.

She graduated from college.

She said yes.

We went through all those soft limits that she knew nothing about. We fucked. I spanked her. We fucked again.

Shit.

WHY DOES ANYONE BELIEVE THIS MORON IS INTELLIGENT??!!

He thinks “oh, but I told her I don’t sleep with anyone,” yet he veers straight to acknowledging that “today was a big day,” bypassing the part where he has to take any responsibility.  Because, you know, he’s an asshole.  He even references the soft limits “she knew nothing about,” yet doesn’t pause to think “oh yeah, that might have been a lot for her to take in.”  His summary of their evening is “we fucked.  I spanked her.  We fucked again.”  Tell me some more about this being a true, deep love story.

Naturally, despite the late hour, Grey’s response is not to talk things through like a normal person, but to rush back to Ana’s apartment and demand to see her.

I knock quietly, and Kavanagh opens the door.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing here?” she shouts, her eyes blazing with anger.

Whoa. Not the reception I was expecting.

“I’ve come to see Ana.”

“Well, you can’t!” Kavanagh stands with arms folded and legs braced in the doorway, like a gargoyle.

I try reasoning with her. “But I need to see her. She sent me an e-mail.” Get out of my way!

“What the fuck have you done to her now?”

“That’s what I need to find out.” I grit my teeth.

THIS GUY IS SO DEVOID OF ANY BRAIN CELLS, I CAN’T EVEN COMPUTE HOW HE DOES UP HIS SHOES.

Ana has sent an email in which she said she wasn’t sure she liked him.  And yet he wasn’t expecting Kate to seem angry and not want to let him in?!  AND HE STILL TALKS ABOUT NEEDING TO FIND OUT WHAT HE’S DONE TO ANA, DESPITE THE FACT THAT SHE HAS ALREADY TOLD HIM SHE’S UPSET WITH HIM FOR NOT STAYING WITH HER??!!

 

grey4.gif

Then this exchange happens:

“Ever since she met you she cries all the time.”

“What?” I can’t deal with her shit anymore, and I barge past her.

Red ink, because Kate is highlighting a major red flag for abuse.  Ana has been emotional and upset ever since meeting Christian.  In a healthy relationship, finding out something like that would be cause to step back and reflect, but not in this flaming hell-hole.  Christian Grey physically barges past Kate, because he “can’t deal with her shit anymore.”  That shit?  Being honest about how his behaviour is affecting her best friend.

Irritatingly, fans will (and do) insist that Christian pushes past Kate because he’s just so darn worried about Ana’s wellbeing.  I call bull on that, because if he had been concerned about Ana’s emotional state, he would have broken his own stupid rule about sleeping with subs (seeing as he’s already broken it with her before and he supposedly knew what a big day it was for her) and just stayed.  It’s just a brief interaction, but this short exchange is a massive, massive red flag.

He describes Kate as “shrieking like a harpy” as he storms through the apartment, towards Ana’s room.  Which not only confirms his misogynistic hatred of Kate, but also marks him out as someone angry, rather than concerned.  You storm in a huff, not out of deep worry.

Upon reaching Ana, he notices the state she’s in and basically admits that he’s an abuser:

She’s huddled in her bed, wrapped in her comforter. Her eyes are red and puffy, and squinting in the overhead light. Her nose is swollen and blotchy.

I’ve seen women in this state many times, especially after I’ve punished them. But I’m surprised by the unease that grips my gut.

BDSM, when done consensually, as part of a healthy, sexual relationship, should result in both partners experiencing pleasure and being satisfied.  Although “sub drop” is a recognised thing (whereby a submissive sometimes experiences a crashing low after the high, or needs to release their emotions after a scene and therefore becomes upset), if a sub is in a state similar to the one described – crying and in clear distress – it’s up to the Dom(me) to offer aftercare and to talk through the situation.  That Christian Grey has seen women in this state many times before, but is only now remotely bothered by it or feels at all compelled to offer any care whatsoever to his submissive, proves to me that he is simply an abuser who enjoys beating women who resemble his mother.

grey5

Ana asks what Grey is doing there and before he can answer, Kate offers to get rid of him:

“Do you want me to throw this asshole out?” Kate barks from the doorway.

Fuck you, Kavanagh. Raising an eyebrow, I pretend to ignore her.

Christian Grey is a dick.  He spent the first few encounters he had with Kate inwardly thinking about what a lousy best friend she must be and that she can’t possibly take care of Ana the way he would.  But when she actually proves that she’s loyal and she wants to defend her friend from the guy who’s caused her pain, he hates her for it.  I mean, granted, he hates her because she’s defending Ana from him, but still.  Massive double standard.

