So much to my own disappointment, chapter 18 won't treat us to Ana squirming during a Pap-test. What kind of erotica is this?! The scene is again so short that it could have just been skipped or written in a paragraph of less. "The doctor was super-duper blond like everyone else around me lately. She reminded me of Kate, so I liked her, just like as of last chapter I decided I liked Taylor because he reminds me of Ray! I like things that are familiar to me, and if someone shares some physical trait or air that is similar to someone I like then I like them too because clearly they are the same! The doctor lectures me about how to take the pill soooo much and now I'm on the mini-pill!"
I read the phrase mini-pill and had to hit Google. I admit that I'm not as up on my hormonal contraceptives as I used to be, but I figured that if I had never even heard of it, I couldn't be the only one. That's because it seems to exist only in England. So Ana is now on some exotic birth-control with a pre-paid prescription. Pre-paid prescriptions also seem to be a British thing from my quick Google search on it, but if I'm wrong about that one, feel free to correct me in the comments. This is why I'm always scared to write things not set in Canada. I ended up changing the setting of my book to Canada after I wrote the rough draft, and while there were a bunch of reasons, one of them was I just could not write Ireland in a way that felt even slightly realistic to me since I've never even been. So I'm curious. EL James already moved the Twilight characters around when this was fanfiction. Why Seattle instead of London? I'm not saying that would have been the "right" thing to do, I'm just curious why she picks some things as fair game to flip and not others. Like having Bella able to make a friend who isn't a vampire or were-wolf.
“Yes, Mr. Grey. Look after her; she’s a beautiful, bright young woman.”
Christian is taken aback – as am I. What an inappropriate thing for a doctor to say. Is she giving him some kind of not so subtle warning?
You're right Ana, that is a very inappropriate thing for a doctor who has spoken to you for what, a half hour, hour? to say to the man who is paying her a large sum to come visit you on a Sunday at his home. We have been told that she's "no-nonsense" and "the best OB/GYN in the city". You'd think she would have not even thought to say anything. It's like the whole world around Ana is trying to protect her from Grey! Wait, it is. Or this is to prove that LOL SHE IS TOTES LIKE KATE! Which is obvious since because they are both blond and don't seem to like Grey they're basically the same person!
Seriously, though. The Clayton's make this big show of sending Ana off, Kate is fiercely protective in her own special way (whenever it's convenient for the plot) Paul asks Ana out constantly, Jose is anxious at the thought of her not being involved in his life, and now even near strangers are trying to tell us how AMAZING Ana is and how Grey should be nice to her.
“Fine, thank you. She said that I had to abstain from all sexual activity for the next four weeks.”
Christian’s mouth drops open in shock, and I cannot keep a straight face any longer and grin at him like an idiot.
He narrows his eyes, and I immediately stop laughing. In fact, he looks rather forbidding. Oh shit. My subconscious quails in the corner as all the blood drains from my face, and I imagine him putting me across his knee again.
“Gotcha!” he says and smirks. He grabs me around my waist and pulls me up against him.
I almost like this exchange. Almost. It's a little cute and playful, and doesn't make me want to claw my eyes out! Not at first glance. The part that doesn't sit well with me is that Grey's response to Ana making a crack that lasts... Seven seconds, is to scare her. She is scared, too. Blood draining from her face because she thinks she's about to get beaten. And OH HOW HILARIOUS! HE WAS JUST DELIBERATELY INTIMIDATING HER FOR A JOKE! I would be such an ass to Grey at a party. I'd just snark everything he said allll night. It would be so easy. Maybe give him an obnoxious nick-name... Anyways, Ana hasn't eaten yet today, so the banging is put off so they can eat.
The chicken caesar is delicious. To my surprise, I’m famished, and for the first time since I’ve been with him, I finish my meal before he does.
I feel this is important for a few reasons. One, Ana is shown eating rather normally when Grey is not on the page. She makes lasagna and sandwiches and stir-fries and eats Chinese food when she's with Kate or Jose or on her own. When Grey is around she's never hungry and has hardly touched her food. This strikes me because it is different. I suppose it's supposed to show that she's getting to be more at ease with him. However what bugs me is that Ana said she wasn't hungry before, but the second Grey forces her to eat OH HE WAS RIGHT AND ONCE AGAIN KNOWS HER NEEDS BETTER THEN SHE DOES! Poor Ana is just a silly little girl! Women don't know when they're hungry! Then things take a turn to the "about to fuck".
“Are you going to hit me?”
“Yes, but it won’t be to hurt you. I don’t want to punish you right now. If you’d caught me yesterday evening, well, that would have been a different story.”
Holy cow. He wants to hurt me… how do I deal with this? I can’t hide the horror on my face.
BY RUNNING LIKE FUCK. That is how you deal with this.
“Don’t let anyone try and convince you otherwise, Anastasia. One of the reasons people like me do this is because we either like to give or receive pain. It’s very simple. You don’t, so I spent a great deal of time yesterday thinking about that.”
He goes on to say he hasn't come to any conclusions about this, though. This struck me at first because... Well, it almost looks like Grey is trying to meet Ana halfway. I imagine this will take the form of "toning it down" but it also feels a little manipulative. He's making sure she knows her concerns were heard and considered, but not saying he's going to do anything about them. He leaves it hanging. If he didn't have a lot of manipulative behaviors behind him already I'd leave this one alone, but he does, so it feels like one more insipid, manipulative move. Something to appease Ana that doesn't involve him changing or doing anything.
I should run, but I can’t. I’m drawn to him on some deep, elemental level, that I can’t begin to understand.
SEE?!?! WARLOCK! IN TEXT PROOF!
This is it. I’m really going to do this. My inner goddess is spinning like a world-class ballerina, pirouette after pirouette.
Her inner goddess is really quite the accomplished dancer. Now we're back to the Red Room of Pain.
“When you’re in here, you are completely mine,” he breathes, each word slow and measured. “To do with as I see fit. Do you understand?”
"Wait, have you declared this room it's own country where I am subject to its laws as to the laws of the rest of the country?"
“Good. Don’t hesitate when I ask you to do something. Now I’m going to peel you out of this dress. Something I’ve wanted to do for a few days if I recall. I want you to be comfortable with your body, Anastasia. You have a beautiful body, and I like to look at it. It is a joy to behold. In fact, I could gaze at you all day, and I want you unembarrassed and unashamed of your nakedness. Do you understand?”
I've decided when I write the abridged version I'm changing Ana's name. She will go from Ana Steele to Ana Peel. Ana will be short for Banana. The talk of peeling her out of things is making me giggle waaay more then it should because of this, and I wanted to share that with you. Now moving onto the parts I actually want to talk about. GREY TALKS LIKE A CREEPY ROBOT! He has said her body is beautiful and a joy to behold before, almost verbatim. It's like he has a short stash of lines that were programmed into him. OH GOD GREY IS A WARLOCK SEX ROBOT WHAT THE HELL?!
Pulling my hair behind me, to my surprise, he starts braiding it in one large braid, his fingers fast and deft. He ties it with an unseen hair tie when he’s finished and gives it a quick tug so I’m forced back against him.
He then tied some pretty bows into it! He tells Ana that when she goes into the Red Room he wants her to go in her panties, and nothing else, and that he wants her to take a position that I sounds really uncomfortable.
“When I tell you to come in here, I expect you to kneel over there.”
“You can sit back on your heels.”
“Place your hands and forearms flat on your thighs. Good. Now part your knees. Wider. Wider. Perfect. Look down at the floor.”
It took me a few tries to position her in my head. The hands and forearms flat on her legs is the part that sounds most hurty to me. He then wanders off. Again. So he has given Ana a wardrobe and position she should assume, and discourages her from making noises or from moving. Sex with Grey just sounds boring. Not being able to move can be fun, don't get me wrong. It can be lots of fun, but it's a sometimes thing, not an all the time thing. So Grey comes back with ripped up jeans on, and tells Ana it's CHAIN TIME!
I give him my hand. He turns it palm up, and before I know it, he swats the center with a riding crop I hadn’t noticed is in his right hand. It happens so quickly that the surprise hardly registers. Even more astonishing – it doesn’t hurt. Well, not much, just a slight ringing sting.
The crop is brown-plaited leather. Like the one from Ana's dream she told him about. Naturally. He asks her how it feels to make it clear that this won't hurt. I dislike that he just busted it out, but he did it in a small way at least, and I like that he's trying to ease her into it.
“This grid is designed so the shackles move across the grid.”
I glance up. Holy shit – it’s like a subway map.
“We’re going to start here, but I want to fuck you standing up. So we’ll end up by the wall over there.” He points with the riding crop to where the large wooden X is on the wall.
X MARKS THE SPOT! *Ahem* So do you guys think Grey built his dungeon himself, or that he hired someone else to do it for him? Could you imagine the conversation that ensued when he explained to the contractor what he wanted? Ana describes the shackles like a subway system, too, so they're fairly elaborate, I doubt Grey has that sort of skill. The guy building the room must have thought he was building a serial killer's murder room.
It’s singularly the most exciting and scary thing I’ve ever done. I’m entrusting myself to a beautiful man who, by his own admission, is fifty shades of fucked-up. I suppress the brief thrill of fear. Kate and Elliot, they know I’m here.
Another title drop. Awesome. I also like Ana's logic here. "Kate and Elliot know I'm here" except that, Elliot is Grey's brother, and Kate is wrapped around his little finger. "No babe, Chris says she never turned up. She must have gotten in a wreck or tried to flee the country to escape the mafia or something." Elliot won't be on your side when the chips are down, Ana.
“You look mighty fine trussed up like this, Miss Steele. And your smart mouth, quiet for now. I like that.”
I think he's supposed to be an Evil Cowboy now? So now he's an evil warlock-robot-cowboy.
Not taking his eyes off mine, he scrunches my panties in his hand, holds them up to his nose, and inhales deeply. Holy fuck. Did he just do that? He grins wickedly at me and tucks them into the pocket of his jeans.
I don't even have anything snarky to say here that won't just be mean and judgmental to anyone who likes sniffing panties, so I'm just going to leave this here as the first actual example of kink in the book. He then whacks her junk around a little with the riding crop, and she is super into it. I find myself liking this scene a lot more then the spanking one because while Ana is in her usual stupor of OH MY GOD NEW SENSATIONS!!! she's not reading like someone getting beaten against their will. She is a willing participant, and she is enjoying herself. Grey constantly telling her to be quiet and whipping her ass when she fails to be? Fine. It's obviously sex play here, and both parties are enjoying themselves.
I do as I’m told, completely seduced. He pushes the tip of the crop into my mouth, like my dream. Holy shit.
“See how you taste. Suck. Suck hard, baby.”
Salty is apparently how she tastes, for those of you wondering. I stand by my same concern over sanitation with this thing that I had during the dream sequence.
“Oh, Anastasia, you taste mighty fine,” he breathes. “Shall I make you come?”
“Please,” I beg.
The crop bites my buttock. Ow!
“Please, Sir,” I whimper.
He smiles at me, triumphant.
“With this?” He holds the crop up so I can see it.
“Are you sure?” He looks sternly at me.
“Yes, please, Sir.”
And he does. Ana shatters/quakes/explodes "gloriously" as she does every time she comes and just sort of melts after that. Grey scoops her up and throws her on the cross, bones her for what sounds like seven seconds and then they both come, simultaneously, again.
I feel the build up again. Jeez no… not again… I don’t think my body will withstand another earth-shattering moment. But I have no choice… and with an inevitability that’s becoming familiar, I let go and come again, and it’s sweet and agonizing and intense.
Not only are Ana's orgasms so mighty that she may take the chains down with them, they are often multiple and inevitable. That bitch. So Ana get's some brief snuggles as she's cradled in his lap, on the verge of passing out from exhaustion, and Grey asks how she felt about all that. Again, this is good. This is the type of thing you do when trying something new that your partner is kind of freaked out about.
I flush and look back at his chest in longing. I want to run my tongue through the hair, kiss him, and for the first time, I notice he has a few random and faint small, round scars dotted around his chest. Chicken pox? Measles? I think absently.
Cigarette burns? Needles? Lasers?! Remember when I said the first time Grey got all huffy about his chest that it seemed random as there were no scars or anything? Apparently I was wrong. Grey puts Ana, kneeling in the corner again, and he seems less... Cuddly, then before.
I’m shaky and very, very tired, monumentally confused. Who would have thought I could have found such gratification in this room. Who could have thought it would be so exhausting? My limbs are deliciously heavy, sated. My inner goddess has a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the outside of her room.
Oh, Ana, do you marvel when you try a new type of sandwich like this, too? Ana partially nods off, and Grey seems... Less then pleased.
“You’re shattered, aren’t you?”
I nod shyly, flushing.
“Stamina, Miss Steele.” He narrows his eyes at me. “I haven’t had my fill of you yet. Hold out your hands in front as if you’re praying.”
I blink at him. Praying! Praying for you to go easy on me.
She shatters constantly on you, dude. This should not be shocking. They also keep telling us this is why he wants Ana to go to the gym. Not because he wants her skinny, but because she needs to be able to keep up. Arg. He busts out a zip tie that he bought from her at Clayton's and she's all shocked. Then he tells her to hold onto one of the posts on the bed, if she lets go, he'll spank her, and promises to be quick since she's tired. Er, okay? If she's that beat why not just... Let her nap and then have back at it?
He gently bites and sucks me at my waist, tugging my nipples, and my hands tighten on the exquisitely carved post.
Really? Thinking about how the post is carved right now?
“You have such a captivating, sexy ass, Anastasia Steele. What I’d like to do to it.”
Next chapter he's going to get the body paints out and draw a happy little bunny on it!
“Hold tight… this is going to be quick, baby.”
Just what every girl wants to hear before you ream them!
But he reaches over me and grabs my braid near the end and winds it round his wrist to my nape holding my head in place. Very slowly he eases into me, pulling my hair at the same time… oh the fullness. He eases out of me slowly, and his other hand grabs my hip, holding tight, and then he slams into me, jolting me forward.
“Hold on, Anastasia!” he shouts through clenched teeth.
It's like he's talking to his horse as they ford a particularly rough river. His horse that he is also fucking.
Oh no… and for the first time, I fear my orgasm… if I come… I’ll collapse.
Which she does as he tells her to give it to him. She comes to her senses laying on top of him. I'm not quite sure how this happened. They make a comment about karabiners, but I've been climbing, and still can't quite brain how this happened. She was leaning forward, clinging to the post, and he was... Standing behind her? I think? PHYSICS!
“I declare this Ana open,” he breathes, and cuts the plastic.
Open for what exactly? They giggle a bit and Grey laments that she doesn't giggle more and it's ALL HIS FAULT! Arg. Ana, half asleep and heavily influenced by endorphins tries to brush his comment off.
He stoops to help me to my feet and leads me to the door, on the back of which hangs a grey waffle robe. He patiently dresses me as if I’m a small child. I don’t have the strength to lift my arms. When I’m covered and respectable, he leans down and kisses me gently, his mouth quirks up in a smile.
You don't need to tell us something in his apartment if gray, Ana, we know. Everything he owns is gray, including his personality. Also, creepy. Dressing her like a child? I know this is supposed to be sweet and tender, but.... Ennnggghhh. So he tucks her in, brings her a glass of warm milk, reads her a bedtime story, and climbs into bed for some snuggles!
That brings us to the end of chapter 18! This chapter was almost not bad. The sex was interesting and no one was traumatized or frightened or had their consent over ridden! Oh, the standards I have for this book. Till next time darlings! As always, I'd love to hear what you thought of this chapter, or of my response to it, and am stock piling stashes of drink recopies for the chapters where they talk to each other!