Now, I want to introduce you to someone very special.
This is Kristen Wiig in the movie Bridesmaids, and this is a much prettier, Hollywood version of what I did about a bajillion times while reading chapter seven. Kristen is the princess of my heart. She is slightly above my children on the "what I'm living for" scale. And I heard her delivery of this line in my head over and over as I read this chapter. So, I'm going to just let her handle most of the heavy lifting in this recap. And in case you haven't seen the movie, here's the scene where the quote comes from. You can skip to 1:12 if you just want the intonation without the context:
You may recall that at the end of chapter six, Ana recognized the server room arsonist as Jack Hyde, her former boss who was basically going to rape her before Taylor beat the ever living fuck out of him in 50 Shades Darker.
Ana tells Christian she recognizes it's Jack from his earrings and the shape of his shoulders and build. She thinks he's wearing a wig, or he's cut and dyed his hair. Which throws me for a bit of a loop, because I had been visualizing Jack Hyde as Rufus from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.
Carlin's a genius, but there's not a lot to cut and dye here.
I find it super interesting that Ana can tell that Jack has dyed his hair from a "grainy black-and-white CCTV image." But I might have to stop pointing out all these logical errors, because otherwise we'll never be finished with this fucking book.
Now, instead of being all, "Thank you, Ana, your sharp observation skills have given us the break we needed in this case," Christian says:
"you seem to have studied your ex-boss in some detail, Mrs. Grey," he murmurs, sounding none too pleased.
This guy was her boss, so she saw him every day. Okay, everyday for like a week. And then he tried to rape her in the break room. So, what is Christian insinuating here? That Ana was secretly into the dude who tried to sexually assault her? That she encouraged it? What are you trying to say with this comment?
Over the phone, Barney uses the word "asshole" and apologizes for it by saying, "Sorry, ma'am." Because, you know, our fragile lady vaginas will seal right the fuck up if we hear the barest utterance of profanity. Christian tells Ana he's sorry she ever worked with Jack Hyde... so I guess this is laying the groundwork for Ana to quit her job for her own protection. Can't wait.
Barney is going to scan the CCTV and see if he can figure out which car is Jack's, etc, and Christian tells Ana that Jack had a bunch of stuff on his hard drive:
"Was it about you, or me?"
"Me." He sighs.
"What sort of things? About your lifestyle?"I love that this is still being portrayed as something that would ruin Christian Grey, both personally and professionally. He likes to spank women in his sex dungeon. As far as I'm aware, that's probably the first and mildest vice anyone is going to suspect a billionaire of getting up to. I mean, off the top of my head, I imagine Donald Trump jacks off while personally slaughtering the urban foxes that are later fashioned into his stupid wigs (and he can't sue me for saying that because THIS POST IS INTENDED AS SATIRE). So, "He's into some kink," isn't going to shock the plebs, we all think rich people are up to deviant shit nonstop. It isn't as though Christian Grey is making snuff films or feeding unruly servants to eels or anything.
Apparently, the car Jack Hyde drives is a 2006 Camaro. You guys, I'm so glad this came up, because CAR PORN TIMES:
Oh yeah, baby. You know what momma likes. What you got under that hood? Lemme find out.
Mmm, yeah, back that ass up.
Baby, I could treat you so right. Grip your steering wheel, stroke that gear shift... Mmmm...
As fun as this all was, I have to admit I got to the 2006 Camaro line and I was like:
There is no such thing as a 2006 Chevy Camaro, except for that concept car I just showed you. Chevy ceased production on fourth generation Camaros in 2002, and fifth generation Camaros weren't available to consumers until 2010. I guess Jack Hyde bought his car from the same store that Christian bought Ana's MacBook Pro with the terabyte harddrive.
And I hope to fucking god that the Camaro isn't the same car she's referring to as the Dodge that chased them, or a bitch is gonna get a drink thrown in her face.
Christian and Barney make some important sounding plans to track down Jack Hyde, but I won't bore you with those details because we all know they're not going to be important, and these idiots will be saved from the plot by deus ex machina. Because this is a Twilight fanfic, and that's how Breaking Dawn wrapped up the conflict, so E.L. will obviously remain true to the source material. Christian hangs up with Barney and pays Ana the single most misogynistic compliment in all of literature:
"Well, Mrs. Grey, it seems that you are not only decorative, but useful, too." Christian's eyes light up with wicked amusement. I know he's teasing.
