Welcome back, everyone. Because this SINGLE CHAPTER takes up 9% of the total book and is, according to these Kindle page numbers, over fifty pages long, I’ll be breaking it up into four or five recaps to match its corresponding chapters in the first book. That way none of us feel like we’re running a marathon in a wool suit right after winning a pie eating contest.
I feel like this almost goes without saying, but CW: Rape. Because the “hero” of this book doesn’t understand what consent is. But rape is mentioned a lot in this recap.
This day in history: The world was supposed to end. Honestly, considering how hugely popular this book became in 2011, the apocalypse wouldn’t have been the worst thing to happen to us.
If you want to read along with my recaps of the original series, chapter five is here.
When last we met, Christian Grey had just taken Ana to the second location, his hotel room, where he mostly undressed her.
Nearly two hours later, I come to bed. It’s just after 1:45. She’s fast asleep and hasn’t moved from where I left her. I strip, pull on my PJ pants and a T-shirt, and climb in beside her. She’s comatose; it’s unlikely she’s going to thrash around and touch me.
If this book had come out before the others, I would have thought this was foreshadowing that Grey’s kink was necrophilia role play.
I hesitate for a moment as the darkness swells within me,
but it doesn’t surface and I know it’s because I’m watching the hypnotic rise and fall of her chest and I’m breathing in sync with her.
Are you having a hard time visualizing what breathing is like, dear reader? I know I was. So I’m glad that the author included instructions:
In. Out. In. Out. In. Out.
That clears it up, thanks so much.
For seconds, minutes, hours, I don’t know, I watch her.
You’re really bad at telling time, mate.
Christian describes her lovely face, her dark eyelashes, her white teeth…he basically itemizes her appearance, and he’s apparently waaaaay into making lists:
It’s arousing, very arousing. Finally I fall into a deep and dreamless slumber.
And we’re back to the “I don’t know how to end this section, so my characters go to sleep” technique. Look. I don’t care if your characters get into bed together and the chapter ends there. I don’t care if the sleep is implied. But there’s no reason this section couldn’t have ended with the seconds, minutes, hours line. Even though it would still be unreasonably creepy.
Then again, I think I used the sleep/awake thing a few times in First Time so maybe this isn’t the hill I want to die on.
There’s a section break. I really appreciate that E.L. gives us time off while they’re sleeping, considering how often we’re subjected to every mundane detail of their stupid, boring lives. Christian wakes up and sees that it’s 7:43, and he wonders when the last time he slept that late was. We get it, he’s an early riser, as is befitting a God.
I have never slept with a woman. I’ve fucked many, but to wake up beside an alluring young woman is a new and stimulating experience.
Why does Christian’s internal monologue read like dialogue from The Big Bang Theory? Like, the way this is phrased, I’m expecting a pause for the laugh track because the wording is so clunky and clinical.
My cock agrees.
Christian gets up and puts on his running clothes, then gets his laptop and checks his e-mail. But it takes him longer than it normally does, because there’s a beautiful unconscious girl in the bedroom. He remembers she’ll be hungover, so he gets a glass of orange juice and takes it to her.
She’s still asleep when I enter, her hair a riot of mahogany spread across her pillow, and the covers have slipped below her waist.
Her T-Shirt has ridden up, exposing her belly and her navel. The sight stirs my body once more.
This is not how people think. People do not think, “The sight stirs my body.” People think, “It turned me on,” or “my cock got hard.” Grey thinks he’s not a romantic hero, but I honestly believe that the only person on earth who would think, “The sight stirs my body once more,” would be Mr. Darcy, when he was really trying to think dirty about something.
I have to get out of here before I do something I’ll regret.
Like what? Rape her? Because she’s still unconscious. Even kissing her awake or something would be creepy assault at this point, because she can’t consent. But maybe I’m giving Chedward too much credit in assuming he would feel bad for raping someone.
After Christian’s run, he comes back to find that Taylor has dropped off clothes for Ana.
From what I can see, Taylor has done well–and all before 9:00.
So, Taylor must have gone to Walmart, because most retail clothing stores don’t open until 10 AM. So luxury. Much billionaire.
Here’s a weird thing:
Poring over the room-service menu, I decide to order some food. She’ll be hungry when she wakes, but I have no idea what she’ll eat, so in a rare moment of indulgence I order a selection from the breakfast menu.
