I barely slept last night, because I had the most horrific stomach flare-up. Consequently, I’m tired, grouchy and still in a lot of pain. All of which means that I am prepared to cut EL James – and her crappy “hero,” Christian Grey – precisely zero slack in this recap.
Oh, and in case you missed it, this week on Twitter, the actress who plays Christian’s assistant, Ros, in the movies, actually attacked this campaign for “shitting all over something that has brought joy to millions.” She asked if we planned on slagging off wine, chocolate or cake, next. Well, I’ll reiterate what I said to her in response: Neither wine, chocolate or cake has ever implied that the abusive relationship I endured was “romantic.” Neither wine, chocolate or cake has ever sold the myth that abusers “can’t help” their behaviour if they happen to have had a sad childhood, nor have they insinuated that it’s an abuser’s partner’s job to “fix” the person who is controlling and manipulating them. Neither wine, chocolate or cake has ever dangerously misrepresented BDSM, insulting and infuriating those who practise it. So, no. I like wine, chocolate and cake (all together, sometimes…). You know what I hate? Fifty Shades of sodding Grey. Because it has done all of the above. Forgive me whilst I shit on your joy, sweet-cheeks. I like to think of it as awareness-raising, but hey. Semantics.
And so, onto the recap!
Just for a change, this one starts with a TRAUMATIC DREAM. I’m guessing this is going to be used to “justify” Grey’s decision to stalk Ana all the way to Georgia, because woe, he cannot sleep peacefully if she isn’t there, you guys. But we’ll see.
I’m going to copy and paste the entire dream sequence and I should warn you that Ella’s abusive pimp is in it and it therefore could be triggering. But I want to reproduce it in full here, because it quite clearly demonstrates that Ella was a victim of abuse. For me, it was painful reading not only because I felt for Ella at the time the scene took place, but because I feel for her now, when her useless, abusive son insults and berates her at every opportunity he gets, despite her no longer being around to defend herself. Grey’s counsellor is – as I have said roughly seventy billion times before – clearly useless, because if he was any good at his job at all, Christian would have at least some sympathy for his dead mother’s plight, instead of feeling nothing but misdirected rage.
Mommy is gone. I don’t know where.
He’s here. I hear his boots. They are loud boots.
They have silver buckles. They stomp. Loud.
He stomps. And he shouts.
I am in Mommy’s closet.
He won’t hear me.
I can be quiet. Very quiet.
Quiet because I’m not here.
“You fucking bitch!” he shouts.
He shouts a lot.
“You fucking bitch!”
He shouts at Mommy.
He shouts at me.
He hits Mommy.
He hits me.
I hear the door close. He’s not here anymore.
And Mommy is gone, too.
I stay in the closet. In the dark. I’m very quiet.
I sit for a long time. A long, long, long time.
Where is Mommy?
So, Ella was beaten by her pimp, as well as verbally abused. What a bitch. She totally deserves the hatred Grey has for her, right?!
Look, I know that childhood trauma can affect adults in various ways. I’m not disputing that. And some level of anger is absolutely understandable, given the start Grey had in life. But directing all of it at his dead mother?! Dr Flynn should be helping him to see that it’s the abusive pimp who deserves that rage, not Ella. And this book is written by a woman. A woman who has sons. Yet, a woman who is so incapable of stepping out of her own shoes for a brief second, that she cannot comprehend how this character she created might have ended up selling her body, hooked on drugs and being abused by a vile pimp. Rather than provide us with any kind of sympathy for Ella, she cheerfully piles misogynistic bullshit onto her via Grey, portrays Ella as being as guilty as the man who abused her and expects readers to be perfectly okay with Grey hating his dead mother so much, that he feels the need to beat women who look like her as a way to cope with his past.
I told you I was cutting EL James zero slack in this and I meant it.
