In the news: E.L. James sat down with ET Canada to continue complaining about how the Fifty Shades of Grey movie wasn’t made to her exact specifications and take a passive-aggressive dig at the people involved. She also makes it clear that she doesn’t understand what “character-driven” means.
I’m honestly shocked that the film rights to The Mister didn’t sell the moment the publishing contract was signed. That they’re still shopping it around, apparently, is mind-boggling to me. Even if it was never made into a movie, I can’t believe the option hasn’t been picked up.
This is also going to be one of the shorter recaps in comparison to the length of the chapter, as the bulk of the chapter is sex that’s too boring to make into something funny.
Now that the exciting part of the book is over, we accompany Moss and Demelssia on a walk around the grounds. They discuss sheep and deer and the fact that Albanians keep goats instead of sheep and cattle.
She looks adorable. And I find it hard to believe that she was the victim of an attempted kidnapping this morning.
My girl is stoic.
I guess you could be adorable and stoic at the same time, but idk, that word choice is weird.
Moss asks her why she tried to leave when she found out he was an earl.
“I was hurt,” she says after an age.
I still feel like we’re missing some crucial introspection into her hurt. She was afraid he only wanted her for sex…but he arranged a security detail for her friends and put himself in danger to protect her from kidnappers. At this point, I feel like actions should speak louder than words, you know? I could get being hurt that he didn’t disclose, but her reaction was so over-the-top. Despite all the things he’s done for me that he didn’t have to do and which came at great expense for him, he sees me as disposable and therefore I will fling myself into the arms of homelessness? Not buying it.
At least it’s addressed in the text. Moss asks her where she thought she was going.
“I don’t know.” She turns to face me. “I think it was…how do you say? Instinct. You know, Ylli and Dante…I’ve been running for so long. I was a little crazy.”
I mean, okay. Valid trauma response. But it probably would have been more convincing and worked out better if she’d returned to her earlier thoughts about bringing danger into Moss’s life. I’m not saying the story should wholly center about Moss’s experience of Demelssia’s trauma, but the sudden, “Oh no, THE BAD GUY WHO BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF ME said this thing, it must be true, I should run away,” is hard to suspend disbelief on.
Moss tells Demelssia that she can’t just freak out and leave every time they argue.
“But you can’t run every time we have a problem. Talk to me. Ask me questions. About anything. I’m here. I’ll listen. Argue with me. Shout at me. I’ll argue with you. I’ll shout at you. I’ll get it wrong. You’ll get it wrong. That’s all okay. But to resolve our difference, we have to communicate.”
I think the place where you’re gonna get it wrong is planning to shout at a woman traumatized by abuse, pal.
“Don’t look worried. If…if you’re going to live with me…you know. You need to tell me how you feel.”
“Live with you?” she whispers.
“Here. And in London. Yes. I want you to live with me.”
“As your cleaner?”
Jesus Christ. This needs to have been resolved by now. We can no longer accept that Demelssia thinks of herself as his cleaner. Not after their mutual declarations of love and shit.
My heart is racing. And deep down, I don’t know what choice she has–but I love her. I want her with me. Marriage seems too big a step to throw at her right now. I don’t want her to run again.
Bro, it’s also a big step for you!
You know what could resolve this dilemma? If Moss offered to get Demelssia an apartment or something so that she can have her space while they date. He’s fabulously wealthy. Surely, he can afford to buy a reasonably priced apartment.
“Yes,” she whispers.
Yeah, Bro, it’s been said three times, it has to stick.
Moss lifts her up and spins her around, then remembers she has that big ole bruise.
“Did I hurt you?”
“No,” she says, and I take her face between my palms, and she sobers, her eyes shining with love and maybe desire.
I’m glad you remember who she is.
Leaning down, I kisss her. And what’s meant to be a gentle I-love-you kiss becomes something…other. She opens up like an exotic flower,
And her vines wrap around his head and pull him into her carnivorous maw.
They kiss with a passion that’s staggering and we know that’s how it happens because the words, “with a passion that’s staggering” are used to describe it.
Jensen sticks his muzzle into my thigh. Ignoring him, I lean back to look at Alessia’s dazed expression. “I think Jensen wants to join in.”
via GIPHY Image: Maya Rudolf making a horrified face.
WHOA. WHOA. Whoa.
“I also think we’re wearing too many clothes.” I rest my forehead on hers.
“Do you want to take them off?” She chews on her lip.
