Welcome, welcome, one and all, back to the nightmare tragedy that is this book.
Before we get started, I’ve got a link to share, courtesy of someone on Twitter who I’m so so sorry, I can’t remember your name. If you sent this to me, feel free to speak up in the comments and be like, “I SENT YOU THAT, YOU UNFEELING BITCH!”
In her article “Women, Know Your Place!”, writer Tracy Kuhn posits that criticism of E.L. James comes not from a place of rational thinking, but unbridled misogyny for misogyny’s sake:
Her books have turned everyone into a literary critic. Her readers (predominantly female) are called stupid or desperate. Her writing is picked apart, sentence by sentence. She’s torn apart on social media. It’s not bullying of course, it’s for our own good and it doesn’t count in this case because hey, most of us doing the attacking are women who are defending other women, so you can’t touch us. To do so would be to condone abuse, you animal!
Meanwhile we carry on going to see films and read books and watch television programmes that subliminally give out really damaging messages about women and use rape scenes again and again to move a plot forward, but again, who cares about those?
I’m sharing this article, this passage in particular, because it highlights a new resistance I’m seeing to criticism of media created and consumed by women. I’ve had a few vocal objectors on Twitter come to me with this very argument: how can you criticize Fifty Shades if you’re not criticizing everything else? Or if you’re consuming media that’s problematic in the first place? I find this attitude fairly comical; it’s like saying that you can’t know if you dislike broccoli until you’ve eaten every piece of broccoli ever grown. Or, you can’t say you dislike broccoli if you’re eating something that has broccoli in it, even if you pick it out and push it to the side.
All media is problematic and rife with anti-feminist messages, because all life is problematic and rife with anti-feminist messages. To suggest that E.L. James is being unfairly attacked simply because she wrote something women enjoy, and that her critics have no place in shaming her unless they somehow consume and dissect all media while at the same time shunning all media, leaves us with a catch-22 in which all criticism is effectively silenced in the name of haphazardly defined feminism.
This isn’t a new approach to silencing critics, and it came as no surprise to me that the last lines of the article read:
Have a look at yourselves before you make that next witty comment. And be nicer to each other.
Feminism Tip: your argument is fairly destroyed when you call upon other women to Be Nice, as the very concept of Be Nice is an ages old silencing technique brandished almost solely against women.
With that out of the way, onto the recap!
This Day In History: Professional wrestler “Macho Man” Randy Savage died at age 58.
To read side-by-side with my Fifty Shades of Grey recaps, here’s chapter four.
Chapter Friday, May 20, 2011 begins:
I’ve slept well for the first time in five days. Maybe I’m feeling the closure I had hoped for, now that I’ve sent those books to Anastasia. As I shave, the asshole in the mirror stares back at me with cool, gray eyes.
I’m going to need a photoshop here. No, wait, don’t do that. DON’T DO THAT!
Chedward knows he’s lying to himself. He really wants Ana, I’m sorry, Anastasia, to call him.
This chapter also introduces Mrs. Jones, the housekeeper. As always, underlines indicate italics and are not present in the actual text:
Mrs. Jones looks up when I walk into the kitchen.
“Good morning, Mr. Grey.”
“What would you like for breakfast.”
“I’ll have an omelet. Thank you.” I sit at the kitchen counter as she prepares my food and leaf through The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, then I pore over The Seattle Times.
How long does it take to make an omelet?
Here’s something interesting: Mr. Exacting Specifications tells Gail he wants an omelet, but not which kind of omelet. Hold onto that thought for a bit, because I’m going to go into it in depth later.
As Christian reads the papers, his brother, Elliot, calls.
“Dude. I need to get out of Seattle this weekend. This chick is all over my junk and I’ve got to get away.”
That is one painful attempt at American male dialogue. So is the remark that follows it, wherein Elliot suggests that Chedward doesn’t have a penis.
I ignore his jib, and then a devious thought occurs to me. “How about hiking around Portland. We could go this afternoon. Stay down there. Come home Sunday.”
I’m interested in the line of reasoning behind this development. On the surface it seems like this is an explanation for why Christian is in Portland when Ana drunk dials him, and he’s able to ride to her “rescue.” On the other hand, it’s still very creepy. He’s willing to aid his brother in getting out of his current predicament, because it offers Chedward the opportunity to stalk the current target of his obsession.