Okay does he mean that since he doesn’t know what she’ll eat, he also orders something? So they can like, trade? Or does he just not generally buy women breakfast? That would be just incredibly rude of him, if he didn’t. Not because I think a lady should always be treated to a post coital breakfast, but because he’s a freaking billionaire. And “rare moment of indulgence” my ass, Mr. Grey. Your housekeeper cleans your disposable stainless steel butt plugs.
Christian decides to wake Ana up, but she’s already awake, and she’s already drunk the juice and taken the pills.
She pales as I saunter into the room.
Keep it casual, Grey. You don’t want to be charged with kidnapping.
I’ve heard that the easiest way to prevent this is abstinence. Abstinence from kidnapping people.
“How did I get here?” she asks, as though she’s afraid of the answer.
Reassure her, Grey.
Yeah, reassure the frighten woman who goes pale when she sees you and seems afraid now.
“After you passed out, I didn’t want to risk the leather upholstery in my car, taking you all the way to your apartment. So I brought you here.”
Ah, the romantic sentiment every woman dreams of hearing.
“Did you undress me?” “Yes.” Who else would have undressed you?
In a lot of cases, women prefer to undress themselves.
“We didn’t–” she whispers, staring at her hands.
Christ, what kind of animal does she think I am?
She probably doesn’t think you’re an animal. She probably thinks you’re a kidnapper/rapist. I know, I know. Ana doesn’t think any of these things, and we know that because we’ve read her side. But this book isn’t making a great case for her perception of Grey. It’s really serving to make her seem stupider here.
“Anastasia, you were comatose. Necrophilia is not my thing.” My tone is dry. “I like my women sentient and receptive.”
Not, “You were comatose. That would be rape, and I am not a rapist.” Not, “I respect you too much to treat you like an object I can use.” But, “Don’t worry, you were safe only because the idea of having sex with a passed out drunk girl didn’t turn me on. But boy howdy, if it had!”
She sags with relief, which makes me wonder if this has happened to her before, that she’s passed out and woken up in a stranger’s bed and found out he’s fucked her without her consent.
I believe what you mean is, “if she’s been raped.”
Maybe that’s the photographer’s modus operandi. The thought is disturbing. But I recall her confession last night–that she’d never been drunk before. Thank God she hasn’t made a habit of this.
Fucked her without her consent. Thank God she hasn’t made a habit of this. LET’S DISCUSS THIS, SHALL WE?
This book was one golden opportunity to redesign a character who routinely dismissed the heroine’s every boundary. It was the chance to prove to those who hadn’t seen the miraculous romantic enigma that Christian Grey was supposed to be but instead saw an abuser and a rapist, that he really did have hidden depths and could be a man they would want to fall in love with if they saw into his soul through their own eyes the way Ana saw him through hers. Yet despite all the criticism her books received with regard to how they perpetuated rape culture, E.L. James chooses to portray Christian Grey as a man who worries about whether or not the heroine has been raped, but who can’t say the word, and suggests he would actually blame her if it had happened.
Why can’t Christian Grey say, “which makes me wonder if this has happened to her before, that she’s passed out and woken up in a strangers bed and found that she’s been raped”?
Because Christian Grey is a rapist. We know this, because we see him do it to Ana in the third book with the orgasm denial scene. He doesn’t obtain her consent, he uses a wand vibrator on her for a long ass time (which, you know, becomes painful after a while) and then gets upset with her when she uses their safe word to end the already nonconsensual activity. And people have argued that because he stops, it’s not rape, but that’s just absurd. He’s already engaged in a sexual activity with her (that in her limited experience she has no idea is even a thing or what to expect from it) without her enthusiastic consent. Yet here he has the balls to not just talk about rape, but talk about it without even using the word.
Ana apologizes for everything. For some reason. It was her fault that Christian overstepped his bounds to track her down. He tells her it’s okay because it was “diverting,” again depicting her as an object for his amusement.
“You didn’t have to track me down with whatever James Bond gadgetry you’re developing for the highest bidder.”
Whoa! now she’s pissed . Why?
