Previously, Christian’s mentally unstable stalker ex broke into Ana’s apartment and he diffused the situation by making her take off her clothes so he could personally give her a bath. Then he proposed to Ana. It was one hell of a Tuesday.
Darker: Chapter 7 (Part 1)
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 15, 2011
So where does the story even go from here? Flimsy attempt at self-awareness?
I put my head in my hands and rub my face. I can’t believe I asked Ana to marry me.
Weirdly succinct observation about how badly the narrative momentum has stalled?
And she didn’t say no. But she didn’t say yes, either.
Yet another reminder that hearing this story from Christian’s perspective is basically just constant worrying that Ana is going to leave him?
She may never say yes. In the morning, she’ll wake and come to her senses. […] at least [Leila is] safe and getting the help she needs.
But at what cost? Ana?
I mean in all fairness, Ana should have left his ass a long time ago, but that doesn’t make this any less irritating to read through. Before they call it a night and finally go to sleep, Christian finds Ana crying in the fetal position on the floor. Girl, just leave him.
Gently I stroke her back, thinking about how much more her tears affect me than Leila’s did.
Because I love her.
Whispers reassuringly: “Her tears were not the tears of love. They meant nothing.”
They go to sleep and Christian has a dream that is sort of a flashback, as all dreams in Fifty Shades are deeply informative. Leila stands before Christian and the smell haunts him and she turns into his mother’s pimp, who tortures him by pressing lit cigarettes into him, while smoke comes out of his mouth. That’s not even the weird part.
Ana’s out of bed, holding my shoulders, shaking me.
“You left, you left, you must have left,” I mumble incoherently. […] I only have nightmares when you’re not here.
“I just went for a drink. I was thirsty.”
So, this is canon: While asleep, Christian can subconsciously tell when Ana is no longer in the bed they share, and then the nightmares begin. While he is sleeping, Christian’s brain is still scanning for Ana’s presence, and the second she’s out of bed, it is nightmare time.
Naturally, Christian tries to turn this into a sex scene. Ana isn’t in the mood, and Christian assumes this one time Ana isn’t totally down to bone after a rather traumatic day means his entire reality is being upended:
Suddenly, she pulls back and pushes against my arms. “Christian. Stop. I can’t do this.”
“What? What’s wrong?” I murmur against her throat.
“No, please. I can’t do this, not now. I need some time, please…”
“Oh, Ana, don’t overthink this,” I whisper, as my anxiety returns. I’m fully awake. She’s rejecting me. No. I’m desperate.
Oh, well, wait, if Christian is desperate then Ana’s feelings aren’t important.
Our relationship rests on this moment.
Yes, this moment Ana didn’t want to bone when you woke up from screaming in your sleep at 4AM is really what speaks to the overall stability of your relationship.
I know it’s very easy to forget that Ana’s a pretty shitty partner too since Christian Grey is here, kind of like that year that Lord of the Rings swept the Oscars and no other movie mattered. But Ana starts touching Christian in the areas where he’s explained he can’t stand being touched, which feels super manipulative hearing it from Christian’s perspective:
She runs her hand up to my shoulder, her fingertips scalding my skin. I groan; I want this so much and I dread it so much. […] Fear erupts in my chest, hammering my heart. […] She’s panting, eyes bright and brimming with sensuality.
This is turning her on.
You know how the patriarchy is also bad for men because toxic masculinity conditions men to ignore their emotions and place their self-worth in their ability to sex good?
Don’t overthink this, Grey.
Man up. Go with it.
A thing that Fifty Shades really wants us to buy is that personal growth is someone else fixing you and you really just gotta go along with it. I don’t need to explain why that’s bad, right?
It’s all super unhealthy.
“You want to do this? You can still say no. You can always say no.”
“Don’t give me a chance to think, Christian.” She’s breathless. “I want you, too.” She rips open the foil with her teeth
Maybe the only thing that Christian and Ana have in common is their mutual interest in ignoring the other person’s constantly re-stated needs.