Alleged work-a-holic Christian Grey is going to leave work at his big, important, titan of industry job at lunch time to drive his brother to Portland on a covert stalking mission.
After they hang up, Christian thinks:
Elliot has always had a problem containing himself. As do the women he associates with: whoever the unfortunate girl is, she’s just another in a long, long line of his casual liaisons.
You’re joking, right? Christian Grey, the man who views all women as potential sex objects to be dominated or dismissed according to his criteria for female perfection, finds his brother’s treatment of women distasteful. And he finds the women distasteful, as well; they have no self-control, and therefore are “unfortunate.” Never mind that he himself wanted Ana to let him bend her over and spank her within two minutes of meeting her. Which leads me to wonder: if Ana had enthusiastically responded to his advances, would he have deemed her “unfortunate” and rejected her? We already saw evidence of this in the scene in which she wanted him to kiss her. So can we assume that he’s attracted only to women who don’t want him to pursue them?
“Mr. Grey. What would you like to do for food this weekend?”
“Just prepare something light and leave it in the fridge. I may be back on Saturday.”
- There is no transition from the phone call to this dialogue in which we are reminded that it’s Mrs. Jones speaking to him. The first line of this dialogue needs to be tagged to keep it from jarring the reader.
- He told Elliot they would come back on Sunday, now he’s telling Mrs. Jones he may be back on Saturday. Christian is driving Elliot to Portland. This tells us that Chedward is the kind of dick who will commit to plans with someone, then abandon them halfway through, leaving the person he’s made the plans with no choice but to come along or be stranded.
- Mrs. Jones gets vastly different treatment than what Chedward expects of other women.
Let’s talk about number three, shall we? We already know from Fifty Shades of Grey that Mrs. Jones is an older woman. More specifically, an older woman with whom Chedward has no past sexual experiences. The women at his office are young, blond, and beautiful. They appear to be sexually attracted to Christian. He expects them to anticipate his every need and fulfill them without question. Is it because they’re his employees? That doesn’t make sense, because so is Mrs. Jones. Is it because they’re sexually attractive to him? We already know Chedward has no interest in the women at work.
So, what is it? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Chedward is critically demanding of the women he works with to punish them for being attracted to him when he doesn’t want their amorous attention. Yet at the same time, he relentlessly pursues Ana, a woman who seems to have very little interest in him. In other words, he punishes women for treating him the way he treats women. Since he’s not interested in banging Mrs. Jones, she’s exempt from this treatment.
After a section break, we’re in the car:
Elliot sleeps most of the way to Portland. Poor fucker must be fried. Working and fucking: that’s Elliot’s raison d’être.
Christian calls Andrea and asks her to have mountain bikes delivered to the Heathman hotel. She not only asks what time the bikes should be there, to which Christian gives her a precise answer, but whom the bikes are for and how tall his brother is. Well, ask isn’t the right word. She confirms, as she has already memorized how tall his brother is. This is yet another example of Christian requiring more from his fuckable employees than from his unfuckable employees.
Then Christian calls Taylor, and I’m baffled by part of the conversation:
“Will you bring the R8?”
“With pleasure, sir.” Taylor is a car fanatic, too.
Leaving aside the fact that Christian the car fanatic only seems to own one supercar, and a modestly priced one at that, why didn’t he just drive the R8, if he wanted it in Portland so badly? I would be tempted to say he did it so they would have two vehicles in case he needed to drive back early without stranding Elliot, but that would require me to assume that Chedward would go out of his way to avoid inconveniencing someone who isn’t himself.
I end the call and turn up the music. Let’s see if Elliot can sleep through The Verve.
The Verve? As in, Coldplay’s older, slightly more aggressive brother? Yeah, Elliot, let’s see if you can sleep through that blistering hard rock.
Christian wonders if the books have been delivered to Ana yet, but he doesn’t want to ask Andrea in case it starts some office gossip. He wonders why he sent Ana the books, but he already knows that it’s because he wants to see her again. So, he warned her away from him, then gave her an expensive present to further warn her away from him, but he wants to see her again. Okay.
