Well, here’s something shitty that happened. Twilight fans were waiting with rapt anticipation at the prospect that Stephenie Meyer might release Midnight Sun, the rewritten version of Twilight from Edward’s perspective, on the tenth anniversary of the original book’s publication. Instead, they got a rewritten Twilight with gender-swapped characters that they never asked for. Fans were heartbroken. Why did Meyer do this?
Well, because of E.L. James. At New York City Comic Con, Meyer told an audience of fans that she feels Midnight Sun is cursed. She’d actually started writing it again:
“What do you think was the top story on Yahoo the next morning?” she asked the crowd. “Grey.”
In other words, E.L. James stole from Meyer again. James also stole from the Twilight fans she exploited to barge her way to the top, then disparaged and distanced herself from when she got tired of their support.
“It was a literal flip the table moment for me,” Meyer reportedly said.
She deserves to flip that table. She was blatantly ripped-off by a woman whose monetary success threatens to surpass her own. E.L. James may very well make more money off Meyer’s creation than Meyer did. Meanwhile, Meyer’s fans are angry with her because she can’t commit to finishing something that very obviously causes bad feelings for her due to the situation E.L. James has caused. In 2013, Meyer said that Twilight was no longer a “happy place” for her. I wonder why?
This is bullshit. No matter what you think of Twilight, Stephenie Meyer has been repeatedly victimized by E.L. James, who’s going to smile her shitty little smile all the way to the bank. E.L. James knows what she did, but at this point she’s so successful, there’s nothing to be done. And Meyer can’t really speak out too forcefully about it because as a big name author, she has to Be Nice. I can’t even begin to imagine how it must feel to have something you care about stolen from you by someone who will never face a single consequence for it.
On that infuriating note, onto the recap.
Today’s recap is part two of a chapter that spans numerous chapters in Fifty Shades of Grey. So if you want to read this recap in tandem with the original recap, you’re going to want chapter six.
Quick shout out to Anna, who tracked down most of the pictures for the old recaps that were lost. Thanks, Anna! I’ll be updating the pictures every time I post a corresponding chapter in one of these recaps. By the time I’m finished, Darker Grey will be out and I can do the same thing with that recap.
This day in history: It would have been the fifth anniversary of the Montenegrin independence referendum.
Where we left off, Christian was about to accompany Ana home from his hotel, where he had kidnapped her while she was unconscious.
The car is waiting in one of the bays in front of the hotel; the valet is pacing impatiently. I give him an obscene tip and open the passenger door for Ana, who is quiet and introspective.
Okay, so if his female employees breathe wrong, he thinks horrible, withering thoughts about them, but a male valet can express visible impatience toward Chedward and he’s all, “Here, have an enormous tip.”
But she hasn’t run.
Even though I jumped her in the elevator.
I should say something about what happened in there–but what?
How was that for you?
What the hell are you doing to me?
What is it with these random line breaks?
They serve no purpose.
Except to try to create internal tension where there is none.
I guess we have to live with it.
Because she’s not going to put breaks where they’re needed, anyway.
We should be grateful for what we get.
As always, the underlines indicate italics in the text. Let’s talk about the “But she hasn’t run” part. She hasn’t run? That’s your indication that you’ve had a positive interaction with a woman? “Well, she hasn’t been creeped out or frightened enough so far that she would want to run away from me as though I were a true danger to her. This is a great sign!” That’s kind of a low bar, Chedward. It makes me wonder how many women have literally run away from you.
They get in the car and Christian turns on Delibe’s “Flower Duet”. Ana asks him what it is, and he tells her and asks if she likes it.
“Christian, it’s wonderful.”
He didn’t write it. Calm down.
It’s great that she likes this piece; it’s one of my favorites. I find myself beaming; she’s obviously excused me for the elevator outburst.
