Monthly Archives: June 2012

BOOK RELEASE! (A little late, due to vacation)

So, there I was, just relaxing and luxuriating and thinking that not having internet access wasn’t a problem because I had everything taken care of when LO! I forgot about a book release. Not to sound like one of those authors who are ungrateful for their opportunities, but it’s easier to forget a book release when you have several come out in a single year and also you’re on vacation and there is a ton of booze there.

Without further ado, here is my official announcement that my awesome m/m baseball romance, DOUBLE HEADER, is available now:

When Javier Vargas was traded from the Portland Pioneers to the Grand Rapids Bengals, he didn’t just leave his team behind… he turned his back on the love of his life. Now, a year later, short stop Zach Martin is playing for the Bengals, as well, and Javier can’t believe he ever walked away from the scorching heat between them.

Being a Bengal brings its own complications for Zach, who’s tired of never setting down roots. Playing beside Javier, Zach is constantly reminded of their passionate nights—and the pain of his loss.

Javier screwed up one chance with Zach, and he’s not about to let a second one slip by. With scandals swirling all around the team, he has to choose between his career and his heart, and in the end, he might have to sacrifice both.

Tune in Monday, when I’ll share video of my vacation and a recipe for bacon cheesecake.

50 Shades of Grey chapter 26 recap or “The end! The end! My god yes, yes, yes, the end!”

Just when I thought I couldn’t stand it anymore, just when I thought that surely I would die from the exquisite torture of it, I am done with recapping this fucking book. Let me tell you, it was almost more difficult re-reading it than reading it in the first place.

Before we dive into this bittersweet last recap, I want to just thank everyone who has come here and had discussions, pointed out errors (E.L. James’s and my own), who have enjoyed the recaps, and really, to the people who didn’t enjoy them, too, because you participated as well. This has been a lot of fun. I’m still on the fence about book two, but we’ll see what happens after my vacation.

Oh, what’s that, you ask? My vacation? Well, I’ll tell you. When this beauty posts on Saturday, I will be on my way up north, to Michigan’s beautiful U.P. That is, I’ll be leaving the part of my beautiful state that looks like a mitten and heading to the part that looks more like a shark or someone’s hand if they’ve worked in a paper mill their entire vocational life and they maybe had some industrial accidents. If you’ve never been to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, you’re missing a really unique time capsule of a place. It’s like stepping back into the 1950′s in some places. It’s truly magical, and I’m going to spend a whole week on the shores of  the big lake they call Gitcheegoomi, otherwise known as Lake Superior. That’s one of the Great Lakes, Chet. Be jealous. There’s a sea monster in it. I’ll be working on a book of mine own, for the first time in months, and hanging out with some like-minded author friends and probably passing my days in a Hunter S. Thompson style substance binge. Maybe it will cleanse my soul and I’ll be all geared up to read more about Jack Hyde. Who knows. Maybe I’ll blow off the Mighty Mac and die. I really hope not, because I think that’s only happened to like, one other person and it would SUCK to be the second person that happened to. I wouldn’t even make the papers.

So, without further ado, here is the final 50 Shades of Grey recap, with way fewer punches pulled, in my opinion.

I wake with a jolt.

I realize that this is the last time I’m going to have to read a chapter that begins with Ana waking up or going to sleep. Victory is mine!

Ana wakes up at five in the morning because of the three hour time difference. She was only there for four days, dude. She gets jet-lagged easily. She needs to take her pill, so she gets out of bed to do so. I wonder why she’s taking her pill so early in the morning, that she’s going to have to set an alarm to wake her up that early. Or maybe she forgot her pill the day before. Don’t know, don’t care, this is the last day of school for me.

Christian is playing piano, so she puts on her robe and goes to listen to the “melodic lament” he’s playing. Doesn’t this guy know any happy songs? Oh shit, that’s right, he couldn’t know any happy songs, because he’s tortured.

Shrouded in darkness, Christian sits in a bubble of light as he plays, and his hair glints with burnished copper highlights. He looks naked, though I know he’s wearing his PJ bottoms. He’s concentrating, playing beautifully, lost in the melancholy of the music.

I feel like this has happened before. I have the oddest sense of deja vu.

Just ignore it.

He looks lost, sad even, and achingly lonely – or maybe it’s just the music that’s so full of poignant sorrow. He finishes the piece, pauses for a split second, then starts to play it again.

That’s probably the only piano piece he knows, and he just plays it when women are over to like, impress them. Once, I saw some youtube clip where James May was talking about how even guys who can’t play the piano could learn to play this one, impressive sounding piece, and it would get them ladies. Let me see if I can’t rustle that clip up and post it here for all my James May lovin’ sisters and brothers:


Okay, I may have confused this clip with the one from Man Lab where he teaches the guy to cheat on  guitar. But in any case, that’s what happened. Christian Grey only knows how to play one song on the piano, and I’m sticking with that theory, because it’s hilarious.

Full disclosure, I had to share that link because I love all of you who have come out to me with your James May crushes and I thought we should share this moment before the fickleness of the internet forces us apart. Know that I will forever remember your excellent taste in over-forty hotties.

I move cautiously toward him, drawn as the moth to the flame… the idea makes me smile.

You know, that metaphor will never get old. I assume I’ll see plenty of it in book two.

Sigh.

You know I’m totally going to read the damn thing.

Christian tells her she should be asleep. Well, maybe if someone with a piano wasn’t making a bunch of fucking racket and forcing us to experience scene deja vu…

I ignore his facial expression and very bravely sit down beside him on the piano stool, placing my head on his bare shoulder to watch his deft, agile fingers caress the keys. He pauses fractionally, and then continues to the end of the piece.

“What was that?” I ask softly.

“Chopin. Opus 8, number 4. In E minor, if you’re interested,” he murmurs.

There’s like, only one way to improve on that sentence, and that would be to add, “Pleb,” to the end of it. That would be hilarious.

Ana says that she’s always interested in what he does, and I’m kind of expecting him to say, “Not super controlling pseudo BDSM,” but he doesn’t, unfortunately.

“I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“You didn’t. Play the other one.”

Oh snap, she’s on to him and his one song repertoire!

“The Back piece that you played the first night I stayed.”

“Oh, the Marcello.”

Just play it, jackass.

He starts to play slowly and deliberately. I feel the movement of his hands in his shoulder as I lean against him and close my eyes. The sad, soulful notes swirl slowly and mournfully around us, echoing off the walls. It is a hauntingly beautiful piece, sadder even than the Chopin, and I lose myself to the beauty of the lament. To a certain extent, it reflects how I feel. The deep poignant longing I have to know this extraordinary man better to try and understand his sadness.

I’m sure that’s exactly what the composer intended. He was like, “Some day, not soon, but some day, my work will be immortalized in a book about an intensely unlikable woman and her abusive boyfriend.” And then Thomas Tallis swooped in and stole his thunder.

 “Why do you only play such sad music?”

For attention.

Christian asks Ana for what feels like the hundredth time in this scene already why she’s up, and she explains the timezone difference and that she has to take her pill. He chides her about starting birth control in another time zone, and then lays out this very specific plan for getting back on schedule. I realize that they really do recommend you take your birth control pill at the same time every day, but is three hours difference really going to matter on your, what, fourth or fifth pill? I don’t think it would. I’m not a gynecologist, but I just don’t think it would.

Christian wants to have sex, but Ana would rather talk. Because that’s what this book is about, one slow, teasing build up to a conversation. I bet you thought it was about the sex!

The sex was a red herring.

“Maybe on the piano,” he whispers.

Oh my. My whole body tightens at the thought. Piano. Wow.

Go for it. It will never, ever be as hot as this:

Nothing will ever be this hot.
Rather than have sex on the piano, Ana wants to figure out, once and for all, what is up with their relationship, and specifically the contract.

“Well, I think the contract is moot, don’t you?” His voice is low and husky, his eyes soft. “Moot?”

“Moot.” He smiles. I gape at him quizzically.

“But you were so keen.”

So… wait a second. You spend the entire book bitching about how you don’t want to sign the contract, and now you’re all, “Hey, why haven’t I signed the contract?” about it? Ana cannot make up her damned mind.

 “Well, that was before. Anyway, the Rules aren’t moot, they still stand.” His expression hardens slightly.

So, he’s not into the paperwork anymore, but he’s still going to want total control over her entire life. You know, at least under the contract, thee were safeguards for the stuff she didn’t want to do. But before, he says? Before what?

“Before,”… He pauses, and the wary expression is back, “more.” He shrugs.

“Oh.”

“Besides, we’ve been in the playroom twice now, and you haven’t run screaming for the hills.”

“Oh.”

“Do you expect me to?”

“Nothing you do is expected, Anastasia,” he says dryly.

 Are we reading the same book, Christian? I’ve been able to pretty accurately predict every thing she’s done so far.

“So, let me be clear. You just want me to follow the Rules of element of the contract all the time but not the rest of the contract?”

“Except in the playroom.  I want you to follow the spirit of the contract in the playroom, and yes, I want you to follow the rules – all the time. Then I know you’ll be safe, and I’ll be able to have you anytime I wish.”

You guys got that? She doesn’t have to follow the contract, just the rules, unless they’re in the play room, but he wants her to follow the rules all the time. And the reason she needs to do this is so that he’ll be able to have her any time he wants. Look at how reasonable that is!

“And if I break one of the rules?”

“But won’t you need my permission?”

“Yes, I will.”

“And if I say no?”

 He gazes at me for a moment, with a confused expression.

“If you say no, you’ll say no. I’ll have to find a way to persuade you.” I pull away from him and stand. I need some distance. He frowns as I stare down at him. He looks puzzled and wary again

“So the punishment aspect remains.”

 “Yes, but only if you break the rules.”

What the shit is this, the freaking LSATs? It’s like a logic problem, and in the answers it says “none of the above” right above “all of the above.” How is she supposed to figure any of this out? Is she writing it down?

Ana can’t really remember what the rules are. If she could hear me, I would remind her that the rules are as follows:

Rules for being Chedward’s girlfriend

  1. Do what he says, whenever he says.
  2. If you don’t, he gets to beat you.
  3. Don’t have friends or family he doesn’t approve of.

See, super easy.

Chedward goes to get her a copy of the rules, and Ana thinks about how weird it is that they’re talking about it early in the morning while his business is in crisis. Well, you know, Ana, you were the one who brought it up. It’s not like you didn’t know what time it is.

When he returns with the rules, I don’t see a lot of changes, though Ana assures the reader that some things are crossed out. she’s still expected to do whatever he asks “eagerly and without hesitation” sleep the number of hours he wants, eat the foods he approves, wear the clothing he approves, work out with a trainer, stay completely waxed, and behave the way he deems appropriate. She must do all these things, or be punished.

They start to talk a little bit about the contract, but then Ana has the audacity to roll her eyes. Christian wants to spank her for that infraction, but Ana tells him he has to catch her first.

“I’m quite fast you know.” I try for nonchalance.

“So am I.”

He’s stalking me, in his own kitchen.

Must be nice for him to be working from home for a change. Christian points out that if Ana runs and gets hurt, she’ll be breaking one of the rules, but she takes off, anyway.

Suddenly, he lunges for me, making me squeal and run for the dining room table. I manage to escape, putting the table between us. My heart is pounding and adrenaline has spiked through my body… boy… this is so thrilling. I’m a child again, though that’s not right.

So not right.

Ana outruns him for a while, and he says it seems like she doesn’t want him to catch her:

 “I don’t. That’s the point. I feel about punishment the way you feel about me touching you.” His entire demeanor changes in a nanosecond. Gone is playful Christian, and he stands staring at me as if I’d slapped him. He’s ashen.

“That’s how you feel?” he whispers.

Those four words, and the way he utters them, speaks volumes. Oh no.They tell me so much more about him and how he feels. They tell me about his fear and loathing.

 We can’t stop here. This is spank country.

Ana backs down from her assertion that she hates being spanked as much as he hates being touched, because she gets this crazy feeling that disliking being spanked due to not being spanked as a child is probably not the same as disliking being touched due to having someone put fucking cigarettes out on your chest as a child. Then she claims that she’s “‘ambivalent about it. I don’t like it, but I don’t hate it.’” Okay, that’s selling yourself a little short. You don’t like physical pain, speak up and be honest about it, don’t back down like, “Oh, I’m actually just ‘meh’ about it,” when you really feel strongly that you do not want to be involved in physical pain as a sexual fetish.
Because that’s what this is, readers. In the final chapter, we get to the crux of things. Christian isn’t into BDSM. He’s into causing pain, which, while sometimes falling under the umbrella of BDSM, is a pretty specific subgenre of BDSM fun times:

“I do it for you, Christian, because you need it. I don’t. You didn’t hurt me last night. That was in a different context, and I can rationalize that internally, and I trust you. But when you want to punish me, I worry that you’ll hurt me.” His gray eyes blaze like a turbulent storm. Time moves, and expands and slips away before he answers softly.

“I want to hurt you. But not beyond anything that you couldn’t take.” Fuck!

“Why?”

He runs his hand through his hair, and he shrugs.

“I just need it.” He pauses, gazing at me with anguish, and he closes his eyes and shakes his head. “I can’t tell you,” he whispers.

 Ana asks if it’s “can’t” or “won’t” and he admits that he just plain won’t tell her. Because he’s afraid she’ll leave him. So, he just wants to cause her pain, for no reason, and she should be cool about it, because he knows exactly what she can/can’t handle with regard to his tortured past.

“Don’t leave me. You said you wouldn’t leave me, and you begged me not to leave you, in your sleep,” he murmurs against my lips.

Oh… my nocturnal confessions.

“I don’t want to go.” And my heart clenches, turning itself inside out.

This is a man in need. His fear is naked and obvious, but he’s lost… somewhere in his darkness. His eyes wide and bleak and tortured. I can soothe him. Join him briefly in the darkness and bring him into the light.

How is she going to do this? By letting him beat the ever living shit out of her. No, I’m not kidding. She tells Christian she wants to see how much it can hurt, and he expresses disbelief.

“Yes, I said I would.” But I have an ulterior motive. If I do this for him, maybe he will let me touch him.

This seems like the sort of thing you might want to work out, perhaps on paper, in a contract of some kind, perhaps, before you let someone unleash hell on your butt. Either way, he’s DTS (down to spank) and he takes her into the red room and tells her to bend over a bench. He’s going to hit her with a belt. A straight up belt.

“We’re here because you said yes, Anastasia. And you ran from me. I am going to hit you six times, and you will count with me.”

 Six times, with a belt, so it hurts as much as it can possibly hurt. You dig? This is the moment, guys.

“I am doing this so that you remember not to run from me, and as exciting as it is, I never want you to run from me,” he whispers.

And the irony is not lost on me. I was running to avoid this. If he’d opened his arms, I’d run to him, not away from him.

Ana notices that as he talks, though, he sounds more like the Christian she’s used to, like he’s in his element or something.

I close my eyes, bracing myself for the blow. It comes hard, snapping across my backside, and the bit of the belt is everything I feared. I cry out involuntarily, and take a huge gulp of air.

So, the belt hurts. At least it’s not the canes, right? So, he hits her, it hurts, etc.

“Five.” My voice is more a choked, strangled sob, and in this moment, I think I hate him.

Once he’s done whipping her with the belt, she doesn’t want him touching her, but all he wants to do is straight up cuddle. Guys, pssh. Always with the cuddling, am I right, ladies?

“Don’t touch me!” I hiss. I straighten and stare at him, and he’s watching me as if I might bolt, gray eyes wide, bemused. I dash the tears angrily out of my eyes with the backs of my hands, glaring at him.

“This is what you really like? Me, like this?” I use the sleeve of the bathrobe to wipe my nose.

He gazes at me warily.

“Well, you are one fucked-up son of a bitch.”

Let me just remind you, he bought what appeared to be murder supplies in front of her in chapter two. Straight out of Dexter murder supplies. And then she found out they were just for sex. And only now does she think he’s fucked up?

 Ana tells him to sort his shit out and then goes to her room.

What was I thinking? Why did I let him do that to me? I wanted the dark, to explore how bad it could be – but it’s too dark for me. I cannot do this. Yet, this is what he does, this how he gets his kicks.

What a monumental wake-up call. And to be fair to him, he warned me and warned me, time and again. He’s not normal. He has needs that I cannot fulfill. I realize that now.

Let’s keep on forgetting how he doesn’t meet a single one of your needs. Let’s roll around in our anguish about not being able to meet his. Oh, you’re going to do that for a whole bunch more paragraphs? Please, carry on.

Why, why, why have I fallen in love with Fifty Shades? Why?

