Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fifty Shades Darker chapter 12 recap, or "Piano for Dummies"

Okay, I'm going to be straight with you, before we dive into the recap like you're not supposed to dive into your ass. I am about to abuse my readership with a sinister ulterior motive. My kid is doing this fundraiser thing. The whole point is to raise money to go to Mackinac Island for a few days and learn about Michigan history. If you support educational trips, or Michigan, or me getting rid of my kid for a few days, or you're a Somewhere In Time fan who just spazzes out about anything to do with Mackinac Island, then check out this (fundraiser over) and see if there's anything you could use that would help some lucky writer get three whole kidless days while her son is stranded on an island that doesn't allow automobiles.

Now, here is the thing, I don't want you to think, "Jesus, she just did that really manipulative thing where she promised us more recaps if we raised a thousand bucks for her stranded friend, now she's trying to bilk us for more cash?" No. Not at all. I have nothing to emotionally blackmail you with this time. It's not like I'm going to withhold recaps from you or anything. I'm just thinking of this as more like United States of Tara, where her daughter dresses up like a mythological Norse princess and sits in cake for perverts to masturbate to, and then they buy things off her Amazon.com wishlist. I realize that I just made myself a sexy teen and you guys a bunch of perverts, but overlook that for a second, will you?

Wait a minute, did anyone else see that show? Didn't she meet a weird kinky billionaire doing the webcam stuff? Like, he was looking to jack off to her, but then he wanted an emotional connection? Oh my god, is 50 Shades plagiarized off United States of Tara too? I completely forgot what we were talking about before.

Oh, right. Anyway, I'm not emotionally blackmailing you. I'm just suggesting that if you're in the mood for catalogue candy or emotionally distant Christmas gifts for the people in your office or family members you don't like, that link might be handy. I think it's US shipping only, though.

Anyway, the link I really want to concentrate on today is this HILARIOUS news, courtesy of The Guardian, in which E.L. states:
"I've actually written myself into the book; I play a very tiny cameo role and I might try and do that if I'm asked to ... we'll see," she said, adding: "It'd be interesting to know if people can find me in the books." 
I have a theory of my own. E.L. wrote herself into the book as Ana's subconscious. I've solved the mystery, folks. She has glasses and a sour expression. That's who it is. But I would love to know your theories in the comments.

The article linked above also holds this nugget in a biscuit:
"I have three people who could play Christian and I think four who could play Ana, and I'm not going to tell you any of them."
"I have three people who could play Christian, and they're all Robert Pattinson in Cosmopolis, and I think four who could play Ana, but I can't tell you their names because they don't exist because Ana is ME, DAMN YOU! ME!"

Okay, so where we last left Ana and Christian, they were in Christian's apartment and Mrs. Lincoln, AKA Mrs. Robinson, has just shown up totally unannounced and they're waiting for her to get out of the elevator. Ana asks Christian if he talked to her, and he says that he did, and he told her he didn't like her going behind his back. Ana asks why Mrs. Robinson is there, and Christian says he has "no idea," but I'm pretty sure I know why. It's because no one in this book has any sense of boundaries.

Taylor comes in and actually announces Mrs. Robinson like he's the Major Domo of the living room or some shit. Ana immediately feels insecure:
Why is she so damned attractive? She's dressed entirely in black: tight jeans, a shirt that emphasizes her perfect figure, and a halo of bright, glossy hair.
Being blonde isn't an item of clothing, Ana, you can't be dressed in it. Also, bright glossy hair isn't black. I always wonder how long it will take me to find the first badly constructed sentence in each chapter, and I think this one set a record by being on the first page.

Mrs. Robinson has no freaking clue why Ana would be there:
She gapes at me in shock, frozen to the spot. She blinks before finding her soft voice. "I'm sorry. I didn't realize you had company, Christian. It's Monday," she says as if this explains why she's here.
Chedward is basically like "Duh, girlfriend," and Ana shows her up, I guess:
"Of course. Hello, Anastasia. I didn't know you'd be here. I know you don't want to talk to me. I accept that."
"Do you?" I assert quietly, gazing at her and taking all of us by surprise.
Now, I understand what this is saying, that Ana matches Mrs. Robinson in a game of wits or power or something here, but I don't see why it says that. After all, you can't assert something quietly, can you? It would be like when Liz Lemon thought she was being bullied, and she muttered all her comebacks at the bullies. It's not assertive at all.

