So I'm going to start using trigger warnings on these posts, though I question my ability to do so well. If I miss something that you feel should have been mentioned, please feel free to tell me in the comments. Before I figured that if people were reading this feature they knew what they were in for, but I've had some people get upset over this book now, and I'd rather err on the side of caution.
So, TW: Rape, rape-culture, abuse, childhood abuse, battered woman mentalities, using sex as a weapon, claiming ownership of another person, more of Grey's temper.
Last chapter ended with Grey luring Ana away from a family dinner and then carrying her off to fuck her.
Christian bursts through the wooden door of the boathouse and pauses to flick on some lights. Fluorescents ping and buzz in sequence as harsh white light floods the large wooden building. From my upside-down view, I can see an impressive motor launch in the dock floating gently on the dark water, but I only get a brief look before he’s carrying me up some wooden stairs to the room above.
He pauses at the doorway and touches another switch – halogens this time, they are softer, on a dimmer – and we’re in an attic room with sloping ceilings. It’s decorated with a nautical New England theme: navy blues and creams with a dash of red. The furnishings are sparse, just a couple of couches are all I can see.
Christian sets me on my feet on the wooden floor. I don’t have time to examine my surroundings – my eyes can’t leave him.
Ana, I feel like you're trying to put your dick in two places, here. Do you have two dicks, Ana? Did you not get a chance to look around or are you noticing the "nautical New England" theme? Also, what the hell is a nautical New England theme?
His breathing is harsh but then he’s just carried me across the lawn and up a flight of stairs.
I KNOW I JUST READ THAT SHIT AT THE END OF THE LAST CHAPTER! Does EL James expect her readers to finish a chapter, say "I can't stand this shit" throw the book down in disgust, and then pick it up again weeks later?
Holy shit. I could spontaneously combust from his look alone.
“Please don’t hit me,” I whisper, pleading.
His brow furrows, his eyes widening. He blinks twice.
“I don’t want you to spank me, not here, not now. Please don’t.”
His mouth drops open slightly in surprise, and beyond brave, I tentatively reach up and run my fingers down his cheek, along the edge of his sideburn, to the stubble on his chin. It’s a curious mixture of soft and prickly.
So Ana is trying to be soft and gentle to try to convince Grey not to hit her. Rather then say "He is a scary abusive prick" she decides "I'm going to adapt to him" and that just makes me sad. No one deserves having to deal with a temper like this. I know I gave Ana hell for telling Grey he needed to "Do better" as far as his therapy was going, but... Well, he's THIS CLOSE >< to committing a felony because of his ZOMGRAGEHULKSMASH!
His soft moan is barely audible, and when he opens his eyes, his look is – wary, like he doesn’t understand what I’m doing.
Really? He's moaning from a little hair tug? I also find him being confused that Ana is touching him really really sad.
“What are you doing to me?” he whispers confused.
“You said no.”
“What?” No to what?
“At the dinner table, with your legs.”
Oh… that’s what this is all about.
“But we were at your parents’ dining table.” I stare up at him, completely bewildered.
“No one’s ever said no to me before. And it’s so – hot.”
No one has said no to you ever? Not even when you were a kid? Or when you went to rent a movie but they were out of the movie you wanted to rent? Now I'm just picturing Grey at Jumbo Video with a raging hard on. Also I can't believe he is so shocked that she was closing her legs on him trying to ram his hand up her cooch with his parents right fucking there. I wonder if Grey was never told no, or never accepted no, before. He's entitled enough that I wouldn't be shocked.
“I’m mad because you never mentioned Georgia to me. I’m mad because you went drinking with that guy who tried to seduce you when you were drunk and who left you when you were ill with an almost complete stranger. What kind of friend does that? And I’m mad and aroused because you closed your legs on me.”
Okay, Georgia, I'll give him. The rest? Fuck you Grey. Also I like how shocked and outraged he is that Jose let Grey take Ana off, but Kate's in the clear as far as that one is concerned. I would also like to point out that he's a near stranger who infringed on Ana then when she had no ability to say no and didn't give a fuck what her feelings on the matter may have been and the hypocrisy, it burns.
“I want you, and I want you now. And if you’re not going to let me spank you – which you deserve – I’m going to fuck you on the couch this minute, quickly, for my pleasure, not yours.”