Replace “I” with “Women” and you will be echoing my frustration with this book, Ana.

Oh, his distraught look as I left. I was so cruel, so shocked by the savagery… will he forgive me… will I forgive him? My thoughts are all haywire and jumbled, echoing and bouncing off the inside of my skull. My subconscious is shaking her head sadly, and my inner goddess is nowhere to be seen.

Maybe Christian beat her to death.

I have to go. That’s it… I have to leave. He’s no good for me, and I am no good for him. How can we possibly make this work? And the thought of not seeing him again practically chokes me… my Fifty Shades.

I feel like that phrase has been used so many times in this book, both the words “fifty” and “shades” are now meaningless for all eternity.

Christian comes in and tries to snuggle with her, but she’s still not having it. He’s brought her Advil and Arnica cream, but I don’t know what Arnica cream is, so I’m going to just call it ass cream.

Here goes. I need to say my piece. “I don’t think I can be everything you want me to be,” I whisper. His eyes widen slightly, and he blinks, his fearful expression returning.

“You are everything I want you to be.”

What?

“I don’t understand. I’m not obedient, and you can be sure as hell I’m not going to let you do that to me again. And that’s what you need, you said so.” He closes his eyes again, and I can see a myriad of emotions cross his face. When he reopens them, his expression is bleak. Oh no.

We all know that they’re breaking up, so allow me to interrupt this recap to defend “a myriad of.” I know it sticks in some of your craws when it shows up in this book. And God knows I don’t want to be E.L. James’s champion or anything. But this is important. If you look up “myriad” in Miriam-Webster, it’s going to tell you that either “myriad” or “a myriad of” are correct usage. I’m sorry for your loss.

Ana and Christian continue to break up, complete with a whole, “You’re right, you should go”/”I don’t want to go”/”I don’t want you to go” back and forth, but then Ana lets loose with the game changer:

“Me too,” I whisper, “I’ve fallen in love with you, Christian.” His eyes widen again, but this time, with pure undiluted fear.

Remember how he had that whole commitment problem before, readers? Dropping L-bombs doesn’t work great with him, for some reason, and he flips out. Why? Because he can’t make Ana happy.

Holy fuck. This really is it. This is what it boils down to – incompatibility – and all those poor subs come to mind.

They make their break up official and Ana asks for privacy to get dressed, because she is going to leave.

I have had my eyes opened and glimpsed the extent of his depravity, and I now know he’s not capable of love – of giving or receiving love. My worst fears have been realized. And strangely, it’s very liberating.

The pain is such that I refuse to acknowledge it. I feel numb. I have somehow escaped from my body and am now a casual observer to this unfolding tragedy.

She takes a shower, gets dressed, and as she’s digging through her suitcase she finds the little gift she got for Christian. Bit reveal time, it’s a model kit of a glider. She even wrote a note that says, “This reminded me of a happy time.”

Wait, what? Reminds her of a happy time… yesterday?

She leaves the glider and the note on Christian’s pillow, thinking really dramatic thoughts about breaking up with her boyfriend of less than a month:

I cannot believe that my world is crumbling around me into a sterile pile of ashes, all my hopes and dreams cruelly dashed.

Okay, hold up. All your hopes and dreams? You’ve been with this guy like, a few weeks. Didn’t you have hopes and dreams before you met him? Or did you just throw those out when the more important boyfriend came along?

As Ana comes out of the bathroom, she hears Christian on the phone, yelling at someone, ordering them to “find her.” I assume he’s already stalking his next lady love, then?

Ana tries to return the computer and BlackBerry, she just wants the money Taylor got for selling her car. They argue about it, but he ends up giving her a check. While Taylor brings the car round, and after they argue some more, Christian says:

“I don’t want you to go,” he murmurs, his voice full of longing.

“I can’t stay. I know what I want and you can’t give it to me, and I can’t give you what you need.”

Ana leaves Christian in his sterile art gallery of an apartment, and goes downstairs to get in the car.

Embarrassment and shame washes over me. I’m a complete failure. I had hoped to drag my Fifty Shades into the light, but it’s proved a task beyond my meager abilities. Desperately, I try to keep my emotions banked and at bay. As we head out onto 4th Avenue, I stare blankly out of the window, and the enormity of what I’ve done slowly washes over me. Shit – I’ve left him. The only man I’ve ever loved. The only man I’ve ever slept with.

Ana starts bawling in the car, and then when she gets home, shit really hits the fan, because she sees the deflated helicopter balloon tied to the end of her bed.

I fall onto my bed, shoes and all, and howl. The pain is indescribable… physical, mental… metaphysical… it is everywhere, seeping into the marrow of my bones. Grief.

You know, I’ve had a similar reaction, myself. WHEN SOMEONE FUCKING DIED. GET YOUR SHIT SHIT TOGETHER ANA.

This is grief – and I’ve bought it on myself. Deep down, a nasty, unbidden thought comes from my inner goddess, her lip curled in a snarl… the physical pain from the bite of a belt is nothing, nothing compared to this devastation. I curl up, desperately clutching the flat foil balloon and Taylor’s handkerchief, and surrender myself to my grief.

So, basically what just happened in this chapter is the beginning of the second Twilight book. So, we’re going to leave our recaps just like this:

 THANK YOU FOLKS! (AB)NORMAL BLOG ENTRIES RESUME JULY 2nd!

WE FUCKING SURVIVED THIS BOOK TOGETHER! 

50 Shades of Grey Chapter 25 Recap or “DTF”

At the airport, Ana’s mom rattles off every motivational poster she’s ever seen hanging in an insurance agent’s office:

“Follow your heart, darling, and please, please – try not to over-think things. Relax and enjoy yourself. You are so young, sweetheart. You have so much of life to experience yet, just let it happen. You deserve the best of everything.”

Hang in there, baby! I hate Mondays! Creation is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration!

You get the picture.

“Darling, you know what they say. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.”

Okay, enough with the inspirational quotes, Carla, Jesus!

 As Ana leaves her mother, her thoughts turn to Christian. Because Ana has two modes of operation, thinking about Christian and having sex with Christian.

What does Christian know of love? Seems he didn’t get the unconditional love he was entitled to during his very early years. My heart twists, and my mother’s words waft like a zephyr through my mind: Yes, Ana. Hell – what do you need? – a neon sign flashing on his forehead? She thinks Christian loves me, but then she’s my mother, of course she’d think that. She thinks I deserve the best of everything.

Then why does she want you to be with Christian? That seems counter-intuitive to the whole “wanting the best for you” process. But I really am admiring the way E.L. James teases out the “People who like BDSM are damaged from childhood” theme, slowly twisting it like a biopsy probe to wring out maximum offense.

Ana realizes that she “needs” to be loved by Christian Grey. And it brings up another point about Ana that really irks me:

This is why I am so reticent about our relationship – because on some basic, fundamental level, I recognize within me a deep-seated compulsion to be loved and cherished.

EVERYONE. HAS. THAT. ANA. I absolutely loathe the kind of person Ana is, that is, the kind of person who makes these profound statements about obvious, shared experiences. Ana telling the reader, “Hey, I think that deep down, I really just want to be loved,” is like Ana telling the reader, “I came to the most stunning realization… did you know that water is wet?” Almost everyone in the world has a need to be loved. It’s part of the human condition. Ana coming to this realization as though it never occurred to her makes me want to shake her again.

Speaking of shaking Ana, commenter Julia Burns suggests that me shaking Ana would look something like this:

The Hulk and I do have similar body types.

And because of his fifty shades – I am holding myself back. The BDSM is a distraction from the real issue. The sex is amazing, he’s wealthy, he’s beautiful, but this is all meaningless without his love, and the real heart-fail is that I don’t know if he’s capable of love. He doesn’t even love himself. I recall his self-loathing, her love being the only form he found – acceptable. Punished – whipped, beaten, whatever their relationship entailed – he feels undeserving of love. Why does he feel like that?

I feel like Ana is making a lot of presumptions here. She doesn’t know that Christian doesn’t love himself. In fact, to the casual observer (reader), it seems like he loves himself more than he loves anyone else, because he’s a narcissist. All Ana knows is that Christian’s relationship with Mrs. Robinson involved her “acceptable” form of love. Because she’s jealous and a narcissist herself, Ana assumes that Mrs. Robinson “broke” Christian. She can’t fathom that in the years since his relationship with his molester, Christian could have come to some kind of inner peace about his upbringing. I’m not trying to give credit to a molester here, I’m just saying, maybe the experience spurred some inner changes in Christian that led to him being better, not worse. Ana didn’t know Christian six years ago, even a year ago. She’s known him for a few weeks, and suddenly she thinks she knows what’s best for him.

Worse, she seems to get off on playing Florence Nightingale to Christian’s tortured soul, despite not knowing if he really is messed up or not:

I close my eyes, imagining his pain, and I can’t being to comprehend it.

There is word for people who abandon their own problems and self-development to meddle with the problems and development of others. They’re called Britta.

And Britta is a ruiner.
I could make an entire blog post out of how very similar Ana is to Britta in a totally-not-funny way, but that wouldn’t be fair to Britta and it might make me hate Community, which would be a real tragedy.
On the plane, Ana emails Christian. When he emails her back a short message about looking forward to seeing her, she thinks that’s strange. Rather than say to herself, “You know, my boyfriend is the head of a multibillion dollar empire, he’s probably just busy,” Ana keeps emailing Christian in the hopes it will elicit a warmer response. And of course, it doesn’t.

Crap. Okay. Jeez. What is eating him? Perhaps ‘the situation’? Maybe Taylor’s gone AWOL, maybe he’s dropped a few million on the stock market – whatever the reason.

Pff, just a few million? Way to be cavalier about something else’s money. Although I did get a laugh at the thought of The Situation from The Jersey Shore doing a bunch of bath salts and literally eating Christian Grey.

 Now, if it were meant as a double entendre, we would also be getting somewhere.

Ana keeps emailing him until she can finally construe something as an apology, and I realize at this point that Ana and Christian are both terrible people and probably deserve each other. How fucking rude is that? “I know my boyfriend has some dire thing going on, but he needs to be paying attention to meeeeeeeeee!”

Perhaps ‘the situation’ is out of hand.

Ana bought a gift for Christian to say thank you for flying her first class and taking her gliding. I wonder if she bought her mom anything to say sorry for abandoning her in the middle of a visit to go bonk a boyfriend who lives like, fifteen minutes away most days. But she doesn’t know if she’s going to give him the gift, because he might not like it if he’s in a strange mood. When is this guy not in a strange mood? I ask aloud in my lonely office while my family wonders if I’ve finally gone round the bend.

As I mentally flick through all the scenarios that could be ‘the situation’,

 I become aware once again that the only empty seat is beside me. I shake my head as the thought crosses my mind that Christian might have purchased the adjacent seat so that I couldn’t talk to anyone. I dismiss the idea as ridiculous – no one would be that controlling, that jealous, surely.

Right? The only kind of person who would do something that crazy is the kind of person who would like, track your cellphone and abduct you from a bar when you’re good and roofied, and then try to make you sign a sex contract and follow you across the country because they can’t stand to be away from you for four days.

Ana arrives in Seattle eight hours later (she must have had a layover) and Taylor is there with little chauffeur sign with her name on it. And of course, when he sees Ana, she can tell that he wants to smile at her, because everyone loves Ana, against all reason and logic.

I remember, though I would like to erase it from my memory, that this man has bought me underwear. In fact – and the though unsettles me – he’s the only man who’s ever bought me underwear. Even Ray’s never had to endure that hardship.

Where does she buy underwear, that it’s such a hardship? Does she have two asses, so you have to special order it? This is another of the things that irks me about Ana, her utter immaturity turns things that aren’t remotely sexual into embarrassing pseudo-sexual problems. “Oh no, he bought me underwear, tee hee.” He’s probably bought a lot of underwear for women, working for Christian Grey. It’s no big deal, almost everyone wears underpants, Ana. I have such a hard time believing, “Yeah, she’s going to be totally into being hit in the clit with a riding crop,” when she is mortified at the thought of someone buying her underwear.

In the car, Ana decides to pick at Taylor for information:

“How’s Christian, Taylor?”

“Mr. Grey is preoccupied, Miss Steele.”

Oh, this must be ‘the situation’.

Ana doesn’t really get much from Taylor, and instead listens to classical music until they get to the Escala, where Ana thinks that Taylor’s tone is “avuncular” because E.L. James got a Word-A-Day calender for Christmas. Headed up to Christian’s apartment, Ana is all nervous, because she’s kind of hoping he’s going to want to fuck her, and kind of worried that he’s going to be a bad mood. Those are basically the only two modes Christian has, when you think about it. “Frost Giant” and “Fuck Me”.

In the great room, Christian is on his BlackBerry talking quietly as he stares out of the glass doors at the early evening Seattle skyline. He’s wearing a gray suit with the jacket undone, and he’s running his hand through his hair, he’s. H agitated, tense even. Oh no – what’s wrong? Agitated or not, he’s still beyond beautiful. How can he look so… arresting? It’s such a pleasure to stand and drink in the sheer sight of him.

Note, that fucked up bit in there was totally in the book. I didn’t get a weird case of the spaz fingers. I like how Ana is seemingly surprised to find that something’s wrong, when she’s been aware that something is wrong since he left Georgia.

“No trace… Okay… Yes.” He turns and sees me, and his whole demeanor changes.

From tension to relief to something else: a look that calls direction to my inner goddess, a look of sensual carnality, gray eyes blazing.

See, he’s gone from “Frost Giant” to “Fuck Me.” There really are only two modes here.

 “Keep me informed,” he snaps and shuts of his phone as he strides purposefully toward me. I stand paralyzed as he closes the distance between us, devouring me with his eyes. Holy Shit… something’s amiss – the strain in his jaw, the anxiety around his eyes.

Aaand it looks like he’s stuck somewhere between those two gears. He’s gonna need a whole new transmission. And note how Ana continues to point out that something is wrong. We know. We are already painfully aware. Yet you keep pointing it out without giving the reader any new information. At this point, I don’t even care what the problem is anymore, I just want them to say “the situation” a few more times because I have a cache of hilarious pictures of Mike.

Despite the extremely fucked up state of affairs – that the reader still knows nothing about – Christian wants to have sex with Ana, and of course it’s going to be super erotic and amazing, but first, the medical review:

“I want you now. Here… fast, hard,” he breaths, and his hands are on my thighs, pushing up my skirt. “Are you still bleeding?”

“No.” I flush.

No, I’m not still bleeding, because I store all of my blood in my face. Permanently. But let’s look at this whole, “Are you still bleeding” thing. Ana started her period the day before Christian arrived in Georgia. Christian was supposed to have dinner with Ana on her last night at her mother’s house, because when she spoke to Christian on the phone, he said he would see her “tomorrow”. Which means that Ana’s period only lasted… three days? Is she currently breastfeeding? Think about that, she had a heavy enough flow that she bled all over him having sex, but she’s not bleeding now? Ana is blessed with unusually short periods, I guess. That, or she has a tumor.


They have sex, it’s mind-blowing and all-consuming, she explodes, etc. And they don’t use a condom. There is a debate raging in the chapter twenty-three post about when and how she should have started her birth control, but I’m thinking back to when I was on the pill, you started it the Sunday after you started your period. So, would Ana even have started the pill yet? If today in the book is Friday, and she was at her mom’s house for four days, and she started her period the day before Christian got there… she hasn’t even gotten to Sunday yet. So, they’re having completely unprotected sex. I’m quite disappointed, because earlier I had praised E.L. for making her hero wear a condom when so may romance authors talk their heroines out of it. Even me, although my characters were vampires who couldn’t conceive.

When they’re all done having sex, Ana tells Christian that she has a job, and he has no idea where, because he hasn’t been stalking her. But they don’t have a lot of time to talk about unimportant shit like her new job, because Christian wants to take a shower with her.

“Ow,” I squeal. The water is practically scalding. Christian grins down at me as the water cascades over him.

“It’s only a little hot water.”

And actually, he’s right. It feels heavenly, washing off the sticky Georgia morning and the stickiness from our lovemaking.

Are you fucking serious, Ana? “Ow, this water is hot. Oh, what’s that, Christian? You say it’s not? MY SKIN HAS MAGICALLY FUCKING ADJUSTED TO THE TEMPERATURE TRULY YOU ARE THE MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE.”
Ana asks Christian to go to Jose’s art show with her, and he says okay, but he also threatens her a little, warning her to remember how jealous he is. Ana asks when she’s going to be allowed to touch him, and he responds by making her put her hands on the wall so he can fuck her. Shocking the hell out of me, the sex scene is skipped over! Huzzah! And they go to the kitchen for pasta and wine.

