Previously in Fifty Shades, the series gets dangerously close to its lowest point when Ana finds out she’s pregnant and Christian yells at her, blames her for getting pregnant, leaves her and comes back in the morning heavily intoxicated from a night drinking with his ex-mistress. This is actually what happens in this book.
Remember how three chapters ago I commented on how we hadn’t seen Helena (Christian’s ex-dominant who seduced him into a BDSM affair when she was married and Christian was underage) for a while, so she was probably gonna come back and cause problems? Well, this is that time. Ana reacts to having discovered her text on his phone implying they were drinking together, and also that Christian Grey is kind of a piece of shit.
How could he? How could he go to her? Scalding, angry tears ooze down my cheeks. His wrath and fear, his need to lash out at me I can understand, and forgive—just. But this … this treachery is too much.
Guys, Ana’s really mad! So mad she’s going to think that exact same stuttering conclusion about treachery again on this same page!
Will I recover from this … from this treachery?
Also, Ana finally recognizes that she married Christian kind of way too fast! She’s making such good progress this week!
What did I expect? I married this man too quickly. I knew it—I knew it would come to this.
Ana forwards Helena’s text from Christian’s phone to her phone so she has proof it happened, then forwards it back to Christian’s phone from her phone with the following message, because she is finally fucking putting her foot down:
WOULD YOU LIKE MRS. LINCOLN TO JOIN US WHEN WE EVENTUALLY DISCUSS THIS TEXT SHE SENT TO YOU? IT WILL SAVE YOU RUNNING TO HER AFTERWARD. YOUR WIFE
So, I actually really like that message. Ana is pissed and this definitely conveys that in a succinct way and stings really nicely, so, yeah, I approve! She also skims through Christian’s email to see if he’s been talking with Helena in that way too, and while he hasn’t we find an email from Christian’s detectives about Jack Hyde and reads it for an awkwardly long time, so we can probably assume that Jack Hyde is showing up again soon because E L James doesn’t really understand subtlety.
Ana leaves Christian alone in their bedroom and goes to sleep somewhere else, musing on how angry and sad she is at Christian’s treachery, which leads to a line that really puts all these novels in perspective:
Yet here I am, alone and cold in a BDSM fantasy playroom.
Ana wakes up to find Christian freaking out over her absence, once again leading to a line that really highlights just how weird these books are.
Taylor, Sawyer, Ryan, Mrs. Jones, and Christian are all standing in the entrance to the great room, and Christian is issuing rapid-fire instructions. As one they all turn and gape at me.
This is such a weird life that they have. That’s so many people that are just always there. Ana dials back how pleased I am with how maturely she’s handling the situation by giving Christian the silent treatment. She talks with Sawyer and Mrs. Jones about her plans for going to work as though nothing has happened, and then goes to the bedroom to get read for work, where she continues to not especially act like an adult.
“Ana!” Christian pounds on the door. I turn on the shower. The door rattles. “Ana, open the damned door.”
To be fair – and I really want to stress this, so pay attention because I’m writing serious words right now – Christian is definitely coming off worse here. He is and has always been, throughout all three Fifty Shades books, an abusive and controlling character and it’s important to not misinterpret his love for Ana as healthy, but instead to recognize that it is an obsessive, consuming love that only ever manifests itself accordingly, although many people have done so, e.g.: everybody who actually likes this shit. So Christian sucks. That is indisputable. Ana has every right to be mad at him, and actually does a pretty good job through most of this chapter with how she handles it insofar as not caving, although she messes up a little bit with the silent treatment approach, and she definitely messes up when she decides to torment him a bit by walking around naked after her shower.
I peek at him in the mirror, standing motionless in the doorway, watching me. In an act worthy of an Oscar winner, I let my towel fall to the floor and pretend that I am oblivious to my naked body. I hear his restrained gasp and ignore it.
This is actually what happens in this book.
“Why are you doing this?” he asks. His voice is low.
“Why do you think?” My voice is velvet soft as I pull out a pretty pair of black lace La Perla panties.
Anyway, Ana finally stops this silent treatment nonsense and tells Christian Motherfucking Grey what’s what.
“Ana, I’ve told you before, [Helena]’s not my—”
“I don’t want to hear it, Christian.” I wave my hand dismissively. “The time for talking was yesterday, but instead you decided to rant and get drunk with the woman who abused you for years. Give her a call. I am sure she’ll be more than willing to listen to you now.”
She doesn’t let up, and really lets Christian understand how and why she’s so angry and why he’s such a piece of shit, although she kind of takes the wrong attitude about it.
He pales momentarily, but I’m on a roll, my inner bitch unleashed.
Yes, because telling your emotionally abusive husband that he was wrong for telling his wife it’s her fault for getting pregnant and then going out drinking with a woman he had an affair with for years makes you a bitch.
So usually when I read this book, I 1) hate my life, and 2) am just really unengaged from it because it tries so hard to be interesting but just turns out boring. Turns out, what happens next was the only time I’ve been on the edge of my seat so far, although not for reasons that E L James intended. So far Ana’s been holding her ground, but then – as has happened for literally every other conflict in the book so far – Christian tries to solve the problem with sex.
He blinks at me, and his eyes travel swiftly and greedily down my body.
“I know what you’re doing here,” he murmurs, and his voice has acquired a warm, seductive edge.
“Do you?” And my voice cracks. No, Ana … hold on.
He swallows and takes a step forward.
NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.
“Don’t even think about it, Grey,” I whisper menacingly.
“You’re my wife,” he says softly, threateningly.
“I’m the pregnant woman you abandoned yesterday, and if you touch me I will scream the place down.”
This is actually what happens in this bestselling novel that everybody who actually likes it earnestly believes it is good for opening up discussion about sex, including iconic sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer, who seriously fucked this one up.
Ana and Christian fight, and Christian never really figures out what he did wrong. Ana goes to work and comes back home. Christian gets back from the office after she’s fallen asleep and leaves before she wakes up. They don’t have any idea how to talk to each other to try to work out the problem because, huh, it’s like their relationship has no healthy emotional basis or something. At least it’s good for getting women aroused, amiright, Dr. Ruth?
Without being able to use sex as a quick and easy device to end this fight, E L James falls back on returning to one of the novel’s secondary villains when Jack Hyde calls Ana from Christian’s sister Mia’s cell phone, because when you get into a fight with your spouse, at least you can wait for one of your many enemies to kidnap your sister-in-law to smooth things over.