Darker Chapter 5 (Part 1): Christian Abuses His Employees and Power! Yay!

Previously, Ana asked Christian if he has any friends. He confirms he does not.

Darker Chapter 5 (Monday, June 13, 2011):

We begin our day with musings from Christian as he tells us Ana has fallen back to sleep:

I check on Ana before I leave; she’s gone back to sleep.

Good. She’s had an action-packed weekend. As have I.

Yes. What a weekend.

“Action-packed” and “what a weekend” seem like quite a blase ways to refer to a weekend where you found out your ex got ahold of your gun, has been stalking you and has snuck into your apartment.

Christian goes for a run, and lest you start worrying about the aforementioned ex, he’s got it all under control:

Leila was never one for an early morning … just like Ana. I think I’ll be safe.

Good thing his dangerous ex isn’t a morning person!

On his run, Christian decides it’s time to ask Ana to move in with him. Nope, I assure you, nothing I could quote would possibly help any of us understand why he comes to this conclusion.

A silk blouse and a gray skirt. She looks different.



She’s beautiful. Not a gauche student but a confident young working woman. I approve and I wrap my arm around her.

This is so unbelievably patronising and paternalistic. It only gets worse.

“You look lovely,” I say, kissing her behind her ear. My only misgiving about her appearance is that she has to spend time, looking like this, with her boss.

Ah. That old conundrum. When you want your girlfriend to look like a “confident young working woman” – as all the young lads would definitely say – but you don’t want her looking too sexy.

Christian chastising himself with a reminder that it’s Ana’s choice to work. As though this is not completely and utterly a given and something he must take serious note of. He has dated her for mere weeks, and not only does he think that this means he should ask her to move in, but that he has any right to even contemplate asking her not to work.

At work, Christian continues to behave terribly to his employees. Back at work, he’s already forgotten Andrea is still off for her wedding. He’s furious when he catches her temporary replacement on social media, which, fair, but it sounds like since he wasn’t at the office, not much was going on for her. And all Christian does at work now is wait for Ana’s emails, so it’s just a tad hypocritical, and he’s just needlessly horrible to her for the rest of the day.

For instance, when she brings him his cup of coffee:

“I need some ideas for wedding presents.”

Ms. Brooks looks taken aback. “Well, it depends how well you know the person and how much you’d like to spend and—”

I don’t need a lecture. I hold up my hand. “Write them down. It’s for my PA.”

“Does she have a bridal registry?”

“A what?”

“A bridal registry at a store?”

“I don’t know. Find out.”

“Yes, Mr. Grey.”

I mean, at least he’s getting Andrea a gift. I’ll give him that. Poor Mr. Brooks, though. She’s just trying to be helpful!

During all this, Christian kind of asks Ana to move in with him over email. Again, casual reminder that all Christian really does it email Ana at work now.

Christian discovers that Jack Hyde has been accused of harassing colleagues in the past, and he’s furious when Ana announces that she’s going to New York on a business trip with him. Of course, Christian tries to forbid this, despite the fact that Ana repeatedly asks him to talk about it later when she’s not at work.

He gets even angrier because SIP’s emails are monitored. Why don’t they just text or email from their personal accounts then? Why is this all happening via work email?

Christian calls one of his employees to waste her work time on his personal bullshit:

“There’s a lot of unnecessary expenditure at SIP. They’re hemorrhaging money and we need to put a stop to it. I want a moratorium on all nonessential peripheral spending. Travel. Hotels. Hospitality. All the T&E. Especially for junior staff. You know the drill.”

“Really? I don’t think we’ll save much money.”

“Just call Roach. Make it happen. Immediately.”

“What’s brought this on?”

“Just do it, Ros.”

No, Ros, quit immediately!

Things only get worse for Christian’s employees when Ana continues to refuse to bend to his will.

Montana (temporary PA) comes in with gift ideas and more coffee for Christian:

“I’ve made a list of the items still available and their prices.”

“E-mail it to me,” I say through gritted teeth.

“And get me another coffee.”