Grey wakes up from his nightmare and decides to go for a run. He checks his phone and sees that Ana has texted him to say she’s arrived safely in Savannah. He then decides to check his email:
I quickly scan my e-mail. The subject of Ana’s latest message leaps out at me: “Do you like to scare me?”
No fucking way.
He literally told her he was going to have her bound and gagged in a crate, the next time she flies anywhere. Why? Because she teased him by saying she’d had a massage from a very nice man. And yet, now he’s thinking “no fucking way” does he like to scare her?! BULLSHIT, GREY. You literally told her yourself that she “should be intimidated” by you, not long after you first met. You want her scared, you want her off-balance. You are a prick.
I’m going to break down Ana’s email to Grey, because… Well, there’s a lot to get through. Firstly, she says this:
You know how much I dislike you spending money on me. Yes, you’re very rich, but still it makes me uncomfortable, like you’re paying me for sex.
Now, not only would a respectful boyfriend think “oh, okay, I’ll tone it down if it makes her feel that uncomfortable,” because he’d be thinking of her wishes and not only his, but we’ve literally just been reminded that Grey’s own mother was a prostitute. Ana is saying she doesn’t want to be made to feel like one and this really SHOULD hit home for him. And yet… We all know it doesn’t.
However, Ana then kind of undoes what she’s just said by saying she much preferred travelling in First Class and thanks him for upgrading her…
She announces that her masseuse was “very gay” and apologises for winding Grey up about it:
I did enjoy the massage from Jean-Paul. He was very gay. I omitted that bit in my e-mail to you to wind you up, because I was annoyed with you, and I’m sorry about that.
If their relationship wasn’t so wildly unhealthy, he’d have known she was just messing about with him and not reacted so grossly, but hey.
In fairness, Ana does actually grow something of a spine and call Grey out on his massive overreaction:
But as usual you overreact. You can’t write things like that to me—bound and gagged in a crate. (Were you serious or was it a joke?) That scares me…you scare me…I am completely caught up in your spell, considering a lifestyle with you that I didn’t even know existed until last week, and then you write something like that and I want to run screaming into the hills.
This is really important. Ana is trying to make him see that because of his behaviour towards her, she genuinely doesn’t know whether he’s joking when he makes comments like that and that he ought to be aware of how much she’s considering taking on by being with him, given that she knew nothing of BDSM prior to meeting him. She’s giving him a side of herself she didn’t even know existed and he really ought to be more considerate of that, instead of treating her like a mere object he owns and can do as he pleases with.
She goes on to promise that she won’t leave, because she’d miss him:
I won’t, of course, because I’d miss you. Really miss you. I want us to work, but I am terrified of the depth of feeling I have for you and the dark path you’re leading me down.
Again, Ana is using words that very clearly highlight the fear she has about the kind of relationship Grey wants. She’s also trying to tell him how she feels about him, which is something she never seems able to do face to face (yet another sign of how unhealthy their relationship is, given that clear communication is vital, especially when BDSM is added to the mix).
What you are offering is erotic and sexy, and I’m curious, but I’m also scared you’ll hurt me—physically and emotionally.
She could not be clearer, here. She needs his reassurance that he isn’t going to hurt her in any way. She tells him she’s frightened he’ll leave her in three months and she’ll have nothing, but acknowledges that the same is true for any relationship.
Yet again, she reminds him that she never expected to be doing something like this and what a big deal it is for her:
This just isn’t the sort of relationship I ever envisaged having, especially as my first. It’s a huge leap of faith for me.
She goes on to agree with him that she doesn’t really think she has a submissive bone in her body, but adds that if being his submissive is the only way to be with him, she’s prepared to try (again, someone not entirely wrapped up in their own needs would realise that she isn’t sounding massively enthusiastic and might need things to slow down, here). She adds:
I would like to try, but I think I’ll suck at it and end up black and blue—and I don’t relish that idea at all.
Yet again, she is voicing very real fears and looking for reassurance.
