Usually I put stuff here, but this is a very, very long recap and my shoulder hurts from typing and I’m losing my passion for cuteness and fun where this series is concerned. Let’s just do it.
Christian has ordered a glass of Sancerre. Sancerre is, if you’ll remember from previous chapters, the only thing he drinks. Okay, this is something I think is actually kind of cool. In the original trilogy, Ana would just constantly say, “he ordered me a white wine” or something. In this book, it’s always Sancerre. So it’s like, a little detail that’s consistent, but from different viewpoints.
It is the only thing consistent about this book.
Christian is waiting at the bar for Ana for their non-date date to discuss the contract. He’s nervous and had to do extra running to calm his nerves. He also mentally logs everything he’s done during the day. And it’s all over the place:
This feels like a first date, and in a way it is. I’ve never taken a prospect out to dinner. I’ve sat through interminable meetings today, bought a business, and fired three people. Nothing I’ve done today, including running–twice–and a quick circuit in the gym, has dispelled the anxiety I’ve wrestled with all day.
Why is his work day even mentioned here? For one, it comes off very oh-shit-I-need-businessy-words-so-he-sounds-important. If he just bought a company, why wasn’t he consumed with work for the past week? Christian doesn’t come off as a hard worker capable of clawing his way to the top from the very dregs of adversity when he’s hardly ever at work. Yes, it’s normal for a CEO to delegate things to other workers, but they also want to sort of keep tabs on important shit like buying a whole company.
That line is also in a very weird place because it makes it seem like firing three people is something that should have calmed his anxiety. It reads like, “Man, I’ve tried everything to get over this anxiety. I went running, I exercised, I fired three people. Nothing is working.” Of course, knowing Chedward, firing people might be a stress reliever or something.
“But Jenny,” you say, “isn’t he listing things that caused the anxiety?” Oh ho. Let’s not be naive here. The anxiety is caused by Ana:
That power is in the hands of Anastasia Steele. I want her submission.
When Ana walks in, Chedward describes her in the most flowery prose possible:
She looks exquisite: her hair falls in soft waves to her breast on one side, and on the other it’s pinned back so it’s easier to see her delicate jawline and the gentle curve of her slender neck. She’s wearing high heels and a tight dark purple dress that accentuates her lithe, alluring figure.
Now, I’m not saying that no twenty-seven-year-old male has ever used the words “exquisite” or “alluring”. But every adult man who’s attracted to women that I know of? Would just be like, “Wow, she’s hot.”
To be fair, he does think, “Wow.” But that “Wow” only makes “lithe, alluring figure” seem all the more clunky and overdone.
“You look stunning,” I whisper, and kiss her cheek. Closing my eyes, I savor her scent; she smells heavenly.
He asks her what she wants to drink:
“I’ll have what you’re having, please.”
Ah, she’s learning.
Presented without comment. Underlines = italics.
“They have an excellent wine cellar here,” I add, and take a moment to look at her.
Like, he’s described her hairstyle and clothing down to every last “lithe, alluring” detail, but now he’s gonna look at her.
She’s wearing a little makeup. Not too much. And I remember when she first fell into my office how ordinary I thought she looked. She is anything but ordinary. With a little makeup and the right clothes, she’s a goddess.
“I thought you were ugly until you put on enough makeup” is such a beautiful sentiment. Why doesn’t it show up on more Valentines?
They begin their negotiations with boring flirting, and then:
She purses her lips to stifle her smile. “You know this contract is legally unenforceable.”
“I am fully aware of that, Miss Steele.”
“Were you going to tell me that at any point?”
What? I didn’t think I’d have to…and you’ve worked it out for yourself. “You think I’d coerce you into something you don’t want to do, and then pretend I have legal hold over you?”
Whoa. “You don’t think very highly of me, do you?”
“You haven’t answered my question.”
“Anastasia, it doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not. It represents an arrangement that I would like to make with you–what I would like from you and what you can expect from me. If you don’t like it, then don’t sign. If you do sign and then decide you don’t like it, there are enough get-out clauses so you can walk away. Even if it were legally binding, do you think I’d drag you through the courts if you did decide to run?
What does she take me for?
She considers me with her unfathomable blue eyes.
Before we dive into this, I want to show you the same exact scene, from the original:
“You know this contract is legally unenforceable.”
