A few links to get you going before the recap:
Perculia over at It's Dangerous To Go Alone analyzes the food weirdness in 50 Shades.
And here is a girl named Lexxii Leigh and she has a guitar. Unrelated to 50 Shades, I just like her. Go listen.
When we last left Ana, she and Christian had both just realized that she had, gasp, gone topless on a French beach. Obviously, it's the scandal of the century, since no one has ever gone topless on a French beach.
His eyes blaze with fury. He reaches down, scoops up my bikini top from his sun lounge, and tosses it at me.I wish he would have tossed the sun lounge at her.
"Put this on!" He hisses.
"Christian, no one is looking."Because we're in Europe, and there are sexy European girls on the beach, and they're all topless as well.
"Trust me. They're looking. I'm sure Taylor and the security crew are enjoying the show!" he snarls.Then hire better employees, dick. Seriously, how can he trust them to protect him if he thinks they're going to be constantly trying to steal his girl? It would be so easy, considering the number of people who (justifiably) seem to want Christian Grey dead, for Taylor to just stand back and let it happen, then swoop in and console Ana. And she's so easily manipulated, he'd have no trouble convincing her that she should stay with him, because Christian would have wanted her to be safe.
Holy shit! Why do I keep forgetting about them? I grasp my breast in panic, hiding them. Ever since Charlie Tango's sabotaged demise, we are constantly shadowed by damned security.First of all, was it ever conclusively established in the previous book that Charlie Tango had been sabotaged, or that it wouldn't be salvageable? And "sabotaged demise" sounds like the actual demise was sabotaged. The demise itself went according to plan, didn't it? The helicopter did crash. I guess it didn't work out the way Jack Handy or whoever the fuck that guy was had planned, because Christian didn't die. But he did crash.
And hey, wait a minute... before the helicopter crash, they were "constantly shadowed by damned security." Christian was having Taylor do sweeps of every place they went to, like he's the goddamned president or something.
Christian tells Ana that "'...some sleazy fucking paparazzi could get a shot of you, too.'" which hammers home the reality to Ana that her bare breasts should never be bare in public, even under appropriate circumstances. Because they belong to Christian, obvs. Apparently, after their engagement was announced, she was "besieged" by paparazzi outside her work. Because she's Princess Di.
Christian puts his cut-offs on over his swim trunks, because he confused the French Riviera with a Texas water park. He also puts on a gray t-shirt, and then this happens:
Reluctantly, I wriggle into my turquoise sundress and step into my flip-flops. Once the waitress has left, Christian snatches up his book and BlackBerry and masks his fury behind mirrored aviator sunglasses.And God help me, the first thing I thought of was:
Muscles Glasses: quite possibly the manliest man to ever man.
Sadly, we know Christian won't cook for himself, and if he did, lord knows Ana wouldn't eat it.
Ana finally catches up with the rest of us, vis-a-vis beach nudity:
Every other woman on the beach is topless - it's not that big a crime. In fact, I look odd with my top on.I totally know the feeling, Ana. I went to the south of France when I was eighteen, and when I stepped out in Nice in my one-piece, full body covering suit, I felt like I was an alien emerging onto a space planet or something.
I thought Christian would see the funny side... sort of... Maybe if I'd stayed on my front, but his sense of humor has evaporated.But then it wouldn't have been funny! Christian was never going to see the "funny" side of things, because he has no sense of humor. The only things he finds funny are terribly unfunny, like saying "fair point, well made, Miss Steele," about a billion times.
"Please don't be mad at me," I whisper, taking his book and BlackBerry from him and placing them in my backpack.
"Too late for that," he says quietly - too quietly.I had so missed the romantic, not at all skeevy and abusive-sounding banter between these two wacky kids.
Taking my hand, he signals to Taylor and his two sidekicks, the French security officers Philippe and Gaston. Weirdly, they are identical twins.Why is that weird? It's rare, but not weird. Besides, I doubt they're identical. Look at them, they don't even look remotely alike:
See Gaston's expression there, by the way? That's the face I constantly have when I'm reading these books:
And not to get too far off track here, but I just noticed something... doesn't Belle:
Look a bit like:
That shit is uncanny.
Okay, where were we? Right, in France, with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Beats Women, and their merry band of roving security:
Why do I keep forgetting about them? How? Taylor is stony-faced behind his dark glasses. Shit, he's mad at me, too. I'm still not used to seeing him so casually dressed, in shorts and a black polo shirt.He's probably not mad at you, Ana. He's probably just unpleasant because he knows the punk little POS he works for is going to go full 1980's Sean Penn on you and he's going to be the cause of it. Remember, how Sean Penn used to beat up women before he got an Oscar and we all forgot about how he beat Madonna with a baseball bat?
Also, Ana, you forget about security being there because they aren't Christian Grey. If Chedward's security team was like, a clone army of other Chedwards, I bet you'd remember they were there. And I bet the real Chedward would be even more constantly jealous of them.
Christian and Ana head back to the marina, where they got on a jet ski. The security team will follow behind them in a boat, because everything E.L. James ever learned about water craft, she learned from chase scenes in James Bond movies. These two dingbats get on a jet ski fully dressed, shoes and all, and Taylor gives Ana a lifejacket.
"Here you go, Mrs. Grey." Taylor passes me a life vest from the motorboat, and I dutifully put it on. Why am I the only one who has to wear a life jacket?I propose Ana doesn't wear a life jacket. All in favor?
Christian and Taylor exchange some kind of look. Jeez, is he angry with Taylor, too?Yes, because Taylor looked at your perfect boobies, Ana, and therefore you committed some kind of mental infidelity. Taylor looked upon you with lust in his heart, and according to Jimmy Carter in that Playboy interview, that's just the same as shackin' up.
But you know... I hesitate to point this out, but... okay, doesn't Chedward kind of pay Taylor to look at Ana? Isn't that the point? If Taylor saw some paparazzi, wouldn't he probably spring into action and break the guy's camera and/or neck? So, why is Christian all pissy about Taylor looking?
But if we reread those excerpts... maybe Taylor remembering the life jacket, then calling her Mrs. Grey, was a dig at Christian. Maybe it was his way of saying, "Yeah, you smug little prick, you may have money and jet skis, but I have a gun and I've killed men before. I could snap your spine with my little finger, because I'm Jason fucking
Or something. Guys, these books are boring, I have to make my own fun.
"Hold on," he orders, and I put my arms around him. This is my favorite part of travelling by Jet Ski. I hug him closely, my nose muzzling into his back, marveling that there was a time when he would not have tolerated me me touching him this way. He smells good... of Christian and the sea. Forgive me, Christian, please?How depressing is this? They're on their honeymoon. And she's worried that he'll never forgive her for taking her top off at a European beach.
I'll be honest. I could sit here and point out how fucking awful this is, that his anger is stemming not from real concern for Ana, but from a feeling that she's his property and she's shown other people something that belongs to him, that he hasn't given her permission to show, and like how in the context of a 24/7 D/s relationship that might be a very sexy situation but this is in the context of what is supposed to be a vanilla marriage, this shit isn't okay, etc. But I'm too tired. Because I know that I'm going to have to give the exact same explanation in every chapter of this book, just like with every chapter of the two other books, and there are still going to be people trying to explain to me why it's romantic and caring and sexy for Chedward to treat Ana like he owns her. So let's just leave at: this guy. This fucking guy.
Anyway, this fucking guy takes them out on the jet ski fully dressed because they don't understand how water works:
The sea spray is splashing us, the warm wind buffeting my face and flaying my ponytail crazily around me. This is so much fun. Maybe the thrill of this ride will dispel Christian's bad mood. I can't see his face, but I know he's enjoying himself - carefree, acting his age for a change.Well, thank god HE is having fun. Because that's all that matters.
They head back to the Fair Lady. After the last recap, someone sent me a picture of a wooden toy boat and the words "The Queen of all the yachts in the harbor" on it, and I laughed uncontrollably for like two hours. I left the link open in my browser for daaaaays, thinking I would work it into this post. And then this morning I accidentally closed the window and now I can't get it back. I'm so sad, I'm almost sick to my stomach.
Anyway, they're back on the boat, and Christian asks Ana if she wants a drink. She asks if she needs one. I love that. "Hey, sweetie, do I need to start drinking so I can be partially anesthetized for whatever you're going to do to me?" And no, I'm not reading into that, they actually have this conversation:
"You think I'm going to punish you?" Christian's voice is silky.
"Do you want to?"
"I'll think of something. Maybe when you've had your drink." And it's a sensual threat. I swallow, and my inner goddess squints from her sun lounge where she's trying to catch rays with a silver reflector fanned out at her neck.Ana's inner goddess is now, officially, Miss Piggy in my mind:
I can't wait to see Miss Piggy in the Muppet spoof of 50 Shades, karate chopping Cheward in the dick.
Then, this bullshit happens:
"You want to be?"
How does he know? "Depends," I mutter, flushing.
"On what?" He hides his smile.
"If you want to hurt me or not."
His mouth presses into a hard line, humor forgotten. He leans forward and kisses my forehead.
"Anastasia, you're my wife, not my sub. I don't ever want to hurt you. You should know that by now. Just... just don't take your clothes off in public. I don't want you naked all over the tabloids. You don't want that, and I'm sure your mom and Ray don't want that, either."Bullet points are our friend:
- Wives can't be subs.
- Even though he hurt her in the past and inspired this distrust, she should "know better," without him having to earn back that trust.
- As an adult woman, she should be afraid of shaming her mother and father with her choices.
The steward brings them their drinks, which Christian ordered without asking Ana what she would like, and their conversation turns to the boat. Goddamnit, I wish I had that wooden toy boat picture.
"Who owns this boat?" I ask.
"A British knight. Sir Somebody-orOther. His great-grandfather started a grocery store. His daughter's married to one of the crown princes of Europe."
Oh. "Super rich?"No, Ana. He's the kind of poor that owns a fucking yacht and gets knighted. WTF? The next time anyone calls Ana a smart heroine, I'm going to choke them with this page of the book. And how the hell do you borrow someone's boat without knowing their name? I guess it's conceivable that Christian has a boat guy who would like, broker the rental of a boat for him, but it seems somewhat unlikely that he wouldn't have heard the boat's entire pedigree as part of the selling point. Or that he wouldn't have memorized it to impress everyone within earshot.
Ana asks Christian if Sir So-and-So is rich "'Like you,'" and Christian says:
"And like you." Christian whispers and pops an olive into his mouth. I blink rapidly... a vision of him in his tux and silver waistcoat comes to mind... his eyes burning with sincerity as he gazes down at me during our wedding ceremony.
"All that is mine is now yours," he says, his voice ringing out clearly, reciting his vows from memory.
All mine? "It's odd. Going from nothing to - " I wave my hand to indicate our opulent surroundings - "to everything."Wait. Wait a damn minute. Going from nothing? Readers, please remember that Ana admits to coming from a middle class family. She lived with her rich roommate all through college, and that rich roommate's family paid for everything. Also, Ana had a job as an editor at a publishing house. Which isn't rolling in lottery money, but it's definitely more than "nothing," especially when that income only has to provide for one person who doesn't even pay rent. Maybe that's "nothing" compared to what Christian has, but for many Americans, that's more than "nothing."
Which brings me to my next gripe:
"You'll get used to it."No one should ever "get used" to being that super mega rich. They should be constantly aware of the tremendous privilege they have been afforded in life, and be thankful for it. The fact that Christian was able to go from being a drug-addict's abused child to the richest, most powerful man in America and he can blithely "get used to it" means he's an even bigger asshole than we previously suspected. I don't care how much good he does or how much he gives to charity, when you're sitting on a yacht in the south of France, chowing on olives a servant brought you and talking about how easy it is to "get used to" wealth like that, rather than saying, "You're right, aren't we lucky," you're an asshole.
Ana is just as bad, because she thinks:
I am rich... stinking rich. I have done nothing to earn this money... just married a rich man.When she was living with Kate, did she ever think, "I have done nothing to earn this apartment... just moved in with a rich friend?" No, not that I can recall. She has pretty much always treated Kate's family's money as though she were entitled to it, even moving into another apartment paid for by Kate's parents after college. But suddenly she's all embarrassed to be a mooch? Come the fuck on, for real.
There's a section break, and Ana drifts back in time - because again, this is a Pulp Fiction timeline - to when she was having breakfast at the Chevalier-Grey manse with the entire family, because remember, they're all vampires who live together in a coven or something, and Mia read a gossip item saying that there must be a huge prenup.
As it turns out, Carrick had been pressuring his son to get Ana to sign a prenup, and Christian wanted no part of it.
"Christian," I murmur. "I'll sign anything you and Mr. Grey want." Jeez, it wouldn't be the first time he's made me sign something.You're missing the point, Ana. A prenup isn't always, "You leave with your stuff, I leave with mine." A good prenup would also include provisions for what you get if the marriage dissolves based on the number of years you stay together, the circumstances of the separation (ie, if one parter cheats), how long you have to get your shit out of his house, or where you're going to end up living. A good prenup can prevent a messy divorce and tons of wasted money in legal fees. Literally everyone should have one, and just thinking, "Oh, we don't plan to get divorced because marriage is forever," isn't good enough, or realistic.
God, I hate this book more than the last two combined, and I'm only on page thirty-one.
"He has a point, Christian. You're very wealthy, and I'm bringing nothing to our marriage but my student loans."
Christian gazes at me, his eyes bleak. "Anastasia, if you leave me, you might as well take everything. You left me once before. I know how that feels.
Holy fuck! "That was different," I whisper, moved by his intensity. "But... you might want to leave me." The thought makes me sick.
He snorts and shakes his head with mock disgust.
"Christian, you know I might do something exceptionally stupid - and you..." I glance down at my knotted hands, pain lancing through me, and I'm unable to finish my sentence.So, the only way this marriage would fail would be if Ana did something stupid? I'm so glad that this book gives young women a heroine to look up to, so that they'll later realize that every time a man fails them, it's really their fault.
What is up with our culture's notion that a prenup is somehow unromantic, or that getting a prenup means you're setting your marriage up to fail? I would think it terribly romantic for my partner to go, "Okay, I don't want this to end, but shit happens and if it does, I want to make sure that the person I love and respect comes away from this as smoothly as possible." I mean, yes, there are prenups that are like, "Everything you own in the box to the left/in my closet, that's my stuff/yes if I bought it, please don't touch," but that's not every prenup.
This shit is unbearable, so allow me to skip forward, to the boat, where there still is no prenup, and Ana is complaining about being too rich:
I shudder as I recall the crazy shopping fest Christian demanded I go on with Caroline Acton - the personal shopper from Neiman Marcus - in preparation for this honeymoon. My bikini alone cost five hundred and forty dollars. I mean, it's nice, but really - that's a ridiculous amount of money for four triangular scraps of material.Then why did you buy it, you daffy twat? Did Caroline Acton - the personal shopper from Neiman Marcus whom we've never met, but who for some reason needs a full fucking name - hold a gun to your head and demand you pay a ridiculous amount for a bikini? Just admit that you like being rich. Admit that you like having things, and that you don't really care to work for them. Because all we've seen you do is mooch off Kate and then complain about working. There is nothing wrong with liking money. Everyone likes money. It's when you reap the benefits of being super rich while bitching about how unfair it is to be super rich that you look like as big an asshole as Christian Grey.
Christian tells her to finish her drink, because they're going to bed. And then...
"I'm going to make an example of you. Come. Don't pee," he whispers in my ear.
I gasp. Don't pee? How rude. My subconscious looks up from her book - The Complete Works of Charles Dickens, volume 1 - with alarm.Fuck, now her subconscious has props, too? No wonder there's no room in Ana's head for like, thought.
"It's not what you think," Christian smirks, holding his hand out to me. "Trust me."No! I can't trust you, Christian, because I have OCD and germ phobia. I wash my hands fifty thousand times a day. I cannot trust, after you yoinked her tampon out that one time, that you're not going to do something with pee. And yes, I know that pee is sterile and everybody's kind is okay, but OCD isn't like, sensible. You can't reason with it. It feels no pain.
Christian gets out two pairs of handcuffs and makes her pick a safeword. I wonder what happened to "love means never having to use safewords," from the last book. He also gets out a blindfold, and then starts undressing Ana:
I turn, and he undoes my bikini top so that it falls to the floor.
"Tomorrow, I will staple this to you," he mutters and tugs on my hair tie, freeing my hair.That's not funny. Because he could probably do it, and she would probably be thinking the whole time about how much she deserves it. God, these two are perfect for each other.
Christian handcuffs her arms and legs together, right arm to right ankle, left arm to left ankle. I was about to call bullshit on handcuffs being big enough to go around an ankle, but then I remembered how very skinny Ana is. She's like St. Agnes, the martyr who couldn't be shackled because her wrists were too small.
And I bet Ana is STILL skinnier.
This feels weird - being trussed up and helpless - on a boat.DAMNIT WHY COULDN'T I HAVE SAVED THAT FUNNY BOAT PICTURE?
"Argh!" I cry.
Because this is how they have sex.
Since all the sex scenes are repetitive and boring, I'm going to largely skip them when recapping this book, unless something interesting happens. Like somebody getting peed on. Let me just sum this one up: Christian has sex with her while asking her why she doesn't obey his every command, and of course she's so lost to pleasure that she tells him it's because she loves him, and then she has the biggest orgasm ever:
I detonate around him, again and again, round and round, screaming loudly as my orgasm rips me apart, scorching through me like a wildfire, consuming everything.God, how I wish that were literal.
Then he uncuffs her, there's a section break, and she wakes up having to pee really bad. So... that's why he didn't want her to pee? Because they needed her bladder for an alarm clock or something? Christian announces that they're sailing to Cannes, and Ana goes into the bathroom:
I stare at myself in the mirror, shocked.
Holy fuck! What has he done to me?I don't care! I just want to know why he didn't want you to pee! And how you managed to not pee all over him while having a huge g-spot orgasm while bent in half!
But none of these mysteries are wrapped up, and the chapter ends.