 But I'm sure Ana could rock that perm. Oh, hey, look, blonde on brunette violence.

Now, Ana is plainly uncomfortable, and Elena has already been asked once not to butt in, so of course, Christian tells her to get gone.
"Do you want a drink?"
Oh. Well, he can do that, too.

Christian gets everyone wine while Ana tries to decide if she should stay for their conversation or leave.  She decides to stay, even though the entire room just dropped about twenty degrees in the space between her and Mrs. Robinson. Elena is hesitant to discuss her problem in front of Ana, but Christian makes it clear that there are no secrets between them. Turns out, Mrs. Robinson is being blackmailed, probably because there aren't enough subplots in this fucking book already.

Let's count them, shall we?

SUBPLOTS SO FAR IN 50 SHADES DARKER

  1. Leila the sub trying to murder Ana and/or Christian.
  2. Ana's boss trying to get into her pants.
  3. SIP's takeover by Grey Holdings Inc. Transworld LLC
  4. Elena being blackmailed
  5. Mrs. Jones and Taylor carrying on a hot affair. Okay, maybe not this last one.
Now, multiple subplots aren't a bad thing. You know, in genres like... EPIC FANTASY. It didn't work for Twilight, it's not working here. In both series, the subplots like a murderous ex sub or a murderous vampire are thrown in after we already know that the end game has been accomplished. We know that despite their lack of chemistry on the page, Ana and Christian are going to end up together. We know by the end of the second book that Bella and Edward are going to be together forever, but in order to spin the story out into needless sequels that don't really add anything but misogyny and gender stereotyping, there needs to be some element of easily resolved danger. And don't give me that shit about the Volturi being so scary and shit. All he had to do was make Bella into a vampire. It's how the second book should have ended, and it would have had more emotional punch than watching a werewolf go through puberty and a vampire baby being eaten out of Bella's stomach.

I've gone off track again, but my point is this: if your subplots are highlighting the extremely weak or nonexistent tension in your main plot, then you have a real problem with your book. If your readers are more interested in what side characters are doing, then you need to figure out what is making your main characters so not interesting, and you need to have them do the opposite of that. That's your writing lesson for the day.

Anyway, Elena says she's being blackmailed:
Holy shit. Not what I expected out of her mouth. Christian stiffens. Has someone found out about her penchant for beating and fucking underage boys? I suppress my revulsion, and a fleeting thought about chickens coming home to roost crosses my mind.
Why are you suppressing your revulsion, Ana? On the list of things it's okay to have revulsion about, having sex with kids is pretty high up. Above ten, certainly. Above five, let's say. Okay. Having sex with kids is the worst thing a person can do. So, feel as disgusted and utterly repulsed as you want, Ana. I'm on your side.

Mrs. Robinson gets out a letter, and Christian won't touch it because he doesn't want to get his fingerprints on it. Ana is still wondering if this has something to do with underaged boys. Ana wants to go, but Christian ain't having it:
I try to retrieve my hand from Christian's grasp, but he just tightens his hold and turns to gaze at me.
Creeeeeepy. Why does Ana need to stand there and hear Mrs. Robinson's personal business? Ana tells Christian she's tired and she wants to go to bed, but what she really does is stand in the hallway and eavesdrop. The good news is, even though Elena came over with a pretty fucking dire problem, the second Ana is ready to eavesdrop, the conversation turns to her:
"She knows me better than anyone."
"Ouch! That hurts."
"It's the truth, Elena. I don't have to play games with her. And I mean it, leave her alone."
"What is her problem?"
"You... what we were. What we did. She doesn't understand."
"Make her understand."
Whoa, what the fuck. Here the rapist (and notice, I have consistently referred to Mrs. Robinson as a rapist, commenter on the last post who tried to assert that I have some kind of blinders on to the rampant evil that is "female privilege") is trying to make the victim apologize for his own rape to his new girlfriend. Because this book wasn't fucked up enough.