“I am fully aware of that, Miss Steele.”
“Were you going to tell me that at any point?”
He frowns. “You’d think I’d coerce you into something you don’t want to do, and then pretend that I have a legal hold over you?”
“You don’t think very highly of me, do you?”
“You haven’t answered my question.”
“Anastasia, it doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not. It represents an arrangement that I would like to make with you–what I would like from you and what you can expect of me. If you don’t like it, then don’t sign. If you do sign and then decide you don’t like it, there are enough get-out clauses so you can walk away. Even if it were legally binding, do you think I’d drag you through the courts if you did decide to run?”
I take a long sip of my wine. My subconscious taps me hard on the shoulder. You must keep your wits about you. Don’t drink too much.
First of all, do you notice how little agency Ana has in her own thoughts? Christian is allowed a reaction to the things that are going on. All Ana is allowed to do is make sure she doesn’t get drunk, because she has to be on her guard. Ana has no reaction, either internal or external, to any of this. I just thought that was very telling, in terms of how the reader is meant to view the characters.
Anyway, let’s talk about Chedward’s reactions and why, exactly, he shouldn’t be a Dom. His assumption is that his inexperienced potential sub would just know that this contract wasn’t legally enforceable. He was perfectly happy withholding that information and letting her “work it out” for herself. In other words, he can’t be bothered to give her even the most basic information that she needs to enter into this relationship under clear pretenses.
Chedward is a bafflingly successful billionaire. He knows how contracts work, and he knows how people expect them to work. And he continues to insinuate that the contract is binding on some level, by suggesting that “get-out” clauses are needed for her to be allowed to walk away from him.
Now, he wants all of this, but he doesn’t want Ana to have a low (read: accurate) opinion of him. All we know from Ana’s POV that she doesn’t trust him; she won’t get drunk around him, and what we know from Chedward’s POV is that she shouldn’t trust him, because he wants to manipulate her by withholding important information.
Both books are trash, but I’m having a hard time figuring out which one should go in the fire first.
What I need her to understand is that this contract isn’t about the law, it’s about trust.
I want you to trust me, Ana.
I want you to trust me, even though I’m actively working to deceive you via omission.
Also, remember how Ana doesn’t want to be called Anastasia or Miss Steele? Christian clearly thinks of her as Ana in his own head. So, yeah. It’s a fucked up control thing. He’s perfectly capable of thinking of her as Ana, but he refuses to say it.
“Relationships like this are built on honesty and trust. If you don’t trust me–trust me to know how I’m affecting you, how far I can go with you, how far I can take you–if you can’t be honest with me, then we really can’t do this.”
She rubs her chin as she considers what I’ve said.
“So it’s quite simple, Anastasia. Do you trust me or not?”
Ana has literally just called him out for indirectly lying to her about the contract. He’s given her absolutely no reason to trust him yet. He doesn’t mention anything about having to trust her, either, beyond, “if you can’t be honest with me.” Which still puts the onus for all the trust in the relationship onto Ana. Christian doesn’t have to surrender and put his faith in Ana, she has to be honest with him. And he doesn’t have to be honest with her, she just needs to trust him and figure out the rest on her own.
“Did you have similar discussions with, um…the fifteen?”
“No.” Why is she going off on this tangent?
“Why not?” she asks.
“Because they were all established submissives. They knew what they wanted out of a relationship with me and generally what I expected. With them, it was just a question of fine-tuning the soft limits, details like that.”
Stop. No. Gameshow buzzer noise. You didn’t negotiate things with the other submissives because they were experienced? All this tells me is that you think you have to lock Ana into a contract because she doesn’t know exactly what she wants or what to expect from you, so you have to secure her permission to do whatever you feel like before she knows any better. Christian’s constant emphasis on how differently he treats Ana in comparison to his other subs is meant to make the reader believe that he finds Ana special (not like other girls™) and therefore their relationship is more serious (twu luv™). Instead, it just reads like he knew he couldn’t take advantage of those other women, but he recognizes the opportunity to take advantage of Ana. He wants to use all this paperwork to intimidate Ana into acquiescing to his demands.
I mean, that’s the way it comes off to someone who recognizes that this is a textbook case of emotional abuse and manipulation. Everyone else, I don’t know what the fuck they see beyond “the other fifteen were whores and this blank avatar for my fantasies (Ana) is the only pure, clean woman that deserves Christian Grey.”