OhGod. Okay. This is Grey declaring that he's willing to rape Ana here, right? I mean, she's going to be into it because fiction, but what if she wasn't? Would he have just done it anyway if she had tried to say "No, we're at your parents place"? You know, like she's been doing all night? I sent that line to a friend. His response was "What in all the fucks?". I'm going to go drink now.
“This is mine,” he whispers aggressively. “All mine. Do you understand?” He eases his finger in and out as he gazes down at me, gauging my reaction, his eyes burning.
The "mine" is her cooter for those of you who may have missed it. I'm picturing them getting married and divorced now and they get into a fight over who gets Ana's snatch. She DID say it was his... I read this to The Boy and he said "Seems reasonable" I think I might need to draft up a pre-nup now...
He rolls the condom down over his impressive length.
He also knocks over the lamp with it.
“We don’t have long. This will be quick, and it’s for me, not you. Do you understand? Don’t come, or I will spank you,” he says through clenched teeth.
Holy crap… how do I stop?
USING SEX AS A FORM OF PUNISHMENT IS TOTALLY OKAY NOW YOU GUYS! IT'S KINKY AND ROMANTIC NOT ABUSIVE AND CONTROLLING AT ALL! NOPE!
I groan loudly, gutturally, and revel in the fullness of his possession.
It's not even "there" or her "sex" now, it's his possession. Did this happen because EL James needed a new thing for Ana to call her muff?
I am trapped. He’s everywhere, overwhelming me, almost suffocating.
He's an octopus now. Octocock?
But it’s heavenly too, this is my power, this is what I do to him, and it’s a hedonistic, triumphant feeling.
So Grey loosing his shit and being willing to assault Ana is her fault and that's a good thing? He just can't help himself around her! Also in EL James world - She was asking for it, look at how she's dressed! Gotcha. The sex scene is quick because, well, Grey just wanted to get his rocks off and didn't want Ana to do the same.
All of a sudden, he withdraws, leaving me aching and hungry for more. He glares down at me.
“Don’t touch yourself. I want you frustrated. That’s what you do to me by not talking to me, by denying me what’s mine.”
Ana's body belongs to Grey, and if she says no to sex, she's denying him a right to something that belongs to him.
WHAT THE FUCKING HELL?! THAT IS NOT BDSM! That is being abusive and controlling and possessive and so, so much is wrong here. This whole chapter so far is reeking of rape-culture.
He stands and removes the condom, knotting it at the end, and puts it in his pants pocket.
For later use. D:
“Here. You may put these on.”
From his inside pocket, he produces my panties. I don’t grin as I take them from him, but inside I know – I’ve taken a punishment fuck but gained a small victory over the panties. My inner goddess nods in agreement, a satisfied grin over her face – You didn’t have to ask for them.
Small victory or common decency? YOU DECIDE! To avoid having to actually talk at this point Mia is at the bottom of the stairs yelling up at Grey because Jesus fuck dude family dinner that you brought your new girlfriend to so everyone could meet her!
“Up here, Mia,” he calls down. “Well, Miss Steele, I feel better for that – but I still want to spank you,” he says softly.
I KNOW I ALREADY EXTRACTED MY REVENGE ON YOUR, I MEAN MY, VAGINA, BUT I STILL WANT TO ABUSE YOU MORE!
“I don’t believe I deserve it Mr. Grey, especially after tolerating your unprovoked attack.”
“Unprovoked? You kissed me.” He tries his best to look wounded.
I purse my lips.
“It was attack as the best form of defense.”
“Defense against what?”
“You and your twitchy palm.”
The sad thing is this is supposed to be a joke, but that is exactly what she just did.
“Kate and Elliot are about to leave. Can you believe those two? They can’t keep their hands off each other.” Mia feigns disgust and looks from Christian to me.
So far it sounds like it's been a lot of "arm around shoulders" kind of stuff, but I want to point this out because, Mia, as the only other female brunette in this whole book is clearly destined to usurp Kate and become Ana's new BFFF. I also point this out because, well, it's the author reinforcing Ana. If you thought Ana was being too harsh before, PROOF that she wasn't! Mia thinks so too!
He pulls me gently in front of him, and as Mia turns to go, he swats my behind. I gasp in surprise.
“I will do it again, Anastasia, and soon,” he threatens quietly close to my ear, then he pulls me into an embrace, my back to his front, and kisses my hair.
ARUGUHSWGOIHWRGKNLADBIPewhgkk\qehtpuehgpIWJHBP9! MIA WOULD HAVE HEARD THE SMACK! Also Ana is all "I don't want to be spanked" but Grey is just desperate for an excuse to do so anyways.