They talk about his bad self-image for a few lines, then Mrs. Robinson says:
"Have a little faith in yourself. You really are quite a catch. I've told you often enough. And she seems lovely, too. Strong. Someone to stand up to you."
I can't hear Christian's response. So I'm strong, am I?
Yeah, you didn't hear literally every side character praise you for that already? Because it's happened about sixty or seventy times, and the interesting thing is, you've yet to display one example of this supposed strength. It's certainly not emotional or intellectual. I'm guessing she can lift a car over her head?

Mrs. Robinson asks Christian if he misses going into the playroom, and he kicks her out. Well, they have a boring argument in which he reasserts how much Ana means to him, and then he kicks Mrs. Robinson out. So, the entire blackmail subplot seems to have been a stupid way to try and either add tension to the plot, which didn't work, or to give us exposition on how Christian feels about Ana, which was unnecessary. One might go so far as to put forth that for the author of a Mary Sue, it is unthinkable to go a few pages without reasserting the wonderfulness of her idealized self, but that's only if one is slightly into snarking fanfic. Ahem.

Before Elena leaves, Christian asks if Welch should check out this whole blackmail thing. But isn't Welch tirelessly searching for Leila the danger sub? Ana isn't worried about that, she's trying to make sure Elena isn't moving in for the kill:
I listen to them bickering, trying to figure this out. They do sound like old friends, as Christian says. Just friends. And she cares about him - maybe too much. Well, would anybody who knew him not care?
Who has two thumbs and doesn't care about Christian Grey?

When Elena leaves, Ana has to hurry to Chedward's bedroom so she doesn't get caught eavesdropping. But I bet Taylor totally caught her on the Taylorvision wired up throughout the apartment. Ana tries to get Christian to tell her a little more about his relationship with Elena, and it goes... not great:
I gaze up at him, trying to frame my question. "Will you tell me alla bout her? I am trying to understand why you think she helped you." I pause, thinking carefully about my next sentence. "I loathe her, Christian. It hink she did you untold damage. You have no friends. Did she keep them away from you?"
He sighs and runs his hand through his hair.
"Why the fuck do you want to know about her? We had a very long-standing affair, she beat the shit out of me often, and I fucked her in all sorts of ways you can't even imagine, end of story."
Ladies, this is the romantic hero of your dreams. Who hasn't wanted their boyfriend to say the exact same thing to them about his ex and all the hot sex they had back in the day?

After his blowup, Christian calms down a little and asks her what she wants to know. So, of course she can't ask him now, and insists she's not jealous:
"I'm not jealous." I'm wounded that he would think that - or am I? Shit. Maybe that's what this is.
That's what this is. Mystery solved, everybody. No need to thank me.

Christian tells Ana he's been in love with her since her trip to Georgia:
"I loved you then, Anastasia," he whispers. "You're the only person I'd fly three thousand miles to see."
Whether you want me to or not.
"Ironically, it was Elena who pointed it out to me. She encouraged me to go to Georgia."
That's not what irony means. Also, I wonder if she did that to try and sabotage the relationship. "Yeah, I'll send him to Georgia, see? And then she'll get freaked out by how stalkery he is, see? And then she'll dump him, because no dame in her right mind would keep going out with a fella who dogs her all the way to her mother's house. Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket!"

I think in the movie of 50 Shades, Ana should be played by Bugs Bunny in a dress.

Ana starts to think that maybe Mrs. Robinson isn't so bad, that all she wants to do is protect Christian, and then she's like, oh wait, she's a child rapist. Christian tells her again that the relationship was consensual, that he subbed for Mrs. Robinson and Mrs. Robinson subbed for him, and that she has a new, totally of-legal-age sub, but he's pretty much done discussing the subject:
"Look, Anastasia, as I said to her, she's part of my past. You are my future. Don't let her come between us, please. And quite frankly, I'm really bored of this subject. I'm going to do some work." He stands and gazes down at me. "Let it go. Please."
Yeah, Ana, let it go, because he's bored of this particular relationship problem, even if it's unresolved for you.

