In the links department, today we’ve got two from Thea K. The first is an entry from her own blog, The Editor’s Notes, highlighting 44 Reasons Twilight is Better Than 50 Shades.
“That’s understandable. Now that he’s awake, I want to get him moved to Seattle. Then we can go home, and my mom can keep an eye on him.”
“I’m not sure he’s well enough to be moved.”
“I’ll talk to Dr. Sluder. Get her opinion.”
“You miss home?”
I’m sorry, did my phrasing mislead you guys? I should have been clearer. What I meant to say was, “To Ana’s credit, she doesn’t just roll over this time. It’s more like a barrel roll as she spirals toward the ground, possibly slamming through a barn or a windmill or a fireworks factory. Anything flammable, really.” Damn what Ray wants, Christian wants to go home! That means Ray is going to be moved, even if it’s medically unsafe.
Oh, you’re right, he’s going to talk to the doctor first. You know, the doctor he’s paying, the one who’s chummy with his mom. He’ll talk to Dr. Sluder and tell her what her opinion is, and then Charlie Ray will get moved.
Ana and Christian go back to the Heathman, where she immediately forgets about her father, who has just come out of a coma that she was super duper worried about:
“Shall we celebrate?” he asks as we enter the foyer.
I giggle. “Oh, him.”
I just… what? Your father just woke up from a coma and you forgot on the drive back to the hotel? I… what? Or is it just that you don’t feel it’s something worth celebrating?
They do celebrate, in the creepiest way someone possibly can celebrate the emergence of their father from a medically induced coma. They have sex.
But first they have dinner, and I have to pointlessly snipe about this:
“That was delicious,” I murmur with satisfaction as I push my plate away, replete for the first time in ages. “They sure know how to make a fine tarte tatin here.”
I read that line and suddenly had an image of Laura Prepon’s character from How I Met Your Mother in my mind. Also, I have a theory that tarte tatin was invented on the spot by a cook who dropped an apple tart on the floor.
“That’s the most I’ve seen you eat the entire time we’ve been here,” he says.
Her father has been in the fucking hospital in a fucking coma, remember? I mean, I know she doesn’t remember, but you surely must? That shit affects your appetite.
“I was hungry.”
He leans back in his chair with a self-satisfied smirk and takes a sip of his white wine.
Why is he self-satisfied? Was he in the coma? Did he put Charlie Ray in a coma to make Ana want to eat for the first time in three goddamn books? Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad she’s eating so we won’t have to continually hear about how alarmingly thin she is from not wanting to eat as some kind of last grasp at anorexia as an escape from your overwhelming need for control, but seriously, how are you taking credit for this shit?
Unless he’s read the last page of this chapter, and he knows what’s up.
The plot thickens.
So now it’s kind of a watery broth.
Christian asks Ana what she wants to do now that she’s stuffed herself with fancy dessert:
Reaching across the table, I grasp his hand, turn it over, and skim my index finger over his palm. “I’d like you to touch me with this.”
Keep that line in mind as we continue.
Christian pulls Ana into his lap and says:
“I like having unfettered access to you.”
Unfettered is a weird word choice, considering he ties her up all the time. He ties her up in this scene, too, which makes it even stranger.
“Don’t bite your lip,” he whispers, then rises suddenly with me in his arms. I gasp and grab his biceps, fearful that he’ll drop me.
That would be hilariously extreme BDSM right there. But why is he still telling her not to bite her lip? I’m starting to believe she has Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, and he’s seriously concerned about it.
Christian uses belts from the hotel bathrobes to tie Ana’s legs to the sofa, so she’s sitting up and spread-eagle.
“You have no idea how hot you look right now,” he murmurs and rubs his nose against mine.
I feel like I should write E.L. James a thank you note for improving my writing. I’m sure I’ve had a hero tell a heroine that she has no idea how hot she looks before, and after these books, I’ll never do it again. Because every time Chedward says that to Ana, I think, “How do you know what she knows, bitch?”
Christian changes the music:
Immediately, a sweet, almost childlike female voice starts to sing about watching me.
Oh, I like this song.
Just in case you missed the author’s habit of infantilizing Ana, now Ana is doing it herself during sex scenes. “Oooh, we’re going to listen to a child-like voice while fucking! That’s so hot, because I’m a fucking child myself!” But I looked up E.L.’s YouTube playlist, and this song… it doesn’t really match the description. If you want to listen to it, it’s here. And it’s pretty good. But the chick has a voice like Amy Winehouse at 7:30 in the morning. It’s not child-like at all. Which kind of makes the description of the song against the context of the scene more disturbing.
