Quite frankly, I have a mind to run to the Heathman hotel and just demand sex from the control freak. But that’s five miles, and I don’t think I’ll be able to run one mile, let alone five, and of course, he might turn me down which would be beyond humiliating.
Oh, he would definitely turn you down, Ana, because you were coming to him on something other than his terms. You shouldn’t be running as in “out for a jog,” you should be running as in, “far away from this creepy dude.” She balked at the idea of exercising when it was mentioned in the contract, but she’s still doing it. She’s still doing exactly what Christian Grey wants, because his emotional manipulation has driven her to it.
I pace through the park. What am I going to do? I want him, but on his terms? I just don’t know. Perhaps I should negotiation what I want. Go through that ridiculous contract line by line and say what is acceptable and what isn’t. My research has told me that legally it’s unenforceable. He must know that. I figure that it just sets up the parameters of the relationship. It illustrates what I can expect from him and what he expects from me – my total submission. Am I prepared to give him that? Am I even capable?
Several smarty-pants commenters called this one: a contract like the one Grey has drawn up would not be enforceable. Ana figures it’s just for laying out “the parameters.” You know how people usually lay out the parameters and what to expect? By dating. By dating, like normal adults. Talking, getting to know one another, before the whole, “commit to a BDSM lifestyle with me” thing comes up. Because he’s not just proposing BDSM play in their sex life, he’s wanting her submission round the clock, even when they’re not together. That, to me, seems like a bigger commitment than marriage. What’s wrong with hanging out a little bit, first?
I am plagued by one question – why is he like this? Is it because he was seduced at such a young age? I just don’t know. He’s still such a mystery.
This depiction of BDSM as a symptom of mental trauma is really insulting, and yet here we are. I’m sure that sometimes, people are into BDSM because of some unresolved issue, just like sometimes people get really into fitness or hobbies or recreational drug use because of unresolved issues. But I’m pretty confident that most of the time, people get into BDSM because it makes their no-no parts all tingly. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar, as the old saying goes, and sometimes, people just like being spanked. There doesn’t have to be a dark secret behind it.
I stop beside a large spruce and put my hands on my knees, breathing hard, dragging precious air into my lungs. Oh, this feels good, cathartic. I can feel my resolve hardening.
Yes. I need to tell him what’s okay and what isn’t. I need to email him my thoughts, and then we can discuss these on Wednesday.
We see here that Ana has had to psych herself up to tell Christian that she’s not down for certain things in this contract. This is the girl who would never do anything she didn’t want to do, but she can’t figure out how to tell this guy that she isn’t really even dating that she’s not pro-anal fisting? She jogs back to the apartment, where Kate has been shopping for her trip to Barbados:
Mainly bikinis and matching sarongs. She will look fabulous in all of them, yet she still makes me sit and comment while she tries on each and every one.
ANA WOULD NEVER DO ANYTHING THAT SHE DID NOT WANT TO DO.
There are only so many ways one can say – you look fabulous Kate. She has a curvy, slim figure to die for. She doesn’t do it on purpose, I know, but I haul my sorry, perspiration clad, old t-shirt, sweat pants, and sneakers ass into my room on the pretext of packing more boxes. Could I feel any more inadequate?
Could you whine anymore about your roommate being pretty? Because I’m pretty sure no one is tired of that yet.
Ana goes into her room to sulk about not being pretty enough, and to email Christian. She sends him the message I was hoping to see for a very, very long time:
To: Christian Grey
Okay, I’ve seen enough.
It was nice knowing you.
I press send, hugging myself, laughing at my little joke. Will he find it as funny? Oh shit – probably not. Christian Grey is not famed for his sense of humor. But I know it exists, I’ve experienced it. Perhaps I’ve gone too far. I wait for his answer.