Oh, so he doesn't really think you're useful? I assume that's the part he's teasing you about. What the shit is that? He's saying, quite clearly, that the only value he thought Ana had was her looks. Did he go to the Dowager Countess Grantham School For Backhanded Compliments?
Even she thinks it's pretty harsh, guys.
Then this happens:
"Hungry?" he asks.
"Well - food actually."OMG, they flipped it! This time it wasn't about sex! E.L. James is truly a treasure of human wit! They have the longest conversation ever about what he wants to eat, and they repeatedly call each other Mr. and Mrs. Grey because it wasn't tiresome at all when they were calling each other Mr. Grey and Miss Steele, and I certainly can't get enough of it and I hope it just keeps going on and on and on until one or both of them is dead by my hand.
Ana goes to the kitchen to make the MOST NEEDLESSLY DRAMATIC SANDWICH OF ALL TIME:
"Um - so what does Christian like in a, um... sub?" I frown, struck by what I've just said. Does Mrs. Jones understand the inference?Ana seems to actually believe that everyone in the universe is obsessed with Christian Grey's sex life. What's spooky is, since this book has come out, that's kind of become true.
"Barefoot and in the kitchen," he murmurs.
"Shouldn't that be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen?" I smirk.
He stills, his whole body tensing against me. "Not yet," he declares, apprehension clear in his voice.Too late, dummies!
They continue to make the MOST NEEDLESSLY DRAMATIC SANDWICH OF ALL TIME until a section break, after which Christian and Ana look over the plans for the remodel of their new house, and it turns into what I'm sure was an unintentional metaphor for their entire relationship:
"[...] I fell in love with the house as it was... warts and all."
Christian's brow furrows as if this is anathema to him.BOOM. The reason I know this is totally unintentional on E.L. James's part is because it's clear from her repeated statements in the media that she doesn't find their relationship unhealthy at all. But right here, we have Ana, the girl Christian picked to mold and shape and change through all his bullshit contract requirements about what to eat and how she's supposed to work out and what clothing she's allowed to wear, saying she likes something as it is, even if it's not her idea of perfection, and he can't possibly understand the concept. Now, I'm 100% fucking certain that E.L. put this in to show us that Christian doesn't understand how Ana can love him as he is, without changing, or to prove to the reader that Ana really can love him despite all his flaws. But it actually says more about Christian's inability to have a relationship with anyone he isn't controlling and smashing into the mold he wants them to fit into.
After they're done looking at the plans for the house, which includes more talk about how they don't want to start a family yet, because when E.L. James looked up "foreshadowing" in the dictionary, this picture was next to the definition:
Ana and Christian go into the TV room:
We have sat here three, maybe four times total, and Christian usually reads a book. He's not interested in television at all. I curl up beside him on the couch, tucking my legs beneath me and resting my head against his shoulder. He switches on the flat-screen television with the remote and flicks mindlessly through the channels.
"Any specific drivel you want to see?"Try not to be too condescending there, Chedward.
I'm going to get on my soapbox here and say:
This is the 21st Century. I'm pretty sure that at this point, television has proved that it isn't just a passing fad, but that it can be an important tool of mass communication as well as an art form. Yes, there are poor examples in the medium, but you can find poor examples in any medium. While television does have its share of disappointing programming like Teen Mom 2, literature has, for example, oh, gosh, this one is a toughy, I don't know, 50 Shades of Grey. You can't judge all television based on one or two shows, just like you can't say that all literature is going down the tubes just because this POS got published.
I'm sick of the attitude that television is just mindless entertainment, subpar in comparison to books, movies, art, music, etc, and that in order to be smart, you have to stop watching TV. Or that just not watching television makes you somehow more erudite than all the brain-dead savages drooling in front of the idiot box. I will never understand how choosing to be willfully ignorant of a massive part of our culture (speaking from a Western standpoint here, I don't know about other parts of the world) is somehow smart. If anything, I would say defining yourself by what you choose to exclude from your life is fucking ignorant.
ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE A ROOM IN YOUR HOUSE DEVOTED TO THAT ACTIVITY THAT YOU THINK IS A WASTE OF TIME AND YOU NEVER DO IT. WHO IS AN IDIOT NOW, MR. GREY?
The good news is, Ana doesn't want to watch TV, really. She just wants the tv to be on while they make out. Christian is completely bowled over by this suggestion, and he admits he's never actually made out with anyone. He's confused as to how Ana has any experience with making out, too, because she hasn't done it with him, so she's clearly never done it before. He broke the factory seal, right? He asks her if she's ever made out with anyone:
I flush. "Of course." Well, kind of...
"What! Who with?"
Oh no. I do not want to have this discussion.
"Tell me," he persists.
I gaze down at my knotted fingers. He gently covers my hands with one of his. When I glance up at him, he's smiking at me.
"I want to know. So I can beat whoever it was to a pulp."
I giggle. "Well, the first time..."
"The first time! There's more than one fucker?" He growls.
He's legit jealous of the boys Ana made out with in high school? It's not enough that she had never masturbated, never had an orgasm before she met him. She'd kissed someone else, and that's unacceptable? And she apparently thinks it's cute that he's threatening violence over it. Even if he's just joking, she knows he has an extremely violent past, because his sister told her so in the second book. This isn't cute, and it isn't funny. It doesn't show that Chedward values Ana as a person, it shows us once again that she's only an object to him, a toy that someone else has played with, so it's lost some of its value.
Because Christian has to prove that he's way, way more important than those guys in high school, they have sex. Despite Ana saying no. No, really. Check this out:
"We're supposed to be making out." I groan.
Christian stills. "I thought we were."
"No. No sex."And then they have sex. Okay, so I get the whole, "let's not have sex/let's have sex now" thing is often used in romantic scenes, but this concerns me because remember, when they're doing BDSM stuff nowadays, they're not using safe words anymore, he's just going to stop when she asks to stop. But right here, she has initiated sexual activity, she's saying, "No sex," and the first thing he does is set off on a quest to get her to have intercourse. He won't play by the rules of her game, probably because they're her rules. This isn't inspiring a lot of confidence for that whole, "We don't need safe words," thing.
After boring and repetitive sex, Christian turns the sound on the tv to watch X-Files. He says he liked the show when he was a kid, but Ana says it was before her time. Wait, what? This book was published in 2011, right? So Ana was twenty-two in 2011, meaning she was thirteen when The X-Files was cancelled. Now, I can see why maybe a kid who's ten or eleven wouldn't be into the show, and there's no law that everyone has to watch The X-Files.
Although there should be.
But it's certainly not before Ana's time. The age gap between these two characters is five years, but E.L. makes it sound like it's insurmountable. Or notable at all. Christian even responds to Ana's assertion that The X-Files are before her time by saying, "'You're so young.'" Again, he's only five years older than her, so why is their "age difference" constantly coming up?
It's almost as if this mirrors a piece of popular fiction involving vampires...
Christian tells Ana that security will be tight when she returns to work in the morning.
Which reminds me... I shift, propping myself up on my elbows to see him better. "Why were you shouting at Sawyer?"
He stiffens immediately. Oh shit.
"Because we were followed."
"That wasn't Sawyer's fault."
He gazes at me levelly. "They should never have let you get so far in front. They know that.""Look, I realize that it was my choice to drive separately from our security, but they're the ones who had the audacity to not be in the car with us when we were being followed. Also, they should have kept up with us, even though I encouraged you to drive like ninety miles an hour in an R8 when they were in an SUV. They should have swapped out for a sports car at the drop of a hat."
"Enough!" Christian is suddenly curt. "This is not up for discussion, Anastasia. It's a fact, and they won't let it happen again."
Anastasia! I am Anastasia when I am in trouble, just like at home with my mother.Because your husband infantilizes you. He's also clearly an American Conservative, because he's insisting his opinion is a fact and refusing to entertain common sense.
Ana asks Christian if they ever caught up to the woman in the Dodge:
"Sawyer saw someone with their hair tied back, but it was a brief look. He assumed it was a woman. Now, given that you've identified that fucker, maybe it was him. He wore his hair like that." The disgust in Christian's voice is palpable.But I thought Jack Hyde drove a Camaro. Oh, please. Don't do this to me, E.L. Please tell me you know the difference between Chevy and Dodge?