Elliot wakes up, and Christian informs him that they’re going to go mountain biking, the way they used to with their father.
My father is a polymath, a real renaissance man: academic, sporting, at ease in the city, more at ease in the great outdoors. He’d embraced three adopted kids…and I’m the one who didn’t live up to his expectations.
In case Chedward didn’t have enough emotional baggage, he’s also got daddy issues.
And I want to know how you fail to live up to a parent’s expectations when you’re literally the richest man in the world and you’re feeding starving children in Africa. What the fuck did daddy Grey expect?
But before I hit adolescence we had a bond. He’d been my hero. He used to love taking us camping and doing all the outdoor pursuits I now enjoy: sailing, kayaking, biking, we did it all.
Puberty ruined all that for me.
Since I’ve read the original series, I know that he’s probably referring to the whole thing where he started getting into fights and he fucked his parents’ married friend. But I was never under the impression that either Mommy Grey or Daddy Grey knew about the latter.
I swear to Christ, if we find out that Daddy Grey molested Christian, I will burn down an abandoned strip mall.
Christian asks Elliot about the girl who’s chasing him out of Seattle for the weekend:
“Man, I’m a love-’em-and-leave-’em type. You know that. No strings. I don’t know, chicks find out you run your own business and they start getting crazy ideas.” He gives me a sideways look. “You’ve got the right idea keeping your dick to yourself.”
“I don’t think we’re discussing my dick, we’re discussing yours, and who’s been on the sharp end of it recently.”
The sharp end?!
Elliot asks Christian about work, and Christian asks:
“You really want to know?” I shoot him a glance.
“Nah,” he bleats and I laugh at his apathy and lack of eloquence.
“I laugh, because I am superior to everyone and everything. Even though I displayed a ‘lack of eloquence’ myself by leaving the ‘do’ off the beginning of my sentence.”
Here’s an interesting development, dear readers:
“How’s the business?” I ask.
“You checking your investment?”
“Always.” It’s my job.
“Well, we broke ground on the Spokani Eden project last week and it’s on schedule, but then it’s only been a week.” He shrugs. Beneath his somewhat casual exterior my brother is an eco-warrior. His passion for sustainable living makes for some heated Sunday dinner conversations with the family, and his latest project is an eco-friendly development of low-cost housing north of Seattle.”
This may have been in the original series, but I don’t remember Christian owning his brother’s company, or his brother being into environmental housing and stuff. This leads to some more questions. If Elliot and Christian do basically the same thing–improve the world through their businesses–how come Christian is the one who let the family down? Also, if you’ve got two successful businessmen in the family who do work on ecological stuff, why would there be arguments around the dinner table? I’d think everyone would be on board with all that money rolling in.
After a paragraph break, Elliot and Christian are mountain biking, and Elliot is faster than Christian. Surprisingly, Chedward does not throw a fit about this. He does think that he can’t enjoy the scenery when they’re going so fast, but he doesn’t get his asshole in a bind because he’s not the very best mountain biker ever.
“That was the most fun I’ve had with my clothes on in a while,” Elliot says as we hand the bikes over to the bellboy at The Heathman.
“Yeah,” I mutter, and then recall holding Anastasia when I saved her from the cyclist. Her warmth, her breasts pressed against me, her scent invading my senses.
I had my clothes on then…
If the most fun you’ve had in a while is watching someone almost get run over by a cyclist, then you probably need to get out more. Unless that’s your thing. Me, if I’m going to watch bike accidents, I don’t want them to be near miss. I live for the thrill.
They go upstairs, and Christian checks his phone:
I have e-mails, a couple of texts from Elena asking what I’m doing this weekend, but no missed calls from Anastasia. It’s just before 7:00–she must have received the books by now. The thought depresses me: I’ve come all the way to Portland on a wild-goose chase again.
The problem, Chedward, is that you’re playing too hard to get. You told her you’re not interested in her. Then you sent her expensive books with a warning to stay away. Of course she’s not going to call. Why would she?
Chedward has no idea how boundaries work, which explains some of his treatment of Ana and the women around him. He clearly sees “stay away from me” and “I don’t want you” as invitations, and he’s baffled as to why Ana isn’t seeing things the same way.
“Man, that chick has called me five times and sent me four texts. Doesn’t she know how desperate she comes across?” Elliot whines.
