A lot of you have left comments or tweeted or emailed me to let me know about the broken links on the main recap page. Thank you so much, everyone, because while I knew one or two posts were missing, I had no idea there were soooo many of them with broken links. I will be working to get these fixed, I promised. Right now, I have to figure out if they’re broken because I messed up, or because the posts didn’t export to this blog, or something like that. Please know that I am working on it.
Now, I want to introduce you to someone very special.
Ana tells Christian she recognizes it’s Jack from his earrings and the shape of his shoulders and build. She thinks he’s wearing a wig, or he’s cut and dyed his hair. Which throws me for a bit of a loop, because I had been visualizing Jack Hyde as Rufus from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
“you seem to have studied your ex-boss in some detail, Mrs. Grey,” he murmurs, sounding none too pleased.
“Was it about you, or me?”
“Me.” He sighs.
“What sort of things? About your lifestyle?”
I love that this is still being portrayed as something that would ruin Christian Grey, both personally and professionally. He likes to spank women in his sex dungeon. As far as I’m aware, that’s probably the first and mildest vice anyone is going to suspect a billionaire of getting up to. I mean, off the top of my head, I imagine Donald Trump jacks off while personally slaughtering the urban foxes that are later fashioned into his stupid wigs (and he can’t sue me for saying that because THIS POST IS INTENDED AS SATIRE). So, “He’s into some kink,” isn’t going to shock the plebs, we all think rich people are up to deviant shit nonstop. It isn’t as though Christian Grey is making snuff films or feeding unruly servants to eels or anything.
Apparently, the car Jack Hyde drives is a 2006 Camaro. You guys, I’m so glad this came up, because CAR PORN TIMES:
“Well, Mrs. Grey, it seems that you are not only decorative, but useful, too.” Christian’s eyes light up with wicked amusement. I know he’s teasing.
Oh, so he doesn’t really think you’re useful? I assume that’s the part he’s teasing you about. What the shit is that? He’s saying, quite clearly, that the only value he thought Ana had was her looks. Did he go to the Dowager Countess Grantham School For Backhanded Compliments?
“Hungry?” he asks.
“Well – food actually.”
OMG, they flipped it! This time it wasn’t about sex! E.L. James is truly a treasure of human wit! They have the longest conversation ever about what he wants to eat, and they repeatedly call each other Mr. and Mrs. Grey because it wasn’t tiresome at all when they were calling each other Mr. Grey and Miss Steele, and I certainly can’t get enough of it and I hope it just keeps going on and on and on until one or both of them is dead by my hand.
Ana goes to the kitchen to make the MOST NEEDLESSLY DRAMATIC SANDWICH OF ALL TIME:
“Um – so what does Christian like in a, um… sub?” I frown, struck by what I’ve just said. Does Mrs. Jones understand the inference?
Ana seems to actually believe that everyone in the universe is obsessed with Christian Grey’s sex life. What’s spooky is, since this book has come out, that’s kind of become true.
“Barefoot and in the kitchen,” he murmurs.
“Shouldn’t that be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen?” I smirk.
He stills, his whole body tensing against me. “Not yet,” he declares, apprehension clear in his voice.
Too late, dummies!
They continue to make the MOST NEEDLESSLY DRAMATIC SANDWICH OF ALL TIME until a section break, after which Christian and Ana look over the plans for the remodel of their new house, and it turns into what I’m sure was an unintentional metaphor for their entire relationship:
“[…] I fell in love with the house as it was… warts and all.”
Christian’s brow furrows as if this is anathema to him.
BOOM. The reason I know this is totally unintentional on E.L. James’s part is because it’s clear from her repeated statements in the media that she doesn’t find their relationship unhealthy at all. But right here, we have Ana, the girl Christian picked to mold and shape and change through all his bullshit contract requirements about what to eat and how she’s supposed to work out and what clothing she’s allowed to wear, saying she likes something as it is, even if it’s not her idea of perfection, and he can’t possibly understand the concept. Now, I’m 100% fucking certain that E.L. put this in to show us that Christian doesn’t understand how Ana can love him as he is, without changing, or to prove to the reader that Ana really can love him despite all his flaws. But it actually says more about Christian’s inability to have a relationship with anyone he isn’t controlling and smashing into the mold he wants them to fit into.
After they’re done looking at the plans for the house, which includes more talk about how they don’t want to start a family yet, because when E.L. James looked up “foreshadowing” in the dictionary, this picture was next to the definition:
We have sat here three, maybe four times total, and Christian usually reads a book. He’s not interested in television at all. I curl up beside him on the couch, tucking my legs beneath me and resting my head against his shoulder. He switches on the flat-screen television with the remote and flicks mindlessly through the channels.