The next morning, Christian rides with Ana to work, but this time, security is in the car with them. They have the longest good-bye in the history of long good-byes. Why can't these nimrods ever just say, "See you at five, have a good day?" Oh, because romance, I forgot.
Since Ana left on her honeymoon, shit has changed at SIP. For example:
Hannah is my assistant. She is tall, slim, and ruthlessly efficient to the point that sometimes I find her a little intimidating. But she's sweet to me, in spite of the fact that she's a couple of years older.
Naturally, any woman older than Ana wouldn't be sweet to her, right? Because we're all embittered crones who can't stand the sight of youth.
Ana has a meeting at ten with Roach, and Elizabeth stops by to remind her of this, then Ana gets an email from Christian:
From: Christian Grey
Subject: Errant Wives
Date: August 22 2011 09:56
To: Anastasia Steele
I sent the e-mail below and it bounced.
And it's because you haven't changed your name.
Something you want to tell me?
First of all, Christian, your email didn't bounce because she hasn't changed her name. It bounced because she hasn't changed her email address. An hour after arriving at work, just back from her honeymoon, she hasn't changed her email address to reflect her name change, and this is assumed to be a clear signal by her new husband? What a fucking psycho.
Ana emails him back saying she's not planning to change her name at work, and asks to discuss it that evening, as she has a meeting to go to:
As the meeting progresses, I grow more and more uncomfortable. There's a subtle change in how my colleagues are treating me - a distance and deference that wasn't there before I left for my honeymoon. And from Courtney, who heads up the nonfiction division, there's downright hostility. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but it goes some way to explaining Elizabeth's odd greeting this morning.
My mind drifts back to the yacht, then to the playroom, then to the R8 speeding away from the mystery Dodge on I-5. Perhaps Christian's right... perhaps I can't do this anymore.
You're right, Ana. Work is too hard. You should probably quit. After all, there's no reason for these people to treat you differently, considering you just married the guy who bought your company right before your boss got fired and you got his job. That doesn't look bad on you at all, and your husband was totally cool for pulling this bullshit. You got a keeper, now go home and wait for him like he wants you to.
After the meeting, Ana is ambushed at work by Christian:
"If you'll excuse me, Roach, I'd like a word with Ms. Steele." Christian hisses the S sibilantly... sarcastically.How do you not say "s" sibilantly? Either way, imagine Robert Pattinson saying this line, stressing every S. It will be the best laugh you've had in days. It certainly was for me.
After making a comment about how small her office is - expect a new office in an hour, Ana - Christian says:
"I'm just looking over my assets."
"Your assets? All of them?"
"All of them. Some of them need rebranding."
"Christian, I'm working."
"Looked like you were gossiping with your assistant to me."
Two women speaking to each other is always "gossiping" isn't it? But when two men talk, even if they're gossiping, it's "networking" or "discussing." Fuck this bullshit. I hope Christian Grey's dick falls off.
There's a knock on the door. "Come in!" I shout, too loudly.
Hannah opens the door and brings in a small tray. Milk jug, sugar bowl, coffee in a French press - she's gone all out. She places the tray on my desk.
"Thank you, Hannah," I mutter, embarrassed that I have just shouted so loudly.
"Do you need anything else, Mr. Grey?" she asks, all breathless. I want to roll my eyes at her.
"I like to make the odd impromptu visit. It keeps management on their toes, wives in their place. You know."
"Are you ashamed of me?" he asks, his voice deceptively soft.
"No! Christian, of course not!" I scowl. "This is about me - not you." Jeez, he's exasperating sometimes. Silly overbearing megalomaniac.
"How is this not about me?" He cocks his head to one side, genuinely perplexed, some of his detachment slipping as he stares at me with wide eyes, and I realize that he's hurt.That's called a narcissistic injury. Seriously, he can't understand why someone would not want to advertise that they got their job by sleeping with the dude who owns the company? All he's focusing on is that the object he acquired to have sex with doesn't want to do as it's told.
"Christian, when I took this job, I'd only just met you," I say patiently, struggling to find the right words. "I didn't know you were going to buy the company."