I am so happy that you have said that you will try more. I just need to think about what “more” means to me, and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted some distance. You dazzle me so much I find it very difficult to think clearly when we’re together.
She signs off:
They are calling my flight. I have to go.
Now, bear in mind how important everything Ana has said is. She’s told him he scares her. She’s spoken about being frightened he’ll hurt her. She hasn’t enthusiastically gone “YEAH, BDSM ME UP, BABY!” but has said she’ll try, despite being afraid she’ll end up “black and blue.” She’s also told him that it’s important she has some distance from him, in order to allow herself to think, clearly. There are many, many serious issues brought up in this email, all of which Grey needs to address.
Guess what he fixates on?
I read her e-mail again and again, and each time I pause at “Your Ana.”
Yep. Owning her.
He then finally goes on his run and as he does, he thinks about Ana’s email. First, he gets furiously angry with her for saying she doesn’t like him spending loads of money on her:
Paying her for sex?
Like a whore.
I’ve never thought of her that way. Just the idea makes me mad. Really fucking mad. I sprint once more around the park, my anger spurring me on. Why does she do this to herself? I’m rich, so what? She just needs to get used to that.
Yep, very healthy. She’s asked him to tone down the splashing of the cash in her general direction and instead of listening to how she feels about it, he’s gotten angry and decided she can just deal with it, because he’s not changing.
She says I dazzle her. But boy, has she got that the wrong way around. She dazzles me in a way that I’ve never experienced, yet she’s flown across the country to get away from me.
How’s that supposed to make me feel?
Like an adult, who’s able to question why his behaviour might have brought about that reaction in someone, perhaps? But no, you’re a pissy little cry-baby, who’s incapable of considering someone else’s feelings for longer than three seconds, so naturally, you’re not going to take that part of the email seriously, either.
Like I said, guys: CUTTING ZERO SLACK, TODAY.
He decides to inwardly insult his brother because Elliot isn’t into BDSM:
She’s right. It is a dark path I’m leading her down, but one that is far more intimate than any vanilla relationship—or so I’ve seen. I only have to look at Elliot and his alarmingly casual approach to dating to see the difference.
This… This just sucks in all manner of ways. Vanilla relationships can be extremely intimate. Friendships can be extremely intimate, for crying out loud. This guy gets his knickers in a knot at the mere idea of someone judging his lifestyle, yet he does it literally ALL THE GODDAMN TIME to other people.
Laughably, he then thinks:
And I’d never hurt her physically or emotionally—how can she think that?
Because you threaten non-consensual violence against her, every time you get angry?
Because you push-pull with her in order to keep her emotions off-balance?
Because you control her against her will and treat her like an object, rather than a person?
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I’m pretty sure you get the gist.
He goes on:
I just want to push her limits, see what she will and won’t do. Punish her when she colors outside the lines…yeah, it might hurt, but not beyond anything she can take. We can work up to what I’d like to do. We can take it slow.
NONE of this mentions Ana’s pleasure. NONE OF IT. And she has spoken very clearly about not wanting physical pain at all. It’s just “what I’d like to do.” If he was a responsible Dominant – or just a responsible human – he’d be re-reading her words about not wanting to be hurt, not wanting to end up black and blue etc and about him scaring her. He’d be thinking about wanting to prove to her that this is as much for her enjoyment as it is for his and that she is really the one who holds all the control. He’d be thinking about the need to remind her of safe words to ensure she always has a way out if things get too much for her. He doesn’t think about any of that. He thinks purely about what HE wants to do.
And the only way in which he thinks about Ana’s needs? He thinks he’ll have to keep giving her “more” in order to get her to do everything he wants her to:
If she’s going to do what I want her to do, I’m going to have to reassure her and give her “more.”
Not because he cares for her and wants to explore a full relationship. Not because he wants her to feel valued. But so that she’ll do what he wants.
I want to burn down the UNIVERSE.