“Any specific drivel you want to see?”
Try not to be too condescending there, Chedward.
I’m going to get on my soapbox here and say:
I flush. “Of course.” Well, kind of…
“What! Who with?”
Oh no. I do not want to have this discussion.
“Tell me,” he persists.
I gaze down at my knotted fingers. He gently covers my hands with one of his. When I glance up at him, he’s smiking at me.
“I want to know. So I can beat whoever it was to a pulp.”
I giggle. “Well, the first time…”
“The first time! There’s more than one fucker?” He growls.
“We’re supposed to be making out.” I groan.
Christian stills. “I thought we were.”
“No. No sex.”
And then they have sex. Okay, so I get the whole, “let’s not have sex/let’s have sex now” thing is often used in romantic scenes, but this concerns me because remember, when they’re doing BDSM stuff nowadays, they’re not using safe words anymore, he’s just going to stop when she asks to stop. But right here, she has initiated sexual activity, she’s saying, “No sex,” and the first thing he does is set off on a quest to get her to have intercourse. He won’t play by the rules of her game, probably because they’re her rules. This isn’t inspiring a lot of confidence for that whole, “We don’t need safe words,” thing.
After boring and repetitive sex, Christian turns the sound on the tv to watch X-Files. He says he liked the show when he was a kid, but Ana says it was before her time. Wait, what? This book was published in 2011, right? So Ana was twenty-two in 2011, meaning she was thirteen when The X-Files was cancelled. Now, I can see why maybe a kid who’s ten or eleven wouldn’t be into the show, and there’s no law that everyone has to watch The X-Files.
Which reminds me… I shift, propping myself up on my elbows to see him better. “Why were you shouting at Sawyer?”
He stiffens immediately. Oh shit.
“Because we were followed.”
“That wasn’t Sawyer’s fault.”
He gazes at me levelly. “They should never have let you get so far in front. They know that.”
“Look, I realize that it was my choice to drive separately from our security, but they’re the ones who had the audacity to not be in the car with us when we were being followed. Also, they should have kept up with us, even though I encouraged you to drive like ninety miles an hour in an R8 when they were in an SUV. They should have swapped out for a sports car at the drop of a hat.”
“Enough!” Christian is suddenly curt. “This is not up for discussion, Anastasia. It’s a fact, and they won’t let it happen again.”
Anastasia! I am Anastasia when I am in trouble, just like at home with my mother.
Because your husband infantilizes you. He’s also clearly an American Conservative, because he’s insisting his opinion is a fact and refusing to entertain common sense.
Ana asks Christian if they ever caught up to the woman in the Dodge:
“Sawyer saw someone with their hair tied back, but it was a brief look. He assumed it was a woman. Now, given that you’ve identified that fucker, maybe it was him. He wore his hair like that.” The disgust in Christian’s voice is palpable.
But I thought Jack Hyde drove a Camaro. Oh, please. Don’t do this to me, E.L. Please tell me you know the difference between Chevy and Dodge?
The next morning, Christian rides with Ana to work, but this time, security is in the car with them. They have the longest good-bye in the history of long good-byes. Why can’t these nimrods ever just say, “See you at five, have a good day?” Oh, because romance, I forgot.
Since Ana left on her honeymoon, shit has changed at SIP. For example:
Hannah is my assistant. She is tall, slim, and ruthlessly efficient to the point that sometimes I find her a little intimidating. But she’s sweet to me, in spite of the fact that she’s a couple of years older.
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Errant Wives
Date: August 22 2011 09:56
To: Anastasia Steele
I sent the e-mail below and it bounced.
And it’s because you haven’t changed your name.
Something you want to tell me?
First of all, Christian, your email didn’t bounce because she hasn’t changed her name. It bounced because she hasn’t changed her email address. An hour after arriving at work, just back from her honeymoon, she hasn’t changed her email address to reflect her name change, and this is assumed to be a clear signal by her new husband? What a fucking psycho.
Ana emails him back saying she’s not planning to change her name at work, and asks to discuss it that evening, as she has a meeting to go to:
As the meeting progresses, I grow more and more uncomfortable. There’s a subtle change in how my colleagues are treating me – a distance and deference that wasn’t there before I left for my honeymoon. And from Courtney, who heads up the nonfiction division, there’s downright hostility. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but it goes some way to explaining Elizabeth’s odd greeting this morning.
My mind drifts back to the yacht, then to the playroom, then to the R8 speeding away from the mystery Dodge on I-5. Perhaps Christian’s right… perhaps I can’t do this anymore.