Of course she didn’t mean it! I mean, she totally doesn’t want to have anything to do with the contract or the lifestyle he wants to introduce her to, but she doesn’t actually mean it when she gives him the brush off. Afraid that she’s just blown her chance with Christian (why she is afraid of this outcome, I cannot say), she starts packing and worrying. When she still hasn’t heard anything from him at nine o’clock, she does what any sane, rational doormat of a person would do and sits down to pour over the contract again.
I don’t know why I glance up, maybe I catch a slight movement from the corner of my eye. I don’t know, but when I do, he’s standing in the doorway of my bedroom watching me intently. He’s wearing his grey flannel pants and a white linen shirt, gently twirling his car keys. I pull my ear buds out and freeze. Fuck!
So, Ana has sent him an email telling him that the deal is off, but he still shows up at her house. I’m holding out hope at this point that he realized it was all a joke. Of course, the first thing Ana does is blame Kate for this, for that evil, pretty, blonde bitch who pays for everything is clearly responsible:
Damn Kate for letting him in here with no warning. Vaguely, I’m aware that I’m still in my sweats, unshowered, yucky, and he’s just gloriously yummy.
First of all, that’s a lot of specifics for something you’re only “vaguely” aware of. Second, how is it Kate’s fault that you’ve been sitting around in your sweaty workout clothes for hours? That grossness is on you, not Kate, okay?
Christian tells Ana that he wanted to reply to her email in person, hence the random drop by. Ana is shocked that he would just turn up, but is it really that unexpected, Ana? You told him not to just show up at the bar, and yet he did. Christian sits on her bed and says that he wondered what her room would look like, and then Ana gives us the most unintentionally telling line of the entire book so far:
I glance around it, plotting an escape route, no- there’s still only the door or window.
If that’s not a fear response, I don’t know what is. Now, I’m no E.L. James, okay? But I have written one or two or twenty-ish of my own books, many of them romances. While there is something of a thrill factor in having the heroine be a little afraid of the super alpha hero, you have to walk a really delicate balance. You don’t want the reader to think that the heroine is actually super afraid of the hero, or that she has a reason to find him literally dangerous, because that’s when the fear stops being sexy. Right now, Ana is acting like Hannibal Lecter just strolled up into her apartment. That does not scream sexual tension to a reader. At least, not to a reader using critical thinking skills. I’m just going to put a little excerpt here, and I want you to read it while listening to the following music. Just ignore the fact that Harry Potter’s patronus is here, listening with us. Or don’t, maybe it adds to the ambiance if you’re a Potter fan:
He smiles at me.
“I’m still at the Heathman.”
I know that.
“Would you like a drink?” Politeness wins out over everything else I’d like to say.
“No, thank you, Anastasia.” He smiles a dazzling, crooked smile, his head cocked slightly to one side.
Well, I might need one.
“So, it was nice knowing me?”
Holy cow, is he offended? I stare down at my fingers. How am I going to dig myself out of this? If I tell him it was a joke, I don’t think he’ll be impressed.
“I thought you’d reply by email.” My voice is small, pathetic
“Are you biting your lower lip deliberately?” he asks darkly.
I blink up at him, gasping, freeing my lip.
Creepy, right? Now, just in case you feel I’m being unfair in that assessment of the scene, let’s try it with romantic music, instead. Re-read that same excerpt, with this music:
It doesn’t fit, does it? It doesn’t sound like Brad Pitt and Julia Ormond falling in and out of love over the course of a movie that should have been at least 50% more stroked out badass Anthony Hopkins, does it? It still sounds like Ana is afraid. Her voice is “small and pathetic”. She’s worried about having to dig herself out of the situation. This is not a romantic encounter. And yet, when he reaches out and undoes one of her pig tails, she’s all electricity this and hypnotized that.
Ana is “all rabbit/headlights, moth/flame, bird/snake…” so I guess you can pick your own metaphor from the ones the author has provided. Although, I don’t quite pick up on the bird/snake one. Maybe it’s one of those “Americanisms” like “bloody” and “throw toys from the pram” that Ana uses. She also points out that there are no nipple clamps in the Bible, and really, I don’t need to fact check that, I’m pretty sure I would have done better in religion class if there had been nipple clamps. All we got was a movie about Sodom and Gomorrah where a woman had relations with a goat, and I slept through that.