Christian tells Ana that, oh, by the way, her new car came a day early, but she can't drive it because Leila might be hiding in the glove box or something. It's just safer for Sawyer to follow her everywhere. Christian also puts another restriction on her work day: if she's going to leave the building, she has to call him. He makes a jab about not being able to trust her, which is hilarious coming from a guy who keeps files on everyone he fucked.
Can we ever have a normal conversation without it disintegrating into an argument? It's exhausting.
No shit, you should try blogging about it some time.

Ana has the fucking staggering realization that maybe moving in with someone you've only been dating for a little over a week might be a really stupid idea, but I'm not going to bore you with that because we all know that they're going to end up moving in together, anyway, and it's going to be the most perfect love ever recorded in prose.

Ana goes out onto the balcony to dramatically think about her relationship:
With a heavy sigh and a last glance at Seattle spread like cloths of gold at my feet, I decide to call Ray.
Because everyone knows that when you're looking at a romantic vista, the first thing you think is, "I should call my dad."

Ana calls her dad, and they chat very briefly, and it ends like this:
"Love you, Dad."
"Love you, too, Annie."
I hang up and check my watch. It's only ten. Because of our discussion, I am feeling strangely innervated and restless.
She's obviously talking about the discussion she had with Christian, but it's phrased like she's talking about the discussion with her father, in which he told her about a soccer match (because beer drinking, hard-fishin', all-American sumbitches like Ray are really into soccer) and she says things are going good with Christian, and that is like, all. Which is funny. Pronoun confusion is funny.

It's outselling Harry Potter. It's not funny.

Ana takes a shower and puts on a fancy nightie:
In the mirror, I look like a 1930's movie star. It's long, elegant - and very un-me.
You can't do that. You can't be like, "I look like a movie star," in one sentence, and then be all sad trombone noise of ugliness and despair in the next one. No one is buying it, Ana. Downplaying your attractiveness doesn't make you more sympathetic to the reader, especially when you're always doing it on the heels of telling us how amazing you look.

The library is where the pool table is, so when Ana goes looking for a book, she ends up getting all flushy at the memory of having sex in there. She also finds the ruler, which she picks up and thwacks on her palm, while lamenting:
Why can't I take a little more pain for my man?
I'm sorry, I just rage blacked out for a second. Did I miss anything?

Ana picks Rebecca to read, and while she's reading she falls asleep, because that is a very boring book. Well, that's not what it says in the text, it's just more my commentary on that book. Inaccessible and dry, and this is coming from a Melville fan, okay? But it's kind of funny, since Rebecca is basically an AU fanfic of Jane Eyre.

Anyway, Christian has to come in and find Ana and carry her to bed, where hours later she wakes from "a disturbing dream" and hears the piano playing. Yes, again. And she goes out and watches Christian play as he sits in his "bubble of light." Yes, again. Although Ana says:
The whole scene looks different somehow, and I realize that the piano lid is down, giving me an unhindered view.
Oh, well, if the piano lid is down this time, that changes everything, and I can totally pretend I didn't already read this scene twice already. When he's done playing, he looks up and says:
"Do you have any idea how desirable you look at this moment?" he says, his voice soft.
Do you mean, does she have any idea how desirable she looks in the nightgown you bought her, Christian? Thanks for propping up my theory about the "Do you have any idea"s.
"Why do we fight?" he whispers, as his teeth graze my earlobe.
Because you're both emotionally stunted people who have no clue what a healthy relationship looks like because the only examples you've had are a mother who is a serial monogamist and an older women who molested you, and you're both trying to skip over any internal growth or healing in the interest of speeding to what you view as the finish line of the relationship? This is just off the top of my head.

Of course, the author can't acknowledge this, because it doesn't fit in with her Mary Sue NANOWRIMO, so instead, they get hit with insta-lust and forget what they were fighting about.
"You feel so fine under this material, and I can see everything - even this." He tugs gently on my pubic hair through the fabric, making me gasp, while his other hand fists in my hair at my nape.
Hey, no fisting. It's in the sex contract. The pube pulling is fine, though. If that's what you're into.
Suddenly he rises, startling me, and he lifts me onto the piano. My feet rest on the keys, sounding discordant, disjointed notes, and his hands skim up my legs and part my knees.
Well, someone has been watching Pretty Woman while they write, haven't they?