“How’s the um… situation that brought you to Seattle?” I ask tentatively.

Going okay, but he keeps taking his shirt off.

 Christian doesn’t want to talk about it, though, and he tells her that she needs to be ready and in his playroom in fifteen minutes. Oh, and he’s bought her a whole closet full of clothes. Because apparently ‘the situation’ was a Denim & Co. marathon on QVC. He tells her to get ready in her room.

Ho! My subconscious has her snarky face on. I ignore her and make my way upstairs toward my room so, it is still mine… why? I thought he’d agreed to let me sleep with him.

I suppose he’s not used to sharing his personal space, but then, neither am I. I console myself with the thought that at least I have somewhere to escape from him.

You could go to your apartment, Ana. You do have one of those.

Ana waits for him in the red room.

Anticipation runs bubbling like soda through my veins. What will he do? I take a deep steadying breath, but I cannot deny it, I’m excited, aroused, wet already. This is so… I want to think wrong, but somehow it’s not. It’s right for Christian. It’s what he wants – and after the last few days… after all he’s done, I have to man up and take whatever he decides he wants, whatever he thinks he needs.

That’s right, ladies. Listen to the nice, sexy book everyone is talking about. If your man buys you stuff, you have to do the sex things he likes. HAVE TO. Ana is always so worried about being a ho, but then she can make a statement like the one above without any irony whatsoever.

The memory of his look when I came in this evening, the longing in his face, his determined stride toward me like I was an oasis in the desert. I’d do almost anything to see that look again.

These sentences tell us two very important things about Ana. 1. She is severely codependent, and is more turned on by the thought of someone desperately needing her than loving or desiring her. 2. She is a better sub than she thinks. She just doesn’t know what a sexual submissive is. All along she’s been laboring under this delusion that to enjoy sexual submission means giving up all personal autonomy. Now, we can’t entirely blame her for this impression, because she’s inexperienced and she’s being taught by a guy who also doesn’t understand submission. He’s not a dom, he’s a control freak. But the way she’s sitting there, thinking she wants to do things to please him, to the point that she’s getting wet from imagining it, well, I dispute Chedward’s claim that she doesn’t have a submissive bone in her body.

Christian comes in, he’s so hot that Ana says “Jeez” in her head, her subconscious and her inner goddess are both ready to go, and while he takes stuff out of a chest, she thinks about how she wants to lick his sexy, naked feet. He tells her to get on her feet and reminds her of the safe words, “red” and “yellow”.

I feel like I’m skipping over a lot in this chapter recap, but there’s just another sex scene, except he puts a blindfold on her and some headphones so she can’t hear him in a sensory deprivation type thing. It’s just that it takes so fucking long for him to tell her what he’s going to do, that I was thoroughly bored with reading it the first time, not to mention when I’m reading it now to recap it.

Okay. A musical interlude, not what I was expecting. Does he ever do what I expect?

Jeez, I hope it’s not rap. 

Thank you, Ana, for officially taking over as musically oblivious 8th grader:

 He braids her hair for her and then we get the exceptionally erotic language this book is known for:

He hums softly as he does, and the sound resonates through me. Right down… right down  there, inside me.

DOWN. THERE.

 He ties her to the bed, blindfolds her, puts headphones on, etc. and she listens to Gregorian chant while he uses a fur glove on her before he starts in on her with the flogger. When he’s got her all worked up, in comes the seemingly impossible sex position I’ve been trying to figure out with stick figures for the past two months:

Then, grasping my hips, he lifts me so that my back is no longer on the bed. I am arched, resting on my shoulders. What? He’s kneeling up between my legs… and in one swift, slamming move he’s inside me… oh fuck… and I cry out again.

Here’s what I’m trying to figure out. How tall is Christian, if his dick can reach her from a kneeling position when her body weight is resting on her shoulders? I keep trying to imagine this position and I just can’t make it work. Are her legs off the bed, then? Is she doing that bridge thing from gymnastics? But she’s not using her hands to support her, she’s on her shoulders… what the fuck is going on in that sentence? Whatever it is, it sounds super uncomfortable. I assume that the “oh fuck” and her cry is because he just broke her neck with his “slamming” thrust.


Christian fucks her in time to the music until she has the most intense orgasm ever. It’s hard to get excited about that, considering that every orgasm she has is the most intense ever. You know, fucking to music is fun, but it works better with something like Tool or Nine Inch Nails, I think. King Diamond, if you really want to get a workout. When they’re done, Christian tells her all about the music, which I guess in hindsight isn’t really Gregorian chant:

“It’s called Spem In Alium, or the Forty Part Motet, by Thomas Tallis.”

“It was… overwhelming.”

“I’ve always wanted to fuck to it.”

According to Wikipedia, that bastion of truth and infallibility, the text of the piece translates to:

I have never put my hope in any other but in You,
O God of Israel
who can show both anger
and graciousness,
and who absolves all the sins of suffering man
Lord God,
Creator of Heaven and Earth
be mindful of our lowliness

Oh yeah, that gets me hot, I don’t know about anyone else. While Christian gives her a back rub, they talk about what she says and doesn’t say in her sleep:

“What did I say to you in my sleep, Ch – err, Sir?”

His hands pause their ministrations for a moment.

“You said lots of things, Anastasia. You talked about cages and strawberries… that you wanted more… and that you missed me.”

Oh, thank heavens for that.

“Is that all?” The relief in my voice is evident.

Christian stops his heavenly massage and shifts so that he’s lying beside me. His head propped up on his elbow. He’s frowning.

“What did you think you’d said?”

Oh snit, how is Ana going to recover from that one?

“That I thought you were ugly, conceited, and that you were hopeless in bed.” 

This doesn’t throw Christian off the scent, but he doesn’t get an answer before the chapter ends.

And I never even got to use this picture.

50 Shades of Grey Chapter 24 recap or “Bonus post because I can’t count!”

You’re getting a bonus post today, because I’m incapable of counting. I thought, “I’ll write the recaps one a day, keeping a day ahead, and working in this fashion the last recap will post on the first day of my vacation, and I will be done!” Except math. So, here’s a post to catch me back up to my brilliant plan.

Christian stands in a steel-barred cage. Wearing his soft, ripped jeans, his chest and feet are mouthwateringly naked, and he’s staring at me. His private-joke smile etched on his beautiful face and his eyes a molten grey. In his hands he holds a bowl of strawberries.

Because an apple would be too obvious.

He ambles with athletic grace to the front of the cage, gazing intently at me. Holding up a plump ripe strawberry, he extends his hand through the bars.

“Eat,” he says, his tongue caressing the front of his palate as he enunciates the ‘t’.

Jeez, even in her dreams he’s obsessed with her eating. She wants to go to him and eat the damn strawberry, but something holds her back, and he keeps telling her to eat, because that’s just how things work with him, and then the real Christian is waking her up.

It is literally the middle of the night, and Christian is all dressed in black. He tells Ana he wants to “chase the dawn” with her, which sounds like drug talk if I ever heard it. Ana asks if she can take a shower before they go out. Of course she can’t!

“If you have a shower, I’ll want one with you, and you and I know what will happen then – the day will just go. Come.”

Or, and here is an novel thought, you could control your own desires for a second and let Ana take a damn shower, since she’s been bleeding all over herself and the hotel sheets all night long. Christian has laid out a fresh pair of his own Ralph Lauren underpants for Ana:

 I shake my head at his lar-gesse, and I frown as a scene from Tess crosses my mind: the strawberry scene. It evokes my dream. To hell with Dr. Flynn – Freud would have a field day – and then he’d probably expire trying to deal with Fifty Shades.

Freud and I have that in common. Don’t you just love it when an author not only weaves a particular motif though a book, but also makes the text scream in your face, “THIS IS A REFERENCE TO A LITERARY CLASSIC LOOK HOW SMART I AM!” when you read it? I particularly enjoy that.

When Ana is done doing her bathroom things, she comes out to find Christian eating breakfast. And of course, he wants her to eat, too:

“Eat,” he says.

Holy Moses… my dream. I gape at him, thinking about his tongue on his palate. Hmm, his expert tongue.

I don’t think we can attribute him telling her to eat specifically to her dream. More likely, we can attribute dream-Chedward telling her to eat to real-Chedward constantly doing so whenever they’re in the presence of any kind of food.

It really is too early for me. How to handle this?

“I’m not hungry because it’s too early in the morning.” That should work, right? Oh, wait, no, it won’t work, because your boyfriend is a sociopath.

“I’ll have some tea. Can I take a croissant for later?” He eyes me suspiciously, and I smile very sweetly.

 “Don’t rain on my parade, Anastasia,” he warns softly.

Ana teases him about spanking, and then she gets all swoony because Christian has Twinings Breakfast Tea on the table, which means he really cares. Would pointing out that Twinings is a popular brand for hotels to carry destroy the romantic fantasy here? After non-breakfast, Christian takes Ana outside, where a valet is waiting with a soft-top convertible, and Christian says, “‘You know, sometimes it’s great being me.’”
This guy. This fucking guy.

In the car, they listen to some La Traviata, but Ana doesn’t want to listen to music about a “‘doomed courtesan,’” so Christian invites her to scroll through his iPod to find something she likes better. Every time they talk about music, Christian makes me think that he’s one of those people who doesn’t actually listen to what he likes, but what he thinks will make people find him smart or cool. Now, I’m not saying no young people like opera. I love opera, and did even before I reached the Anastasia Steele benchmark for geriatric hopelessness, otherwise known as “thirty.” However, Christian always smirks when he’s discussing music, and it’s always some song that echoes what’s going on in their relationship. Or it’s a piece that Ana isn’t familiar with, so she has to ask him about it, and he gets to look super smart. “Oh, you’ve never heard Thomas Tallis? He’s only the greatest Tudor-era composer. I can’t believe you’ve never heard him.”

This is my favorite hipster macro EVER.
Because Chedward is such a fucking pretentious hipster about his musical choices, it makes it that much funnier when Ana scrolls through his iPod and finds Britney fucking Spears, “Toxic,” on there. I’m sure it’s just there ironically. Because Ana and Christian can’t talk like normal humans, she assumes his choice of La Traviata (which spellcheck keeps trying to change to La Travolta, which is an entirely different opera altogether, wherein Danny marries Sandy as his beard and gets thrice weekly massages from young men desperate to break into Hollywood) is a comment on their relationship, and chooses “Toxic” as her comment on it. Talking is too mainstream.

He turns the music down a little more, and inside I am hugging myself. My inner goddess is standing on the podium awaiting her gold medal. He turned the music down.

Victory!

You probably could have just turned the music down, yourself. There’s a little knob on the car stereo that does that. If it was too difficult to pull off, you could have just asked.

“I didn’t put that song on my iPod,” he says casually, and puts his foot down so that I am thrown back into my seat as the car accelerates along the freeway.

Oooh, he’s all mad because you found his secret, decidedly unhipster Britney cache! Are you new here, Chedward? Just say you only put it on there “ironically” or to test people who use your iPod. That will show her for making you feel uncool.

What? He knows what he’s doing, the bastard. Who did? And I have to listen to Britney going on and on. Who… who?

Is there some reason you can’t change the song, Ana? Seriously, for two people in their twenties, they’re acting like middle schoolers. The next song that comes on is Damien Rice, so we know that we’ve downshifted into serious time.

“It was Leila,” he answers my unspoken thoughts. How does he do that?

“Leila?”

“An ex, who put the song on my iPod.”

Here is another thing that bothers me about this book. Needless dialogue. If Ana already knows the question in her head, why does she ask, “‘Leila?’” like she has no idea what he’s referring to? Save the reader some damn time. All of us, Ana, Christian, the reader, we all know that he’s saying Leila put the song on his iPod.

As it turns out, Leila was a former submissive who wanted more from Christian, so he broke up with her. He tells Ana that he’s never wanted more with a sub, except for her, and then Ana’s inner goddess does more spastic shit. Ana asks what happened to the rest of his subs, and he tells her that he’s only been in four long-term relationships, not counting Mrs. Robinson, whose real name is Elena.

Elena! Holy Fuck. The evil one has a name and its all-foreign sounding. A vision of a glorious, pale skinned vamp with raven hair and ruby-red lips comes to mind, and I know that she’s beautiful. I must not dwell. I must not dwell.

How is that working for you, Ana? I love that she thinks “Elena” is a foreign name. Ana is so bizarrely xenophobic. At dinner with Christian’s parents, she uses “European” as an insulting way to describe their housekeeper. Now she’s thinking “Elena” sounds foreign. Elena doesn’t sound blonde, though, thank God. I wonder if this isn’t a little bit of the stereotypical “I’m not a part of Europe!” attitude you hear from some British people leaking into the text. I mean, Ana even shoots down the idea of going to Paris because she would rather go to London. The pieces are suddenly falling into place here. The funny thing is, people in the United States don’t think of England as a piece separate from Europe, we think of it as a European country, so that attitude is all wrong on an American heroine. Unless she’s one of those obnoxious Anglophiles who prances around with a fake accent and talks about how they only watch British television.


Okay, I have a little of that, but it extends only to Top Gear, and that’s because our version of Top Gear is balls awful.

They talk a little bit more about his past girlfriends, and Ana brings up that someday she wants kids, which doesn’t sit great with Christian. They are driving to an airfield, where Christian wants to show her his second favorite pastime, gliding. They get to the airfield, and Taylor is there, and so is the tow pilot, who Ana can tell is British from his accent. If you’re South African, Australian, Irish, Kiwi, or Scottish, you are probably laughing your ass off right now, because you know that most Americans default to “British” upon hearing any kind of even remotely similar accent.

I’m going to skip most of the scene with the gliding, because it reads like a procedural straight from How To Go on a Glider. Basically, Christian likes strapping Ana into her parachute, and then into her seat harness (because he’s into BDSM, get it?!), and then they get up in the air.

The light is extraordinary, diffuse and warm in hue, and I remember Jose rambling on about ‘magic hour’, a time of day that photographers adore – this is it… just after dawn, and I’m in it, with Christian.

Abruptly, I’m reminded of Jose’s show. Hmm. I need to tell Christian.

I think you should definitely do that while he’s piloting an engineless light aircraft that could easily have some kind of accident. Tell him right now.

The plane banks and turns as the wing dips, and we spiral toward the sun. Icarus. This is it. I am flying close to the sun, but he’s with me, leading me. I gasp at the realization.

First of all, Ana:

Second, you just realized he was there?
Christian lets Ana pilot the glider, and then when they land, he asks her:

“Was it more?” he asks, his voice tinged with hope.

“Much more,” I breathe, and he grins.

But it wasn’t, was it? It wasn’t emotional trust or true intimacy. It was piloting a glider.

After their gliding adventure, they go to IHOP. Yes. International House of Pancakes. And proximity to greasy, overpriced menu items gets both of them all hot.

Oh, I want to run my hands through that hair. I pick up a menu and examine it. I realize I’m starving.

“I know what I want,” he breathes, his voice low and husky.

I glance up at him, and he’s staring at me in that way that tightens all the muscles in my belly and takes my breath away, his eyes dark and smoldering. Holy shit. I gaze at him, my blood singing in my veins answering his call.

“I want what you want,” I whisper.

He inhales sharply.

“Here?” he asks suggestively, raising an eyebrow at me, smiling wickedly, his teeth trapping the tip of his tongue. 

Oh please. Stop. I’m not sure if I can take the unbridled eroticism of this moment. Seriously, I cannot wait to see the promotional tie-in for this one. “The Rooty Tooty Fresh n’ Fruity Buttermilk Ben Wa Pancake Stack?” With “Lingering Gaze” ligon berry sauce? You wouldn’t even have to change the name of the stuffed french toast, that already sounds dirty enough. Of course, it’s French, so we’d have to probably change that, or it will steal Ana’s boyfriend.

 Kids and Adults with child-like sexuality eat free!
Their waitress shows up, and she flushes just as much as Ana does when she sees Christian. She’s a redhead, and Ana shows surprising neutrality toward her. I guess she only cares when blondes and people with black hair and foreign names flirt with him, gingers are G2G. Then Ana and Christian talk to each other about how they both disarm each other, and Ana asks if that’s why Christian has changed his mind about their arrangement.

“I don’t think I’ve changed my mind per se. We just need to re-define our parameters, re-draw our battle lines, if you will. We can make this work, I’m sure. I want you submissive in my playroom. I will punish you if you digress from the rules. Other than that… well, I think it’s all up for discussion. Those are my requirements, Miss Steele. What say you to that?”

