Monday, October 29, 2012

The Saddest Thing In The World, and a status update

The Detroit Tigers got swept by the Giants in the World Series. I don't know if I can accurately convey what it feels like to be a Detroit baseball fan right now, so just go drop something big and heavy on your foot. And then directly onto your barely beating broken heart. Then you'll have a way to empathize with the walking wounded in Michigan this morning.

To add to the sadness, this morning a story broke about the ice buckets holding the Giants' victory champagne. In the confusion of screaming and happiness that Tigers fans and stadium staff are frankly not used to, the "hooray, the Tigers won!" party favors got accidentally passed out to the Giants. I warn you, what you are about to see will make you sob great heaping bucketfuls of tears. I mean, I assume. Everyone else feels like they just got kicked in the vag, right?


See the whole story at Yahoo!, including the part where the Giants just didn't give a shit, because hey. World Series champions.

As for my to-do list, things are getting more manageable!



  1. I'll be shilling wreaths for another school fundraiser. I've just straight given up on this one. I don't even know where the order forms are it doesn't matter, pick up is on a day when I couldn't fill the orders, anyway! GET OUT OF WREATH JAIL FREE!
  2. Pumpkins must be carved. Carved. Like a boss. I'll post pictures eventually.
  3. I'll be volunteering at my daughter's preschool on two days.
  4. One of those is her birthday. This necessitates cupcakes at school and a cake at home.
  5. I'll need to take her to get her school picture retaken, as well.
  6. 100 bags and 100 folders need to be filled with various authors' promo for the Ready, Set, Write! conference. As I type this, help is arriving at my doorstep to get the bags filled.
  7. Still on the conference committee.
  8. Still the president.
  9. Still need to give a speech.
  10. Need to go over my presentation, write where necessary.
  11. Bring snack to my son's scout meeting.
Things are shaping up. Now I need to go briefly sob in the corner and set my sights on April.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Roadhouse and Status Update


D-Rock and I were going to shoot a short apology video for promising new episodes of Roadhouse every Friday, only to go on hiatus after, you know, three episodes. But then we remembered that we had a World Series to watch, and since they are long and chock full of commercials, we could just film and edit the show during the games. Brilliant! So, here is the latest installment of Roadhouse.

Word of caution! We're talking about The Walking Dead and we are not spoiler free. If you're not caught up on The Walking Dead and you don't want to be spoilered, just skip ahead to 10:40 to see the best of our reactions as we watched the Tigers lose game one.


Another thing: I tried to fix the audio on this one, so the music isn't super blasting. I'm afraid I might lose some of the audio formatting when it converts to .mp4, but I think we've overcome that. But let me stress, any formatting was done during a commercial break.

Just a quick update on my hell weeks, for those keep score at home:


  1. I have parent teacher conferences to attend for both my kids. Nailed it. This one is all wrapped up.
  2. I'll be baking for the school bake sale. It was a full day of baking madness, but I produced twenty-four cupcakes, twenty chocolate covered oreos, and three loaves of french bread. The bake sale brought in $1200.00!
  3. I'll be shilling wreaths for another school fundraiser. 
  4. Both kids need homemade Halloween costumes that I haven't started. I started them. In fact, I finished my daughter's. My son's is more complicated, but that will be done this weekend.
  5. Pumpkins must be carved.
  6. I'll be volunteering at my daughter's preschool on three separate days. Not completely finished, but I did get one day out of the way!
  7. One of those days is her birthday. This necessitates cupcakes at school and a cake at home.
  8. Oh, and making a birthday present. Score! She changed her mind at the last minute, and rather than having to make her something, I just had to buy a Barbie doll!
  9. I'll need to take her to get her school picture retaken, as well.
  10. 100 bags and 100 folders need to be filled with various authors' promo for the Ready, Set, Write! Conference.
  11. Did I mention I'm on the conference committee for that?
  12. Or that I'm the president of the NFPO that hosts it?
  13. And I have to give a speech at it?
  14. And in the cruelest twist of fate, give a workshop there about time management? My time management program is completely outlined.
So, my new to-do list looks a little more manageable:
  1. I'll be shilling wreaths for another school fundraiser.
  2. Pumpkins must be carved.
  3. I'll be volunteering at my daughter's preschool on two days.
  4. One of those is her birthday. This necessitates cupcakes at school and a cake at home.
  5. I'll need to take her to get her school picture retaken, as well.
  6. 100 bags and 100 folders need to be filled with various authors' promo for the Ready, Set, Write! conference.
  7. Still on the conference committee.
  8. Still the president.
  9. Still need to give a speech.
  10. Need to go over my presentation, write where necessary.
  11. Bring snack to my son's scout meeting.
So, that's more doable, right? I also have to write three chapters for a publisher to have a look at during this time, but the proposal and synopsis are so good, I was dying to write it, anyway.

There you have it. I'll check back in next week to let you know if I finished everything, or if I'm just running around on fire. And hopefully I'll be able to share pictures of the kids' costumes, if they're not giving a white power salute, like last year.

[witty title I'm too flabbergasted to come up with]

You may recall that in August, while attending the amazing Authors After Dark conference in New Orleans, I attended the Bookie awards ceremony and won a couple of awards:

And promptly photographed them in the shower.

I was nominated for a bunch of stuff. I kind of wish I had kept track of what I had been nominated for. But I heard my name like five times, and two of those were when I was winning. I won GLBT Novel of the year for Striped (my gay weretiger light BDSM three-way that is available here) and Steampunk Short Story of the year for Sex, Lies and Inventions (which features a middle-aged inventor hero who may or may not be the byproduct of Steampunk sex fantasies about James May and which is also available here).

Winning those Bookies was a really great feeling, but I was fairly confident I wouldn't be hearing my name at any award ceremonies in the future. Not because I'm down on myself or my work, but because I recognize that not everyone can will all the awards. So imagine my surprise when I wound up with five nominations again this year, in the categories of:
  • Author website of the year
  • Contemporary novel of the year (for Double Header)
  • E-Book only novel of the year (for Long Relief)
  • Werewolf novel of the year (for Bride of The Wolf)
  • Best Hero (for Philipe, the hero of Beast)
Voting opens November 1st. These are a "readers choice" kind of thing, so I'll be providing a link when the time comes, so that if you like my books and you want to vote, you can. And so you can vote for other authors you like, too. I mean, I'm not a monster. Usually.

