Thursday, October 11, 2012

50 Shades Darker chapter 15 recap or "50 Shades Derper"

Yes, I've changed the blog. I've received a lot of complaints about this. Please be patient while I figure something else out. I rather like this format, but if it's going to mess with everyone, I'll have to find a new one, and that might take me a minute or a day or a week.

My tweep @Zionastar wanted to share this with you all:



Also, check out the really disturbing stuff Barbie is getting up to these days:



Tweep @Bindibo0 shared this picture, which certainly heralds the coming apocalypse:


If you can't see it clearly, that's a window decal that says "Laters, Baby." First, I was like, "It's awesome that someone put words from a book on their car," and then I was all, "But people put 'Not all who wander are lost' bumperstickers on all the time, so fuck your book nerd pride, this is a crisis." I guess I should be grateful that the etsy seller who made the decal didn't put a possessive apostrophe in it, so thank god for small miracles ("LAAAANAAAAAAA! I said, thank god for small miracles."). Other things that are good about this sticker: it's on a Hyundai, so I think it's safe to say that no sadistic billionaire has gotten to this poor woman yet.

Wasn't that fun? Well, don't get used to it. The fun stops here, because now we have to read the actual book, and let me tell you, things were left a mess in the last chapter. Ana ran off to the bathroom to cry and get som space from Christian. Wanna guess how that worked out?
"Hey," Christian's says gently as he pulls me into his arms, "please don't cry, Ana, please," he begs. He's on the bathroom floor, and I am in his lap.
So... how is that "needing space" thing working out for you? And by the way, I didn't mistype there. That's how the actual first sentence reads on the page.

Christian holds Ana while she cries, then carries her to bed, where he continues to give her the space and time to think that she needs. Just kidding, he turns into the plant from Little Shop of Horrors.
Christian is wrapped around me like a vine. He grumbles in his sleep as I slip out of his arms, but he doesn't wake.
Ana goes for juice and headache pills, then goes to the window, where she thinks about how she has a lot of stuff to think about. That's another of my least favorite aspects of this book. She never just thinks about anything. First, she has to think about how she needs to think about it. But she does eventually get around to thinking about what she thinks she needs to think about:
Marriage. It's almost unbelievable and completely unexpected.
Unless you've read the Twilight series, in which case you were able to set your watch by his proposal.
I look like his mother. This wounds me deeply, and the air leaves my lungs in a rush. We all look like his mom.
How the hell do I move on from the disclosure of that little secret? No wonder he didn't want to tell me. But certainly he can't remember much of his mother. I wonder once more if I should talk to Dr. Flynn. Would Christian let me? Perhaps he could fill in the gaps.
That's a great idea. I think it's really a marker of a solid, trusting relationship if you have to get answers for your partner's behavior from a medical professional instead of just talking directly to said partner. That's why nearly every romantic comedy features a scene of Katherine Heigl talking to Gerard Butler's therapist.
The Ugly Truth is that this movie sucks 100 balls.

And what's the BFD about her looking like Chrisitan's mom? I look a lot like my husband's mom. And his sister. And him. And nobody thinks that's creepy.

Okay, now I see it. Forget I said anything.
The peaceful tranquility is shattered by a visceral, primeval cry that makes every single hair on my body stand to attention. Christian! Holy fuck - what's happened? I am on my feet, running back to the bedroom before the echoes of that horrible sound have died away, my heart thumping with fear.
 What happened is, Christian woke up when you left the room, then waited a little while, until it seemed just the right time to scream and draw you back into his manipulations. Because it's dramatic, and men like Christian invent drama to keep women tied to them.

Even assuming Christian is really having a night terror, I love the timing of it. Ana is thinking, "Gosh, could I actually live here and be married to him? What's it going to be like?" and then suddenly she hears the Doom scream and it doesn't strike her as a bad sign.
I flip one of the light switches, and Christian's bedside light comes to life.
According to Pixar, that can totally happen.

The amount of needless explanation for everyday actions and common phrases is starting to wear me down. Seriously, E.L., we all know what happens when you flip a light switch. Why not just say, "I switch on Christian's bedside lamp?" We don't need some florid metaphor about what happens to a lamp when you turn it on, just like we didn't need context clues to know what "overflowing" meant in the last chapter. I get describing things like the sound of a car engine ("He turned the key and the engine roared to life," for example) or the way light looks in a room (for instance, saying light flooded a room or that a lamp glows with soft golden light), but seriously? You're going to walk us poetically through the steps of turning on a lamp when you've got this night terror situation already hooking the reader?
He's tossing and turning, writhing in agony. No! He cries out again, and the eerie, devastating sound lances through me anew.
Shit - a nightmare!
Really? Are you sure he's not building a boat? Learning to read Greek? Crafting hand-dipped candles? NO SHIT HE'S HAVING A NIGHTMARE.

Also, I would like to just have you guys imagine that the cry he's making is the velociraptor impression D-Rock made in the video I posted yesterday. Because it makes this whole thing so much funnier.

Ana shakes Christian awake, and he's not needy, like, at all:
"You left, you left, you must have left," he mumbles - his wide-eyed star become accusatory - and he looks so lost, it wrenches at my heart. Poor Fifty.
"I'm here." I sit down on the bed beside him. "I'm here," I murmur softly in an effort to reassure him. I reach out to place my palm on the side of his face, trying to soothe him.
If she wasn't creeped about about looking like his mom before, she definitely will be now, let me tell you. Especially if this whole "Mommy, I had a bad dream" thing plays out more than once.
 "You're here. Oh, thank God." He reaches for me, and grabbing me tightly, he pulls me down on the bed beside him.
How did he know she was gone in the first place, if he was asleep? Hey, caught you in your lie, Mr. Grey. Of course, I'm probably interpreting this entirely differently than the author intended. I'm sure that this scene is intended to show the reader how attuned to Ana that Chedward is, that even when he's sleeping, he knows where she is. Which would make me seriously reconsider that whole marriage proposal thing. I mean, is he just marrying her because she helps him sleep better? Get one of those Sleep Number beds from the tv and a body pillow and suck it up, Chedward.

Christian starts getting gropey, and of course Ana is completely into the sexxors, until she remembers that he's boning her because she looks like his mom:
He wants me, but his words from earlier choose this moment to come back and haunt me, what he said about his mother. And it's like a bucket of cold water on my libido. Fuck. I can't do this. Not now.
So, they stop having sex, because Ana asks to stop.
"Christian... Stop. I can't do this," I whisper urgently against his mouth, my hands pushing on his upper arms.
"What? What's wrong?" he murmurs and starts kissing my neck, running the tip of his tongue lightly down my throat. Oh...
What's wrong is literally everything in this book. But at the moment, what's wrong is that Ana is telling you to stop, she doesn't want to have sex, but you're going to keep pushing her:
"No, please. I can't do this, not now. I need some time, please."
"Oh, Ana, don't overthink this," he whispers as he nips my earlobe.
Yeah, don't overthink it, Ana. Don't be put off by the fact that in a single day you have had a gun pointed at you because of me, that I provided pretty intimate care for my ex-girlfriend in your apartment and then got jealous because while I was doing that you were with an old friend, that I asked you to marry me because I'm afraid you might go spend the night at your apartment for once, that we've been together a couple weeks and I want you to move in, and that I can't give you space for five fucking minutes to use the bathroom alone, and now I'm telling you that you really want to have sex when you don't. Just give in, baby, and you can maybe retreat into your head for five minutes while I'm pounding you. Just don't, you know, go far, because I can't live without you.
"Ah!" I gasp, feeling it in my groin, and my body bows, betraying me. This is is so confusing.
Not really. It's called coerced consent, and it's a very common form of rape.

But of course, it's the most scorching hot, sexy rape you've ever read, and Ana loves every minute of it, because that's the kind of book this is.

I'm not saying I don't like to read the occasional dub-con story. I like an old school historical rapemance as much as the next person. Hell, I've written dub-con. I don't really have a problem with people enjoying rape-fantasy, because the mind, as a sex organ, is all kinds of interesting and many times will arouse us with things we fear. See also, the time I fantasized about a gang bang with the The Gentlemen from Buffy. But I don't enjoy this particular dub-con, because there is no element of fantasy to it. E.L. James has (unintentionally, I firmly believe) written a shockingly realistic account of an abusive relationship. Getting hot to this isn't the same thing as reading, say, a Catherine Coulter wedding night rape scene, where you know the hero is going to feel super bad about his actions later, even though his medieval culture and upbringing tells him that it was totally cool of him to force himself on the heroine. Getting hot to this is like jilling off to The Accused, because Christian Grey is never going to stop manipulating Ana, and he's not going to think he was wrong for forcing himself on her here. He won't even consider it forcing himself on her, and neither will Ana. And that, friends, is my problem with this kind of rape-fantasy. When you don't realize it's rape, when the author is justifying why it's not rape, or why the rape is okay, it's not a rape-fantasy. It's just a plain old rape scene.

In this particular scene, though, at least we're spared, "Oh, Ana, what you do to me," or whatever the fuck it is that Chedward is always saying while they bone. In this scene, that's all turned on its head:
Oh, what I can do to him!
See, completely different.
"Don't give me a chance to think, Christian. I want you, too." 
This is the consent she gives. "Okay, we'll do this, but only if you don't let me remember why I didn't want to." Swoon.

So, they have sex, Chedward says she's going to "unman" him again (so maybe it is a Catherine Coulter scene after all), and this time, Ana gets to be on top:
I grab his hands and start to move, reveling in the fullness of my possession, reveling in his reaction, watching him unravel beneath me. I feel like a goddess. I lean down and kiss his chin, running my teeth along his stubbled jaw. He tastes delicious. He clasps my hips and steadies my rhythm, slow and easy.
That's all like, 100% copy-pasted from all the other sex scenes. Jesus, I know that sex in a monogamous relationship can get stale, but that got repetitive really quickly. And I've got a whole 'nother book to go. I'll be truly shocked if the sex scenes in book three don't just read like, "He starts to move, really move, I unravel, my inner goddess does something, teeth, stubble, blazing eyes, yadda yadda are you done masturbating yet?"

Ana can't orgasm because, surprise, she's not entirely into the sex, owing to all the mental torture he's put her through so far that day. So, you know what happens next. Christian just finishes, tells her thanks for the sex, and promises he'll make it up to her with some oral next time, when she's more in the mood.

Sorry, I mixed up my copies there for a second, I was reading BIZARRO Shades Darker. What actually happens is this:
"Come on baby, I need this. Give it to me."
Look, I'm no sex expert... sexpert... exsexpatriot... but I'm almost completely sure that pressuring someone into orgasm doesn't work. Unless they really get off on stress.

Or unless it's in this shitty, shitty book:
And I explode, my body a slave to his, and wrap myself around him, clinging to him like a vine as he cries out my name, and climaxes with me, then collapses, his full weight pressing me into the mattress.
Oh yeah, before I have to correct it in the comments, they did switch positions, so he was on top at the end. That's not a mistake.

Hey, Ana, remember how you were like, "Oh, Leila is so pathetic, I'm glad I'm not like pathetic, stupid, awful, pathetic Leila," about a chapter ago? You just had sex with Christian Grey because he wanted you to, and you had an orgasm because he told you to. That's the equivalent of falling on the ground in supplication the way Leila did. It might be a little worse. But of course, we're not supposed to see it that way. Leila is a crazy whore, and Ana is strong, bright, and interesting, so she's choosing to react this way.

And enough with the vines already. This isn't fucking Tarzan.

After their "lovemaking" (and yes, that's actually how Ana refers to it, please don't hang yourself), Ana asks him about his nightmare. The nightmare was about his mother's pimp putting cigarettes out on him.
"It's the pain I remember. That's what gives me nightmares. That, and the fact that she did nothing to stop him."
Interesting aside, did you know you can't actually remember pain? But that the memory of pain can be more damaging than the actual pain you experience? Google it, there's a lot of interesting stuff out there. I'm not saying this to point out anything wrong with the book, I just think it's a really bizarre thing.
Oh no. This is unbearable. I tighten my grip around him, my legs and arms holding him to me, and I try not to let my despair choke me. How could anyone treat a child like that? He raises his head and pins me with his intense gray gaze.
"You're not like her. Don't ever think that. Please."
Christian goes on to talk about his mom being dead, and him being hungry, and I was kind of hoping he'd say he ate parts of his mom's dead body, but instead he talks about the pimp beating him. But it's not the pimp that Christian hates. I'm finding it kind of strange that his hatred of his mom causes him to seek out women who look like her so he can beat them. It seems like he should be into finding women who look like his mom and then letting other people beat them while he does nothing to stop it. He cut out the middle man, and I'm all for efficiency, but a lot of his anger toward his mom doesn't wash, especially considering he's been going through therapy. It seems like any therapist worth anything would have told Christian that he and his mother were both victims of the same abuser, the pimp, that his mother was not only an addict but a woman being controlled by a violent man, and that while in a perfect world she should have been able to protect him, she just couldn't in those terrible circumstances.
"She didn't love me. I didn't love me. The only touch I knew was... harsh. It stemmed from there. Flynn explains it better than I can."
Wait, his therapist is telling him that his mother didn't love him? I'm confused here, because it seems like the good memories he does have, like of a mom baking him a birthday cake, wouldn't have happened if his mom didn't love him, at least a little bit. A therapist probably would have touched on that. And also, that whole, "your mom was a victim of your abuser, too," thing.
"You  are so precious to me, Ana. I was serious about marrying you. We can get to know each other then. I can look after you. You can look after me. We can have kids if you want. I will lay my world at your feet, Anastasia. I want you, body and soul, forever. Please think about it."
Yeah, you guys should definitely bring a child into this. You both have your shit entirely together, so what could possibly go wrong?

Ana tells Christian she'll think about, and then she says she wants to talk to Dr. Flynn. Christian says:
"Anything for you, baby. Anything. When would you like to see him?"
So, anything for you except the right to refuse sex, the right to not orgasm, the right to have space, the right to not be pressured into things, but anything. Anything, baby.

This guy. This fucking guy.

And just to prove that Ana is totally not some pathetic, mind-controlled sexbot like Leila is?
He curls his arms around me, his front to my back, and nuzzles my neck. "I love you, Ana Steele, and I want you by my side, always," he murmurs as he kisses my neck. "Now go to sleep."
I close my eyes.
See? Not mind controlled at all.

