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

 

Advertisements
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)

Grey Chapter 8 (Monday, May 23rd 2011)

Okay, everyone.  I’ve had a really lovely day, mooching around Christmas markets with one of my best friends.  I’ve tried so many free cheese samples, I’ve probably had my dairy intake for the week.  My mood is good.  LET’S DESTROY ALL THAT BY RECAPPING ANOTHER CHAPTER OF GREY!

Grey1.gif

So, when we last left Grey, he had sent a laptop to Ana, who inexplicably didn’t even have an email address, despite being a college student, and he was chilling at home, reading books about poor people, whilst having daydreams in which he infantilised his dead mother.

So, you know, the usual.

Now, just in case anyone was thinking “well, he seems to be pretty into Ana, maybe he really likes her as a person,” let me just clarify that HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, NO.  Because literally in the first couple of sentences of chapter 8, he’s thinking of her not as a person, but a project:

It’s after one in the morning when I go to bed. Staring at the ceiling, I’m tired, relaxed, but also excited, anticipating what the week will bring. I hope to have a new project: Miss Anastasia Steele.

I love it when a guy thinks of me as a project, don’t you, ladies?!

grey2.gif

Then immediately after that brief opening, it’s suddenly half six in the morning and Grey’s going for a jog.  Because it’s very important that we know that he doesn’t sleep well without Ana and that he keeps himself fit, like the big, manly, God-like creature he truly is.

He’s also nothing if not over-dramatic, because his internal monologue tells us:

Today the streets are paved with possibility.

Will she respond to my e-mail?

Will she let me control literally every detail of her life?  Who cares, I’ll do it, anyway.  Oooh, it’s so exciting!

There’s a brief and boring paragraph about him rearranging meetings so he can work from Portland (because his full name is Christian Stalky McStalkerson Grey) and then he decides to email Elena, who has apparently been texting him over the weekened (super healthy).  He tells her he’s sorry not to have gotten back to her sooner and says he’ll let her know if and when he’s next free.  He tells her that the “latest results for the beauty business look promising” and he adds “Good going, ma’am.”

Have I mentioned that I find this aspect of the story super healthy?!  It’s definitely totally cool for him to be talking this way to the woman who raped him.  Yep.  Totally fine.

grey3

As he sends his email, he ponders what Elena would make of Ana and vice versa.  Then, as if by magic, he gets an email from Ana:

To: Christian Grey

I slept very well, thank you—for some strange reason—Sir.

I understood that this computer was on loan, ergo not mine.

Ana

I don’t know about you, but this definitely sounds like a young, American student to me.  Yep.  They say “ergo” all the time.

Christian is pleased by the email, even though he’s frustrated by the fact that she seems unwilling to keep the computer:

“Sir” with a capital S; the girl has been reading, and possibly researching. And she’s still talking to me. I grin stupidly at the e-mail. This is good news. Though she is also telling me that she doesn’t want the computer.

Well, that’s frustrating.

I shake my head, amused.

He responds telling her that the computer is on loan indefinitely.  Because if Christian Grey says something is happening, it really doesn’t matter whether or not someone else consents.

After his reply, we have a dull and frankly pretentious paragraph about how Christian’s company is working on a solar powered tablet and that “Bringing affordable first world technology to the third world is something (he’s) determined to do.”

Is he your hero, yet?  He’s definitely mine.

Ana emails back (because EL James is nothing if not determined that we read all their damn correspondence, rather than see them communicating face to face).  She tells him that she neither needs or wants a computer indefinitely, which is laughably stupid, particularly for someone who wants to work in publishing.  She also quips “some of us have to work for a living,” which causes Grey to sadly realise it’ll be the last email he gets from her for a little while.  He’s annoyed by the fact that Ana won’t accept the computer, but tells himself at least it means she’s not “acquisitive,” whereas most of the women he’s known have been gold-diggers.  He tells us that Leila was the other exception and then we get another weird Leila flashback:

“Sir, I am not deserving of this beautiful dress.”

“You are. Take it. And I’ll not hear another word on this. Understand?”

“Yes, Master.”

“Good. And the style will suit you.”

Ah, Leila. She was a good submissive, but she became too attached and I was the wrong man. Fortunately, that wasn’t for long. She’s married now and happy. 

Yeeeeaaaah, Leila’s super happy…

grey4.gif

I guess EL tossed that line in there to make it look like Grey really thinks Leila’s fine, so her later mental breakdown comes as a surprise, but let’s face it; we’re all familiar with what happened in the original trilogy, so this line just comes across as crass and insensitive.

So, typical Grey.

He rereads Ana’a email and is annoyed by her “some of us have to work for a living” line.

The sassy wench is implying I don’t do any work.

Well to hell with that!

I spy Fred’s rather dry summary report open on my desktop and decide to set the record straight with Ana.

Okay, firstly: Sassy wench?!  It doesn’t sound like something a young, American business tycoon would say.  But this grated on me for reasons I couldn’t work out for ages, until I realised that my abuser used to say “wench” all the time.  He deliberately used it as a misogynistic slur, too.  So, if EL James was going for a “haha, he’s so cute with his teasing insults” vibe here, what she actually gave me was “hey, remember the guy who abused you?!”  I mean, I get that constantly with these books, but this was like a little bonus mini-trigger.  Thanks, EL.

Secondly, you’re pissed off that Ana’s implied that you don’t do any work, so you decide to prove how much work you do by… Emailing her instead of working?!  Dude, your logic sucks.

He replies:

Laters, baby.

P.S.: I work for a living, too.

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

That tagline – the CEO bit – is at the end of every single email, by the way.  Which, sure, if you have an email signature, it comes up in every email you send (mine is “‘it’s a good thing to be strange, normalness leads to sadness.’ – Phil Lester,” in case you’re wondering, because that’s the quote I live by), but do we really need to see it every time?!  I can only assume that EL James couldn’t fill the book with actual plot, so had to make do with cramming in pointless words, instead.  I mean, I’m leaving out the fact that with each email, EL also includes the sender, subject line and time stamp.

Oh, and in case you think I’m kidding, Christian immediately gets an email from Elena, in which we get HER bloody tagline, sender and subject line, too:

From: Elena Lincoln

Subject: The Weekend

Date: May 23 2011 08:33

To: Christian Grey

Christian, you work too hard. What’s in Portland? Work?

Ex

ELENA LINCOLN

ESCLAVA

For The Beauty That Is You™

grey5.gif

I just find this hugely irritating.  But then, the same can be said about the whole franchise, so…

He emails back, telling her it’s work stuff, because he knows if he tells her the truth, she’ll have loads of questions.  Which, you know, she has zero right to know the answers to.

We get yet another boring paragraph about Grey’s oh-so-important work, then Taylor comes in purely so EL James can shoe-horn in a scene in which Grey comes across as the freaking hero of the piece.  It doesn’t work, because in his internal monologue, Grey has already huffed that the interruption is annoying and he’s disappointed that it’s Taylor and not – for some inexplicable reason – Ana.  All I can say to EL James on this is if you want to have people actually think your hero is a good guy, make him one.  Because this scene smacks of desperation, written by an author who’s read criticism of her hero, yet is too arrogant to change him in any way:

“Taylor, I don’t think I’m going to need you for the next couple of days. Why don’t you take the time to see your daughter?”

“That’s very good of you, sir, but her mother and I—” He stops, embarrassed.

“Ah. Like that, is it?” I ask.

He nods. “Yes, sir. It will take some negotiating.”

“Okay. Would Wednesday be better?”

“I’ll ask. Thank you, sir.”

“Anything I can do to help?”

“You do enough, sir.”

He doesn’t want to talk about this. “Okay. I think I’m going to need a printer—can you arrange it?”

“Yes, sir.” He nods. As he leaves, closing the door softly behind him, I frown. I hope his ex-wife isn’t giving him grief. I pay for his daughter’s schooling as another incentive for him to stay in my employment; he’s a good man, and I don’t want to lose him. 

YOU DO ENOUGH, SIR.  YOU ARE MY HERO.  YOU ARE A SEX GOD AND PROBABLY THE ONLY MAN ON THE PLANET WHO CAN SOLVE WORLD HUNGER.  I ADORE YOU AND AM NOT WORTHY OF YOU.  ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO SAY YOU’RE AN ABUSIVE CONTROL FREAK ARE JUST JEALOUS AND PROBABLY HAVEN’T EVEN READ THIS BOOK.

grey6.gif

As Grey’s working day finally ends, he starts wondering how Ana’s day at work was.  This – naturally – starts him thinking kinky thoughts…

I wonder how her day at Clayton’s has been, pricing cable ties and measuring out lengths of rope. I hope one day I’ll get to use them on her. The thought conjures images of her tethered in my playroom. I dwell on this for a moment…then quickly send her an e-mail. All this waiting, working, and e-mailing is making me restless. I know how I’d like to release this pent-up energy, but I have to settle for a run.

Let me tell you, Christian, all this emailing is making me bored and annoyed.  Also, notice that so far in this chapter, he’s thought of Ana as a “project” and now, yet again, as merely a sex object.  Are you all in love with him, yet?!

He emails her asking if she had a good day at work.  She replies saying that she did and she calls him “Sir” again.

Now, remember how he was the one who emailed her?  Well, he’s now annoyed that she’s replying, because somehow, he’s decided that if she’s messaging him, it means she hasn’t done the BDSM research she promised she’d do.  You know, despite the fact that earlier, he was praising her for calling him “Sir” and thinking that it proved she’d done some research.  Christian Grey is a man who will never, ever let you win.  If you do what he wants, he’ll find a way to criticise.

He responds, telling her:

Delighted you had a good day.

While you are e-mailing, you are not researching.

 

YOU LITERALLY EMAILED HER FIRST, YOU TOTAL AND UTTER MORON.

But when she replies to his email, suggesting he stops contacting her if he wants her to research, he takes a brief moment out of his busy schedule of harassment to reduce her to a sex object again, then replies telling her not to email him.

Seriously, look at this shit:

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: Nuisance

Date: May 23 2011 17:53

To: Christian Grey

Mr. Grey, stop e-mailing me, and I can start my assignment.

I’d like another A.

Ana

I laugh out loud. Yes. That A was something else. Closing my eyes, I see and feel her mouth around my cock once more.

Fuck.

Bringing my errant body to heel, I press send on my reply, and wait.

* * *

From: Christian Grey

Subject: Impatient

Date: May 23 2011 17:55

To: Anastasia Steele

Miss Steele,

Stop e-mailing me—and do your assignment.

I’d like to award another A.

The first one was so well deserved. 😉

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

STOP EMAILING HER IF YOU DON’T WANT HER TO REPLY, YOU PUBIC LOUSE.

And hey, you know what I said about never being able to win with him?  You know how he literally just told her not to reply?!  Well…

Her response is not as immediate, and feeling a little crestfallen, I turn away and decide to go on my run.

You TOLD her not to reply, you dickhead.  If you wanted her to reply instantaneously, maybe don’t tell her not to?!

Of course, because the universe hates me, Ana then replies before Grey has even left the room.  She asks what she ought to be typing into a search engine and he realises – shock, horror – that maybe he should have given her some books.  And of course, he doesn’t give her the help she actually needs, instead thinking:

Numerous websites spring to mind—but I don’t want to frighten her off.

Perhaps she should start with the most vanilla…

Or maybe, juuuuust maybe, you could actually be honest with her about how far you want to take this, thus leaving her informed enough to give consent?  But that would require you not being a massive tosspot, so…

He tells her to always start with Wikipedia, which is probably not the best advice, but okay.  He then – laughably – adds:

No more e-mails unless you have questions.

Understood?

Are you sure, this time?!  What if she takes more than three seconds to respond and you’re left crestfallen again?!  I CAN’T COPE WITH ALL THE DRAMA IN THIS HUGELY EMOTIONAL AND NOT AT ALL POINTLESS CHAPTER.

grey7.gif

Naturally, because not only does our universe hate me, but every universe that may exist beyond it hates me too, Ana replies telling him he’s bossy and he responds “you’ve no idea” and then yet again tells her to stop emailing him.  Thankfully, he then decides to go for a run before Ana can distract him again and I am saved from having to throw my laptop across the room.

Phew.  I really can’t afford a new one.

As a side-note, I am about 90% sure all of these emails featured in the original book, too.  So, technically, EL James is plagiarising herself.  Or, at the very least, she’s being exceptionally lazy.

Anyway, Grey goes off on his run and starts thinking about Ana:

Miss Steele has questions. She is still in the game—this is not a “no.” Our e-mail exchange has given me hope.

Whereas their email exchange gave me a strong desire to pour acid into my own eyes.

As I run under the Hawthorne Bridge I reflect on how at ease she is with the written word, more so than when she’s speaking. Maybe this is her preferred medium of expression. Well, she has been studying English literature. I’m hoping that by the time I get back there’ll be another e-mail, maybe with questions, maybe with some more of her sassy banter.

Yeah. That’s something to look forward to.

I CAN’T WAIT FOR MORE EMAILS!

grey8.gif

When he gets back to his hotel room, he has dinner (served by “Miss Dark, Dark Eyes, again”) and begins reading some work stuff about a brownfield site in Detroit.  This annoys him, because although his childhood hunger makes him want to feed the world (and let them know it’s Christmas time), apparently having lived in Detroit doesn’t make him want to provide employment opportunities for anyone living there, or do anything that might boost the local economy.  Because Grey’s an asshole.  You know, just in case you missed the memo.

Now, these email exchanges he’s been having with Ana have, up until now, been utterly boring and supremely irritating, but it was when I reached this point in the chapter that I remembered just what is about to happen.  So… Trigger warnings.  All the trigger warnings.

Ana sends Grey the following email:

From: Anastasia Steele

Subject: Shocked of WSUV

Date: May 23 2011 20:33

To: Christian Grey

Okay, I’ve seen enough.

It was nice knowing you.

Ana

And Grey’s immediate reaction is to think:

Shit!

I read it again.

Fuck.

It’s a “no.” I stare at the screen in disbelief.

That’s it?

No discussion?

Nothing.

Just “It was nice knowing you”?

What. The. Fuck.

I sit back in my chair, dumbfounded.

He asks himself if maybe she’s joking (a line I am utterly convinced EL James only included because of the amount of justified criticism his reaction to the email had in the first book), but dismisses it as “some joke!” ie “not a very good one, if she’s trying to make jokes.”  So, the point is, he is – whatever EL James tries to insist – taking her email as a serious “no” to his proposal.  At this point, a good Dominant – sod it, a good human – would either respond asking what it was that made Ana say no (and therefore inadvertently clear up the whole “it was just a joke” thing), or take her at her word and cease contact.

We all know that’s not what Grey does.

Here, have a puppy, just in case things are about to get bad:

grey9.gif

Nice?

Nice.

NICE.

She thought it was more than nice when her head was thrown back as she came.

Don’t be so hasty, Grey.

Maybe it’s a joke?

Some joke!

I pull my laptop toward me to write a reply.

* * *

From: Christian Grey

Subject: NICE?

Date: May 23 2011

To: Anastasia Steele

But as I stare at the screen, my fingers hovering over the keys, I can’t think of what to say.

How could she dismiss me so easily?

Her first fuck.

Christian Grey: the guy who doesn’t realise that just because he took her virginity, that doesn’t mean she owes him the rest of her life.  We’re meant to believe he’s built a business empire, despite this level of non-intellect.  Okie dokie.

Having realised that he can’t find the right words for an email, Grey ponders the situation further:

Get it together, Grey. What are your options? Maybe I should pay her a visit, just to make sure it’s a “no.” Maybe I can persuade her otherwise. I certainly don’t know what to say to this e-mail. Perhaps she’s looked at some particularly hardcore sites. Why didn’t I give her a few books? I don’t believe this. She needs to look me in the eye and say no.

No, she really doesn’t.  Okay, you and I both know the email was a joke, but at this point, Grey doesn’t.  And yet he’s already thinking about going round to her apartment to persuade her to change her mind.  He thinks she somehow needs to say no to him in person for it to actually count.

And so, of course, he sets out to her place:

Yep. I rub my chin as I formulate a plan, and moments later I’m in my closet, retrieving my tie.

That tie.

This deal isn’t dead yet. From my messenger bag I take some condoms and slide them into the back pocket of my pants, then grab my jacket and a bottle of white wine from the minibar. Damn, it’s a chardonnay—but it will have to do. Snatching my room key, I close the door and head toward the elevator to collect my car from the valet.

He is literally heading to her apartment to have sex with someone who, as far as he is aware, just said no to him.

For those of you at the back, still insisting this is not a book featuring an abusive rapist as the “hero”:

HE THINKS SHE HAS SAID NO TO HIM, SO HE’S ON HIS WAY TO HER APARTMENT TO HAVE SEX WITH HER.  THINKING SHE DOESN’T WANT HIM.  THAT WOULD THEREFORE BE SEX WITHOUT CONSENT.  SEX WITHOUT CONSENT IS RAPE.  YOUR HERO IS PLANNING TO RAPE THE HEROINE.

grey10.gif

I just want to remind anyone reading this to exercise self-care, first and foremost.  If you need to stop reading at any time, please do.  If you find you can’t come back to these recaps, I don’t blame you in the slightest.  Put yourself and your wellbeing first.

On arrival – in more “EL James is clearly not of this planet” news – Grey does briefly think about whether or not he should be turning up at Ana’s apartment.  But less because she’s said no to him and more because it might make her think he’s a hearts and flowers type and he doesn’t want to give her the wrong freaking idea.  I kid you not:

AS I PULL UP in the R8 outside the apartment she shares with Kavanagh, I wonder if this is a wise move. I’ve never visited any of my previous submissives at their homes—they always came to me. I’m pushing all the boundaries that I’ve set for myself. Opening the door of the car and climbing out, I’m uneasy; it’s reckless and too presumptuous of me to come here. Then again, I’ve already been here twice, though for only a few minutes. If she does agree, I’ll have to manage her expectations. This won’t happen again.

He then even confesses to himself:

Getting ahead of yourself, Grey.

You’re here because you think it’s a “no.”

So, yep, you read that correctly.  EL James has just confessed in black and white that Grey has turned up at Ana’s apartment, with condoms and therefore planning on having sex with her, because he thinks she doesn’t want him.

Don’t you dare tell me this guy isn’t a rapist.  Don’t you damn well dare.

grey11.gif

Kate answers the door to him and she is – naturally – surprised to see him, seeing as Ana hasn’t mentioned that he might be coming over.  Grey literally pretends to want to give Ana a romantic surprise when Kate says that she’ll go and tell Ana that he’s there:

“No. I’d like to surprise her.” I give her my most earnest and endearing look and in response she blinks a couple of times. Whoa. That was easy. Who would have thought? How gratifying. “Where’s her room?”

How gratifying that I’ve convinced her best friend that I’m a decent guy and not a rapist who’s turned up to fuck a hugely naive girl into agreeing to let me do whatever I like with her for the rest of her life.

