I am manicured, massaged, and I’ve had two glasses of champagne. The First Class lounge has many redeeming features. With each sip of Moet, I feel slightly more inclined to forgive Christian and his intervention.
I've never flown first class. I have hardly flown. Still, I am feeling fairly confident that other then a bitching bar and some potentially decent food, that the "first class lounge" isn't that fancy. Also, I've gotten a manicure before. It takes AGES. So do massages. Was Ana's flight delayed? How early did she show up?
I open up my MacBook, hoping to test the theory that it works anywhere on the planet.
I don't even know what this means. Is her computer on a 3G network? Does Ana think that laptops only turn on when in ideal circumstances? She decides to send Grey an e-mail to thank him, but in it she calls him out.
What really alarms me is how you knew which flight I was on.
Your stalking knows no bounds. Let’s hope that Dr. Flynn is back from vacation.
STOP MOCKING HIS ATTEMPTS TO DEAL WITH HIS ISSUES! They are not "cute" jokes to be made! Also, if you are actually worried about his total disregard for your boundaries, you shouldn't be joking about them! If he knows what time you're flight is at (which you told him) and where you're going (which you also told him) how hard do you think it is to find out which flight you're on? How many planes to Georgia leave at X time a day? They likely are all staggered. Plus if he simply called and said "A plane going to Georgia at X time, the passengers name is Ana, I'd like to upgrade her ticket" he wouldn't even need to know her flight number. LOGIC!
Grey again magically sends her an instant response. The usual obnoxious banter, but I want to point out the signature here.
CEO with friends in the right places, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
THAT IS SO UNNECESSARY! That said, it would be totally reasonable to assume Grey is just making Ana think he's more powerful than he is.
So Grey in his e-mail asked who was giving Ana a massage. Again, this book, it hurts me, you guys. It hurts me in the soul. I didn't know I had one until I started reading this book, but, nope, it is definitely in pain because of this. Grey is getting jealous because Ana got a massage. Ana's response? Rather then annoyance or terror is "mischievous glee" because she can't answer until she's on the plane as her flight was just called! Tee hee! He's going to be SO MAD! Also how does she plan to e-mail him from the plane? Can you get wifi in first class? Or, you know, any sort of- right magic computer. Forgot. So on the plane Ana e-mails Grey back.
A very pleasant young man massaged my back. Yes. Very pleasant indeed. I wouldn’t have encountered Jean-Paul in the ordinary departure lounge – so thank you again for that treat.
So, let me get this straight. Ana let some random guy (she says later she thinks he's gay) give her a back rub, and then brags to her boyfriend that she did so? What is this I don't even... Ana first is pleased with herself for riling up Grey and doing so when she's going to be in the air, and unreachable, and then feels guilty.
After take off, Ana checks her black berry, and, again, not sure how she is supposed to be getting signal. Naturally she is, and he has already replied.
Dear Miss Steele
I know what you’re trying to do – and trust me – you’ve succeeded. Next time you’ll be in the cargo hold, bound and gagged in a crate. Believe me when I say that attending to you in that state will give me so much more pleasure than merely upgrading your ticket.
I look forward to your return.
Palm-Twitching CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Show of hands. Anyone surprised? Didn't think so. Ana asks if he's joking and begs for forgiveness, he instead scolds her for nearly killing herself and everyone around her by using her phone on the plane. Does not even acknowledge that Ana has apologized and begged forgiveness. Instead there's just an implied threat because putting herself in danger is one of the things on the list of things he's allowed to
Ana then has a layover and sends Grey another e-mail. This one is a doozy, and I'm just going to post the whole thing up here.
You know how much I dislike you spending money on me. Yes, you’re very rich, but still it makes me uncomfortable, like you’re paying me for sex. However, I like traveling first class, it’s so much more civilized than coach. So thank you. I mean it – and I did enjoy the massage from Jean Paul. He was very gay. I omitted that bit in my email to you to wind you up, because I was annoyed with you, and I’m sorry about that.
Why is she annoyed at him? Because he made her "look like a dolt" in front of the clerk when she checked in because she didn't know she was in first class. THAT is the base reason.
But as usual you overreact. You can’t write things like that to me – bound and gagged in a crate – (Were you serious or was it a joke?) That scares me… you scare me…
IF HE SCARES YOU THEN GET OUT! Also I DO have to give points here, she's calling him out for his bad behavior. That is something that needs to be done.