I have a feeling that Christian’s guilt here is meant to show the reader that he’s really a nice, sensitive guy who feels genuine remorse for pawing Ana in the elevator without her permission. Sorry, but it doesn’t work. A guy who was actually a nice dude wouldn’t have done that to someone he’s just met and doesn’t have a relationship with. If Mr. Jen did that to me, I’d be down with it, because we’ve been together for a long time and he knows me well enough to know that I would think it was kind of sexy, and I’m receptive to his sexual attention. Christian didn’t know that about Ana. So, that’s one problem with the whole wow, what a nice, sensitive guy he is vibe that James is trying to go for here.
Plus, he’s not really interested in whether or not she’s okay with what he did. He just wants to know that she’s not angry with him. There’s a difference between remorse for your actions and just wanting to be forgiven because you’re uncomfortable about your actions and how the consequences for them might play out. Christian is doing the latter.
“You like classical music?” she asks, as we cross the Fremont Bridge, and we fall into an easy conversation about my taste in music.
One of the things that’s super frustrating about this book is the way James will mention conversations that are meant to show Christian and Ana getting to know each other as though they’re an afterthought. It’s another case of assuming that everyone who picks up this book has obviously read the others. As shitty as the writing and character development in these books are, what little relationship development they have takes place in the conversations she’s blithely skipping over.
And now, more creepy behavior (I’m using “creepy” because a recent misogynist commenter who said he would find a story about me being raped funny hated the fact that I called a fictional man creepy. So, CREEEEEPY. CREEEEEEPY. MEN CAN BE TOTALLY CREEEPY AND I CAN THINK THIS EVEN THOUGH I’M AN UGLY WOMAN AND UNWORTHY OF MALE ATTENTION YOU AND CHRISTIAN ARE BOTH CREEEEEEEEPS). Chedward gets a call while he’s driving:
“Mr. Grey, it’s Welch here. I have the information you require.” Oh yes, details about the photographer.
“Good. E-mail it to me. Anything to add?”
Ana is sitting right next to him while he gets an update on the background check he’s run on her friend. He’s grossly violating her privacy while she sits beside him, totally oblivious.
I press the button and the music is back. We both listen, now lost in the raw sound of Kings of Leon.
I didn’t realize Kings of Leon covered “Flower Duet.” In the original version of the story, the conversation that James has now skipped over is the one where the song switches to Kings of Leon.
Christian gets another call, this one from Andrea, about the non-disclosure agreement Christian plans to have Ana sign prior to fucking her. Ana is in the car with him, right now, again with no idea that Christian is orchestrating an elaborate plan to conquer her as she sits in the passenger seat.
It’s difficult to keep my eyes on the road. I want to stare at her. For all her maladroitness, she has a beautiful neckline, one that I’d like to kiss from the bottom of her ear right down to her shoulder.
Why would having a beautiful neck and being clumsy be mutually exclusive? Do all clumsy people have weirdly shaped necks? Did he assume she would have some kind of obvious malformation from a displaced vertebrae due to one of her repeated falls? Sometimes these sentences just don’t make any sense. It’s like saying, “Despite her hatred of broccoli, she had lovely feet.” The two don’t cancel each other out.
So here is an interesting thing that I had forgotten, which only makes the previous stuff even more creepy.
Christian gets another phone call, this one from Elliot:
“Hi, Christian, d’you get laid?”
Oh…smooth, dude, smooth.
“Hello, Elliot-I’m on speakerphone, and I’m not alone in the car.”
We’ll come back the “d’you get laid?” line, I promise.
Since I no longer have my original copy of Fifty Shades of Grey because fuck that book, that’s why, I couldn’t go back and re-read this scene. My early recaps aren’t super detailed, because at the time I wasn’t real sure anyone was reading them, so I didn’t spend a lot of time on them. My point being, I didn’t remember that all those phone calls Christian was receiving, the phone calls that were specifically about investigating and planning to fuck Ana were handled over the speaker phone. She listened to them, not knowing what they were about. That is just… oh my gosh, I can’t get over how awful that is.
Plus, it’s super rude to answer calls on speaker phone when someone is in the car with you. I absolutely hate it, under any circumstance, except for if the person on the other end of the line is giving the driver directions or it’s a call that’s going to concern everybody.
Back to the “d’you get laid?” part. Uh, Elliot? You knew your brother was going to pick up a drunk girl from the bar. You knew she was super drunk when they left. What you apparently don’t know is that he couldn’t have gotten laid. He could have raped her. Not the same thing as “getting laid.”