“Is there a store you go to? Submissives ‘R’ Us?” She arches an eyebrow and I laugh out loud. And like a magician’s rabbit the tension in my body disappears. “Not exactly.” My tone is wry.
First of all, magicians make the rabbits appear. They pull them out of their hats, not cram them in. Second, there is no reason his dialogue needs to share a paragraph with hers. There are very rare instances where two characters’ dialogue has to fit into the same paragraph, but this is not one of those. “‘Not exactly.’ My tone is wry.” could have easily been its own line.
“Are you hungry?” I ask.
She looks suspiciously at the olives. “No.”
In Ana’s POV, she’s thinking, literally, “Oh no…food.” Some readers have pointed out that she develops an eating disorder as a way to buck Chedward’s control. But here, she’s looking at the olives “suspiciously”, and all I can think is, if you haven’t read the first book it seems like she doesn’t trust him not to have drugged the food.
When Christian finds out she hasn’t eaten, of course he reacts sensibly. By threatening to rape her:
“You have to eat, Anastasia. We can eat down here or in my suite. Which would you prefer?”
She’ll never go for this.
“I think we should stay in public, on neutral ground.”
As predicted–sensible, Miss Steele.
“Do you think that would stop me?” My voice is husky.
She swallows. “I hope so.”
Put the girl out of her misery, Grey.
“Come, I have a private dining room booked. No public.” Rising, I hold out my hand to her.
Will she take it?
She looks from my face to my hand.
“Bring your wine,” I order.
It doesn’t matter if they’re in public or private. If he wants to have her, he’s going to. Nothing is going to stop him. And he ignores her request to stay in public. When she’s hesitant to go with him, he just flat out orders her to. How on earth does he expect her to trust him when the moment she shows even the slightest, most reasonable caution–especially after he’s made it clear he’s cool with raping her in a public place–he rejects her suggestion for a safer venue and forces her to go with him to a secluded place. Yeah, that seems super trustworthy, Chedward.
Honestly, I’m still at a loss as to how anyone viewed this as romantic or sexy. How fucked up is our idea of women’s sexuality that this is considered desirable behavior from a man? All I can think is that it’s expected behavior that we’ve resigned ourselves to enduring, so we have to find a way to spin it into something we’re cool with.
As we leave the bar, I notice admiring glances from other guests, and in the case of one handsome, athletic guy, overt appreciation of my date. It’s not something I’ve dealt with before…and I don’t think I like it.
Again, Ana is special, because Christian didn’t care about any of the fifteen other women he’s been in relationships with. This assumes that the only way a reader can tell if a hero truly loves the heroine is by eliminating the competition of the past. If he felt jealous or cared at all about any of the other subs, that makes what he has with Ana less authentic.
Upstairs on the mezzanine, the liveried young host dispatched by the maître d’ leads us to the room I’ve booked. He only has eyes for Miss Steele, and I give him a withering look that sends him in retreat from the opulent dining room.
In Ana’s POV, the dining room is described in detail, so here’s another case where James assumes that anyone picking up this book has already read at least the first book of the other series and decides not to do the work. We also find yet another lazy and destructive case of confusing jealousy for affection.
In Fifty Shades of Grey, this scene starts out with one of those interminable “don’t bite your lip” scenes. It’s cut here, and not even alluded to. Chedward asks Ana what she wants to talk about.
“The nitty-gritty,” she says, focused on the task at hand, but then she takes a large gulp of wine and her cheeks color. She must be looking for courage. I’ll have to watch how much she’s drinking, because she’s driving.
She could always spend the night here…then I could peel her out of that enticing dress.
I can’t remember, does Chedward ever find out that it’s Kate’s dress? How could he possibly stand to touch Ana in it, after the infuriating Miss Kavanaugh has worn it?
Please note that Chedward isn’t worried about Ana getting too drunk to consent to anything. Just that she’s going to be driving. In fact, his ideal scenario seems to be getting her so drunk that she has to stay with him. Which is, you know. Also too drunk to consent.
He goes over the clauses Ana has pointed out in her emails.
“My sexual health? Well, all of my previous partners have had blood tests, and I have regular tests every six months for all the health risks you mention. All my recent tests are clear. I have never taken drugs. In fact, I’m vehemently antidrug. I have a strict no-tolerance policy with regards to drugs for all of my employees, and I insist on random drug testing.”