Christian tells Ana that he’s there to remind her how nice it is knowing him. So, he’s there to have
goat relations sex with her. What if she had been totally serious in the email, Christian? What if it was a real turn-down? Of course, it wasn’t, because Ana has been feeling a little down about her appearance, so she’s ready to rumble:
He wants me, and this does strange, delicious things to my insides. Not Kate in her little bikinis, not one of the fifteen, not evil Mrs. Robinson. This beautiful man wants me. My inner goddess glows so bright she could light up Portland.
Let’s really look this one over, dear readers. She’s excited that he wants her instead of the girl who is seeing his brother, the fifteen partners he already has broken things off with, and the woman who raped him for six years from the time he was fifteen years old. Maybe Kate’s inner goddess finds this some kind of triumph, but is it? Is it really, Ana?
Christian asks Ana to trust him. For him to trust her, she had to sign paperwork, but she should just trust him because he asks her to. Makes sense. He ties her to her bed with his gray silk tie (that he brought for just such an occasion), and starts to undress her, before she panics and realizes that she’s still wearing her sweaty, gross work out clothes from hours before. He pulls her t-shirt over her face, leaving only her mouth and nose uncovered, so she’s basically wearing the most ridiculous blindfold ever (and really, that is kind of hot, so props to E.L. on that one), and he goes to get a drink. He’s out in the other room, talking to Kate, half undressed, and then he comes back with that drink. He asks her if she’s thirsty, and then… oh God.
Let me put a trigger warning here. I have OCD, and one of my biggest triggers is germs. I wash my hands way too much, and I rarely, if ever, kiss my husband on the mouth. It is a miracle I’ve survived this long with pets and children without going crazy, and it is for that reason that I warn anyone with similar hang ups, DO NOT READ THE NEXT PARAGRAPH:
I hear the ice clink against the glass, and he puts it down again and leans down and kisses me, pouring a delicious crisp, liquid into my mouth as he does. It’s white wine. It’s so unexpected, hot, though it’s chilled, and Christian’s lips are cool.
He spits. Into her mouth.
Okay, I realize that to people who aren’t mentally ill, this might be really sexy. But since we’re talking about my experience with this book and not other people’s experiences with the book, I feel free to say:
NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!
And he keeps on in this fashion, like she’s a baby bird, spitting wine and ice into her mouth, and then eventually dribbling it out over her entire body until he fills up her belly button with it. He warns her not to move, because she’ll get wine all over the bed, and if she gets wine on the bed, she’ll be punished.
“Come on, Anastasia, again,” he growls through clenched teeth, and unbelieveably, my body responds, convulsing around him as I climax anew, calling out his name.
Okay, here’s the part where I realized that, right up until now, every time Christian wants Ana to go somewhere or follow him, he has said, “Come,” followed by direction. Here, when he wants her to have another orgasm, he says, “Come on.” How could he have gotten these two phrases flipped around in daily usage? If you’ve read the book, did you notice this, too?
When they’re all done, and Christian is getting dressed, he drops the bomb that I was waiting for through the entire scene:
“Only certain things are funny, Anastasia. I thought you were saying no, no discussion at all.” His voice drops.
This whole showing up uninvited, tying her to the bed, spitting wine all over her? He did that because he was angry with her. She told him no, so he showed up to fuck her into agreement. Now, here’s my question: what would he have done if she was serious? Would he have taken her “no” for an answer? I think it’s pretty clear here, Christian Grey isn’t terribly concerned with how he gets Ana’s consent, so long as he gets it. If he has to wear her down (see also: coerce), that’s as good as real consent. And if she says no? He’ll just show up and randomly fuck her, because how could she possibly say no once he’s brought his little Chedward to the bargaining table?