We all know what Ana is going to say to that. Their breakfast arrives, and then they have this charming exchange:

“Can I treat you?” I ask Christian.

“Treat me how?”

“Pay for this meal.”

Christian snorts.

“I don’t think so,” he scoffs.

“Please. I want to.”

He frowns at me.

“Are you trying to completely emasculate me?”

This. Fucking. Guy.

I’m not even going to get into how awful that statement is, because either you recognize what is wrong with it, or you’re a time traveler from the 1950′s who stumbled, confused, upon my blog and are probably wondering why my husband allows me to read.

Christian takes Ana back to her mother’s house – without asking for directions, because he already knows where she lives. I’m not kidding, Ana even says as much:

Of course he doesn’t ask me for my mother’s address. He knows it already, stalker that he is. When he pulls up outside the house, I don’t comment. What’s the point?

That’ right, Ana! You march straight into that relationship in which your feelings don’t matter. At least you’re doing it with somewhat open eyes. Ana asks him to come in. I half expect him to say, “I’ve already been there, while you were sleeping,” but instead he turns her down:

“I need to work, Anastasia, but I’ll be back this evening. What time?” I ignore the unwelcome stab of disappointment. Why do I want to spend every single minute with this controlling sex god? Oh yes, I’ve fallen in love with him, and he can fly.

He can’t really fly, though, can he? He has to use a vehicle.

 Say what you will about Supes, but he doesn’t need a helicopter. And his ice cream is fantastic.

Ana goes inside to find her mom cleaning obsessively, and Ana offers to cook dinner, which her mom turns down.

Perhaps she’s improved since she moved to Savannah with Bob. There was a time I wouldn’t subject anyone to her cooking… even – who do I hate? Oh yes – Mrs. Robinson – Elena. Well, maybe he. Will I ever meet this damned woman?

Back up there, Ana. You’ve known Christian for all of what, three weeks? And you’re impatient because he hasn’t introduced you to his ex-girlfriends? Now who’s a controlling stalker?

Ana emails Christian (because they have been apart maybe ten minutes) and during the exchange he tells her that she talks in her sleep.

Supposing I’ve said I hate him, or worse still, that I love him, in my sleep. Oh, I hope not. I am not ready to tell him that, and I’m sure he’s not ready to hear it, if he ever wants to hear it.

That actually happened to me, once. I was occasionally sleeping with this guy, totally casual, and one night when I stayed over I had a dream that I got to meet Paul McCartney. Apparently I sat up and yelled, “I love you!” and then went back to sleep. That… took some explaining.

Greatest hits: “Hey Jude,” “Live and Let Die,” “Ruining Jen’s sex life”

Ana goes to the supermarket with her mom, where she gets a phone call from SIP, offering her an assistant’s job to Mr. Jack Hyde.

I need you to be fucking honest with me here, readers. I wasn’t going to read the second book. But I have this feeling there is going to be some kind of sexual tension between her and Jack Hyde, based on her meeting with him in this book. If there is, if you’ve read book two, let me know, and I’ll fucking read it. But if you lie to me, I will find you like the goddamned Repo Man and I will gut you. Also like the Repo Man.

This one, not Jude Law. That is the Rip Off man.
Ana’s mom is thrilled that her daughter is an employed college grad. Too thrilled, for Ana’s tastes:

“Congratulations, darling! We have to buy some champagne!” She’s clapping her hands and jumping up and down. Is she forty-two or twelve?

Maybe she’s your inner goddess, Ana.


Ana sees a missed call on her phone from Christian. Ana calls him back, and he tells her that a situation has come up and he has to fly back to Seattle immediately. He won’t be able to have dinner.

Oh no. The last ‘situation’ he had was my virginity. Jeez I hope it’s nothing like that.

Yup, that’s exactly what it is, Ana. Your hymen grew back. Only, something went… wrong. And now it has engulfed all of Seattle.

Later that night, she remembers that Christian had dinner with Elena. I call bullshit, as I’m sure that has been on her mind all damn day. They email back and forth again, he still doesn’t tell her what she said in her sleep (Spoiler alert: it was “I love you, Paul McCartney”) and the chapter ends.

50 Shades of Grey chapter 23 recap. You’ve been waiting for the infamous tampon scene, and now here it is. Here it fucking is.

Once again, the excerpts in this post are riddled with format errors that are not present in the text of the book. So don’t hold them against E.L. James or The Writer’s Coffeeshop.


I would really appreciate it if you would do me a favor and read the next excerpt while listening to this. I think we’re both going to be better people for it:

I glance nervously around the bar but cannot see him. 

 “Ana, what is it? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“It’s Christian, he’s here.”

Yup. After she asked him, once again, to give her space, what has he done? He’s followed her to Georgia, after she expressly told him in chapter twenty-one that she didn’t want him to come with her. After he promised via email to give her space. Okay, he promised to try to give her space, but how difficult is it to not suddenly be in Georgia if you live in Washington? Answer: not too damn difficult.

I have neglected to mention Christian’s stalker tendencies to my mom.

Or the police, which is probably the better idea.

I see him. My heat leaps, beginning a juddering thumping beat as he makes his way toward us. He’s really here – for me. My inner goddess leaps up cheering from her chaise longue. Moving smoothly through the crowd, his hair glints burnished copper and red under the recessed halogens. His bright gray eyes are shining with – anger? Tension? His mouth is set in a grim line, jaw tense. Oh holy shit… no. I am so mad at him right now, and here he is. How can I be angry with him in front of my mother.

Where to start? First, Ana’s inner goddess has so many fucking props, I imagine the inside of Ana’s head looks like something from Storage Wars. Second, Christian’s hair is moving smoothly through the crowd? What about the rest of him? Third, why would he have any right to be angry? He’s the freak who flew cross-country after his girlfriend told him not to. Finally, you have every right to be angry with him, even in front of your mother, because he has no concept of boundaries whatsoever.

When she introduces Christian to her mother, we finally get to find out her mother’s first name. It’s Carla. That’s actually a great name for someone who goes to the beach in big hats, isn’t it? I’m writing that down. Her full name is Carla Adams, something Ana has not divulged.

How does he know her name? He gives her the heart-stopping, Christian Grey patented, full-blown-no-prisoners-taken smile.

It is the law of the land that Christian’s smile be described in no less than one hundred adjectives at any moment.

That actually gives me an idea. I know that there are a lot of big names flying around, who should play Christian Grey in the movie. Most of them are too old to play twenty-seven. But not one guy. Not one very special guy, with a winning smile:

Ridiculously Photogenic Guy for Christian Grey. Come on.
 
 

 “What are you doing here?” My question sounds more brittle than I mean, and his smile disappears, his expression now guarded. I am thrilled to see him, but completely thrown off balance, my anger about Mrs. Robinson simmering through my veins. I don’t know if I want to shout at him or throw myself into his arms – but I don’t think he’d like either – and I want to know how long he has been watching us.

Oh, of course she’s not angry that he followed her to Georgia. Of course she wants to throw herself into his arms. Because Ana is operating under the misconception that it’s totally okay to stalk another person, so long as you’re rich and gorgeous. Something tells me that if Jose or Paul from the hardware store pulled this kind of shenanigan, she’d file for a restraining order. But when Ridiculously Photogenic Christian Grey does it? Then it’s okay.

“Well, yesterday you said you wished I was here.” He pauses trying to gauge my reaction. “We aim to please, Miss Steele.” His voice is quiet with no trace of humor.

She also said that she wanted time away from you. Interesting how you missed the mark when you aimed to please on that one. 

Crap – Is he mad? Maybe the Mrs. Robinson comments? Or the fact that I’m on my third, soon to be fourth Cosmo?

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME WITH THIS? I wish, so very, very hard, that I could reach into the book and shake Ana. Just shake the ever living shit out of her. Give her whiplash. Why should Ana be worried whether or not HE is mad at HER? She isn’t the one who stalked him. So what if she has a few drinks? He plies her with liquor literally every time they’re together. He gets her drunk on purpose to manipulate her. But yeah, let’s really worry if HE is angry.

“So you just happen to be staying in the hotel where we’re drinking?” I ask, trying hard to keep my tone light.“Or, you just happen to be drinking in the hotel where I’m staying,” Christian replies. “I just finished dinner, came in here, and saw you. I was distracted thinking about your most recent email, and I glance up and there you are. Quite a coincidence, eh?” He cocks his head to one side, and i see a trace of a smile. Thank heavens – we may be able to save the evening after all.

 
This guy. This fucking guy. And there’s Ana, worried about saving the evening, because God for-fucking-bid Christian be unhappy after he’s worked so hard stalking and intimidating her.
 
Christian compliments Ana on the top she’s wearing, and her EZ-LUBE Vagina ™ gets all fired up. All is forgiven, I guess, because he makes her happy in the pants region. In fact, she’s more upset at her mom, for staring at Christian, than she is at Christian for refusing to honor boundaries.

 “I don’t want to interrupt the time you have with your mother. I’ll have a quick drink and then retire. I have work to do,” he states earnestly.

You know, Chedward, IF YOU DIDN’T WANT TO INTERRUPT THE TIME SHE HAS WITH HER MOTHER, YOU WOULDN’T HAVE FLOWN TO SAVANNAH IN THE FIRST PLACE.  And I love that he “has work to do,” because he never fucking works. So what work could he have to do in Savannah? He probably needs to get on the phone to some (blonde, evil) assistant and bark vague commands about it being “shit or bust” time.

Ana’s mom invites Christian to dinner the next night, and he accepts, then Carla excuses herself to the bathroom. That’s when Christian decides it’s time to bring up Ana’s email. He assures her that his sexual relationship with Mrs. Robinson was over a long time ago, and now Ana is the only person he wants.

“I think of her as a child molester, Christian.” I hold my breath, waiting for his reaction.Christian blanches.“That’s very judgmental. It wasn’t like that,” he whispers, shocked. He releases my hand. Judgemental?

I’m right there with you, Ana. How is it judgmental to call it what it is? Clearly, Christian really is damaged goods, if he’s still seeing a relationship between a child and an adult as consensual. However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that Ana only thinks of Mrs. Robinson as a child molester as a cursory stop en route to jealous lover town. Ana points out that if the roles had been reversed, if Mrs. Robinson had been Mr. Robinson and Mia had been in the relationship with him, Christian would probably feel differently. But Christian feels that Mrs. Robinson was “a force for good. What I needed.”

“Anastasia, your mother will be back shortly. I’m not comfortable talking about this now. Later maybe. If you don’t want me here, I have a plane on stand-by at Hilton Head. I can go.”

Laters, asshole.

“No – don’t go. Please. I’m thrilled you’re here. I’m just trying to make you understand. I’m angry that as soon as I left, you had dinner with her. Think about how you are when I get anywhere near Jose. Jose is a good friend. I have never had a sexual relationship with him. Whereas you and her,” I trail off, unwilling to take that thought further.

Of course you don’t want him to go, Ana. You’re psychologically all screwed up, in a manner of weeks, because this guy is a master manipulator.

“Anastasia, she helped me, that’s all I’ll say about that. And as for your jealousy, put yourself in my shoes. I haven’t had to justify my actions to anyone in the last seven years. Not one person. I do as I wish, Anastasia. I like my autonomy.

And Ana doesn’t like her autonomy? Or maybe she just doesn’t deserve it. And did anyone else think of Forrest Gump when he said “that’s all I’ll say about that?” Because I totally did.

 I may not be a smart man, but I know how to track a cellphone, Jen-nay.
 
That reminds me, I need to do a blog entry at some point about how that movie ruined my fucking life.
 
Okay, where were we? 

That’s right, Chedward doesn’t think Ana deserves autonomy, but he does, and he lets it slip that he has to see Mrs. Robinson, because they’re business partners. Ana asks why Christian stopped sleeping with Mrs. Robinson and the answer is, unsurprisingly, because her husband found out. That earns something stronger than a Jeez! from our heroine.

“I don’t think you’ll ever convince me that she’s not some kind of paedophile.”“I don’t think of her that way. I never have. Now that’s enough!” he snaps.
“Did you love her?”

Ana doesn’t get an answer to the paedophile question, because her mom comes back to the table and they have to act like everything is hunky dory. Just a heads up, British people, “pedophile.” Stop trying to, as Eddie Izzard might say, cheat at Scrabble. Christian tells them to charge the drinks to his room, and Ana’s mom gets all gooey over the fact that Christian uses Ana’s full name. Then he leaves, with a “laters, baby.”

“Well strike me down with a feather, Ana. He’s a catch. I don’t know what’s going on between you two, though. I think you need to talk to each other. Phew – the UST in here, it’s unbearable.” She fans herself theatrically.

What the fuck is an UST? Unresolved Sexual Tension? Does Ana’s mom write fanfic, too? Carla tells her daughter that she needs to go see Christian, even though Ana points out that she came to visit her, not her boyfriend from back home who has horned in on shit. Upon learning that Christian has a private plane, Ana’s mom is even more pushy about Ana going to talk to him, and Ana confesses that she thinks she’s in love with him. Carla tells Ana that it’s obvious that Christian is in love with her, too. Hey, stalking is a form of love!

Ana goes to Christian’s suite, which is of course “ultra modern” because everywhere Christian stays must be “ultra modern” in this book. He’s on the phone, talking about some expensive mistake, and he starts filling the bathtub. When he comes back, he says something about being interested in some land there. So, not only will he stalk Ana, he will buy property near her family so that he can continue to stalk her? Ah, romance. When he gets off the phone, it’s shit or bust time:

“You didn’t answer my question,” I murmur.“No. I didn’t,” he says quietly, his gray eyes wide and cautious.“No you didn’t my question or no you didn’t love her?” he folds his arms and leans against the wall, and a small smile plays upon his lips.“What are you doing here, Anastasia?”

Um, visiting her mother. What the fuck are you doing here, Chedward?


He tells her that he didn’t love Mrs. Robinson, and then it’s straight to the fucking, even though they’re supposed to be having some meaningful conversation. 

“I don’t remember anyone but my family ever being mad at me. I like it.” He runs the tips of his fingers down my cheek. Oh my, his proximity, his delicious Christian smell. We’re supposed to be talking, but my heart is pounding, my blood singing as it courses through my body, desire, pooling, unfurling… everywhere. Christian bends and runs his nose along my shoulder and up to the base of my ear, his fingers slipping into my hair. “We should talk.” I whisper. 

“Later.”

 Yeah, Ana, later. Your pesky concerns are meaningless, as you’re just a sex toy/employee to him.

But now, my lovely, lovely friends. Now, you are about to be treated to what is undeniably the most needlessly disgusting sex scene ever written by someone whose last name is not “de Sade” or “Waters”. Let me preface this scene by saying that I’m not one of those self-hating women who thinks her period is super gross. I’m a woman who realizes that menstruation is a part of a woman’s life, and normal cycles are a sign of good reproductive health, which I am all for. However, I do suffer from OCD, and my feelings about bodily fluids are that I would like them to stay, you know, contained. For the most part. Your heroine can gush all she wants in a sex scene, that’s fine. But period blood is a waste product. I’m sure that out there, somewhere, there is a writer who has the skill to pull off this scene without making me cringe about blood-born pathogens, but that writer? Is not E.L. James. So don’t be flooding the comments to this fucking entry with shit about being moon sisters and our bodies are beautiful and we need to celebrate our womanhood and take the mystery out of it, because there’s nothing mysterious about it to me. I know how it works, but I’m mentally ill. I don’t want a goddamned lecture here about how I should finger paint in my menstrual blood. My crippling disorder is my free pass to mock the shit out of this scene, take it or leave it.

Now you know what you’re getting into, okay? Let’s set the mood a little. Ah, this song should do nicely:

“I want you,” he breathes.I moan and reach up and grasp his arms.“Are you bleeding?” He continues to kiss me.Holy Fuck. Does nothing slip by him?“Yes,” I whisper, embarrassed.“Do you have cramps?”“No.” I flush. Jeez…
He stops and looks down at me.“Did you take your pill?”“Yes.” How mortifying is this?

I think you mean, “How sexy is this?” Ana, because this is supposed to be every woman’s sexual fantasy, right? I should be jilling off to this in the tub, right? (Apologies to my friend Jill, who hates that expression).

He takes me into the bathroom which is two rooms, all aquamarines and white limestone. It’s huge – In the second room a sunken bath, big enough for four people with stone steps that lead into it, is slowly filling with water. Steam rises gently above the foam, and I notice a stone seat all the way around.

This is a hotel suite. So just imagine the number of people that have been murdered in that tub.


Yes, that’s another obsessive thought of mine, I’ll try to keep it from further intruding on the sexual fantasy unfolding before you.


