Today’s post is a long one, guys. Pretend I made an innuendo out of that. I don’t feel like it today.
So Ariel mentioned the cliffhanger at the end of the last chapter, but I didn’t. My bad, everyone. I got bored somehow.
He’s standing by the piano, dressed in a tight black T-shirt, and jeans … those jeans—the ones he wore in the playroom. Oh my. […] “Good to have you home. I’ve been waiting for you.”
Which basically means that this is Christian’s response to being furious about, as he sees it, his wife disobeying him and purposefully putting her life in danger:
Ana is rather upset about Christian’s sudden change from cold and distant to “time for sexy sex times”. Of course, it’s hard to tell that she actually feels this way.
“I understand you have issues, Mrs. Grey,” he says silkily, and he pulls something from the back pocket of his jeans. […] I recognize my e-mail. My gaze returns to his, as his eyes blaze bright with anger.
“Yes, I have issues,” I whisper, feeling breathless.
Turns out Christian is mad at Ana because he viewed her going out with Kate as going back on her word, and so “you defied me, putting yourself at unnecessary risk.” Now, the unnecessary risk part makes sense, or at least it would if Christian had actually told her that there was danger, so Christian’s argument doesn’t hold up. And is also more-than-vaguely-misogynistic. Ana does the worst possible job trying to explain that he’s being misogynistic.
“Christian, I changed my mind,” I explain slowly, patiently as if he’s a child. “I’m a woman. We’re renowned for it. That’s what we do.”
He blinks at me as if he doesn’t comprehend this.
I don’t totally comprehend why she worded her argument like this either. She’s trying to defend her independence as a woman by using traditional gender stereotypes. You just suck at saying words, Ana.
They actually talk about their feelings but it doesn’t go very well because they’re both terrible at being adults. After all this time. I know! It’s shocking.
“Christian, I know you’d never hurt me. Not physically, anyway.” I clasp his head between my hands. […] “I knew what you said was an empty, idle threat. I know you’re not going to beat the shit out of me.”
Oh, well, then that’s totally fine! So long as spousal abuse is just an empty threat that’s nothing to worry about! Phew! Maybe this also explains why Christian’s not interested in, you know, talking to his wife about how her life was in danger? Oh my goodness, maybe this story is finally starting to come together! Christian wants Ana dead. Why else would Christian keep refusing to tell Ana anything about the mortal peril she is apparently constantly in?
“Christian, we need to talk.”
“Later,” he urges softly.
“Christian, please. Talk to me.”
He sighs. “About what?”
Which, and I always feel the need to point this out every now and again, isn’t what makes this a “bad book”. There are many reasons why a novel would want to depict a romantic character oblivious to how bad they are at communication and this could make for a compelling narrative with actual artistic merit. This is not the case for Fifty Shades, as you know by now, because what it depicts is creepy as shit.
“I want to protect you.”
“I’m not a child.”
“I am fully aware of that, Mrs. Grey.” He runs his hands down my body and cups my backside. Flexing his hips, he presses his growing erection into me.
Christian and Ana keep arguing over whether they’re talking about what’s going on or just doing foreplay. Christian frustrates Ana by ignoring that Ana’s feelings are hurt and that she wants to talk, and Ana frustrates the reader by being inconsistent about whether she’s going to stand up for herself or not.
“Can we just get this over and done with?” I snap.
“Such impatience, Mrs. Grey. So eager to talk.” His tone is playful. […] “I must feed you first” […]
Okay… have it your way. I resign myself to my fate and listen to his movements around the kitchen.
Ana keeps going back and forth on whether she’s standing up for herself or not, just like it’s always been. E L James even does her best to explicitly make us think about how nothing in this novel has ever changed. For some reason.
I oblige, and his lips are on mine. Cool crisp wine flows into my mouth. I swallow reflexively. Oh my. Memories flood back of not so long ago—me trussed up on my bed in Vancouver before I graduated with a hot, angry Christian not appreciating my e-mail. Hmm . . . have times changed? Not much.
Now I remember how I’ve read over a thousand pages of these characters that have objectively not developed ever and that scene where Christian backwashes wine into Ana’s mouth. Fucking thanks, E L James.
“I always want more, with you.”
Christian microwaves food and the most unintentionally emotionally fulfilling thing that has ever happened in Fifty Shades happens.
The door to the microwave opens, and the appetizing smell grows stronger.
“Shit! Christ!” Christian curses, and a dish clatters onto the countertop.
Haha, Christian burned himself! Fuck you, dumbass!
“I just burned myself. Here.” He eases his index finger into my mouth. “Maybe you could suck it better.”
…you just had to get the last laugh, didn’t you, E L James? She then goes for the one-two punch by suggesting a serious contender for the least sexy word in the English language.
I open my mouth, and he pops in a forkful of spicy hot lamb covered in a cool, minty, yogurt sauce. Mmm. I chew.
He gives me another forkful, and I chew it enthusiastically.
Christian makes a vague sexual promise that thrills Ana for some inscrutable reason.
“I’m going to drive you wild,” he whispers. […] Drive me wild … wow.
But he doesn’t drive her wild at all, and instead he’s a total dick! Okay, just pretend you’re surprised. You there yet? Take your time. Okay. Christian is a total dick! He ties Ana up and keeps teasing her with an orgasm and refusing to let her finish, and then, and I can’t stress this enough, is a total dick.
My body is so sensitized I feel I am going to explode, and just as I am, Christian stops again.
“Christian!” I cry out.
“Frustrating, yes?” he murmurs against my throat. “Just like you. Promising one thing and then…” His voice trails off.
“Christian, please!” I beg.
He pushes the wand against me again and again, stopping just at the vital moment each time. Ah!
“Each time I stop, it feels more intense when I start again. Right?”
“Please,” I whimper. My nerve endings are screaming for release.
The buzzing stops and Christian kisses me. He runs his nose down mine.
“You are the most frustrating woman I have ever met.”
Ana realizes that Christian is trying to make a point and that maybe sexy sex times wasn’t a great idea when they were having a huge fight about whether Ana disobeyed Christian or was being a normal, independent person after all! So she starts crying, Christian realizes he’s being a dick, and then, uh, they talk about how Ana talked to Christian’s mom about his BDSM relationship with Elena???
“I’ve had your stalker ex-sub pull a gun on me, your pedophile ex-lover harass me—and don’t look at me like that,” I snap when he scowls at me. “Your mother feels the same way about her.”
“You talked to my mother about Elena?” Christian’s voice raises a few octaves.
“Yes, Grace and I talked about her.”
He gapes at me.
“She’s very upset about it. Blames herself.”
When the fuck did this happen? This is kind of an important thing to just not bother telling us about entirely. Even if James didn’t want to show the scene itself, that would still make enough sense. But this story is in first person. We are in Ana’s mind all the time and we don’t know what she’s up to.
The chapter ends with Christian finally talking about Jack Hyde’s plans to kidnap Ana and how he used to stalk Christian and his family in the past. Then there’s a plot twist cliffhanger that is neither of these things.
“[…]we think Detroit is the connection.”
“Detroit?” I gaze at him, confused.
“Yeah. There’s something there.”
“I still don’t understand.”
Christian lifts his face and gazes at me, his expression unreadable. “Ana, I was born in Detroit.”
I have no fucking idea why this is supposed to be significant.