I hate him.  I hate him so much I may die.

He finds Ana’s bedroom, thanks to Kate’s instructions, having left his jacket and the wine in the living room.  He opens the door and sees that Ana is wearing sweats.  EL James has once again only thrown this observation in here because we know that Grey’s going to ignore Ana saying “no” soon and we know from Ana’s perspective that she’s only saying no because Grey is kissing her feet and she worries they’re smelly from running; this is clearly EL’s way of trying to say “see!  HE DID KNOW THAT!  He knew she didn’t really mean no!” and it is total and utter bullshit.  She might have been wearing sweats because she’s packed all her other clothes for moving to the new apartment.  Maybe she wears sweats around the apartment in the evenings because they’re comfy?!  There’s no way you can associate “wearing sweats” with “when she says no, she’s only saying it because she’s been exercising and might smell.”

Anyway, she’s reading the contract and has earbuds in, hence not hearing Grey enter her room, uninvited.  He looks at her and her bedroom and thinks of the sexual possibilities the scene presents (I wish I was kidding):

Standing there for a moment, I watch her. Her face is scrunched in concentration; her hair is braided and she’s wearing sweats. Perhaps she’s been for a run this evening…perhaps she’s suffering from excess energy, too. The thought is pleasing. Her room is small, neat, and girlish: all whites, creams, and baby blues, and bathed in the soft glow of her bedside lamp. It’s also a little empty, but I spy a closed packing crate with Ana’s room scrawled on the top. At least she has a double bed—with a white wrought-iron bedstead. Yes. That has possibilities.

Possibilities that you believe she has just said no to, you disgusting piece of shit.

When Ana notices him and jumps, he thinks:

Yes.  I’m here because of your email.

grey12.gif

“I felt that your e-mail warranted a reply in person.” I try to keep my voice neutral. Her mouth opens and closes, but she remains mute.

Miss Steele is speechless. This I like. “May I sit?”

She nods, continuing to stare in disbelief as I perch on her bed.

“I wondered what your bedroom would look like,” I offer as an icebreaker, though chitchat is not my area of expertise. She scans her room as if seeing it for the first time. “It’s very serene and peaceful in here,” I add, though I feel anything but serene or peaceful right now. I want to know why she’s said no to my proposal with no discussion whatsoever.

He feels anything but serene or peaceful.  Good to know.  It sounds as though he’s feeling annoyed or mad.  Which is definitely the right mood in which to go to someone’s house with the intention of having sex with them, despite your belief that they’ve turned you down.

Eventually, Ana offers him a drink.

“Would you like a drink?” she squeaks.

“No thank you, Anastasia.” Good. She’s found her manners. But I want to get on with the business at hand: her alarming e-mail. “So, it was nice knowing me?” I emphasize the word that offends me most in that sentence.

She’s found her manners?

SHE’S found HER manners?!

grey5

YOU have chosen to ignore her saying “no.”

YOU have turned up unannounced at her apartment.

And you question HER manners?!  I hope you die in the most painful manner possible.  I hope rats eat your face off, but really slowly.  I hope your sentient penis decides it no longer wants to be attached to such a heinous cretin and breaks free, leaving you with a gangrenous stump.

Ana tells him she thought he would reply by email, rather than in person.  Because Ana is not a psychopath.

Instead of responding to her comment, Grey says:

“Are you biting your lower lip deliberately?” I inquire, my voice sterner than I’d intended.

Because Ana, you know that if you bite your lip, Grey simply cannot help himself.  You’re asking for it.  This book makes me want to burn down the entire planet.

Grey starts harping on about their chemistry and he begins trying to seduce Ana:

We gaze at each other.

And the air almost crackles between us.

Fuck.

Can’t you feel this, Ana? This tension. This attraction. My breathing shallows as I watch her pupils dilate. Slowly, deliberately, I reach for her hair and gently tug on the elastic, freeing one of her braids. She watches me, captivated, her eyes never leaving mine. I loosen her second braid.

“So you decided on some exercise?” My fingers trace the soft shell of her ear. With great care, I tug and squeeze the plump skin of her earlobe.

He asks her why she was exercising and she explains that she needed time to think about him.  He reminds her that she said it was “nice knowing” him and asks if she meant in the Biblical sense.  Ana nervously quips that she didn’t think he’d be that familiar with the Bible and he tells her that he learned a lot from Sunday school, internally adding:

Catechism. Guilt. And that God abandoned me long ago.

grey13.gif

I could not give less of a shit.  In fact, I’d high-five God if I could.

“Well, I thought I should come and remind you how nice it was knowing me.” The challenge is there in my voice, and now between us. Her mouth drops open in surprise, but I glide my fingers to her chin and coax it closed. “What do you say to that, Miss Steele?” I whisper, as we stare at each other.

Suddenly she launches herself at me.

Shit.

Somehow I grab her arms before she can touch me, and twist so that she lands on the bed, beneath me, and I have her arms stretched out above her head. Turning her face to mine, I kiss her, hard, my tongue exploring and reclaiming her. Her body rises in response as she kisses me back with equal ardor.

Oh, Ana. What you do to me.

Sure, she’s responsive.  But he didn’t know she would be.  Fans will insist “he did know!  Because of their TRUE LOVE,” but they can sod all the way off, quite frankly.  And notice “Ana, what YOU do to ME.”   As I said earlier, everything he does is somehow her fault.

He asks if she trusts him and she nods, because although she’s not a psychopath, she is being manipulated by an abusive git and therefore not thinking straight.

He ties both of her wrists to the bedstead with his tie.

She wriggles beneath me, testing her bindings, but the tie holds fast. She’s not escaping. “That’s better.” I smile with relief because I have her where I want her. Now to undress her.

Grabbing her right foot, I start to undo her sneakers.

“No,” she grumbles with embarrassment, trying to withdraw her foot, and I know it’s because she’s been running and she doesn’t want me to remove her shoes. Does she think perspiration would put me off?

Sweetheart!

“If you struggle, I’ll tie your feet, too. If you make a noise, Anastasia, I will gag you. Keep quiet. Katherine is probably outside listening right now.”

She stops. And I know that my instincts are right. She’s worried about her feet. When will she understand that none of that stuff bothers me?

grey14.gif

Nope.  No, a billion times no.  Biiiiig bag of nope.

He does not “know” she’s embarrassed in case her feet are sweaty.  EL James knows that’s why Ana’s saying no.  Ana knows that’s why she’s saying no.  But Grey doesn’t and writing it as though he does, with his whole “sweetheart!  As if that would put me off!” is clumsy and actually, damn offensive.  It’s also way too late.  We already know he doesn’t give a shit.  We’ve seen him receive “no” in an email and purposefully come over with the intention of having sex with Ana to change her mind.  It doesn’t matter that it was a joke, because he didn’t know that, either.  This is EL James, yet again, having read all the perfectly valid criticism of this rape scene (someone saying “no” and the supposed hero then threatening them and carrying on anyway rather than stopping and asking what was wrong is rape), thinking: “well, if I write it from his perspective and make it clear that he knows she’s only saying no because her feet smell, then everyone will have to shut up because I’ll have proved how great he is.”

Nope.

You can’t prove that he doesn’t care about consent literally paragraphs earlier, then expect us to fall for his sudden ability to understand why a woman is saying no.  You certainly can’t expect us to be cool with him threatening her, when we’ve already seen him sexualise this woman and make several internal comments about wanting to do things to her without any thought of whether she’d consent.

Here’s a tip, EL James:  Have him stop and say: “Are you worried your feet smell?  Don’t worry about that; I’m not worried about that.”  Just because the line wasn’t in the original book, doesn’t mean you can’t shove it into this one.  If you want to address the very real and, again perfectly valid criticism of this shit show by rewriting the story from the villain’s perspective, have him remove the trainer and say: “You smell fine, Anastasia.”

Don’t have him hear the word “no,” decide it must be because of her stinky feet and then have him threaten her without actual verbal confirmation as to why she’s saying no.  Because the way you’ve written it?  You’ve made him a rapist.  Now, I know you’re a lousy writer (I’ve read all your books – they’re literally dreadful), but are you so bloody stupid you can’t understand why people got upset the first time around?!  Are you so arrogant that you actually believe that by having Grey apparently read Ana’s sodding mind when you retell the story from Grey’s perspective, that will make everything okay, rather than you doing anything to actually undo the harm you caused by writing a rape scene as romance?!

grey15.gif

Grey removes his shirt, now that Ana can’t touch him, then he pulls Ana’s t-shirt up over her eyes and uses it as a blindfold.  Then he tells her he’s going to get a drink.

Hey, anyone wondering if Grey will be less of an asshole during this brief interlude?!

NOPE!

It’s time for him hate on Kate and slut-shame her for no reason!  AGAIN!

Kavanagh looks up from where she’s sitting on the sofa, reading, and her eyebrows rise in surprise. Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a shirtless man, Kavanagh, because I won’t believe you. “Kate, where would I find glasses, ice, and a corkscrew?” I ask, ignoring her scandalized expression.

“Um. In the kitchen. I’ll get them for you. Where’s Ana?”

Ah, some concern for her friend. Good.

What is your problem, you total and utter waste of oxygen??!!

Grey makes a deeply unfunny joke about Ana being “a little tied up,” but says she wants some wine.  He follows Kate into the kitchen and she explains it’s all a bit untidy because they’re still getting ready for the move.  Then this exchange happens:

“We still have to pack in here. You know Elliot is helping us move.” Her tone is critical.

“Is he?” I sound uninterested as I open the wine. “Just put the ice in the glasses.” With my chin I indicate two glasses. “It’s a chardonnay. It’ll be more drinkable with the ice.”

“I figured you for a red-wine kind of guy,” she says, when I pour the wine. “Are you going to come and help Ana with the move?” Her eyes flash. She’s challenging me.

Shut her down now, Grey.

“No. I can’t.” My voice is clipped, because she’s pissing me off, trying to make me feel guilty. Her lips thin, and I turn around to leave the kitchen, but not before I catch the disapproval in her face.

Fuck off, Kavanagh.

No way am I going to help. Ana and I don’t have that kind of relationship. Besides, I can’t spare the time.

a) It’s a reasonable question.  Elliot has only known Kate five minutes and he’s helping.

b) You and Ana don’t have any relationship beyond you fucking and abusing her.

c) You do literally nothing beyond send childish emails and bark orders all day.  You can spare the time.  You’re just too much of an asshole to.

grey16.gif

He goes back into the bedroom, gets naked and starts spitting wine into Ana’s mouth.  It wasn’t sexy when I read it in the first book and it sure as hell isn’t sexy now.

Taking a sip of wine, I lean down and kiss her, pouring the wine into her mouth. She laps it up, and deep in her throat I hear a faint hum of appreciation.

“More?” I ask.

She nods, smiling, and I oblige.

“Let’s not go too far; we know your capacity for alcohol is limited, Anastasia,” I tease, and her mouth splits in the widest of grins. Leaning down, I let her have another drink from my mouth, and she wriggles beneath me.

And notice he just has to shame her for the time she got drunk and he stalked her and took her back to his hotel room.  Yep, she was definitely the bad one in that situation.

He spits ice into her mouth – mmm, sexy – and then deposits ice and wine into her navel.  Now, I have a thing about my belly button (not a sexy thing, more a HORROR thing, which, if you want distracting from this awfulness, you can watch me talk about in this YouTube video), so quite frankly, this whole part makes me feel kind of sick.

But then so does this whole franchise.

 

He starts asking how “nice” this all is, because you know, she told him it was “nice knowing you” and that made his penis shrivel up and die or something.  Ana is not allowed to spill the wine from her navel, or he’ll punish her.

Then he threatens orgasm denial on a woman who hasn’t consented to that, whilst congratulating himself on turning her “no” into a “yes,” like the creepy and disgusting maggot he is:

Whining and panting beneath me, she’s tensing but managing to stay still. “If you spill the wine, I won’t let you come,” I warn.

“Oh. Please. Christian. Sir. Please,” she begs.

Oh, to hear her use those words.

There’s hope.

This is not a “no.”

Because you have gone over to her apartment uninvited, ignored her when she said “no” and pretended it’s because you knew she had smelly feet, and then manipulated her with sex into saying “yes.”  Because you are scum.

This chapter has gone from being mind-numbingly boring, thanks to the incessant emailing, complete with bloody subject headers and signatures, to being unimaginably grotesque in its unashamed glorification of an abusive man, all in the space of a few paragraphs.  I am starting to think EL James needs actual medical help and I don’t say that to be funny or to make light of any kind of mental health issue, but because I quite genuinely cannot understand how someone can write a character as shockingly abusive as Grey, hear from survivors and anti-abuse campaigners as to just how triggering and offensive the character is and think “I’ll write the story from his perspective” and make it worse, without being genuinely messed up.  I’m sorry for whatever happened to you to make you think this is okay, EL, but it doesn’t excuse what you’ve done any more than your lousy bastard character is excused by his experiences.

We get an epic (by which I mean bad) description of what Ana tastes like:

 She tastes of wine and need and Ana.

Thanks for that.

What does need taste like?  What does Ana taste like?  Who needs actual writing ability?!

grey18.gif

And, despite Ana not consenting to orgasm denial, he (yet again) starts doing it:

And she kisses me back with a hunger I’ve not felt in her before. I cradle the top of her head, keeping her in place, and continue to kiss and finger-fuck her. As her legs stiffen, I drop the pace of my hand.

Oh, no, baby. You’re not coming yet.

And then they have an exchange during which Ana confesses that her email was just a joke.  And Grey once again confirms – internally at least – that he didn’t know she was joking.  I want him thrown into the sun.

“How nice is this?” I ask, as I wrap my fist around my erection.

“I meant it as a joke,” she whimpers.

Joke?

Thank. The. Lord.

All is not lost.

“A joke?” I query, as my fist slides up and down my cock.

“Yes. Please, Christian,” she begs.

“Are you laughing now?”

“No.” Her voice is barely audible, but the little shake of her head tells me all I need to know.

This is not sexy.  This is not romance.  This is not, as EL James likes to tell journalists, with a completely straight face: “A passionate love story.”  This man has gone over to a woman’s house after she sent him an email that he believed was rejecting him.  He went there with the sole purpose of having sex with her in order to change her mind.  She said no during foreplay and he threatened her (and do not even go there with the “he knew she was only saying no because of her feet” thing, because we’ve gone over that and it’s crap).  He practised non-consensual orgasm denial on her.  And now he thinks he’s won.

This.  Is.  Abuse.

They have sex, she comes on command like some kind of horny Jack Russell and then she tells him the sex was “nice.”

“That was really nice,” she says with a mischievous smile.

“There’s that word again.” I smirk at her.

“You don’t like that word?”

“No. It doesn’t do it for me at all.”

“Oh—I don’t know…it seems to have a very beneficial effect on you.”

“I’m a beneficial effect now, am I? Could you wound my ego any further, Miss Steele?”

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your ego.” Her frown is fleeting.

“You think?”

Dr. Flynn would have plenty to say about that.

If you consider a guy turning up at your house to have sex with you because he thinks you’ve said no to him to be “a very beneficial effect” of having used the word “nice,” I can give you some numbers for abuse helplines, because no.

Also, Doctor Flynn is a quack, Grey.  And even if he wasn’t, anything he did have to say would be ignored by you, because you’re a dick.

Maaaaan, I want this chapter to end.

grey19.gif

Ana asks why Christian doesn’t like to be touched and he tells her he just doesn’t and kisses her forehead to distract her from asking any further questions on the subject.  Because open, honest communication is one of those pesky things you really don’t need in a relationship, as long as you have all the important stuff, like stalking and lack of consent.

Ana tells him she really was just joking in her email and that she’s still considering his proposal, but she has some questions, which she would have sent to him later had he not interrupted her.  Grey makes a lame “coitus interruptus” joke (which sounds like a spell you don’t learn at Hogwarts) and Ana congratulates him on his sense of humour (HAHAHAHAHA, no girl), causing him to reply:

“Only certain things are funny, Anastasia. I thought you were saying no—no discussion at all.”

Only certain things are funny.  Things on his terms and things he says.  Duh.

Ana asks if Grey has ever been collared and when he says yes, she asks if Mrs Robinson did it and Grey thinks that description of Elena is hilarious:

“Mrs. Robinson?” I laugh out loud. Anne Bancroft in The Graduate. “I’ll tell her you said that; she’ll love it.”

“You still talk to her regularly?” Her voice is high-pitched with shock and indignation.

“Yes.” Why’s that such a big deal?

“I see.” Now her voice is clipped. She’s mad? Why? I don’t understand.

Again, we’re meant to believe this guy is intelligent.

Look, Grey, I despise you with such vehement passion that it could power an entire continent, but let’s be very real, here:  You were raped by Elena.  You were underage, you were, in your own words, Fifty Shades of fucked up and therefore couldn’t give full, legal, informed consent.  You may have liked the stuff she did to you and you may think it’s acceptable to still be chummy with her, but Ana is right, here.

Ana goes on to explain that it isn’t fair that Grey has someone from the lifestyle that he can discuss things with, whereas she has nobody.  He suggests that he introduces her to some of his former subs and Ana is understandably unimpressed:

Is this your idea of a joke?” she demands.

“No, Anastasia.” I’m surprised by her vehemence and shake my head to reinforce my denial. It’s perfectly normal for a submissive to check with exes that their new Dominant knows what he’s doing.

“No—I’ll do this on my own, thank you very much,” she insists, and reaches for her comforter and quilt, pulling them up to her chin.

What? She’s upset?

“Anastasia, I…I didn’t mean to offend you.”

“I’m not offended. I’m appalled.”

I’m not as informed about the BDSM scene as I could be, but surely Grey can tell that Ana, being hugely inexperienced and really, really into him (which, despite his supposed lack of confidence, he has actually referenced himself several times), won’t want to talk to his exes about what they’re doing in bed?!  And I’m surprised Grey would even suggest it, seeing as he’s a shitty, awful Dom and would be called out as such by most people in the community if they knew how he operated.

He asks her if she’s jealous and inwardly thinks: Sweetheart, I had a life before you.

So, you know, it’s cool for him to have had “a very active life,” but the mere idea of Ana so much as kissing anyone before him is unacceptable.  Good to know.

Ana asks him if he’s staying over and Grey tells her no:

What? Of course not. “I have a breakfast meeting tomorrow at The Heathman. Besides, I told you, I don’t sleep with girlfriends, slaves, subs, or anyone. Friday and Saturday were exceptions. It won’t happen again.”

Those two times, where I was all over you and desperate to sleep next to you and when I treated you like a girlfriend were the exceptions and I will now arms length the crap out of you until I next feel like making another exception.

This guy is such an asshole.

Of course, Grey’s incredulous at the idea of Ana kicking him out, but she does just that:

Fuck.

“Are you kicking me out?”

This is not how this is supposed to go.

“Yes.”

What the hell?