It’s January in Cornwall and you’re outside, dipshit.
Then join a fucking nudist colony, I don’t know what to tell you.
Demelssia makes a comment about being too warm and Moss is like, oh no, I didn’t mean for her to think that was a come-on. But like…how else do you interpret someone saying you’re wearing too many clothes and they always want to take theirs off? After this staggeringly passionate, borderline zoophilic kiss?
“Oh, sweetheart, you’ve just been through a terrible ordeal.”
Italicizing the “sweetheart” makes it look sarcastic and I love it.
“What are you telling me?” I ask.
“I think you know.”
“You want to go to bed?”
And she wants you to touch her.
Beaming and giddy, we trot back to the house with the dogs in hot pursuit.
via GIPHY Image: Jonah Hill making a nervous “stop talking” gesture.
Maybe don’t mention the dogs here. Or like, ever again. Because it sounds like y’all are gonna fuck some dogs.
Moss takes Demelssia to his bedroom, which I guess isn’t the room she was in when she took her bath and got dressed and stuff? Anyway, his bed is four-poster, intricately carved, big wardrobe, lots of shelves around with fancy stuff, you know the drill.
Once inside the room where they went specifically to have sex, Moss says she’s had a bad day and she’s like, nah, I still want to do this, and he’s like, you might be in shock…make up your fucking mind, dude.
“What do you want, beautiful?” The backs of his fingers stroke her face, and his eyes sear her soul. She’s wanted him since he said he loved her.
“I want you.” The words are barely audible.
He groans. “You never cease to surprise me.”
How is this a surprise? You guys were both like, let’s go have sex. You went inside just to have sex. Or is this one of those things where you’re stating out loud that the heroine has a certain characteristic that we’ve never really seen before? Because she’s not that surprising, aside from being a concert-level pianist when you thought she was a one-dimensional servant.
In a scene that strongly echoes Fifty Shades of Grey, Moss stands motionless while Demelssia undresses him and tentatively touches him. Then he plays with her hair and says:
“You are so brave. In so many ways. And I’ve fallen for you. All of you. Madly. Passionately.” His words heat her blood, and he tugs the lock drawing her into his arms.
Arguably, yes, Demelssia is braver than Anastasia was. But I feel like James inserts “brave” as a trait so that she can write a heroine to be as weak as the story allows while still insisting that she has some kind of kick-butt, feminist character.
She wants to touch him. Every inch of him. But she stops. She doesn’t know what to do.
They’ve boned like, a billion times already.
He tells her to unbutton his jeans and she puts her hand on his cock (but it doesn’t say cock because for as much as James wants to write erotic romance, she sure can’t bring herself to use the words that are generally involved). And then–wait. Wait a second.
Hastily her fingers scramble to his waistband, brushing against his hardened penis. She stops, fascinated by his body, and in a really bold move places her hand over his erection.
“Oh, God,” he whispers.
Tentatively, her fingers trace around him.
He gasps, and she stops. “I am hurting you?”
“No. No. No. This is good. Yeah.” He’s breathless. “Really good. Don’t stop.”
She grins, feeling more confident. With deft fingers she undoes his top button. He stands stock-still as she moves to the zipper.
What in the how is going on here? Is his erection poking out above the waistband of his jeans? I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but how much are we talking here? How low is he wearing those jeans? Are they hanging off his hips in that way, like Christian Grey’s? Or is she touching him over his jeans and he’s about to spurt over that? I don’t get it.
I take a deep breath. She is going to unman me.
See, there she uses the archaic historical romance phrase correctly.
In the firelight her skin is radiant, and the deep red and blue highlights glimmer in her hair.
Um. This is the first time I’m hearing of red and blue highlights in her hair. Unless he means there are both warm and cool tones in her brown hair or something but I can’t even picture that.
I want to throw her on the bed and make easy, sweet love to her.
Okay, again, hold up. “Throw her on the bed” and “make easy, sweet love” directly contradict each other.
Anyway, they get into bed and he unleashes the beast and he’s like, no wait, let’s cuddle a minute and they talk again about her bruise and how she could have been hurt or kidnapped and Moss is like, maybe we shouldn’t have sex and OH MY GOD MAKE UP YOUR MIND ARE YOU FUCKING OR NOT BECAUSE I HAVE OTHER SHIT TO DO TODAY.
Anyway, after this whole deal with her taking off his pants, she’s like:
“I want to touch you,” she says, and hides her face with her hands.