Elliot says hi over the speakerphone to Ana, and tells her he’s heard a lot about her, so we know he’s with Kate.
“I’m dropping Anastasia off now. Shall I pick you up?” I interject.
There’s no doubt Elliot will want to make a quick getaway.
We know that Elliot is a player, and it’s entirely likely that’s what Christian is talking about. He’d want to make a quick getaway because he’s a love-em-and-leave-em type. But after hearing Christian’s internal, immediate dislike of Kate, and the fact that Ana mentioned Kate by name in the conversation with Elliot, the way this is worded makes it seem like he’s saying Elliot would want to specifically get away from Kate. Which only adds to the Christian Grey charm.
“Why do you insist on calling me Anastasia?” she asks.
“Because it’s your name.”
“I prefer Ana.”
“Do you now?”
Ana is too everyday and ordinary for her. And too familiar. Those three letters have the power to wound…
He doesn’t want to say her name because he doesn’t want to get too close. In the next paragraph he thinks about how “invested” he is in Ana, and how much he wants to get to know her, and how crushing her rejection of him will be if it happens. I guess I can understand that, but…all of that is kind of secondary to being respectful and calling a person what she wants to fucking be called. Since he’s Christian Grey, his feelings matter more than Ana’s, and he’s not going to respect her request.
“Anastasia,” I say, ignoring her disapproving look. “What happened in the elevator–it won’t happen again–well, not unless it’s premeditated.”
That…is how you describe a homicide. Then again, this whole series is a homicide.
They get to her apartment, where she tells him that she liked him kissing her in the elevator. But since we’ve read the other book, we know that now that she’s told him this, he refuses to do anything physical with her until she’s jumped through his hoops. Once he has her consent, he no longer wants it without demanding further action from her.
Inside, Christian gets a chance to hate Kate some more, when she’s suspicious of the guy who took her drunk best friend to his hotel for the night:
What did she think I was going to do to the girl?
And what I want to say is something sarcastic about how she’s finally showing some interest in her friend, but I hold my tongue.
So, was Chedward kidnapping Ana a friendship test for Kate? Because he seems unreasonably pissed off that Kate, who was also wasted, didn’t do enough to protect her friend from his actions. I’m going to assume that assigning blame to people for his shitty actions because they didn’t do enough to stop him from said shitty actions is going to be a theme here.
Chedward addresses Kate as Miss Kavanagh:
“Christian, her name is Kate,” Elliot says with mild irritation.
“Kate,” I mutter, to be polite.
So he can stoop to using Kate’s preferred name, though it pains him, but he can’t do the same for Ana. I guess Kate isn’t extraordinary enough for him to bother with disrespecting her over the issue.
Elliot hugs Ana and of course Christian has possessive anger over that. He tells his brother they should go, and is disgusted when Elliot kisses Kate goodbye. Elliot also delivers the dreaded “Laters, baby,” line.
Ana’s reproachful eyes are on me, and for a moment I don’t know if it’s because of Elliot and Kate’s lascivious display or–
Hell! This is what she wants. To be courted and wooed.
I don’t do romance, sweetheart.
Elliot making out with Kate is lascivious, and in an earlier paragraph, “unseemly” and “uncomfortable,” but now it’s courting and wooing? Oh, wait, my bad. It’s only romance if it’s Christian and Ana, because theirs is truly a love for the ages.
Which is why he still wants to kiss her:
My thumb strays to her soft bottom lip, which I’d like to kiss again. But I can’t. Not until I have her consent.
“People think my hero doesn’t care about consent? I’ll show them! I’ll put in a line where he thinks about the word consent, while retaining all of the actions that show he doesn’t give a fuck about it!” – E.L. James, probably.
Christian reminds Ana that he’ll pick her up at eight, then he and Elliot go to the car.
“Man, I need some sleep,” Elliot says, as soon as we’re in the car. “That woman is voracious.”
You know, I’m impressed that James still managed to work in what a slut Kate is, even though she’s not in Ana’s pure, virginal head.