So, Christian Grey’s boundless disregard of women continues as he boggles at the idea that anyone would get mad over something as trivial as stalking. But it’s not like he doesn’t know that it was wrong of him to track her down:
“First, the technology to track cell phones is available over the Internet.”
Well, the Deep Net…
“Second, my company does not invest or manufacture any kind of surveillance devices.”
So, he’s aware that you can access that technology only by going through illegal channels, and he justifies his use of this unethical tactic by stating that his company doesn’t manufacture products to facilitate this type of stalking. Well buddy, the technology to shoot someone exists, so I assume it’s okay to do that so long as I don’t make the gun myself?
My temper is fraying, but I’m on a roll. “And third, if I hadn’t come to get you, you’d probably be waking up in the photographer’s bed, and from what I can remember, you weren’t overly enthused about him pressing his suit.”
Verily, I was protecting your honor, m’lady!
And who wants a wrinkly suit?
Seriously, though, this is one of those “the end doesn’t justify the means” scenarios. In the first place, Ana being raped by José wasn’t a certain. Yes, he drunkenly tried to kiss her, but after she sprayed vomit everywhere, he was pretty much out. Plus, even drunk guys can resist the temptation to rape someone. True story. And Christian didn’t care about rescuing Ana so much as he’s worried about José getting to her first.
Ana makes fun of Christian for talking like he came out of a book, and he thinks about how “beguiling” it is for Ana to make fun of his archaic speech. I guess Ana was right to describe Chedward as mercurial in her books, because there’s absolutely no consistency to his character. Some of the times she laughs at him or pokes fun at him he gets confused and angry. Other times, she’s refreshing and beguiling. No wonder she spends the entire first series walking on eggshells.
And though it may not be to my advantage, I’m compelled to warn her that there’s nothing chivalrous or courtly about me. “Anastasia, I don’t think so. Dark knight, maybe.”
Christian asks Ana if she ate the night before, and tells her that eating before going on a bender is like, rule number one of getting hammered. Ana doesn’t appreciate him scolding her:
“You’re lucky I’m just scolding you.”
“What do you mean?” ”
Well, if you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week after the stunt you pulled yesterday. You didn’t eat, you got drunk, you put yourself at risk.” The fear in my gut surprises me; such irresponsible, risk-taking behavior.
You know what else is pretty risky? Sitting in a hotel room with a guy who’s saying he would beat you as punishment for going out with your friends and engaging in behavior that’s only considered “risky” when women do it.
Ana tells him she would have been fine because she was with Kate, and he asks if she would have been fine with “the photographer.” Ana says he was just drunk and out of line, but Christian doesn’t trust her judgment and implies that “someone” should beat José up.
An image of her shackled to my bench, peeled gingerroot inserted into her ass so she can’t clench her buttocks, comes to mind, followed by judicious use of a belt or strap. Yeah… That would teach her not to be so irresponsible.
Figging! I guess E.L. finally bothered to Google “BDSM” and found something that wasn’t in the movie Secretary. Good for her.
Christian asks Ana if she wants to take the first shower, and she gapes at him because, you know, OMG SHOWER MEANS NAKED TEEHEE.
She’s hard to resist, and I grant myself permission to touch her, tracing the line of her cheek with my thumb. Her breath catches in her throat as I stroke her soft bottom lip.
He grants himself permission to touch her. In this whole process, from her passing out to him bringing her to this point, her permission has never occurred to him. And unless Ana invests in a lot of chapstick, it’s pretty much impossible that her constantly bitten bottom lip is anything other than raw and scabby.
Christian tells Ana that her breakfast will be there in fifteen minutes and goes into the shower.
I’m half tempted to jerk off, but the familiar fear of discovery and disclosure, from an earlier time in my life, stops me.
It’s called a lock. They go on doors. You’re rich, get both.
Elena would not be pleased.
So here’s a question. Would Elena not be pleased that he didn’t jack off? Or would she not be pleased that he didn’t jack off because he was afraid to get caught? And what’s this about disclosure? I really hope this book explains a little more about his relationship with Elena and how it fucked him up this bad, but I know it won’t because that would make it interesting.
As the water cascades over my head I reflect on my latest interaction with the challenging Miss Steele. She’s still here, in my bed, so she cannot find me completely repulsive. I noticed the way her breath caught in her throat, and how her gaze followed me around the room.