In the morning, she wakes up in a situation oddly similar to something we've already read. Twice.
I feel cloudy, disconnected from my leaden limbs, and Christian is wrapped around me like ivy.
I guess Ana and Christian have a relationship not unlike that of Dr. Pinder-Schloss and the man eating plant in The Addams Family.

We're getting the way-back machine for this one, folks.

Ana is late for work, and flustered, so I'm going to assume that she just didn't have time to make any damn sense in this paragraph:
I check my clothes - black slacks, black shirt - all a bit Mrs. R, but I don't have a second to change my mind. I hastily don black bra and panties, conscious that he's watching my every move. It's... unnerving. The panties and bra will do.
Please, if you can explain to me what the hell she's saying in that paragraph, share it with the class. I get that she thinks her clothes are like Mrs. Robinson's. I don't get why she's putting on her bra and panties when it sounds like she's already dressed. Or maybe she's not going to get dressed at all, maybe that's why she says "The panties and bra will do," because she's not going to wear anything else. In fact, for the rest of the scene, she just puts on a watch and a pair of shoes, and then says it will "do" again. Is Ana getting dressed today?

One thing is certain, and that is that Christian will not be getting dressed today. In fact, he wants Ana to skip work to have sex with him, but that's a no go, so he tells her to have Taylor drive her. The danger with Leila is over, but Christian is afraid Ana won't be able to find a parking spot and punch the clock on time, so she should just have his manservant ferry her there or something. I'm telling you this so that you are aware that the brand new car that he absolutely had to buy Ana still has not been driven one fucking time yet. Ana hasn't missed that point, either, but she agrees with Christian:
But he's right, of course - it will be quicker with Taylor.
Bull fucking shit it will be. Every time I've thought of Taylor while I was in the shower, he had staying power. Also, all of my fantasies start out with him murdering Christian Grey in cold blood, and he comes to me still dripping with gore. We consumate our love on the back of a motorcycle, running from the cops.

Sorry, what?

Ana wonders if something is wrong, because Christian doesn't usually stay in bed all day, but he informs her that he's going to, because he can.
I shake my head at him. "Laters, baby." I blow him a kiss, and I am out the door.
OMG, GUYS, THIS TIME ANA WAS THE ONE WHO SAID "LATERS, BABY!"

The fact that there isn't an instance of irony in the lyric is what makes the song itself ironic.

Because Ana is late, Taylor drives the way he drives in my sex dreams about him, which 1) breaks the rule about keeping Ana safe, and 2) terrifies Ana. So, good job, Taylor!
I remember Christian telling me he drove tanks; maybe he drives for NASCAR, too.
You see a lot of tanks in NASCAR, Ana? She's talking about Taylor driving tanks, by the way, not Christian, not that you would be able to tell thanks to that wonk pronoun referral. Whatever, I'm just happy she didn't say, "maybe he drives for Formula One, too."

Ana gets to work fifteen minutes late. Which, you know, shit happens, but isn't this her third week? It really doesn't matter, because she's not going to be in this job for long. I'm not saying that because I've read the whole book, I'm saying that because if I had an employee who pulled all the shit she's going to pull on this day, I would fire them. Immediately. Let's start by keeping a running tally, and we'll add to it every time she does something that should get her reprimanded by her boss. The clock starts with:

  1. Fifteen minutes late to work.
When Ana gets to her desk, Jack is in no mood:
"What time do you call this?" he snaps.

 "I'm sorry, I overslept." I flush crimson.
 "Don't let it happen again. Fix me some coffee, and then I need you to do some letters. Jump to it," he shouts, making me flinch.
 Why is he so mad? What's his problem? What have I done?
You were fifteen minutes late to work. In a lot of jobs, being on-time is the same thing as being fifteen minutes late. And you've only worked there for two weeks. Plus, your boss knows that your boyfriend is the most powerful man in the city, so maybe he thinks you're late because you don't give a shit and you don't really need your job. It's unfair, but I would be giving  you the side eye, if I were him.
 Maybe I should have ditched. I could be... well, doing something hot with Christian, or having breakfast with him, or just talking - that would be novel.
Yeah, because you guys never talk. It's not like you spent the entire last chapter crying and talking and talking and crying. Seriously, I wrote a book once where my editor sent it back with a tersely worded, "NO CRYING" post it on the first page (in ye olden days when physical manuscripts were mailed back and forth), and it didn't have nearly as much crying and talking as just the previous chapter of this book.

Jack gives Ana a handwritten letter he wants typed up. Because this book is set in the 1960's, when people didn't have computers and iPads and shit. Sorry, but if Jack wanted Ana to take a letter, he would probably just dictate it to her, or type one up himself and ask her to polish it. But whatever, Ana doesn't do it, anyway:
It is with some relief that I finally sit down at my desk. I take a sip of tea as I wait for my computer to boot up. I check my emails.