And then, just when you think that this pillock can’t get any worse, he reveals that the most frightening part of Ana’s email isn’t that she’s admitted to being scared of him, or scared of BDSM. It’s that she has feelings for him:
I take a slower jog around the park to think about what disturbs me most about her e-mail. It isn’t her fear, it’s that she’s terrified of the depth of feeling she has for me.
What does that mean?
That unfamiliar feeling surfaces in my chest as my lungs burn for air. It scares me. Scares me so much that I push myself harder, so that all I feel is the pain of exertion in my legs and in my chest and the cold sweat that trickles down my back.
Yeah. Don’t go there, Grey.
Stay in control.
God forbid you listen to any of her valid concerns. Nope, you just freak out because she might have big, scary, romantic feelings for you and you might feel something for her. That’s the important thing, here, not her fear that you’ll actually hurt her, or the fact that she’s not actually giving enthusiastic consent for what she wants and is clearly only doing it because it’s the only way to be with you.
You utter piece of excrement.
When he gets home, he describes himself as “on a mission.” He immediately begins typing a reply to Ana’s email and the very first sentence tells her that he’s annoyed with her:
I am annoyed that as soon as you put some distance between us, you communicate openly and honestly with me. Why can’t you do that when we’re together?
BECAUSE YOU PURPOSEFULLY INTIMIDATE HER, YOU SACK OF SHIT.
And then he tells her he’s not going to stop spending money on her, even though she said she didn’t want him to:
Yes, I’m rich. Get used to it. Why shouldn’t I spend money on you? We’ve told your father I’m your boyfriend, for heaven’s sake. Isn’t that what boyfriends do? As your Dom, I would expect you to accept whatever I spend on you with no argument. Incidentally, tell your mother, too.
You’re not her Dom right now, you cancerous polyp of a human. She hasn’t signed the contract. She never will. And it’s up to her whether she tells her mother she has a boyfriend.
He goes on to tell her that he’s angry that she sees herself as a “whore” and – get this – implies that she needs therapy:
For such a bright, witty, beautiful young woman, you have some real self-esteem issues, and I have half a mind to make an appointment for you with Dr. Flynn.
This is gaslighting. This is fucking straight-up gaslighting. Making her believe she has “issues” that she needs to see a therapist for, rather than actually listening to how she feels and changing his behaviour accordingly (even if only temporarily) is utterly gross. I reached this point in the chapter and had to take a break, because my abuser used to do this to me all the time and it’s vile. It’s vile.
I hate you, EL James.
He tells her that having her bound and gagged in a crate on her next flight was a joke and admits it was a “poor one.” He tells her that he finds the thought of frightening her “abhorrent,” which is kind of ironic, coming from the man who has more than once told her she ought to feel intimidated around him.
Intimidation and fear are pretty close bedfellows, cretin.
But because this is all about him, he feels the need to add:
However, the fact is the thought of you bound and gagged turns me on (this is not a joke—it’s true). I can lose the crate—crates do nothing for me. I know you have issues with gagging—we’ve talked about that—and if/when I do gag you, we’ll discuss it.
“Hey, you know the thing that really scared you? I want to do it, anyway!”
Then, he does an about-turn and finally starts telling her that she holds the real power in their relationship:
What I think you fail to realize is that in Dom/sub relationships it is the sub who has all the power. That’s you. I’ll repeat this—you are the one with all the power. Not I. In the boathouse you said no. I can’t touch you if you say no—that’s why we have an agreement—what you will and won’t do. If we try things and you don’t like them, we can revise the agreement. It’s up to you—not me. And if you don’t want to be bound and gagged in a crate, then it won’t happen.