Elliot tries to make a joke about Christian and Ana having sex, again. You know, much in the way Emmett jokes about Edward potentially killing Bella in Midnight Sun. I don’t know why there would be such a striking parallel between the two books, I just don’t.
They repeat the earlier scene where Elliot sleeps and Christian turns up the music to try and impede him. Then we jump ahead to:
José Luis Rodriguez’s background check reveals a ticket for possession of marijuana.
Pretty sure possession was still a misdemeanor in Washington in 2011, unless there was a local Seattle law I’m not familiar with.
There is nothing in his police records for sexual harassment. Maybe last night would have been a first if I hadn’t intervened.
What José was doing wasn’t harassment, it was assault. It was also pretty much exactly the same thing Christian did to Ana in the elevator, even though she didn’t push him away. And I’m still mystified as to how drunkenly kissing a girl without consent is different or somehow worse than bodily removing a girl to a second location, undressing her while she’s unconscious, and sleeping in the bed next to her while you’re making all of those decisions sober, but whatever. All of your actions are excused by your tragic past.
And the little prick smokes weed? I hope he doesn’t smoke around Ana–and I hope she doesn’t smoke, period.
Smoking weed turns Christian Grey off? That’s all it takes, seriously?
Most of the time, I feel personally insulted to see marijuana used as an indicator of low moral character, but here, it’s just laughable. The guy who gets a woman intoxicated to coerce her into sexual activities she doesn’t want to do, emotionally abuses her by isolating her from her family and friends, had her followed by a security team who reports everything back to him, and who is a generally snooty, unpleasant person inside his own head wants to pass judgment on people who just get stoned? Ha, okay, good luck with that, man.
Christian remotely prints copies of both the non-disclosure agreement and his Dom/sub contract (with Ana’s name and address already filled in) at his apartment. Then Elliot comes in and is like, let’s go hiking, and Christian thinks about how childish he is. Then there’s a section break.
They’re out hiking, and there’s some internal monologue about the scent of pine and how it reminds him of running through the woods with his family while they hunted for wildlife to consume in order to quench the insatiable hunger that might make them a danger to the residents of Forks. Sorry, I meant, while they were hiking. Elliot talks to him, but all Christian can think of is Ana and if she’s going to agree to be his sub.
I picture her sleeping beside me, soft and small…and my cock twitches with expectation. I could have woken her and fucked her then–what a novelty that would have been.
I’m sure it would have been for her, too. Waking up, not knowing where she is, with a guy’s twitching cock being all like, “Hellos, baby.”
I’ll fuck her in time.
I’ll fuck her bound and with her smart mouth gagged.
After a section break, Christian is waiting for Ana outside of Clayton’s hardware. She gets out of work and Chedward sees some guy looking at her butt as she leaves. So Christian gets out of the car and holds the door open for Ana, because it’s easier than actually peeing on her to stake his claim.
Her lips curve into a shy smile as she approaches, her hair in a jaunty ponytail swinging in the evening breeze.
Yes, there’s no word an American man in his twenties uses more reliably than “jaunty.”
She’s dressed in black jeans…Jeans again.
Enjoy them while they last, Ana, because soon he’ll dictate all of your clothing choices. And food choices. Just all of your choices, in general.
In the back of the car, Chedward and Anabella hold hands:
She glances down at our joined fingers and I brush her knuckles with my thumb over and over. Her breath catches and her eyes meet mine. In them I see her longing and desire…and her sense of anticipation.
So, you’re holding her hand and gazing deeply into her eyes, and later you’re going to be pissed off because she somewhere got the idea that you were interested in her romantically. Okay.
They get to the building where the helipad is, and they have to take the elevator up. And of course, she gives him a “knowing look.” According to my Kindle’s search function, “knowing look” is used three times in the entire novel, and they’re all in this chapter, which is probably why it feels like they’re the only type of look anybody gives anybody.
As we stand inside I make a mental note to fuck her in an elevator one day.
- Call Ros
- Buy milk
- Fuck Ana in an elevator
- Cancel World of Warcraft subscription
They get to the roof, where Christian doesn’t see his pilot:
But Joe, who runs the helipad in Portland, is in the small office. He salutes when I see him. He’s older than my grandpa, and what he doesn’t know about flying is not worth knowing; he flew Sikorskys in Korea for casualty evacuation, and boy, does he have some hair-raising stories.
I’m glad Christian isn’t a commercial airline pilot, if he thinks the only thing worth learning is what a dude who’s seventy-three, minimum, knows from his days flying helicopters in a war zone. “Attention all personnel! Attention all personnel! This is your captain speaking. We’ve begun our final descent into Seattle. At this time all cabin service will be discontinued, and I’ve turned on the fasten seatbelt sign. Flight attendants, please load the outboard stretchers and cross-check for landing.” [M*A*S*H theme plays]
Also, let’s talk for a minute about Helicopter Joe and his military salute. First of all, why do we need to know so much information about Joe? In the original series, we never saw him again after this. I could get a line like, “He’s older than my grandpa and a Korean war vet” or something, but why do I need to know exactly what he flew on what kind of mission? Why do we need to know about his hair-raising stories? Why does any of it matter when we’ll never see this character again?
Unless, of course, telling us all that information about a barely-character, then having him saluting a civilian, is meant to impress us with the staggering amount of deference shown to said civilian. After all, if Christian Grey isn’t worthy of a salute from a man who risked his life in service to his country, then who is, right?
(For the record, I did an informal poll of current and former military in several branches and the answer to “would this guy salute a civilian” seemed split between, “he could if he wanted, I guess, but I don’t see why he’d want to” and “You never salute civilians unless they’re a head of state.”)
Christian tells Ana to get in the helicopter and not touch anything, and then he’s surprised when she doesn’t. What rational adult would get into a helicopter they were about to ride in and just start flipping toggles and shit without knowing what they’re doing?! PS. If you’re thinking, “Well, I would,” then you need to stay away from any dangerous machinery.
Crouching down beside her, I strap her into the seat harness, trying not to imagine her naked as I do it.
In his head he’s trying to convince us that he’s a perfect gentleman or something. I could have imagined her naked, but I didn’t! But all of his actions toward Ana remain the same as the first book.
Also, here’s a writing tip (for a problem I spot in my work a lot): you don’t have to specify “down” after “crouching.” You can’t “crouch up”. I do that with standing and jumping. “He stood up. He jumped up.” No shit, you can’t stand down, unless you’re Helicopter Joe when he was still in Korea.
I tighten the last strap. She’s not going anywhere.
No, that’s definitely not a borderline threatening turn of phrase.
Suppressing my excitement, I whisper, “You’re secure. No escaping.”
Neither is that.
“I like this harness,” I mutter. I want to tell her I have others, in leather, in which I’d like to see her trussed and suspended from the ceiling.
I give her a wink, she beams, and I’m dazzled.
There is a lot of detail regarding the helicopter:
Oil temperature is at 104. Good. I increase the manifold pressure to 14, the engine to 2500 rpm, and pull back on the throttle.
Nobody cares about any of that. This is not a helicopter flying manual. Although, it would probably make a better helicopter manual than the romance it fails to be.
And like the elegant bird she is…Charlie Tango rises into the air.
Has E.L. James ever seen a bird? Like, in person? Or even on a documentary? They don’t take off like helicopters. Do you know what animals do take off like helicopters? DRAGON FLIES. Which is A BETTER METAPHOR. So that’s why people USE IT.
Also, I don’t care how expensive your helicopter is, it doesn’t look elegant when it’s taking off. It looks like a drunk driver trying really hard at a roadside sobriety test.
So, they take off and they’re flying and Chedward thinks:
To me this is a comfort. Nothing can harm me here.
Ana asks how he knows he’s going the right way, and he thinks about how he doesn’t want to bore her talking about the instruments, but he does bore us by listing off the instruments. There more waxing egotistical about how his mastery of flight thrills him, and how awed Ana is by his skill, etc. He tells her that he’s never taken a date in his helicopter and asks her if she’s impressed, and she says she’s awed, and everyone is awed and Christian remembers his mother, Grace, saying that she was awed:
And I remember Grace, my mother, stroking my hair as I read out loud from The Once and Future King.