Remember when Ana asked Christian to touch her? Now that he’s got her legs all tied open, he wants her to touch herself. I’m torn on this scene. On the one hand, it’s not all that unusual for a Dom to tell a sub to do it her/himself, especially if the Dom is making the sub wait as part of the game. But this just seems like another instance in which Ana wants something, sexually, and Christian doesn’t deliver because his ideas are better.
On top of that, we have to remember that Ana has never masturbated before. When she first has sex with Christian, she’s never done anything sexual, ever, including getting herself off. She touches herself with his body wash in the shower once, but she doesn’t come. I can’t remember a single scene of her just getting off without his help or command in any part of these books so far. So it bugs me that when she finally does touch herself, she makes like, two circles around her clit with her fingers, then this happens:
Grabbing my hands, he bends down, running his nose and then his tongue back and forth at the apex of my thighs.
and when she tries to touch him, he says:
“I’ll restrain these, too. Keep still.”
And then he makes her come by fingering her and telling her “surrender,” which obviously she does, because with no orgasm training at all, she comes at his command. The “child-like” song, Ana’s reluctance to masturbate in front of him or at all, ever, and the fact that when she does finally touch herself down there, he restrains her hands and makes her come on command, makes this entire scene just… it’s fucking gross.
After Christian does her doggy-style over the couch, this conversation happens:
“I think we should go again. No clothes for you this time.”
“Christ, Ana. Give a man a chance.”
I giggle and he chuckles. “I’m glad Ray’s conscious. Seems all your appetites are back,” he says, not disguising the smile in his voice.
Swoon. Amirite or amirite, ladies?
Then they talk about stupid bullshit I don’t care about:
“And I think there’s a lot that’s sweet about you,” I murmur, referring to the song still playing on repeat. His smile fades.
“You are,” I whisper.
“I am going to fuck you with my mouth.”
And then after the section break, she’s all:
“Good morning,” I murmur shyly from the doorway.
How do we get from “I am going to fuck you with my mouth” to “shyly?” Timidity born of shame over one’s sexuality is NOT ATTRACTIVE. I don’t care how many copies of these books sold to women who believe that. They are fucking WRONG. It’s not cute and adorable. It’s gross.
Christian tells Ana that a detective wants to come to talk to her about Jack Hyde. Then there’s a section break, and Ana is visiting Ray in the hospital:
“Dad, you’ve been in a major car accident. It will take time to heal. Christian and I want to move you to Seattle.”
No, Christian wanted to move him to Seattle, Ana. You didn’t.
“I don’t know why you’re bothering with me. I’ll be fine here on my own.”
So, Charlie Ray doesn’t want to move to a different hospital. Glad that’s settled.
Charlie wants coffee and donuts, so after a break, Ana tells Christian they need to go get coffee and donuts.
This chapter is gripping, y’all.
Christian tells Ana that detective Clark will be in Portland at four to talk to her, and to take Taylor on the donut run. Ana rolls her eyes, so you know what that means:
“There’s no one here.” His voice is deliciously low, and I know he’s threatening to spank me.
In the ICU waiting room. Which is, of course, the perfect venue for D/s spanking games. Way to know when shit is appropriate, you two.
The spanking doesn’t go down, though, because:
I am about to dare him, when a young couple enters the room. She is weeping softly.
She, singular, is a couple, two people, and both of them are weeping from their giant, fused eye.
“Anything you wish to say to my wife, you can say in front of me.” Christian’s voice is cool and businesslike. Detective Clark turns to me.
“Are you sure you’d like your husband to be present?”
I frown at him. “Of course. I have nothing to hide. You are just interviewing me?”
“I’d like my husband to stay.”
Christian sits beside me, radiating tension.
All that’s missing is the detective asking if anyone “helped” her walk into the door.
Detective Clark tells Ana that Hyde is alleging she made “lewd advances” toward him while she worked for him at SIP.
Oh! I almost burst out laughing, but put my hand on Christian’s thigh to restrain him as he shifts forward in his seat.
I really, really want Christian Grey to punch a cop.