Now, fans will be falling over themselves to point this out. “Look! He told her she’s in charge! It’s up to her, not him!” But remember what happened when she said she didn’t really want to try anal, whilst they were discussing limits? He told her he wanted to do it and that they’d work up to it. Granted, it’s not something she’d tried, so she couldn’t be sure she wouldn’t like it, but she was still trying to say no to something and he was still ignoring her. And more recently – like, a couple of pages ago – she asked him to stop spending loads of money on her and he has told her to “get used to it.” It’s all well and good churning out these “the sub is the one with the real power” speeches, but Grey as a character is written as someone who believes the total opposite to be true. It just feels like EL James has read a couple of paragraphs on real BDSM, thrown a few sentences into this book to “prove” something and then stuck rigidly to the abusive character she created in the first place, rather than write anything that portrays a healthy BDSM relationship properly.
What I’m saying is, he might as well have plucked that entire paragraph out of his ass, for all the sticking to it he’ll do during the course of these books.
He writes some semi-flowery shit about not wanting to lose her and being in awe of her, yada-yada-yada… Then he piles on the guilt, because she’s asked for some space:
I am nervous that you’ve flown three thousand miles to get away from me for a few days, because you can’t think clearly around me. It’s the same for me, Anastasia. My reason vanishes when we’re together—that’s the depth of my feeling for you.
Hey, you guys? If you can’t think clearly around each other, like ever, how about NOT BEING IN A RELATIONSHIP, PARTICULARLY ONE THAT REQUIRES CLEAR COMMUNICATION??!!
He tells her that he did try to stay away from her when they met, which is pure horse shit, seeing as he stalked her to her place of work, tracked her phone and kidnapped her to his hotel room when she was barely conscious, all within days of that first meeting. He tells her nobody has ever affected him the way she does. He then decides to address Ana’s concerns about him leaving her in three months, by suggesting they increase the length of time their “arrangement” lasts for:
We could make it six months, a year? How long do you want it to be? What would make you comfortable? Tell me.
The whole point, you ridiculously dense ingrowing toenail of a person, was that she was worried that when the arrangement ends, you’d just walk away and leave her. It doesn’t matter how long the arrangement is supposed to last. She wants to know she’s not just someone you’re keeping around for sex and submission for a particular period of time. She wants a relationship. How are you not getting this?! Why are we supposed to think this guy is remotely intelligent?!
He reminds her yet again that she needs to be able to communicate with him more openly and honestly and says he knows he needs to earn her trust. With regards to her fear about being physically beaten, he reduces it all down to this kind of gross line:
I’d never beat you black and blue. I aim for pink.
You know, she talked about her genuine fear of being hurt, but sure, why not trivialise it with a “cute” joke, instead of addressing those legitimate concerns? We’ve come to expect literally no more than this from you.
He tells her that she’s an “exemplary” submissive in the playroom, because she does as she’s told. He agrees that outside of the playroom, she’s not submissive at all, but insists that he likes this aspect of her character, finds it “refreshing” and would hate for her to change. You know, so, remember that, the next time he gets furiously angry with her for having a mind of her own.
Hilariously, he writes:
I shall try to give you the space you need and stay away from you while you are in Georgia.
That shouldn’t be hard. She’s thousands of miles away. She’s gone there for space from you and you have work based in the area in which you live. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t stay away from her, unless you’re a creepy, invasive, stalking piece of crap.
He signs off:
In the meantime, enjoy yourself. But not too much.
Because he’s a controlling, possessive asshole and her only real enjoyment has to come from him, otherwise he’ll stamp his feet and throw his teddies across the room.
At this point, I just want to say – not for the first time – how bloody boring these books are. This chapter has, with the exception of the TRAUMATIC DREAM and a few fleeting descriptions of jogging, been taken up entirely with emails. I would rather be reading the contents of my spam folder, quite frankly. At least I’d get a laugh from all the “improve the length of your penis” emails I get.
I’ll have you know, it’s already much bigger than Christian Grey’s, thank you very much!
Anyway, Grey gets in the car to go to work and despite having just promised Ana that he’d give her some space, he decides he… Well, won’t.
(I) gaze out the window, trying to put Ana and Georgia out of my mind. I fail miserably, but an idea starts to take shape.
I call Andrea. “Morning.”
“Good morning, Mr. Grey.”
“I’m on my way in, but can you put me through to Bill?”
A few moments later I have Bill on the line.
“Did your people look at Georgia as an option to site the tech plant? Savannah, in particular?”
“I believe we did, sir. But I’ll need to check.”
“Check. Come back to me.”
“Will do. Is that all?”
“For now. Thanks.”
“Hey, did we think about siting a tech plant in the place my sort-of-girlfriend has just travelled to in order to get away from me for a bit? Because I need to reason to show up, there.”
Nope. This is not okay. You don’t promise someone space and then immediately start searching for ways to violate that space. I couldn’t give a toss what excuse he’s come up with. I don’t care what excuses fans want to make. This is gross. She’s told him she needs space. He’s promised to try to give it to her. Literally minutes after making that promise, he’s putting plans in place to break it.
Tell me again how much you want a Christian Grey of your own?!
Grey tells us that his day is full of meetings and that he checks his email, but finds nothing from Ana:
I wonder if she’s daunted by the tone of my e-mail, or if she’s busy doing other things.
What other things?
Fucking every single guy in Savannah? It’s what you’re thinking, Grey. Because you’re an obsessive, jealous bastard.
And yet, in stunning “one rule for her, another rule for me” form, Grey finds time to take a call from Elena and they make plans to have dinner together, that night.
Imagine what he’d do to Ana if he found out she’d had dinner with another man. Now imagine that man was someone she’d had sex with, before Grey. He’d be incensed. But it’s totally cool for him to hang out with an ex, despite knowing it upsets Ana that he does.
Oh, and he also hears back about a potential site for a tech plant in Savannah and is thrilled that it means he won’t be helping out the economy in the place he grew up. Because this dude is a weasel.
Bill has come back to me with a potential site near Savannah for our plant. Ruth is making inquiries.
At least it’s not Detroit.
Ana eventually emails him back, because this book hates me and wants me to read dull communication for the rest of my life. She makes a joke that personally, I feel further highlights how much she’s not keen on this whole “being spanked for punishment” thing:
I have to go to dinner at Bob’s golf club, and just so you know, I am rolling my eyes at the thought. But you and your twitchy palm are a long way from me so my behind is safe, for now.
He boringly reiterates that she’s safe “for now” and reminds her that she pointed out that he also rolls his eyes.
THIS IS SUCH SCINTILLATING STUFF, YOU GUYS.
Ana asks who spanks him when he rolls his eyes and for reasons I genuinely don’t understand, given that this has never happened (unless I’ve retconned myself after reading it), he thinks to himself:
Oh, Ana, you do.
All the time.
I’m assuming he means metaphorically, because he goes on to think about her tugging on his pubic hair and… That’s not the same thing.
It is lucky that I am master of my own destiny and no one castigates me. Except my mother, occasionally, and Dr. Flynn, of course. And you.
Hahahahahahahaaaaaa, Dr Flynn enables you, you lying moron.
Ana responds saying that she’s never had the nerve to castigate him and Grey thinks about how she’s forever castigating him via email. Meanwhile, I have lost the will to live, because this chapter is SO BORING.
He sends her a reply asking if he can do up the zip on her dress, which causes her to email back saying she’d rather he unzipped it. Grey then thinks:
Her words travel directly to my dick, passing “Go” on the way.
Please don’t ruin Monopoly for me, EL James. You’ve destroyed enough with this shit, already.
Of course, he immediately replies with the subject line “careful what you wish for…” and just says “SO WOULD I.” She responds with just the word “slowly…” and he tells her he wishes he was there with her. She says “SO DO I” (yes, “shouty capitals” are used and are even referred to as such) and of course, that’s going to be his justification for tracking her down three thousand miles away when she’s asked for space, so YAY, can’t wait for that.