“Maybe she’s pregnant.”
Elliot pales and I laugh.
“Not funny, hotshot,” he grumbles. “Besides, I haven’t known her that long. Or that often.”
What kind of sex education did these guys get? It literally only takes one ejaculation to get someone pregnant, if the timing is right. I’m starting to get a clearer picture of why Christian is angry and shocked to find that Ana is pregnant in the third book, if they both got the same birds/bees talk.
After another section break, Christian and Elliot are watching a Mariners game and drinking beer, when Ana calls. He can tell right away that she’s drunk.
Hell. Who is she with? The photographer? Where’s her friend Kate?
At this point, all he knows is that she’s drunk, and somewhere with a noisy background. His first thought is that he doesn’t want her to be with José.
He asks her where she is, and she says she’s in a bar, but won’t tell him which bar.
Anxiety blooms in my gut. She’s a young woman, drunk, somewhere in Portland. She’s not safe.
I laughed out loud at this one, because I’m sorry, there are drunk young women all the fuck over Portland on a Friday night. I’ve seen my friends’ pictures. Is Chedward going to put on his cape and save them all? Is he Batman? NO. Because Abed is Batman.
Ana demands to know why he sent her the books, and he keeps asking what bar she’s at.
“You’re so…domineering.” She giggles. In any other situation I would find this charming.
No you wouldn’t. We’ve all read the other books. Any time Ana says or does anything that isn’t something you’ve explicitly asked or allowed her to do, you fly off the handle and she gets scared of you.
“Ana, so help me, where the fuck are you?”
She giggles again. Shit, she’s laughing at me!
See. You don’t find that charming, just like you didn’t find her laughing at you charming in the last chapter.
Then Ana hangs up on him. On him! The Master of The Universe!
She hung up on me! I stare at the phone in disbelief. No one has ever hung up on me. What the fuck!
“What the fuck?” is a question. And I find it hard to believe that a guy like Chedward has never been hung up on before.
“What’s the problem?” Elliot calls over from the sofa.
“I’ve just been drunk-dialed.”
9-1-1? I’ve just been drunk dialed. Send help immediately.
I press the callback button, trying to contain my temper, and my anxiety.
Hey, you know what they always did on Rescue 911? They used a callback function in the dispatcher’s office.
“Hi,” she says, all breathy and timid, and she’s in quieter surroundings.
“I’m coming to get you.” My voice is arctic as I wrestle with my anger and snap my phone shut.
“I’ve got to go get this girl and take her home. Do you want to come?”
Okay, first of all, you don’t have to go get her. You’re choosing to go get her. And while this scene gives us a clearer picture of his alleged motives from the first book (there is a heavy emphasis on Christian’s anxiety and fear for Ana in this scene), it does seem quite convenient that his need to protect her coincides neatly with the opportunity to abduct her. This particular sequence, however, is way, way less creepy than it looked from the other side.
Which is frustrating. If I were reading Fifty Shades of Grey as a traditional, dual POV contemporary romance novel, the “I’m coming to rescue you drunk at the bar” wouldn’t actually bother me all that much (until we get to a later section, which I will note). I’d have been reading Christian going, “I’m really worried, because she sounds like she’s completely out of it,” within pages of reading Ana being completely out of it. Combining the two literally years later doesn’t make the first book seem any less creepy. I’m starting to see where we desperately needed Christian’s POV throughout the entire series. He would have still come across as an Alphole, but probably no worse than the other Alpha heroes on the market at the time.
But he still tracks her phone:
I speed-dial Welch and within seconds his rasping voice answers.
“I’d really like to know where Anastasia Steele is right now.”
“I see.” He pauses for a moment. “Leave it to me, Mr. Grey.”
I know this is outside the law, but she could be getting herself into trouble.
See, this is the point where Morgan Freeman needs to bust into the room and tell Chedward to pump the brakes.
There are a few things I want to know here. One thing is, Chedward has all of these horrible secrets he doesn’t want in the press. But he keeps close a guy who can track people down via cell phones and such. How does he know that this guy isn’t going to be able to find out all sorts of shit about him and blackmail him with it?