Disarmed again, by Miss Steele. “Well, that’s another first,” I mutter.

Kicked out. I can’t believe it.

“So nothing you want to discuss now? About the contract?” I ask, as an excuse to prolong my stay.

“No,” she grunts. Her petulance is irritating, and were she truly mine, it would not be tolerated.

“God, I’d like to give you a good hiding. You’d feel a lot better, and so would I,” I tell her.

“You can’t say things like that. I haven’t signed anything yet.” Her eyes flash with defiance.

Oh, baby, I can say it. I just can’t do it. Not until you let me.

Because he CARES about CONSENT, guys!

grey20.gif

Ana asks him to pass her sweatpants to her, which causes him to think of her as bossy and he quips “yes ma’am,” admitting inwardly that he’s making fun of her, because she won’t get that it’s a reference to her being a Domme, like “Mrs Robinson.”  Hahaha, I love a guy who mocks me in ways I don’t understand or know about.

Grey makes out that he gives the tiniest of shits about Ana’s emotional wellbeing as she walks him to the door:

“You okay?” I ask, and brush her lower lip with my thumb. Perhaps she doesn’t want me to go—or perhaps she can’t wait for me to leave?

“Yes,” she says, her tone soft and subdued. I’m not sure I believe her.

He thinks to himself that he doesn’t want to go and leave her seeming so uncertain, but he doesn’t say anything, because that would resolve this pointless drama and we can’t possibly have that.  But let’s be honest, if you didn’t really want to leave someone, because you were worried they weren’t okay, you’d say “are you sure you want me to go?  I’ll stay if you need me to.”  Again, and I feel like this is going to come up a lot as the story goes on, this concern for Ana’s wellbeing is tossed in because EL James got a lot of justified crap for having him turn up at her place, have sex with her and then walk out on her.  So, we get him internally worrying about whether he ought to go, not because he actually gives a damn, but because so much of these books were written as a big “screw you” to EL James’s critics.  Too bad that in writing them, she proved us all correct.

Grey gets into his car and is confused by the fact that Ana hasn’t waited to wave him off:

When I look back, she’s gone.

Shit. What just happened? No wave good-bye?

I start the car and begin the drive back to Portland, analyzing what’s taken place between us.

She e-mailed me.

I went to her.

We fucked.

She threw me out before I was ready to leave.

For the first time—well, maybe not the first time—I feel a little used, for sex. It’s a disturbing feeling that reminds me of my time with Elena.

grey21.gif

She said no to him in an email.

He went over anyway, planning on sex.

She kicked him out when he offended her.

Now he feels used?!

Find a really tall building, Christian Grey.  One near a really busy road.  Walk to the top of that building.  And leap the heck off.

He wonders whether it’s just the thrill of the chase that he’s enjoying so much, or whether it’s Ana that’s having this all-new effect on him.  But he doesn’t dwell on it for too long, because he’s too busy being pleased with himself for what he did that night:

 And on a positive note, that was one hell of a nice way to spend an evening. I smirk in the rearview mirror and pull into the garage at the hotel.

I know he’s fictional, but can I hire a hitman, anyway?

Because we simply can’t end this chapter without yet another bloody email, once Grey’s back in his hotel room, he sends one to Ana:

From: Christian Grey

Subject: This Evening

Date: May 23 2011 23:16

To: Anastasia Steele

Miss Steele,

I look forward to receiving your notes on the contract.

Until then, sleep well, baby.

Christian Grey

CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.

And I want to add, Thank you for another diverting evening… but that seems a little over the top. Pushing my laptop aside because Ana will probably be asleep, I pick up the Detroit report and continue reading.

And that, thank HEAVENS, is where this horrific chapter ends.

Here’s another puppy for making it through:

grey22.gif

Seriously, this was horrendous and awful and if anyone feels like defending Fifty Shades to me, or telling me what a great guy Christian Grey really is, please take those words you were planning on typing, shove them up your own backside and wait until you crap them out into the toilet where they belong.

I’m feeling pretty gross, right now.  I’m sorry if you are, too.  I’m going to go to bed and dream of cutting Christian Grey’s penis off with a rusty spoon.  Take care of yourselves and I’ll be back with more of this genuinely awful shite next week.

Yay.

Grey Chapter 8 (Monday, May 23rd 2011)

Grey Chapter 7 (Sunday, May 22nd, 2011)

Well,  we’re here again, folks.  Back at the foot of a mountain of abuse-romanticising crap, ready for the long climb up.  In the last chapter, Ana revealed that she was a virgin, Grey reacted totally normally (HAHAHAHA) and then they did the sexy times.  It was just as horrifying as you’d imagine.

The next chapter starts the following morning, with Grey waking up (because if there’s one thing EL James is good at, it’s starting chapters with characters waking up and ending them with characters going to sleep)…

I wake with a start and a pervading sense of guilt, as if I’ve committed a terrible sin.

Is it because I’ve fucked Anastasia Steele? Virgin?

She’s snuggled up fast asleep beside me. I check the radio alarm: it’s after three in the morning. Ana sleeps the sound sleep of an innocent. Well, not so innocent now. My body stirs as I watch her.

I could wake her.

Fuck her again.

There are definitely some advantages to having her in my bed.

grey1.gif

Red ink, because this dude isn’t remotely considering whether Ana wants him to wake her up and immediately fuck her again.  But then, consent is just a word he once saw in a dictionary and didn’t bother to look up the meaning for, so… *shrug*

Grey then tells himself to stop being so ridiculous and reminds himself that the sex – however good it might have been – was “merely a means to an end and a pleasant diversion.”  So, you know, in case you’re wondering when the sudden change for the better that fans keep talking about is coming, it’s… Well, it’s not now.  Or ever.  He enjoyed having sex with Ana, but he only did it so she’ll have had some experience when she becomes his sub.  Because that is all he wants her for.  Gosh, she’s so very lucky.

After some boring crap about how he’d never had “vanilla sex” before and how Ana is “a carnal creature,” Grey wanders off to play piano moodily in the dark:

Back in the living room I sit down at my piano. This is my solace, where I can lose myself for hours. I’ve been able to play well since I was nine, but it wasn’t until I had my own piano, in my own place, that it really became a passion. When I want to forget everything, this is what I do. And right now I don’t want to think about having propositioned a virgin, fucked her, or revealed my lifestyle to someone with no experience. With my hands on the keys, I begin to play and lose myself in the solitude of Bach.

Here’s this funny little thing for you to consider, Grey: if you don’t want to have to think about the things you’ve done to Ana, maybe don’t do them?  Also, it’s less having sex with a virgin that should be playing on your mind, and more the fact that you’re manipulating the crap out of her, tracking her phone and already attempting to exercise more control over her and her life than she has agreed to – or ever will agree to, for that matter.

Just a thought.

grey2.gif

Of course, Grey’s maudlin playing wakes Ana and the next thing he knows, she’s standing by the piano, giving him a chance to feel sorry for himself.  Again.

“Sorry,” she says. “I didn’t mean to disturb you.”

Why is she apologizing? “Surely, I should be saying that to you.” I play the last notes and stand. “You should be in bed,” I chide.

“That was a beautiful piece. Bach?”

“Transcription by Bach, but it’s originally an oboe concerto by Alessandro Marcello.”

“It was exquisite, but very sad, such a melancholy melody.”

Melancholy? It wouldn’t be the first time someone has used that word to describe me.

I can think of a whole list of words to describe you, Grey.  “Melancholy” wouldn’t even make the top fifty.

Grey then has a flashback to Leila calling him melancholy:

“May I speak freely? Sir.” Leila is kneeling beside me while I work.

“You may.”

“Sir, you are most melancholy today.”

“Am I?”

“Yes, Sir. Is there something that you would like me to do…?”

I shake off the memory. Ana should be in bed. I tell her so again.

Of course, we all know who Leila is and so this doesn’t really build the tension that EL James is angling for, here.  And I’m firmly on Leila’s side, so any future effort to paint her as some kind of deranged villain will get short shrift from me.  Just so you know.

Back in the present day, Ana asks Christian about his piano playing:

“How long have you been playing? You play beautifully.”

“Since I was six.” I’m abrupt.

“Oh,” she says. I think she’s taken the hint—I don’t want to talk about my childhood.

Sure, you don’t want to talk about your childhood.  But Ana isn’t asking for your freaking life history, here.  She’s asking about a musical instrument.  There’s no need to be so rude.  I don’t feel any kind of sympathy for Christian here (or basically ever), because it’s not like Ana was digging for any further personal information.  Besides which, it’s apparently not long after 3am.  You’ve woken her up with your “melancholy” piano playing, so the least thing you could do is answer a couple of questions about it, particularly as they’re coming from the girl you were literally just feeling guilty about, for taking her virginity.

grey3.gif

Ana and Grey had back to the bedroom, where they both realise that there is blood on the sheets.  Grey sneers that it’ll “give Mrs Jones something to think about,” but to be fair, Mrs Jones washes his butt plugs, so I would imagine she has to take her mind to a faraway happy place, each time she cleans anything.

Of course, Ana’s embarrassed by the blood and by Grey’s smirking reaction to it and he worsens the situation by yet again thinking the right response in his head, but refusing to actually say it out loud:

She looks mortified.

It’s just your body, sweetheart. I grasp her chin and tip her head back so I can see her expression.

And, even if he was going to say it out loud, it turns out that he’d do it as a lecture (surprise, surprise…).  Luckily for Ana, he doesn’t get to have a go at her, however, because Ana reaches out to touch his chest…

I’m about to give her a short lecture on how not to be ashamed of her body, when she reaches out to touch my chest.

Fuck.

I step out of her reach as the darkness surfaces.

No. Don’t touch me.

“Get into bed,” I order, rather more sharply than I’d intended, but I hope she doesn’t detect my fear. Her eyes widen with confusion and maybe hurt.

Damn.

“I’ll come and lie down with you,” I add, as a peace offering, and from the chest of drawers I pull out a T-shirt and quickly slip it on, for protection.

She’s still standing, staring at me. “Bed,” I command more forcefully.

I would imagine her eyes are wide with confusion and hurt, you total jackass.  Look, I know Christian is supposed to be all “tortured” and he can’t bear to be touched, but as I’ve said what feels like ninety three times already, it’s a stupid plot, because he chops and changes as to where he can and can’t be touched all the time and he doesn’t appear to have ever made any attempt to have sorted out this problem with his entirely useless therapist.  His solution to his touch-phobia is just “NOBODY IS ALLOWED TO DO IT, EVER.”  Which is, you know, not exactly super-healthy.  Besides, although he has already internally bleated about not wanting to discuss his childhood, Ana is a naive young woman who he is aware has some kind of feelings for him.  He wants a relationship – of sorts – with her and so all he has to do in this situation is say “look, I’m sorry, I don’t want to go into it right now, but I’ve got some issues with being touched.  If I think someone might touch me, especially on my chest, I get freaked out.  Do you mind not?”  Instead, he just barks orders at her and only lies with her in bed so he can ensure she’s actually asleep and no longer any kind of risk.  What a charmer.

As he lies with Ana, he starts thinking of how content he feels and his mind wanders to an earlier time when he felt so replete (as a gripe, it bugs the hell out of me that there’s no section breaks for these little flashbacks):

Mommy is happy today. She is singing.

Singing about what love has to do with it.

And cooking. And singing.

My tummy gurgles. She is cooking bacon and waffles.

They smell good. My tummy likes bacon and waffles.

They smell so good.

So, this bitch we’re all supposed to hate because she traumatised our precious ickle Christian, was actually a mother who tried to feed her young son food she knew he liked.  We know that they were incredibly poor, so I assume food like this would have been a treat.  So, when Ella had enough cash to spare, she used it to feed Christian food that she knew would make him happy.

What a cow.

grey4.gif

Seriously, consider me to be firmly both Team Ella and Team Leila in this story.

Grey wakes from his bacon and waffles dream (to be fair, that’s what I dream of most nights, too) and realises he can actually smell bacon cooking.  He gets up and wanders to the kitchen, where he finds Ana, wearing his shirt, with her hair in braids, listening to music through earphones as she cooks for him.

She’s whisking eggs, making breakfast, her braids bouncing as she jiggles from foot to foot, and I realize she’s not wearing underwear.

Good girl.

Because Grey likes his women “accessible,” remember?  Take a moment to vomit, if you need to.

He thinks about how well he slept, thanks to her being there (again, subtle pressure on Ana to be the one who “fixes” him, because God forbid he take any action to fix himself) and he internally mocks her dancing.

“I don’t know where you keep your placemats,” she says, seeming at a loss, and I think she’s embarrassed, because I caught her dancing. Taking pity on her, I offer to set places for breakfast and add, “Would you like me to put some music on so you can continue your…er…dancing?”

Her cheeks pink and she looks down at the floor.

Damn. I’ve upset her. “Please, don’t stop on my account. It’s very entertaining.”

With a pout she turns her back on me and continues to whisk the eggs with gusto. I wonder if she has any idea how disrespectful this is to someone like me…but of course she doesn’t, and for some unfathomable reason it makes me smile. 

I… I have so much to say, here.

Firstly, don’t take the piss out of the girl who’s making you breakfast.  Because that is one sure-fire way to encourage her to spit on your pancakes.  Secondly, she has signed nothing beyond an NDA, so no matter how “disrespectful” you think it is that she’s turned her back on you, she’s entitled to do it.  You truly are an ass-face.

grey5.gif

Pictured: Christian Grey, patiently awaiting breakfast.

But all his internal mockery pales into insignificance, compared to what happens next:

Sidling up to her, I gently tug one of her braids. “I love these. They won’t protect you.”

Not from me. Not now that I’ve had you.

It’s bad enough that he bangs on about how much younger she looks with her hair braided, but that comment?  Is freaking VILE.  And the fact that he makes it even worse in his internal monologue, by somehow insinuating that now he’s had her once, he can have her again, whenever he wants, is like the poop-covered cherry on top of a shit sundae.  Nope.  You don’t get to have her whenever you like.  If she doesn’t agree to something, you’re supposed to STOP, regardless of what hairdo she’s rocking at the time.

Grey sets the placemats and thinks of this as some amazing feat, seeing as he’s literally never done that for someone else in his entire life, apparently.  He thinks about the fact that over a weekend, his submissive would usually take care of all domestic tasks.

Ana opens a cupboard and sees that Grey already has her favourite tea waiting for her:

“Bit of a foregone conclusion, wasn’t I?”

“Are you? I’m not sure we’ve concluded anything yet, Miss Steele,” I answer with a stern look.

And don’t talk about yourself like that.

I add her self-deprecation to the list of behaviors that will need modifying.

“WE LOVE CHRISTIAN GREY BECAUSE HE THINKS ANA IS PERFECT JUST THE WAY SHE IS,” scream the fans of this series.  And I just think: “Never mind ME, did YOU read the books???!!!”

She avoids my gaze, busy with serving up breakfast. Two plates are placed on the placemats, then she fetches the maple syrup out of the fridge.

When she looks up at me I’m waiting for her to sit down. “Miss Steele.” I indicate where she should sit.

“Mr. Grey,” she replies, with contrived formality, and winces as she sits.

“Just how sore are you?” I’m surprised by an uneasy sense of guilt. I want to fuck her again, preferably after breakfast, but if she’s too sore that will be out of the question. Perhaps I could use her mouth this time.

Perhaps you could actually consider someone else’s needs besides your own?

Ana responds that she has nothing to compare it to, then asks if he would like to offer his commiseration.  Grey internally thinks that a sarcastic response like that ought to result in a spanking, at least.  He tells her that he wants to continue her “basic training” (I don’t know about you guys, but if a sexual partner constantly referred to having sex as my “training” and expected me to come on demand, I’d be concerned that what he actually wanted was a golden retriever, rather than an actual human woman).

Grey asks her if she wants to stay and Ana says for the day, yes.  She has to be at work the following morning and needs to go home that evening.  There’s a line shoe-horned in about “because she doesn’t agree, I can’t make her stay,” which seems so uncharacteristic, I’m fairly certain EL James threw it in there to make it look like Grey cares about consent.  Hahaha.  No.

Then, because we’ve not had this for, ooh, at least seventeen paragraphs, there’s a big argument about food, because Ana, having excitedly made breakfast for herself and Christian, is now not hungry.  Now, forgive me for obsessing over Ana’s behaviour, but… She didn’t really eat much beyond grapes last night, right?  And she had sex twice, so… Girl, I am loathe to agree with Grey on anything, but why aren’t you sticking your head in the trough, right now?!

She examines her food.

“Eat, Anastasia. You didn’t eat last night.”

“I’m really not hungry,” she says.

Well, this is frustrating. “I would really like you to finish your breakfast.” My voice is low.

“What is it with you and food?” she snaps.

Oh, baby, you really don’t want to know. “I told you, I have issues with wasted food. Eat.” I glare at her. Don’t push me on this, Ana. She gives me a mulish look and starts to eat.

grey6.gif

Here’s the thing, you genuinely horrific idiot: SHE DOES WANT TO KNOW.  She has literally just asked the question.  And again, it would be very easy not to be a melodramatic plank about it, by just saying: “Look, I experienced hunger when I was young.  I don’t want to go into it at the moment, but it’s made me very aware about food waste.”  All Christian Grey does is create drama where there needn’t be any.

He thinks about how challenging Ana is and honestly, I think it’s more a case that he surrounds himself with yes-people, whereas she has at least seven brain cells of her own.

Ana’s phone rings and she walks across the room to answer it out of Christian’s earshot.  It’s Kate and of course this causes Grey to turn into an obsessive creep (well, okay, he already was one…), constantly wondering what they’re talking about.  When Ana returns, she asks what the NDA covers and whether she can ask Kate some questions about sex.  Grey isn’t happy about that, because he’s vile:

“Why?” Where’s she going with this? What has she said to Kavanagh?

She takes a deep breath. “Well, I have a few questions, you know, about sex. And I’d like to ask Kate.”

“You can ask me.”

“Christian, with all due respect—” She stops.

She’s embarrassed?

“It’s just about mechanics. I won’t mention the Red Room of Pain,” she says in a rush.

“Red Room of Pain?”

What the hell?

“It’s mostly about pleasure, Anastasia. Believe me. Besides, your roommate is making the beast with two backs with my brother. I’d really rather you didn’t.”

I don’t want Elliot to know anything about my sex life. He’d never let me live it down.

So, because Kate’s sleeping with Elliot, Grey automatically assumes that she’ll repeat anything Ana asks her and Grey will somehow become a laughing stock.  Even though Ana has literally just confirmed that she won’t mention anything about Grey’s kinks.  This makes me hate Grey even more than I already did, because Ana is inexperienced and needs a friend to talk to.  There might be things she doesn’t feel comfortable asking him about sex, but he’s purposefully isolating her from her best friend, so that his view is the only one she ever gets.  That’s manipulative and unfair.

grey7.gif

Grey insists that she talks to him:

“What do you want to know?” I ask, standing in front of her, scrutinizing her face.