Well, not really. Because he would just buy the police force and fire the cop for letting his face get in the way of Christian’s golden fists. I should rephrase: I want Christian Grey to punch a cop in the real world. And then I want real world consequences to ensue.
Shit, he could just buy his way out of that, too.
Jack told the police that Ana sexually harassed him and was after his job. And Christian responds to this news in the guiltiest-sounding way possible:
“Detective, please don’t tell me you have driven all this way to harass my wife with these ridiculous accusations.”
That sounds like something the murderer would say on Midsommer Murders.
Detective Clark tells them that they’ve spoken to some of Jack Hyde’s past personal assistants, but they only had good things to say about him.
“We’ve had that problem, too,” Christian murmurs.
Oh? I gape at Christian, as does Detective Clark.
“My security chief. He’s interviewed Hyde’s past five PAs.”
“And why’s that?”
Christian gives him a steely glare. “Because my wife worked for him, and I run security checks on anyone my wife works with.”
She wasn’t your wife at the time, Captain Fucko. You ran security checks on your girlfriend’s new boss and then bought the company because you couldn’t stand the thought of not being in completely control of yet another aspect of her life. But I’m sure the police are totally cool with you having an investigation of your own going on. Especially when you’re acting all suspicious and weird toward the cops when they’re just doing their job.
Christian wants to know why Jack hasn’t been charged with attempted murder in the helicopter sabotage. Ana thinks:
But I thought she already knew that Jack was suspected in the Charlie Tango crash. I’m pretty sure they talked about it before.
“We’re hoping to find more evidence in regard to the sabotage of your aircraft, Mr. Grey. We need more than a partial print, and while he’s in custody, we can build a case.”
“Is this all you came down here for?”
Clark bristles. “Yes, Mr. Grey, it is, unless you’ve had any further thoughts about the note?”
Note? What note?
“No. I told you. It means nothing to me.” Christian cannot hide his irritation. “And I don’t see why we couldn’t have done this over the phone.”
You know, so Ana wouldn’t overhear any other details she didn’t know about the case against the guy who broke into her home to try and kidnap and rape her. If I were detective Clark, I would be suspecting that Christian hired Jack to murder Ana. He’s acting like a total lunatic and hiding a lot of shit from her.
After Clark leaves, Christian suggests they go see her father and arrange the move to Seattle for the next day. Yup. Two days out of a coma after internal bleeding, brain swelling, and cardiac arrest, still in the ICU, let’s move this patient for convenience.
“He was adamant that he wanted to stay in Portland and not be a bother.”
“I’ll talk to him.”
The follow day Ray is examining his new surroundings- an airy, light room in the rehabilitation center of Northwest Hospital in Seattle. It’s noon, and he looks sleepy. The journey, via helicopter no less, has exhausted him.
NO SHIT. YOU THINK MOVING A GUY WHO HAS JUST HAD MASSIVE INJURIES FOR WHICH HE HAD TO BE PUT INTO A MEDICATED COMA MIGHT BE WORN OUT BY AN UNNECESSARY TRANSFER VIA AIRLIFT? WHO COULD HAVE POSSIBLY GUESSED THIS?
But it all works out, because Charlie Ray has seen the way, the truth, and the light of the Gospel of 50 Shades, which is that Christian Grey is always right about everything, all the time:
“Tell Christian I appreciate this,” he says quietly.
“Hey, Christian, I really appreciate you forcing me to switch hospitals against my wishes after my nearly fatal traumatic injuries.”
Ana tells her dad she’s going back to work, and she leaves him some newspapers to read. So, “Hey, dad, we’re moving you to a totally different city so we can be close to you. Now that you’re here, I’m leaving! See ya!”
As she leaves the hospital, she runs into Dr. Greene, her gynecologist.
“Mrs. Grey, how are you? Did you get my message? I called earlier.”
“No.” My scalp prickles.
“Well, I was wondering why you’d canceled four appointments.”
Four appointments? I gape at her. I’ve missed four appointments! How?
Because you keep canceling all of your appointments. Forget visiting the doctor, how are you even doing your job?
Dr. Greene is going to give Ana her birth control shot, but first Ana has to take a pregnancy test.
Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.
In case you didn’t get it the first four times, shit.
How could I have let this happen… again?
WHOA. HOLD THE FUCK UP.
What does she mean, AGAIN? Did they get pregnant before and we just skipped over it? What the hell does this mean?
And then Ana finds out she’s pregnant, and the chapter is over.