In fact, one of the people I fired today failed his drug test.
“I’m vehemently anti-drug…now drink some more wine.” I absolutely hate, loathe, and despise to the core of my being people who are sanctimonious assholes about people who take drugs, insist that they aren’t that kind of person, and then chug down a bottle of whatever’s handy at the slightest opportunity. Those “It’s wine-o’-clock!” moms on Facebook who turn around and go, “Well, I don’t give homeless people money. They just buy drugs with it.”? They should all be executed by firing squad. Alcohol is a drug. It’s just a socially acceptable drug. You cannot be “anti-drug” and blithely encourage the use of a drug. It’s like a meth head saying they’re anti-drug because they’ve never smoked crack. IT ISN’T A REAL THING.
“Your next point I mentioned earlier. You can walk away anytime, Anastasia. I won’t stop you. If you go, however–that’s it. Just so you know.”
No. Second. Chances. Ever.
This is yet another place where the contract doesn’t make sense, because she does walk away. And he won’t let her go. He continues to pursue her until she comes back. In other words, he thinks he, a billionaire with a security team that makes him basically untouchable, needs a non-legally binding contract with a woman to keep her from trying to win him back, but that contractual obligation doesn’t go both ways.
The waiter comes with raw oysters, and Chedward instructs Ana on how to eat them.
“So, I don’t chew it?”
“No, Anastasia, you don’t.” And I try not to think about her teeth toying with my favorite part of my anatomy.
I, too, struggle to not fantasize about someone chewing away on your knob.
She asks me if I’ve chosen oysters deliberately, knowing their reputed aphrodisiac qualities. I surprise her when I tell her they were simply at the top of the menu. “I don’t need an aphrodisiac near you.”
Yeah, I could fuck you right now.
With or without her consent, as he’s already told us at this point. Also…maybe she was wondering if you ordered them to get her in the mood. Funny, the things you can think of when you realize that there’s a universe full of people who aren’t Cheward Grullen.
Ana tells Christian her objection to the “obey me in all things” clause:
“But I’m worried you’ll hurt me.”
“Hurt you how?”
“Do you really think I would ever do that? Go beyond any limit you can’t take?”
“Do you really think” is such a manipulative phrase. “Do you really think?” Yes, I really think. If I didn’t think, I wouldn’t have said. That’s how it works. “Do you really think” is Christian asking Ana to question whether or not she believes what she’s saying/thinking, as though she can’t trust her own thoughts/words.
He tells her about the sub he accidentally hurt in a suspension accident–one of the ropes was tied too tightly–and she doesn’t react well:
Appalled, she holds up her hand in a plea for me to stop.
Too much information.
Then this should be a sign that she’s not ready to enter into this “contract” at all. If the idea of a rope being too tight squicks her out, this is not a great sign for your bondage hopes. Rope injuries are probably the most common BDSM injury. I don’t have a study to cite on that, but given every kinkster I know has a story about “this one time when I got rope burn”, bondage/suspension seems high in the running for “most likely to injure”. Ana could sustain damage from bondage even without suspension. And these things can happen even to experienced Doms/subs. Shit happens. If the idea of that risk is totally unacceptable to Ana, she should not be engaging in bondage, for her own comfort and safety.
And what kind of injury are we talking about here, Chedward? The most common injury I can think of off the top of my head that you could get from a tight rope in a stressful suspension scenario is either circulatory or nerve damage. Given that these former subs were always so super experienced and totally didn’t need any education and he could just do whatever he wanted without any discussion, I assume they would know that, hey, my body part is cold/numb/tingling/in searing pain would be a bad sign and they would stop things. Chedward, you’re doing the tying up. It’s your job to communicate with your sub about whether or not the ropes are too tight, and to correct that before they sustain a serious injury.
So basically we have a potential sub freaked out by the very thought of an extremely common accident, and a potential Dom trying to power past that resistance by just dropping the subject altogether. I don’t know. Maybe he thinks she’ll figure it out on her own, just like the legality of the contract. The lengths to which this book will go to trying to make Chedward look like The Maestro of Kink, only to trip over its own goddamn feet like Anastasia Steele walking through an unimpeded doorway, is astonishing.
Ana makes suspension a hard limit (though I’m pretty sure they do a suspension scene later in the series anyway), and he asks her if she’ll obey him.
She stares at me with those eyes that see through to my dark soul, and I don’t know what she’s going to say.
Shit. This could be the end.
We should be so lucky.
She tells him she can obey, and he wants her to give up her one month, one weekend off per month clause, as well:
“One month instead of three is no time at all, especially if you want a weekend away from me each month.” We’ll get nowhere in that time. She needs training and I can’t stay away from her for any length of time. I tell her as much. Maybe we can compromise, as she suggested. “How about one day over one weekend per month you get to yourself–but I get a midweek night that week?”
This is like a fucking custody battle right here.
Look, Ana is saying that she’s fine with trying things out for a month, but not for three months. THAT IS THE COMPROMISE. And saying she wants one weekend a month for herself? That’s reasonable. Asking her to come to you in the middle of the week–when she’ll probably be working–is just ridiculous. She’s trying to get time away from you. Time that will be hers, not spent with you. She’s not trying to reschedule. She’s trying to unschedule.
Obviously, we all know that this doesn’t happen, and Ana ends up spending literally every waking moment of her life with Christian or surrounded by his “security” team, but we’re here now, so I’m going to bitch about it.
“And please, let’s try it for three months. If it’s not for you, then you can walk away anytime.”
She could walk away anytime during one month, too. All the three months gives him is the ability to say, “But you said you’d try for three months. At the end of that, you can just walk away. But you said you’d try for three months and now you’re breaking your word.”
Then we move on to what is possibly the biggest Dom red-flag so far:
“The ownership thing, that’s just terminology and goes back to the principle of obeying. It’s to get you into the right frame of mind, to understand where I’m coming from. And I want you to know that as soon as you cross my threshold as my submissive, I will do what I like to you. You have to accept that, and willingly. That’s why you have to trust me. I will fuck you, anytime, any way I want–anywhere I want. I will discipline you, because you will screw up. I will train you to please me.
“But I know you’ve not done this before. Initially, we’ll take it slowly, and I will help you. We’ll build up to various scenarios. I want you to trust me, but I know I have to earn your trust, and I will. The ‘or otherwise’–again, it’s to help you get into the mind-set; it means anything goes.”
Christian Grey does not understand, on any level, what makes submission attractive for the submissive. That ownership isn’t just terminology. It’s something the submissive wants. To be owned. To be dominated. Yes, it’s a mind-set, but it’s one that the Dom is supposed to help the sub achieve. It’s not, “You need to understand that I own you because then you’ll remember to do everything I say.” This is a sexual relationship. It’s a two-way street. A sub does everything a Dom says because they want to be owned. A Dom wants the sub to want their control and ownership. Christian Grey just wants Ana to obey him and give him whatever he asks, and this whole “I want to treat you all these ways, and you have to tell me right now that you’ll do whatever I say” routine is proof that he really doesn’t care if his sub will get anything out of it. He doesn’t want a sub, he wants a toy.
“Would you like some more wine?” I ask her.
“I have to drive.”
Arrrrgh, all of these abusive little bullshit tactics. Let me ask you a trick question! You answered correctly! You are winning in the mind game you don’t even know you’re playing! People like Chedward are the fucking Hunger Games of manipulation.
Christian rattles off some stupid shit about pleasure and pain that was probably copied from another fanfic that started out with a summary that included the words “welcome to my twisted mind”, ending with:
“Again, it comes down to trust. Do you trust me, Ana?”
“Yes, I do,” she says immediately. Her response knocks me sideways: it’s completely unexpected.
Have I gained her trust already?
“Well, then, the rest of this stuff is just details.” I feel ten feet tall.
First of all, do you know who you absolutely, never, under any circumstances, should trust? Someone who consistently emphasizes how much they want you to trust them, and who asks repeatedly if you trust them yet.
Especially if they then decide that now that they have your trust, further discussion about sexual activities you’d like to engage in with them is unnecessary.
Thankfully, Ana points out that she does want to go over the rest of the contract. She won’t budge on agreeing to having her food and sleep controlled. I mean, that’s really only going to last until you’re married, Ana, but good for you for thinking your life is still yours. Then she asks him why she can’t touch him.
“Is it because of Mrs. Robinson?”
What? “Why would you think that? You think she traumatized me?”
Why on earth would anyone think that? I mean, really. An emotionally damaged fifteen-year-old being groomed into BDSM by one of his mother’s friends in a you-can-never-tell-or-we’ll-both-be-in-trouble deal? How ever could that be traumatizing to a person?
He tells her that it’s not because of Mrs. Robinson and adds:
“And I don’t want you touching yourself, either,” I add.
“Out of curiosity, why?”
“Because I want all your pleasure.”
Fair enough, in a D/s relationship. But, uh…shouldn’t that also be, you know…discussed?
Look, if you’re thinking, “I might want to try this BDSM thing out!”, then here’s a word of advice: if a potential Dom behaves toward you as though you’ve already agreed to sub for them and they cannot drop their Dom persona during negotiations like this? Run as fast as you can in the other direction. They will ignore your limits, they will try to coerce you into doing things you don’t want to do, and they will use “but I’m naturally dominant!” as an excuse for that manipulative behavior.
Hey, speaking of creepy behavior:
I could fuck her here to see if she can be quiet. Real quiet, knowing we’re within earshot of the hotel staff and guests. After all, that’s why I’ve booked this room.
I don’t want to belabor the point here, but Ana specifically asked to stay in a public setting so that they would. not. have. sex. Christian made her come with him to this private room, and now we have confirmation that he was expecting to have sex with her in said room. Despite her saying she didn’t want to go somewhere private, where they could have sex, he has brought her here with that express purpose. Despite the fact that, and maybe I’m stressing this too much, she already said she doesn’t want to.
Plus, he planned on her engaging in public sex without clearing it with her at all beforehand? She’s clearly uncomfortable even talking about sex, but he thinks she was going to be DTF in a room where a waiter could just walk in? That takes a lot of fucking ego to just assume that a woman is going to fuck you in public because you want her to.
“Do you want to go over the soft limits now, too?”
“Not over dinner.”
“Something like that.”
Again. If she’s squeamish just talking about these sex acts, this is a sign that she’s not comfortable and is perhaps not ready to enter into this type of relationship without casually trying this shit out.
Christian points out that Ana hasn’t eaten much:
This is getting old. “Three oysters, four bites of cod, and one asparagus stalk, no potatoes, no nuts, no olives, and you’ve not eaten all day. You said I could trust you.”
Aaaaaaand you said she could trust you, and you promised not to police her eating habits. So who’s untrustworthy here?
“Christian, please, it’s not every day I sit through conversations like this.”
“I need you fit and healthy, Anastasia.” My tone is adamant.
I need you fit and healthy, but not mentally healthy. If I needed you mentally healthy, I might do something like not let you know that I’m cataloguing every single bite of food you take to use against you in a later argument.
“Christian. You use sex as a weapon. It really isn’t fair.” She looks down at her lap, and her voice is low and melancholy. She looks up again, pinning me with an intense stare, her powder-blue eyes unnerving…and arousing.
“You’re right. I do,” I admit. “In life you use what you know. Doesn’t change how much I want you. Here. Now.” And we could fuck here, right now.
Again, he has no interest in what Ana wants, what her comfort level is, or whether she’s even interested in having sex right now. He wants it, so it’s happening.
“I’d like to try something.” I really want to know how quiet she can be, and if she can do this with the fear of discovery.
Her brow creases once more; she’s confused.
“If you were my sub, you wouldn’t have to think about this. It would be easy. All those decisions–all the wearying thought processes behind them. The ‘Is this the right thing to do? Should this happen here? Can it happen now?’ You wouldn’t have to worry about any of that detail. That’s what I’d do as your Dom. And right now, I know you want me, Anastasia.”
He goes on to say:
“I can tell because your body gives you away. You’re pressing your thighs together, you’re flushed, and your breathing has changed.”
Okay, but I’ve read the original series and Ana is flushed all the time. That said, Chedward is overlooking an important detail: Ana’s body is not in charge. Ana’s mind is. And she hasn’t said she wants to fuck you.
She’s quiet for a moment and looks away. “I haven’t finished my cod,” she says, evasive but still blushing.
“You prefer cold cod to me?”
Her eyes meet mine, and they’re wide, pupils dark and large. “I thought you liked me to clear my plate.”
