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…
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.
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.
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?”
Whoa. “You don’t think very highly of me, do you?”
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.
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.
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?”
“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.
I 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.
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.”
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.
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?”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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?”
“Can I modify to say that you will eat at least three meals a day?”
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?”
“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.
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.
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.
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.
She’s trifling with me—a dangerous tactic that will have me fucking her over this table.
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.
“Spend the night with me.”
“And not touch you? No.”
Damn. The darkness uncoils in my guts, but I ignore it.
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?
“Will it make it to Seattle?”
“Yes. She will.”
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.
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?!