And of course, this line of reasoning goes straight to whether or not she would make a good
sex toy submissive.
It’s obvious she knows nothing of the lifestyle. She couldn’t even say “fuck” or “sex” or whatever bookish college students use as a euphemism for fucking these days.
You know, I know my share of people who are in “the lifestyle.” And I rarely hear them spouting off about it in situations where it’s not generally discussed. Say, when they go to coffee with someone they don’t know very well. Or when they’re at work. Or when they wake up disoriented in a hotel room with someone who admits to undressing them while they were unconscious. Chedward assumes Ana doesn’t know anything about BDSM because she’s never talked about it, but when, exactly, was she supposed to casually bring it up in conversation?
And maybe the reason she didn’t say “fuck” or “sex” when she asked “We didn’t–” was because you interrupted her, as implied by the fact that her dialogue ended on an em dash right before yours began.
Chedward laments to himself that Ana’s only sexual experiences thus far must have been “fumbling” that she’s been “subjected” to, and therefore not satisfactory. And he can tell all this because of how she responded to being basically kidnapped by a stranger.
He decides to see how breakfast goes before asking her if she wants to be his submissive. What a gentleman. There’s a paragraph detailing every step of getting out of the shower, then he goes back into the bedroom, in a towel, I assume, because him putting pants on isn’t mentioned. When he comes out of the bathroom, she’s looking for her clothes.
She looks up like the archetypal startled fawn, all long legs and big eyes.
Because she thought she would have time to escape. And since when are fawns an archetype? I feel like 70% of the words in this book are used because they seemed smart at the time, but the actual definitions weren’t important.
He tells Ana that he sent her clothes to the laundry because they were covered in vomit, but he had new clothes bought for her.
Grabbing the bag, she dodges around me, darts into the bathroom, and locks the door.
Hmm…she couldn’t get into the bathroom quick enough.
Away from me.
At this point, my stomach actually aches from laughing, because I’m trying to imagine what would have happened if this book had been released before the others. It would have flopped. We would have never heard of E.L. James. Because instead of an enigmatic, sexy romantic hero, she’s delivered unto us a confused stalker/kidnapper who doesn’t realize he’s stalking or kidnapping. It reminds me of Jonathan Coulton’s song “Skullcrusher Mountain,” in which the mad scientist can’t figure out why the heroine doesn’t like the genetic monster he’s “ruined a pony” to create for her.
The room service arrives, and of course it’s two beautiful young women delivering the food and they can’t stop looking at Chedward:
“Just call room service when you want the table cleared, sir,” Miss Dark Eyes says with a coquettish look, as if she’s offering more.
Newsflash, Chedward: she has to smile at you. It’s her job.
Remember how in the original trilogy, every woman who gives Chedward a sideways glance gets some version of “Miss [physical trait]” slapped on her by Ana? Isn’t it funny how similar Ana and Christian’s internal monologues are? The fact that this device shows up in both books makes me feel like it’s author intrusion. It’s not Ana or Christian who are annoyed by feminine attention toward him, it’s the author’s irritation that any character other than her self-insert (yeah, I’m going there. Fight me) would dare lust after him. On the flip-side, she has to prove that he’s attractive enough to be a trophy, so she has to include these vile bitches who want to steal him away. This attitude creeps into both narratives in the exact same form: woman’s innocuous action is interpreted as flirtation with Christian, assumed flirtation is rebuffed, woman is criticized or branded with a critical nickname.
In summation, it’s not Chedward or Ana hating on these women, it’s E.L., because he’s hers, all hers, and that’s why both characters have the same voice in those situations.
While Christian waits for Ana, he gets a text from Elliot saying that Kate wants to know if Ana is alive.
I chuckle, somewhat mollified that Ana’s so-called friend is thinking about her.
Who is Kate, E.L.? How did she hurt you?
Ana comes out and of course she looks beautiful in the clothes Taylor picked. Christian tells her that he texted Elliot to let Kate know Ana is alive, then they sit down to the massive breakfast he’s apparently ordered.
I didn’t know what you liked, so I ordered a selection from the breakfast menu,” I mutter by way of an apology.
“That’s very profligate of you,” she says.
Or it’s polite. But then again, he did just kidnap you, Ana, so I’ll give you this one. But sending you the books and buying you the clothes would probably be a better example of his profligate behavior.