And she means his penis, if you didn’t get that. But what I don’t get is that SHE WAS ALREADY TOUCHING IT WHY ARE WE DOING THIS AGAIN LIKE IT’S THE FIRST TIME IT’S COME UP?
Ha, that sounded dirty.
She reaches the line of hair that leads down to her destination, and her courage falters.
But I thought she was so brave? Now, she can’t even touch a dick that she already touched?
So, we have to read about Moss teaching Demelssia to jerk him off.
I’ve never had to show a woman what to do. It’s possibly the most erotic thing I’ve ever done.
That’s right. None of the freaky sex he’s had before compares to the purity of a blank slate. This is in no way a creepy thing.
Anyway, he gets close to coming and tells her to stop, then does his whole mental thing about maybe they shouldn’t have sex, but then he puts on a condom and sits her on his dick, anyway.
She moves. Up and down. Again and again.
To the left y’all. Take it back now, y’all. One hop this time, right foot, let’s stomp.
There’s a moment where he tells her “I’ve got you,” because as I mentioned before, it’s stated twenty-one times.
And she rises and falls. Rises and falls. Taking me with her…climbing and climbing, until she stalls
and rolls backward down the hill, resulting in a derailment that kills two-hundred-forty passengers, the worst rail disaster in the history of the United Kingdom.
So, they have a simultaneous orgasm and I guess they blackout or some shit because there’s a section break.
We lie still and quiet, facing each other. Not speaking. Just looking. Eyes. Noses. Cheeks. Lips. Faces.
Okay, so their faces remain intact. Glad to know that his “shattering release” didn’t explode them both.
Then they have sex again.
There’s another section break.
And I’m listening.
She’s naked, her hair is loose and lfowing down to her waist, preserving her modesty, and she’s explaining how she learns a new piece for the piano.
I like how he’s all, “I’m listening,” then immediately explains how he’s ogling her. Also, “preserving her modesty.” She’s naked in bed with you, bro.
She tells him about synesthesia and how it helps her to memorize the music, and that each musical key has its own color. Her favorite composer is Bach. She sees Moss’s music in blues and grays.
“I watched you play it at your apartment. I was supposed to be cleaning. But I had to watch you. And listen. It’s beautiful music.” Her voice softens to a barely audible whisper. “I fell more in love with you then…”
Did you? That’s weird because you saw him play the piano before he gave you the umbrella, which is when you first fell in love with him. Also weird? That this isn’t the reason you fell for him since it’s so much more meaningful than loaning someone a fucking umbrella.
Then they have sex again.
After a section break, Moss asks Danny to bring them dinner in his bedroom.
I don’t know why, but Danny knows that Alessia is different.
IDK, it might be because you rescued her from kidnappers.
I’ve brought women here before, but Danny’s never been as solicitous as she’s been today.
IDK, it might be because you never rescued those women from kidnappers.
She must know that I’m in love.
Sure. It’s that.
I’m in love. Head over heels. Completely. Utterly. Wholly. In love.
I’m sorry, I’m not quite understanding. How in love are you? Are you like, halfway in love or all the way in love? I’m having a difficult time telling. Maybe you should find more words that mean exactly the same thing and cram them into that sentence.
After dinner, Moss and Demelssia talk about how they have to return to London. Demelssia says she wants to continue working as a cleaner, and Moss says:
“Alessia, I don’t think so. You don’t need to clean anymore. You’re a talented woman. Is that really what you want to do? We need to find something more interesting for you.
Ah, and here we see how he really feels about the working class. If you’re talented, you shouldn’t be working class. The working class is for untalented, uninteresting people.
I wonder why the formerly upper-middle class author who is now super-rich would write something like that.
And we need to make sure that it’s legal for you to work here. I’ll look into it. I have people who can help.”
He had those people long before they were boning, but he’s only offering their help now. I see what you’re doing, Moss.
Moss points out that Demelssia will be deported if she’s caught working illegally, but she’s still upset at the idea of being a kept woman.
“I will clean for you. And you will pay me.”
Okay, but that would still be illegal.
He agrees, though, as long as she doesn’t wear the housecoat and headscarf. She has some thoughts about how she’s safe now, thanks to him, and the book is over.
HA HA HA HA HA nope. We’ve still got nine chapters left.
My Impression So Far: The publication of this book is an accident of the universe. There is no way this would have even crossed an acquiring editor’s desk from the slush pile if it had been written by a first-time author. That’s just plain ass fact.