Is nothing sacred?

The lid is hard and uncompromising against my back. He lets go and pushes my legs open wider, my feet dancing over the keys, over the lower and higher notes.
Then he goes down on her on the piano, which so didn't happen in Pretty Woman, so this scene isn't like that scene at all. Except for the tortured young billionaire who wants to take over a company and build something positive, rather than destroy it. And the whole sex as a business transaction thing. And the emotional distance that seems impossible to overcome, due to the hero's control freak nature.

Juuuuuuuust saying.

Christian gets up on top of the piano, and they fuck up there. Which is not a great idea, piano owners. Just a heads up, while those lids are strong, they're not made to bear the weight of two idiots vigorously humping.

After the aforementioned humping, Ana tells Christian that she would have brought him coffee or tea when he was working, but she didn't know what he liked.
"Oh, I see. Water or wine in the evening, Ana. Though maybe I should try tea."
He only has water or wine because he's Christ. This entire thing is an allegory for how religion beats up on women. I see it so clearly now.
The alarm goes off with the six a.m. traffic news, and I am rudely awakened form my disturbing dream of overly blonde and dark-haired women. I can't grasp what it's about, and I'm immediately distracted because Christian Grey is wrapped around me like silk, his unruly-haired head on my chest, his hand on my breast, his leg over me, holding me down.
I like how Christian has become the literal interpretation of an anchor, because it makes my job here a lot easier. Why does Ana consider being awakened from a bad dream being rude? Did she want to linger in her strange hell dream where other women dare to exist? But at least she's only extending her subconscious hatred toward overly blonde and dark-haired women. If your hair is red, or light brown, or ashy blonde, you're probably okay. But ROFLMAO to the fact that she just can't figure out what that dream could possibly mean. It's not like she doesn't spend every moment of every day obsessing over all the women who might steal her boyfriend away.

When Christian wakes, Ana asks him if he still has nightmares, and if so,
"What are your nightmares about?"
Well, gee, Ana, I sure don't know. As a toddler he was once left alone for days with the decomposing corpse that used to be his mommy. I just don't know what his nightmares could possibly be about.

Christian tells Ana that he's never cried before, and then Ana thinks the subject is too dark for that early in the morning, which makes me wonder why she asked in the first place. After all, it's not like she doesn't know Christian's history, or that terrible shit happened to him. What did she honestly think a question like, "What are your nightmares about?" would result in?

She asks him if he has any good memories, and he spins her this heartwarming tale:
"I recall the crack whore baking. I remember the smell. A birthday cake, I think. For me. And then there's Mia's arrival with my mom and dad. My mom was worried about my reaction, but I adored baby Mia immediately. My first word was Mia. I remember my first piano lesson. Miss Kathie, my tutor, was awesome. She kept horses, too." He smiles wistfully.
"You said your mom saved you. How?"
His reverie is broken, and he gazes at me as if I don't understand the elementary math of two plus two.
Dude, you clearly don't. You finally get him talking about happier times, and then you immediately bring it right back to, "Hey, remember when you got adopted because your real mom o.d.ed and you ended up stuck in an apartment with her dead body for days? Let's talk about that some more."

Christian tells her a little about his adopted mom, but says that it's too early in the morning for this bullshit to be so deep, and he changes the subject with sex. A merciful cutaway saves us from simultaneous orgasms on command (but not from "Oh, what I'd like to do to you," and repeated uses of "Miss Steele"), and then it's time for breakfast with Mrs. Jones.

Ana asks Christian when she's going to see the personal trainer (remember, that was a part of the contract, that she had to train with Christian's "Olympic champion" kickboxing trainer, and BTW, still no kickboxing at the Olympics), and Christian says he'll check with Andrea:
"Andrea?"
"My PA."
Oh yes. "One of your many blondes," I tease him.
SHE IS JUST TEASING, SEE SHE IS NOT INSECURE IN THE FACE OF BLONDE WOMEN!
"She's not mine. She works for me. You're mine."
"I work for you," I mutter sourly.
Well, then he's obviously cheating on you with her. You two should break up before this book gets any longer.