Christian lets it slip that he is still in contact with the woman who raped him when he was fifteen, and Ana, rather than being horrified that he’s got such a terrible case of Stockholm syndrome, gets jealous and points out that it’s unfair that he has someone he can talk to about all this D/s stuff, and she doesn’t. Rather than saying, “Hey, good point, go ahead and talk to Kate,” he offers to introduce her to one of his ex-girlfriends, so she’ll have someone to talk to. Ana is rightly offended, and is even more so when he tells her that he’s not planning on staying over, or ever sleeping with her (in the literal sense) ever again. So, she kicks him out. But he stays around for a minute, talking about how much he’d like to beat her so he would feel better, so of course, she’s keeping her dinner date with him because he’s such a charmer.
Ana thinks of how bad her hair is and how Kate is going to ask her questions about stuff (and as you’ll remember, Kate speaking to Ana in any way is the single most obnoxious thing ever) as she walks Christian to the door.
For the first time, I’m wishing he was – normal – wanting a normal relationship that doesn’t need a ten-page agreement, a flogger, and karabiners in his playroom ceiling.
FOR THE FIRST TIME. I’m pretty sure words mean things, Ana, and you’ve been lamenting the fact that you don’t have a normal relationship since you got involved with this guy. WORDS. MEAN. THINGS.
This is the first time I have ever had sex in my home, and as sex goes, I think it was pretty damn fine. But now I feel like a receptacle – an empty vessel to be filled at his whim. My subconscious shakes her head.
You wanted to run to the Heathman for sex – you had it express delivered. She crosses her arms and taps her foot with a what-are-you-complaining-about-look on her face.
Oh, how rape culture rears its ugly, ingrained head in Ana at this moment. She doesn’t feel good about the sex they just had, she doesn’t feel good about their relationship, but she was asking for it. She wanted to have sex, and she got it, so even though Christian has basically just shown up to fuck away her resistance to signing the contract and brought up his exes within like, .04 seconds of being inside of her, Ana’s “subconscious” feels like she shouldn’t complain, and be careful what you wish for and all that. Ana reaches a crisis moment:
I feel a paradigm shift. I know that if I do this thing with him, I will get hurt. He’s not capable, interested, or willing to offer me any more… and I want more. Much more. The surge of jealousy I felt only moments ago tells me that I have deeper feelings for him than I have admitted to myself.
So, she tells him that she’s not interested in signing the contract, and they go their separate ways, and the book ends. Psych, she kisses him instead, and “something changes”. Chedward asks the rhetorical “what are you doing to me?” that all romance heroes, tossed upon the heretofore unexplored seas of love are bound by formula to ask, and then he leaves. Ana runs to her room to cry, and Kate comes in to check on her.
Patiently, I explain the essence of my email without giving anything away.
“So you thought he’d reply by email.”
“But instead he turns up here.”
“I’d say he’s completely smitten with you.”
Oh, is that the conclusion you arrived to, Kate? I thought you were the smart one. But when Kate finds out that he turned up just to have sex to put Ana in her place, she’s rightly horrified. She also informs Ana that her mom won’t be coming to her graduation on Thursday, so, you know, here’s a cherry for your shit sundae, Ana.
After Kate leaves, Ana sits down and emails Chedward the list of all the things she finds wrong with the contract, including how much she’s willing to sleep and exercise, that she’ll sign on for one month, not three, and fisting? No fucking way. I’m impressed that she’s showing some spine, and she’s actually being the Ana she thinks she is while she’s letting other people run her life. Christian’s response to these concerns is to ask her why she’s still awake. She replies saucily, and he sends her an email with “GO TO BED” in all caps. Since she would never do anything she didn’t want to do, she gets intimidated by his “shouty caps” and goes straight to bed. So much for that spine I was praising a moment ago.
And thus, chapter twelve ends on condescending Wonka: