Grey: Friday, May 20, 2011
Christian explains that the over-the-top gift he sent Ana was meant to be a way to achieve closure. Why you need closure for a flirtation that totalled about an hour’s worth of time is beyond me. Why you would send your brief flirting friend rare and expensive first-edition copies of her favourite books as a way to achieve the unnecessary closure is even farther beyond me.
Christian’s inner fucktard picks up the slack for me, though:
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.
Christian, stop doing my job for me and quit calling yourself an asshole.
Okay. Okay. I’m hoping she’ll call. She has my number.
You mean the gift wasn’t really about achieving closure! Did not see that coming.
Elliot makes his first appearance in the book, and we get to experience him through Christian’s eyes this time. What new insights –
“Dude. I need to get out of Seattle this weekend. This chick is all over my junk and I need to get away.”
“Yeah. You would know if you had any.”
For a second there I thought he was going to go all Maddox bro on us and start talking about ‘bagging’ chicks. I think writers like EL James and Jamie McGuire do a disservice to bros by making them so interchangeable, without an ounce of nuance. It’s like they’re not even trying to write insightful, thoughtful bros. Which is why today I’m taking a stand against this kind of shameful stereotyping.
Now, these authors are only focussed on bros from America, so I believe it is my duty to start the fight in that great nation before this cause can spread its wings and fly around the world, helping bros everywhere fight against these harmful and embarrassing depictions. Will you join me to fight to write better bros for a better America?
Christian continues the conversation in a way that can easily be interpreted as malicious:
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.”
This sounds like Christian is plotting to murder his brother on a hiking trip. The fact that Christian never follows up and explains exactly why this thought is devious only furthers my suspicions. This goes against everything that Writing Better Bros for a Better America stands for. You can’t just try to kill these guys off to avoid writing about them.
That does give me an idea, though, maybe I should just go all Pride and Prejudice and Zombies all over this mother and just insert Christian’s various plots to murder Elliot into the mix.
Christian calls people and bosses them around, telling them to deliver mountain bikes, his helicopter, and cars to the hotel.
I end the call and turn up the music. Let’s see if Elliot can sleep through The Verve.
You should let him sleep. It’s one of his last peaceful moments.
Fuck! Steady, Grey.
This seems like it has more to do with the volume than what music they’re listening to. I’m pretty sure you would wake someone up even if you put Enya on at full blast, which I do. There’s nothing wrong with that. [Matthew says: I also love that in E L James-land, the band that wrote “Bittersweet Symphony” is the hardcore one.]
“Hey, man, where we at?” Elliot blurts.
Shit. He’s awake. He better not make references to my junk again. At least I won’t have to put up with it much longer.
“Behold, he wakes,” I mutter.
“We’re nearly there. We’re going mountain biking.”
“Cool. Remember when Dad used to take us?”
“Yep.” I shake my head at the memory, knowing that with Elliot out of the picture, I’ll be free to go mountain biking with our father in peace. Laters, baby.
As Christian continues to plot Elliot’s demise, he also checks in on both his dick and his business, which I guess could easily serve as stand-ins for one another?
“Man, I’m a love-’ em-and-leave-’ 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.”
Beneath his somewhat casual exterior my brother is an eco-warrior. His passion for sustainable living makes for some heated Sunday dinner conversations with the family, and his latest project is an eco-friendly development of low-cost housing north of Seattle.
“I’m hoping to install that new gray-water system I was telling you about. It will mean all the homes will reduce their water usage and their bills by twenty-five percent.”
From this juxtaposition, are we meant to glean that Elliot is more than just a bro – he’s a bro that cares about the environment? Nice try, but you’ll have to do better than that, James. [Matthew says: Things this book is about 1) dudes’ junk and 2) environmental sustainability]
Despite his best efforts, Christian is unable to finish off Elliot:
Keeping up with Elliot is a challenge. He tears down the trail with the same devil-may-fucking-care attitude he applies to most situations. Elliot knows no fear— it’s why I admire him.
It’s also why I need to kill him.