I am completely caught up in your spell, considering a lifestyle with you that I didn’t even know
existed until last Saturday week, and then you write something like that and I want to run screaming into the hills. I won’t, of course, because I’d miss you. Really miss you. I want us to work, but I am terrified of the depth of feeling I have for you and the dark path you’re leading me down. What you are offering is erotic and sexy, and I’m curious, but I’m also scared you’ll hurt me – physically and emotionally. After three months you could say goodbye, and where will that leave me if you do? But then I suppose that risk is there in any relationship.
Yes Ana, in any relationship you always have the option to not commit forever. Even if you're married you can still leave. Oh God. He's going to propose to her at the end of the book, isn't he?
This just isn’t the sort of relationship I ever envisaged having, especially as my first. It’s a huge leap of faith for me.
You were right when you said I didn’t have a submissive bone in my body… and I agree with you now. Having said that, I want to be with you, and if that’s what I have to do, I would like to try, but I think I’ll suck at it and end up black and blue – and I don’t relish that idea at all.
I hate how Ana treats herself like a martyr. OH WOE IS ME TO BE WITH THIS MAN I FEEL IS PERFECT I MUST FACE HIS TEMPER AND TWITCHY PALMS!
I am so happy that you have said that you will try more. I just need to think about what ‘more’ means to me, and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted some distance. You dazzle me so much I find it very difficult to think clearly when we’re together.
They are calling my flight. I have to go.
I'm a little torn on how I feel about this. On one hand, I like that Ana is bluntly saying "I am crazy about you but these are my concerns and I don't know if I can do this but I want to try and I'm scared and having FEELINGS and you need to know about them" because YAY SHE IS COMMUNICATING WITH HIM OPENLY AND HONESTLY AND SHE'S SOBER!!! OH MY GOD YOU GUYS!!! I am so excited about that! I'm however annoyed as fuck that she keeps saying things like "You dazzle me" and "I'm scared of this dark erotic path you are leading me down". Seriously, who the hell talks like this?
I sip slowly, beyond fatigued, and I allow myself to feel a modicum of excitement. I’m going to see my mother for the first time in six months.
So, Ana hadn't seen her Mother in six months and her Mother couldn't leave her shitty new husband at home to go see her daughter for her grad? The guy is right there with her when they pick Ana up from the airport. Am I supposed to hate her Mother? Think she's awful and negligent? Ana bursts into happy, jet lagged, overwhelmed tears upon seeing her Mother and Bob, and reassures them they are happy tears.
“Welcome back, Ana. Why you cryin’?” he asks.
“Aw, Bob, I’m just pleased to see you too.” I stare up into his handsome square-jawed face, and his twinkling blue eyes that gaze at me fondly. I like this husband, Mom. You can keep him. He takes my backpack.
So, how long ago was the grad scene? A week? Two, tops. It's mentioned that he's a bit unsteady, and we're reminded that his leg is hurt, so, why is he taking her bag? Also really not sure how I feel about yet ANOTHER character being blond with blue eyes, and equally unsure of Ana's inner monolog here. Ray was husband number two, did she really hate three? Do you only like him because he's eye candy? That's your Mother's husband. Gross. So, they then head off to the beach because...? Not sure.
“So Ana… tell me about this man who has you in such a spin.”
Spin! How can she tell?
I don't know, maybe the part where you broke down weeping over him a few chapters ago?
“Men aren’t really complicated, Ana, honey. They are very simple, literal creatures. They usually mean what they say. And we spend hours trying to analyze what they’ve said – when really it’s obvious. If I were you, I’d take him literally. That might help.”
Don't most people mean what they say? I like to just take people at face value. They usually figure it out and start to interact with me on the same level, or they go away. Either way, I win. This also irks me. I've ranted about Kate over simplifying men into walking boners, and while Ana's Mother (seriously no idea what her name is) is being... less awful, the same thought is still there. "MEN ARE SIMPLE AND DON'T HAVE REAL FEELINGS AND SHOULDN'T BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY! THEY SHOULD BE CODDLED!" That right there? THAT is sexist as fuck. Men are real people with real thoughts and feelings, too, not a monolithic mass.