EL James is also a lousy writer.  You don’t pretend to ignore someone.  You might pretend not to hear them, but that would just mean you are ignoring them.  And Christian is ignoring Kate, here.  He’s not pretending to ignore her.  He just is.

grey6.gif

“Just holler if you need me,” Kate says to Ana, as if she were a child. “Grey,” she snaps, so I’m obliged to look at her. “You’re on my shit list, and I’m watching you.” She sounds shrill, her eyes glinting with fury, but I don’t give a fuck.

I hate this man, I hate this man, I hate this man sooooooo muuuuuuuuch.

Ahem.

Okay, firstly, how dare he have a go at Kate for talking to Ana as though Ana’s a child when he does it literally ALL THE FREAKING TIME?!  And Kate’s words weren’t remotely condescending, either.  She was merely expressing concern for her friend and letting her know she’s around if Ana needs her.

And as for him not giving a fuck…  If he loved Ana, the way the fans of this utter trash insist he does, he would care that her best friend was this mad at him for upsetting her.  He’d care because he wouldn’t want Ana to ever be that upset in the first place.  He’d care because he’d know that Ana’s friends are important to her and that their judgement of him would be something she’d be inclined to listen to.  So, he might be saying that he doesn’t give a fuck that Kate’s annoyed with him here, but he may as well be saying that he doesn’t give a fuck about Ana.  Particularly as when Ana asks him again why he’s there, his mental response is: “I don’t know.”  He STILL can’t understand why she might be upset and he’s not sure why he bothered going round.

I want IQ tests done on everyone who finds this piece of crap attractive.

What he actually says out loud, when Ana asks why he’s there, is:

“Part of my role is to look after your needs. You said you wanted me to stay, so here I am.” Nice save, Grey.

grey7.gif

He didn’t actually care about her needs, but hey, he lied about it to save himself, so let’s all freaking swoon over him, hey?!

He asks if she’s upset because he hit her.  She doesn’t answer, but flinches when she tries to sit up.  Grey asks if she’s taken the Advil he suggested she take and when she says no, he goes to find some, whilst inwardly moaning that she’s still not doing as she’s told.

He has to speak to Kate to ask where the Advil is (he tells her that Ana has a headache) and he describes Kate as being surprised by his concern for Ana.  Just… Look, if people are surprised when you do something that demonstrates a fairly basic level of giving a shit about someone other than yourself, I think we can just take it as read that you’re a terrible human.

Upon returning to Ana’s room, Grey says something that sounds totally out of character with everything we’ve seen up until this point:

“Talk to me. You told me you were okay. I’d never have left you if I thought you were like this.”

They then have a conversation about the spanking that took place earlier that evening and… It’s a) painfully obvious that Ana is not into this kind of thing and b) equally obvious that Grey is into it for reasons well beyond consensual pleasure.

“How did you feel while I was hitting you, and after?”

“I didn’t like it. I’d rather you didn’t do it again.”

“You weren’t meant to like it.”

“Why do you like it?” she asks, and her voice is stronger.

Shit. I can’t tell her why.

“You really want to know?”

“Oh, trust me, I’m fascinated.” Now she’s being sarcastic.

“Careful,” I warn her.

She pales at my expression. “Are you going to hit me again?”

“No, not tonight.” I think you’ve had enough.

“So.” She still wants an answer.

“I like the control it gives me, Anastasia. I want you to behave in a particular way, and if you don’t, I shall punish you, and you will learn to behave the way I desire. I enjoy punishing you. I’ve wanted to spank you since you asked me if I was gay.”

And I don’t want you rolling your eyes at me, or being sarcastic.

He’s literally saying “I enjoy punishing you” despite the fact that she has just said she doesn’t like it and doesn’t want it to happen again.  She comes across as fearful of it happening again and yet this is still something Grey is intent on pursuing.  They are INCOMPATIBLE.  If he was the considerate, experienced Dominant that he claims to be, he would do one of two things at this point.  He would either offer to drop the physical punishment aspect completely and have a “vanilla” relationship with her, until such time as she feels more able to try again.  OR, if beating brown haired girls is such a deal breaker for him, he would walk away from her, knowing that however “affected” by her he may be, it’s not right to try to force his lifestyle on someone who is ill-prepared for the intensity of it and who has expressed a strong dislike for it, already.

Naturally, he does neither.

Instead, Ana asks him why he wants to change her and he tells her she’s lovely just as she is…

grey8

…Which is a total lie, because he does almost nothing but try to change her, throughout the bloody trilogy.

Ana brings the conversation back to the subject of punishment:

“But you want to punish me?”