What can I say about that event in our brief history? His deranged reasons for doing so - his control freakery, his stalker tendencies gone mad, given completely free reign because he is so wealthy. I know he wants to keep me safe, but it's his ownership of SIP that is the fundamental problem here. If he'd never interfered, I could continue as normal and not have to face the disgruntled and whispered recrimination of my colleagues.See, this concept is so simple, even Ana gets it. ANA GETS IT. I feel like I can't stress how simple this is if Ana is able to grasp the fundamental truth of it.
Ana asks Christian why it's so important that she change her name:
"I want everyone to know that you're mine."
"I am yours - look." I hold up my left hand, showing my wedding and engagement rings.
That is NOT what a wedding ring symbolizes. It isn't a shackle. Marriage isn't ownership, it's partnership, and neither of these doofuses should have gotten married without knowing this. In fact, I'm going to petition the fucking White House to make people take a one-question test before they can get married. "Choose the answer which best completes the following sentence: 'Marriage is ____.' A) A declaration of ownership. B) A partnership. C) A penguin."
Christian tells her that it's not enough that she married him:
"I want your world to begin and end with me," he says, his expression raw. HIs comment completely derails me. It's like he's punched me hard in the stomach, winding and wounding me.Ana says:
"It does," I say without guile, because it's the truth. "I'm just trying to establish a career, and I don't want to trade on your name. I have to do something, Christian. I can't stay imprisoned at Escala or the new house with nothing to do. I'll go crazy. I'll suffocate. I've always worked, and I enjoy this. This is my dream job; it's all I've ever wanted. But doing this doesn't mean I love you less. You are the world to me." My throat swells and tears prick the backs of my eyes. I must not cry, not here. I repeat it over and over in my head. I must not cry. I must not cry.Keeping in mind, this entire time, she's at work. Have you ever worked with someone whose partner would show up at work and upset them? I have. It happens often in ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS.
And then, this bullshit happens:
"Look, we were talking about my name. I want to keep my name here because I want to put some distance between you and me... but only here, that's all. You know everyone thinks I got the job because of you, when the reality is - " I stop when his eyes widen. Oh no... it is because of him?
"Do you want to know why you got the job, Anastasia?"
Anastasia? Shit. "What? What do you mean?"
He shifts in his chair as if steeling himself. Do I want to know?
"The management here gave you Hyde's job to babysit. They didn't want the expense of hiring a senior executive when the company was mid-sale. They had no idea what the new owner would do with it once it passed into his ownership, and wisely, they didn't want an expensive redundancy. So they gave you Hyde's job to caretake until the new owner" - he pauses, and his lips twitch in an ironic smile - "namely me, took over."
Holy crap! "What are you saying?" So it was because of him. Fuck! I'm horrified.
Of course Christian is the reason Ana got the job. We all knew this. We all knew that his promise to stop fucking with her career was just a random string of empty words he didn't believe, but he said them because he wanted to have sex with her some more. NO ONE SHOULD BE SURPRISED BY THIS PLOT TWIST.
And the hits just keep on coming:
"So one of the reasons I'm here - apart from dealing with my errant wife," he says, narrowing his eyes, "is to discuss what I am going to do with this company."
Errant wife! I am not errant, and I'm not an asset! I scowl at Christian again and the threat of tears subsides.
"So what are your plans?" I incline my head to one side, mirroring him, and I can't help my sarcastic tone. His lips twitch with the hint of a smile. Whoa - change of mood, again! How can I ever keep up with Mr. Mercurial?
"I'm changing the name of the company - to Grey Publishing."
"And in a year's time, it will be yours."
My mouth drops open once more - wider this time.
"This is my wedding present to you."
I shut my mouth then open it, trying to articulate something - but there's nothing there. My mind is blank.
"So, do I need to change the name to Steele Publishing?"
A gift is not a gift if it comes with conditions. It's an obligation. You cannot "gift" someone a company under the condition that they run it and change their last name to do so. It's clear that Christian feels Ana will never be able to achieve her dreams on her own, so he has to give them to her. His sarcastic query about whether or not to call it "Steele Publishing," proves that. The idea that she might ever have a business named after herself without his hand in it is clearly laughable to him.
Oh, do you know why Christian feels she's qualified for the job?