“Yes, Mr. Grey.” She smiles as if we’re discussing the fucking weather and shuts the door.

How…how else should this poor woman have smiled?

smile gif .gif

I take a sip of coffee.

Fuck. Shit.

It’s scalding hot.

I drop the cup, the coffee, everything.


“Ms. Brooks!” I yell. Jesus, I wish Andrea was here.

Montana pops her head around the door. Neither in. Nor out. And still wearing too much freshly applied lipstick.

“I’ve just dropped my coffee all over the floor because it was scalding hot. Get it cleaned up, please.”

WHAT A FUCKING MAN-BABY! Wouldn’t Christian have expected his coffee to be hot? Surely he can take responsibility for checking how hot the drink is.

Christian starts to wonder if she did it on purpose, and I really hope she did. He fucking deserved it.

After this, Christian fights with Ana over monitored work email, and then gets angry with her that they’re fighting over monitored work emails. Don’t worry, Christian’s got a plan.

I call Barney.

“Mr. Grey.”

“Can you delete Miss Anastasia Steele’s e-mail to me at nine fifty-five from the SIP server and all mine to her?”

Don’t waste Barney’s god damn time, too! This is an outrage!

Montana shows up to try to clean the coffee off the carpet, and Christian shouts at her some more. I mean, if you’re not swooning for the entirety of this chapter, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

As Ana refuses to agree to move in with Christian right away…via email…and refuses to be cool with him interfering with her work, he has a shocking revelation:

I didn’t know arguing could be so tiresome. And discouraging. And worrying. She’s mad at me.

Christian Grey’s whole character arc is that he hates condoms and realising that arguing is unpleasant.




  1. Arin Reply

    I thought nothing EL James would write could surprise me anymore, but my mouth is literally hanging open. I’m so shocked that she is gleefully showcasing how awful Christian is. As I mentioned via the twitter-universe, my coworkers who actually LOVE this bullshit were even irritated with this book.

  2. Rebecca Bauer Reply

    That replacement assistant is named after the state I live in and I feel personally attacked by Christian’s behavior.

    Also, Ariel, did you pick the used book club book this time? I’m dying to talk about it; I just finished.

  3. callmeIndigo Reply

    This dude claims to make my total college tuition every hour so I sure am glad to know this is what he’s doing in that time

  4. Jennifer Layton Reply

    OK, I kind of get it. EL James is going for the Dom in the Dom/Sub relationship, so she’s trying to make him as masterful and brutal as possible (the original title of 50 Shades was Master of the Universe). He’s supposed to be the kind of commanding, demanding, threatening man that is actually kind of a turn-on. But James writes it so badly that he comes across as a petulant baby. (Wah my coffee is too hot Wah I spilled it Wah Ana won’t live with me.) If he were roaring at someone who was trying to take over his company, or ANYTHING else with high stakes (wah I don’t know what a registry is), Christian would have been the sex god he’s supposed to be. Yet more evidence that James knows nothing about the people she’s writing about.

  5. Sue W Reply

    snicker If I were Barney, I would save copies of every one of those emails.

  6. wordswithhannah Reply

    How did she not realize how dumb and petty this whole passage sounds? He’s bitching about his assistant’s freshly applied lipstick, as though her wearing old or no lipstick would somehow be more acceptable to this freak’s standards.

    The “each line gets a new paragraph” choppy writing style is the exact wrong way to write about someone getting burned by too-hot coffee, which is a much more instantaneous reaction. It plays out in my head like a cartoon:

    I take a sip of coffee.

    Wile E. Coyote takes a sip of coffee. A dotted red line traces from his tongue to his brain.

    Fuck. Shit.

    His eyes widen to comically large proportions, popping out of his face.

    It’s scalding hot.

    His brain makes a train-whistle “AWOOOOOOO-GA!” sound.

    I drop the cup, the coffee, everything.

    Wile E. Coyote drops the coffee cup and dashes out of the office, leaving a silhouette of himself in the wall. He pauses and realizes he’s thirty stories up. Wah-wah. He plummets to the street below.



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