Second, why isn’t Elliot, who just said that the girl who keeps calling him looks desperate, pointing out that his brother is looking pretty desperate, himself?
Third, this post is turning out to be just riddled with Batman references.
But that happened when recapping the same events in the other book, too. Chedward is the hero Portland deserves, I guess.
After Elliot teases Christian about being into a girl, there’s a section break and we’re at the bar:
The bar is crowded, full of students determined to have a good time. There’s some indie crap thumping over the sound system and the dance floor is crowded with heaving bodies.
It makes me feel old.
YOU ARE TWENTY-FUCKING-SEVEN, GREY. TWENTY-SEVEN IS NOT OLD! RIHANNA IS TWENTY-SEVEN, FOR FUCKS SAKE.
Let’s see if we can spot the not-so-subtle slut-shaming:
Scanning the room, I spot Katherine Kavanagh. She’s with a group of friends, all of them men, sitting in a booth.
Why is it important for us to know that Katherine is sitting only with men, if not to emphasize that Katherine is a slutty slut slut slut? We know she’s going to hook up with Elliot, so do we need the foreshadowing?
Christian doesn’t see Ana with Kate, and he thinks:
Well, let’s see if Miss Kavanagh is as loyal to her friend as Ana is to her.
I hate when things are so true that they’re funny, but also so true that they’re sad at the same time. In this case, it’s hilarious that Chedward would describe Ana as “loyal” to her friend. I guess from his perspective, she is, since she did so much hard work on the article for her. But since we’ve read the other series, we know that Ana does so much internal bitching about Kate that they’re basically frenemies, but Kate doesn’t know it yet. But here’s where things are sad: Christian believes that Kate will prove herself loyal if she hands a drunken Ana over to a guy who’s basically a stranger. And we know that Kate is going to.
“Katherine,” I say by way of greeting, and she interrupts me before I can ask her Ana’s whereabouts.
“Christian, what a surprise to see you here,” she shouts above the noise.
Well, she didn’t really interrupt you, Chedward. You stated right there that you greeted her. She greeted you back in kind. See, in normal human interaction with people you are not paying or contracting as your submissive, when someone delivers a greeting it isn’t meant to silence the party being greeted so that the greeter can just start talking right away.
The three guys at the table regard Elliot and me with hostile wariness.
They probably just want to fuck you.
“I was in the neighborhood.”
“And who’s this?” She smiles rather too brightly at Elliot, interrupting me again. What an exasperating woman.
Again, not an interruption. You finished your sentence, and she asked for an introduction to the person who’s with you. Not interrupting, not rude.
Katherine tells Chedward that Ana is outside, in the parking lot, where, Christian notes, he and Elliot have just come from. Which clears up my question from the first book, which was how did Elliot meet Kate if they’d just arrived at the bar and hadn’t even been inside yet. He sees Ana with José:
She’s in his arms, but she seems to be twisting away from him. He mutters something to her, which I don’t hear, and kisses her, along her jaw.
“José, no,” she says, and then it’s clear. She’s trying to push him off.
She doesn’t want this.
This gives us some insight into Chedward’s notion of consent. He recognizes that a woman saying “no” to someone else is a sign that consent is being violated. But when women say it to him, he’s a little fuzzy on the idea, probably because every woman would obviously want to have sexual contact with him. He doesn’t see this irresistible quality in other men, so he can’t recognize when woman don’t want him.
For a moment I want to rip his head off. With my hands fisted at my side I march up to them. “I think the lady said no.” My voice carries, cold and sinister, in the relative quiet, while I struggle to maintain my anger.
This is the part where we should be like, “Oh, how romantic, he rescued her.” But that kind of gets blown apart when he takes her to his hotel while she’s unconscious.
Get ready for the romance!
Ignoring him, I grab her hair and hold it out of hte way as she continues to throw up everything she’s had this evening. It’s with some annoyance that I note she doesn’t appear to have eaten.
Swoon. I love a man who’ll inspect my vomit. Chedward should get together with the dude that pregnancy tested his wife’s pee without her foreknowledge.
This book also addresses another of my concerns, which was why did a twenty-seven year old American man have a handkerchief?
Releasing her, I give her my handkerchief, which by some miracle I have in the inside pocket of my jacket.
Thank you, Mrs. Jones.