  1. Fifteen minutes late to work.
  2. Checks personal emails instead of working.
And it's not like she just "checks" her emails. She emails back and forth with Christian for a while, with no mention of anything happening between sending and receipt of emails. For example, the first email she sends has a time stamp of 09:27, and the reply she receives comes at 09:32. Then she responds again at 09:35, and gets an answer back at 09:40. So, for like ten minutes, all she's doing is email chatting. Keep this in mind for later, when Ana can't figure out why her boss is furious with her.

As for the content of the emails, Christian sends an email to her work account that says:
Please use your BlackBerry.
So, Ana responds, via her work account, of course:
My boss is mad.
I blame you for keeping me up late with your... shenanigans.
You should be ashamed of yourself.
So, keeping in mind that he's already told her to use her BlackBerry, and we know the account is monitored (because apparently SIP, even though it's a small company that was about to go under before Christian purchased it, has enough payroll to throw around to have staff members able to monitor literally every email on the company server), Christian's response is, in part:
But I like keeping you up late ;)
Please use your BlackBerry.
Oh, and marry me, please.
Every email is signed with an automatic signature listing his full name and job title, but he'll go ahead and talk about sex and marriage on an email account he knows is monitored.

Ana emails back that she wants to talk to his shrink (despite him continually reminding her that she has an email account she can use that isn't monitored, although I'm not sure why he doesn't just stop emailing her at that address), and he gets mad:
Anastasia, if you're going to start discussing Dr. Flynn, then USE YOUR BLACKBERRY.
 This is not a request.
 Christian Grey,
Now Pissed CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.
You know what's funny about this whole thing? Ana never once mentioned the shrink by name. Pretty much all the info leaks Christian is worried about are coming straight from him. And again, if he was going to use the good doctor's name, why didn't he just send that email to the BlackBerry on his own?
Oh shit. Now he's mad at me, too. Well, he can stew for all I care. I take my BlackBerry out of my purse and eye it with skepticism. As I do, it starts ringing. Can't he leave me alone?
Dude, you're the one who was emailing back and forth with him, it's not like he was just pelting you with emails you were trying to ignore. Also, lol at Ana eyeing the BlackBerry with skepticism. She's used it before. Also, I don't know if this is true for everyone (because I have an Android phone now), but when I had a BlackBerry, it wasn't like I had a special, BlackBerry-only email account that I could only access from the BlackBerry. I just had a personal email account linked to my device. Why doesn't she just go into that email account on her computer?

It's not Christian, but Jose who is calling her. Since we haven't seen Jose for a while, I want to remind you that Jose has an accent mark in his name that I haven't figured out how to reproduce in Blogger's compose mode. So, don't get up in arms about Jose's missing accent mark and blame E.L. for it.
"Jose! How are you?" Oh, it's good to hear his voice.
"I'm fine, Ana. Look, are you still seeing that Grey guy?"
"Er - yes... Why?" Where is he going with this?
I'm wondering that, myself, because didn't he just see them last Thursday? I would be a little offended if my friends saw me out with my boyfriend on Thursday, and then two weeks later be like, "Are you still with that guy?"

On the other hand, it's kind of nice that he checks, because, as he points out, Christian did buy all those photos of Ana. I'm not sure I would want to sell my friend's ex a bunch of huge, wall-sized photos of them.
"Well, he's bought all your photos, and I thought I could deliver them up to Seattle. The exhibition closes Thursday, so I could bring them up Friday evening and drop them off, you know. And maybe we could catch a drink or something. Actually, I was hoping for a place to crash, too."
"Jose, that's cool. Yeah, I'm sure we could work something out. Let me talk to Christian and call you back, okay?"
Yeah, I see this going really well, Ana. Just tell Christian that you want Jose, the guy he hates and fears most in this world because Jose has a penis and dared to dream of using it near you, wants to come and get drunk and spend the night. This is going to go down flawlessly.

Ana and Jose hang up, and Ana thinks:
Holy cow. I haven't seen or heard from Jose since his show. I didn't even ask him how it went or if he sold any more pictures. Some friend I am. 
No shit. That's what I've been saying. Within seconds of hanging up the phone, Ana remembers what reality she's currently operating in:
So, I could spend the evening with Jose on Friday. How will Christian like that? I become aware that I am biting my lip till it hurst. Oh, that man has double standards. He can - I shudder at the thought - bathe his batshit ex-lover, but I will probably get a truckload of grief for wanting to have a drink with Jose. How am I going to handle this?
While Ana sits there and mulls over her personal problems, there's the small matter of a letter she's supposed to be typing up:
"Ana!" Jack pulls me abruptly out of my reverie. Is he still mad? "Where's that letter?"
 "Er - coming." Shit. What is eating him?
Let's take a look:

  1. Fifteen minutes late to work.
  2. Checks personal emails instead of working.
  3. Takes a personal call instead of working.
Seriously, it's been like a half hour. I was a secretary, okay? It doesn't take that damn long to just type up a letter. So, Ana gets to work, and brings the letter to Jack:
"I don't know what you're doing out there, but I pay you to work," he barks.
"I'm aware of that, Jack," I mutter apologetically. I feel a slow flush creep up my skin.
"This is full of mistakes," he snaps. "Do it again."
Fuck. He's beginning to sound like someone I know, but rudeness from Christian I can tolerate. Jack is beginning to piss me off.
He's beginning to piss you off? Are you fucking kidding me? You got to work fifteen minutes late, didn't bother to start working until like, an hour past start time, and then you only started working because your boss got harsh with you, and he is starting to piss you off? Bitch, there are a lot of people in this country who need jobs. Maybe act like you want yours.
Holy fuck. He's being unbearable. I sit back down at my desk, hastily redo his letter, which had two mistakes in it, and check it thoroughly before printing. Now it's perfect.
Hey, Whiney McShutup, maybe you should have checked it thoroughly for errors the first time. Since, you know, that's your job and all.

Ana takes the letter back to Jack, and gets offended when he repeats his earlier instructions to her:
"Photocopy it, file the original, and mail out to all authors. Understand?"
"Yes." I am not an idiot. "Jack, is there something wrong?" 

  1.  Fifteen minutes late to work.
  2. Checks personal emails instead of working.
  3. Takes a personal call instead of working.
  4. Half-asses a simple typing job.
No, I don't see what the problem could possibly be. Ana, being a much better psychiatrist than Dr. Flynn, has an idea:
Perhaps he, too, suffers from a personality disorder. Sheesh, I'm surrounded by them.
You're the common denominator here, Ana, so maybe don't sling diagnoses around like confetti, unless you want to end up hitting yourself with some.

We get a half paragraph about Ana's struggles with the copier, and I'm so over reading about that. Sorry, Ana, I have done my time working in the Xerox mines, I will not come along with you on this journey. When she gets back to her desk, she takes another personal call, bringing the tally to five:

  1. Fifteen minutes late to work.
  2. Checks personal emails instead of working.
  3. Takes a personal call instead of working.
  4. Half-asses a simple typing job.
  5. Takes another personal call.
Five, ah ah ah. Five reasons Jen would fire Ana!

It's Ethan. He needs to pick up Ana's keys again, and he wants to know if she wants to grab a coffee. She tells him she doesn't have time:
"Not today. I was late getting in, and my boss is like an angry bear with a sore head and  poison ivy up his ass."
She also calls him "'Nasty and ugly,'" which sounds terribly clever, until she looks up and sees Jack watching her from his office. I hope he can't lip read. No, fuck that, I hope he can. I hope his major in college was in Deaf education and he is a fucking master lip reading teacher. Ethan shows up for the keys, and since half a page has gone by without any mention of Christian, Ethan brings him up, mentioning that Ana has "'got it bad,'" and Ana thinks:
That's not the half of it, and in that moment I realize, I have it more than bad. I have it for life.
I bet that's a similar moment to coming to grips with having a disease.

When Ana gets back to her desk, Jack is pissed, because once again she wasn't, you know. Working.
"Where have you been?" Jack is suddenly looming over me.
"I had some business to attend to in Reception." He is really getting on my nerves. 
So, the moral of this story is don't hire Anastasia Rose Steele if you expect her to actually do her job:

  1. Fifteen minutes late to work.
  2. Checks personal email instead of working.
  3. Takes a personal call instead of working.
  4. Half-asses a simple typing job.
  5. Takes another personal call.
  6. Friend stops by the office.
Jack sends Ana to get his lunch, so she's immediately right back on her BlackBerry, and what does she find, but yet another email from Christian, reminding her (and the reader) of shit that has already been drummed through our heads over and over again:
Please use discretion... your work e-mails are monitored.
HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THIS?
Yes. Shouty capitals as you say. USE YOUR BLACKBERRY.
Dr. Flynn can see us tomorrow evening.
"Hey, use discretion when emailing, especially about my personal life, but let me name my therapist again in yet another email." And thus did the blind lead the stupid through the valley of reader frustration, because at this point I suspect even fans of the series were saying, "Ugh, again with this email thing?"

Christian also sent her another email, because literally two hours went by since she had last emailed him, and he was worried. She has a job, Christian. Surely someone who built a multi-billion dollar empire by the age of twenty-seven is familiar with the concept of being busy at work?