What is it, Ana?

“Nothing specific at the moment,” she whispers.

“Well, we can start with: how was last night for you?” My breathing shallows as I wait for her answer. Our whole deal could hang on her response.

“Good,” she says, and gives me a soft, sexy smile.

It’s what I want to hear.

And that’s my exact problem.  She’s going to tell him what he wants to hear, because a) she’s besotted with him and b) she’s already admitted that he intimidates her.  So, she’ll have nobody else to talk to and that means Grey can mould her any way he likes.  Great.

Grey decides he wants to have a bath with Ana, so he instructs her to head to the bathroom, where he begins running the water.  We get a frankly confusing passage, in which Grey is both seemingly annoyed and delighted by Ana’s lack of modesty and modesty…

Normally, I would expect any woman I was about to bathe with to have her eyes cast down in modesty.

But not Ana.

She doesn’t drop her gaze, and her eyes glow with anticipation and curiosity. But she has her arms wrapped around herself; she’s shy.

It’s arousing.

And to think she’s never bathed with a man.

I can claim another first.

You just know that Grey is one of those guys who keeps some sort of list in his bedside drawer: “Ana’s first orgasm – MINE.  Ana’s first naked dinner – MINE.”

grey8.gif

Ana starts biting her lip (because that’s her sole character trait?!) and Grey tells her to stop, because it’s making him want to fuck her and he can’t, because she’s sore.  Again, it’s as though EL James is going “see, he DOES care!” when actually, he’s only concerned that he can’t do what he wants to.

Grey removes her (well, his) shirt and when Ana looks down at her feet, he tells her not to be ashamed of her naked body, because she’s beautiful.  I would enjoy the fact that he’s actually saying something nice, if he didn’t then immediately think:

Don’t hide from me, baby.

Thus making it all about himself and the fact that he wants to see her.

They both get into the bath and he starts washing her, lathering soap on her neck, breasts and eventually between her legs.  I’m going to just say that being masturbated with a soapy wash cloth could probably lead to thrush, but hey – sexy, sexy fun times.

Speaking of sexy, sexy fun times, hey ladies, don’t you just love it when a guy works you up just so he can get you to do what he wants, regardless of whether it gives you any pleasure?  Look, I’m going to be very honest and open, here: this is what my abuser did to me for the last probably 3 months or more of our relationship.  He’d work me up, make me think we were going to have sex, or that he was at the very least going to do something to me, then he’d make me do things to him until he got what he wanted, then he’d command me not to touch him and leave me with the female equivalent of blue balls.  Sometimes, he’d tell me he felt physically sick that I’d done something sexual to him, afterwards, just for added “you disgust me” emphasis.  So, this little moment was pretty triggering for me:

Enough.

Now that she’s all worked up into a lather I’m ready to proceed.

“I think you’re clean enough now,” I announce, and take my hands off of her.

“Why are you stopping?” she protests, her eyes fluttering open, revealing frustration and disappointment.

“Because I have other plans for you, Anastasia.”

She’s panting and, if I’m not mistaken, pouting.

Good.

I hope you die in a fire, Christian Grey.

grey9.gif

Ana gets ready to use the soapy washcloth on Grey’s “favourite and most cherished part of (his) body,” whilst Christian proves my point about his “no touching” bollocks:

My breath hisses out through clenched teeth and I close my eyes, savoring the moment.

Here, I don’t mind being touched.

No, I don’t mind at all…

Ana gives him her first ever BJ and of course, she’s magically amazing at it and has no gag reflex, whatsoever.  Her instant brilliance quickly concerns Grey, however, as he wonders whether she might have done it before:

Wait, that was so good, perhaps she has some experience after all. “Have you done that before?” I ask, and I’m not sure I want to know.

“No,” she says with obvious pride.

“Good.” I hope my relief is not too obvious. 

And later that night, Christian Grey can write in his weirdo book of firsts: “First BJ – MINE.”

Remember how in Fifty Shades, Ana used to describe Grey as “starting to move, really move” whenever they had sex?  Well, you’ll be delighted to know that EL James is such a shitty author, she can’t differentiate between characters and so, as they climb out of the bath, this happens:

I hold her against me, kissing her, really kissing her.

grey10.gif

I WASN’T JUST PRETENDING, YOU GUYS.  I DID TONGUES AND EVERYTHING.  I LITERALLY KISSED HER.  WITH MY MOUTH.

Grossly, it’s tasting his own sperm in Ana’s mouth that apparently makes Grey decide that he really wants her (REALLY wants her… sorry):

I taste my ejaculate in her mouth. Grasping her head, I deepen the kiss.

I want her.

All of her.

Her body and soul.

I want her to be mine.

Staring down into bemused eyes, I implore her. “Say yes.”

“To what?” she whispers.

“Yes to our arrangement. To being mine. Please, Ana.” And it’s the closest I’ve come to begging in a long time. I kiss her again, pouring my fervor into my kiss. When I take her hand, she looks dazed.

Dazzle her further, Grey.

grey5

Grey decides to “dazzle” her by tying her hands together with one of his ties.  I’m not sure I can handle such kinky fuckery…

Gently I tug both her braids. “You look so young with these.” But they’re not going to stop me.

Stop being gross.

Stop being gross.

Stop being gross.

I drop my towel. “Oh, Anastasia, what shall I do to you?” I grasp her upper arms and push her gently back on the bed, keeping hold of her so that she doesn’t fall. Once she’s prostrate, I lie down beside her, grab her fists, and raise them above her head. “Keep your hands up here, don’t move them. Understand?”

She swallows.

“Answer me.”

“I won’t move my hands,” she says, her voice husky.

“Good girl.” I can’t help my smile. She lies beside me, wrists bound, helpless. Mine.

Not quite to do with as I wish—yet—but getting there.

Nobody is ever yours to do with as you wish, you dick.  If she ever wants to stop you, she can.

But hey, this is Christian Grey.  And he seems to think he has a say in everything, even down to whether or not Ana shaves her pubic hair:

I blow gently up and down over her pubic hair. “I like this,” I mutter. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen pubic hair up close and personal like this. I tug it gently. “Perhaps we’ll keep this.”

Perhaps that’s her decision?!

He tells her that “tit for tat is not (his) usual style,” but goes down on her in reward for her giving him a blow job, earlier.  Oh, what a saint.

They have sex and immediately afterwards, Grey hears his mother’s voice.  But this time it’s not one of his traumatic flashbacks; it’s actually Grace, having come round to visit.  He respectfully considers Ana’s soreness as he uncouples from her:

“Shit! It’s my mother.”

Ana cringes as I pull out of her.

ONLY JOKING, OF COURSE HE DOESN’T!

Grey demands that Ana puts on some of his clothes and goes out to meet his mother.  He heads out first and we see how loving and respectful he is when talking about the woman who adopted him and raised him:

“Hello, Mother.” I kiss her proffered cheek. “I’ll deal with her from here,” I say to Taylor.

“Yes, Mr. Grey.” He nods, looking exasperated, and heads back into his office.

ONLY JOKING, OF COURSE HE TALKS ABOUT HER LIKE SHE’S NOT THERE, HAHAHAHA!

grey11.gif

Grace does at least call him on his “I’ll deal with her” bullshit.  She says she wouldn’t have come over if she’d known he had someone with him and Grey says “she’ll be out in a minute,” causing Grace to marvel that it’s a “she.”  I can’t decide if this is meant to be because everyone really does think that Grey is gay, or just because he’s meant to be this sexless dude who never has anyone over.  Either way, it’s a bit weird.

Ana comes out dressed in her own clothes (which I’m sure Grey wants to flay her alive for) and he introduces her to Grace:

“Mother, this is Anastasia Steele. Anastasia, this is Grace Trevelyan-Grey.”

They shake hands.

“What a pleasure to meet you,” Grace says with a little too much enthusiasm for my liking.

“Dr. Trevelyan-Grey,” Ana says politely.

“Call me Grace,” she says, all at once amiable and informal.

What? Already?

I just… Does he actively want his mother to dislike Ana?!  I’m so confused by this.

Ana excuses herself to take a call and Grey is instantly furious when he realises that the caller is José.

When Grace leaves, Christian immediately starts interrogating Ana:

Ana is worrying her bottom lip, radiating anxiety…as she should be.

“So the photographer called?” I sound gruff.

“Yes.”

“What did he want?”

“Just to apologize, you know—for Friday.”

“I see.” Maybe he wants another shot at her. The thought is displeasing.

You know, wank-stain, Ana has no reason to be anxious about who she talks to on the phone.  You do not own her, however much you want to believe you do.  And if she chooses to forgive José for his behaviour, that’s her decision to make.

Thankfully, their conversation is interrupted by a boring conversation between Christian and Ros regarding the “Darfur shipment.”

Once that’s over, Christian tells Ana to go away and research BDSM.  She tells him that she doesn’t have a computer – a fact hard to believe of a college student – and says she needs to make a call:

“I’ll just make a call,” she says, her voice soft and hesitant.

“The photographer?” I snap. She looks guilty.

What the hell? “I don’t like to share, Miss Steele. Remember that.” I storm out of the room before I say anything else.

Is she hung up on him?

Was she just using me to break her in?

Fuck.

Maybe it’s the money. That’s a depressing thought…though she doesn’t strike me as a gold digger. She was quite vehement about me not buying her any clothing. I remove my jeans and put on a pair of boxer briefs. My Brioni tie is on the floor. I stoop to pick it up.

She took to being tied up well…There’s hope, Grey. Hope.

Yeah, she pushed José away, but only because she wanted to sleep with you first and then go running back to him.  Good lord, Christian Grey is both an arrogant asshole and an insecure loser AT THE SAME TIME.

And I love that he thinks there’s “hope” that she’ll become his full time sub based solely on the fact that she liked having her hands tied together during sex.  Yep.  That definitely means she also wants to enter into a total power exchange.

He then decides he’s going to pack some stuff because when he drops Ana off at her apartment, he knows he won’t be able to stay away:

I stuff the tie and two others into a messenger bag along with socks, underwear, and condoms.

What am I doing?

Deep down I know I’m going to stay at The Heathman all next week…to be near her.

Not at all stalkery.  No, Sir.  Nothing to see, here.

As they head out of Grey’s apartment, Ana starts biting her lip and it apparently has the power to turn Christian Grey back into the rapist we all know he is:

Ana fidgets beside me as we wait for the elevator, her teeth on her plump lower lip.

It reminds me of her teeth on my cock.

“What is it, Anastasia?” I ask, as I reach out and pluck her chin. “Stop biting your lip, or I will fuck you in the elevator, and I don’t care who gets in with us,” I growl.

She’s shocked, I think—though why would she be after all we’ve done…

Aaah, threatening sex regardless of whether the person consents or not.  *wipes away a tear* THIS IS SO ROMANTIC.

grey12.gif

As they travel in the thankfully rape-free elevator, Ana again asks if she can talk to Kate about sex and – shockingly – Christian agrees.  But internally he thinks this:

she can talk about what we’ve done so far. Her roommate would have my balls if she knew my real intentions.

TEAM KATE.

And that last part is red just because it sounds like an admission of something gross.  Because, let’s face it, Kate is supposed to be pretty sexually liberated (and is utterly shamed for it, but that’s beside the point).  It’s unlikely she’d be horrified at the idea of someone being into a bit of spanking, as long as the spanking in question was consensual.

Grey and Ana then have this uber creepy exchange:

“The sooner I have your submission the better, and we can stop all this.”

“Stop all what?”

“You, defying me.”

grey113.jpeg

She still has her agency and she can still say no to anything she likes.  Seriously, what part of this is Grey not getting??!!  I think it’s highly unlikely that he really goes for experienced women, usually.  I reckon he seeks out women who know nothing of BDSM, so he can tell them it means he gets to control them all the time and punish them if they step out of line and they have no say in the matter, as long as they say yes at some point, that yes will count for everything ever.

This guy is human excrement.

They stop for lunch on the way back to Portland and Grey orders for Ana:

“Two glasses of the pinot grigio,” I order from the waitress, who’s making eyes at me from beneath blond bangs. It’s annoying.

Ana scowls.

“What?” I ask, wondering if the waitress is annoying her, too.

“I wanted a Diet Coke.”

Why didn’t you say so? I frown. “The pinot grigio here is a decent wine. It will go well with the meal, whatever we get.”

“Whatever we get?” she asks, her eyes round with alarm.

You literally didn’t give her a chance to “say so,” you unadulterated moron.  And yet again, he’s thinking the responses he should be giving out loud.  A decent guy would say “oh, sorry,” and change the order.

Whilst they eat, Ana asks lots of questions about sex and Christian’s kinks.  He eventually tells her about Elena:

“One of my mother’s friends seduced me when I was fifteen.”

“Oh.” Ana’s spoon pauses midway from the bowl to her mouth.

“She had very particular tastes. I was her submissive for six years.”

“Oh,” she breathes.

“So I do know what it involves, Anastasia.” More than you know. “I didn’t really have a run-of-the-mill introduction to sex.” I couldn’t be touched. I still can’t.

Raped you.  She raped you when you were fifteen.  You weren’t old enough to consent.

Ana asks if he had any girlfriends when he was in college and Grey says no, because Elena would have “beaten the shit out of me.”

Super healthy.  That’s absolutely normal and fine.  But hey, this whole book is abuse, after abuse, after abuse, so…

She blinks a couple of times as she absorbs this news. “So if she was a friend of your mother’s, how old was she?”

“Old enough to know better.”

“Do you still see her?” She sounds shocked.

“Yes.”

“Do you still…er—” She blushes crimson, her mouth turned down.

“No,” I say quickly. I don’t want her to have the wrong idea about my relationship with Elena. “She’s a very good friend,” I reassure her.

“Oh. Does your mother know?”

“Of course not.”

My mother would kill me—and Elena, too.

Your mother would have no place blaming you for what someone “old enough to know better” did to you.

Ana is quiet for a while and doesn’t want to eat (I KNOW, RIGHT?  SUCH A SHOCK).  When Grey starts ordering her to, she asks:

“Is this what our, um…relationship will be like?” she asks. “You ordering me around?” She scrutinizes the plate of food in front of her.

“Yes.”

“I see.” She tosses her ponytail over her shoulder.

“And what’s more, you’ll want me to.”

SPOILER:  No she won’t.  She literally never likes him ordering her around.  And yet he literally never stops.

grey14.jpeg

They have a long and frankly dull conversation about their relationship and Grey repeatedly tells her how much he wants her to agree to their arrangement.  He suggests he takes her out to dinner on Wednesday to discuss things further and he reassures her that he’s not going to be seeing anyone else, because he’s monogamous in his relationships.  And yet… When he drops her off at her apartment, he suddenly reverts back to the “no strings, no romance” bullshit:

Do you want to come in?” she asks, after I’ve switched off the engine.

“No. I have work to do.” I know that if I accept her invitation I’ll be crossing a line I’m not prepared to cross. I’m not boyfriend material—and I don’t want to give her any false expectations of the kind of relationship she’ll have with me.

Her face falls and, deflated, she looks away.

She doesn’t want me to go.

It’s humbling. Reaching across, I grasp her hand and kiss her knuckles, hoping to take the sting out of my rejection.

He doesn’t want a relationship with her.  But he tells her how beautiful she is, he’ll be faithful to her and he’s desperate to make things work with her.  This is manipulative – deliberate or not.  He’s giving her mixed signals and it only serves to make me think he’s ever more of an asshole.

I kiss her hand again and climb out of the car to open her door. I have to get out of here before I do something I’ll regret.

Is this similar to the whole “I might rape her whilst she’s unconscious” or something else?  It’s so hard to tell…

Ana tells him she’s wearing his underwear as she disappears into her apartment and this drives Christian crazy, so well done, Ana.

Back at his hotel, Grey sends Ana an email, knowing that he’s arranged a laptop that she’ll receive the following day.  Then he settles down to read a book and the chapter ends on a frankly disturbing flashback, in which he seems to be comparing his dead mother to Ana:

Picking up my latest read, I settle onto the sofa. It’s a book by two renowned economists who examine why the poor think and behave the way they do.

Christian Grey is RICH.  Just in case you forgot…

An image of a young woman brushing out her long, dark hair comes to mind; her hair shines in the light from the cracked, yellowed window, and the air is filled with dancing dust motes. She’s singing softly, like a child.

I shudder.

Don’t go there, Grey.

I open the book and start to read.

Don’t go there, Grey.  Just find someone who looks a bit like her and beat the shit out of her, instead.

Ugh, see you next time, folks.

Grey Chapter 7 (Sunday, May 22nd, 2011)

Grey Chapter 6 (part 2 – because this chapter is FREAKISHLY long…)

Grey1.gif

Well hello, everyone!

I had hoped to finish recapping Chapter six of Grey (or Saturday May 21st 2011) on the same day I started it, but alas, this is apparently THE CHAPTER THAT DOES NOT END.

Let’s dive back in…

When we left our “hero” (Sorry, just had to throw up in my mouth a little bit), Grey had worried that Ana might still be hankering after hearts and flowers, despite him being NOT THAT KIND OF GUY.  He’d just said “laters, baby” to her for the first time after dropping her back off at her apartment and I… Well, I had lost the will to live.

We rejoin this hell as Christian and Elliot drive away from the apartment and Elliot asks his brother whether he and Ana had sex:

“How about you, hotshot?  Did she pop your cherry?”

I give him a sideways “fuck off” glare.

Elliot laughs.  “Man, you are one uptight son of a bitch.  He pulls his Sounders cap over his face and nestles down in his seat for a nap.

I turn up the volume of the music.

Sleep through that, Lelliot!

Yeah.  I envy my brother: his ease with women, his ability to sleep…and the fact that he’s not the son of a bitch.

I have so much to say…

grey2.gif

Okay, firstly, when you write a spin-off novel, re-telling the story from the POV of a different character, although you expect readers of the original novel(s) to be your biggest audience, you have to make allowances for new readers coming on board.  So, calling Elliot “Lelliot” really does seem weird, here.  We know from Fifty Shades that that’s how young Christian pronounced his brother’s name, but in this book, we’ve not been told that yet, so it just comes across as though Christian is being weirdly puerile and resorting to the equivalent of sticking his tongue out in the playground.

Secondly, for a guy who claims to envy his brother, Christian slags him off a lot.  I get that he’s bitter, but he acts like he hates the guy.

Finally, I am so, so done with making Ella this poisonous bitch who Christian has every right to hate.  From what we discovered in the first three books, Christian’s mum was trying to raise a son whilst battling drug addiction and dealing with an abusive pimp, before dying tragically young.  Any good therapist (not that Christian has one; Doctor Flynn is a total quack) would have helped Christian to realise that his mother is not the person to put all of his hatred onto.  I can only assume that EL James has some pretty twisted idea of what a “good” woman is, considering the truck-load of nastiness she heaps onto Christian’s mother, whilst the woman who abused Christian when he was in his teens is – for the most part at least – passed off as some kind of glamorous, strong person to be admired.

