Previously, Ana and Christian got back together because Christian is now willing to try a relationship. All of the other problems they have as a couple are unaddressed. And there’s two more books to this story, so we actually gotta add some problems, like his ex-submissive Leila stalking Ana, which is prompts Christian to have Ana stay with him while his security finds her. You know this is all very serious because it sounds like a fucking Dr. Seuss book.
Where are you, Leila?
Behind a parked car? A tree?
Would you hide inside a house?
Would you hide in the DMV?
Would you hide inside a boat?
Darker: Chapter 3 (Part 2)
SATURDAY, JUNE 11, 2011
Ana packs up and they drive to Christian’s. They just talk about their past, which is admittedly very normal new couple behavior, but not exactly fun for me to summarize. Especially since Christian’s telling the story now and that means everything is very very serious.
If she keeps digging, I’ll confess my darkest secret.
No. I can never tell her.
I miss when Ana was our narrator and it was all “My mom’s pimp beat me” “Golly gee willikers! Double crap!!!”, but now Christian’s the narrator and the mood is always like…
Christian tells Ana that he dropped out of college and we get this amazing flashback to #adult-Christian Grey telling his parents he dropped out of college to start a business. Or, rather, we get E L James writing #adult-Christian Grey telling his parents he dropped out of college to start a business.
“You’re what?” Grace scowls at me, her expression apoplectic.
“I want to leave. I’m going to start my own company.”
Well, now I really have a sense of Christian Grey’s natural business acumen.
“Christian, what do you know about investments?”
I love how this whole conversation is like just one single step more specific than “Doing what?” “Business.” “Christian, what do you know about business?”
Ana asks Christian how he was able to do that, and he says that Elena loaned him the money. Ana connects the dots and realizes that Christian has the business he has today because the woman who secretly had a BDSM affair with him when he was underage loaned him her husband’s money. E L James still doesn’t connect the dots between Christian Grey and human person behavior.
“She was a bored trophy wife, Anastasia. Her husband was wealthy—big in timber.” This always makes me smile. I give Ana a sideways smirk. Lincoln Timber. What an unpleasant asshole he turned out to be.
Not one sentence here sets up a sentence that makes sense to follow it. His timber business makes Christian smile? Is timber funny? Oh, wait, it’s… because Lincoln is an asshole? What?
My thoughts take a dark turn. He nearly killed his wife because she was fucking me.
WHY ARE YOU SMILING? THIS IS NOT A NORMAL THING TO SMILE ABOUT.
Christian notes that Ana “is not the mild woman I remember” and finds that since they’ve started dating again, she’s “far more audacious and volatile”. He wonders whether she’s “changed so much since she left me? Or have I?”, as if these two haven’t only known each other for all of a month and two days.
She nods and gives me a tepid smile. She’s either scared or still mad about Elena. Or she’s pissed for being hoisted over my shoulder in the street. Or maybe it’s the twenty-four thousand dollars.
Damn, there’s a great deal to choose from.
Thanks for doing my job for me, Darker. “Christian Grey realizes there’s a lot of reasons why Ana is mad at him but doesn’t really do anything about them” is actually a really good summary of most of Fifty Shades.
“Still mad at me?” I ask.
“Okay.” At least I know.
This could only be more concise if Christian just said ¯_(ツ)_/¯ somehow.
They get to Christian’s, and Ana unpacks while Christian makes a few business calls. There’s a delightfully weird passage where Christian thinks Ana is talking to herself in the closet when obviously she’s just taking a call. In the closet for some reason. It’s the sort of thing that’s barely worth noting because it’s just regular person-level weird, but Christian’s narrating so it somehow takes on the same tone as a fakeout scare before the real scary shit starts happening in a horror movie.
Ana’s talking to herself in the closet.
What the hell is she doing in there?
Taking a deep breath, I open the door […]
She holds up a finger and I realize that she’s on the phone, and not talking to herself at all.
What a goofy misunderstanding that was totally worth hearing about.
“Sorry, Mom, I have to go. I’ll call again soon…” She’s jittery. Do I make her feel that way?
Says the guy who barged in on his girlfriend who’s hiding in the closet for a modicum of privacy that even that didn’t afford her, because he somehow thought she was having a Gollum/Smeagol moment.
They start having another conversation about where Ana isn’t comfortable with all of Christian’s extravagant gifts (such as that closet full of clothes he had a stylist buy for her) and Christian’s response is something like “You are one frustrating female”. That’s this whole story, you guys. It’s just Ana saying she doesn’t like things and Christian asking her why bitches be trippin’.
“Anastasia, do you have any idea how much money I make?”
“Why should I? I don’t need to know the bottom line of your bank account, Christian.”
“I know. That’s one of the things I love about you. Anastasia, I earn roughly one hundred thousand dollars an hour.”
Christian’s obscene wealth is one of those things about Fifty Shades that’s kinda less attractive and more so… disquieting in 2017…
“Twenty-four thousand dollars is nothing. The car, the Tess books, the clothes, they’re nothing.”
“If you were me, how would you feel about all this…largesse coming your way?” she asks.
This is irrelevant. We’re talking about her, not me.
Nothing more attractive in 2017 than a man with so much money that he’s forgotten how to empathize with other people. Anything else about Fifty Shades that looks way worse in the five years of cultural shifts since it first came out?
“So, you knew I worked at Clayton’s?”
“It wasn’t a coincidence. You didn’t just drop by?”
Fess up, Grey.
“This is fucked up. You know that?”
“I don’t see it that way. What I do, I have to be careful.”
“But this is private.”
“I don’t misuse the information.”
I like how, on one level, Christian Grey is basically as sexy as the GOP tax bill rolled up in Comcast’s anti-net neutrality campaigns. And the bit of him that actually, genuinely feels like a relatable human person is Christian worrying about how Ana feels about him. This is definitely relatable, but by this point we know how self-imposed his issues with women are. Despite the book’s really real theme that Ana has to save him, it is not a romantic partner’s responsibility to fix someone, so… it’s not really Christian that I’m sympathizing with in this story.
She’s had me on my toes since I met her. Is this why I like her so much? How long will I feel this way? Probably as long as she stays. Because deep down I know she’ll leave me eventually.
They all do.
Christian Grey probably wouldn’t get “Cat Person“.
Later on, Christian tells Ana that he got lipstick because he thought her joke about outlining his areas where he can’t be touched was a pretty good idea. That’s pretty much the scene. It’s what it sounds like, and the book’s really picking up steam on its “Ana must save Christian” stuff by this point:
- She is my salvation.
- My life buoy.
- She’s driving the darkness out and I’m drinking in her light.
They fuck. It’s super healthy.
Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down.