“Christian, that was wonderful. I’m awed, darling boy.”
I was seven and had only recently started speaking.
Only just started speaking, but can read The Once and Future King at age seven. No wonder he could just drop out of Harvard.
I’m going to skip over a bunch of stuff, because it’s boring and E.L. could have skipped over it the way she skipped over other stuff. They’re about to land and Chedward asks Ana a question so she’ll look at him:
She does, with a huge cock-tightening grin.
I don’t even begin to know where to go with that.
In case he wasn’t already creepy enough (there I go, tossing that word around again like some hairy-legged feminazi):
She peers up at me. Trusting. Young. Sweet. Her delicious scent is almost my undoing.
Can I do this with her?
She’s an adult.
She can make her own decisions.
This is legitimately alarming. A lot of people felt that the emphasis on Ana’s child-like qualities made the first series border on glorification of pedophilia. I never really saw that angle, though the constant pigtails and mentions of how cute and small and innocent she was did gross me out, because coupled with her genuine naivety and unbelievable cluelessness it made her seem too emotionally immature to actually consent to anything Christian threw at her. But to be in Christian’s head, where he’s having to remind himself that the qualities he’s attracted to, the young, trusting, sweet qualities, are only okay since she’s an adult and not a child.
“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. You know that, don’t you?” She needs to understand this. I want her submission, but more than that I want her consent.
If Christian had any actual concept of consent, he would realize that “I want to be your submissive” is not the same as “you now have an all-access pass to make me do whatever you want because I gave consent for this other stuff,” and he absolutely treats her that way for the rest of the book.
Christian gets her into the apartment and asks her if she wants some wine, then asks her if the one he has is okay. She’s like, yeah, I don’t know anything about wine. So then there are comments about how pale she is, and he asks her if she’s hungry, and she says his apartment is big, and she asks him if he plays the piano in his living room. Why the fuck would he have a piano if he didn’t know how to play, Ana?
“Of course you do. Is there anything you can’t do well?”
“Yes…a few things.”
Make free and easy conversation with the woman I’m attracted to.
Not come off as an arrogant prick in 99% of sentences involving more than four words. Not stalk women. Not condescend to everyone around me. Treat my employees well. Lose a round of golf without having a hissy fit. Respect boundaries.
I can keep going.
Ana asks Christian why he sent her Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
“It seemed appropriate. I could hold you to some impossibly high ideal like Angel Clare or debase you completely like Alec d’Urberville.” My answer is truthful enough and has a certain irony to it. What I’m about to propose I suspect will be very far from her expectations.
“If there are only two choices, I’ll take the debasement,” she whispers.
Ana has read Tess of the d’Urbervilles, so she knows that Alec raped Tess. So she knows that Christian is saying he could either rape her, or expect her to be perfect and pure. But what Ana doesn’t know is that Christian is going to both hold her to impossibly high standards of virtue while sexually and emotionally abusing her throughout the rest of their relationship.
Wanna know how you can avoid this shit, if you ever want to incorporate the classics into your books? Actually understand the fucking book you’re making allusions to. In Twilight, Stephenie Meyer compares Edward and Bella to Romeo and Juliet. The parallel makes sense, because there could actually be tragic consequences resulting from a vampire and a human falling in love, and the relationship between Edward and Bella actually ends up endangering both of them at the end of the book. But Meyer actually understood the parallel she was making; James was ripping off Twilight, so she had to find some classical work to echo the inclusion of Romeo and Juliet in the source she was stealing from. For some reason, she picked a work she doesn’t seem to grasp at all.
“Anastasia, stop biting your lip, please. It’s very distracting. You don’t know what you’re saying.”
“That’s why I’m here,” she says, her teeth leaving little indentations on a bottom lip moist with wine.
This is the second time the word “moist” has been used since they arrived at the apartment. That word doesn’t bother me, but I’m including it for those of you who find it repulsive. I hope you enjoy it.
And there she is: disarming once more, surprising me at every turn. My cock concurs.