Aaaanyway…

Christian arrives back and checks the disclosure he ordered on José.  It reveals that he once got a ticket for possession of marijuana, but there is nothing to indicate sexual harassment:

Maybe last night would have been a first, if I hadn’t intervened.

Oh, you freaking HERO.  Thanks for rescuing Ana and then perving over whilst she slept, to the point that you had to leave the room before you did something “(you) might regret.”  Don’t think I’ve forgotten that.  Don’t think I will ever forget that.

And the little prick smokes weed?  I hope he doesn’t smoke around Ana – and I hope she doesn’t smoke, full stop.

grey3.gif

Christian sends the NDA Ana will need to sign to his printer at home, before he also decides to fill in Ana’s details on his Dom/sub contract, just in case she decides to sign that later, too.  Presumptuous, much.

Elliot comes to Christian’s room to suggest they go hiking and EL James takes one of her regular “I’m going to beat you over the head with the fact that Christian had a sad start in life, as though that makes any of his adult behaviour okay” breaks, by telling us that young Christian loved being outside with his adoptive family:

Here in the great outdoors I could forget.

Here was a refuge from my nightmares.

Christian begins to think about Ana and gets excited at the prospect of seeing her again and having her agree to his proposition:

I picture her sleeping beside me, soft and small….and my cock twitches with expectation.  I could have woken her and fucked her then – what a novelty that would have been.

I’ll fuck her in time.

I’ll fuck her bound and with her smart mouth gagged.

grey4

What a “novelty” that would have been, Christian?  To wake a woman up, after you’ve taken her back to your hotel room without consent, undressed her without consent and then fuck her without consent?  Because there is zero reference to consent here, and we have a shiny word for sex without consent, oh Christian Fuckwit Grey: RAPE.  That’s what you’re fantasising about and it’s not the first time.

“I could have woken her up and fucked her then,” so says this weapons-grade piece of crap and yet we’re supposed to like this guy?!  The only way in which I’d like Christian Grey right now is if he was hanging from his shrivelled dick.  Whilst on fire.

And whilst sex involving gags or binds isn’t abusive when there is informed consent on both sides and safety taken into consideration, Christian is thinking about doing those things to Ana (rather than with) as a foregone conclusion, regardless of her answer.

I literally can’t believe someone wrote this, thinking “this guy is so hot.”

I can’t believe someone published it, thinking “yeah, this is great.”

I can’t believe we still get abuse for pointing out that this is literally horrific.

We skip ahead to Grey going to pick Ana up from work and despite the fact that we’ve been smashed around the heads with “he doesn’t want a relationship” for so long that we all have collective concussion by this point, he thinks:

This is it: either the beginning of a new relationship or the beginning of the end.

Calm your tits, Grey.  The melodrama is getting seriously dull.

Ana and Grey have to go up in an elevator to reach Charlie Tango and of course, their earlier kiss is referred to:

She gives me a quick knowing look.

She’s remembering the kiss from this morning, but then…so am I.

“It’s only three floors,” I mutter.

As we stand inside, I make a mental note to fuck her in an elevator one day.  That’s if she agrees to my deal.

As if you give even half a toss about consent.

Honestly, I’m less recapping this book at this stage as I am trying not to allow it to poison me.

grey4.gif

Christian takes his time strapping Ana into her helicopter seat, trying not to picture her naked as he does so.  Obviously, strapping her in makes him think of other restraints he’d like to use on her, because the only reason he really wants to be with Ana is because he’s interested in her sexually.  We get told that her “smart mouth” catches him off guard, or that her innocence charms him, but he spends half his time trying to change her personality once they’re together, so I’m calling bull on that.  The guy is just obsessed with wanting to have sex with her.

“Do you know what you’re doing?”  She asks with wonder.  I inform her that I’ve been a fully qualified pilot for four years.  Her smile is infectious.

“You’re safe with me,” I reassure her.  “Well, while we’re flying.”  I give her a wink, she beams and I’m dazzled.

grey5.gif

I can’t believe we’ve gone this far into these recaps without me digging out a Twilight gif, frankly.

There’s a really boring description of getting Charlie Tango ready to take off, which basically reads like EL James did some research into flying a helicopter, just so she could say she’d researched something.

Once they’re flying in the night sky, Christian takes one of his regular melodramatic moments:

To me this is a comfort.  Nothing can harm me here.

I’m safe and hidden in the dark.

Meanwhile, I have never wished for a sniper more…

Ana asks how Christian knows he’s going the right way in the darkness:

“Here,” I point to the panel.  I don’t want to bore her talking about instrumental flight rules, but the fact is it’s all the equipment in front of me that guides us to our destination: the attitude indicator, the altimeter, the VSI, and of course the GPS.

I don’t want to bore you, but HERE ARE ALL THE FACTS I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT HELICOPTERS WHEN I SHOULD HAVE BEEN RESEARCHING BDSM AND THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSENT!

grey6.gif

Ana asks if he always impresses women with his big chopper (okay, so she may not have used those exact words) and he tells her that she’s the first woman he’s ever taken up in Charlie Tango.  He asks if she’s impressed and she replies that she’s “awed.”

“Awed?”  My smile is spontaneous.  And I remember Grace, my mother, stroking my hair as I read out loud from the Once and Future King.

“Christian, that was wonderful.  I’m awed, darling boy.”

I was seven and had only recently started speaking.

But of course, as soon as he does, it’s the best speaking ever.  But hey, this is just chucked in there yet again, to provide further evidence that poor Christian had a tough start and we should all go easy on him.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.

He tells Ana that he also loves soaring – or gliding – and wonders whether he should take her, sometime.  There’s a whole lot of melodramatic “ooh, will she agree to my fiendish desires” subtext as they approach Escala, which I just can’t be bothered with, to be honest.  When they arrive, Ana looks up at Christian and he thinks how young and trusting she is.

And I want her to look at me this way once she knows me…knows what I’m capable of.  “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.  You know that, don’t you?”  She needs to understand this.  I want her submission, but more than that I want her consent.

grey7.gif

This just feels like it’s shoe-horned in there.  I can’t take it seriously, because this guy’s done nothing but sexualise this woman since he met her and his own internal monologue is constantly reminding us that he’s thought about raping her.  It’s like EL James tossed the word “consent” in as often as possible, without realising that literally everything else she writes for this dude makes a mockery of it.

Christian gets some wine from his “wine fridge” (because he’s super rich, so he has to have an entire fridge just for wine, even though he hates seeing people get drunk and out of control) and when he asks if it’s okay for Ana, he’s concerned that she’s suddenly very quiet:

“I know nothing about wine, Christian.  I’m sure it will be fine.”  She sounds subdued.

Shit.  This isn’t going well.  Is she overwhelmed?  Is that it?

I pour two glasses and walk to where she stands in the middle of my living room, looking every bit the sacrificial lamb.  Gone is the disarming woman.  She looks lost.

Like me…

Welcome to the “EVERYTHING COMES BACK TO ME” show!

They make painfully awkward and frankly dull small-talk, in which Christian tells us that his apartment is more than ten thousand square feet.  Ana notices the piano and asks if Christian plays.  Obviously he does and he plays well, too, because he is perfect in every way.  She asks him if there’s anything he’s not able to do well and he thinks:

Cook.

Tell jokes.

Make free and easy conversation with a woman I’m attracted to.

Be touched…

Just as a heads up, Grey, you could have actually said the first two out loud.

Ana asks him why he sent her Tess of The D’Urbervilles specifically and he admits:

“It seemed appropriate.  I could hold you to some impossibly high ideal like Angel Clare, or debase you completely like Alex D’Uberville.”

Ana says that given the choice, she’d pick debasement and of course, Grey’s cock is all “ooh yay” at this news.  He goes to get the NDA and tells her that his lawyer insists on her signing it (which seems like bull, seeing as he insists on it, but hey).  Ana asks what happens if she doesn’t and Grey tells her that it’s “Angel Clare high ideals,” so Ana signs without having read the form at all.

“Anastasia, you should always read anything you sign.”  How could she be so foolish?  Have her parents taught her nothing?

“Christian, what you fail to understand is that I wouldn’t talk about us to anyone, anyway.  Even Kate.  So it’s immaterial whether I sign an agreement or not.  If it means so much to you, or your lawyer, whom you obviously talk to, then fine.  I’ll sign.”

Frankly, Ana, you should be talking to Kate about this.

She has an answer for everything.  It’s refreshing.  “Fair point well made, Miss Steele,” I note dryly.

With a quick, disapproving glance, she signs.

And before I can begin my pitch, she asks, “does this mean you’re going to make love to me tonight, Christian?”

What?

Me?

Make love?

grey8.gif

 

DOES SHE NOT KNOW THAT I AM CHRISTIAN GREY, HE WHO DOES NOT DO HEARTS AND FLOWERS?!  HAVE I NOT MADE THIS CLEAR?!  I AM SHOCKED!  SHOCKED, I TELL YOU!

He responds, as we all probably remember from the first book, by telling her that no, he doesn’t make love.  He fucks.  Hard.

She gasps.  That’s made her think.

It’s made me think you sound like a laughable prick.  Just in case you were wondering.

Christian takes Ana to his playroom and it’s revealed with the melodrama you’ve come to expect by now:

This is the crossroads.  I don’t want her to run.  But I’ve never felt this exposed.  Even in Elena’s hands…and I know it’s because she knows nothing about the lifestyle.

I open the door and follow her into my playroom.  

My safe place.

The only place where I’m truly myself.

Ana walks silently through the room for a while, whilst Christian agonises over what she might be thinking.  Eventually, he asks her to say something.  She asks whether he does this stuff to other people, or whether they do it to him.

“People?”  I want to snort.  “I do this to women who want me to.”

It may shock you, Grey, but women are people.  I can’t decide if this sounds homophobic (because Ana said “people” rather than “women” and we all know Grey hates having his uber heterosexuality questioned) or whether he just thinks he’s somehow above “people” in general.  Either way, it’s a very weird thing to snort at.

“You’re a sadist,” she says, startling me.

Fuck.  She sees me.

“I’m a Dominant,” I say quickly, hoping to move the conversation on.

She “sees” him.  And he wants to move the conversation quickly on.  Who else is getting “shit, she’s realising I do this because I just want to beat women regardless of their actual consent or enjoyment” vibes?!

grey9.gif

Christian tells Ana that he wants her to surrender to him in all things.  She asks why she’d do that.

“To please me,” I whisper.  This is what I need from you.  “In very simple terms, I want you to please me.”

“How do I do that?” She breathes,

“I have rules, and I want you to comply with them.  They are for your benefit and my pleasure.  If you follow these rules to my satisfaction, I shall reward you.  If you don’t, I shall punish you and you will learn.”

And I can’t wait to train you.  In every way.

So, she’s just learning about BDSM here and literally nowhere has he said “this can be hugely pleasurable for you.  It’s all “this is what I want.”

“Okay, and what do I get out of this?”

“Me,” I shrug.  That’s it, baby.  Just me.  All of me.  And you’ll find pleasure, too…

Okay, firstly, I hate this line, because he knows Ana wants a “vanilla” relationship, so by offering himself as what she gets if she agrees to this, he knows she’s more likely to do it, because he’s presenting it as the only way she can have him.  Secondly, TELL HER SHE WILL FIND PLEASURE, YOU MORON.  DON’T JUST THINK IT.  This guy is the lousiest Dom ever.

I hold my hand out to her and for the first time she looks from my hand to my face, undecided.

Shit.

I’ve frightened her.  “I’m not going to hurt you, Anastasia.”

grey10.gif

Grey shows Ana the room she’d be staying in if she agrees to his terms.  She’s confused as to why she wouldn’t be sleeping in his bed and he reminds her that he doesn’t usually sleep with women and that he only made an exception for her when she was blind drunk (I guess that’s… a compliment?!  I don’t even know, anymore).

He suggests they eat dinner.

“Weirdly, I seem to have lost my appetite,” she declares, with her familiar stubborn expression.

“You must eat, Anastasia.”

Her eating habits will be one of the first issues I’ll work on if she agrees to be mine… that, and her fidgeting.

Stop getting ahead of yourself, Grey!

Yeah, please do.  Because she never signs your damn contract and we know you’re going to start trying to control her eating habits all the same.

There’s only bread, cheese and grapes for dinner, so Christian wonders whether he ought to take her out to eat.

Like a date.

Another date.

I don’t want to raise expectations like that.

I don’t do dates.

Only with her…

If we were playing a drinking game, where you took a shot every time this asshole proclaims that he doesn’t do any form of romance, I’d be dead by now.  But, we’ve reached the point where he starts acknowledging that he’ll do that stuff with her.  This is the “she’s changing him” crap the fans go on about and this is where it begins.  Ana is different to all the other girls and that makes everything that happens somehow magically okay.

They begin discussing the other paperwork:

“What paperwork?”

“Well, apart from the NDA, a contract saying what we will and won’t do.  I need to know your limits and you need to know mine.  This is consensual, Anastasia.”

“And if I don’t want to do this?”

Shit.

“That’s fine,” I lie.

“But we won’t have any sort of relationship?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“This is the only sort of relationship I’m interested in.”

See, if he actually liked her, the way the author is so desperate to have us believe he does – if she really did charm him with her personality and made him feel things he’d never felt before – he would surely be open to discussing taking baby steps towards incorporating his sexual kinks into an otherwise fledgling vanilla relationship.  Instead, he’s all “my way or the highway.”  It’s manipulative and shitty and it forces Ana into a corner.

Ana asks why he is the way he is and Grey makes an analogy about some people liking cheese and some people not liking cheese, and frankly, now I’m just hungry.

grey11.gif

Oh, but I like YOU, Phil…

Ahem.

Ana is not particularly hungry, but Grey orders her to eat several times.  See, this whole “everything is consensual” thing is already losing water.  She’s not signed anything and he’s trying to boss her around against her will.

Ana begins asking questions and Grey, just like earlier in the playroom, gives all the important answers in his freaking head instead of out loud.

“Have you ever hurt anyone?”

“Yes.”

“Badly?”

“No.”  Dawn was fine, if a little shaken by the experience.  And if I’m honest, so was I.

Tell her what happened, you utter maggot.  Consent has to be informed and you’re not giving her the details she’s asking you for!

“Will you hurt me?”

“What do you mean?”

“Physically, will you hurt me?”

Only what you can take.  

“I will punish you when you require it and it will be painful.”

See, again, a good Dominant would be saying the “only what you can take” bit out loud.  That’s the important bit; Ana is coming across as though she might be scared of being physically hurt and if you care for her, your job is to calm those nerves and let her know that you’ll never go too far.  Explain about safe words being put in place to ensure her safety.  Remind her that she’s in control.  But instead, you keep that stuff in your head and just tell her “it will be painful.”  What the fuck is this, BDSM for the lobotomised?!

Also, he then thinks:

For example, when you get drunk and put yourself at risk.

So, he really does want to beat her because she got drunk.  Not for her pleasure, but because he was pissed off about it.  Drink that in.  That’s not BDSM.  I can’t stress this enough: THIS IS NOT SAFE, CONSENSUAL BDSM.

Ana asks if he has ever been beaten, himself:

“Yes.”

Many, many times.  Elena was devilishly handy with a cane.  It’s the only touch I could tolerate.

This series is so messed up.

He takes her into his office and shows her the Dom/sub contract he has for her.  Ana begins finding things to quibble:

“I’m not sure about accepting money for clothes.  It feels wrong.”

“I want to lavish money on you.  Let me buy you some clothes.  I may need you to accompany me to functions.”

Grey, what are you saying?  This would be a first.  “And I want you dressed well.  I’m sure your salary, when you do get a job, won’t cover the kind of clothes I’d like you to wear.”

grey12.gif

Oh, this freaking guy.  Not content with being an abusive ass-wipe, he has to be a snob, too!  Ana is graduating and she seems to have done well – why can’t she get a job that pays a decent enough salary for her to buy nice clothes?!

Ana says she doesn’t want to exercise four times a week and Grey starts insisting on it.

“I thought this was a negotiation?”

Again, she’s disarming me, calling me out on my shit.

If you KNOW you are being a shit, or giving her shit, maybe make the choice to stop and actually comply with all those rules about consent that you keep bleating on about?!

He hands Ana his list of hard limits and asks if there’s anything she wants to add.  When Ana remains silent, he asks if there’s anything she wouldn’t do in bed.  She responds that she doesn’t know.

Patience, Grey.  For fuck’s sake.  You’ve thrown a great deal of information at her.  I continue my gentle approach.  It’s novel.

So, you’d normally be yelling, or demanding she answer?  Good to know.

Ana finally admits that she’s never had sex and Grey’s reaction is… Well, sit down, pour yourself a cuppa and I promise I’ll have some gifs of puppies ready afterwards:

The Earth stops spinning.

I don’t fucking believe it.

How?

Why?

Fuck!

“Never?” I’m incredulous.

She shakes her head, eyes wide.

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

She nods, embarrassed.  I close my eyes.  I can’t look at her.

How the hell did I get this so wrong?

Anger lances through me.  What can I do with a virgin?  I glare at her as fury surges through my body.

grey13

grey14

grey15.gif

 

This…  This is not a normal reaction.  Sure, Grey has put himself out there by showing her what he’s into, but she is under no obligation to agree and she’s signed his precious NDA, so it’s not like she’s likely to go rushing off to tell the world that Christian Grey likes it rough.  There is no excuse for being this unreasonably angry about the fact that Ana hasn’t had sex.  He wonders whether their kiss in the elevator (Where I could have just fucked her there and then ) was also her first kiss.

“Have you ever been kissed, apart from by me?”  Please say yes.

“Of course I have,” she looks offended.  Yeah, she’s been kissed, but not often.  And for some reason, the thought is…pleasing.

So, let me get this straight: you really want her to have been kissed, but the idea that she hasn’t been kissed too much is a relief.  So, she has to have been kissed the RIGHT amount.

I wonder what it would be like if literally anyone in the world held Christian Grey to his own impossible, eternally-shifting standards.

Grey can’t understand how Ana has “avoided sex,” particularly at college, even though he admits that he was the only student not at it like a rabbit when he was at college, so yet again, we have that good old double standard…

“Why are you so angry with me?”  She whispers.

Of course she would think that.  Make this right, Grey.

“I’m not angry with you.  I’m angry with myself.  I just assumed -”  Why the hell would I be angry with you?

I don’t know, you seem pretty damn angry with her, jerk-weed.

He asks if she wants to go and she says no.  He starts wondering if he could have “vanilla” sex with her and seriously, this is the guy we’re supposed to get our knickers in a knot for:

I could take her to bed.  Break her in. 

grey16.gif

Ana bites her lip, which of course turns Christian on.  She apologises and he tells her not to; it’s just that he wants to bite her lip, too.  And then this happens:

Her breath hitches.  