 Because she’s “Bleeding Love,” he’s going to have sex with her in the bathroom. He gets her naked, and then they look at her naked body in the mirror while he talks about how sexy she is, and he uses her own hand to rub her body while he whispers sexy things to her, and it’s really by far the best sex scene in the book yet. And then. Good lord. And then.

“When did you start your period, Anastasia?” he asks out of the blue, gazing down at me. “Err… yesterday,” I mumble in my highly aroused state.“Good.” He releases me and turns me around.“Hold on to the sink,” he orders and pulls my hips back again, like he did in the playroom, so I’m bending down.He reaches between my legs and pulls on the blue string… what! And… a gently pulls my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet. Holy fuck. Sweet mother of all… Jeez.

Sweet mother of all Jeez, please protect and guide they humble servant through this sex scene, and please shine they holy light upon that turlet, which will surely become clogged because you ain’t supposed to put lady trash in them. Amen.


They fuck, it’s amazing, yadda yadda.

Did she just “yadda yadda” sex?
 
Remember what I said before about how I’m a story ruiner, I will ruin stories by going just a step beyond what is necessary, and in doing so I bring everyone down?

We sink slowly to the floor, and he wraps his arms around me, imprisoning me. I am curled on his lap, my head against his chest, as we both calm. Very subtly, I inhale his sweet, intoxicating Christian scent. I must not nuzzle. I must not nuzzle. I repeat the mantra in my head – though I am so tempted to do so. I want to lift my hand and draw patterns in his chest hair with my fingertips… but I resist, knowing that he’ll hate it if I do. We are both quiet, lost in our thoughts. I am lost in him… lost to him.I remember that I have my period.“I’m bleeding,” I murmur.

Here’s the thing: I know, intelligently, that having sex while on your period is no big deal. Just like I know, from a feminist standpoint, that to have a scene like this in a groundbreaking (for whatever sad reason) bestseller is a coup for women everywhere. It’s saying, “We’re not ashamed of menstruation. We can read about it, we can even get turned on by the thought of a dude pulling out our tampon.” But from a personal standpoint, full of fears of bodily fluids and smells and mess, I cannot look at this scene and think anything other than, “What does it add to the story for Ana to be having her period?” It adds nothing. This sex scene was actually pretty well written, for a change. But there is no level of eroticism added, in my opinion, by having him pull out her fucking tampon, and then reminding the reader that she’s bleeding all over him. It just doesn’t work for me. If it works for you, more power to you. But just like I don’t read medieval historical romances while thinking, “Gee, if only they could talk more about how everyone smells bad and there’s no penicillin,” I don’t read erotica and think to myself, “This scene would be way better with menstruation all up in it.”

 
They get up to go have a bath (and I’m sure that bathtub has seen its share of blood, what with all the killing that has happened in it), and Ana notices the scars on his chest again.

They are not chicken pox, I muse absentmindedly. Grace said he was hardly affected. Holy shit… they must be burns.

Ana wonders if Mrs. Robinson burned him with cigarettes, or if his birth mom did it. That actually makes me a little sad. I’m all for someone stubbing a cigarette out in this jackoff’s eye, but that now, not then. I wouldn’t advocate doing it when he’s a little defenseless toddler. Ana confronts him about it, and he tells her that of course Mrs. Robinson didn’t do it. So, that leaves us with a case of child abuse. Oh my god, everything Dr. Drew said is coming horrifically true!

He’s standing there, naked, gloriously naked, with my blood on him… and we’re finally have this conversation. And I’m naked too – neither of us has anywhere to hide, except perhaps the bath.

Water is clear, Ana.

As they sit in the bath, Ana decides that she’s going to get her answers from him, no matter how much silent treatment he dishes out, and finally he tells her that if Mrs. Robinson hadn’t molested him, he wouldn’t be the person he is, he would have become just like his birth mother. He tells Ana that Mrs. Robinson “‘loved me in a way I found… acceptable,’” and then goes on to explain:

“She distracted me from the destructive path I found myself following. It’s very hard to grow up in a perfect family when you’re not perfect.” Oh no. My mouth dries as I digest his words. He gazes as me, his expression unfathomable. He’s not going to tell me any more. How frustrating. Inside, I’m reeling – he sounds so full of self-loathing. And Mrs. Robinson loved him. Holy shit… does she still?

Here’s Christian, finally answering Ana’s questions, and what’s she worried about? Does she have a romantic rival or not. That’s not, you know, disgustingly selfish or anything. They argue a little more about how Christian never talks and always tries to distract Ana from her questions. Then he admits that while he’s not talking to her about their relationship, he does talk to Mrs. Robinson about it.

“Why do you talk about me?” I endeavor not to sound whiney and petulant, but I don’t succeed. I know I should stop. I am pushing him too hard. My subconscious has her Edvard Munch face on again.“I’ve never met anyone like you, Anastasia.”“What does that mean? Anyone who just didn’t automatically sign your paperwork, no questions asked?”He shakes his head.“I need advice.”“And you take advice from Mrs. Paedo?” I snap. The hold on my temper is more tentative than I thought.

 Christian threatens to spank her if he keeps talking about Mrs. Robinson that way. Because if he doesn’t like something, well, by God, he’ll beat the shit out of it until he does. He’s finished answering her questions, and then he turns the table on her, asking what she thought of his latest email. As a reader, I don’t know what email he’s referring to, because the bulk of the last chapter was made up of their emails. The email device, that I once found kind of cute, has devolved into this horrific, confusing ordeal. If I never read another email again, in this book or in my real life, I might be able to recover.

He gives me a genuine, relieved smile. “I’m please I’m here too – in spite of your interrogation. So, while it’s acceptable to grill me, you think you can claim some kind of diplomatic immunity just because I’ve flown all this way to see you? I’m not buying it, Miss Steele. I want to know how you feel.”

Yeah, Ana. He worked so hard at stalking you, how very dare you not do as he commands! Selfish.

Chedward asks Ana what she thinks about their arrangement, and she’s finally honest with him:

“I don’t think I can do it for an extended period of time. A whole weekend being someone I’m not.” I flush and stare at my hands.He tips my chin up, and he’s smirking at me, amused.“No, I don’t think you could either.”And a part of me feels slightly affronted and challenged.“Are you laughing at me?”“Yes, but in a good way,” he says with a small smile.He leans down and kisses me softly, briefly.“You’re not a great submissive,” he breathes as he holds my chin, his eyes dancing with humor.

 FINALLY! I’m so relieved that this is out in the open. Now it’s not a BDSM relationship, it’s just a regular old abusive relationship, and we can approach it with honesty.

Just kidding! Ana realizes that hitting her is how he shows that he cares. And he says nothing about discontinuing with the BDSM.

“You can always safe-word, Anastasia. Don’t forget that. And, as long as you follow the rules, which fulfill a deep need in me for control and to keep you safe, then perhaps we can find a way forward.”

Look at that, right there. What he’s saying is, quite literally, “We can’t continue this relationship unless you let me control you, because my needs are the only important ones.”

Fear me, love me, do as I say, and I’ll let you be my girlfriend, Ana.
 

“But, here’s the thing – one moment you say don’t defy me, the next you say you like to be challenged. That’s a very fine line to tread successfully.” He gazes at me for a moment, then frowns.“I can see that. But you seem to be doing fine so far.”“But a what personal cost? I’m tied up in knots here.”“I like you tied up in knots,” he smirks.

See, it’s okay! He’s fine with Ana being emotionally crippled by the relationship! Problem solved! And that’s a good thing, because the time for talking is over, and the time for sexing has begun anew. They fuck in the bath, and she thinks,

I love this man. I love his passion, the effect I have on him. I love that he’s flown so far to see me. I love that he cares about me… he cares. It’s so unexpected, so fulfilling.

This horrible relationship is super fulfilling, and I know that, because I, Ana Steele, have a ton of experience with this sort of thing.

Without any transition at all, they’re lying in the bed, where we find out that Christian has had seventeen sexual partners in his lifetime, and his favorite movie is The Piano. Which I had completely forgotten about, and totally recommended everyone watch a few recaps back. I still recommend it, but I hate that it’s Christian Grey’s favorite movie. I don’t like having anything in common with him. One thing we don’t have in common? He’s paid for sex.

Oh my god. I just realized that in comparing Jareth to Christian Grey, I have absolutely slaughtered my fond memories of my budding childhood sexuality.

50 Shades of Grey Chapter 22 Recap, or “Mrs. Robinson On My Mind”

We’re nearing the end of our time together, dear reader. I am putting everything on hold this week to wrap up my recaps. I feel like I should make little construction paper graduation caps for those of you who have read every single one. Perhaps a slideshow of our field trip to the apple orchard or that time the bishop came to our class.

Oh, shit, I’m mixing this blog up with Catholic School somehow. Look, it’s been (and will continue to be) a long week. And it’s, what? Tuesday? But I have to get these done so that my writing vacation will be a peaceful oasis of NOT THIS FUCKING BOOK.

In the first class lounge, Ana has gotten a manicure and a massage, and she’s drinking champagne. I’ve only flown first class once, but I never saw the lounge, so I can’t say with certainty that these things did not happen. However, I question the time frame. How early did Ana arrive for this flight, that she has time to not only jump through TSA’s myriad hoops, but also to get a manicure and a massage? I’m glad they have champagne, though, because lord knows if she goes dry for just a second…

Ana emails Christian to thank him for upgrading her flight and to joke about his stalking tendencies, because it’s definitely cute when your rich boyfriend somehow tracks down your flight number without asking you, and not super duper creepy. Christian is more concerned with who, exactly, was massaging her back, because he’s jealous and super duper creepy.

Aha! Pay back time. Our flight has been called so I shall email him from the plane. It will be safer. I almost hug myself with mischievous glee.

Safer for who? They tell you not to use your wireless devices on those things, because the plane will fall the fuck out of the sky. Ana calls her dad for literally a three line conversation:

I call Ray to tell him where I am – a mercifully brief call, as it’s so late for him.“Love you, Dad,” I murmur.“You too, Annie. Say hi to your mom. Goodnight.”“Goodnight.” I hang up.

Don’t waste your minutes or anything, yeesh. I feel so bad for Ana’s friends and family, because this isn’t the first time she’s though something was “mercifully brief” where it concerned them. Stupid friends and family, always getting in the way of more important thoughts about Christian Grey. She emails him from the plane:

A very pleasant young man massaged my back. Yes. Very pleasant indeed. I wouldn’t have encountered Jean-Paul in the ordinary departure lounge – so thank you again for that treat. I’m not sure if I’ll be allowed to email once we take off, and I need my beauty sleep since I’ve not been sleeping so well recently.

 Ana has a little glee over the fact that when Christian gets the email, she’ll be out of reach. Besides, it’s all in good fun, because Ana thinks that Jean-Paul the masseuse was probably gay. She won’t bring that up to Christian, though, because then he wouldn’t be jealous.

Kate is right. It is like shooting fish in a barrel with him. My subconscious stares at me with an ugly twist to her mouth – do you really want to wind him up? What he’s done is sweet, you know! He cares about you and wants you to travel in style. Yes, but he could have asked me or told me. Not made me look like a complete klutz at check-in. I press send and wait, feeling like a very naughty girl.

How did you look like a klutz? You came in, the guy said you’d been upgraded, and you argued a little about that. You didn’t BellaSwandive in front of the ticketing counter.

“Miss Steele, you’ll need to stow your laptop for take-off,” the over-made-up flight attendant says politely. She makes me jump. My guilty conscience is at work.

So is your utter contempt for other females. Off the top of my head I can think of one other female who has been described in a positive context in this book, and it’s the receptionist that Ana kept staring at in the last chapter. And maybe Mia.

Ana realizes that the downside to emailing Christian from the plane is that she’ll have to wait to know if he replies or not. Oh, the horror. A whole, what, four, five hour ride without being in contact with him? How will you survive?

The cabin has filled up, except for the seat beside me which is still unoccupied. Oh no…a disturbing thought crosses my mind. Perhaps the seat is Christian’s. Oh shit… no… he wouldn’t do that. Would he? I told him I didn’t want him to come with me.

You also told him you didn’t want to be spanked, you told him you didn’t want a car, phone, laptop, or expensive books, you told him you didn’t want him to come to the bar… you realize that your wishes aren’t even remotely a factor in this relationship, right? But the plane pulls away from the terminal, and Ana is actually disappointed that he didn’t override her wishes on this one. Then she takes her BlackBerry out, because the safety of the other passengers is of minimal importance when Christian might have emailed her. And lo, he did, and Ana looked upon it and saw that is was probably the most creepy email any man has ever sent his girlfriend, ever:

I know what you’re trying to do – and trust me – you’ve succeeded. Next time you’ll be in the cargo hold, bound and gagged in a crate. Believe me when I say that attending to you in that state will give me so much more pleasure than merely upgrading your ticket.

So, yeah, he wants to bind her and gag her in a crate. Jesus Christ, even Flat Stanley got to take snacks in his little envelope.

I’m escaping an abusive relationship!

Ana says that she can’t tell if he’s really angry, or just joking. If you can’t tell if your seriously rich boyfriend who actually could pull off tying you up and stowing you in an airplane cargo hold is joking about doing that, maybe you need to reevaluate your relationship, like I’ve been saying for the past, you know, twenty or so chapters. Ana is still typing away on her fucking BlackBerry in total disregard for the safety warnings. It’s that kind of behavior that gets people kicked off flights, Ana. Christian notes this in his reply:

How can you be emailing? Are you risking the life of everyone on board, including yourself, by using your BlackBerry? I think that contravenes one of the rules.

He signs off as the “two palms twitching CEO,  Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc,” and Ana is all, wow, two palms, I better not make this plane fall out of the sky. Then she pulls out Tess of The D’Urbervilles and calls it “light reading” and that makes my palms twitch, because I want to smack her for being so unbearably pretentious. She gets to Atlanta and the local time is 5:45 am. Okay, let’s run this down, to make sure E.L. did her homework:

  • Ana’s flight left Seattle at 10:25pm.
  • Seattle is three hours behind Atlanta.
  • So Ana’s flight left Seattle at 1:25am.
  • The flight should take somewhere between four and five hours.
  • So Ana arriving at 5:45am is totally appropriate.
And here is what makes all that so infuriating: E.L. James has clearly done her research about stuff like this flight, what the floor plans in the Escala are like (they’re available here, just go and see if they do not absolutely match the descriptions of Christian’s apartment), the geographical distances between the cities in the book, the names of the highways… she’s put this incredible attention into the these details while writing the book an ocean away from its setting. Yet she made only half-hearted attempts at the basics, like characterization, and grammar, and avoiding word repetition. It’s absolutely maddening. If the book was cleanly written, if the characterization didn’t rely on all-too-common tropes (the evil! blonde, the endearingly spastic! little sister), if the book were good, a reader could overlook mistakes like, “Oh, she wouldn’t have arrived at that time,” or “she wouldn’t have taken that highway,” or “The apartments in that building don’t look like that.” Those are the things readers can forgive. Not, “This couple is in love because I told you they are.”
When Ana arrives at her layover in Atlanta, she of course emails Christian. And she surprisingly finds her ovaries and stands up to him in it:

You know how much I dislike you spending money on me. Yes, you’re very rich, but still it makes me uncomfortable, like you’re paying me for sex. However, I like traveling first class, it’s so much more civilized than coach. So thank you. I mean it – and I did enjoy the massage from Jean Paul. He was very gay. I omitted that bit in my email to you to wind you up, because I was annoyed with you, and I’m sorry about that.

But as usual you overreact. You can’t write things like that to me – bound and gagged in a crate – (Were you serious or was it a joke?) That scares me… you scare me… I am completely caught up in your spell, considering a lifestyle with you that I didn’t even know existed until last Saturday week, and then you write something like that I want to run screaming into the hills.

The email goes on to reassure him that she wouldn’t leave him, because she would miss him, and that she’s not a submissive, but she’ll do it for him, even though she really hates the idea. So, way to have some strength for about two paragraphs, Ana. I honestly didn’t think you’d have even that much in you.

Let me just excerpt another part of her email here, I assure you it comes into play later:

I am so happy that you have said that you will try more. I just need to think about what ‘more’ means to me, and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted some distance. You dazzle me so much I find it very difficult to think clearly when we’re together.

Okay, keep that in mind for later. In the meantime:

 Do I dazzle you?
So, the Sparkles McGee award for plagiarism goes to E.L. James. If there was any doubt in our minds that Chedward was not Edward Cullen, allow her to blast them the fuck extremely apart with that dazzling comment.
Ana arrives in Savannah. Then this happens:

My mom is waiting with Bob, and it is so good to see them. I don’t know if it’s because of exhaustion, the long journey, or the whole Christian situation, but as soon as I’m in my mother’s arms, I burst into tears.