Ana starts eating the equivalent of a Ron Swanson afternoon snack, and Chedward thinks about how good it is that she’s eating.
“Your hair’s very damp,” I observe.
“I couldn’t find the hair dryer,” she says, embarrassed.
She’ll get sick.
Was she not supposed to get her hair wet in the shower? Is that going to be against the rules in your submissive contract? This exchanged boggled me in the last recap, too. Like, does his hair never get wet? And how does a twenty-seven or twenty-eight year old not already know that wet hair doesn’t get you sick? I was under the impression that this was something everyone born after 1950 already knew.
He tells her that color of the blouse he paid for suits her.
She stares down at her fingers.
“You know, you really should learn to take a compliment.”
Perhaps she doesn’t get many…but why? She’s gorgeous in an understated way.
While I try to wrap my head around how something can be excessive (as implied by gorgeous) but also subtle (as implied by understated), let’s move on to the “learn to take a compliment” bullshit. Men who say that only say it when women don’t respond to their compliments. When a man compliments a woman, she should obviously show slavish appreciation. Male approval is the thing women crave most in life, after all.
“Why did you send me the books, Christian?”
Because I wanted to see you again, and here you are…
But she’s not there because of the books. She’s there because you brought her there while she was unconscious. Nothing about her presence in your hotel room was her choice, apart from the fact that she didn’t climb out the bathroom window. Christian tells Ana that he gave her the books to warn her away from him:
“I felt I owed you an apology and a warning. Anastasia, I’m not a hearts-and-flowers kind of man. I don’t do romance. My tastes are very singular. You should steer clear of me. There’s something about you, though, and I’m finding it impossible to stay away. But I think you’ve figured that out already.”
“‘It would be more…prudent for you not to be my friend,’ he explained. ‘But I’m tired of trying to stay away from you, Bella.'”
I had to quote this dialogue so I could make fun of it again. HOW IS SOMETHING “VERY” SINGULAR? IT’S EITHER SINGULAR OR IT’S NOT! YOU CAN’T GET MORE SINGULAR. IF YOU’RE LESS SINGULAR, YOU’RE NOT SINGULAR ANYMORE. That phrase is a gift from above, my friends.
“Then don’t,” she whispers.
My daughter was watching Twilight yesterday and I heard the following:
Edward: “I don’t have the strength to stay away from you anymore.”
Bella: “Then don’t.”
The plagiarism is so blatant. In the break I had from thinking about these stupid books, I’d forgotten that. Luckily for E.L. James so did everyone in publishing, the movie industry, and all of her readers. She’ll just get a pass for the rest of time. I can’t wait until she has to write an actual book of her own that isn’t ripped off from Stephenie Meyer. I really look forward to seeing what she comes up with.
They have the “Enlighten me, then” conversation, in which she asks him if he’s celibate, and he’s says he’s not, but we get his added thought:
And if you’d let me tie you up I’d prove it to you right now.
Does it really matter if she lets you? Because you’re not just “not a hearts-and-flowers kind of man,” you’re also “not an enthusiastic consent kind of man,” either. Christian asks Ana what her plans are for the next few days, and she remembers, hey, she has a life outside of being a hostage and she has to work and pack for her move. She tells Christian she’s moving to Seattle and applying for jobs, and he asks her if she’s applied to work for him yet. Then she bites her lip and he tells her he wants to bite her lip, but he can’t:
“Because I’m not going to touch you, Anastasia–not until I have your written consent to do so.”
Once he has that written consent, though, it gives him cart blanche to your body for the rest of your entire life. Enjoy.
Christian tells her that since she’ll never want to talk to him again once she finds out his deep, dark, darkity-dark dark secret, he won’t tell her over breakfast. She agrees to have dinner with him that night.
“Like Eve, you’re so quick to eat from the tree of knowledge,” I taunt her.
“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb.”
Christian arranges to have his helicopter flown to Portland, and to take Ana home immediately as soon as she finds out he’s interested in the mildest forms of bondage and impact play possible.
“Do people always do what you tell them?” she asks, and the disapproval in her voice is obvious. Is she scolding me now? Her challenge is annoying.
“Usually, if they want to keep their jobs.” Don’t question how I treat my staff.