Oh.  Maybe she’s interested.  Yes.  Let’s do this.  My decision is made.

Red, because during a consensual sexual encounter, both parties have to make the decision to actually have sex.  But in this case, it’s all down to Christian.  He’s decided.

It isn’t until he’s told her that he’s going to “rectify the situation” that he bothers to add:

“That’s if you want to.  I mean, I don’t want to push my luck.”

He refers to having sex with her as a “means to an end,” which we all want to hear, am I right, ladies?!

“But I haven’t done all the things you require from your list of rules.”  Her voice is timid.  Is she afraid?  I hope not.  I don’t want her to be afraid.

Here’s a pro-tip, in that case: Don’t start freaking out and getting angry over something like her not having sexual experience.

Vanilla sex?

Can I do this?

I can draw you a freaking picture, if you need me to.

In yet more swoon-worthy internal thoughts, Grey is pleased that at least he doesn’t have to think about “every other dick she’s slept with.”

grey17.gif

Grey has some doubts, which he of course ignores, like the sensible, considerate wannabe Dom he is:

Deep down I know I should send her home.  But the simple truth is, I don’t want her to go and I want her.

So, hey.  Whatever you want…

We’ve reached the sexy, sexy, sexy-times, guys.  I’m not going to recap this is much detail, because I relish my sanity, but there’s a lot of internal monologue about how innocent Ana is and how much Grey wants to see her skin pink from the snap of a cane.  And of course, there’s a lot of panic about whether Ana will touch him and where.

For a moment, I worry where she’ll touch me next.  She caresses my cheek, then strokes my hair.  It’s a little unnerving, but when she twists her fingers in my hair, pulling gently…

Damn, that feels good.

I groan in response, but can’t let her continue.  Before she can touch me again, I push her against the bed and drop to my knees.  I want her out of these jeans – I want to strip her, arouse her some more, and…keep her hands off me.

EL James is killing me with these endless Oxford commas.

grey18.gif

Grey asks Ana to show him how she pleasures herself.

She frowns.

“Don’t be coy, Ana.  Show me.”  Part of me wants to spank the shyness out of her.

Yep, that’s super healthy.  She’s completely sexually inexperienced and that makes you want to beat her.  Okay, then.

Grey’s internal monologue tells us that Ana is incredibly responsive and is allowing him free reign over her body.  He thinks “she wants this, she really wants this” and I don’t know if it’s him telling the reader, or EL James addressing her critics, at this point.

He makes her orgasm just by playing with her nipples, which would definitely happen with a nervous virgin, but then again, this is Ana, who can instantly climax on demand…

EL James is clearly terrified of any sexual words for female genitalia, which is why Grey reaches down for Ana’s “vulva.”

This just makes me think of that episode of Friends, where “vulva” is the only dirty word Ross can think of.

Finally, Grey is ready to take Ana’s virginity and he ponders how to go about it:

Should I be gentle and prolong the agony, or do I go for it?

I go for it.  I need to possess her.

She’s a virgin who has never even masturbated, before.  Who gives a shit what you need, Christian?  Quit thinking about yourself the entire bloody time!

Afterwards, Christian asks Ana if he hurt her.  Ana finds this amusing, what with the whole wanting to hurt her, thing.

“You haven’t answered me,” I growl.  I need to know if she found that enjoyable.  All the evidence points to a “yes” – but I need to hear it from her.

Insecure Christian is insecure.

While I’m waiting for her reply I remove the condom.  Lord, I hate these things.  I discard it discreetly on the floor.

grey19.gif

PUT IT IN A DAMN BIN, WEIRDO!!!!!

Of course, because these two are such magical sex beasts, they’re both ready to go again within seconds.  And during their second time, Christian tells Ana:

“You are mine…Only mine.  Don’t forget it.”

grey20.gif

Nope.  You shagged her twice, that’s literally it.  She is not yours.  She hasn’t signed your contract and if she wanted to, she could get up after this and just go home.  Owing you nothing.  Your obsessive behaviour is creepy and gross.

I’m waiting to suddenly become aroused.  It’s not happening.  I’ve read sexier toaster manuals.

Christian starts masturbating Ana and she squirms beneath him, circling her hips in rhythm with his touch.

“Keep still,” I warn.

Or I might stop…

The dude is literally preventing her from doing things that are heightening her pleasure.  Where is the feminist empowerment I was told I’d find in these books??!!

Ana bites his thumb and Christian thinks of all the ways he’d punish her for it, if she was his sub.

He then starts a bit of non-consensual orgasm denial on her.

Her insides start to tremble.

“Oh no baby, not yet.”

No way am I letting you come.

Not when I’m enjoying this so much.

“Oh please,” she cries.

“I want you sore, baby.”  I pull out and sink into her again.  “Every time you move tomorrow, I want you to be reminded that I’ve been here.  Only me.  You are mine.”

“Please, Christian,” she begs.

“What do you want, Anastasia?  Tell me.”  I continue the slow torture.  “Tell me.”

“You, please.”  She’s desperate.

She wants me.

Good girl.

grey21.gif

He doesn’t let her come, until he’s ready for her to.  That’s the kind of thing he shouldn’t be enforcing on someone sexually inexperienced and entirely new to BDSM.  Whilst orgasm-denial is hugely pleasurable for some, Ana is, in Grey’s own words, “desperate.”

This isn’t the last time he engages in non-consensual orgasm denial, either.

Thankfully, as soon as she orgasms, Ana falls asleep and this horrifically long chapter is finally over.

I wish I had something productive to say, but I don’t.  I just despise this book and I know it’s going to get worse.

Yay.

 

 

Grey Chapter 6 (part 2 – because this chapter is FREAKISHLY long…)

Grey: Chapter 6 (Saturday May 21st 2011)

HI THERE, EVERYONE!

So, in the week where a weirdly obsessive troll on the internet set up a page impersonating me and trying to discredit my fledgling career as a children’s author, I also get to recap another chapter of the nightmare that is Grey.

I am the luckiest girl in the world.

If you remember, in the last chapter, Grey illegally stalked Ana to a bar, took her home when she was too out of it to consent, undressed her whilst she was barely conscious and all of this was meant to somehow prove he lurves her and just wants to protect her or some nonsense.  We’re getting dangerously close to the sexy times, so…

grey1.gif

As always, italics indicate text straight from the book and red ink indicates particularly abusive moments.

Alright, I can’t put this off, anymore…

The chapter begins with Grey finally coming to join Ana in bed (which she hasn’t consented to, but hey, I think we’re well beyond pretending he cares about that, by now…).  We’re reminded that he doesn’t like to be touched:

She’s comatose; it’s unlikely she’s going to thrash around and touch me.  I hesitate for a moment as the darkness swells within me, but it doesn’t surface and I know it’s because I’m watching the hypnotic rise and fall of her chest and I’m breathing in sync with her.

Aah, I love it when the author subtly makes the heroine responsible for curing the hero’s problems just by being there, don’t you?

Also, I know EL James is trying to make Grey’s past all the more mysterious and tragic by referring to “the darkness” all the time, but I have two issues with it:  Firstly, most readers of this genuinely awful excuse for a novel have already read all three Fifty Shades books, so they know what happened in his past and will expect him to refer to “my childhood” or “what happened to me as a kid.”  Which brings me neatly onto my second issue, because literally every time Christian Grey internally monologues about “the darkness,” this is all I see:

grey2.gif

Don’t be scared, Christian!  There’s a chance we can make it now; we’ll be rockin’ till the sun goes down!  I BELIEVE IN A THING CALLED LOOOOOOOOVE, WOOOAH OOOH OOOH OOOOH! GUITAR!

Ahem.  Sorry.

Anyway, Ana is dreaming and softly talking in her sleep.  At one point she licks her lips and Grey tells us how arousing it is, except he says it likes he’s James Bond:

“It’s arousing, very arousing.”

The name’s Grey.  Abusive Asshole Grey.

We then jump to the morning (or rather, later that morning, seeing as Grey went to bed shortly before 2am) and I just need to quote some of this verbatim for you guys, because it’s just… It’s just so badly written:

It’s quiet when I open my eyes, and I’m momentarily disorientated.  Oh yes.  I’m at The Heathman.  The clock at my bedside says 7:43.

When was the last time I slept this late?

Ana.

I’m sorry, what?!  That’s like asking: “When did I last have peanut butter for breakfast?” and casually responding: “Steve.”

Grey turns to look at Ana’s beautiful face and then we get this:

I have never slept with a woman.  I’ve fucked many, but to wake up beside an alluring young woman is a new and stimulating experience.  My cock agrees. 

This will not do.

grey3.gif

Is… Is his penis sentient?  Are we reading its internal monologue, too?!

And I love how, just after Christian and his penis have a little agreement on something, we have to be told that it simply WILL NOT DO.  Because, dear reader, Christian Grey does not do romance.  AND NEITHER DOES HIS PENIS.  I really don’t feel that EL James has mentioned that enough, yet.  It’s very possible that people are reading this and still thinking Grey is looking for “The One.”  She really needs to be a little more heavy-handed in her portrayal of Christian Grey as a guy who isn’t looking for love, because I’m just not getting it, yet.

Sorry, my sarcasm-o-meter just exploded.

Christian gets out of bed and goes to check his emails, but he finds himself distracted by the thought of Ana being in the next room.  He decides to get her some orange juice and two Advil in the hope of staving off her hangover and he takes it back into the bedroom for her:

She’s still alseep when I enter, her hair a riot of mahogany spread across her pillow, and the covers have slipped below her waist.  Her t-shirt has ridden up, exposing her belly and her navel.  The sight stirs my body once more.

Stop standing here, ogling the girl, for fuck’s sake, Grey.

I have to get out of here before I do something I’ll regret.

So, he’s literally admitting that he’s tempted to assault a sleeping woman, because he can’t control himself at the mere glimpse of some exposed belly.  There is nothing else that that line could be referring to.  He’s not suggesting that he’s tempted to climb back into bed and lie next to her, all innocent.  He’s genuinely just thinking “damn, that comatose woman is so hot.  Better go out before I’m tempted to rape her.”

This is the hero we’re being sold.  And you know what?  We deserve better.  Every single one of us deserves a hundred million times better.

And the worst bit is knowing there’ll be fans who actually use this as proof that he’s a good guy, just because he didn’t rape her.

grey4.gif

Grey goes out for a jog, to work off all those pesky rape-urges, and when he returns, he notices that Taylor has dropped off the clothes Grey ordered him to get for Ana.  Grey decides it’s time to wake her up and goes back into the bedroom:

I knock on the door and enter.  To my delight, she’s sitting up in bed.  The tablets are gone and so is the juice.

Good girl.

She pales as I saunter into the room.

Keep it casual, Grey.  You don’t want to be charged with kidnapping.

She closes her eyes, and I assume it’s because she’s embarrassed.

Okaaaay, point one: I do so love it when the hero of the supposed love story I’m reading is making little internal reminders to himself that he’s literally kidnapped a woman, as though this is some cute joke and I’m supposed to want to find a creepy guy like this for myself, rather than disembowel the one I’m reading about.

Point two: ANA DOES NOT NEED TO BE EMBARRASSED.  YOU are the one who kidnapped her.  YOU are the one who illegally tracked her phone and took her away from her friends.  YOU are the one at fault, here.  All she did was go out and have a few too many drinks.  People do that all the time.

“How did I get here?”  She asks, as though she’s afraid of the answer.

Probably because she is afraid.  She’s just woken up in a strange room and she’s with a guy who frequently admits to purposefully intimidating her.

“Did you undress me?”

“Yes.”  Who else would have undressed you?

Christian Grey – the superhero literally nobody asked for.  Special abilities include stripping comatose women.

She blushes and at last she has some colour in her cheeks.  Perfect teeth bite down on her lip.  I suppress a groan.

“We didn’t – ?”  She whispers, staring at her hands.

Christ, what kind of animal does she think I am?

Um… I don’t know… Maybe the kind that literally had to leave the room barely an hour ago, because he was tempted to “do something (he’d) regret?!”

Christian tells her that he likes his women sentient and receptive (like his penis, apparently):

She sags with relief, which makes me wonder if this has happened to her before, that she’s passed out and woken up in a stranger’s bed and found out he’s fucked her without her consent.  Maybe that’s the photographer’s modus operandi.  The thought is disturbing.  But I recall her confession last night – that she’d never been drunk before.  Thank God she hasn’t made a habit of this.

grey5.gif

I actually worry this book will kill me through a rage induced heart attack.

Excuse my language, but WHAT THE FLYING FUCK????!!!!

First, we’re supposed to think Christian is this super great guy because he didn’t rape her whilst she was asleep, yet mere paragraphs later, we’re meant to hate on someone else just because Christian thinks he might have, given the chance?!  Yo, EL?  Having your potential rapist “hero” decide another guy is a potential rapist villain does not make the first potential rapist okay!!  You can’t make Christian somehow acceptable by literally just having him think “well, I didn’t rape her, but someone else might have and that would be bad.”  That’s setting the bar for your sodding hero so damn low that I hope he trips over it and smashes his freaking face in.

Also, this is victim-blaming at its finest (and by that, I mean its utter worst).  Because it reads as though Christian is not disturbed by the thought of someone else raping Ana, but of her putting herself in the position to be raped.  He’s relieved that she doesn’t make a habit of getting comatose through alcohol and ending up in a stranger’s bed, not knowing if they’ve had sex – consensual or otherwise.  And yet the only reason she is in this position is because he put her in it.

I hate this man.  I hate this author.  I hate this book.

grey6.gif

And I’m so sorry if you thought it might improve from there, because… It doesn’t:

“I’m so sorry,” she says, her voice full of shame.

Hell.  Maybe I should go easy on her.

YA THINK???!!!

Ana then stands up to him (Ana is way more assertive in these books than she is when we’re reading from her POV, which is a small mercy at this point, but I’ll take it, just the same…):

“You didn’t have to track me down with whatever James Bond gadgetry you’re developing for the highest bidder.”

Whoa!  Now she’s pissed.  Why?

LITERALLY HOW LONG HAVE YOU GOT?  BECAUSE THIS GIRL HAS AMPLE REASON AND I WOULD LIKE TO EXPLAIN THEM ALL IN THE FORM OF PUNCHES TO YOUR SMUG FACE.

But alas, I don’t get to do that, because despite having just told himself to “go easy” on the girl he kidnapped and considered sexually assaulting, Christian decides to list reasons why he’s done nothing wrong:

“First, the technology to track cell phones is available over the Internet.”

Well, the Deep Net…

“Second, my company does not manufacture any kind of surveillance devices.”

My temper is fraying, but I’m on a roll.  “And third, if I hadn’t come out to get you, you’d probably be waking up in the photographer’s bed, and from what I can remember, you weren’t overly enthused about him pressing his suit.”

Again, EL, listen really damn carefully: CHRISTIAN THINKING THAT JOSÉ MIGHT HAVE RAPED HER DOES NOT MAKE THE FACT THAT CHRISTIAN HAD TO STOP HIMSELF FROM DOING THE EXACT SAME THING ANY BETTER.

Ana starts laughing at the way Christian’s talking and she tells him he sounds like a “courtly knight.”

Grey’s internal monologue tells us that he finds her irreverence beguiling, but of course, we’ve not had a “deep, mysterious, dark Christian” moment for at least seven paragraphs, so he also thinks:

I’m under no illusion that I’m a knight in shining armour.  Boy, has she got the wrong idea.  And though it may not be to my advantage, I’m compelled to warn her that there’s nothing chivalrous or courtly about me.  “Anastasia, I don’t think so.  Dark knight, maybe.”  If only she knew…

Don’t care.

grey7.gif

Christian changes the subject, asking if Ana had eaten anything before she went out drinking.  Apparently, Ana belongs to the “Eating Is Cheating” school of thought, because she confesses that no, she hadn’t.  Christian tells her that that’s why she was so ill and Ana asks if he’s going to keep on scolding her:

“Is that what I’m doing?”

“I think so.”

“You’re lucky I’m just scolding you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, if you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week after the stunt you pulled yesterday.  You didn’t eat, you got drunk, you put yourself at risk.”  The fear in my gut surprises me; such irresponsible, risk-taking behaviour.  “I hate to think what could have happened to you.”

I’m sorry (well, no, I’m not remotely sorry), but no amount of fear in your gut makes it okay that you just admitted to wanting to beat someone out of anger, rather than as part of a consensual, sexual act.  That’s not BDSM, that’s just abuse.  Pure and simple.

Ana explains that she would have been fine, because she was with Kate and she explains that José “just got out of line.”  Grey goes on to say that someone should teach José some manners and Ana laughs that he’s “quite the disciplinarian.”

This causes Grey to picture Ana shackled to his bench with a peeled ginger root in her ass, whilst he uses a “belt or a strap” to “teach her not to be so irresponsible.”  Again, there is zero consideration for consent or for Ana’s pleasure in this mental image; this is just the creep who abducted a girl too drunk to consent, admitting to wanting to physically punish her so she does as he wants from now on.  Hence the red ink.

And I say to that “wanting to beat her without consent and by way of punishing her:” Ew.

Ana stares at him and Christian worries that she might be able to read his mind – not for the first time, either.  I can only assume he’s binge-watched way too much Derren Brown.  Then he wonders whether she’s maybe “just looking at a pretty face.”

grey8.gif

Grey goes off to shower and thinks about jerking off, but decides not to:

…The familiar fear of discovery and disclosure, from an earlier time in my life, stops me.

Elena would not be pleased.

Old habits.

I say again: EW.  I’m guessing we’re going to discover where Grey got his creepy “all your orgasms are belong to me” shit from Fifty Shades of Grey from in this book?  Did Elena demand to “keep” all of his?  Don’t get me started on the way Kim Basinger is describing Elena as some kind of feminist icon, all “strong, independent woman” when promoting the films, because Elena Lincoln is a freaking child molester and I want to burn not only this book, but the entire franchise to the ground.

As he showers, Grey wonders whether Ana is interested in him and he decides that there must be “hope” because she’s still there and she’s been staring at him.  He wonders whether she’d make a good submissive and considers how innocent she seems.

She’s probably been subjected to a few fumbling encounters with boys like the photographer.

The thought of her fumbling with anyone irks me.

I could just ask her if she’s interested.

No.  I’d have to show her what she’d be taking on if she agreed to a relationship with me.

No, you wouldn’t.  Not immediately.  If you like her, ask her if she’s interested and if she says yes, go on a few “vanilla” dates and then, if you think things are going well after a couple of weeks or so, tell her you’ve got some kinky stuff you’d like to try and ask if she’d be up for it.

Of course, that wouldn’t occur to you, Christian, because you’re a prize creep who wants everything his way from the get-go.

Have I told you lately that I hate you?

When Grey returns from his shower, Ana is searching for her jeans.  He thinks about how her legs are too good to be hidden in pants, because obviously, he has to control literally every aspect of her life.  He explains that he sent her jeans to the laundry, because they were spattered with vomit.  He adds that he had Taylor bring her some new clothes.