As Christian’s cock seems to be equivalent to Ana’s inner goddess, I’m thoroughly looking forward to seeing it dance the merengue.
Christian goes and gets the NDA and tells her she has to sign it because his lawyer says so:
“And if I don’t want to sign anything?”
“Then it’s Angel Clare high ideals, well, for most of the book anyway.” And I wouldn’t be able to touch you. I’ll send you home with Stephan, and I will try my very best to forget you. My anxiety mushrooms; this deal could go all to shit.
If he can’t fuck her, he’s not interested in her, despite how disarming she is and the fact that he’s never felt this way about another woman. We keep hearing over and over how unusual she is, how he’s so attracted to her, that she’s unlike anyone else, but at the end of the day, all Chedward still wants is a fuck toy. Readers of the original trilogy convinced themselves that Christian truly did love her, but couldn’t express it or even admit it to himself because of his pain. Being in his head proves the opposite: Christian is fully aware of his feelings for Ana, but he’s still only into it for the sex.
Ana signs the contract without looking at it, so Christian scolds her for that, but Ana says that she’s not going to talk about him anyway:
“Christian, what you fail to understand is that I wouldn’t talk about us to anyone anyway. Even Kate. So it’s immaterial whether I sign an agreement or not. If it means so much to you, or your lawyer, whom you obviously talk to, then fine. I’ll sign.”
Mmm, feel that totally-totally-natural-for-a-young-American-person dialogue. Satiny smooth.
“Fair point well made, Miss Steele,” I note dryly.
Ah, how I’ve missed that phrase. Although a search of the text reveals it’s only used three times in this version of the story. So savor them while you can.
And before I can begin my pitch, she asks, “Does this mean you’re going to make love to me tonight, Christian.”
And then we come to the infamous line that launched a thousand laughs of disbelief that anyone thought this was sexy in any way:
“No, Anastasia, it doesn’t. First, I don’t make love. I fuck, hard.”
She gasps. That’s made her think.
“Second, there’s a lot more paperwork to do. And third, you don’t yet know what you’re in for. You could still run from here screaming! Come, I want to show you my playroom.”
I’ll note here that there are some differences in the recaps of the original books and the text here. That’s because when I recapped the first book, I used an ebook version (I think it was .epub, specifically) of the Writer’s Coffee House edition loaned to me by someone else. I say “loaned” because she deleted it from her computer after giving it to me. So, I guess in reality she used me as her digital trashcan.
Anyway, in that pre-Vintage edition, those lines went “Firstly, secondly, thirdly,” instead of the way they’re presented right now. I’m not sure why they changed them. The -ly versions of ordinal numbers are considered by most grammarians to be the more formal format, and with Christian’s stilted way of talking it seems like they would be more fitting. So an editor dropped the ball there.
So, Ana asks Christian if he means that he wants to play Xbox, and he laughs at her and they go upstairs to the playroom.
This is it. Pay or play. Have I ever been this nervous? Realizing my desires depend on the turn of this key, I unlock the door, and in that moment I need to reassure her. “You can leave anytime. The helicopter is on standby to take you whenever you want to go; you can stay the night and go home in the morning. It’s fine, whatever you choose.”
Wait, the helicopter is on standby? With who? Christian doesn’t mention anyone being around when they land.
“Just open the damn door, Christian,” she says with a mulish expression and her arms crossed.
Ah, mulish. That really rams home how beautiful the chick you’re dating is.
(Did you see that? Mulish? Mule? Ram? Chick? No one appreciates my genius.)
This is the crossroads. I don’t want her to run. But I’ve never felt this exposed. Even in Elena’s hands…and I know it’s because she knows nothing about the lifestyle.
This is a referral problem. Elena knows plenty about the lifestyle, it’s Ana who doesn’t.
I open the door and follower her into my playroom.
My safe place.
The only place where I’m truly myself.
And that’s where I’m going to leave it.
I think we only have one or two more parts of this chapter to go before we mercifully move on to another god damn day. Personally, I can’t wait to get to the part where he fucks her and she shouts like Charlie Brown getting frustrated with something.