Or not, because when Ana calls him, his assistant puts her right through, as per Christian's orders. Christian tells Ana:
"You're normally so quick at responding to my emails. After what I told you yesterday, I was worried," he says quietly, and then he's talking to someone in his office.
So, no emails about personal stuff, but he'll talk about it in front of his employees. No big. And let me stress once more, Ana is at work, at her job, which is not, despite what we've been shown in the narrative, just sitting on her ass and sending flirty emails. After an unbearable round of "no, you hang up," (don't ask if I'm serious, because I can really only wish I was joking about that part), Christian says:
"You're biting your lip."
Shit, he's right. How does he know?
From what we already know about Mr. Grey, he's probably just standing outside the deli Ana is getting Jack's lunch from, creepily watching her. And speaking of Jack, when Ana gets back, he is still in no mood, so she decides to confront him:
"You seem kind of out of sorts today. Have I done something to offend you?"
He blinks at me momentarily. "I don't think I'm in the mood to list your misdemeanors right now. I'm busy." He continues to stare at his computer screen, effectively dismissing me.
Whoa... what have I done?
Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude.

 How I wish I could make this happen with just the power of my mind.

Ana goes to Starbucks for lunch. Some might say this is because she's anorexic, but remember how many calories are in Starbucks's overpriced crap. This is probably the highest calorie count she's ever had for lunch. Remember, though, that she told Ethan she wouldn't have time to grab a cup of coffee with him, and then she goes to Starbucks? That's cold, Ana. I hope Ethan walks by and sees you there, sipping your latte.

In Ana's defense, it would be really hard to sit there with Ethan and think of nothing but Christian, which is what she really wants to do on her lunch hour. Oh, shit, no it wouldn't be. She went to the bar with Ethan the night before and all she did was think about Christian, so his company is clearly not a hindrance to Ana's obsession.
My mind drifts. Christian the sadist. Christian the submissive. Christian the untouchable. Christian's Oedipal impulses. Christian bathing Leila. I groan and close my eyes while that last image haunts me.
Can I really marry this man? He's so much to take in. He's complex and difficult, but deep down I know I don't want to leave him despite all his issues. I could never leave him. I love him. It would be like cutting off my right arm.
Let us all now remember the timeline of this book, and the fact that she and Christian have been dating for like a month, a week of which they were broken up.

I ask you, dear reader, why do we have to suffer through this introspective bullshit? We all know she's going to marry him, anyway, so why punish us with all this, "Will I? Won't I?" crap? It's like Xander and Anya in season 6 of Buffy.

 How I wish D'Hoffryn would show up and deal with Ana.
 Looking back on my life before Christian, it's as if everything was in black and white, like Jose's pictures. Now my whole world is in rich, bright, saturated color. I am soaring in a beam of dazzling light, Christian's dazzling light I am still Icarus, flying too close to his sun. I snort to myself. Flying with Christian - who can resist a man who can fly?
You obviously can't resist a metaphor, that's pretty fucking clear. Notice how she manages to make a dig at her friend's art while congratulating herself on her new, better friend. And way to define your entire life by one person. What if his glider crashes? Everything goes back to black and white and darkness and being... Daedalus? I guess, would be the opposite of Icarus? I'm so confused by all these metaphors. But the point is, we have reached the moment in the "romance" where the best our hero and heroine can hope for is to die together. That's the best possible outcome here, for them to be consumed in a fireball.

Oh, and lest I forget:
It's DAZZLE TIME.

I have to share with you, that when I tried to put the dazzle .gif there, I accidentally posted the Bristol Stool Chart instead, and for a second I thought, "Would anyone notice the difference, if I just left that there?" And I laughed and laughed, heartily, alone, in my office. Just me and my office plant. Think about that the next time you need a good cry.

Ana is still thinking about Christian, and whether she should "leave him" or stay with him:
And it strikes me like a thunderbolt - that's what he needs from me, what he's entitled to - unconditional love. He never received it from the crack whore - it's what he needs.
First of all, no one is entitled to unconditional love, unless you belong to one of those religions where God loves you unconditionally no matter what you do. But we're working with physical reality here, and in our physical reality, without any metaphysical nonsense muddying our waters, no one is entitled to unconditional love. No one is actually entitled to anything, for that matter. Entitlement is an artificial construct. Second, how does Ana know if Chedward's mom gave him unconditional love or not? She was a victim in an abusive situation. She didn't act the way she probably should have, but no one can prove that she didn't love her son. To look at the situation and say, "Gosh, she was on drugs and a hooker, so she had no capacity for love," is incredibly insulting. I guess I can understand a twenty-two year old thinking like that, but this book was written about a twenty-two year old, not by a twenty-two year old. A grown ass woman with children should fucking know better than to assume other mothers don't love their children enough because of the way they respond to shitty, emotionally destructive circumstances. And third, Ana is calling Christian's mom "the crack whore" now? I get it, it's how they were introduced, but come the fuck on. You never met the woman, so get off your high horse. You were a prostitute, too, once, Ana. You sold the right to whip your hiney to a guy, and he didn't pay you cash for it, but you got a lot of expensive gifts in return. And you filed paperwork on it. Judge not, lest I judge the fuck out of you.
I've seen the weighty evidence of his goodness - his charity work, his business ethics, his generosity - and yet he doesn't see it in himself.
Let's talk about his business ethics, a second. His business ethics include buying any company his girlfriend works for, meaning he has a little spy already planted in the office. His charity work includes not wanting Ana to donate money to his father's charity, because he wants to win a private battle with her. And his generosity seems to lie in buying a lot of toys for the women he's fucking. Oh, and giving away your things to his ex-girlfriend:
I wonder which clothes he gave her. I hope it wasn't the plum dress. I liked that.
And that was Kate's dress, wasn't it?
I want to be all things to this man, his Alpha and his Omega and everything in between, because he is all things to me.