This causes Ana to flashback to the things that Grey has said (you know, the bewitching and such) and then considers that her Mother is on her 4th marriage, she clearly knows something about men! Yes, how to fall in love with them but not maintain a lasting, respectful relationship. Funny how she over simplifies all men with one broad stroke, too. I wonder if that has anything to do with it?
Ana's Mother keeps generalizing men as they have this DEEP CONVERSATION and we find out a little about Ana's birth Dad. He was a marine and died in a training accident. I appreciate EL James' restraint by not making him a war hero. He was just a dude, who died young for a stupid reason. It sucked. I like that.
So that's it for the beach and then Ana goes back to her Mother's home and prepares to take a nap. But first... DRAMATIC MUSIC! Grey's response! Again, it is LONG but I feel the need to inflict it upon all of you. Are you ready for a wall of text? Wait, no, I won't do that to you. I'll break it up with some snark. You're welcome.
I am annoyed that as soon as you put some distance between us, you communicate openly and honestly with me. Why can’t you do that when we’re together?
Because you usually have a whip in hand or are being physically intimidating?
Yes, I’m rich. Get used to it. Why shouldn’t I spend money on you? We’ve told your father I’m your boyfriend, for heaven’s sake. Isn’t that what boyfriends do? As your Dom, I would expect you to accept whatever I spend on you with no argument. Incidentally, tell your mother too.
HA! She beat you to it by days!
I don’t know how to answer your comment about feeling like a whore. I know that’s not what you’ve written, but it’s what you imply. I don’t know what I can say or do to eradicate these feelings. I’d like you to have the best of everything. I work exceptionally hard, so I can spend my money as I see fit. I could buy you your heart’s desire, Anastasia, and I want to. Call it redistribution of wealth if you will. Or simply know that I would not, could not ever think of you in the way you described, and I’m angry that’s how you perceive yourself. For such a bright, witty, beautiful young woman you have some real self-esteem issues, and I have a half a mind to make an appointment for you with Dr. Flynn.
WHY CAN'T YOU SEE THAT YOU ARE THE MOST PERFECT BEING TO EVER BE PERFECTED ANA?! Maybe because she's a drooling dolt? I'mma go with that one.
I apologize for frightening you. I find the thought of instilling fear in you abhorrent. Do you really think I’d let you travel in the hold?
I offered you my private jet for heaven’s sake. Yes it was a joke, a poor one obviously. However, the fact is – the thought of you bound and gagged turns me on (this is not a joke – it’s true). I can lose the crate – crates do nothing for me.
EL James just decided the world wasn't ready for a crate sex scene. A moment of silence.
I know you have issues with gagging, we’ve talked about that and if/when I do gag you, we’ll discuss it. What I think you fail to realize is that in Dom/sub relationships it is the sub that has all the power. That’s you.
Really? Had to remind her she was the sub after THE ENTIRE FUCKING BOOK?
I’ll repeat this – you are the one with all the power. Not I. In the boathouse you said no.
Except those times when you don't give her the choice or opportunity to say no. Like in the boathouse. You know, when you turned it from "Fine I won't spank you instead I will fuck you in a way you won't like"?
I'm going to go on a bit of a tangent to talk about a shift in how people are trying to talk about consent. There is a lot of talk about how hard saying no can be. And it is. No makes people angry, no is triggering, and when you're scared and intimidated, or your boyfriend didn't take the first no as a cue to knock it off already, or drunk, or just not really sure if you want to or not, or any number of reasons why you would want to say no, saying "no" is that much harder. I've seen a lot of awesome articles on the concept of shifting from "no means no" and instead instituting "yes means yes". Rather then teaching people that they need to stop if their partner says no, we're teaching them to explicitly seek consent instead. Each time. Yes, even with an established sexual partner, because you can still be raped by your Significant Other. I think we need to start putting as much value into an enthusiastic "yes" as we do a forceful "no". I also think we need to start putting more value into all nos. No shouldn't have to be forceful to be taken seriously, it shouldn't have to be loud. It should be allowed to be quiet and timid, or said with a smile, or be clearly uncertain, and still mean just as much.
Right, that should probably be a post for another day. Back to Grey's god-awful e-mail.
I can’t touch you if you say no – that’s why we have an agreement – what you will and won’t do. If we try things and you don’t like them, we can revise the agreement. It’s up to you – not me. And if you don’t want to be bound and gagged in a crate, then it won’t happen.