But go me!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

50 Shades of Breaking News, folks

I know that the bulk of you come here for 50 Shades updates and recaps, and I totally appreciate that and love you all. I hate disappointing you or making you wait for recaps. But in the next ten days:

  1. I have parent teacher conferences to attend for both my kids.
  2. I'll be baking for the school bake sale.
  3. I'll be shilling wreaths for another school fundraiser.
  4. Both kids need homemade Halloween costumes that I haven't started.
  5. Pumpkins must be carved.
  6. I'll be volunteering at my daughter's preschool on three separate days.
  7. One of those days is her birthday. This necessitates cupcakes at school and a cake at home.
  8. Oh, and making a birthday present.
  9. I'll need to take her to get her school picture retaken, as well.
  10. 100 bags and 100 folders need to be filled with various authors' promo for the Ready, Set, Write! Conference.
  11. Did I mention I'm on the conference committee for that?
  12. Or that I'm the president of the NFPO that hosts it?
  13. And I have to give a speech at it?
  14. And in the cruelest twist of fate, give a workshop there about time management?
On top of all of that, a publisher has requested more of a project I'm currently shopping around, but at the moment there isn't more, so I need to take care of that.

In other words, this is going to be the busiest two weeks of my life, and as such, I have to give up my foolish expectation that I will be able to continue the recaps while doing all that other stuff. It's something I'm working on in therapy.

Recaps will return Nov. 4th. Hate me if you want, but I will be far too busy to feel your disdain from somewhere inside cupcake/costume/conference hell. If you could save that rage for Nov. 4, I would appreciate it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

October is the BOMB, and one other reason to visit Michigan soon.

It's another beautiful clear, cold morning here in Michigan. The leaves are falling off the trees and the dew on the grass is turning to frost as Mother Nature closes up her summer cottage for the winter.

Every weekday morning, I'm up before the sun to walk my daughter to preschool. My son is older, so he walks by himself, because I am an embarrassment. It's not a long walk, just .2 miles (.32 kilometers, for those who live in countries that use the metric system, aka every country except the U.S.), but on my way I get to see some of the most amazing fall colors. I thought I'd share some pictures with you, so you can enjoy them while I work on tomorrow's recap.












The next two pictures were taken at my house, of our backyard and our driveway. If these don't scream "idyllic rural paradise" then I don't know what does:



And more from the walk to school:





Yes, it's pretty awesome looking here around this time of year, which is why the writing group I'm a part of chooses this magical season to host their amazing "Ready, Set, Write!" conference. This year, it's timed perfectly for NaNoWriMo, so those of you who can come spend a weekend in Michigan, please do! You can find the information about the conference here: Grand Rapids Region Writers Group. Please pardon me, I'll be plugging it pretty hard for the next two weeks, because it never occurred to me to mention it here. Because I'm a superhero when it comes to distraction. But if you can afford to, it's definitely a good kickstarter to NaNoWriMo.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Giveaway Update #2

First of all, thank you all for your patience regarding the giveaway snafu. Basically what happened was that a bunch of people who entered wanting.PDF files didn't receive them. I'm chalking that up to the fact that I sent them out as a mass email and BCCed you all on it, but .PDF was the most popular format, so there were like a ton of addresses and maybe some of them got dropped? I don't know, the internet is infuriating and maddening.

Anyway, I just sent out another mass email to people who didn't receive their books. If you still didn't get them, or you missed the first giveaway update, let me know!

I should have anticipated this type of problem. I never am able to do a giveaway that goes smoothly for one winner, yet multiplying that by six hundred somehow seemed a good idea, LOL.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Roadhouse Episode 3!


A mellow, sedate trip through talking about which incarnation of The Doctor we would hop on, D-Rock's haircut phobia cured, and why the end of Star Wars Episode III is balls fucking stupid.

Giveaway Update!

If you entered my "Jen is a Baseball Wizard" giveaway, you should have books in your inbox by now! Unless you were the person who entered your name instead of your email address into the box. THEN YOU GET NOTHING! Just kidding, if you entered the giveaway and you didn't receive your books because of a weird thing like that, get in touch with me here (leave a comment with your email address and your ebook format) and we'll get you hooked up. I trust you all to be honest, because you're all awesome.

That goes for Yankee fans, too, by the way. I felt like you should all get something to ease the utter humiliation that was handed out last night. Everyone who entered got something. So, if you entered and you didn't, then let me know, I just missed you.

That said, if you read the books and you love them and you have a couple seconds to spare, reviews on goodreads, amazon, etc. are always appreciated. And if you hate them and want to start blogging them chapter by chapter and making fun of them, please drop me a link, because I would love to see that shit and I would be oddly flattered by it.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm taking all the credit. *GIVEAWAY*

EDIT: The odds really are ever in your favor. Because the game was postponed, you now have an extra day to enter! And the stakes have gotten higher for my baseball wizard claim, because if they don't win tomorrow, they won't win the series at home, and then what would TRIPLE PLAY be? A hot interracial three-way, that's what. So either way, it's win/win.

So, you know how I just had this baseball book come out?


Readers have already guessed that the team I wrote about the Grand Rapids Bengals, may or may not be based off my favorite team, the Detroit Tigers. I don't know where they got that idea. For the most part, the other teams mentioned in the book are from places where there really aren't any teams, so they don't have an corresponding teams in real life. Except for the New York Patriots.

Okay, obviously, the New York Patriots are the New York Yankees. I loathe the Yankees. I'm a fan of the Tigers, and whoever is playing the Yankees. I could not let the chance pass me by when I wrote these books. I wanted the Tigers to get a big victory over the Yankees. So I decided I would throw the New York Patriots into the Grand Rapids Bengals' den for the league championship. You wanna see the first lines of the book?
A professional ballpark during league championships had a lot in common with Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. Especially when it was a home team game, and the home team was looking to sweep.
If you don't follow baseball, let me just point out that currently, in the American League Championship Series, the Detroit Tigers have a 3-0 lead. That means that going into game four tonight, at Comerica Park, the home team is looking to sweep.