“Right now, Miss Steele, I couldn’t give a fuck about your food.”
This is important to me, until it isn’t. Now try and guess which times those are.
She’s trifling with me–a dangerous tactic that will have me fucking her over this table.
Honestly, anyone who reads this shit and finds him so romantic and sexy? Need to have constant supervision so they don’t accidentally start dating a dude like this. If you have a friend who loooooooves Christian Grey, start spreading malicious rumors about how she farts during sex or something. Anything, to stop her from finding her perfect Mr. Grey.
She really has no idea how sexy she is…I’m about to pounce when the waiter knocks and enters.
I’m about to rape her when the waiter knocks and enters.
Ana uses this interruption to announce her intention to leave.
This is not going to plan at all.
You know, the plan. The plan where he was going to have public sex with Ana without consulting her first.
He asks why she wants to go.
“Because you’ve given me so much to consider, and I need some distance.” Her eyes are pleading with me to let her go.
But we’ve gotten so far in our negotiation. We’ve made compromises. We can make this work. I have to make this work.
“Hey, I compromised! Now you have to let me fuck you in front of the waitstaff!”
Every time I write one of these recaps, I feel the delicious, thirst-quenching tears of all the fans who passionately defended the series against abuse allegations and find Christian brutally misrepresented as a creepy, creepy stalker. Yes, cry, you abuse apologist trash people! Your sorrow strengthens the rest of us! Muahahahahahahahaha!
“I could make you stay,” I tell her, knowing I could seduce her right now, in this room.
In the original, in Ana’s POV, this says:
“I could make you stay,” he threatens.
“You know, when you fell into my office to interview me, you were all ‘Yes, sir,’ ‘No, sir.’ I thought you were a natural-born submissive. But quite frankly, Anastasia, I’m not sure you have a submissive bone in your delectable body.”
Now that threats and intimidation haven’t gotten her spread and willing, he goes straight to the guilt button. You misrepresented yourself, I thought this about you and now you’re disappointing me.
Then he goes on to kissing her, because obviously she’s going to change her entire mind about needing space if she gets horny enough. But she still wants to leave, and tells him that she doesn’t know if she can have the kind of relationship he wants. He gives up and takes her to the lobby, where he asks her if he can see her on Sunday. She says maybe, and it’s all, whoa is me, this might be the end, oh no. For a guy who doesn’t get emotional or hearts and flowery, he’s taking this potential breakup of his non-relationship like a middle schooler getting dumped for the first time.
Then the valet brings her car, the
truck her stepdad Charlie bought her beat up VW Beetle her stepdad Ray bought her, and Christian gets pissy about that. Because obviously poor people cars aren’t as reliable as rich people cars.
They have a stupidly dramatic goodbye, in which Ana struggles not to cry, and he goes up to his room to drink more wine and refuse to give Ana space. He emails her:
I don’t understand why you ran this evening.
Because you kept threatening to rape her, while simultaneously demanding she trust you? There’s more the to the email, but it’s basically just I hope you give my proposal serious consideration, etc. Which is exactly what she’s trying to do, what she told you she’s trying to do, and why she asked for space.
I glance at my watch. It will take her at least twenty minutes to get home, probably longer in that death trap.
So the space he’s willing to give her is immediately emailing her after she leaves, and counting the minutes until she replies. He also emails Taylor and tells him that he needs an Audi delivered tomorrow.
Let’s take a break from the absolutely enraging rape culture as romance bullshittery for a good, old fashion critique of this run-on from hell:
Opening the Sancerre, I pour myself a glass, and picking up my book, I sit and read, trying hard to concentrate.
Let me give you a fucking hand here, Erika. I open the Sancerre and pour myself a glass. I pick up my book and sit. As I read, I try hard to concentrate. Wow, look at all of those separate actions in their own sentences.
At 11:00, I text her.
So, she left at ten, it’s now eleven. Within an hour, he has sent her an email and text. After she’s asked for space.
Before midnight I send another email.
Within two hours of her asking him to give her space, he’s sent two emails and a text.
I’ll see her tomorrow at the graduation ceremony and I’ll find out then if she’s turning me down.
Less. Than. 24. Hours.
Then, of course, he goes to bed, because it’s the end of the chapter, and every really good writer ends each chapter of a book with waking, and ends each chapter with sleeping. Every. Single. Chapter.