“Yes, I do.”

“That’s what I don’t understand.”

I sigh. “It’s the way I’m made. I need to control you. I need you to behave in a certain way, and if you don’t—” My mind drifts. I find it arousing, Ana. You did, too. Can’t you accept that? Bending you over my knee…feeling your ass beneath my palm. “I love to watch your beautiful alabaster skin pink and warm up under my hands. It turns me on.” Just thinking about it stirs my body.

Notice he doesn’t say the whole “can’t you accept that you liked it?” bit out loud.  Because that would give Ana a chance to say that she either didn’t, or that she was confused and distressed by her own arousal, rather than simply enjoying it outright.

“So it’s not the pain you’re putting me through?”

Hell.

“A bit, to see if you can take it.” Actually, it’s a lot, but I don’t want to go there right now. If I tell her, she’ll throw me out. 

He’s STILL not being honest with her.  This is about causing her pain and he refuses to admit it.  It’s not fully safe or consensual.  He wants to get some kind of sodding revenge on his dead mother, by beating the crap out of women who look a bit like her.  Ana’s lack of full enjoyment of this is not remotely important to him and he knows that if he admitted the truth, she’d want nothing to do with him, so he carries on lying to her, instead.

I wish Buffy The Vampire Slayer was real, because I want Dark Willow to flay this guy alive.

grey9.gif

Sorry to anyone who found that gif a tad graphic.  I’m just really angry right now and imagining that’s Christian Grey is easing my rage.  At least a bit.

He asks her again how she felt after he’d spanked her.

She blinks. “Confused.”

“You were sexually aroused by it, Anastasia.”

You have an inner freak, Ana. I know it.

Closing my eyes, I recall her wet and wanting around my fingers after I spanked her. When I open them, she’s staring at me, pupils dilated, her lips parted…her tongue moistening her top lip. She wants it, too.

Shit. Not again, Grey. Not when she’s like this.

“Don’t look at me like that,” I warn, my voice gruff.

She’s literally been crying because she’s so messed up about the fact that he spanked her hard, had rough sex with her and then left, and now he’s angrily warning her not to look at him a certain way, because it’s making him want to have sex.  I want this guy thrown into the damn sun.

He tells her he can’t have sex with her because he has no condoms and says he’s “not a monster” (HAHAHAHAHA, you totally are, though).

He’s confused as to why she’s so quiet in person, when she has no problem expressing herself in emails and texts, then asks if she finds him that intimidating in person that she can’t speak.  Don’t forget, dear reader, that this is the guy who actually said he wanted her to find him intimidating when they first met…  Anyway, Ana responds in syrupy language that made me dry heave, leading Christian to begin using similarly retch-some words:

“You beguile me, Christian. Completely overwhelm me. I feel like Icarus, flying too close to the sun.” Her voice is quiet, but brimming with emotion.

Her confession floors me like a swift kick to the head.

“Well, I think you’ve got that the wrong way round,” I whisper.

“What?”

“Oh, Anastasia, you’ve bewitched me. Isn’t it obvious?”

That’s why I’m here.

She’s not convinced.

Oh, so that’s why you went dashing round to the apartment of a woman who’d just told you she wasn’t sure she liked you, anymore.  To prove how much you do!  Aaaaw, cute.

He tells her that he wants an answer to his “do you find me that intimidating?” question, even if she has to send it in email form.  Then, he tells her he’s tired and he wants to go to sleep.  He asks if he can stay and Ana counters by asking if he really wants to.

“Do you want to stay?”

“You wanted me here.”

“You haven’t answered my question,” she persists.

Impossible woman. I just drove like a maniac to get here after your fucking message. There’s your answer.

I grumble that I’ll respond by e-mail. I’m not talking about this. This conversation is over.

Before I can change my mind and head back to The Heathman, I stand, empty my pockets, remove my shoes and socks, and strip off my pants. Slinging my jacket over her chair, I climb into her bed.

“Lie down,” I growl.

So, despite the fact that Ana has been visibly upset all evening and almost certainly still needs to talk things through, he has decided that the conversation is over, because he doesn’t want to answer the question as to whether or not he really wants to stay with her.  It’s an answer that Ana really needs to hear, one way or the other, so his refusal to respond to it and to become angry and controlling instead is spiteful and manipulative.  He knows that by sleeping with her, he’s giving her what she wants, but he doesn’t actually have to give her the emotional back-up beyond the action.

I hope a million wasps sting him to death.

grey10.gif

Or just one really big one.

“If you are going to cry, cry in front of me. I need to know.”

“Do you want me to cry?”