I hope Flynn will have the answers, and maybe then I can say yes. Christian and I can find our own slice of heaven close to the sun.
Yes. You should get as close to the sun as possible. Christian should invest all his money in space technology and you guys should make the sun your honeymoon destination.

Of course, while Ana is dreaming of her place in the sun in bright, dazzling, saturated color, she's on her lunch break, which was supposed to be forty-five minutes:
I gaze out at bustling, lunchtime Seattle. Mrs. Christian Grey - who would have thought? I glance at my watch. Shit! I leap up from my seat and dash to the door - a whole hour of just sitting - where did the time go? Jack is going to go ballistic.
So...

  1. Fifteen minutes late to work.
  2. Checks personal email instead of working.
  3. Takes a personal call instead of working.
  4. Half-asses a simple typing job.
  5. Takes another personal call.
  6. Friend stops by the office.
  7. Late from lunch.
When Ana gets back, she lies to Jack and says that she was in the basement photocopying. Photocopying what? He's your boss, if he didn't tell you to photocopy something, you wouldn't have been down there. But Jack lets it slide, and tells Ana to print out his itinerary for New York. I'm thinking he had better do that himself, if he wants it done. Ana mentally calls him a bastard, because HOW VERY DARE her boss ask her to do her job! She's been so busy all day, not doing a damn thing.

Receptionist Claire calls up Ana to tell her that she has a call from Mia:
Mia? I hope she doesn't want to hang at the mall.
 Because Mia is rich, right? That's why you're being such a bitch? I just want to be clear on why you wouldn't like one of the most likable characters in the Twilight series. I would love for Alice to call me while I was working.
"Ana, hi. How are you?" Her excitement is stifling.
Ugh, don't you hate it when people call you and they're all, "How are you?" and express a genuine interest in you?

Mia tells Ana that she's organizing a birthday party for Christian, and Ana realizes that she doesn't know when Christian's birthday is. I think that if there was a checklist called "ways to tell if you know someone well enough to marry them," "Do you know his or her birthday?" would be fairly up there on the list. That's basic information that comes out randomly pretty early on in knowing someone.

Ana emails Christian - VIA HER COMPANY EMAIL - about his birthday, and says that the thought of him pouting "does things" to her, to which he responds that she should use her BlackBerry to check email. AGAIN. And Ana thinks:
Why is he so touchy about e-mails?
Everyone else read that chapter where she used the company email and he had to have some kind of cyber bodyguard retrieve it and delete it, right? I didn't pass out on the toilet, smack my head, and dream all of that up, did I?

So, she emails him on her BlackBerry and they flirt for about two more pages, then we section break to quittin' time. Everyone has gone home, Ana is just hanging around until Jack leaves for the airport, and that's when he approaches her like Richard O'Brien in Ever After. In fact, just imagine him as this for the next... rest of the book:


"At last, I have you on your own," he says, and he slowly licks his lower lip.
And then he ties her to the railroad tracks. Or something. No, actually, he just corners her in the office kitchen and finishs the chapter with an ominous:
"Now... are you going to be a good girl and listen very carefully to what I say?"
Which is supposed to be a cliffhanger, I guess, but we all know that unless he's about to talk about Christian Grey, she ain't gonna hear a fucking word.



3 comments:

  1. "But certainly he can't remember much of his mother. I wonder once more if I should talk to Dr. Flynn. Would Christian let me? Perhaps he could fill in the gaps."

    I had to comment after reading this. As a clinical psych graduate student, I can assure you that mind reading is not on the curriculum. We are no telepathic, people. If Christian couldn't remember much of his mother, then Dr. Flynn wouldn't know either. If Dr. Flynn knows anything it would have to be something uncovered during the sessions which, you know, Christian was present for.

    Thanks for perpetuating the "psychologist = psychic" stereotype, E.L James. Like we don't get enough of that as it is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The scientologists think we have the ability to brainwash people into committing crimes and not remembering them. I'm still wondering when I get to learn this because none of the classes on my schedule are Brainwashing the Client. D:

      Delete

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