Yet this still does not explain why an American woman in her forties would think to put a handkerchief in the pocket of her employer when he has not asked her to do so, or why Chedward has the handkerchiefs, which he’s apparently surprised to see, in the first place.
So, Ana is puking, Christian is happy because he’s with Ana, and nobody likes José the Hands, so he goes back inside.
“I’m sorry,” she says finally, while her fingers twist the soft linen.
Okay, let’s have some fun.
“What are you sorry for, Anastasia?”
So, she’s vulnerable and drunk, puking, she’s just been betrayed by a friend, and your first thought is, you know, this is a good time to fuck with this girl.
Perhaps she has a problem with alcohol. The thought is worrying, and I consider whether I should call my mother for a referral to a detox clinic.
Yeah, you should definitely probably get involved in somebody’s private life like that. I mean, if they do have a problem, I bet they’ll listen to you, a nosy ass stranger.
Ana tells Christian that she’s never been drunk before, and she doesn’t want to get drunk ever again. So remember that when he plies her with alcohol further down the road.
She might pass out, so without giving it a thought I scoop her up into my arms.
She’s surprisingly light. Too light. The thought irks me. No wonder she’s drunk.
So, remember when I said before that Christian’s concern for Ana would make the scene less creepy, had this been a dual POV contemporary novel, but there would come a point where it went off the rails? Okay, so assuming we were in a dual POV (even third person dual POV), I would have been like, “He tracks her cell? Ugh, gross alpha behavior,” but I wouldn’t have flipped my shit. Until we get to this part, where I would have EXPLODED:
“Come on, I’ll take you home.”
“I need to tell Kate,” she says, as her head rests on my shoulder.
“My brother can tell her.”
“My brother Elliot is talking to Miss Kavanagh.”
“He was with me when you called.”
“No, I’m staying at The Heathman.”
And my wild-goose chase has paid off.
“How did you find me?”
“I tracked your cell phone, Anastasia.” I head toward the car. I want to drive her home. “Do you have a jacket or a purse?”
“Er…yes, I came with both. Christian, please, I need to tell Kate. She’ll worry.”
This exchange, right here, is where Christian Grey crosses the line from garden variety Alphole male to straight up creepster. He’s now picked up the heroine and bodily started carrying her toward his car, denying her request to tell someone where she’s going with him. He brushes off her concern and she has to ask him a second time, hey, let me tell my friend I’m with you. That’s not acceptable, not even for an alpha. And editor should have dinged that the first time around. But then, an editor should have dinged a lot of this shit the first time around. Like, the blatant theft of another author’s property, for example, as this is the scene from Twilight in which Edward saves Bella from near gang rape.
I stop and bite my tongue. Kavanagh wasn’t worried about her being out here with the overamorous photographer. Rodriguez. That’s his name. What kind of friend is she?
Mark my words, there is a woman named Katherine in E.L. James’s past, and Katherine did E.L. some kind of wrong.
They go into the bar, where one of the guys Kate had been sitting with tells them that she’s dancing. Ana gets her stuff and puts her hand on Christian’s arm:
My heart rate catapults into overdrive as the darkness surfaces, stretching and tightening its claws around my throat.
“She’s on the dance floor,” she shouts, her words tickling my ear, distracting me from my fear. And suddenly the darkness disappears and the pounding in my heart ceases.
So, this is foreshadowing that he doesn’t like to be touched. Here’s the thing. We’re in his head. So when a few lines later he refers to his “confusion” and then:
And I think of what just happened to me.
Her touch. My Reaction.
it comes across as needlessly and unrealistically vague. If his PTSD is being triggered by her touch, he’s not going to be romanticizing his reaction with talk of darkness. The reason he doesn’t like to be touched is going to be at the forefront of his mind. I get wanting to create suspense, and it might seem artless to just blurt out, “he was molested and abused so he doesn’t like to be touched!” but there has to be something here to indicate that there is a reason behind not liking to be touched. It can’t just be SUDDENLY DARKNESS AND WOE EVERYWHERE! then WOW THAT WAS WEIRD WELL BACK TO THE STUDIO without any indication that he knows why this is happening. It could have been taken care of with a single line, something like him thinking it’s the first time that she’s touched him, instead of him touching her, and how he doesn’t like another person touching him, and he has to push troubling memories aside so he can concentrate on caring for her or something.