Ana asks Christian what his nightmare was about. He expresses surprise that someone else really wants “that shit in her head”. Again. He tells her a bit about how his mom didn’t love him, and narrates to the reader that “I never had a mother’s loving touch, Ana“, which is weird because I’m pretty sure I’m not Ana. Ana’s right there, dude. Just say that to h- oh, you can’t because this book is a rewrite of a book that already came out so everyone’s dialogue and actions and respective character growth is already locked in so even if Christian thinks something new, it doesn’t impact the story at all. My bad.
Ana asks if she can talk to Christian’s therapist, which he agrees to. I’m not a therapist but I’m pretty sure that having a consultation with your patient’s significant other about all of their loved one’s brain problems isn’t as helpful as Fifty Shades thinks it would be.
In the morning, again with this shit:
I’m woken by a commotion. Ana is leaping over me and onto the floor and heading for the bathroom.
“Hey, Matthew, do you know if the authors of the books you write about know about this blog?” I dunno, this constant “Ana is leaving me! Oh, wait, she’s just blowing her nose” stuff is some real Goosebumps fake-out shit. Maybe E L James is a fan.
Ana leaves and Christian notes how much he misses her. I think Ariel wrote that exact sentence in one of her posts a week ago. Not a whole lot going on in these sequels, y’all. At work, Christian and Ana keep emailing each other, and Christian keeps nagging her to use her BlackBerry and not her work email. And to marry him, which I guess is at least shaking things up a little bit.
But I like keeping you up late 😉
Please use your BlackBerry.
Oh, and marry me, please.
Christian also calls his therapist to give him a heads up that Ana wants to talk to him, which he distressingly immediately caves to. Christian is almost late to a meeting with the mayor because he’s on the phone with Ana. Elena texts Christian if he wants to have dinner and he ignores it. Gosh, so many great details we totally missed out on when we only had Ana’s side of the story.
Christian’s sister Mia also calls him to ask for Ana’s number so she can invite her to his birthday party. Christian tells us he hates his birthday. Just like condoms, then.
Christian and Taylor drive over to Ana’s office at the end of the day to pick her up and get worried that she’s running late. Of course, this is Fifty Shades, where someone running late actually means they’re in a life or death situation and not just trying to finish an email. Ana runs outside and sinks to the ground and Christian runs out of the car, and weirdly Ana sounds way more terrifying than Christian does for once:
“What did that sleazeball do to you?”
Ana giggles. “It’s what I did to him.” And she doesn’t stop laughing. She’s hysterical.
Taylor runs into the building while Christian learns that Ana had to defend herself while her boss Jack Hyde (which we definitely don’t take enough time to appreciate is a real character’s name in this fucking book) made a pass at her, and also tried to blackmail her with her emails with Christian. Christian calls his HR guy to fire Jack Hyde. He also calls his IT guy to wipe the emails from the server and from Jack Hyde’s personal computer, all of which is I guess how that works.
He also makes sure to blame Ana for all of this before he goes inside, because it wouldn’t be the international best-selling love story Fifty Shades if Christian didn’t take the time to tell Ana he was angry with her.
“Please don’t be mad at me.”
“I am so mad at you right now,” I snap. “Get in the car.”
Christian goes into the building to confront Jack Hyde, and while you’d think this would be an interesting scene because Ana wasn’t there so it’s actually new, it’s basically just Jack Hyde being the most foul-mouthed character in the entire book, because that’s how you write bad guy dialogue.
“I don’t give a fuck, Jerry.” Hyde is protesting into the phone. “The woman is a pricktease.”
Taylor and Christian also rough up Hyde, which 10000% seems very illegal actually.
Blood is pouring from his nose. […]
“You saw him,” Hyde whines to the security guard.
“I saw you fall,” the security guard says. The name on his badge is M. Mathur. Good job.
I think the only new thing I’m getting out of rereading this story from Christian’s perspective is empathy for all of his employees. I guess that’s something? I can’t say I was expecting Darker to turn Fifty Shades into basically the same reading experience as an article about Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk.
Christian does have a fleeting moment of lucidity about his behavior…
I’m still too mad. I told her he was trouble. And I told her to use her phone for e-mail. I was right about everything. I feel vindicated.
Grey, grow up, you’re behaving like a child.
…except we already know he spends the next book and a half behaving like a child, so this is pointless.