Ana’s mom and other stepdad are obviously concerned, but she kind of blows their concern off, because she  can’t outright tell them she’s in an abusive relationship, right? Bob the other stepdad takes Ana’s backpack and he complains about how heavy it is, and Ana attributes that to the Apple laptop in there, because if there is one thing Macs are known for, it’s being huge and unwieldy. Of course, with a 1tb hard drive, okay, probably heavier than my Macbook Pro, but still. Macs are light.


Ana really wants to get it across to you that it’s hot in Savannah:

I always forget how unbearably hot it is in Savannah. Leaving the cool air-conditioned confines of the arrival terminal, we step into the Georgia heat like we’re wearing it. Whoa!
It saps everything. I have to struggle out of Mom and Bob’s embrace so I can remove my hoodie. I am so glad I packed shorts. I miss the dry heat of Vegas sometimes, where I lived with Mom and Bob when I was seventeen, but this wet heat, even at 8:30 in the morning, takes some getting used to. By the time I’m in the back of Bob’s wonderfully air-conditioned Tahoe SUV, I feel limp, and my hair ahs started a frizzy protest at the heat.

If there is anything you take away from this book, it should be this: pay attention to inane details, like arrival and departure times for flights, but ignore the fact you used the same word four times in two paragraphs, and you will have a runaway bestseller on your hands.

Ana sends texts to let everyone know that she has arrived safely, and then wonders if she should invite Christian to go to Jose’s art show. That’s a great idea, Ana, you should definitely do that. Nothing could go wrong.
Ana goes to Tybee Island Beach to relax, but all her mom wants to do is talk about Christian. Like mother, like daughter, right? Ana’s mom tells her that men aren’t complicated, they’re very simple creatures. She suggests Ana take everything Christian has said literally. Ana thinks this is a great idea, because she’s focused on shit like “‘I don’t want to lose you’” and “‘You’ve bewitched me,’” but what about when he’s said shit like, “I’ll track your cell phone,” and “I’ll put you in a crate in the cargo hold?” Doesn’t sound so good now, does it, Ana?

I gaze at my mom. She is on her fourth marriage. Maybe she does know something about men after all.

I’ll just leave that there.

No time to linger at the beach, though, because Ana has to get back to her email! At her mom’s house, Ana fires up the thousand pound laptop and finds a response from Christian:

I am annoyed that as soon as you put some distance between us, you communicate openly and honestly with me. Why can’t you do that when we’re together?

Because you dazzle her, duh. Well, that and you refuse to participate in anything remotely resembling and open dialogue when you’re together.

He goes on to tell her that she needs to get over him being rich, and he never meant to scare her, he was joking about putting her in a crate, etc.

I want to share my lifestyle with you. I have never wanted anything so much. Frankly I’m in awe of you, that one so innocent would be willing to try.

Um, excuse me, but why are you talking like a vampire?

 Right…
The email goes on to basically blame Ana for everything. She’s not telling him when he’s not being communicative enough, she’s not telling him when he’s not meeting her needs, except… well, Christian, she really is. She keeps trying. You keep shutting her up or cutting her off.

Having said that, the only time you do assume the correct demeanor for a sub is in the playroom. It seems that’s the one place where you let me exercise proper control over you, and the only place you do as you’re told.

Christian apparently wants to the reader to Men In Black themselves so they don’t remember all the shit he’s pulled to control Ana outside of the playroom. Shit like giving her presents that only serve his intentions, shit like not respecting her desire for space, you know, all that kind of shit. Sorry, but I can’t just let that stuff go because the narrative tells me that it’s not controlling behavior.

I will endeavor to keep an open mind, and I shall try and give you the space you need and stay away from you while you are in Georgia.

How hard is it to avoid Georgia from Seattle? But still, keep that in mind.

He wants to make this work too. Oh Christian, so do I! He’s going to try and stay away! Does this mean he might fail to stay away? Suddenly I hope so. I want to see him. We’ve been apart less than twenty-four hours, and knowing that I can’t see him for four days, I realize how much I miss him. How much I love him.

You have known him for like two, three weeks. As a writer, I realize that a common trope that we all have to deal with is making our characters fall in love in a pretty limited amount of pages and, therefore, a pretty accelerated amount of time. But the only reason they’re “so in love” is because he forced the intimacy on her with his constant, “I want you/stay away, I’m dangerous!” act at the beginning of their relationship, with his insistence on meeting everyone who is close to her, with his “I’ll rescue you (even if you don’t need rescuing)!” pseudo-heroics. Everything he has done has been a calculated move to draw her in, even if he isn’t self-aware enough to know that this is not how healthy relationships work.

Ana takes a nap and her mom wakes her up to go to dinner, but Ana can’t go, not just yet, not without another freaking pages long email exchange with Christian, about spanking.

I press send and immediately the image of that evil witch Mrs. Robinson comes into my mind. I just can’t picture it. Christian being beaten by someone as old as my mother, it’s just so wrong.

Nooooo…. it’s wrong because Christian was fifteen and Mrs. Robinson was an adult. Not because her age makes her so old and icky. Well, okay, admittedly, age is a factor in statutory rape, but seriously. Focus on the important part here, that he was raped, not that it’s gross that he got raped by an old lady of thirty or forty.

The email exchange descends into email sex, and I’m wondering why they don’t just get skype. That’s what skype is for. Long distance sexing. But she doesn’t have time for that, because she has to go to dinner with her mom and Bob.

I dash into the hall where Bob and my mother are waiting. My mother frowns. “Darling – are you feeling okay? You look a bit flushed.”

HOW CAN YOU TELL?! She is flushed all the time!

We get a brief rundown on the dinner later, when Ana is in the shower. She likes that her mom is making friends and that Bob is such a good fit for her, and then, it’s right back to the Mac and Cheesward Show. Christian has sent her an email with a subject line that reads “Plagiarism” and I spit take like I’m in a silent movie. The plagiarism he refers to is the fact that she signed off her earlier email with “laters, baby,” and then they argue about how it’s not his line, it’s Elliot’s line, and it’s not Elliot’s line because he probably stole it from someone else, and suddenly I find myself staring into infinity, a cold, hard void completely without irony, folding in on itself again and again, spiraling into the very eye of God himself.

Christian mentions to Ana that he’s going to have dinner with an “old friend,” which Ana immediately interprets as Christian is going to have dinner with Mrs. Robinson. She wonders why he can’t see Mrs. Robinson for the child molester that she is:

How dare she? How dare she pick on a vulnerable adolescent? Is she still doing it? Why did they stop? Various scenarios filter through my mind: he had had enough, then why is still friends with her? Ditto her – is she married? Divorced? Jeez – does she have children of her own? Does she have Christian’s children? My subconscious rears her ugly head, leering, and I’m shocked and nauseous at the thought.

Usually, I would argue that Ana is “nauseated” and not “nauseous,” but I won’t because really, the word fits. The way Ana vacillates between anger at Mrs. Robinson, child molester, and Mrs. Robinson, ex-girlfriend, grosses me out. Ana admits that Mrs. Robinson is a rapist, and yet she still compares herself against her as a romantic rival.

Awash with jealousy and slight concern over the fact that her boyfriend was molested, Ana gets on Google and searches for pictures of him. She finds no pictures of him with women, except for the one taken of them at her graduation. Since she can’t find pictures of Mrs. Robinson, she sends Christian an email flat out asking him if he had dinner with her. Then she goes to sleep, with her BlackBerry in reach, in case he emails her back.

The next night, at a bar, Ana’s mom is asking some probing questions, but Ana’s just concerned with the fact that Christian might be fucking his rapist. Not because that would be emotionally unhealthy, or anything, just because it might mean he likes Mrs. Robinson better than he likes Ana:

I have not heard from Christian all day. No email, nothing. I am tempted to call him to see if he’s okay. My worst fear is that he’s been in a car accident, my second worst fear is that Mrs. Robinson has got her evil claws into him again. I know it’s irrational, but where  she’s concerned, I seem to have lost all sense of perspective.

Gosh, Ana, you think? But then Christian emails her and tells her that she was totally right, he was out having dinner with Mrs. Robinson. Ana sends off another email, asking if Mrs. Robinson is still fucking teenagers, and this is the email she gets back:

This is not something I wish to discuss via email.How many Cosmopolitans are you going to drink?

THE EMAIL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE BAR! THEN WHO WAS PHONE?!

50 Shades of Grey Chapter Twenty-One recap or “She’s Leaving On That First-Class Flight To Georgia”

NOTE: The formatting of excerpts in this post is 50 Shades of Blogger, so just keep that in mind and don’t blame E.L. James.

There is light everywhere. Bright, warm, piercing light, and I endeavor to keep it at bay for a few more precious minutes.

No, don’t get your hopes up. This is not the chapter where Ana dies. She’s waking up to a “glorious Seattle morning,” or,

- sunshine pouring through the full-height windows and flooding the room with too-bright light.

If there is one weather feature Seattle is known for, friends, it is the amount of sun they get.

Ana gets why Christian likes to live “in the clouds”. I really hate to point out that the Escala building is not tall enough to reach the clouds, and besides, I thought it was sunny, Ana?

Ironically, I feel the same up here in his lofty tower. I’m adrift from reality.

I have been saying that for pretty much the entire book so far. It has nothing to do with the building.

I’m in this fantasy apartment, having fantasy sex with my fantasy boyfriend. When the grim reality is he wants a special arrangement, though he’s said he’ll try more. What does that actually mean? This is what I need to clarify between us to see if we are still at opposite ends on the see-saw or if we are inching closer together.

SEE-SAWS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!
That is a really good metaphor for their entire relationship. Two people, sitting in the middle of a fucking see-saw, wondering why it doesn’t work.
Ana wanders off to find Christian, only to find another evil blonde, instead:

He’s not in the art gallery, but an elegant middle-aged woman is cleaning in the kitchen area. The sight of her stops me in my tracks. She has short blonde hair and clear blue eyes; she wears a plain white tailored shirt and a navy blue pencil skirt. She smiles broadly when she sees me.

 Ana is embarrassed because she’s only wearing a t-shirt, but this is Christian Grey’s housekeeper here. I’m sure she sees all manner of undressed women. She probably cleans the jizz off the waterproof mattress in the red room when they’re all done. The housekeeper offers to get Ana some breakfast, but Ana is too busy figuring out just when and how Christian has fucked this evil blonde:

I scuttle of toward the study, mortified. Why does Christian only have attractive blondes working for him? And a nasty thought comes involuntarily into my mind – Are they all ex-subs? I refuse to entertain that hideous idea.

You entertain that idea any time you see a woman with lighter hair than yours, Ana. Seriously, from the way she describes all the blondes in this book, I think they must all be the hot Nazi from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.

 Seriously, Indy, her name was Elsa Schneider. How was she not going to be a Nazi?
Ana finds Christian in his study. He’s fresh from a shower, and saying interesting business things into a phone, things I don’t quite understand, like:

“Unless that company’s P&L improves, I’m not interested, Ros. We’re not carrying dead weight… I don’t need any more lame excuses… Have Marco call me, it’s shit or bust time…

 I think when it’s actually “shit or bust time,” someone’s going to end up shitting, either way. And I’m super impressed that he can speak an ampersand. The good new is, Christian is working. He hardly ever works in this book, I’m wondering how he made his enormous fortune.

He waits, staring out of the window, master of his universe, staring down at the little people below from his castle in the sky.

How very Ayn Rand of you, E.L. But you know how I love it when the title of something is in the something. If you were unaware, Master of The Universe was the original title of 50 Shades, back before it was 50 Shades and when it was full of names like Bella and Edward.

 Glancing up, he notices me at the door. A slow, sexy smile spreads across is beautiful face, and I’m rendered speechless as my insides melt. He is without a doubt the most beautiful man on the planet, too beautiful for the little people below, too beautiful for me.

Oh my gosh, we GET IT, ANA. You’re fucking hideous in the way that only slender, attractive brunettes can be fucking hideous, and that is, NOT AT ALL. Seriously, is this a case of an author trying to foster good will  for an intolerable character by inserting imagined flaws, or is this just straight up Mary Sueism? I can’t even tell anymore.

Despite the fact that Ana is officially the Hunchback of The Escala, Chedward clears his morning schedule, and asks his assistant (who is probably evil and blond and also blonde, did we mention blonde?) to get him an extra ticket for an event on Saturday. But the conversation goes like this:

“When will you be back from Georgia?” he asks. 

“Friday.” 

He resumes his phone conversation. 

Wait, wait. Since when is Ana going to Georgia? She hadn’t even made up her mind in the last chapter. She told her mom she wasn’t sure about visiting. Does she have plane tickets? Has she packed? Seriously, since when has this plan been cemented to such a point that she can say with confidence when she’s leaving and when she’s returning? I guess since this is a detail that doesn’t involve things going into or coming out of Ana’s vagina, the reader isn’t supposed to care.

When he gets off the phone, Ana fully tongue kisses him, and she hasn’t even used his toothbrush yet. So, of course they’re going to have sex. Christian flings everything off his desk, because billionaires don’t have to work or anything, and then, with no foreplay what so ever, this happens:

“You want it, you got it, baby,” he mutters, producing a foil packet from his pants pocket while he unzips his pants. Oh Mr. Boy Scout. He rolls the condom over his erection and gazes down at me. “I sure hope you’re ready,” he breathes, a salacious smile across his face.

Okay, of course she’s ready. Ana is Action Vagina Woman, able to hump tall erections in a single bound. But what I like about that paragraph is that Chedward was in his home office, working, and he had a condom on him. Just in case someone wandered in and fucked him. And Ana, having seen Hot Hilda Housefrau out there, she doesn’t go, “Maybe he had that condom on him because of her.” No, obviously that condom was meant for Ana. It’s stuff like cleaning the kitchen and offering to make breakfast that creates suspicion.


Anyway, back at Christian’s desk:

Wrapping my legs around his waist, I hold him the only way I can as he stays standing, staring down at me, gray eyes glowing, passionate and possessive. He starts to move, really move. This is not making love, this is fucking – and I love it.

Until I read this book, I didn’t realize that I was making love wrong. Thank god for this sexual intervention, because when my husband and I make love, we move. Like, we really move. All this time, I thought we were physically expressing our romantic feelings for each other, and we were just fucking. Next time, we’ll stay as still as possible.

“Come on, baby, give it up for me,” he cajoles through gritted teeth – and the fervent need in his voice – the strain – sends me over the edge.

Look at those em dashes. That sentence is like a fucking Russian doll, something inside of something inside of something.

Yay! We’re writing!
And he was doing it again! When he wants her to go somewhere, he says, “Come,” when he wants her to come, he says, “Come on.” This guy. This fucking guy.

I cry out a wordless, passionate plea as I touch the sun and burn, falling around him, falling down, back to a breathless, bright summit on Earth. He slams into me and stops abruptly as he reaches his climax, pulling at my wrists, and sinking gracefully and wordlessly onto me.Wow… that was unexpected. I slowly materialize back on Earth.

How was it unexpected? She has orgasms from the sound of him saying her name.

“What the hell are you doing to me?” he breathes as he nuzzles my neck. “You completely beguile me, Ana. You weave some powerful magic.” He releases my wrists, and I run my fingers through his hair, coming down from my high. I tighten my legs around him.“I’m the one beguiled,” I whisper.

I’m the one nauseated, in case anyone is keeping score at home. How is Ana “beguiling”? Everything Christian has seemed to like about Ana so far has been that he thinks she’s easy to control and she’ll be a good sub. There is no connection between these characters. There is no reason for them to like each other, or be attracted to each other. All through the entire story, they’re like a Barbie and Ken doll being smashed together by a sexually precocious child. Sorry, no, I guess Ana would be Theresa, Barbie’s hideous brunette friend.

 Gross, amiright?

So, right after he fucks her senseless, he asks her if she really has to go to Georgia. Remember when I said “manipulative”? And when she says yes, “Abruptly he withdraws, making me wince.” Yeah, you show her sore vagina, Christian. That’ll teach her for leaving you to see her mother.

“Are you sore?” he asks, leaning over me.“A little,” I confess.“I like you sore.” His eyes smolder. “Reminds you where I’ve been, and only me.”

Hey, Christian? Zebra Historical Romance circa 1987 called. They need you back there, ASAP.