Basically, a character can’t hide shit from himself in his first person POV just to create suspense for the audience. That’s shitty writing.
After Christian gets Ana some water, they head onto the dance floor to find Kate, who’s probably eating babies or something else that evil witches do.
This I can handle. When I know she’s going to touch me, it’s okay. I can deal, especially since I’m wearing my jacket.
This thought or some variation on it would have worked fantastically with the stuff I just complained about. If he’d specifically said that being touched bothered him, rather than just THE DARKNESS! when she touched him before, this would have had so much more impact.
I weave us through the crowd to where Elliot and Kate are making a spectacle of themselves.
Right, dancing on the dance floor. Super conspicuous. Unlike lifting a woman into your arms like you’re Colonel fucking Brandon carrying Marianne out of the rain in a fucking parking lot.
Christian tells them that he’s taking Ana home, which is when she blacks out. He takes her out to his car.
I know I should take her home, but it’s a long drive to Vancouver, and I don’t know if she’ll be sick again. I don’t relish the idea of my Audi reeking of vomit. The smell emanating from her clothes is already noticeable.
I head to The Heathman, telling myself that I’m doing this for her sake.
Yeah, tell yourself that, Grey.
I’m glad you called yourself out on your shitty reasoning so I didn’t have to do it. I feel like I’m doing all of the heavy lifting here. But yeah, how romantic. I want to ride to the rescue of this fair maiden, but she smells bad, so…
At the hotel, he carries her, still unconscious, up to his room.
The stale stench of vomit pervades the space. I’d really like to give her a bath, but that would be stepping beyond the bounds of propriety.
And this isn’t?
Is my Kindle made of psychic paper? Because my thoughts keep popping up in Chedward’s head. If I don’t watch it, Chedward’s conscience is going to take over my job.
But here’s the thing. He’s thinking, “this is too far,” but he’s still going to strip her down while she’s unconscious. If he didn’t want to deal with how she smelled, he could have taken her home, long drive or not. He can afford to get his Audi detailed, right? Or, he could have just left her in her clothes, since it’s a hotel and if she stinks up the sheets, it’s not his problem. There’s no reason, there’s never any reason, for a man to strip an unconscious woman naked just because her clothes smell bad.
E.L. does try to make Christian mostly all business while he’s undressing Ana:
Briskly I remove her shoes and socks and put them in the plastic laundry bag provided by the hotel. Then I unzip her jeans and pull them off, check the pockets before stuffing the jeans in the laundry bag. She falls back on the bed, splayed out like a starfish, all pale arms and legs, and for a moment I picture those legs wrapped around my waist as her wrists are bound to my Saint Andrew’s cross.
So, he does have a fleeting sexual thought, which is to be expected, right? But he’s basically unaffected. So that’s okay. NO IT’S NOT IT’S STILL CREEPY AS FUCK.
There’s a fading bruise on her knee and I wonder if that’s from the fall she took in my office.
She’s been marked since then…like me.
He’s all, “She’s been marked, much like my tortured soul” and she’s probably like, “Another bruise? Damn, I’m clumsy.”
Christian takes her jacket off her and tucks her in, after smelling her and another mention of her “flawless” pale skin. Ana’s paleness is mentioned so often, I think she might need iron supplements.
Before I check my emails I text Welch, asking him to see if José Rodriguez has any police records.
That should keep Welch plenty busy, scrolling through those forty-eight thousand possible matches. While he’s at it, he should check and see if John Smith has ever been arrested, too.
Then Christian emails Taylor to ask him to have some stuff delivered for Ana:
Jeans: Blue Demim Size 4
Blouse: Blue. Pretty. Size 4
Converse: Black Size 7
Socks: Size 7
Lingerie: Underwear–Size Small. Bra–Estimate 34C
That’s a pretty decent rack for a woman who’s so dangerously thin.
Christian texts Elliot to tell him that Ana is with him and to relay the info to Kate, and Elliot replies:
Hope you get laid.
You soooo need it.
“Hope you get laid”? Ana was unconscious. So at least now we know that Elliot is a rapist.
I guess it runs in the family.