But Elliot’s speedy biking skills save his life in the end. So they celebrate that night by watching the Mariners game [Matthew says: Which Christian’s inner dialogue provides us with a helpful “Go Mariners!”, in case you couldn’t piece together why he might be watching a Mariners game.]…when Christian gets a familiar call from Ana. A drunken Ana asks why Christian sent her those books, and instead of answering her reasonable question, he frantically tries to find out where she is BECAUSE SHE MUST BE IN DANGER.
Which bar? Tell me. Anxiety blooms in my gut. Shes a young woman, drunk, somewhere in Portland. She’s not safe.
Like Ana specifically isn’t safe, or each and every drunk woman in a bar out there in the world? Or is the issue with Portland?
Christian calls one of his guys to track Ana’s phone, even though he’s very clear on the fact that this is completely illegal. In fact, he’s so clear on this that he decides to call one of his guys who is unconnected to his business.
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.
I speed-dial Welch and within seconds his rasping voice answers.
“I’d really like to know where Anastasia Steele is right now.”
“I see.” He pauses for a moment. “Leave it to me, Mr. Grey.”
I know this is outside the law, but she could be getting herself into trouble.
Literally nothing about his conversation with Ana gave the impression that danger was lurking around every corner. There are very few situations in which I’d want someone I just met to break the law to track me down. One of the only situations would be if I’d called them about some sort of Texas Chainsaw Massacre situation and as soon as the call ended I was captured by psychos again and in breaking the law and tracking me down, this person was actually a hero and not just another psycho.
And what about that Welch guy, huh? I know that money can allegedly buy you anything, but when Christian calls to make creepy requests like this, do you think he’s just like, “Yup, sounds legit. He’s being a hero!” Or if he’s like us and is immediately concerned for Ana’s safety. I seriously question your moral compass, Welch!
As soon as Christian finds out where Ana is, he and Elliot rush to the bar in question. There, Christian finds Kate and continues to be a dick about their friendship. He can’t seem to fathom that Kate is talking to other friends and says Ana went out to get some fresh air. WHAT A BITCH YOU ARE, KATE. To make matters worse, she SMILES at Elliot. Can you believe that? They smile at each other!
Christian heads outside to find Ana:
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.
I guess Hell! Is Christian’s manlier version of Holy crap!
This of course leads to one of everyone’s favourite scenes, this time, from Christian’s creepy perspective!
“Grey,” [Jose] says, his voice terse, and it takes every ounce of my self-control not to smash the disappointment off his face.
Ana heaves, then buckles over and vomits on the ground.
“Ugh— Dios mío, Ana!” José leaps out of the way in disgust.
To be fair, Christian’s got a point here. This one line just paints Jose in the worst light possible. [Matthew says: Just ignore the light that everything previously printed in this chapter paints Christian in.]
Ignoring him, I grab her hair and hold it out of the way as she continues to throw up everything she’s had this evening. It’s with some annoyance that I note she doesn’t appear to have eaten.
Oh my god…is he actually inspecting her vomit to see what she’s eaten and then getting annoyed when it’s not full of nasty food-chunks? Is that what is happening in this moment? I have to say, to the critics out there who said Grey added nothing to this series, we have this moment. Cherish it.
The rest of the chapter proceeds in equally creepy fashion. Christian keeps telling us how Ana is starting to smell worse and worse as he takes her back to the hotel. Even though he was frightened for her safety, he doesn’t ask her friend to get her home safe and sound to their shared apartment. Instead, Christian, barely Ana’s acquaintance, takes her back to his hotel and undresses her to put her to bed. I always found it weird in the other book, but because it was Ana’s point of view and she was into it, I was like, uh okay. BUT IT IS SO MUCH WORSE FROM CHRISTIAN’S PERSPECTIVE.
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.
Not even Christian believes his own bullshit.
While Ana is asleep, Christian texts Taylor each piece of clothing he needs for Ana, sizes and all. Down to her bra size. Yikes. [Matthew says: Technically he sends Taylor an “estimated bra size”, which I think was supposed to make us feel a little better about this, but kind of is a lot worse when you think about it, since he had to spend a fair amount of time just staring at her chest to make that estimate.]
Christian texts Elliot to see if he’s still with Kate and to let her know Ana’s with him. I guess we’re supposed to be like, “Oh, so thoughtful.” But if Elliot wasn’t with Kate, I feel like Christian would have been like, “Whatever, she’s a bitch anyway.”