“Not particularly. I just want to know how you’re feeling. I don’t want you slipping through my fingers. Switch the light off. It’s late, and we both have to work tomorrow.”

“I want to know how you’re feeling.  But not now, because I’ve decided this conversation is over, even though you’re clearly still upset.”  What a charmer.

Now, I won’t lie to you, this is where it got uncomfortably personal for me.  The next line will mean nothing to anyone, probably, but it had me teary-eyed and needing to look at stupid posts on Tumblr for a while, instead of this raging pile of crap.  Because he then says:

“Lie on your side, facing away from me.”

I don’t want you to touch me.

And my abuser said that to me most nights.  Except the “I don’t want you to touch me” part was spoken aloud, too.  Along with “you make me feel sick.”

Never, ever tell me this is “just a book.”  It’s triggering to survivors of abuse and, as survivors know, the slightest, seemingly insignificant thing can actually be a trigger.  Christian Grey is an emotionally, psychologically, physically and sexually abusive bastard and we’re being told we’re supposed to want him.  No.  Screw that.  The only way in which I want him is if I’m wearing his toe-bones as a crown, to show what we do to abusive arseholes like him.

Ugh, sorry.

grey11.gif

We then get the following dream – because what chapter could possibly be complete without a deep and sodding meaningful dream of Christian as a child?!  I’m copy and pasting it all, because if I had to suffer the damn thing, so do you:

Lelliot is running through the grass.

He’s laughing. Loud.

I am running after him. My face is smiling.

I am going to catch him.

There are small trees around us.

Baby trees covered in apples.

Mommy lets me pick the apples.

Mommy lets me eat the apples.

I put the apples in my pockets. Every pocket.

I hide them in my sweater.

Apples taste good.

Apples smell good.

Mommy makes apple pie.

Apple pie and ice cream.

They make my tummy smile.

I hide the apples in my shoes. I hide them under my pillow.

There is a man. Grandpa Trev-Trev-yan.

His name is hard. Hard to say in my head.

He has another name. Thee-o-door.

Theodore is a funny name.

The baby trees are his trees.

At his house. Where he lives.

He is Mommy’s daddy.

He has a loud laugh. And big shoulders.

And happy eyes.

He runs to catch Lelliot and me.

You can’t catch me.

Lelliot runs. He laughs.

I run. I catch him.

And we fall down in the grass.

He is laughing.

The apples sparkle in the sun.

And they taste so good.

Yummy.

And they smell so good.

So, so good.

The apples fall.

They fall on me.

I twist and they hit my back. Stinging me.

Ow.

But the scent is still there, sweet and crisp.

Ana.

grey12.gif

Grey wakes up with an erection (apples make me horny too, to be fair), but decides that he and Ana should wait until Sunday before they have sex again.  It turns out that they both slept really well, because they have actual magical powers that only work on each other, or something.

Ana tells Grey it’s 7:30am and he’s like “NOOOO” because he has a meeting at 8 and he’s never late (he could not, would not want to wait).  He warns Ana not to drive the Beetle and rushes off without shaving.  He’s also only wearing a t-shirt beneath his jacket, because he’s such a rebel.  Or perhaps he’s in a boyband.  I mean, he never did say who he was meeting…

His assistant adds him to a conference call with people including Kate’s father.  During the supposedly important call, Grey gets an email from Ana and, because you can definitely become a millionaire by doing no work and prioritising your sex life above business calls, he reads it.

It begins with words that prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that Ana is not into BDSM:

Dear Mr. Grey,

You wanted to know why I felt confused after you—which euphemism should we apply—spanked, punished, beat, assaulted me.

If this was remotely consensual, she wouldn’t be using that word.

And Grey simply thinks:

A tad overdramatic, Miss Steele. You could have said no.

COULD she, though?  Because you’ve manipulated her into thinking this is the only way she gets to keep you in her life.  You also told her it was happening and didn’t ask her to say yes or no.  So, shut your victim-blaming gob.

Ana continues:

Well, during the whole alarming process, I felt demeaned, debased, and abused.

Again, this is where a respectful Dom would think “blimey, she’s really not up for this.”  But not our beloved psychopath, Christian Grey.  He merely thinks:

If you felt that way, why didn’t you stop me? You have safe words.

Safe words that she has only just been given.  Besides which, she was trying to please you by letting you do whatever you claim you “needed” to do.  Sure, she could have said “stop,” but if you’re an experienced Dominant, you’d know that a brand new sub, who has never gone through anything like this before, might need a reminder that she can say “stop” or “red” or whatever before the whole thing gets started.

Ana admits that she felt aroused, in spite of herself:

And much to my mortification, you’re right, I was aroused, and that was unexpected.