I'm not saying I made this happen with my mind or anything. Except that no, I really did make this all happen with my mind. I'm some kind of sports psychic.

I bet you're thinking that I'm jinxing the Tigers right now. But I don't. I know they're going to win. I know it so hard, I'm willing to make a bet with all of you. If the Detroit Tigers don't sweep the Yankees in the ALCS, I'll give away my HARD BALL series to you... for free. That's right, if you're thinking, "Jen isn't some kind of baseball mind control telekinesis wizard," and you're right, you win all three of my Grand Rapids Bengals stories in the ebook format of your choice.

"But Jen," I hear the overwhelming majority of you saying. "You're clearly a baseball mind control telekinesis wizard, and very sexy and smart as well, and your hair smells like salt-water taffy." I know, I know.

Here's how it's going to work. You're going to fill out an internet form. You'll answer the question before the top of the 9th inning tonight. I'm not kidding, get your answers in now, because the second that last out is called, I'm closing this thing down. And then tomorrow, based on the outcome of the game, you may or may not receive three ebooks about gorgeous, sexy baseball players having gorgeous sexy sex with gorgeous, sexy women and each other. One character may or may not be inspired by former Tiger, current Yankee Curtis Granderson. I'm just saying.

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED

TIGERS SWEEP THE YANKEES!

NEXT STOP WORLD SERIES!

OMG SO HAPPY RIGHT NOW MY INNER GODDESS IS PROBABLY DOING SOMETHING SUPER OBNOXIOUS!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

50 Shades Darker Chapter 16 recap, or "A Treatise on Spreader Bars and Human Anatomy, with a Focus on Physics"

Stuff has happened. Smart Pop Books featured a quote from my essay, "Every Breath You Take," from 50 Writers on 50 Shades of Grey on their tumblr this weekend, so you can check that out here. Also, I did an interview with a local newspaper, and it's available on MLive.com. You should check that out, too, because someone left a comment on it and immediately took it to politics. I was super impressed at how quickly they were able to link 50 Shades to a government takeover conspiracy.

Onto the recap.

When we last left Ana, she had just been cornered in the office kitchen by Snidely Whiplash's cousin, Riff Raff:

"You've arrived on a rather special night. It's one of the master's affairs..."

In case you're just joining us, I'm talking about Ana's boss, who suddenly has turned into the rapey bad guy from Ever After.
Fear chokes me. What is this? What does he want? From somewhere deep inside and despite my dry mouth, I find the resolve and courage to squeeze out some words, my self-defense class "Keep them talking" mantra circling my brain like an ethereal sentinel.
"Jack, now might not be a good time for this. Your cab is due in ten minutes, and I need to give you all your documents." My voice quiet but hoarse, betraying me.
I keep getting hung up on that description of her voice. When you're hoarse, isn't it normal to be quiet?
He smiles, and it's a despotic fuck-you smile that finally touches his eyes. They glint in the harsh fluorescent glow of the strip light above us in the drab windowless room. He takes a step toward me, glaring, his eyes never leaving mine. His pupils are dilating as I watch - the black eclipsing the blue. Oh no. My fear escalates.
Is this like when Bilbo the Ripper didn't want to give up the One Ring in that Johnny Depp movie?

Or whatever was happening here. I saw rare pot roast, got hungry, and left.

Jack the Raper tells Ana that he had to fight to get her the job, and Ana suggests that they schedule a meeting with HR. Jack tells her that when he hired her, he thought she'd be a hard worker, but the real thing he's concerned about is all this "boyfriend" nonsense.
"I decided to check through your e-mail account to see if I could find any clues. And you know what I found, Ana? What was out of place? The only personal e-mails in your account were to your hotshot boyfriend." He pauses, assessing my reaction. "And I got to thinking... where are the emails from him? There are none. Nada. Nothing. So what's going on, Ana? How come his e-mails to you aren't on our system? Are you some company spy, planted in here by Grey's organization? Is that what this is?"
So, what's going on? Ana got effed in the A, is what's going on. Christian only deleted his emails from the server. He left all of Ana's on there. Except... that doesn't make any sense. Wait a minute... Ana was emailing stuff about whips and chains to his email account, and he spazzed out about it. So, why didn't he have those emails deleted? And why hang Ana out to dry like this? Oh, riiiiiight, because he's a selfish a-hole, and he didn't want Ana to have the job in the first place. Leaving her emails on the server gives her employer a reason to fire her that would have nothing to do with him, directly.
Some subliminal pheromone that Jack is exuding has me on high alert.
Aren't all pheromones subliminal? I can't recall a single time in my life that I've thought, "My, what a nice smelling pheremone." Also, you're not on high alert because of a pheromone, you're on high alert because your boss has you cornered in an empty office and he's acting like he's going to rape you.

Jack tells Ana that he knows Chedward fucked up the New York trip.
Jack continues, enjoying my discomfort. "And he thinks I'd make a pass at you?" He smirks and his eyes heat. "Well, I want you to think about something while I'm in New York. I gave you this job, and I expect you to show me some gratitude. In fact, I'm entitled to it. I had to fight to get you. Elizabeth wanted someone better qualified, but I - I saw something in you. So, we need to work out a deal. A deal where you keep my happy. D'you understand what I'm saying, Ana?"
Fuck!
"Look at it as refining your job description if you like. And if you keep me happy, I won't dig any further into how your boyfriend is pulling strings, milking his contacts, or cashing in some favor from one of his Ivy League frat-boy sycophants."
How quickly he goes from being disgusted by the thought of making a pass at her to implicating that she needs to give him a handy at lunch time.
My mouth drops open. He's blackmailing me. For sex! And what can I say? News of Christian's takeover is embargoed for another three weeks. I can barely believe this. Sex - with me!
Gosh! Willikers! Someone wants to have sex with me? Golly. I'm sorry, I can't help but hear Kristen Wiig's impression of Liza Minnelli as I read that line, and it's coming off more as, "Aw, shucks, who'd want to have sex with lil' ole me," than, "Oh my god, I'm being blackmailed." And it is hilarious.
Jack moves closer until he's standing right in front of me, staring down into my eyes. His cloying sweet cologne invades my nostrils - it's nauseating - and if I'm not mistaken, the bitter stench of alcohol is on his breath. Fuck, he's been drinking... when?
If I worked with you, I'd be drinking constantly. But you would know the "bitter stench of alcohol" pretty well, wouldn't you, Ana?



"You're such a tight-assed, cock-blocking, prick tease, you know, Ana," he whispers through clenched teeth.
How did she cock-block you? Does Jack not know what cock-blocking is? It's stopping someone else from getting laid. If anyone is cock-blocking Jack right now, it's Christian.
What? Prick tease... me?
What me, prick tease?

Ana reminds us once again that Ray taught her to fight, so she's good with self-defense, in case we missed it the other ninety times she's brought it up in this book:
Ray will be proud. Ray taught me what to do. Ray knows his self-defense. If Jack touches me - if he even breathes too close to me - I will take him down. My breath is shallow. I must not faint, I must not faint.
So, you know. Brave, strong, desperately trying not to faint, etc.

Jack starts talking about how turned on Ana probably is, and how she really wants him and he can tell, and he calls her a prick tease again, and a bitch, so Ana grabs his pinkie and bends it back, and then she knees him in the jimmies. They are rustled, both metaphorically and physically.
"Don't you ever touch me again," I snarl at him. "Your itinerary and the brochures are packaged on my desk. I am going home now. Have a nice trip. And in the future, get your own damn coffee."
Just a PSA here, if someone is trying to rape you, and you get away, don't try to get the last word in. Run, okay?
I run full tilt to my desk, grab my jacket and my purse, and dash to Reception, ignoring the moans and curses emanating from the bastard still prostrate on the kitchen floor. I burst out of the building and stop for a minute as the cool air hits my face. I take a deep breath and compose myself. But I haven't eaten all day, and as the very unwelcome surge of adrenaline recedes, my legs give out beneath me and I sink to the ground.
Heads up, we're going to hear Chedward bitch at Ana for not eating, I can feel it in my bones. And of course, it's very important to remind the reader that Ana hasn't eaten, for what does her name truly stand for? And didn't Mia just get off the phone with her at the end of the last chapter?

Christian and Taylor jump out of the car and rush to her side:
Christian sinks to his knees at my side, and on some unconscious level, all I can think is: He's here. My love is here.
You can't think unconsciously. At least, not in words like that.
"Ana, Ana! What's wrong?" He scoops me into his lap, running his hands up and down my arms, checking for any signs of injury. Grabbing my head between his hands, he stares with wide, terrified, gray eyes into mine. I sag against him, suddenly overwhelmed with relief and fatigue. Oh, Christian's arms. There is no place I'd rather be.
Keep in mind that this passionate Pieta is taking place on the goddamned sidewalk at like, 6:30 pm on a business day. There are probably annoyed commuters walking around them, rolling their eyes, wondering if there's a movie being filmed and if so, where are the cameras?

Ana just says Jack's name and Taylor is off like a shot, like a real man defending his woman from harm. He knows she can handle herself, most of the time, but he can also tell when she needs backup, and now is that time. He'll go inside and give Jack what for, then he'll take me home for chinese takeout and a M*A*S*H marathon, because he loves that show, unlike my husband. And then he'll give me what for, in the sex way of using that phrase, which means pounding.

Wait, I'm doing a recap. Sorry, my mind wandered.

Christian is, of course, enraged, and demands to know:
"Did he touch you?"
Not, "Did he hurt you?" or "Did he scare you?" or even, "Did he yell at you?" Christian is only concerned with whether or not someone else has played with his toy. Laying hands on her is unacceptable, because Ana is Chedward's property.

Ana tells Christian that Jack did touch her (he put a finger on her breastbone or something), and then this happens:
Christian's muscles bunch and tense as rage sweeps through him, and he stands up swiftly, powerfully - rock steady - with me in his arms. He's furious. No!
Okay, first of all, drink. Second of all, why "No!"? "Hey, boyfriend, someone tried to rape me." "That makes me angry!" "No!" Is she trying to protect Christian from his own emotions or something?

Christian wants to go in and help Taylor deal with Jack:
"Don't go in. Don't, Christian." Suddenly my fear is back, fear of what Christian will do to Jack.
What do you think Christian is going to do to Jack that Taylor isn't capable of doing on his own? Is Christian going to throw money at the guy? Sexily spank him? I know that Mia claims Christian was a "brawler" in school, but we're talking about grown ass men here. Taylor has it on lockdown, trust me.

Christian tries everything to get Ana in the car. He swears at her, he orders her around, and all the while they're listening to this shouting going on inside the building. Isn't there like, a lobby and a reception area and then Ana's office is upstairs or something? How chintzy are the building materials in the Pacific Northwest, that they can hear all this going down while they're out on the street during rush hour?

Ana tells Christian that Jack has her emails. It doesn't go over well:
"Christian, he has my e-mails."
"What?"
"My emails to you. He wanted to know where your e-mails to me were. He was trying to blackmail me."
Christian's look is murderous.
Oh, shit.
"Fuck!" he splutters and narrows his eyes at me. He punches a number into his BlackBerry.
Oh no. I'm in trouble. Who is he calling?
"Barney. Grey. I need you to access the SIP main server and wipe all Anastasia Steele's e-mails to me. Then access the personal data files of Jack Hyde and check they aren't stored there. If they are, wipe them... Yes, all of them. Now. Let me know when it's done."
 Oh, so that's what his job is.

Hey, asshole, here's a thought... you could have done that when you had him wipe all of your emails from the SIP server. In fact, you could have had only Ana's emails wiped from the server and this would have gone much better, especially since she was the one sending messages about BDSM smexytimes. I'm still boggling over why he had just his messages removed from the server. I mean, wouldn't the text of the messages she was replying to be attached to the messages she sent? None of this makes sense.

Christian calls Roach and tells him to fire Jack immediately. Like, Christian wants his desk cleaned out this very second. So, is Roach supposed to have HR come in and do the paperwork on that right now? Because everyone in the office had gone home. Little details like realism don't matter to Christian Grey, though, because he will liquidate SIP first thing in the morning if he doesn't get his way. Except, how is that going to work? There's an embargo on news of the SIP sale. Who is he going to sell the bits of the company to, if he can't even tell people he owns it yet?
"Please don't be mad at me." I blink up at him.
"I am so mad at you right now," he snarls and once more sweeps his hand through his hair. "Get in the car."
"Christian, please - "
"Get in the fucking car, Anastasia, or so help me I'll put you in there myself," he threatens, his eyes blazing with fury.
Why is he so mad at her? For having a job? For being assaulted? Both? That actually seems more likely, that's he's angry at her for having a job and for being assaulted. How dare she want independence from him! How very dare she allow another man to attack her! The whore.
Oh, shit. "Don't do anything stupid, please," I beg.
"STUPID!" he explodes. "I told you to use your fucking BlackBerry. Don't talk to me about stupid. Get in the motherfucking car, Anastasia - NOW!" he snarls, and a frisson of fear runs through me. This is Very Angry Christian. I've not seen him this mad before. He's barely holding on to his self-control.
This is the kind of man you want, ladies. The man who will gladly respond to your work emails and cheerfully have any evidence of doing so wiped from your company's servers, but leave yours behind to get you possibly fired. The man who will blame you for all of that, as well, and who will snarl at you when he doesn't get his way. Isn't barely-leashed anger sexy when it's headed directly at you? I'm so tired of the romance novel hero whose strength and anger frighten the heroine, but never actually poses a danger to her, only to people who would hurt her. No, I want a hero who is moments away from snapping and punching the heroine's lights out. No Ne-yo for me, talking about how I got my own and my independence makes me sexy. I want Chris Brown, beating my head in for looking at his phone. That's real romance.

After an entire page of arguing, Ana finally gets in the car, and Christian goes into the building. Then Jack comes out with his desk all boxed up, because that is realistic. Even though he tried to, you know, rape and blackmail her, no police are called. No one even gives her the option. She should just sit in the car and think about what she's done to invite this kind of male attention, because it's clearly all her fault.

Christian and Taylor come back to the car, and Christian takes a speakerphone call from Barney, who says he found stuff on Jack's computer he needs to tell Christian about. Christian tells Barney they'll talk about it later.
Barney hangs up. He sounds so much younger than I expected. What else is on Jack's computer?
Kiddie porn, probably, in order to ram home his evil. See, it's not enough that he's a slimeball, he needs to be the ultimate in evil so that Christian is extra, super right about not trusting him. That will teach Ana (and the readers) not to question men, for they clearly know better, and we women can never possibly judge a person's character correctly or stand up for ourselves.

Ana asks Christian if he's talking to her, and he says no:
Oh, there we go... how childish. I wrap my arms around myself and stare unseeing out the window. Perhaps I should just ask him to drop me off at my apartment; then he can "not talk" to me from the safety of Escala and save us both the inevitable quarrel.
That's never going to happen. As far as Christian is concerned, he wants you to live with him, so you do. You're never going to spend another night in that apartment.

For the men who are reading this recap, let me pause here and say that if your girlfriend or wife or friend or coworker is ever attacked, this is not how you handle it. I'm sure you knew that already, but I would feel remiss not stating it. If this exact scenario happened, this is how you handle it:

  1. Dial 911.
  2. See if the victim needs immediate first aid.
  3. Do not confront the attacker, because you're not going to be any help to the victim if you're shot or stabbed or punched out.
  4. Wait with the victim until the police arrive.
They get to Escala and go into the lobby:
"Christian, why are you so mad at me?" I whisper as we wait.
 "You know why," he mutters as we step into the elevator, and he punches in the code to his floor. "God, if something had happened to you, he'd be dead by now." Christian's tone chills me to the bone.
So, here he is, telling Ana that he's mad because if she had been hurt, he would have been powerless to keep from murdering someone? That sounds like it resides in the neighborhood of "You make me hit you."
"As it is, I'm going to ruin his career so he can't take advantage of young women anymore, miserable excuse for a man that he is." He shakes his head. "Jesus, Ana!" He grabs me suddenly, imprisoning me in the corner of the elevator.
Like looking in a mirror, huh, Christian? Maybe people who live in glass penthouse apartments and who also take advantage of young women shouldn't throw stones? And you know what would really ensure that he couldn't do this to any more women? If you had CALLED THE POLICE. Or even bothered to tell Roach why you wanted the guy fired. No one but you, Ana, and Jack know that he's an attempted rapist. You're not protecting anyone, you're just stupid and ineffectual as always, but go ahead and congratulate yourself because clearly you're Superman.

Because they're in the elevator, it's time for sexy passionate times. They make out, and it's possessive and breathless and desperation and other words that have been overused during kissing scenes.
He straightens, releasing me as the elevator comes to a stop. "He said you kicked him in the balls." Christian's tone is lighter with a trace of admiration, and I think I'm forgiven.
Awfully nice of him to forgive you for being assaulted. That's mighty big of him.

Ana makes a comment about Ray being ex-Army, because we may have forgotten it by now. Since that's the only characterization Ray is given in this book, I guess it's important to really hammer it home. Christian goes to call Barney back, and Mrs. Jones gets Ana some wine, while Ana thinks it would be nice to have a boring day now and then. Which is the exact opposite of how I feel about the situation, because I find most of Ana's life unbearably boring. Must be it's different when you're just reading about it.
What if I'd never met Christian? I'd be holed up in my apartment, talking it through with Ethan, completely freaked by my encounter with Jack, knowing I would have to face the sleazeball again on Friday. As it is, there's every chance I'll never set eyes on him again. But who will I work for now? I frown. I hadn't though of that. Shit, do I even have a job?
Not if Christian has anything to say about it, you probably don't. And I hate to point this out, gentle readers, but if Ana had never met Christian, she would probably be on a plane to New York right now. There would have been no incriminating emails to get Jack all riled up at her, so she would be flying to New York with Jack the Raper, who would likely be taking a more subtle approach to seduction. The only real difference would be that instead of Christian pressuring her for sex that she doesn't want to have (see last chapter), it would be Jack doing it.

Christian comes out to join her and Mrs. Jones, and Ana asks if she still has a job at SIP:
He cocks his head to the side. "Do you still want one?"
"Of course."
"Then you still have one."
Simple. See? He is master of my universe.
I know I've said it before, but I love it when they reference the title of the fanfic the book used to be in the actual text, while utterly denying that it was fanfic in the first place. Oh, ethics. You were just bunging up the entire publishing industry, anyway.

Mrs. Jones makes them dinner and leaves them alone, and Ana thinks this is the perfect time to bring up Jose. By the way, I've received all your suggestions for how to get the accent mark over his name. Some of them won't work at all, because I'm on a Mac. Others work perfectly for Mac, EXCEPT when you're using blogger's interface. And the rest of them take way too much damn time, and these recaps are already taking between six and eight hours of work, so copy/pasting every time I need to use Jose's name just is not going to happen. But I appreciate all the help, and I now know how to make literally any accent mark in written language because you guys are on top of shit like whoa.

Anyways, Ana tells Christian that Jose wants to come and drop off the pictures:
"A personal delivery. How accommodating of him," Christian mutters.
You're the one who bought the pictures, asshole.
"He wants to go out. For a drink. With me."
"I see."
"And Kate and Elliot should be back," I add quietly.
Christian puts his fork down, frowning at me.
"What exactly are you asking?"
I bristle. "I'm not asking anything. I'm informing you of my plans for Friday. Look, I want to see Jose, and he wants to stay over. Either he stays here or he can stay at my place, but if he does, I should be there, too."
Christian's eyes widen. He looks dumbfounded.
"He made a pass at you."
Yes, I suppose he did. But that was before you owned her. Seriously, am I the only one seeing red, then blacking out for a moment and waking up with blood on my hands while reading this chapter? I really need to know, before the police get here.
"Ethan's there. He can keep him company."
"He wants to see me, not Ethan."
Christian scowls at me.
"He's just a friend." My voice is emphatic.
"I don't like it."
So what? Jeez, he's irritating sometimes. I take a deep breath. "He's my friend, Christian. I haven't seen him since his show. And that was too brief. I know you don't have any friends, apart from that god-awful woman, but I don't moan about you seeing her," I snap.
YES! CONSTANTLY YOU DO THIS!

What book is Ana reading, where she doesn't complain about Christian's relationship with Mrs. Robinson? And really, there's no comparison. Ana is asking to maintain a friendship with a guy who, yes, got handsy with her. There's no way around that. But he got handsy with a single woman, not with Christian Grey's girlfriend. He's given Ana plenty of space, she's forgiven him, and nothing like that has happened again. He's not trying to interfere in the relationship at all, unlike Mrs. Robinson, who is not only an ex, but a child rapist who is actively trying to weasel her way into some sick, three-way emotional clusterfuck with both Christian and Ana.

Christian asks Ana why she's never mentioned that she doesn't like him buddying around with his rapist and newsflash, Chedward, she's made it pretty damn clear that she doesn't like the woman. Still, he wants to know why Ana didn't ask him, explicitly, to stop being friends with Elena:
"Because it's not my place to say. You think she's your only friend." I shrug in exasperation. He really doesn't get it. How did this turn into a conversation about her?
Because you brought her up, genius. But Christian decides that he's okay with Ana spending time with Jose, provided that he stays over at Escala. Probably with Taylor's hand on his throat the whole time, but really, I wouldn't mind Taylor choking me a little bit.

 Any similarity to any blogging author alive or dead is purely coincidental.

Christian has some work to do, so Ana loads the dishwasher (because she wants to get poor Mrs. Jones fired, I guess) and then, as an afterthought to everything else that has happened, Christian finally asks Ana if she's okay:
"After what happened with that fucker? After what happened yesterday?" he adds, his voice quiet and earnest.
Oh, see, I thought he was worried about her after the attempted rape, he's really just making sure she's still buying his "catatonic sub/fake nightmare" bullshit routine. That's charming.

While Christian is working, Ana gets bored. Probably because she's living there, but she has none of her own stuff there, so she's feeling like a guest in a very sterile B&B. She wanders around the apartment a little:
I wonder idly where Christian will hang Jose's pictures of me. I'd rather he didn't. I am not keen on looking at myself.
Bull fucking shit you aren't. The entire series began with you gazing at yourself in a mirror. Every time you're near a mirror, you check yourself out and tell us about it, even when you ran to the bathroom crying in the last chapter. Own your vanity, Ana. Everyone else does.

Ana finds the playroom unlocked, so she goes inside:
 I flick the switch and the light under the cornice light up with a soft glow. It's as I remember it. A womblike room.
It's been a long time since I've been in a womb, but I do have one, and I'm reasonably certain there are not canes and floggers in there.

Ana starts going through the stuff in the playroom and thinking boring thoughts about it, and feeling like she's trespassing, etc. when Christian chances upon her:
Oh shit. Is he mad? I flush. "Er... I was bored and curious," I mutter, embarrassed to be found out. He said he'd be two hours.
Yeah, but you know how time moves in this series, Ana. Two hours could be two minutes or two days, depending on what the author needs.
Slowly he enters the room and closes the door quietly behind him, his eyes liquid gray fire. Oh my. He leans casually over the chest of drawers, but I think his stance is deceptive. My inner goddess doesn't know whether it's fight-or-flight time.
So, here we have Ana being ACTIVELY AFRAID OF THE MAN WHO SUPPOSEDLY LOVES HER. Stick that in your head hole for a second, reader. Why is she afraid of him? Because she doesn't know how he's going to react, and he has a volatile temper, as we've already witnessed in this chapter. More importantly, she doesn't know if he's going to do something to her that she doesn't want him to, like, you know, beat on her with a belt. And she's afraid of this because she knows she has no control. If she felt like she were an equal partner to Christian Grey, she wouldn't fear him, would she?

Christian tells Ana that he was trying to decide what to do with all the stuff in the playroom. As in, he's thinking of getting rid of it all. She's just worried that he's mad at her for being in there.
"Why would I be mad?"
"I feel like I'm trespassing... and you're always mad at me." My voice is quiet, though I'm relieved. Christian's brow creases once more.
"Yes, you're trespassing, but I'm not mad. I hope that one day you'll live with me here, and all this" - he gestures vaguely around the room with one hand - "will be yours, too."
What? The curtains?

I love how he's all, "I want you to marry me," but going into an unlocked room in his house is trespassing. Who the fuck does he think he is? Blue Beard?

Ana thinks:
My playroom...? I gape at him - that's a lot to take in.
Which is hilarious, because then she opens up a drawer and finds:
 "What's this?" I hope up the silver bullet thing. 
 "Always hungry for information, Miss Steele. That's a butt plug," he says gently.
 "Oh..." 
 "Bought for you."
 What? "For me?"
And they say romance is dead. Turns out, Christian buys shiny new steel butt plugs and other ass toys for each sub, which really does appeal to the OCD germophobe in me. Ana picks up some anal beads:
I examine them with fascinated horror. All of these, inside me... there!
If she's going to start referring to her asshole and her vagina with the same vague terminology, this series is either going to get a lot better, or a lot worse, because I am going to be powerfully confused.

They go through the drawers in the Red Room of Pain, looking at nipple and genital clamps, a Wartenberg wheel, ball gags, clothespins, etc. When discussing the ball gag, Christian says:
"It's about control, Anastasia. How helpless would you be if you were tied up and couldn't speak? How trusting would you have to be, knowing I had that much power over you? That I had to read your body and your reaction, rather than hear your words? It makes you more dependent, puts me in ultimate control."
You run a multi-billion dollar empire. You have honest to god servants living in your home. You can track people down with a phone call, buy companies, probably literally move mountains. Why do you need to control the physical body of a woman whose every action you already manipulate and dictate?

Answer: because you are a creepy asshole.

Ana points out that he does have power over her. Not to, you know, stand up to him, but to reassure him that he has all the power he needs.
"Do I? You make me feel... helpless."
"No!" Oh, Fifty...
Oh please. Drink 'em if you've got 'em, but seriously? There is so much wrong here. Because he can't utterly control every single facet of Ana's life, down to her physical responses during sex, he feels helpless? And although Ana often describes herself as being helpless to him and seems to view the idea of that helplessness as generally positive, the idea of him being helpless elicits a reaction of strong denial? Does anyone else see how fucked up this is?!


They start to get kissy, and then Christian says:
"Ana, you were nearly attacked today." His voice is soft but wary.
"So?" I ask, enjoying the feel of his hand at my back and his proximity. He pulls his head back and scowls down at me.
"What do you mean, 'so?'" he rebukes.
Yeah, Ana! You're not being a victim in exactly the way he wants you to! You have a responsibility, as the victim of sexual assault, to behave exactly as other people say you should! I mean, not really, of course, but in the context of this book, with women as they are viewed in the reality of this narrative, that's how it is. And you know, yesterday, when she was attacked by a gun-wielding intruder and it was all your fault? You forced her to fuck you, even though she didn't want to. Thanks for being considerate now.

It was at this time that I tried to rip the book in half, gentle readers. I must compliment Vintage press for their surprisingly sturdy and well-constructed trade-sized paperbacks. I'm certain I would have accomplished the feat had I been holding a Kindle.

Oh, also:
I gaze up into his lovely, grumpy face, and I'm dazzled.
 Dazzle!

They decide they're going to bone, but not in the Red Room, because alcoholism:
"I'm like a recovering alcoholic, okay? That's the only comparison I can draw. The compulsion has gone, but I don't want to put temptation in my way. I don't want to hurt you."
He's recovering from the disease that is BDSM, but to conquer it for once and for all, he needs to change his people, places and things. This is in no way insulting to the millions of normal people who enjoy BDSM and who don't see it as an evil to overcome or a symptom of a mental illness.
He looks so remorseful, and in that moment, a sharp nagging pain lances through me. What have I done to this man? Have I improved his life? He was happy before he met me, wasn't he?
I think "happy before [s/he] met me" is an apt description of pretty much everyone Ana could possibly meet. I also think that "sharp nagging pain" is an apt description of what happened to my right eye when I read that line and realized that I'm reading a book about a woman who spends her every waking moment in a constant state of mental anguish caused by her emotional torture specialist boyfriend while simultaneously worrying if she's good enough for him.

Christian and Ana take a spreader bar back to his bedroom and start getting sexy with the how-the-fuck-did-a-copy-editor-miss-this?! word rep:
He gazes down at me, watching my every move, eyes so dark and filled with carnal bliss. Oh my. I sheath my teeth and suck harder. He closes his eyes and surrenders to this blissful carnal pleasure.  
Copy editor should be fired. No. No, that's not fair. The author should be fired. From a cannon. Into the mouth of a crater-dwelling moon beast adrift in space.

Ana sucks Christian off and swallows, and then he immediately kisses her and tells her he can taste himself on her, and then Ana tells him he tastes "mighty fine," because it's so adorable and cute and ironic when she says things to him that he usually says to her. This is such a masterfully written work, let me tell you.

He cuffs her ankles and adjusts the spreader bar so that her legs are three feet apart. Then he breaks her fucking spine:
Reaching down he grasps the bar and twists it so I flip onto my front. It takes me by surprise.
No shit, really? Because it would shock the hell out of me if someone possibly sprained and/or fractured my ankles, knees, hips, and/or back. Think about this one, reader. If someone grabbed you by the legs and tried to flip you over, would the top half of your body move? If you weren't ready to be flipped over? Would your upper body remain rigid, like you were one, unbendable piece of cardboard? Or, I don't know, would being flipped over via spreader bar when you weren't expecting it kind of hurt? I guess I'll have to leave that question at the feet of the BDSM master, Ms. E.L. James.

He unexpectedly flips her again, and then he goes down on her, then he cuffs her wrists to the spreader bar and talks about how he wants to fuck her ass, but not right now (or ever in the entire series) because she's not ready. Then, because the refractory period does not exist in this book, he fucks her and they both come at the same time.

After he uncuffs her from the spreader bar, he says:
"I could watch you sleep forever, Ana," he murmurs and he kisses my forehead.
Sleep forever? So he's finally going to get around to murdering her, then?

The last paragraph of the chapter is:
 "I need you," he whispers, but his voice is a distant, ethereal part of my dreams. He needs me... needs me... and as I finally slip into the darkness, my last thoughts are of a small boy with gray eyes and dirty, messy, copper-colored hair smiling shyly at me.
Is there anything that hair can't do?

A new season of The Walking Dead, a new season Talking Dead, aka, how television ruins everything.

If you are unaware of the existence of a little zombie show on television here in the states known as The Walking Dead, then this post might still be of interest to you.

However, if you are aware of the show and don't want spoilers, I'm sorry, this isn't the post for you. Because I want to say some stuff that will directly reference plot points in the series. So, only read this if you're caught up, or just don't give a shit about spoilers or the show.

Are we cool here? Awesome.

Season Three of The Walking Dead just premiered this past weekend. If you follow me on twitter, you know that I have a love/hate relationship with the show. Basically, I love the concept, and I love the zombies, but I hate every single character and plot point the series comes up with. With the exception of the first season. Do you want to know who I blame?

This nerdlinger, right here.

Okay, not Chris Hardwick, personally. But definitely the show he hosts, Talking Dead.

Here's the way I saw things going down: an awesome new zombie tv show starts up. Because it's based on a comic book, it has an already established fan base, and damn good writing. Everyone who watches it gets hooked on it, and eagerly anticipates season two. Then season two rolls around, and suddenly... it's just not as good as it was. The characters are all making foolish decisions. The production team, high off good ratings and better coke, decide, "Fuck all this source material bull shit. We're going to True Blood this motherfucker into the ground," presumably because the producer and his accountant know they can make more money on a flop than a hit. Or maybe they just think they know better than the source material, because they start making odd choices. Where the group once abandoned a fellow survivor handcuffed to a roof and another on the side of the road to die from zombie-itis, our ragtag group of misfits suddenly can't stand to shed the blood of a barn full of zombies, or abandon a half-hearted search for a missing child that everyone knows is dead. Fans were noticing a lot of inconsistencies in the plot and the canon of the show, like, "How come these fuckers keep running into town like they just need to pop into Walgreens, instead of emptying all these stores and hoarding the supplies for themselves?" and "Why, if the walkers are attracted by sound, are they driving a Harley and a Ford Festiva with the squealingest brakes in Georgia? Are there no brake pads in the apocalypse?" 

Luckily, there was another show on right after the episodes aired, in which your host, Chris Hardwick, formerly of MTV's Singled Out (respect), would interview celebrity fans of the show, actors who worked on the show, and the episode's writers themselves, asking all the same questions you just shouted at your screen.

I could never quite put my finger on why I hated Talking Dead so much, until Sunday night's premiere. I was lamenting to an online acquaintance that the sudden jump in time from the end of season two to the beginning of season three was frustrating to me. At the end of season two, the camera pans up from the survivors huddled around a camp fire, to the ominous shape of a prison facility in the near distance. The cliffhanger proved effective in two ways: it wet the viewers' appetite for the next season in showing us what new challenge the survivors would face, and yet it left them achingly close to safety, but utterly unprotected. They were mere miles from the prison... and yet six months went by without them noticing it? There were no signs? Nothing that said, "Prison Area - Do Not Pick Up Hitchhikers" or "Next 3 Miles Cleaned By Prisoners" or anything like that? What about Herschel and his daughters Maggie and... other, who lived in the area their whole lives? They didn't know the prison was there?

Then my internet acquaintance said, "Oh, they explained that on Talking Dead. They were just constantly cut off from the prison by all the zombies running around." And I became furiously angry, not because that's a lame excuse that no one is buying (it was like, a few miles, tops. Six months, are you fucking serious?), but because the show should stand on its own.

I should not have to watch another show so that the writers and creators can explain away the problems with the first show. But that's what Talking Dead is for. On the surface, it looks like a half hour of sharing funny behind the scenes stories and for fans to discuss how awesome the last episode was. But it seems like the bulk of it is just Chris Hardwick asking stuff like, "How come it took so long to find the prison?" and "What were those flashes of zombies representing when Shane was dead on the ground?" All that stuff should be obvious from the episode! If it's not, then it's not working.

The first season of the show was amazing. It was tight and suspenseful and I almost never wanted Lori to get eaten by walkers. The second season took a nosedive, and suddenly Carl was never in the house and Andrea was taking risky shots when other survivors were downrange. It was like the writers no longer cared about making the show make sense, because they had a safety net. I can just imagine the writers' room during those second season creative meetings. "This doesn't make any sense!" "It's okay, they're going to have that thing on after it, that gives us aaaaaall of filming and post production and until the air date to think up an explanation."

I'm really frustrated because it was such a good show, and the premiere on Sunday night seemed like it heralded a new and wonderful change in story. And then all too soon, the plot holes showed up, and were immediately explained away in the show's looming footnote.

Look, when I'm reading a book, if there's a plot hole, the author doesn't get to call me up and explain what they intended (and I think we all know why I am, personally, very glad about this). If I'm watching a movie and there's some ineffective exposition, the director and screen writer don't stop by and explain the nuances to you. The work has to stand on its own. Can you imagine how much more furious you would have been if, after the series finale of The Sopranos, another show came on to explain how the director purposely left the last scene vague because he felt it was an homage to Fellini, so fuck you for wanting closure? Or if, after Sex and The City, they made a movie to tell you what happened to the characters after the end of the series?

Or worse, two? And one of them was substantially worse than the other? What kind of nightmare world would that be?

A lot of people have been asking me for writing advice, since NaNoWriMo is coming up. That's a separate post altogether, but allow me to drop some writing truth right here: you are never going to be able to explain to everyone, out loud, exactly how your fictional universe works, or what you intended in a scene. You don't get a Talking Dead to patiently explain to exasperated viewers why you're really a genius in spite of what they just experienced. So, let your work stand on its own two feet. If it can't, you're not finished. Revise. Add. Clarify. Fix your shit before you put it in front of an audience, because the second a reader is soured on you, they're usually gone forever. Have an honest critique partner tell you what's wrong with your storyline ("I'm noticing that Carl is getting lost a lot... maybe you should search the document for 'has anybody seen Carl?' and eliminate some of those."). What I'm saying is, basically, don't be The Walking Dead, and your NaNo should turn out fine.

Friday, October 12, 2012

As Yet Untitled YouTube Show episode 2: "Jen and D-Rock answer reader questions"

Yeah, we're labeling it episode 2, even though the first one was more of a promo thing. That's how we roll. This week, we're taking reader questions and talking about jobs, halloween costumes, pet peeves, pets, and how we would defeat the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who:



New episodes every Friday. Because we're classy ladies, that's why.

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.