“I need to speak to you about antagonizing Christian,” I hiss quietly in her ear as she embraces me.
“He needs antagonizing, then you can see what he’s really like. Be careful, Ana – he’s so controlling,” she whispers. “See you later.”
I KNOW WHAT HE’S REALLY LIKE – YOU DON’T! – I scream at her in my head.
Okay, not sure where to start here. I get where Kate is supposed to be coming from, but that is not how you should be going about talking to your friend about their skeezy boyfriend. Ana, on the other hand, is slipping into some battered women patterns. "I know what he's really like! You just don't understand him like I do!" and she gets mad at Kate for over stepping her bounds. What Kate is doing is stupid, as Ana won't want to tell her things for fear of them getting to Grey, which... isn't good. If Kate is worried about Ana being with a controlling d-bag she should be making sure Ana feels comfortable talking to her, not making her afraid to do so. That way Kate will be in a position to help when Ana is ready to let her, and keep Ana from getting totally isolated. Which is what controlling d-bags do.
I scowl at her, and she pokes her tongue out at me, making me smile unwillingly. Playful Kate is novel, must be Elliot’s influence.
Because everything Kate does isn't novel and worth mention to you Ana? Honestly, I do not get. What I want to mention is Ana assuming Kate being playful is all Elliot's influence. They've been dating what, two weeks? It can't just be she's in giddy new relationship mode? Or excited about her trip? Or excited about being done school and the move? I've also seen her be what I would describe as playful before in this book, but sure Ana, like happy Kate, or shocked Kate, or inquisitive Kate, we can treat it like a new entity.
Mia embraces me warmly as we say our goodbyes.
“We never thought he’d find anyone!” she gushes.
Holy non-sequester Batman! You do not say that to your friend/brothers new SO as if she is a sane person it might scare her off, or just put a lot of pressure on her in general. So his parents are lovely and warm and welcoming to Ana as they say their good byes.
“Let’s not frighten her away or spoil her with too much affection,” he grumbles.
Ana comments that she doesn't think he's kidding. Poor thing. In the car, Grey asks her what's on her mind as she seems off and Ana decides to call him out for only inviting her because Elliot invited Kate.
“Anastasia, I’m delighted that you’ve met my parents. Why are you so filled with self-doubt? It never ceases to amaze me. You’re such a strong, self-contained young woman, but you have such negative thoughts about yourself. If I hadn’t wanted you to meet them, you wouldn’t be here. Is that how you were feeling the whole time you were there?”
Every time Grey is nice to Ana it feels like a Dad giving a speech to cheer his daughter up. "You are so strong and beautiful and confident!" replace "and I'm so into that" with "any guy would be happy to have you" I have also yet to see anything in text that would make me feel this way about Ana. I was talking to one of my editors about Head-Cannon. As you write, you draft further into your own head, so there are a lot of things going on in your head that never reach the page, or when they do, come out very differently on page then in your head. It causes a rift. I feel that is how EL James writes. She sees her characters in X way, but is writing them as Y.
I only mentioned Georgia because Kate was talking about Barbados – I haven’t made up my mind.”
“Do you want to go and see your mother?”
He looks oddly at me, like he’s having some internal struggle.
“Can I come with you?” he asks eventually.
I'm sure in Grey's head this is "Well, you just met my parents, sooo" however going to parents place for dinner, not as big a deal as traveling and staying with your new girlfriend's Mom when it's only been a few weeks. I met The Boy's Mom before he met my folks because she lived in town, mine didn't. The second travel enters into it, meeting the parents becomes a much bigger deal.
Ana has to tell Grey she doesn't want him to come with her because she wanted a break from him to think over if this is a good idea or not and just process everything. Grey asks her about why she's having second thoughts.
Because I think I love you, and you just see me as a toy. Because I can’t touch you, because I’m too frightened to show you any affection in case you flinch or tell me off or worse – beat me? What can I say?
That? Maybe? Though thinking you love him in less then a month might be better left off the list. Ana then goes on to say "But I DO want him because he makes me feel so alive!".
We’re coming near to the end of the bridge, and the road is once more bathed in the neon light of the street lamps so his face is intermittently in the light and the dark. And it’s such a fitting metaphor. This man, whom I once thought of as a romantic hero – a brave shining white knight, or the dark knight as he said. He’s not a hero, he’s a man with serious, deep emotional flaws, and he’s dragging me into the dark. Can I not guide him into the light?