Yeah, don’t question him, Ana. Because if you do, you might realize he’s a huge fucking dick.
Christian tells Ana to finish her breakfast, and when she doesn’t immediately start jamming food in her mouth:
“Eat!” My voice is more forceful. “Anastasia, I have an issue with wasted food. Eat.”
But…you’re the one who ordered everything off the fucking menu.
“Eat what’s on your plate. If you’d eaten properly yesterday, you wouldn’t be here, and I wouldn’t be declaring my hand so soon.”
Then, after telling her he’ll take her home when her hair is dry:
You’ll need all your strength for tonight, for what I have to show you.
I love that Christian Grey thinks he’s so fucking kinky. It kills me. “You’ll need all your strength to find out that I want to braid your hair and put a blindfold on you and gently trail a riding crop over your skin before fucking you. I’ll have paramedics on standby to treat you for shock.”
Ana asks where Chedward slept the night before, and he tells her that he slept in the bed, and of course she flushes, although here it’s described as “telltale pink cheeks appear,” because someone in the get-this-book-from-author-to-Amazon process probably saw the criticism of the first series and went, “You know… it does seem like that word came up a lot.”
He tells her that he’s never slept with anyone. Ana dries her hair while Christian calls Andrea to get a non-disclosure agreement. More stuff happens, like Christian name-dropping Darfur and liking how Ana’s hair looks, then they leave and get into the elevator.
In the close confines of the elevator, I’m completely aware of her. A trace of her sweet fragrance invades my senses…Her breathing alters, hitching a little, and she peeks up at me with a bright come-hither look.
She bites her lip.
She’s doing this on purpose.
I hate this part of Christian’s on-going narrative. He thinks Ana is naive and totally sexless, while also believing that everything she does is a tease to turn him on. Can’t have it both ways, buddy.
Thanks for the update.
I want her.
In the elevator.
That’s like when people
keep hitting enter
it makes their
“Oh, fuck the paperwork.” The words come from nowhere and on instinct I grab her and push her against the wall.
“Oh, fuck consent.” There, fixed it.
Clasping both her hands, I pin them above her head so she can’t touch me, and once she’s secure, I twist my other hand in her hair while my lips seek and find hers.
She moans into my mouth, the call of a siren, and finally I can sample her: mint and tea and an orchard of mellow fruitfulness.
She tastes like words directly cribbed from a well-known poem by Keats? “Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness!” Yeah, nobody was going to notice that.
She tastes every bit as good as she looks. Reminding me of a time of plenty.
Of autumn, maybe?
Of course the elevator doors open and their poetic and unattributed face-sucking is interrupted. People get on the elevator with them and give them “knowing looks”, and Chedward is all like, what has she done to me, because he’s obviously helpless to control himself and it’s not his fault. Then Ana smiles at him, and it’s the first indication in the entire chapter that she likes him at all. After the guys get out of the elevator, we have to experience this again:
“You’ve brushed your teeth,” I observe with wry amusement.
“I used your toothbrush,” she says, eyes shining.
OH GOD WHY. All I can think about is that episode of How I Met Your Mother where Marshall, Lily, and Ted learn they’ve all been using the same toothbrush by accident. This grosses me out beyond anything I can even possibly conceive of.
Story time: the batteries on my electric toothbrush went out recently, so Mr. Jen said he changed the head of mine to his so I could use it. At least, that’s what I thought he said. What he actually said was, “Remind me to change the head of your toothbrush to mine.” He hadn’t done it yet. So I ended up brushing my teeth with his toothbrush. I didn’t even run hot water over it or anything.
I used SO MUCH mouthwash.
And no, it’s not the same thing as kissing him, because when I kiss him I don’t suck the plaque and food debris off his fucking teeth. I don’t know what kind of kissing people are doing that they can compare the two, but I’m glad I’m not kissing those people.
I take her hand and the elevator doors open on the ground floor, and I mutter under my breath, “What is it about elevators?” She gives me a knowing look as we stroll across the polished marble of the lobby.
Not only should there be a paragraph break after “elevators,” it’s also the second “knowing look” on this page.
In the next recap, we’ll cover whatever is in chapter six of Fifty Shades of Grey. Which I’m sure will be fascinating.