“If you’ll excuse me, Roach, I’d like a word with Ms. Steele.” Christian hisses the S sibilantly… sarcastically.
How do you not say “s” sibilantly? Either way, imagine Robert Pattinson saying this line, stressing every S. It will be the best laugh you’ve had in days. It certainly was for me.
After making a comment about how small her office is – expect a new office in an hour, Ana – Christian says:
“I’m just looking over my assets.”
“Your assets? All of them?”
“All of them. Some of them need rebranding.”
“Christian, I’m working.”
“Looked like you were gossiping with your assistant to me.”
Two women speaking to each other is always “gossiping” isn’t it? But when two men talk, even if they’re gossiping, it’s “networking” or “discussing.” Fuck this bullshit. I hope Christian Grey’s dick falls off.
There’s a knock on the door. “Come in!” I shout, too loudly.
Hannah opens the door and brings in a small tray. Milk jug, sugar bowl, coffee in a French press – she’s gone all out. She places the tray on my desk.
“Thank you, Hannah,” I mutter, embarrassed that I have just shouted so loudly.
“Do you need anything else, Mr. Grey?” she asks, all breathless. I want to roll my eyes at her.
“I like to make the odd impromptu visit. It keeps management on their toes, wives in their place. You know.”
“Are you ashamed of me?” he asks, his voice deceptively soft.
“No! Christian, of course not!” I scowl. “This is about me – not you.” Jeez, he’s exasperating sometimes. Silly overbearing megalomaniac.
“How is this not about me?” He cocks his head to one side, genuinely perplexed, some of his detachment slipping as he stares at me with wide eyes, and I realize that he’s hurt.
That’s called a narcissistic injury. Seriously, he can’t understand why someone would not want to advertise that they got their job by sleeping with the dude who owns the company? All he’s focusing on is that the object he acquired to have sex with doesn’t want to do as it’s told.
“Christian, when I took this job, I’d only just met you,” I say patiently, struggling to find the right words. “I didn’t know you were going to buy the company.”
What can I say about that event in our brief history? His deranged reasons for doing so – his control freakery, his stalker tendencies gone mad, given completely free reign because he is so wealthy. I know he wants to keep me safe, but it’s his ownership of SIP that is the fundamental problem here. If he’d never interfered, I could continue as normal and not have to face the disgruntled and whispered recrimination of my colleagues.
See, this concept is so simple, even Ana gets it. ANA GETS IT. I feel like I can’t stress how simple this is if Ana is able to grasp the fundamental truth of it.
Ana asks Christian why it’s so important that she change her name:
“I want everyone to know that you’re mine.”
“I am yours – look.” I hold up my left hand, showing my wedding and engagement rings.
“I want your world to begin and end with me,” he says, his expression raw. HIs comment completely derails me. It’s like he’s punched me hard in the stomach, winding and wounding me.
“It does,” I say without guile, because it’s the truth. “I’m just trying to establish a career, and I don’t want to trade on your name. I have to do something, Christian. I can’t stay imprisoned at Escala or the new house with nothing to do. I’ll go crazy. I’ll suffocate. I’ve always worked, and I enjoy this. This is my dream job; it’s all I’ve ever wanted. But doing this doesn’t mean I love you less. You are the world to me.” My throat swells and tears prick the backs of my eyes. I must not cry, not here. I repeat it over and over in my head. I must not cry. I must not cry.
Keeping in mind, this entire time, she’s at work. Have you ever worked with someone whose partner would show up at work and upset them? I have. It happens often in ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS.
And then, this bullshit happens:
“Look, we were talking about my name. I want to keep my name here because I want to put some distance between you and me… but only here, that’s all. You know everyone thinks I got the job because of you, when the reality is – ” I stop when his eyes widen. Oh no… it is because of him?
“Do you want to know why you got the job, Anastasia?”
Anastasia? Shit. “What? What do you mean?”
He shifts in his chair as if steeling himself. Do I want to know?
“The management here gave you Hyde’s job to babysit. They didn’t want the expense of hiring a senior executive when the company was mid-sale. They had no idea what the new owner would do with it once it passed into his ownership, and wisely, they didn’t want an expensive redundancy. So they gave you Hyde’s job to caretake until the new owner” – he pauses, and his lips twitch in an ironic smile – “namely me, took over.”
Holy crap! “What are you saying?” So it was because of him. Fuck! I’m horrified.
“So one of the reasons I’m here – apart from dealing with my errant wife,” he says, narrowing his eyes, “is to discuss what I am going to do with this company.”