Translation: I can change him. THIS IS NOT A HEALTHY THING TO BE PROMOTING EL JAMES!
Ana says she wants more, Grey says he'll try, and tells her to sign after Georgia. Ana climbs into his lap and slips him the tongue in gratitude for being not a douche.
I let my mind drift, and I allow myself to fantasize that he loves me. Oh, and it’s so real, tangible almost, and a small part of my nasty harpy self-conscious acts completely out of character and dares to hope.
I can't even muster frustration or anger for Ana right now. Right now she's just really pitiable.
He reaches up and grasps my chin, freeing my lip from teeth.
“One day I will fuck you in this elevator, Anastasia, but right now you’re tired – so I think we should stick to a bed.”
We already knew that. Also I just picture her biting her top lip now, it makes it hurt less.
“You’re going to settle for plain old vanilla?”
He cocks his head to one side.
“Nothing plain or old about vanilla – it’s a very intriguing flavor,” he breathes.
“Since last Saturday. Why? Were you hoping for something more exotic?”
My inner goddess pops her head above the parapet.
“Oh no. I’ve had enough exotic for one day.” My inner goddess pouts at me, failing miserably to hide her disappointment.
I actually like Grey here. At this point Ana has made it clear she wants him, and he's catering to what is easier on her. He also goes on about how she has a big day and he should get her in bed, so the sooner they go to bed the sooner he can pounce her and then she can get a full nights rest. Is it strange? A little, but I get the feeling that his concern is an honest one.
I oblige, and in one breathtakingly swift move, he removes my dress like a magician, grasping it at the hem and pulling it smoothly and fleetly over my head.
“Ta Da!” he says playfully.
I giggle and applaud politely. He bows gracefully grinning. How can I resist him when he’s like this?
His next trick is sawing you in half, so enjoy it while you can.
“Don’t you want to fuck?” he asks.
“I want you to make love to me.”
He stills and stares at me blankly. His expression darkens. Oh shit, this doesn’t look good. Give him a minute! My subconscious snaps.
Grey tells her no, pretty bluntly, and when Ana presses about touching being a hard limit, and why, he throws a shirt at her and tells her to go to bed. I've mixed feelings on this. I think Grey should be allowed to have his boundaries and his secrets. I think everyone should, and I think Ana is being really disrespectful in her continuing pressing him on it. She isn't asking for a compromise, or half way sort of thing, either. She wants to touch him and she demands to know why she can't. On the other hand, I understand Ana's frustration of not being able to ask your partner about something important, and about having your needs not being met.
“Anastasia, you know where the bathroom is. Today, at this point in our strange arrangement, you don’t need my permission to use it.” He cannot hide his irritation. He shrugs out of his shirt, and I scoot into the bathroom.
So Ana is forced to wear a shirt, and he is taking his off, despite having very deliberately kept his on before? What? Also Grey is being a bit of a wank. Ana isn't sure where the boundaries are, and is trying to feel them out. When she over steps one she skirts away from others, this is a pretty normal response, and Grey getting so bitchy about it is endlessly frustrating to me. So Ana goes to the bathroom and has a conversation with herself.
What did you expect – that you’d grow horns and a little pointy tail? My subconscious snaps at me. And what the hell are you doing? Touching is his hard limit. Too soon, you idiot, he needs to walk before he can run.
Baby steps are important. Her subconscious is painted with some really unflattering imagery, but this time I think she's not being unreasonable.
You are making him mad – think about all that’s he’s said, all he’s conceded. I scowl at my reflection. I need to be able to show him affection – then perhaps he can reciprocate.
What bugs me about this isn't Ana or her subconscious. What bothers me is that her subconscious is treated as an entirely different character. EL James doesn't treat Ana's Inner Goddess or Subconscious like parts of her, she treats them as totally different people. That... Is not how inner dialogues work. I get in fights with myself, however it's usually two narratives in my head taking different sides of the same issue and trying to concede and be reasonable with one another, they are both, however, definitely me. There isn't a lot of "NO SHUT UP YOU SUCK" and dancing going on for me. Maybe I'm the strange one but it makes Ana so much less believable then she already is.
My subconscious is right of course. I’m rushing him. He’s not ready and neither am I. We are balanced on the delicate see-saw, that is our strange arrangement – at different ends, vacillating, and it tips and sways between us. We both need to edge closer to the middle. I just hope neither of us falls off in our attempt to do so.
This passage hurts me. The whole thing is just beating me over the head with everything I already knew.
So both of them brush their teeth and Ana goes to bed and Grey joins her and there seems to be no fucking.
“Imagine if I said to you that you couldn’t touch me.”
He clambers onto the bed and sits cross-legged.
“Anastasia, I’ve told you. Fifty shades. I had a rough start in life – you don’t want that shit in your head. Why would you?”
“Because I want to know you better.”
So his reasoning for telling Ana isn't boundaries or that he doesn't want to talk about it, but that he wants to protect her? Dude, respect her enough to let her make that call. Ana's solution is that if he tells her, he can spank her. So, she's using her body and sex as a bargaining chip. For fucks sake.
“You’re bargaining with me?” His voice resonates with astonished disbelief.
I nod. Yes… this is the way.
Oh, joy, Ana has found a new way to communicate with Christian. He agrees, and then goes to get a toy. I'm actually not entirely sure what he's just pulled out, but they're described as two metal balls on a string, basically.
“I am going to put these inside you, and then I’m going to spank you, not for punishment, but for your pleasure and mine.”
The deal is he's going to spank her, fuck her, and if she's still awake at the end, then he'll tell her because turns out her interview isn't until two! Bets on Ana passing out? We're nearing the end of book 1, just about a hundred pages left (yay!) so I'm not sure if it's "too soon". I think she'll get a little out of him before passing out.
Very gently, he puts the balls in my mouth.
He puts his balls in her mouth and then makes her suck them for lube. Hee.
“Now turn round, bend down, and grasp your ankles.”
I blink at him, and his expression darkens.
“Don’t hesitate,” he admonishes me softly, an undercurrent in his voice, and he pops the balls in his mouth.
Fuck, this is sexier than the toothbrush.
The toothbrush was sexy?
Oh my. They’re body temperature, warmed by our collective mouths. It’s a curious feeling. Once they’re inside me, I can’t really feel them – but then again I know they’re there.
Once she's standing she reports that she can feel them, and Grey orders her to fetch him a glass of water so she can feel them jangling around.
Oh my… I may have to keep these. They make me needy, needy for sex.
As to normal needy, which you also are. Though Ana, you're not allowed to wank, remember? That would just be cruel to yourself.
“Ask me, Anastasia. I won’t say it again.” And there’s such a threat implicit in his words, and it dawns on me. He wants me to ask him to spank me.
Holy shit. He’s looking at me expectantly, his eyes growing colder. Shit.
“Spank me, please… Sir,” I whisper.
I do not understand the italics in this book. So Grey throws her over his knee and makes sure he can see her face as he does this. Naturally she's going to love it this time around because balls.
He lifts his hand and brings it down in a resounding slap against the junction of my thighs, my behind, and my sex. The balls are forced forward inside me, and I’m lost in a quagmire of sensation.
Words I don't expect to see in erotica: quagmire.
I screw my face up as my faculties attempt to absorb all these foreign feelings.
I want you all to try and think of the most absurd facial expression that you can here.
because this is on my terms, I don’t mind the pain. It’s not painful as such – well it is, but not unbearable. It’s somehow manageable, and yes pleasurable… even. I groan. Yes, I can do this.
Show of hands, anyone surprised? Didn't think so. They fuck, it's really fast, which I actually like. We see lots of foreplay means shorter time until orgasm, and that's, well, realistic. It's one of the few things that treats sex realistically. Often it turns into these marathon sessions in these books.
Honestly, all this fuss. I feel very sleepy.
“Your ass is a glorious color,” he says approvingly, and he tenderly massages the cooling lotion into my pink behind.
“Spill the beans, Grey,” I yawn.
“Miss Steele, you know how to ruin a moment.”
“We had a deal.”
Oh, hi there Ana's spontaneous backbone!
“The woman who brought me into this world was a crack-whore, Anastasia. Go to sleep.”
Holy fuck… what does that mean?
It means that his biological Mother was a crack whore. So, are the pock marks on his chest from his Mother stabbing him with needles then? She's dead, and died when he was four. Carrick (his Father, who he refers to as such) seems to have known her. THE PLOT THICKENS!
And I slip into a dazed and exhausted sleep, dreaming of a four-year-old, gray-eyed boy in a dark, scary, miserable place.
AND THAT'S ALL FOR NOW FOLKS! Oh, man, this chapter. I just, I'm just going to go drink for a while. Comments and drink recipes are always loved. Till next time.