Sometimes, rape victims can orgasm.  It doesn’t mean they enjoy being raped – it’s a physiological reaction, almost as a defence mechanism.  But rather than simply think “oh, this is potentially positive news,” Grey decides he knows Ana’s body better than her and his internal monologue of douche-baggery simply says:

I know. Good. You’ve finally acknowledged it.

grey13.gif

Ana goes on:

As you are well aware, all things sexual are new to me—I only wish I was more experienced and therefore more prepared. I was shocked to feel aroused.

What really worried me was how I felt afterward. And that’s more difficult to articulate. I was happy that you were happy. I felt relieved that it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. And when I was lying in your arms, I felt…sated.

But I feel very uncomfortable, guilty even, feeling that way. It doesn’t sit well with me, and I’m confused as a result. Does that answer your question?

She was happy that he was happy.  She’s not saying “I was happy because I enjoyed it.”  She didn’t feel “sated” from being spanked.  That feeling only arose out of lying in his arms, afterwards.  There’s so much to be unpicked here, all of which basically amounts to this almost certainly not being the right path for Ana to be walking.  But naturally, there’s no way Grey is going to accept that.

Whilst still supposed to be on an important video-call, he replies:

If that is how you feel, do you think you could just try to embrace these feelings, deal with them, for me? That’s what a submissive would do.

DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE, DIE TO DEATH PLEASE.  NOW.

“Hey, you know how you’ve just told me you feel confused, debased, assaulted and really unsure?  WELL JUST DEAL WITH IT.”

I am grateful for your inexperience. I value it, and I’m only beginning to understand what it means. Simply put…it means that you are mine in every way.

Nope.  She belongs to herself.  She hasn’t signed your contract, you controlling cretin.

He tells her he was glad she was aroused and that that aroused him and he describes himself as feeling “ecstatic joy” after spanking her.

Punishment spanking hurts far more than sensual spanking—so that’s about as hard as it gets, unless, of course, you commit some major transgression, in which case I’ll use some implement to punish you with. My hand was very sore. But I like that.

She has literally just referred to herself as feeling as though she’d been assaulted.  Last night, she said she didn’t enjoy being spanked and would rather he never did it to her again.  Yet, here he is, responding to an email in which she talks about her confusion and dislike of pain, by telling her that if she crosses one of his many arbitrary lines, he’ll hit her harder.

The guy is shit on my shoe.  All I want to do is wipe him into the ground and sterilise myself from having been anywhere near him.

Ana responds by asking “aren’t you in a meeting?” (and yes, he’s supposed to be) and tells him:

I’m very glad your hand was sore.

And if I listened to my body, I’d be in Alaska by now.

Ana

P.S.: I will think about embracing these feelings.

She’ll think about embracing the feelings, because he wants her to.  But if she actually listened to her own body, she’d run far away from him.  And yet this guy does not once question whether he ought to leave her the heck alone.  Because he is not a Dominant in a consensual BDSM relationship with a woman he genuinely loves.  He is a manipulative, egotistical abuser, intent on getting what he wants, no matter who has to suffer as a result.

grey14.gif

And because I wasn’t quite on the verge of an embolism thanks to my rage, yet, Christian replies with an email that victim-blames and threatens the woman he supposedly cares for:

For the record, you stood beside me knowing what I was going to do.

You didn’t at any time ask me to stop—you didn’t use either safe word.

You are an adult—you have choices.

Quite frankly, I’m looking forward to the next time my palm is ringing with pain.

You’re obviously not listening to the right part of your body.

Alaska is very cold and no place to run. I would find you.

I can track your cell phone—remember?

I…  I can’t.  Last night, he saw her crying and confused.  She’s told him she didn’t enjoy being hit.  He keeps telling her he’s excited to do it again.  EL James claims to have done research on this subject, but if she had, she’d know CONSENT IS BLOODY VITAL AND ANA IS NOT GIVING FREE CONSENT, SHE IS BEING MANIPULATED AND THREATENED INTO IT.

As for threatening to track her phone and find her if she tried to leave him… We all know that’s something he would do.  And that’s not sexy or romantic, it’s fucking abhorrent.

But of course, the subject is laughed off, because EL James is a trash person and this is a trash book.  Ana replies:

Have you sought therapy for your stalker tendencies?

And Grey thinks:

I smother my laugh. She’s funny.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA STALKING IS A VERY SERIOUS CRIME, BUT LET’S TRIVIALISE IT!!  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA.

grey15.gif

Grey resonds with:

I pay the eminent Dr. Flynn a small fortune with regard to my stalker and other tendencies.

And I laugh for about half an hour, because Dr Flynn is a quack and Grey should be in prison.

Thankfully, Ana does at least call him out:

May I humbly suggest you seek a second opinion?

I am not sure that Dr. Flynn is very effective.

Hilariously, Grey then ponders whether Dr Flynn is any good, although he still thinks Ana’s joking and… Well, let’s just say the best jokes are funny because they’re accurate.

Damn, this woman is funny…and intuitive; Flynn charges me a small fortune for his advice. Surreptitiously, I type my response.

* * *

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Second Opinions

Date: May 27 2011 08:43

To: Anastasia Steele

Not that it’s any of your business, humble or otherwise, but Dr. Flynn is the second opinion.

How much do you want to bet Grey’s last therapist was actually ethical and good at their job and therefore didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear?!

They have a distinctly boring, but supposedly cute and funny back and forth about Ana being late for work, with Christian warning her not to speed in her new car (he types those words that make me want to seal my vagina shut: “my palm is twitching”).  Ana gets bolshy (far be it for me to agree with Dickwipe Grey, but she is much feistier in print than in person; then again, I don’t blame her) and reminds him that she hasn’t signed his contract and therefore doesn’t have to obey his rules.  More jokes are made about stalking, because that’s hilarious.

But just as I’m despising everything in this book, a small ray of light comes in the form of Ros, who has a well-deserved pop at Grey for blatantly not having been interested in his video conference call.

Ros is glaring at me when I unmute her. “What the hell, Christian?”

“What?” I feign innocence.

“You know what. Don’t hold a goddamn meeting when you’re obviously not interested.”

“Was it that obvious?”

“Yes.”

“Fuck.”

“Yes. Fuck. This could be a huge contract for us.”

“I know. I know. I’m sorry.” I grin.

He grins.  We’re supposed to believe this guy has built up a massively successful business, yet he displays genuinely unprofessional behaviour in a meeting and finds himself hilarious, rather than being genuinely apologetic.  He’s the boss – he’s fine – but if he messes his company up, the people who work for him are the ones who will suffer.  He never stops to think about that for a second.  Nor does he consider that the people on the other end of the conference call were also giving up their valuable time.

I feel like I can’t stress enough that this guy is the literal worst.

grey16.gif

Of course, we have to be told that Ros is secretly really amused by Grey’s ridiculously unprofessional behaviour, because I can’t have nice things.  Besides, he’s just so adorable, you guys…

And then we get evidence that he’s rubbish at business as well.  He’s determined to buy a publishing company and we all know it’s purely so he can control Ana’s career:

“I’m heading back around lunchtime. In the meantime, ask Marco to investigate all the publishing houses in Seattle and see if any are ripe for a takeover.”

“You want to go into publishing?” Ros splutters. “It’s not a high-potential-growth sector.”

She’s probably right.

“Just investigate. That’s all.”

He then rings Andrea to organise a gynaecologist for Ana and to sort out a personal shopper for her, too.  I think we’re meant to find these things attractive, as though all women crave having loads of money spent on them and no longer having to worry about something as pressing as buying their own clothes or sorting out their own birth control.  But I just find it creepy.

Grey continues about his day, but he has one thing on his mind, as usual:

Ros noticed how distracted I was during that conversation.

Shit, Grey. Get your act together.

I wolf down my breakfast, drink some cold coffee, and head into my bedroom to shower and change. Even when I’m washing my hair I can’t get that woman out of my head. Ana.

Amazing Ana.

And then he thinks about her intelligence, her spirit and… Ha, just joking!  He thinks about her in a purely sexual sense:

The image of her bouncing up and down on top of me comes to mind; of her lying over my knee, ass pink; of her tethered to the bed, mouth open in ecstasy. Lord, that woman is hot. And this morning, waking up next to her, it wasn’t so bad, and I slept well…really well.

He goes on to think about how funny she is (I… I don’t know where he’s got that from, but okay):

Her e-mails make me laugh. They’re entertaining. She’s funny. I never knew I liked that in a woman. I’ll need to think about what we’ll do on Sunday in my playroom…something fun, something new for her.

He decides he’s going to use a riding crop on her, like he did in the dream she confessed to having.  I mean, okay, she did fantasise about that, but she also told him much more recently that she didn’t want to be hit again, so…  Whatever.  We all know none of this is really about Ana’s pleasure.

grey17.gif

Grey spots that everyone is noticing how much happier he seems since he met Ana.  This is clearly supposed to be the start of him “changing,” which is hilarious, because directly after he swoons over “the Ana effect,” he goes straight back to being a really gross asshole.  Elliot texts asking how things are with Ana and whether Grey is going to help the girls move to their new apartment.  And Grey?  Consistently thinks “fuck off” as a response.

Swooooooon.  Such change.

Having been informed that a courier has been dispatched with the new Blackberry Grey has bought for Ana (which he refers to as being “on loan,” thanks to Ana’s refusal to accept the car outright), Grey decides to email Ana to tell her how important it is that he can contact her at all times.

You know, because…  Um… Nope, I’ve got nothing.  Sex emergency?!

Credit where it’s due, Ana responds in feisty fashion, once again:

I think you need to call Dr. Flynn right now.

Your stalker tendencies are running wild.

I am at work. I will e-mail you when I get home.

Thank you for yet another gadget.

I wasn’t wrong when I said you were the ultimate consumer.

Why do you do this?

Grey replies:

Dr. Flynn is on vacation.

And I do this because I can.

Oh, well that’s okay, then.

Andrea gets in touch to say a gynaecologist called Dr Greene has been found, but that she’s very expensive.  Grey says he’ll pay whatever she wants, because he’s the richest man in the universe and that makes his abusive behaviour okay, apparently.  He thinks about phoning his mother to check Dr Greene’s credentials, seeing as they work at the same hospital, but decides not to, in case his mother asks too many questions.

Grey then contacts Ana to tell her that the doctor will see her at 1:30 on Sunday, before arranging a housewarming present for her (a card, some vintage champagne and that bloody helicopter balloon that Ana ends up sleeping with – ugh).

Despite the fact that he’s just been thinking about the fact that Ana is moving house in a couple of days and is probably very busy, he then gets mad that she didn’t get in touch him the second she finished work.

I wonder if she’s okay. She said she would contact me when she got home; I’ve called her twice, but I’ve heard nothing, and it’s pissing me off.

Tough.  She has a life.

But that doesn’t matter to Christian Grey, so he calls her and leaves an angry voicemail:

“I think you need to learn to manage my expectations. I’m not a patient man. If you say you are going to contact me when you finish work, then you should have the decency to do so. Otherwise I worry, and it’s not an emotion I’m familiar with, and I don’t tolerate it very well. Call me.”

If she doesn’t call soon I am going to explode.

I sincerely hope you do.

grey18.gif

Grey goes to a charity event and takes a moment to be misogynistic, egotistical asshole.  Again.

I’M SEATED AT A table with Whelan, my banker. I’m his guest at a charity function for a nonprofit that aims to raise awareness of global poverty.

“Glad you could make it,” Whelan says.

“It’s a good cause.”

“And thank you for your generous contribution, Mr. Grey.” His wife is cloying, thrusting her perfect, surgically enhanced breasts in my direction.

“Like I said, it’s a good cause.” I give her a patronizing smile.

Because you see, everyone loves Christian Grey, because he’s the most perfect looking specimen of masculinity that has ever been seen.  And that alone makes it okay that he’s also a fuckwit.

Having already been rude towards people wanting to do business with in a video conference call that morning, Grey now takes the opportunity to be rude towards people he’s attending a charity event with.  Purely because Ana hasn’t called, texted or emailed.

Guys… That’s not love.  That’s obsession.

I look around the table at all the middle-aged men with their second or third trophy wives. God forbid this should ever be me.

I’m bored. Seriously bored and seriously pissed.

What is she doing?

He gets home from the black tie event he spent an evening being a petulant brat at and emails Ana again.  Because obsessive stalker:

“I am at work. I will e-mail you when I get home.”

Are you still at work or have you packed your phone, BlackBerry, and MacBook?

Call me, or I may be forced to call Elliot.

I’m red-inking the crap out of that, because threatening to call someone else to check up on your partner because they haven’t called you is really possessive and creepy.

He then goes directly on to thinking about how he could have been with Ana right now, if only he had agreed to help her pack and get ready for the move.

Why did I volunteer to collect Mia? I could be with Ana, helping her pack all her shit, then going out for pizza with her and Kate and Elliot—or whatever ordinary people do.

For God’s sake, Grey.

That’s not you. Get a grip.

Man ALIVE this guy thinks he’s special, doesn’t he?!  “Whatever ordinary people do?!”

grey19.gif

And then, because whenever Grey is an asshole (ALL THE TIME, OBVS), we have to follow it with a scene that’s meant to make us feel sorry for him, because he’s just a poor boy, nobody loves him…

I wander around my apartment, my footsteps echoing through the living room, and it seems achingly empty since I was last here. I undo my bow tie. Perhaps it’s me that’s empty. I pour myself an Armagnac and stare back out at the Seattle skyline toward the Sound.