Christian and Ana talk about the piano sex in front of Mrs. Jones, but they do it in an almost Navajo Windtalkers code that no one could possibly crack:
I glance behind me at the piano, savoring the memory of last night. "You put the lid of the piano back up."
"I closed it last night so as not to disturb you. Guess it didn't work, but I'm glad it didn't." Christian's lips twitch into a lascivious smile as he takes a bite of omelet. I go crimson and smirk back at him.
Yeah, Mrs. Jones probably didn't pick any of that up.

By the way, is anyone else imagining Mrs. Jones as Shirley Jones in Grandma's Boy?

Just me, huh?

Mrs. Jones gives Ana her brown bag lunch, because this is the first day of kindergarten and her billionaire boyfriend can't spare the environment and buy her a damned lunch box:
I give her a shy smile, which she reciprocates warmly before leaving the great room. I suspect it's to give us some privacy.
Or she just wants to get the hell out of there before she has to listen to more of your barely disguised sex talk.

IT'S CAN BE CONVERSATIONS TIMES:
"Can I ask you something?" I turn back to Christian.
His amused expression slips. "Of course."
"And you won't be angry?"
"Is it about Elena?"
"No."
"Then I won't be angry."
"But now I have a supplementary question."
"Oh?"
"Which is about her."
He rolls his eyes. "What?" he says, and now he's exasperated.
"Why do you get so mad when I ask you about her?"
Is that the supplementary question, or a question wholly unrelated to what she's going to ask and then follow up with the supplementary question? Also, why should Christian be mad at Ana for bringing up Mrs. Robinson? It's not Ana's fault that Mrs. Robinson keeps trying to shoe horn herself into Christian and Ana's relationship. She's trying to squeeze into them like a pair of jeans from her high school days she's bound and determined to wear to the class reunion, and it just ain't happening, but no one wants to tell her that while she's wrenching on the zipper with forceps.
"Honestly?"
I scowl at him. "I thought you were always honest with me."
 "I endeavor to be."
I narrow my eyes at him. "That sounds like a very evasive answer."
"I am always honest with you, Ana. I don't want to play games. Well, not those sorts of games," he qualifies, as his eyes heat. 
Let's just take a look at Christian's track record with honesty, shall we? And we're going to do it with a little meme known as Scumbag Steve. Scumbag Steve, take it away!




I would keep going, but that kid's face just makes me angry.

The entire stupid point of the entire stupid conversation is that Ana wants to be clear that he only had sex with his subs on the weekends, so he's not used to having sex during the week. Really? We had to sit through all that, just so we could know... what, exactly? That Ana is better than all the other subs? We knew that already, by virtue of her Mary Sueness. Thanks for wasting my life, E.L..

On the drive to work - Ana can't drive her new car because danger - Christian reminds Ana that Kate's brother, Ethan, will be returning from the now seemingly eternal Barbados trip. Ana tells Christian that she'll have to go back to her apartment, and he's not real hip to that idea because danger. Ana suggests it might be easier if she had that brand new Saab Christian bought her, and he shoots that down, saying that Sawyer will pick her up and take her and Ethan to the apartment. Now, you and I both know that it's not for Ana's "protection" but for Christian's peace of mind. He's sending Sawyer along as a chaperone, so Ana doesn't have sex with Ethan. Because he trusts her.

Christian also warns Ana that she's not allowed to go anywhere one her own, and should call him if that need arises during the day. She's also supposed to email him on her Blackberry, because the idiots finally figured out that, hey, you can send emails from accounts other than the monitored ones at your place of business. You know, Christian, she has a Blackberry... you could just text back and forth, too.

Then Christian gets a call from Mrs. Robinson, telling him that the blackmail letter was from her sub and part of a sex game. Well, correction, we're never told that at all. What we get is:
"You're kidding... For a scene... When did he tell you this?" Christian chuckles, almost reluctantly. "No, don't worry. You don't have to apologize. I'm glad there's a logical explanation. It did seem a ridiculously low amount of money... I have no doubt you've something evil and creative planned for your revenge. Poor Isaac."
And so on, until Ana asks who it was and Christian says she doesn't want to know. I've tried to make it very clear that I'm not a professional detective, but let me just state again, in case you mistakenly attribute my keen instincts to some kind of specialized training in the field of criminal science, that even though I figured this mystery out, I am not, in fact, employed by any law enforcement agency, nor do I solve crimes for money. Shocking, I know. Here's another mind blower: the entire blackmail subplot really was just a device to further explore how great Ana is and how Christian's love for her is super strong. That's it. A huge chunk of this chapter, a new subplot, and for nothing. Handily wrapped up once Ana and Christian have an opportunity to fight about it and fuck some more. You should definitely feel mind violated right now.