She then emails again and says she has to go. She signs off with “laters, baby,” causing Grey to reply saying “you stole my line” and seriously, why am I doing this with my life?! I COULD BE DOING ANYTHING AND YET I AM READING TWO OF THE MOST HATEFUL CHARACTERS EVER WRITTEN, SENDING POINTLESS FUCKING EMAILS TO EACH OTHER AND EVERY SINGLE DAMN EMAIL HAS THE DATE, TIME, SUBJECT HEADER, SENDER AND BLOODY SIGNATURE INCLUDED, BECAUSE EL JAMES DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH FUCKING STORY TO ACTUALLY FILL A WHOLE NEW NOVEL WITH, SO SHE JUST PADDED IT OUT WITH THIS SHIT AND PLEASE GOD WON’T SOMEONE JUST MAKE IT STOP??!!
We get a brief respite of literally a paragraph or so, in which Grey tells us how much his day has improved since hearing from Ana. He’s apparently knocked his personal trainer on his ass twice and he feels ready to see Elena and answer all of her invasive questions, even though Ana’s left him hanging by not replying to his last email.
And then Ana emails him. Again.
Sir, I think you’ll find it was Elliot’s line originally.
And he thinks:
Is she flirting with me? Again?
And she’s my Ana. Again.
GOOD. YAY. PLEASE PISS OFF TOGETHER THEN, BECAUSE AT THIS POINT I AM LOSING IT FROM READING SUCH UTTER DRIVEL.
There is a long, painfully dull exchange, as they pick up where they left off in their previous emails. Grey says Elliot probably stole the line from someone else and asks her how dinner was. Ana says she ate far too much, which pleases him and he responds saying she does eat, then?! To be fair, we were all thinking it…
But Ana’s response should sound alarm bells:
Of course I eat…It’s only the uncertainty I feel around you that puts me off my food.
It’s totally normal to feel nervous around someone you like. It’s normal to maybe not have a massive appetite around someone you’ve got a crush on, because you’ve got butterflies in your stomach. But this goes way beyond that. Ana can almost never eat around this guy and it’s because he makes her feel so unsure. That, my friends, is not romantic or healthy.
And Grey just thinks:
She loses appetite around me? That’s not good. And she’s making fun of me. Again.
But you LOVE it when she does that, remember?! It’s just so refreshing!
I’m sorry to hear that I put you off your food. I thought I had a more concupiscent effect on you.
Because everything has to be turned back round to sex. He can’t, even for a brief moment, address a potential problem seriously, by saying “you don’t need to feel too anxious to eat around me. I’m sorry if that’s how I’ve made you feel. What can I do to change?” Instead, he has to make a comment about him instilling sexual desire in her, because that is ALL he is capable of talking about.
Ana comments that he sounds like he’s been playing with a thesaurus and to be fair, she’s right.
Grey tells her he has to go and attempts to copyright “laters, baby.” No, really:
I am having dinner with an old friend now so I will be driving.
CUTE. I mean, in the same way that catching Ebola would be cute.
Grey tells us that Elena will be displeased with him if he’s late for their dinner date and then we cut to him meeting her at The Mile High Club (because it was of importance they went somewhere with a sexual name, because sex is the only “plot” this series has).
Elena immediately starts asking about Ana and Grey tries to brush it off as “not a big deal.” She asks what Ana does and when Grey says she’s just graduated, this conversation happens:
“Oh. A little young for you?”
I arch a brow. “Really? You’re going to go there?”
HAHAHAHAHA, STATUTORY RAPE IS SO FUNNY, YOU GUYS, HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA PLEASE LET ME DIE.
Grey eventually decides to give Elena a brief bit of backstory on who Ana is and how they met.
“Is she in the lifestyle?”
“Not yet. But I’m hopeful.”
“Yeah. She’s escaped to Georgia to think it through.”
“That’s a long way to go.”
“I know.” I look down at my chowder, wondering how Ana is and what she’s doing; sleeping, I hope…alone.