Are you thinking about me, Anastasia Steele? The winking lights of Seattle have no answer.

Of course, then she calls him.  Because actual tension is not something that exists in this universe.

Thank. Fuck. Finally. It’s her.

“Hi.” I’m relieved that she’s called.

“Hi,” she says.

“I was worried about you.”

“I know. I’m sorry I didn’t reply, but I’m fine.”

Fine? I wish I was… 

“Did you have a pleasant evening?” I ask, reining in my temper.

“Yes. We finished packing, and Kate and I had Chinese takeout with José.”

Oh, this just gets better and better. The fucking photographer again. That’s why she hasn’t called.

He shouldn’t be having to rein in his temper.  Sure, it’s annoying when someone says they’ll call and then they don’t.  But Ana only said she’d send him an email.  She’s also just days away from moving and Grey knows as much.  He shouldn’t have expected that she’d drop everything to ring him the instant she got home.  When someone says “I’ll email you when I’m home from work,” that doesn’t necessarily mean the SECOND THEY GET THROUGH THE DOOR.  Besides which, she’s already apologised for not having gotten in touch.

And sure, José is an ass, too, but it’s Ana’s business as to whether she decides to remain friends with him.  If Grey sat her down and explained that he was worried about her socialising with someone who had attempted to violate her lack of consent, that would be more understandable.  But he can’t do that, because he violates her lack of consent all the damn time.

They have a genuinely nauseating “you hang up,” “no, you hang up” conversation, which also features Grey admitting that he was very angry with her for not calling, but he’s not anymore, because he’s an “in-the-moment type of guy.”  Which bodes well for someone really into beating women who look like his dead mother, doesn’t it?  “Sorry I hit you so hard I made you bleed; I was in the moment.”

Finally, the conversation comes to an end and with it, the chapter:

“Go to bed, Anastasia.”

“Yes, Sir.”

She doesn’t hang up, and I know she’s grinning. It lifts my spirits higher. “Do you ever think you’ll be able to do what you’re told?” I ask.

“Maybe. We’ll see after Sunday,” she says, temptress that she is, and the line goes dead.

Anastasia Steele, what am I going to do with you?

Actually, I have a good idea, provided that riding crop turns up in time. And with that enticing thought I toss down the rest of the Armagnac and go to bed.

I know I have to come back to this hellish place next week, but for now…

grey20.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grey Chapter 12 (Friday May 27th 2011)

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…

Grey1.gif

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…

grey2.gif

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!

grey3.gif

“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…

grey4.gif

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.

grey5.gif

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.

grey7.gif

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.

Grey6.gif

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.

grey8.gif

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.

grey9.gif

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.

grey10.gif

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!

grey11.gif

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.

grey12.gif

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.

grey13.gif

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.

grey14.gif

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.”

grey15.gif

 

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.”

grey16.gif

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!

grey17.gif

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.

grey18.gif

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.

grey19.gif

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

grey20.gif

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…

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

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

Grey1

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):

grey2.gif

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!

grey3.gif

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.

grey4.gif

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.

grey5.gif

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.

grey6.gif

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.

grey7.gif

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.

grey8.gif

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.

grey9.gif

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…

grey10.gif

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.

grey11.gif

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.

grey12.gif

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.

grey13.gif

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…

grey14.gif

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.

grey15.gif

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.

grey16.gif

 

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.

grey17.gif

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.

grey18.gif

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?

grey19.gif

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:

grey20.gif

When what we’re looking for is:

grey21.gif

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!

grey22.gif

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.

grey23.gif

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.

grey24.gif

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.

grey25.gif

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.

grey26.gif

“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…

grey27.gif

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…

grey1.gif

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.

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 16.09.52.png

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.

grey2.gif

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?”

grey3.gif

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.

grey4.gif

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.

grey5.gif

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.

grey6.gif

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.

grey7.gif

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.”

grey8.gif

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.

grey9.gif

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?”

grey10.gif

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.”

grey12.gif

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.

grey11

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.

grey14.gif

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.

grey15.gif

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.

grey16.gif

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.

grey17

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.

grey18.gif

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?!

grey19.gif

 

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!

grey1.gif

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.

Grey2.jpg

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.

grey3.gif

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…

grey4.gif

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?!

grey5.gif

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?!

grey6.gif

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.

grey14

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.

grey7.gif

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.

grey8.gif

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!

grey9.gif

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??????!!!!!!

grey10.gif

 

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:

grey11.gif

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.

grey12.gif

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.

grey13.jpg

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

grey14.gif

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.

grey15].gif

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?!

grey16.gif

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)