Errant wife! I am not errant, and I’m not an asset! I scowl at Christian again and the threat of tears subsides.
“So what are your plans?” I incline my head to one side, mirroring him, and I can’t help my sarcastic tone. His lips twitch with the hint of a smile. Whoa – change of mood, again! How can I ever keep up with Mr. Mercurial?
“I’m changing the name of the company – to Grey Publishing.”
“And in a year’s time, it will be yours.”
My mouth drops open once more – wider this time.
“This is my wedding present to you.”
I shut my mouth then open it, trying to articulate something – but there’s nothing there. My mind is blank.
“So, do I need to change the name to Steele Publishing?”
“You’re also the most well-read person I know,” he counters earnestly. “You love a good book. You couldn’t leave your job while we were on our honeymoon. You read how many manuscripts? Four?”
“Five,” I whisper.
Seriously? She read five manuscripts in three weeks, and he thinks that’s impressive? For an editor? I know an editor who read four manuscripts in a day last week.
Then, this other bullshit happens:
His eyes darken… in that way. Oh no – I know that look. Sultry, seductive, salacious… No, no, no! Not here.
Yup. Christian thinks that after disrupting Ana’s day, causing a scene at her job, telling her she only got her position because he bought it for her, he thinks she’s going to fuck him:
“We’re in a small, reasonably sound-proofed office with a lockable door,” he whispers.
“Christian, no. I mean it. You can fuck me seven shades of Sunday this evening. But not now. Not here!”
Before I read Fifty Shades of Grey, I had no idea that people used “x shades of n” as a legit expression. I mean, it’s used so often in here, I assume it must actually be an expression, right? I don’t know at this point, and trying to google it just leads to shit about these stupid fucking books. Whatever, at least we know what the inevitable sequels will be called.
Also, they’ll be about body-snatching aliens who are in no way plagiarized from The Host.
“Seven shades of Sunday?” He arches an eyebrow, intrigued. “I may hold you to that, Ms. Steele.”
“Oh, stop with the Ms. Steele!” I snap and thump the desk, startling us both. “For heaven’s sake, Christian. If it means so much to you, I’ll change my name!”
His mouth pops open as he inhales sharply. And then he grins, a radiant, all-teeth-showing, joyous grin. Wow…
“Good.” He claps his hands, and all of a sudden he stands.
“Mission accomplished. Now, I have work to do. If you’ll excuse me, Mrs. Grey.”
Christian is quiet when I climb into the car that evening.
“Hi,” I murmur.
How the fuck do you murmur that?
Ana gives Christian the somewhat silent treatment all the way back to Escala, where they have an argument I swear to Christ we’ve read before:
“What exactly are you mad about? I need an indication,” he asks cautiously.
I turn and gape at him.
It’s so much funnier if you assume she does this with her vagina.
“Do you really have no idea? Surely, for someone so bright, you must have an inkling? I can’t believe you’re that obtuse.”
I can’t believe we haven’t read this exact line of dialogue before, because I’m having wicked bad deja vu here.
They go into the apartment, where they continue to fight. I’m not going to recap the whole argument because we’ve seen it a thousand times before, and also, you and I both know this is never going to get resolved. She’s just going to accept what he wants and go blindly on with her life. But there is some awesome foreshadowing:
“Don’t be mad. You’re so precious to me. Like a priceless asset, like a child,” he whispers, a somber reverent expression on his face. His words distract me. Like a child. Precious like a child… a child would be precious to him!
Look, if anyone was shocked when they got to her finding out she’s pregnant, then… I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry. But in the condescending way the eleventh Doctor would be sorry, not the genuine way Ten would have.
Christian reminds Ana that the architect is going to be coming over, so Ana does a little more internal back and forth about how infuriating Christian is and how horrible these things are that he’s doing, but how much she loves him and she’s going to put up with this bullshit forever, and then she gets all prettied up to face the perceived competition:
I’m wearing my gray pencil skirt and sleeveless blouse. Right! My inner goddess gets out her harlot-red nail polish. I undo two buttons, exposing a little cleavage. I wash my face, then carefully redo my makeup, applying more mascara than usual and putting extra gloss on my lips. Bending down, I brush my hair vigorously from root to tip. When I stand, my hair is a chestnut haze around me that tumbles to my breasts. I tuck it artfully behind my ears and go in search of my pumps, rather than my flats.
It sounds to me like she’s trying to fuck the architect, rather than stop her from fucking Christian, but whatever. Ana joins Christian in the great room, where they dance to a requiem – creeeeepy- and then Taylor announces Gia is there and the chapter is over.