Just the word “escaped” there creeps me out so much I worry I may break out in hives. And why is Grey so paranoid all the freaking time?! Ana has spent half the afternoon sending him boring, “flirty” emails. She’s told him she has these deep feelings for him, yet he’s still wondering whether she might have taken some random dude to bed with her?! I mean, Lord knows I wish she would, so she could experience someone who a) lasts longer than a minute and a half during sex and b) isn’t an emotionally-crippled control freak with mother-issues, but really. She’s not going to. Put a sock in it, you boring weirdo.
Better still, I wish Ana would cheat on him with a girl.
Meanwhile, Elena can tell that Grey is falling for Ana:
“You’re distracted. That’s not like you.”
“Is it that obvious?”
She nods, her eyes softening. “Obvious to me. I think she’s turned your world upside down.”
I inhale sharply but hide the fact by raising my glass to my lips.
Perceptive, Mrs. Lincoln.
“You think?” I murmur after my sip.
“I think,” she says, her eyes searching mine.
“She’s very disarming.”
“I’m sure that’s novel. And I bet you’re worrying about what she’s doing in Georgia, what she’s thinking. I know how you are.”
“Yes. I want her to make the right decision.”
For him. Not for her. Because if she decides that the right decision for herself is to walk away from all of this, he’s not going to shrug and go “ah well, cool beans, it was nice while it lasted.”
I hate this book.
Elena then tells Grey to go to Georgia to see Ana. Which makes me hate it more. Because although Elena is a child molester, Grey was already planning this and the blame for it can’t just be solely put on someone else’s shoulders.
“You should go and see her.”
“Get on a plane.”
“If she’s undecided. Go use your considerable charm.”
My snort is derisive.
“Christian,” she scolds, “when you want something badly enough, you go after it and you always win. You know that. You’re so negative about yourself. Drives me crazy.”
I sigh. “I’m not sure.”
“The poor girl is probably bored to tears down there. Go. You’ll get your answer. If it’s no, you can move on, if it’s yes, you can enjoy being yourself with her.”
“She’s back Friday.”
“Seize the day, my dear.”
“She did say she missed me.”
“There you go.” Her eyes flash with certainty.
“I’ll think about it. More champagne?”
“Please,” she says, and gives me a girlish grin.
DRIVING BACK TO ESCALA, I contemplate Elena’s advice. I could go to see Ana. She said she’s missed me…the jet’s available.
She said she’s missed you. But she also told you she can’t think clearly around you and she needs some space. Space which you promised you’d try to give her.
When Grey gets back from dinner, he checks his email and reads the following from Ana:
I hope you and your friend had a very pleasant dinner.
P.S. Was it Mrs. Robinson?
And because he only needed the teensiest of nudges, he thinks to himself:
This is the perfect excuse. This is going to need an answer in person.
No, it isn’t.
“Yes it was, but I can assure you that it was purely platonic. The only woman I am interested in is you.”
There you go, that was an email you could absolutely have sent. But instead, you’re a creepy stalker. Because however “cute” fans think this is, it isn’t.
Ana hasn’t given him her mother’s address. Yet he knows it.
Ana has asked for space from him to think. He’s denying her it.
He doesn’t respect her. This isn’t about giving her an answer in person. He was already plotting to head out to Savannah under the pretext of setting up a tech plant, there. If Elena hadn’t told him to go, he still would have. He refers to this as “the perfect excuse.” This is gross, not romantic in any way, shape or form.
But of course, EL James plays this for cutesy giggles:
I buzz Taylor and tell him I’m going to need Stephan and the Gulfstream in the morning.
“Very good, Mr. Grey. Where are you going?”
“We’re going to Savannah.”
“Yes, sir.” And there’s a hint of amusement in his voice.
Because of course this is funny.
And lo, this chapter ends and I can go curl up in the foetal position and pray for the sweet release of death.