Ana gets in to work and chats with Claire the receptionist, who is black and therefore not a threat in the way every other woman in the story is. You think I'm kidding?
"Your boyfriend is so dreamy, Ana," she says, her eyes glazing over.
I am tempted to roll my eyes at her.
"He's not bad-looking." I smile and we both start laughing.
Now, compare that reaction to the reaction Ana has had any time a white girl has thought Christian is attractive. Ana isn't giving Claire a bitchy nickname. She isn't criticizing her at all. In fact, she has a laugh with her about how sexy Christian is. If Claire were a white girl with blonde hair, this scenario would be a lot different, and what that tells me is that Ana doesn't find women of color to be in her league in terms of attractiveness and man-catching abilities. Or maybe Ana doesn't think Christian will stray across race lines, or maybe she doesn't think women of color are worthy of her boyfriend? There really is a lot of weird racial stuff in these books, isn't there?

Jack Hyde is super crabby, and he tells Ana to be alert for any clue as to what is going on with upper management, because he senses change on the wind. But he manages to do it in the most misogynistic way possible:
"There's something going on at senior management level, and I don't know what it is. Keep your ear to the ground, okay? If you hear anything - I know how you girls talk." He grins at me, and I feel slightly sick. He has no idea how we "girls" talk. Besides, I know what's happening.
Of course, knowing what's happening brings up this other important point:
Oh, it's hard being in the know. What will he do when he finds out? My blood runs cold. Something tells me Jack will be annoyed.
Something tells me your boyfriend just got you fired, and here's why. You come to the company just before it's purchased by Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc. Water & Supply Wholesale LLC. & Co., and then it does get bought out, and you're just working as this lowly assistant who, oh hey, happens to be dating the guy who bought the company, guess what, you look like a spy. And even though Christian owns the company, there's really not a lot he can do to keep one specific low-level employee on the payroll, unless he's going to obsessively monitor the hirings and firings at SIP and require his approval on each one. Okay, so that's pretty likely. But still, once the news of this gets out, you're still going to look like a spy and none of the people you work with are going to trust you. Congratulations, your boyfriend fucked you in the ass, this time without a sex contract.

There is a pointless exchange of emails with Christian, and then a paragraph break until lunchtime, when Jack asks Ana to go and get him lunch. Like a good brainwashed slave, Ana calls Christian to let him know that she's leaving the building. Which he would probably have known anyway, because remember, he's having her followed.
"Christian, Jack has asked me to get his lunch."
"Lazy bastard," Christian gripes.
Um, excuse me, Mr. Billionaire, who gets your fucking lunch?


They have a little conversation while Christian works:
"Are you on your own?"
"No, there are six people staring at me right now, wondering who the hell I'm talking to." 
Shit... "Really?" I gasp, panicked.
"Yes. Really. My girlfriend," he announces away from the phone.
Holy cow! They probably all thought you were gay, you know."
Oh, good, I'd missed the whole "It's a tragedy if someone thinks your gay" thing that we had going for a good clip in the first book. Also, why is she panicking? It doesn't seem like a panic-type situation.

Christian says "Laters, baby," and six people in the room with him hear it. So, you know, he's not embarrassed to say that in front of people. If three of them were women, I guarantee they locked their office doors and masturbated to that.
When I exit seconds later, Sawyer is waiting on the doorstep of the building.
Really? Is he a ghost?