"You're also the most well-read person I know," he counters earnestly. "You love a good book. You couldn't leave your job while we were on our honeymoon. You read how many manuscripts? Four?"
"Five," I whisper.Seriously? She read five manuscripts in three weeks, and he thinks that's impressive? For an editor? I know an editor who read four manuscripts in a day last week.
Then, this other bullshit happens:
His eyes darken... in that way. Oh no - I know that look. Sultry, seductive, salacious... No, no, no! Not here.Yup. Christian thinks that after disrupting Ana's day, causing a scene at her job, telling her she only got her position because he bought it for her, he thinks she's going to fuck him:
"We're in a small, reasonably sound-proofed office with a lockable door," he whispers.
Ana is putting her foot down on this one:
"Christian, no. I mean it. You can fuck me seven shades of Sunday this evening. But not now. Not here!"Before I read Fifty Shades of Grey, I had no idea that people used "x shades of n" as a legit expression. I mean, it's used so often in here, I assume it must actually be an expression, right? I don't know at this point, and trying to google it just leads to shit about these stupid fucking books. Whatever, at least we know what the inevitable sequels will be called.
Also, they'll be about body-snatching aliens who are in no way plagiarized from The Host.
"Seven shades of Sunday?" He arches an eyebrow, intrigued. "I may hold you to that, Ms. Steele."
"Oh, stop with the Ms. Steele!" I snap and thump the desk, startling us both. "For heaven's sake, Christian. If it means so much to you, I'll change my name!"
His mouth pops open as he inhales sharply. And then he grins, a radiant, all-teeth-showing, joyous grin. Wow...
"Good." He claps his hands, and all of a sudden he stands.
"Mission accomplished. Now, I have work to do. If you'll excuse me, Mrs. Grey."
He can't just win the argument. He has to fucking gloat about it.
So, of course, Ana thinks about how much she loves him, even though he drives her crazy, but ultimately she justs rolls over and accepts his utter control, because that's what we're supposed to do when we're in love, right, ladies? Even though she's still mad, he thinks everything is fine because he got his way, and then he leaves and emails her to joke about the fact that he just busted into her work to treat her the way he just did.
Christian is quiet when I climb into the car that evening.
"Hi," I murmur.How the fuck do you murmur that?
Ana gives Christian the somewhat silent treatment all the way back to Escala, where they have an argument I swear to Christ we've read before:
"What exactly are you mad about? I need an indication," he asks cautiously.
I turn and gape at him.It's so much funnier if you assume she does this with her vagina.
"Do you really have no idea? Surely, for someone so bright, you must have an inkling? I can't believe you're that obtuse."I can't believe we haven't read this exact line of dialogue before, because I'm having wicked bad deja vu here.
They go into the apartment, where they continue to fight. I'm not going to recap the whole argument because we've seen it a thousand times before, and also, you and I both know this is never going to get resolved. She's just going to accept what he wants and go blindly on with her life. But there is some awesome foreshadowing:
"Don't be mad. You're so precious to me. Like a priceless asset, like a child," he whispers, a somber reverent expression on his face. His words distract me. Like a child. Precious like a child... a child would be precious to him!Look, if anyone was shocked when they got to her finding out she's pregnant, then... I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. But in the condescending way the eleventh Doctor would be sorry, not the genuine way Ten would have.
Christian reminds Ana that the architect is going to be coming over, so Ana does a little more internal back and forth about how infuriating Christian is and how horrible these things are that he's doing, but how much she loves him and she's going to put up with this bullshit forever, and then she gets all prettied up to face the perceived competition:
I'm wearing my gray pencil skirt and sleeveless blouse. Right! My inner goddess gets out her harlot-red nail polish. I undo two buttons, exposing a little cleavage. I wash my face, then carefully redo my makeup, applying more mascara than usual and putting extra gloss on my lips. Bending down, I brush my hair vigorously from root to tip. When I stand, my hair is a chestnut haze around me that tumbles to my breasts. I tuck it artfully behind my ears and go in search of my pumps, rather than my flats.It sounds to me like she's trying to fuck the architect, rather than stop her from fucking Christian, but whatever. Ana joins Christian in the great room, where they dance to a requiem - creeeeepy- and then Taylor announces Gia is there and the chapter is over.