Ana realizes that Christian has probably had sex on his desk before, and that makes her… not real thrilled. She goes to have a shower, but first, she has to agonize over inane details:

“I’ve got a couple more calls to make. I’ll join you for breakfast once you’re out of the shower. I think Mrs. Jones has laundered your clothes from yesterday. They’re in the closet.”What? When the hell did she do that? Jeez, could she hear us? I flush.

I like how Ana finds it totally absurd that a housekeeper would do the laundry. Yes, Ana. She did it because she could hear you. Or, here’s a thought, she did it because Christian was up before you and asked her to when she came in to do her job which specifically includes menial chores like laundry.


Because nary a scene can go by without angst, Ana decides Christian is acting “weirder than usual.” How can she tell? The guy is fully time weirdo. I never saw Master of The Universe on fanfiction.net, because I’m not into Twilight fandom, but I can guarantee the summary had the words “angst” and “hurt/comfort” in it. I would bet money. Actual money.

Ana is stunned to find that the housekeeper is still there (that bitch), and she’s super embarrassed, so she hauls ass into the shower, where she thinks about… really, the only thing Ana ever thinks about:

In the shower, I try to figure out what’s up with Christian. He is the most complicated person I know, and I cannot understand his ever-changing moods. He seemed fine when I went into his study. We had sex… and then he wasn’t. No, I don’t get it. I look to my subconscious. She’s whistling with her hands behind her back and looking anywhere but at me. She hasn’t got a clue, and my inner goddess is still basking in  remnant of post-coital glow. No – we’re all clueless.

I towel-dry my hair, comb it through with Christian’s one and only hair implement, and put my hair up in a bun. Kate’s plum dress hangs laundered and ironed in the closet along with my clean bra and panties. Mrs. Jones is a marvel.

Oh, so when she’s just hanging around Christian’s house, being all slutty and MILFy, doing shit like offering to cook you breakfast, she’s a blonde devil, but when she’s done your laundry, she’s all good. I’ll add that to my running tally of ways to be a good friend to Ana Steele.

So, overdressed in Kate’s outfit, Ana goes out to the kitchen to fight with Christian over whether or not she’ll eat breakfast. He tells Mrs. Jones to make her pancakes and bacon and eggs, and he’s just going to have an omelet with some fruit. Maybe Christian likes his ladies on the hefty side, then?

While Mrs. Jones cooks (hey, wait, Mrs. Jones… wait a minute… did Elsa not die in that crevasse, as we were led to believe by Mr. Spielberg?), Chedward and Ana discuss whether or not she has a plane ticket for Georgia (he actually says “air ticket” but I’m bored of pointing out how British these all-American kids sound), and she doesn’t. She’s just going to buy it on the internet. Because unemployed, fresh-out-of-college kids have enough money to buy a last minute flight cross-country. Happens all the time. It’s cool, though, because Christian, the billionaire who never actually does anything to earn his money, has a jet he’d like to offer her. She turns him down (no one has ever said no to him, remember?) and then he wants to know where she’s interviewing for jobs. She won’t tell him (no one ever says no). They eat and discuss her trip a bit more, and he threatens to track her phone, and then they talk about whether or not they’ll miss each other while she’s away:

How could he mean so much to me in such a short time? He’s got right under my skin… literally.

Figuratively, I believe, is the word you’re trying to use. Unless he gave you scabies. And the reason he means so much to you is because he forced intimacy between the two of you. Oh, and because the author desperately wants the reader to believe there is some sort of blistering connection between the two of them despite them having nothing in common besides physical intimacy. Then, it’s on to a job interview.

It is late afternoon, and I sit nervous and fidgeting in the lobby waiting for Mr. J. Hyde of Seattle Independent Publishing. This is my second interview today, and the one I’m most anxious about. My first interview went well, but it was for a larger conglomerate with offices based throughout the US, and I would be on of the many editorial assistants there. I can imagine being swallowed up and spat out pretty quickly in such a corporate machine.

Gosh, I hope you conveyed that to them during the interview.

The receptionist is a young African-American woman with large silver earrings and long straightened hair. She has a bohemian look about her, the sort of woman I could be friendly with. The thought is comforting. Every few moments, she glances up at me, away from computer and smiles reassuringly. I tentatively return her smile.

Ana, your white guilt is showing. “See, I’m not racist! I imagine that I could be friends with a black person! Look at me! I love black people!” And all the whole time, that poor receptionist is looking up, smiling, thinking, “Why is that girl staring at me? Is she still… she is. She’s still staring at me. God, I hope they don’t hire her, she is creeping me out.”

My flight is booked; my mother is in seventh heaven that I am visiting; I am packed, and Kate has agreed to drive me to the airport. Christian has ordered me to take my BlackBerry and the Mac. I roll my eyes at the memory of his overbearing bossiness, but I realize now that’s just the way he is. He likes control over everything, including me.

Well, if that’s just the way he is, that’s okay then, I suppose?  “It’s okay, he just likes controlling every aspect of my life and totally negating any sense of personal agency I might have. It’s cool.” This fucking guy.

Another lady with unblonde hair comes out to get Ana, and she can’t tell her age, because she might be in her late thirties, or possibly her forties, and “It’s so difficult to tell with older women.” Shut the fuck up, Ana. Older women my ass. You’re twenty-two, you shut your mouth before I smack it shut. “older women.” “Forties.” Indeed.

She gives me a polite smile, her cool hazel eyes assessing me. I am wearing one of Kate’s dresses, a black pinafore over a white blouse, and my black pumps. Very interview, I think.

Really? Because the second you say “pinafore” I think “Gothic Lolita.”

“Why do I want to work for your company? Because it would be Super Kawaii!”

And what is it with every woman in this book having “cool” eyes that “assess” or sometimes “coolly assess” Ana? I hate, absolutely hate, to pin a character’s descriptions on an author’s person, but I’m starting to get the feeling that maybe E.L. James isn’t a fan of like, women. In general. Not just the blonde ones. Literally all of them, in the entire world.
Lucky us, we get to sit through an Ana Steele job interview!

I launch into details of my librarianship at the campus central library, and my one experience of interviewing an obscenely rich despot for the student magazine. I gloss over the part that I didn’t actually write the article. I mention the two literary societies that I belonged to and conclude with working at Clayton’s and all the useless knowledge I now possess about hardware and DIY.

I know that when I interview for a job, the first thing I do is blindly tell my prospective employers that I find knowledge gained via life experience totally fucking useless. But somehow, Ana kind of aces the interview. She doesn’t like Jack Hyde, the guy who interviews her, because he’s not down with classic literature. I think she’s going to be disappointed by the publishing industry as a whole. I’m not saying that people who work in publishing don’t read or enjoy classic literature, but it’s not like they’re going to make any money off it, so why would they sit around talking about it all the time? Of course they’re going to want to discuss contemporary writers. I sit here, thinking meanly that I would not hire her because she’s a snob.

Ana’s flight doesn’t leave until night time, so she comes home to find Kate looking gorgeous again, unpacking boxes because Ana has been way too busy having sex with her boyfriend to get their new apartment taken care of. They talk about Ana’s interview, but not for long, because they have to move on to the really important stuff, which is now and forever shall be Christian Grey without end, amen:

“I really like the second place. I think I could fit in there. The guy who interviewed me was unnerving though,” I trail off – shit I’m talking to foghorn Kavanagh here. Shut up Ana!
“Oh?” The Katherine Kavanagh radar for an interesting tidbit of information swoops into action – a tidbit that will only resurface at some inopportune and embarrassing moment, which reminds me.“Incidentally – will you please stop winding Christian up? Your comment about Jose at dinner yesterday was out of line. He’s a jealous guy. It doesn’t do any good, you know.”

You know what, Ana? Say what you fucking mean. Say, “If you make him jealous, he will beat me. Not have consensual BDSM fun times with me, he will beat me out of anger, as he has done in the past.” But that can’t happen. Because even though Kate asks if she’s going to Georgia to escape Christian, even though she offers to be non-judgmental if Ana opens up and tells her what is going on, this is what Ana chooses to share, and how Kate responds:

“Oh, Kate.” I hug her. “I think I’ve really fallen for him.”“Ana, anyone can see that. And he’s fallen for you. He’s mad about you. Won’t take his eyes off you.”I laugh uncertainly.“Do you think so?”“Hasn’t he told you?”“Not in so many words.”“Have you told him?”“Not in so many words.” I shrug apologetically.“Ana! Someone has to make the first move, otherwise you’ll never get anywhere.” What… tell him how I feel?
“I’m just afraid I’ll frighten him away.”“And how do you know he’s not feeling the same?”

Hey, friend. I feel like you might be in an abusive relationship. I’m trying really hard to point that out to you that he’s controlling and scary. You know what I think you should do? TELL HIM THAT YOU LOVE HIM, SO HE CAN TELL YOU THAT HE LOVES YOU AND THEN EVERYTHING WILL BE ALL BETTER.
I’m starting to hate Kate as much as Ana does.
Ana tells Kate that she and Christian don’t talk much, and Kate tells her this:

“That’ll be the sexing! If that’s going well, then that’s half the battle Ana.

What? Sex isn’t half the battle here at all. It’s not even part of the battle. The battle is the part where Ana isn’t allowed to visit her family or speak to her friends without first enduring emotional manipulation and finally acquiescing to some demand from her boyfriend. That is the battle. All of it. Not the sex.

Is Christian afraid of his feelings for me? Does he even have feelings for me? He seems very keen, says I’m his – but that’s just part of his I-must-own-and-have-everything-now – control-freak dominant self, surely. I realize that while I’m away, I will have to run through all our conversations again and see if I can pick out telltale signs.

Oh, gosh, I hope we get to read all about that. I’m certainly not tired at all of the constant loop of Christian Grey playing in Ana’s otherwise empty head.

Because he hasn’t emailed her all day, she sends him an email, sparking an exchange that covers whether or not Mrs. Jones the housekeeper is an ex-sub (she isn’t) and whether or not Ana would consider working for Christian’s company (she won’t). There’s also a lot of talk about tea, because they’re super American, and everyone knows that if there is one beverage associated with America and no other country at all, it’s tea.

Ana goes to the airport, where she finds out that she’s been upgraded to first class, which infuriates her, and the chapter ends.

50 Shades of Grey chapter 20 recap, or “Behind the boathouse/I’ll show you my dark secret”

First of all, yes. The rumors are true. I am one of the 50 Writers on 50 Shades. The book is the brainchild of Lori Perkins and will be out in November, 2012, from BenBella Books. There will be more news to come, I’ll keep you all updated.

So, here we are, near the end of the book, and I’ve got a lot of you leaving comments about how I should read the next two books and blog those, as well.  While I rarely say “never,” things aren’t looking so good on the “read the next two and recap them” front. Not because I don’t love you enough. Because I love myself too much. Writing these recaps is a hell of a lot of work. I had to read the book in the first place. One of the reasons I failed so spectacularly in my short editing career was that I was rubbish at forcing myself to read something I had no interest in, and while there was a certain car-wreck-in-slow-motion quality to reading 50 Shades of Grey the first time, rereading a chapter every few days sometimes requires an elaborate self-bribe. Then, there’s the whole “write things that are kind of snarky, but not as mean as what you really want to say” thing where I’m reining myself in the entire time. I have the willpower of a two-year-old, so every recap is an exercise like unto Hercules cleaning out that stable.

So, as it stands right now, I won’t be recapping books two and three. But who the hell knows. Maybe recapping is like childbirth, and I’ll forget how much it sucked a few weeks later. Maybe my involvement in the 50 Writers on 50 Shades book will force my hand. Right now, though, it looks like the summer is going to be dedicated to my own writing. And possibly reading a book that I want to read. Which excites me more than you could possibly know at this moment.

Oh, and before I get into the recap, I want to say thanks to everyone who has posted a link to my blog anywhere, be it at reddit or Jezebel or on tumblr. The traffic is immense, so people are clicking those links. Your work has not been in vain, and I thank you for your support.

Apparently, E.L. James is considering rewriting 50 Shades from Christian’s POV. This is such a great idea! So original! Never before has an author of a hot bestseller considered such a bold move!

Onto the recap!

We last left Ana and Christian on a journey to a boathouse spanking.

Christian bursts through the wooden door of the boathouse and pauses to flick on some lights.

This is what bursting through a door looks like . To be fair, I did find him pretty hot in this scene.

They go upstairs in the boathouse, because all the really fancy boathouses have an upstairs room. With lights on a dimmer switch. I’m not kidding, she actually makes it a point to tell us that the lights are on a dimmer switch in the boathouse attic. He can’t spank Ana in just any boathouse. She notices there is “an impressive motor launch in the dock floating gently on the dark water,” and this gives me pause. First of all, is the dock a floating dock, floating on the dark water? Those do exist. My grandpa lives on a lake, and he’s an engineer, so believe me, long summer hours have been spent debating whether or not a floating dock is preferable to one propped up on saw horses. Second, is “motor launch” a type of boat? Is this a Britishism? Someone help me out, and I mean that in a genuine, non-snark way. I have a lot of experience with docks, but not boats, because grandpa kept the same boat running, against all odds, for forty years. So we never shopped for one of those, just the dock to tie it to.
Now, I feel uncomfortable for having mentioned a grandparent in this recap, because of what’s in this chapter.

Christian sets me on my feet on the wooden floor.

The floor is wooden, the door is wooden, everything is wooden. At least it matches the prose.

I don’t have time to examine my surroundings-

Remember the earlier chapters, where I complained about logical disconnect? This one is such a disconnect, it’s a POV skew. Ana doesn’t have time to examine her surroundings, but in the paragraph just above the one containing this line, we get the following, detailed description:

He pauses at the doorway and touches another switch – halogens this time, they are softer, on a dimmer – and we’re in an attic room with sloping ceilings. It’s decorated with a nautical New England theme: navy blues and creams with a dash of red. The furnishings are sparse, just a couple of couches are all I can see.

I don’t even blame E.L. James for this, because it’s something an editor should have caught. There should have been a note in the margin, “If she doesn’t have time to examine her surroundings, how is she describing them in first-person present tense?” It doesn’t make any sense. It’s so brutally infuriating, because stuff like this is happening over and over and over. And this is coming from someone who once edited a book where a minor character’s name changed halfway through the book and I didn’t notice. I’m not even a good editor, and I can catch the problems in this, so what gives? Seriously, WHAT FUCKING GIVES?

I am mesmerized… watching him like one would watch a rare and dangerous predator, waiting for him to strike. His breathing is harsh but then he’s just carried me across the lawn and up a flight of stairs. Gray eyes blaze with anger, need, and pure unadulterated lust.Holy shit. I could spontaneously combust from his look alone. 

“Please don’t hit me,” I whisper, pleading.

Back in the day, I had this friend, we’ll call him Davis (because that is his name). He used to hate when I’d tell a story, because everything would be going along just fine, and I’d get to a natural stopping point, like, “And it was the biggest fish I’d ever caught,” but I’d barrel on past that and add something like, “And then six months later, Jimmy died of a ruptured bowel.” I would ruin the anecdote with some grim detail that added nothing but discomfort and horror to the listener. That is what just happened with that excerpt. The first two paragraphs? Fine. A little trite, and little under-punctuated for my tastes, but all in all, fine, and they get you invested in Ana’s sexual excitement. And then she’s pleading with him to not hit her. I don’t think there is anything less sexy in the world.

His brow furrows, his eyes widening.

How is that even possible? I can only imagine it looks something like this:

 Seriously, if you never saw this movie, you’re missing out.
Ana tells Christian she doesn’t want him to spank her in his parents’ boathouse, which is a reasonable enough request that, coupled with her touching his face and kissing him, throws him into existential crisis mode:

He pulls back suddenly, our collective breathing ragged and mingling. My hands drop to his arms and he glares down at me.“What are you doing to me?” he whispers confused.“Kissing you.”“You said no.”“What?” No to what?
“At the dinner table, with your legs.”Oh… that’s what this is all about.

Yup. That’s what this is all about. You didn’t want him to fingerbang you at the table during dinner with his parents who you were meeting for the first time, and now he’s pissed off and confused. Because seriously, what woman doesn’t want to be romanced that way?
“No one’s ever said no to me before. And it’s so – hot.” His eyes widen slightly, filled with wonder and lust.

Okay, but… Ana has said no to you a lot, Chedward. She said no to the books, to the car, she put up massive resistance about signing the contract… Ana says no to you a lot, but you usually just steamroll over her objections with alcohol or threats. Clearly, the characters and the author did not pay attention to the entire first part of this book. But he’s not just lust-angry (langry?) because she said no to digital penetration five feet from his mother, but because of other stuff, too. Stuff that makes me angry, and not in a “I want to hump you in a boathouse” way:

“I’m mad because you never mentioned Georgia to me. I’m mad because you went drinking with that guy who tried to seduce you when you were drunk and who left you when you were ill with an almost complete stranger. What kind of friend does that?