She raises her eyes – in surprise, I think.  “Um, I’ll have a shower,” she mutters, and then as an afterthought, she adds, “Thanks.”

Grabbing the bag, she dodges around me, darts into the bathroom and locks the door.

Hmm… She couldn’t get into the bathroom quick enough.

Away from me.

Sensible girl.  I fail to see how we’re supposed to believe, even for a second, that Grey is this super-intelligent guy.  He seems constantly bemused by the idea that a young girl whose phone he tracked and who he brought back to his hotel room when she was basically comatose, might be freaked out by some of the stuff he’s been saying and doing.  I get that he’s all “tortured and dark” and shit, but he’s meant to be clever.  He comes across as a completely thick weirdo.

Breakfast arrives whilst Ana is in the shower and because we have to be reminded on every page that Christian Grey is the hottest, most desirable man in the entire universe (because that’s apparently the only good thing about him, besides his cash), we’re told that the two young women who bring the huge selection of food he ordered for breakfast are giving him “furtive looks.”

If you don’t fancy Christian Grey, you’re not a real woman, damnit!

Elliot texts Grey to say that Kate wants to know if Ana is alive.

I chuckle, somewhat mollified that Ana’s so-called friend is thinking about her.

Literally jump into the sun, you shit weasel.  Kate is a better person than you will ever be.  Kate farts better people than you.

Ana emerges from the shower and Grey says that he’s told Elliot to let Kate know that Ana’s okay.

Ana sits to have breakfast and eats pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and maple syrup, which of course makes Grey delighted, what with his major obsession with Ana’s eating habits, and it also assuages the guilt he’s been feeling at having ordered so much food, because he wasn’t sure what she’d like to eat.  Remember, Grey hates waste.  But he will also not tolerate hunger.  EVER.

He comments that her hair is damp from the shower and Ana replies that she couldn’t find a hairdryer.  Grey internally worries that she’ll get sick and quite frankly I’m so done with him treating her like a kid already and I know it gets worse, so I’m glossing over it so I don’t retch.

As they eat, Ana offers to pay Christian back for the clothes:

“I should give you some money for these clothes.”

What?

I glare at her and she continues, quickly, “you’ve already given me the books, which, of course, I can’t accept.  But these, please let me pay you back.”

Sweetheart.

Anastasia, trust me, I can afford it.”

“That’s not the point.  Why should you buy these for me?”

“Because I can.”  I’m a very rich man, Ana.

“Just because you can, that doesn’t mean you should.”  Her voice is soft, but suddenly I’m wondering if she’s looked through me and seen my darkest desires.  “Why did you send me the books, Christian?”

Because I wanted to see you again, and here you are…

Normal people might just send a text.  Juuuuust sayin’.

Christian then gives her the “I don’t do romance” speech, because EL James hasn’t written that for a few minutes and she’s got the shakes:

“I felt I owed you an apology and a warning.  Anastasia, I’m not a hearts-and-flowers kind of man.  I don’t do romance.  My tastes are very singular.  You should steer clear of me.  There’s something about you, though, and I’m finding it impossible to stay away.  But I think you figured that out already.”

STAY AWAY FROM ME!  EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE SUBCONSCIOUSLY FORCING ME TO BE UNABLE TO STAY AWAY FROM YOU!

grey9.gif

Ana tells him not to stay away from her (which is lucky, because he’s basically just admitted he has no intention of doing so) and when he tells her she doesn’t know what she’s saying, she replies:

“Enlighten me, then.”

Her words travel straight to my cock.

Fuck.

“You’re not celibate?”  She asks.

“No, Anastasia, I’m not celibate.”  And if you’d let me tie you up I’d prove it to you right now.

Her eyes widen and her cheeks pink.

Oh, Ana.

Notice how in his internal thoughts, he calls her Ana, which is what she prefers to be called.  But out loud, he insists on calling her Anastasia, despite her wishes.  He continues to do it even after she tells him, later on in this very chapter, that she’d rather be referred to as Ana.  Because he’s a prick.  This is a small way of showing it, but it’s a way, all the same.

Grey decides he has to show her what his interests are, as that’s the only way he’ll ever know if she could share them.  He asks her what her plans are and she explains that she’s working from midday to eight that day and that she and Kate are moving to Seattle the following weekend.  Ana bites her lip and Grey says out loud “I’d like to bite that lip,” to which Ana replies: “Why don’t you?”

“Because I’m not going to touch you, Anastasia – not until I have your written consent to do so.”

This is enough to intrigue Ana and so, once Grey suggests that they either head to his place in Seattle that evening when she finishes work.

“Why can’t you tell me now?”

“Because I’m enjoying my breakfast and your company.   Once you’re enlightened, you probably won’t want to see me again.”

She frowns as she processes what I’ve said.  “Tonight,” she says.

Whoa.  That didn’t take long.

“Like Eve, you’re so quick to eat from the tree of knowledge,” I taunt her.

“Are you smirking at me, Mr Grey?”  She asks.

I look at her through narrowed eyes.

Oh baby, you asked for this.

That’s getting red-inked, because all she’s asked for right now is to be told what his big secret is.  But we all know that Grey will use Ana’s initial intrigue and desire to be with him to explain away how she somehow knew what she was getting into.  So, red.

Grey calls Taylor and demands to have Charlie Tango on standby.  Ana notices how he bosses people about and calls him out on it:

“Do people always do what you tell them?”  She asks, and the disapproval in her voice is obvious.  Is she scolding me, now?  Her challenge is annoying.

But it’s okay for him to scold her constantly.

He informs her that he has a helicopter that will fly them to Seattle, later.  Ana is suitably impressed and Grey thinks:

Sometimes, it’s just fucking great to be me.

grey10.gif

Of course, then he has to immediately prove why being around him is anything but great, by commanding her to eat:

She seems stunned.

“Eat!”  My voice is more forceful.  “Anastasia, I have an issue with wasted food.  Eat.”

“I can’t eat all this.”  She studies all the food on the table and I feel guilty once more.  Yes, there is too much food here.

“Eat what’s on your plate.  If you’d eaten properly yesterday, you wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t be declaring my hand so soon.”

Hell.  This could be a huge mistake.

It is.  For her.

Ana laughs at him as she finishes eating and we’re supposed to be charmed by the fact that it makes Grey want to laugh at himself, too.  But this guy is such a massive anal polyp that I can’t be charmed by anything he says or does, so…

He tells her to dry her hair when she’s finished breakfast.

Suddenly, she gets up from the table and I have to stop myself from telling her that she doesn’t have permission.

She’s not your submissive…yet, Grey.

And even when she agrees to “try,” she never signs your unenforceable contract, so… She can get up whenever she bloody wants, ass-hat.

As Ana goes off to dry her hair and get ready to leave, Grey texts Andrea asking her to email over an NDA for Ana to sign, thinking:

If Ana wants enlightenment, she’ll have to keep her mouth shut.

Charmer.

They head out to the elevator and Ana bites her lip.  This is the point where Christian can no longer control himself.  He tells himself she’s “doing it on purpose,” growling “fuck the paperwork” and kissing Ana as he pushes her against the back wall of the elevator.

She tastes every bit as good as she looks.  Reminding me of a time of plenty.

Grey11.gif

Plenty of what?!  Food?  Virgins?  I’m… I’m so confused.

Afterwards, he can tell that she’s cleaned her teeth and she admits to using his toothbrush, which kind of makes me want to dry heave, so let’s skip that part…

They get in the car and Grey receives calls from Welch saying he has the “information” Grey required (about José) and from Andrea, confirming that she’s sent the NDA.  Elliot then calls and immediately asks if Christian got laid.

“Yo, bro, did you stick it to the girl who’d passed out and therefore couldn’t consent?!”

Almost everyone in this is awful.  I want to like Elliot, purely because he’s not Christian, but damnit, the dude is making is bloody difficult, being this creepy right now.

Grey informs his brother that he’s not alone in the car and Ana says hi to Elliot.  After the call, Ana asks Grey why he insists on calling her Anastasia.  He says it’s because it’s her name and when Ana says she prefers to be called Ana, he still starts the next sentence with “Anastasia,” because, as we mentioned earlier, he is dreadful.

“Anastasia,” I say, ignoring her disapproving look.  “What happened in the elevator – it won’t happen again – well, unless it’s premeditated.”

You know, like murder.

Ana tells him she liked what happened in the elevator.

They finally reach Ana’s apartment (for real, this is the longest chapter in the history of chapters and I’m going to have to stop soon before I pass out from either boredom or rage – whichever comes first).  When they go inside, Kate is relieved to see Ana:

Kavanagh jumps up and gives me a critical once-over as she hugs Ana.

What did she think I was going to do to the girl?

I know what I’d like to do to her…

Yeah, that’s probably what she’s afraid of.

As kavanagh holds her at arm’s length, I’m reassured; maybe she does care for Ana, too.

“Good morning, Christian,” she says, her tone cool and condescending.

“Miss Kavanagh.”  And what I want to say is something sarcastic about how she’s finally showing some interest in her friend, but I hold my tongue.

You are an asshole.  Kate has never tracked Ana’s phone or kidnapped her.  You have.  You are only interested in Ana because you want to beat her and fuck her.  Kate actually cares for her and you know nothing about their friendship to suggest that she doesn’t.

Elliot hugs Ana and Grey can’t stand it:

Elliot hugs Ana, holding her for a moment too long.

“Hi Ana,” he says, all fucking smiles.

“Hi Elliot,” she beams.

Okay, this is becoming unbearable.  “Elliot, we’d better go.”  And take your hands off her.

Why don’t you just pee on her, Christian?  That way, everyone will know she’s your territory.

grey12

Kate and Elliot kiss in a way that Christian describes as “unseemly,” despite having just shoved Ana up against the wall of an elevator and shoving his tongue down her throat.  Because PDAs are only acceptable if they are made by he and Ana, obviously.  Anyone else is just gross.  Ana watches Kate and Elliot and Christian realises:

Hell!  This is what she wants.  To be courted and wooed.

I don’t do romance, sweetheart.

But can I interest you in some stalking and threats of non-consensual violence, instead?

Christian says goodbye with the first appearance of the nauseating “laters, baby” and I’m going to call it a day, here.  We’ve got a heck of a lot of chapter left, but I am done with this shit and I really want to watch an episode of Stranger Things and long for a demogorgon to eat Christian Grey’s face off.

We’ll finish this chapter later in the week.

 

 

 

Grey: Chapter 6 (Saturday May 21st 2011)

Grey, Chapter 5 (Friday, May 20, 2011)

Grey1.gif

So, guys and gals, it’s Sunday afternoon here in sunny Cornwall, England and a combination of a potential chest infection, mixed with the cool air today, has just caused me to have an asthma attack.  YAY!  Basically, what I’m saying is… I’ve not got a lot of patience for Christian Grey, today.  Well, okay, I never have a lot of patience for Christian Grey, but today in particular, I’m totally up for nailing his balls to the wall.

Okay?  Right, now that’s out there, let’s crack on with this recap, shall we?!

When we last saw Grey (yesterday, in the story), he was ordering Welch to send some First Editions of Tess of The D’Ubervilles to Ana’s apartment, to celebrate her final exams being over.  Which would be nice, if Ana had, you know, ever given him her address.  But seeing as Grey only has it because he had an illegal background check done on her, it’s… Well, it’s not so cute.

The chapter opens with Grey seemingly having an argument with himself:

I’ve slept well for the first time in five days.  Maybe I’m feeling the closure I had hoped for, now that I’ve sent those books to Anastasia.  As I shave, the asshole in the mirror stares back at me with cool, gray eyes.

Liar.

Fuck.

Okay, okay.  I’m hoping she’ll call.  She has my number.

I just don’t understand the “fuck” part of this.  I mean…  Is he actually responding to himself?  He inwardly calls himself a liar and then thinks “FUCK, I’m onto me!  How did I find out from me?  I’ve kept it such a secret, hidden in my dark, black soul!”  It just feels a bit weird, when I read it.  Maybe I’m just so aware that EL James’ writing is about as good as a toddler scribbling on a pavement with chalk, that I’m looking to pick holes where – unbelievably – there aren’t any.  Yet.  The chapter is only a few lines old, give her time.  There’ll be rich pickings…

Also, can I just say that I’ve found something I agree wholeheartedly with Christian Grey on?  That guy in the mirror is an asshole!

Whilst Gail – aka Mrs Jones, Grey’s housekeeper and Taylor’s partner – is cooking Grey an omelet, Elliot calls Christian’s mobile phone.  And yay, Christian Grey gets to prove he’s an asshole!

It’s Elliot.  What the hell does my big brother want?

Yes, how dare he call his brother?!  HOW DARE HE???!!

Sadly, it’s at this point I wish I could say Elliot comes across as a super-nice, decent guy in their telephone exchange, just to further ram home my point that Grey is being a massive tool by getting annoyed simply by the fact that Elliot’s calling him, but alas…

“Elliot?”

“Dude, I need to get out of Seattle this weekend.  This chick is all over my junk and I’ve got to get away.”

“Your junk?”

“Yeah.  You would know if you had any.”

I ignore his jibe, and then a devious thought occurs to me.  “How about hiking around Portland?  We could go this afternoon.  Stay down there.  Come home Sunday.”

Because nothing says brotherly bonding like a good old fashioned stalking trip, right?!  This isn’t just “devious,” it’s downright creepy.  Grey has told Ana that he doesn’t do relationships and that he’s not the man for her.  He picked out a quote from Tess of The D’Ubervilles to back up that point.  But now, despite the fact that he’s turned her down, he’s going to go and stalk Ana.  Again.  And we’re meant to find it cute that he’s obsessing over her and is longing for her to call him, despite the fact that he’s done nothing but harass the girl, turning up at her workplace and gaining access to deeply private information about her without her consent.  Swoon.

grey2.gif

Of course, just in case anyone gets the slightest whiff of how invasive and gross Grey’s behaviour actually is, EL James has to toss us some judgement on Elliot’s lifestyle, just to ensure that we know that Christian is a gentleman in comparison:

Elliot has always had a problem containing himself.  As do the women he associates with: whoever the unfortunate girl is, she’s just another in his long, long line of casual liaisons.

But you don’t have a problem containing yourself at all, right, Christian?  You’d never stalk someone, or threaten to beat them out of anger or anything, right?  You’re positively buttoned up, compared to Elliot.  Also, way to go on the slut-shaming, there.  Nice little reminder that only girls like Ana – whose sexuality lies completely dormant until her one true abusive dick-wad love awakens it – deserve romance.  Ugh, this series…

Mrs Jones asks Grey what to do about food over the weekend, seeing as he’s going away and he subtly informs the reader that he’s already hoping to sleep with Ana:

“Just prepare something light and leave it in the fridge.  I may be back on Saturday.”

Or I may not.

She didn’t give you a second glance, Grey.

Having spent a great deal of my working life, managing others’ expectations, I should be better at managing my own.

Yes, you should be.  But hey, feel free to expect sex from the girl you’ve recently turned down.  That’s super normal and healthy and makes you waaaaay better than your brother.

There’s some boring rubbish about Elliot snoring in the car on the way to Portland and Grey makes some dull calls; first to Andrea about hiring bikes for he and his brother and then to Taylor about having Taylor bring the R8 with him when he checks into The Heathman.  Then Grey decides to blast some music and says:

Let’s see if Elliot can sleep through The Verve.

grey9

Dude, they’re hardly thrash-metal.  Bittersweet Symphony is practically a lullaby.  Let’s not pretend you’re some hard-rock tough guy.

Grey then wonders whether Ana has received the books yet and is tempted to call Andrea again, but decides not to, thinking:

I don’t want to give my staff an excuse to gossip.  I don’t normally do this kind of shit.

And I say again:

grey9

REALLY?!  Because you seem pretty well-versed in the art of stalking and you’ve already made a big display of how you like to manipulate, control and intimidate everyone.  Dude, you live for this shit.

When Elliot wakes up, Grey informs him that they’re going mountain-biking (because presumedly “we’re going to hang around this apartment building, in case I see the girl I want to sleep with, despite having turned her down” might not sound as much fun?) and Elliot begins reminiscing about how they used to go mountain-biking with their dad when they were kids.  This causes Grey to host yet another of his infamous pity parties:

I shake my head at the memory.  My father is a polymath, a real renaissance man: academic, sporting, at ease in the city, more at ease in the great outdoors.  He’d embraced three adopted kids…and I’m the one who didn’t live up to his expectations.

But before I hit adolescence we had a bond.  He’d been my hero.  He used to love taking us camping and doing all the outdoor pursuits I now enjoy: sailing, kayaking and biking, we did it all.

Puberty ruined all that for me.

Okay, I’m just going to say: I saw no evidence in the original books of Grey’s dad being disappointed in him in any way.  Yes, we know Grey was a troubled teen who got into fights, but his parents always come across as people understand he had a difficult start in life and it was bound to affect him.  Besides which, Grey is a billionaire, running a supposedly global empire.  In what way has he not lived up to his father’s expectations?!

And if it’s because he turned to BDSM as a teenager (which isn’t the business of his parents and isn’t unhealthy when consensual and safe) and became this “dark, twisted soul,” then we have Elena Lincoln to blame for that, rather than merely puberty.  She’s the one who raped him, after all.

grey3.gif

Anyway, EL James hasn’t quite finished making us all think of Elliot as a grade-A creep (thus trying to make his brother so much better in the process), because before any mountain-biking can occur, we get this exchange, after Grey asks him exactly who he’s running away from:

“Man, I’m a love-’em-and -eave-’em type.  You know that.  No strings.  I don’t know, chicks find out you run your own business and they start getting crazy ideas.”  He gives me a sideways look.  “You’ve got the right idea, keeping your dick to yourself.”

“I don’t think we’re discussing my dick, we’re discussing yours, and who’s been on the sharp end of it recently.”

Elliot snickers.  “I’ve lost count…”

It did occur to me that maybe EL James was throwing all this “look how much of a douche Elliot is” stuff in here because then she can show how Kate “tames” him with her glorious love, but let’s be honest, Kate is treated like crap in these books, so I’m certain it’s more likely that EL is just thinking “if I make Elliot look as bad as possible, it’ll make Christian look like the better of the two.”

SURPRISE!  Nope, it just makes them both look like the kind of guys you want to avoid!

Anyway, we discover that Elliot only runs his own business because Grey invested in it (because any situation in which people are not somehow beholden to Christian is NOT ALLOWED in these books) and we’re told that Elliot is an “eco-warrier.”

As they arrive at The Heathman, Christian manages to persuade Elliot to “give your dick a rest,” by staying in to watch the Mariners on TV that night.