Ghost Sawyer accompanies Ana to the deli, while she thinks about Kate, the roommate who never returned:
I miss Kate. It's only been two weeks since she left for her vacation, but it feels like the longest two weeks of my life. So much has happened - she'll never believe me when I tell her. Well, tell her the edit, NDA-compliant version.
Please note, the NDA is not discussed in this book at all. So, if you picked up this book before the first one, you'd have no idea what she's talking about. Or if you let a long time go by between books. Or if you slipped and hit your head in the shower and lost the part of your brain that remembers the first book. Please tell me, by the way, if you're a neurosurgeon and you believe such an injury could be possible. Because I'd like to get one.

Ana asks Sawyer where he is when he's watching her all day, and as it turns out, he's just sitting in the coffee shop across the street, creepily watching Ana's building. Ana asks him if he knows what Leila looks like, and if he has a picture, but he says he just remembers what Leila looks like. Since Leila and Ana look so similar, I'm kind of hoping Sawyer accidentally stun guns Ana on her way out at the end of the day.
I'd really like to examine a photograph of Leila to see what she looked like before she became Ghost Girl. I wonder if Christian would let me have a copy? Yes, he probably would - for my safety. I hatch a plan, and my subconscious gloats and nods approvingly.
This is just fuel for my theory that E.L.'s "cameo" is Ana's subconscious. Only the author of this book would think Ana is really smart for "planning" to ask to see a photograph. Seriously, how much planning does that require? "Hey, Christian, do you have a picture of the girl who's stalking me, so I can keep an eye out for her?" Done. No planning. But her subconscious finds this so impossibly clever, the only explanation is that the subconscious is the character E.L. admits to having been based off of herself. She spends most of the book making other characters marvel at how smart Ana is, and tells the reader over and over how smart she is, so to self-insert in order to praise Ana for her intelligence isn't that big of a leap.

Ana takes Jack his lunch and he practically molests her with his eyes, then Ethan calls and arranges to pick up the keys to the apartment from Ana. He says, "Laters," when they get off the phone, because it's a fucking epidemic. If anyone you know or love starts saying "Laters," you must isolate them immediately. If they attack, they can be subdued by removing the head or destroying the brain.

Yes, I did make a Shaun of The Dead reference, you're welcome.

Ana emails Christian and they plan that he will pick her up from work to go meet Ethan at the apartment, and then they'll all go out for drinks and a good time together.
I daydream briefly about what he might do to me but find myself shifting in my chair. My subconscious gazes at me disapprovingly over her half-moon specs - get on with your work.
Yeah, you see it now, don't you.

Claire the receptionist calls Ana to tell her that a hot guy is waiting to see her. It's Ethan, by the way.
Holy shit - sun-bleached blond hair, a tan to die for, and glowing hazel eyes gaze up at me from the green leather couch.
That's a hell of a good-looking couch.
 As soon as he sees me, his mouth drops open and he's on his feet coming toward me.
Are you still imagining the couch? Because I am. I'm just imagining this green couch with a tan and glowing eyes running toward her on little tiny couch legs.

Ethan gets the keys from Ana and says "Laters" twice during the entire process. There's a paragraph break, and Ana gets a call from Christian to say he's waiting downstairs. Then she says goodbye to Jack, who is in a better mood, and she wonders why "he" can't be that way all the time, but I can't tell if she's talking about Jack or Christian, because I can't trust context clues in a book with this much pronoun confusion.
The Audi is parked at the curb, and Christian climbs out as I approach. He's taken off his jacket, and he's wearing his gray pants, my favorite ones that hang from his hips - in that way.
I've missed those pants, as well. This entire chapter was like walk down memory lane, if memory lane was in Centralia, PA.

Sounds legit.

They pull up to Ana's apartment building, and Christian gets a phone call that keeps him from going up to Ana's apartment with her. This is because, in the grand tradition of this book and its predecessor, every chapter is thirty pages of pointless day-to-day bullshit, with an allegedly exciting event jammed onto the last paragraph. In this chapter, that allegedly exciting event (that everyone probably already saw coming) is that Leila is in Ana's apartment with a gun.

And that's the end of the chapter.

1 comment:

  1. All this "laters" stuff totally reminds me of the show Six Feet Under when Brenda starts writing sexy stories about 'fictional people'. Then her boyfriend figures it out it was a real guy because she wrote about him saying "laaaaate" and then the real guy also says it, oops! Ooh I found it! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cIXQEfaWD0

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