Excuse me, sir, but aren’t you the complete stranger who took an unconscious woman back to your hotel room? The first time I read this, I thought he was blaming Kate, but on second read I went, “whoa, hold the phone.” Because it was undeniably shitty of Kate to have let Ana get spirited away by a stranger while unconscious. But we can’t put the onus for Ana’s safety in that situation on Jose. Jose wasn’t there when Ana was unconscious, he was there when she was puking and both Chedward and Ana were telling him to leave. We absolutely can hold Jose responsible for assaulting Ana and not taking “no” for an answer. But it takes some incredible balls for Christian to be saying, “Well, that guy is terrible, because he didn’t stop me from taking you out of that club unconscious even though he wasn’t there when it happened. Never mind that I shouldn’t have been doing that in the first goddamned place.

But Ana doesn’t really object to this twisted logic, because Christian wants to fuck her, and as we all know, Ana is nothing but an open vagina with a bachelor’s in English.

“We don’t have long. This will be quick, and it’s for me, not you. Do you understand? Don’t come, or I will spank you,” he says through clenched teeth.

Holy crap… how do I stop?

Yeah, that’s a good question, when we’re talking about Ana. Am I the only person who finds it a little… I don’t want to say “totally unbelievable”, because I’m sure there is some woman out there who orgasms at the drop of a hat without any prior sexual experience. But I’d go so far as to say that the majority of women did not have the experience that Ana has had in this book, where, without any prior sexual exploration of her own body, orgasm after copious, gushing orgasm, happens from the tiniest touch or a whisper of her name. Seriously, just saying Ana’s name causes her to orgasm in this book. I’m not saying such a state of arousal isn’t possible, I’m just saying that it’s not plausible every single time. And yes, this is fantasy, but the fantasy becomes less enjoyable once the boundaries of incredulity are stretched as thin as a hymen.

This time, though, Ana doesn’t come like an automated orgasm machine. He leaves her unfulfilled, to punish her:

“Don’t touch yourself. I want you frustrated. That’s what you do to me by not talking to me, by denying me what’s mine.” His eyes blaze anew, angry again.

Let’s examine what Christian believes is his:

  • The right to sexually humiliate his girlfriend by fingering her in the presence of his entire family and her best friend.
  • The right to control who Ana spends time with.
  • The right to control whether or not Ana can leave the state.

This guy. This fucking guy.

 Mia comes to the boathouse, and the someone calls her irritating. I’m not sure who, because this is how it’s written:

He turns and raises his eyebrows at me.“Just in time. Christ, she can be really irritating.” I scowl back at him, hastily restoring my panties to their rightful place, and stand with as much dignity as I can muster in my just-fucked state. Quickly, I attempt to smooth my just-fucked hair.

She was just-fucked, in case you missed it. But seriously, who is speaking that dialogue? It seems like something a big brother would say about a little sister, but it’s attached, for some reason, to Ana’s action.

Lots of commenters have pointed out how skeevy it is that there are characters named Ana and Mia in this. If you’re unaware, Ana and Mia are the “friendly” names that very, very sick individuals use to refer to their “friendly” eating disorders. You’ll find these names peppered liberally on Pro-Ana and Pro-Mia websites, where people (usually young girls in their tweens, teens, and twenties) who view their eating disorders as beautiful and positive gather to share tips on how to starve themselves to death. The presence of the names become even more disturbing when you realize that Ana never wants to eat, and Christian constantly pushes her to do so, and all the stuff about Christian having suffered hunger and now his company is feeding starving people in Africa. But I think the names have to be just a horrible coincidence. I don’t think E.L. James actually used them to hurt anyone, or to support the tragedy of Pro-Ana subculture.

And it’s time for a Pride and Prejudice reference:

“But it was tolerable?” he asks softly.I flush.“Barely,” I whisper, but I can’t help my smirk.

Mia tells Ana that Kate and Elliot are going to leave, and comments that they’re just awful for not being able to keep their hands off each other. This is the exact moment Ana becomes a true Mary Sue. Other characters are taking an instant liking to her and complaining about the awful behavior of a character who is behaving exactly as the Mary Sue does. If there were any remaining doubts that this was a fanfic, they have just been blown to smithereens. This is like every Lord of The Rings fanfic where Galadriel’s long lost daughter whines and bitches and has to be saved constantly, and then mid-rescue, Legolas is all, “I love you, because you’re not like other girls, who whine and bitch and have to be saved constantly.”

Sorry, I read a lot of fanfic over the weekend.

Mia thinks something is definitely up, and that makes Ana “blush scarlet”. I’ve actually had people ask if Ana really flushes or blushes as much as she appears to in the excerpts I post. With the exception of the occasional formatting issue (which, btw, totally plagues this post, so sorry for that, blame Blogger), the excerpts I’m posting are straight from the book. I don’t add anything to them. If I was going to add anything, it would be correct punctuation. Ana flushes/blushes that much, and more.

Back at the house, Ana says a tender goodbye to her friend Kate:

“I need to speak to you about antagonizing Christian,” I hiss quietly in her ear as she embraces me.“He needs antagonizing, then you can see what he’s really like. Be careful, Ana – he’s so controlling.” she whispers. “See you later.”I KNOW WHAT HE’S REALLY LIKE – YOU DON’T! – I scream at her in my head. I’m fully aware that her actions come from a good place, but sometimes she just oversteps the mark, and right now so far that she’s into the neighboring state.

Said every woman in every abusive relationship EVER.

I flush, and Christian rolls his eyes again. I purse my lips. Why can he do that when I can’t? I want to roll my eyes back at him, but I do not dare, not after his threat in the boathouse.

I’m not even going to point out why it’s wrong for someone to hit you if you roll your eyes. I’m just going to stop commenting on the abuse at all, really. Because if it isn’t fucking obvious, well…

Ana watches Christian say goodbye to his parents, and then they join Taylor in the car, and Ana brings up how she got invited to the dinner.

“I think that you felt trapped into bringing me to meet your parents.” My voice is soft and hesitant. “If Elliot hadn’t asked Kate, you’d never have asked me.” I can’t see his face in the dark, but he tilts his head, gaping at me.“Anastasia, I’m delighted that you’ve met my parents. Why are you so filled with self-doubt? It never ceases to amaze me. You’re such a strong, self-contained young woman, but you have such negative thoughts about yourself. If I hadn’t wanted you to meet them, you wouldn’t be here. Is that how you were feeling the whole time you were there?” Oh! He wanted me there – and it’s a revelation. He doesn’t seem uncomfortable answering me as he would if he were hiding the truth.

 Yeah, Ana. That’s how things work in real life. People have boundaries. They don’t do things just to even the score between roommates. This is another part that screams Mary Sue to me. We’re constantly told, by Christian, by Kate, by Ana’s dad, by the doctor who sees her just long enough for a pap smear, that Ana is strong, self-contained, bright, smart, mature, etc., but we never actually see her being those things. Ana hasn’t done one smart thing yet. Self-contained? She curled up in the fetal position and cried on the floor of a parking garage. It’s almost like E.L. James thought, “Ah, characterization. That’s when other characters tell the reader what I want them to know about Ana. I’ve solved it!”

“Yes, I thought that. And another thing, I only mentioned Georgia because Kate was talking about Barbados – I haven’t made up my mind.”“Do you want to go and see your mother?”“Yes.”He looks oddly at me, like he’s having some internal struggle.“Can I come with you?” he asks eventually.What!?

If there is one thing, just ONE THING that publishing takes away from the phenomenal success of 50 Shades of Grey, I hope it is that interobangs become acceptable punctuation again.

Ana and Christian have a flirty little conversation about how funny he is (spoiler alert: he’s not) and then things get serious when he asks why she wants to go to Georgia. She wants to think about their relationship. He doesn’t understand why she needs to think about it, because on his end, shit is hunky-dory:

Holy crap. How did this suddenly become such and intense and meaningful conversation? It’s been sprung on me, like an exam that I’m not prepared for. What do I say? Because I think I love you, and you just see me as a toy. Because I can’t touch you, because I’m too frightened to show you any affection in case you flinch or tell me off or worse – beat me?

That’s right. She’s still not viewing this as consensual BDSM. She’s still thinking that if she does something bad, he beats her.

I shrug, trapped. I don’t want to lose him. In spite of all his demands, his need to control, his scary vices. I have never felt as alive as I do now. It’s a thrill to be sitting here beside him. He’s so unpredictable, sexy, smart, and funny. But his moods… oh – and he wants to hurt me. He says he’ll think about my reservations, but it still scares me.

Why does Ana love this guy? I can’t figure it out. All he has done, from the very beginning of this book, is stalk and intimidate her. She can’t just be in love with him because the author says so. That’s not how books work, E.L.

We’re coming near to the end of the bridge, and the road is once more bathed in the neon light of the street lamps so his face is intermittently in the light and the dark.

Oh. Oh please. Please, Ana, it’s all I’ve ever wanted -

 And it’s such a fitting metaphor.

Yes, yes, OH GOD YES.

This man, whom I once thought of as a romantic hero – a brave, shining white knight, or the dark knight as he said.

 YES! YES! A MILLION TIMES YES!
And then she ruins it, because like Britta, Ana is the opposite of Batman:

He’s not a hero, he’s a man with serious, deep emotional flaws, and he’s dragging me into the dark. Can I not guide him into the light?

Remember those universal red flags? “You have the urge to ‘love him into emotional wellness,’ if that were possible.” Just saying.

But of course, her love for him wins out, and she ends up in his lap, making out with him and vowing that she’s going to sign the contract. He tells her to wait until after she gets back from Georgia, and he’s willing to try to be a normal boyfriend for her. He wants her to stay the night with him, and it’s all romance and hearts until they get out of the car and Christian realizes that she’s not wearing a jacket. She’s afraid she’s going to get spanked, and then she’s relieved when she doesn’t.

I gaze up at him in the elevator. I have assumed he’d like me to sleep with him, and then I remember that he doesn’t sleep with anyone, although he has with me a few times.

He has with you a lot of times. I can only think of one time he didn’t sleep with you, and that was when he didn’t take a nap before going to his parent’s house. There is some elevator hanky-panky, and it makes me realize… this is a real building. In a real city. And they’re selling condos there right now to capitalize on the success of the book… and since some crazy woman not only had a replica Twilight wedding, but forced her husband to legally change his last name to Cullen… some deranged 50 Shades fan is going to buy a condo there and fuck in the elevator, making the Escala building #1 on my top ten biohazard sites in the fucking universe.

Ana points out that having sex in bed is “vanilla”, and Chedward tells her that he’s fine with vanilla.

“Since when?”“Since last Saturday. Why? Were you hoping for something more exotic?” My inner goddess pops her head above the parapet.

 Back that shit right up? That bitch has a castle now? Ana, you better get your inner goddess under control before she starts building siege engines.

There’s some dialogue while they go into the bedroom and get Ana naked, and then it’s all:

“Don’t you want to fuck?” he asks.“No,” I breathe.“Oh.” He frowns.Okay, here goes… deep breath.
“I want you to make love to me.”

This makes Mr. Grey furious. He tells her that touching is a hard limit, and then he’s all, “Just put on this t-shirt and go to bed.” Ana goes to the bathroom and checks herself out in the mirror.

 After all that I’ve done today, it’s still the same ordinary girl gaping back at me. What did you expect – that you’d grow horns and a little pointy tail? My subconscious snaps at me. And what the hell are you doing? Touching is his hard limit. Too soon, you idiot, he needs to walk before he can run. My subconscious is furious, medusa-like in her anger, hair flying, her hands clenched around her face like Edvard Munch’s Scream.

What do Medusa and the guy in The Scream have in common? THEY DON’T HAVE FUCKING HAIR, ANA. That’s like, Medusa 101, okay?

 Ana realizes that she’s rushing him, because you know, that’s too much intimacy to expect from a guy who thinks it’s acceptable to stick his fingers in your hooey at dinner with his parents. Too much intimacy to touch him, but she does use his toothbrush again. And Christian catches her this time.

Christian stands in the doorway, his PJs hanging off his hips – in that way that makes every little cell in my body stand up and take notice. He’s bare-chested, and I drink him in like I’m crazed with thirst and he’s clear cool mountain spring water.

This book brought to you by Evian.

He gazes at me impassively, then smirks and comes to stand beside me. Our eyes lock in the mirror, gray to blue. I finish with his toothbrush, rinse it off, and hand it to him, my look never leaving his. Wordlessly, he takes the toothbrush from me and puts it in his mouth. I smirk back at him, and his eyes are suddenly dancing with humor.“Do feel free to borrow my toothbrush.” His tone is gently mocking. 

Of all the things that I consider “okay” to hit another person for, and he doesn’t use the opportunity. Let this be a warning to anyone thinking about spending the night at my house: if I walk in on you using my toothbrush, I will punch you in the face.

Again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again. And again…
Ana asks Christian how he would feel if she told him he couldn’t touch her, and he tells her that he had a fucked up childhood, but he doesn’t want to talk about it because basically he doesn’t want to burden her with how terrible it was. Ana argues that she wants to know him better, and he’s all, “‘You know me well enough.’” So then Ana realizes she has some bargaining power. If he tells her what she wants to know, he can spank her. He tells her it doesn’t work that way. And really, how could she not expect that answer. It’s Grey’s way, or the highway. But he goes for it, and brings out the Ben Wa balls. He puts them in her mouth first, then in his, because double spit lubrication all the way:

Fuck, this is sexier than the toothbrush.

Anything, Ana, literally ANYTHING is sexier than using another person’s toothbrush.

 So, he puts the Ben Wa balls in her and asks her to get him a glass of water, and then he makes her ask him to spank her, and she does. And then he spanks her, and of course it’s mind-blowing and erotic, and then he takes the balls out and they have sex. I would excerpt some of it here, but it’s all the same words as she used in the rest of the sex scenes. Then he rubs lotion on her butt and we get the weirdest fucking pillow talk I have ever read in my entire life:

Careful not to touch my stinging behind, we are spooning again. He kisses me very softly beside my ear.“The woman who brought me into this world was a crack-whore, Anastasia. Go to sleep.”

Right, because it’s super easy to sleep after your boyfriend calls his biological mother a crack-whore. He tells Ana that his mom died when he was four, and he doesn’t really remember much.

And I slip into a dazed and exhausted sleep, dreaming of a four-year-old, gray-eyed boy in a dark, scary, miserable place.

Sweet dreams, Ana! 

All sixes and sevens this Saturday

Hey everyone! I have good news! 50 Shades recaps will be back on track Monday. Other good news? Someone tagged me for a writerly meme that is going to give you a sneak peak of my novel Silent Surrender, which will be released by Ellora’s Cave at  a date that will be announced later. Seriously, that’s how very young this book is. It doesn’t even have a release date yet.

But, I was tagged by Brynn Paulin, so I will obey the rules and share this with you.

The Rules:

Go to page 7 or 77 in your current manuscript

Go to line 7

Post on your blog or Facebook page the next 7 lines, or sentences, as they are – no cheating

Tag 7 other authors to do the same.

So, here are my seven sentences:

He didn’t know her, and it didn’t make sense. And he was petrified.What would happen, when they were alone? How would he talk to her, calm her? What if he was being had, and she didn’t want this at all? How could he trust that anything that man downstairs had said?What if she was simple?

So, there you have it. The very first look at Silent Surrender


However, I always hate trying to tag people for these things. I don’t mind when people tag me, but I’m convinced that everyone hates me when I tag them, and I’m destroying the lives of everyone around me. Remember what I said about being socially awkward? Rather than tag people, I just encourage all of you to do this. Published, prepublished, fanfic writer, I don’t care. Do this on your blog and post a link in the comments. Let’s make this interactive.

I can’t believe I forgot this…

Due to my daughter’s illness, I totally forgot to draw the winner of Bride of The Wolf last Saturday! Now, my daughter isn’t better yet, but she is sleeping, and that’s nearly as good. I pray no one you love ever gets this horrible illness. Not because it’s serious or anything, because it’s not. It’s just made this kid insanely bitchy.

Okay, onto the winner. Drawn by Random.org random number, the winner of Bride of The Wolf is…
MEL
So, Mel, contact me about obtaining your copy, for you did not leave an email address!

Now, I’m going to quietly creep around my house. There is a sick preschooler sleeping upstairs, and I don’t want to wake that particular dragon.