Laughably, as the brothers ride their mountain-bikes, Grey’s internal monologue also tells us that Elliot has a devil-may-care attitude and that’s why Grey admires him.  Which is, you know, totally at odds with the whole “what the hell does my brother want?” and the internal judging attitude towards his brother that we’ve seen from Grey so far.  I’ve literally seen no “admiring” until this point.  Of course, we also learn that Grey wishes he could take in the scenery more, instead of having to rush to keep up with Elliot, because he’s just so gloriously poetic and so much deeper than his brother.  Has EL rammed that home enough for you guys, yet?!

After the ride, when Elliot announces “that was the most fun I’ve had with my clothes on in a while,”  Grey starts thinking back to holding Ana in his arms after he saved her from the cyclist.  He had his clothes on then and apparently that was the most fun he’d had in a while.

By the time they return to The Heathman, it’s almost 7pm and Grey hasn’t heard from Ana:

It’s just before 7:00 – she must have received the books by now.  The thought depresses me: I’ve come all the way to Portland on a wild-goose chase again.

NOBODY MADE YOU GO THERE, YOU MASSIVE JERK!!  Here’s a thought, then: stick to women who have expressly told you they want you to travel to see them.  And don’t go stalking girls who you’ve already sodding rejected.

Meanwhile, Elliot is moaning about how many missed calls and texts he’s had from the “chick” he’s trying to escape from.  He whines about how “desperate” she looks and I laugh, because his brother looks just as desperate.  At least this woman isn’t stalking anyone, as far as we know.

In Elliot’s hotel room, Grey and his brother watch the Mariners game, whilst eating steak and fries and drinking beers.  After the match is over, Grey’s phone finally buzzes with a call from Ana.  Now, brace yourselves, everyone.  Stalker-justification is coming.

“Anastasia?”  I don’t hide my surprise or my pleasure.  The background is noisy and it sounds like she’s at a party or in a bar.  Elliot glances at me, so I get up off the sofa and out of his earshot.

“Why did you send me the books?” She’s slurring her words and a wave of apprehension ripples down my spine.

WHY?  She is allowed to be drunk and her being so is no concern of yours.

“Anastasia, are you okay?  You sound strange.”

“I’m not the strange one, you are.”  Her tone is accusatory.

SHE IS ALSO SPOT ON.

“Anastasia, have you been drinking?”

Hell.  Who is she with?  The photographer?  Where is her friend Kate?

HOW DO YOU KNOW KATE ISN’T WITH HER?!  THEY MIGHT BE HAPPILY GETTING DRUNK, TOGETHER, MORON.  ANA IS AN ADULT AND SHE CAN DRINK WHENEVER SHE LIKES, WITH WHOEVER SHE LIKES.  Also, I love how he decides José must be there, because she’s drunk and therefore in danger.  I know she is with José and he does try it on with her, but Grey has literally no way of knowing that right now.  He just leaps to the conclusion, because a) he’s a shitty person and b) EL James is a shitty writer.

“What’s it to you?”  She sounds surly and belligerent, and I know she’s drunk, but I also need to know she’s okay.

This is meant to come across as him caring for Ana, but given that we know he’s about to trace her call, turn up unannounced and take her away from her friends, undress her and put her in his bed, it really, really doesn’t come across as anything but obsessive and controlling.

“I’m… Curious.  Where are you?”

“In a bar.”

“Which bar?”  Tell me.  Anxiety blooms in my gut.  She’s a young woman, drunk, somewhere in Portland.  She’s not safe.

HOW THE HELL DO YOU KNOW THAT???!!!  Young women go out drinking all the time and are perfectly safe.  This comes across as misogynistic and victim-blame-y.  Literally nothing Ana has said has implied she is in any kind of trouble, or needs to be “rescued.”  His infantilising of her isn’t romantic or cute, it’s gross.  If she had called him and was saying things like “hey, get off me” in between talking to him directly, sure, she’d sound like she was in trouble.  But this is a young woman, drunk dialling the guy who recently rejected her, but then sent her hugely expensive books directly to an apartment she never gave him the address of.  She sounds pissed off and she has every right to be.

grey4.gif

She tells him she’s in a bar in Portland and he continues trying to get information out of her:

“How are you getting home?”  I pinch the bridge of my nose in a vain hope that the action will distract from my fraying temper.

YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO BE GETTING ANGRY, YOU UTTER PIECE OF HUMAN GARBAGE.

“I’ll find a way.”

What the hell?  Will she drive?  I ask her again which bar she’s in and she ignores my question.

“Why did you send me the books, Christian?”

“Anastasia, where are you?  Tell me now.”

How will she get home?

She doesn’t.  Some abusive stalker takes her back to his hotel room, instead.

“You’re so..domineering.”  She giggles.  In any other situation, I would find this charming.  But right now – I want to show her how domineering I can be.  She’s driving me crazy.

Your hero, ladies.  If he’s suggesting he wants to spank her now, it’s out of anger, not any kind of sexual desire.  And that’s not BDSM, it’s abuse.  And if he’s merely saying he wants to control her and make her do as he wishes, he does not have her consent for that, which makes it also abuse.  And notice, he’s placing the blame on her for his reaction to the situation.  Ana, to reiterate, is merely out at a bar, getting drunk with her friends.  She’s rung him wanting to know why he sent expensive books to her home, after telling her to stay away from him – a perfectly valid, reasonable question.  But she is driving him crazy, because she doesn’t want to tell him where she is.  And she has every right not to.

“Ana, so help me, where the fuck are you?”

She giggles again. Shit, she’s laughing at me!

Again!

“I’m in Portland…’s a long way from Seattle.”

“Where in Portland?”

“Good night, Christian.”  The line goes dead.

“Ana!”

She hung up on me!  I stare at the phone in disbelief.  No one has ever hung up on me.  What the fuck!

grey5.gif

Elliot asks what’s up and Christian explains that he’s just been drunk dialled.  Elliot expresses his surprise, as Christian calls Ana back:

“Hi,” she says, all breathy and timid, and she’s in quieter surroundings.

For the love of GOD, EL James, this is not the most important thing right now, but QUIT with the Oxford commas!  You need some sort of support group to wean you off your addiction.

“I’m coming to get you.”  My voice is Arctic as I wrestle with my anger and snap my phone shut.

grey6.gif

I literally cannot say this enough: HE HAS NO RIGHT TO BE ANGRY.  SHE WAS UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO TELL HIM HER WHEREABOUTS.  SHE HAS DONE LITERALLY NOTHING WRONG. 

I am so close to another asthma attack, I can’t even tell you.

Grey informs Elliot that he “has to go get” a girl from a bar and asks if Elliot wants to tag along.  Elliot is all excited about seeing his apparently sexless brother with a girl and hurries to get ready.

And whilst Elliot’s distracted, this happens:

I wander into his bedroom while I decide if I should call Barney or Welch.  Barney is the most senior engineer in the telecommunications division of my company.  He’s a tech genius.  But what I want is not strictly legal.

Best to keep this away from my company.

This douche knows that what he’s doing is illegal.  But he doesn’t care, because Ana has pissed him off by being drunk and not telling him where she is.

He calls Welch and demands to know exactly where Ana is, thinking to himself:

I know this is outside of the law, but she could be getting herself into trouble.

Oh, save me from the “this is for her own good” line.  It’s straight out of chapter sodding one of The Big Bumper Guide To Being An Abusive Arse.  I’m sure you own a copy.  In fact, you may well have written it.  Fans use this argument as justification for Grey tracking her phone and turning up, uninvited, but from his POV, we can see that his main reaction is anger.  He talks about being concerned for her wellbeing, but he has no evidence whatsoever that he should be.  Instead, he just rages because she doesn’t tell him where she is and he struggles to control his anger at her.  Don’t forget, in the original book, when she wakes up the next morning, he tells her that if she was his, she “wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week after the stunt (she) pulled last night.”  His primary justification in going to pick her up is anger.  Don’t listen to anyone who insists otherwise.

When Christian and Elliot arrive at the bar, Christian quickly spots Kate, sitting at a table with three guys.  He tells us that the table is “littered with shot glasses and tumblers of beer.”  I think this is meant to convince the reader that Kate’s immoral or something, but to be honest, it just sounds like she and her friends have been having a good night out.

Kate tells Christian it’s a surprise to see him and he shrugs that he was “in the neighbourhood.”  Kate then notices Elliot and asks:

“And who’s this?”  She smiles rather too brightly at Elliot, interrupting me again.  What an exasperating woman.

Oh, dear.  Poor you.  It’s almost as though she knows you’ve illegally traced Ana’s phone in order to take her away from her friends when she’s too comatose to consent and is trying to stop you.  Alas, Kate doesn’t have those kinds of psychic abilities.  Boy, do I wish she did…

Elliot and Kate exchange grins, as Kate finally tells Christian that Ana has gone outside for some fresh air.

Eventually, Christian sees Ana with José and even though José is trying it on with her and is therefore right at this moment as bad as Christian is, I’m not giving Christian a pass for coming out here and demanding to take Ana home.

Hell!  She’s with the photographer, I think, though it’s difficult to tell in the dim light.  She’s in his arms, but she seems to be twisting away from him.  He mutters something to her, which I don’t hear, and kisses her, along her jaw.

“José, no,” she says, and then it’s clear.  She’s trying to push him off.

She doesn’t want this.

Interesting that Christian is suddenly the King of Consent, in this situation.  Rarely bothers him the rest of the time…

For a moment, I want to rip his head off.  With my hands fisted at my side, I march up to them.  “I think the lady said no,” my voice carries, cold and sinister, in the relative quiet, while I struggle to contain my anger.

Yep – all of that is in red, because whilst Christian may be justifiably angry that José isn’t listening when Ana has said no, we all know that this isn’t a truly chivalrous act.  Grey’s just pissed off that another guy has his paws on his woman.  Besides which, we all know he’s going to victim-blame Ana for this, so… Red ink, dude.  Red ink.

José recognises Grey and Christian charmingly announces that “it takes every ounce of my self-control not to smash the disappointment off his face.”

Would that be the same self-control that lapses when you feel like it?  You know, like when you fancy stalking young women, or not signing contracts?

Ana throws up and it would appear that Christian has a side-career as a vomit-inspector.  He tells us:

It’s with some annoyance that I note she doesn’t appear to have eaten.

ewwww

I have emetophobia and no matter how much I wanted to get into someone’s pants, I would not, under any circumstances, be inspecting their puke to see whether they’d eaten an adequate amount, that day.  This whole chapter has made me feel sick, without needing a description of Ana’s.

Once Ana’s finished her multiple chucking-up session, Grey gives her his handkerchief  and decides that not only can he inspect her vomit, but he can also read her mind:

Wiping her mouth, she turns and rests against the bricks, avoiding eye contact because she’s ashamed and embarrassed.

How do you know how she’s feeling?  Maybe she’s creeped out by the weirdo she didn’t give her location to, suddenly barging in to her “rescue?”

And yet I’m so pleased to see her.  Gone is my fury at the photographer.

Yep, you’ve got her all to yourself, now, so what does it matter that he tried to force himself on her?  Now, she has you for that!  Grey also immediately reminds us of what a piece of shit he is:

“I’m sorry,” she says finally, whilst her fingers twist the soft linen.

Okay, let’s have some fun.

What normal, sane person has that reaction to someone apologising, especially when the person saying sorry has done nothing to apologise for?!

“What are you sorry for, Anastasia?”

“The phone call, mainly.  Being sick.  Oh, the list is endless,” she mumbles.

“We’ve all been here, perhaps not quite as dramatically as you.”  Why is it such fun to tease this young woman?

BECAUSE YOU ARE AN AWFUL PIECE OF SHIT WHOSE FATHER SHOULD HAVE JUST WANKED INTO A SOCK, INSTEAD.

I hate this man.  I hate this book.  I hate EL James.  I hate the fans who defend this.  Right at this moment, I hate everything about Fifty sodding Shades.

“It’s about knowing your limits, Anastasia.  I mean, I’m all for pushing limits, but really, this is beyond the pale.  Do you make a habit of this kind of behaviour?”

EVEN IF SHE DOES, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU, ASSHOLE.  

Perhaps she has a problem with alcohol.  The thought is worrying and I consider whether I should call my mother for a referral to a detox clinic.

Ana gets drunk and throws up and now Grey has her pegged as an alcoholic?!

Anyway, she tells him that no, she has never been drunk before and never wants to be drunk again.  Which is, you know, interesting, seeing as Grey purposefully gets her drunk in order to gain consent, as the story continues…

Ana starts to sway and Grey thinks she might pass out, so he scoops her up into his arms, like the wonderful white knight he truly isn’t.

She’s surprisingly light.  Too light.  The thought irks me.  No wonder she’s drunk.

REPEAT AFTER ME, EVERYONE: HER WEIGHT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU, ASSHOLE.

Grey tells her that he’ll take her home (which we know is a lie – he takes her back to his hotel).  Ana asks to go to see Kate so she can explain where she’s going, but Grey tells her not to worry, because his brother will tell her.  He tells her that he’s staying at The Heathman, thinking:

And my wild-goose chase has paid off.

grey7.gif

Ana insists on going back into the bar to let Kate know where she is, which gives Grey more chance to internally slag Kate off (because I’m never going to tire of that):

Kavanagh wasn’t worried about her being out there with the overamorous photographer. Rodriguez.  That’s his name.  What kind of friend is she?

Yo, dick-weed.  Kate didn’t know what was happening.  She doesn’t have the ability to see through walls.  She and Ana both know José, so it’s not like she sent Ana off with a total stranger.  It’s hugely unlikely that she would have thought: “Oh, hang on, I ought to just double check that José isn’t planning on molesting Ana, tonight…”  Quit blaming the wrong people, you grotesque pubic louse.

As much as it pains me, I put her down and agree to take her inside.

What a freaking hero you are.

Holding hands, we walk back into the bar…

Okay, make a note of that physical contact, everyone.

Kate isn’t at the table when Ana returns.  Only one of the guys from earlier is still there and he informs Ana that Kate is dancing.  Ana collects her jacket and purse and then clutches Christian’s arm and this happens:

I freeze.

Shit.

My heart rate catapults into overdrive as the darkness surfaces, stretching and tightening its claws around my throat.

grey8.gif

So, notice how he strolled into the bar holding Ana’s hand, but the second she touches his arm, suddenly the “darkness surfaces?”  It’s literally minutes between these two physical actions, yet one of them is fine and the other is supposedly this enormous trigger for him.  It’s totally inconsistent and it’s one of the big problems I have believing Grey’s “I don’t like to be touched” bullsh!t; it apparently comes and goes as he chooses.

Ana shouts over the music that Kate is on the dance floor, and her voice supposedly “tickles” Grey’s ears and “Suddenly the darkness disappears.”

They’re still not even a couple, but EL is subtly reminding us – not for the first time – that Ana is responsible for “fixing” Grey, because she’s freaking magic.

He takes her to the bar and gets her a large glass of water, ordering her to drink all of it.

I’m hoping this will be enough damage control to prevent one hell of a hangover tomorrow.

What might have happened to her if I hadn’t intervened?  My mood sinks.

You know what?  I think she’d have told José no, thrown up, José would have scarpered (he does when she’s sick, anyway) and she’d have gone back to her friends, who would have actually taken her back to her home.  But, by all means, imply that you’re the hero of the piece.

And I think of what just happened to me.

Her touch.  My reaction.

My mood plummets further.

Ana sways a little as she’s drinking, So I steady her with a hand on her shoulder.  I like the connection – me touching her.  She’s oil on my troubled, deep, dark waters.

grey9.gif

Oh and notice once again, that this touching makes him feel better.  Because it’s him touching her.  Sure, I’m certain that there are people who really do have trauma that only allows them to do particular things on their own terms, but this touching thing is just so inconsistent, I give up.

Ana finishes her drink and Grey thinks:

Okay.  She wants to talk to her so-called friend.

Remember, he has no real reason to believe that Kate isn’t a good friend to Ana.  Kate has no idea what has happened, tonight.

I grab her hand and lead her toward the dance floor.  She hesitates, but if she wants to talk to her friend, there’s only one way; she’s going to have to dance with me.

Nope.  Kate is dancing with your brother.  You could have just gone over, interrupted and said “hey Kate, Ana wants to speak to you.”  But you’re an asshole, so…

Oh and Grey does mention that he’s horrified about the idea of lots of people touching him on the dance floor, but in that case, he could have just sent Ana to go and find Kate.

With a tug, she’s in my arms.

Sounds… Aggressive.

This I can handle.  When I know she’s going to touch me, it’s okay.  I can deal, especially since I’m wearing my jacket.  I weave us through the crowd to where Elliot and Kate are making a spectacle of themselves.

By… Dancing?  In a club?  That’s… That’s not unusual.  But of course, we have to know that Elliot and Kate are trashy and awful, whereas Ana and Grey are the world’s greatest ever love story!!1!!ONE!!

Grey tells Elliot that he’s taking Ana home and asks him to pass the information on to Kate.

Right.  Let me take Little Miss Drunk Bookworm home, but for some reason she’s reluctant to go.

If so, you should leave her with her friend and back the fuck off.

Then, Ana passes out and Grey catches her.  He takes her out to his Audi.

She mumbles something incoherent and I know she’s still conscious.  I know I should take her home, but it’s a long drive to Vancouver and I don’t know if she’ll be sick again.  I don’t relish the idea of my Audi reeking of vomit.  The smell emanating from her clothes is already noticeable.

I head to The Heathman, telling myself that I’m doing this for her sake.

Yeah, tell yourself that Grey.

He KNOWS he should take her back to her own home.  He KNOWS he isn’t really taking care of her by bringing her back to his hotel room.  But he does it anyway, because he is freaking atrocious.

I’d really like to give her a bath, but that would be stepping beyond the bounds of propriety.

And this isn’t?

THEN STOP, ASSHOLE.  If you know that what you’re doing is wrong, stop.

We know this is wrong, because as he undresses Ana for bed, he’s imagining having sex with her:

She falls back on the bed, splayed out like a starfish, all pale arms and legs, and for a moment I picture those legs wrapped around my waist as her wrists are bound to my Saint Andrew’s cross.

In red, because he’s sexualising a woman who is barely conscious and who he has brought back to his hotel room without her consent.

Laughably, once Ana is asleep in bed, this happens:

Before I check my emails, I text Welch, asking him to see if José Rodriguez has any police records.  I’m curious.  I want to know if he preys on drunk young women.

grey10.gif

YOU MEAN LIKE YOU DO??!!

Then Grey texts Elliot to let him know that Ana is at The Heathman with him and to tell Kate, if he’s still with her.  He texts back:

Will do.

Hope you get laid.

You soooooo need it. 😉

Aw, cute.  His brother hopes he has sex with the girl who passed out on the dance floor and isn’t in a fit state to give consent.

His response makes me snort.  

I so do, Elliot.  I so do.

And then he goes off to read his work emails and this excruciatingly long and vile chapter finally ends.

I’m off to cry in the corner.

Grey, Chapter 5 (Friday, May 20, 2011)