I want to share my lifestyle with you. I have never wanted anything so much. Frankly I’m in awe of you, that one so innocent would be willing to try. That says more to me than you could ever know.
That she's adventurous?
You fail to see I am caught in your spell, too, even though I have told you this countless times. I don’t want to lose you. I am nervous that you’ve flown three thousand miles to get away from me for a few days, because you can’t think clearly around me. It’s the same for me Anastasia. My reason vanishes when we’re together – that’s the depth of my feeling for you.
Right. PASSION is a great reason to turn into an unreasonable, controlling jack-wagon.
I understand your trepidation. I did try to stay away from you; I knew you were inexperienced, though I would never have pursued you if I had known exactly how innocent you were – and yet you still manage to disarm me completely in a way that nobody has before.
You've found women with less personality then Ana? Dude. Wow.
Your email for example: I have read and re-read it countless times trying to understand your point of view. Three months is an arbitrary amount of time. We could make it six months, a year? How long do you want it to be? What would make you comfortable? Tell me.
Really? She's concerned because it isn't a relationship, it's a contract. You have also said that both of you are free to peace out whenever. Why not just... Drop the time limit and schedule regular re-negotiations instead? I've heard of couples who schedule time to just go over issues and give the relationship a check up. "This is what I'm happy with. This makes me unhappy. This is what I want long term still etc" I was skeptical when I first heard about it, but the people I know who have instituted this policy swear by it. I feel Ana and Grey would do well to schedule something like that.
I understand that this is a huge leap of faith for you. I have to earn your trust, but by the same token, you have to communicate with me when I am failing to do this. You seem so strong and self-contained, and then I read what you’ve written here, and I see another side to you. We have to guide each other Anastasia, and I can only take my cues from you. You have to be honest with me, and we have to both find a way to make this arrangement work.
As obvious as it is that EL James was touching herself when she wrote this part, I actually don't have anything mean to say. He's acknowledging her concerns, validating them, and telling her what she can do to help him help her. He is being open and honest with her, and encouraging her to do the same. These are all good things!
You worry about not being submissive. Well maybe that’s true. Having said that, the only
time you do assume the correct demeanor for a sub is in the playroom. It seems that’s the one place where you let me exercise proper control over you, and the only place you do as you’re told. Exemplary is the term that comes to mind. And I’d never beat you black and blue. I aim for pink.
Because it's the color that is the real concern. You see Ana doesn't think black and blue suit her, but she'll be just darling in pink!
Outside the playroom, I like that you challenge me. It’s a very novel and refreshing experience, and I wouldn’t want to change that. So yes, tell me what you want in terms of more. I will endeavor to keep an open mind, and I shall try and give you the space you need and stay away from you while you are in Georgia. I look forward to your next email.
In the meantime, enjoy yourself. But not too much.
I'd like this except it is totally inconsistent with everything we have seen from Grey thus far. That and it sounds like fan-fiction written by a 13 year old girl. Ana is reacting like the 13-year old author. She's thrilled! I would say down right giddy! In her fit of nearly peeing the floor in excitement because HE CARES, we get this.
He’s going to try and stay away! Does this mean he might fail to stay away? Suddenly, I hope so. I want to see him. We’ve been apart less than twenty-four hours, and knowing that I can’t see him for four days, I realize how much I miss him. How much I love him.
And all of the "Hey, the characters are starting to not be awful people all the time!" good will I had shored up is gone. IT HAS BEEN WEEKS (about three, I think?) HOW ARE YOU IN LOVE WITH HIM ALREADY?! IT HAS BEEN LESS THEN 24 HOURS HOW DO YOU PLAN TO COPE WHEN HE IS DOING IMPORTANT BUSINESS THINGS LATER ON AND TOO BUSY TO SEE YOU?
Ana is infatuated and in giddy new relationship mode. I don't have any issue with this, and I know Ana is supposed to be naive, but Jesus, seriously? Love after weeks? No. That is not love. That is lust, or infatuation, or what ever you want to call it, but love is bigger than that. Maybe I'm just unromantic, but to me, love is not, and never has been, big passionate dramatic kisses and declarations. It can be apart of it, but those are not it's totals. Love is contented silence. Love is small gestures. Love is knowing you can trust someone. Love is comfort. Love is support. Love is all of little in-jokes and daily things that just the two of you share. Love is being there when shit gets HARD. Love is millions of little things that vary from person to person, but it is made up of those millions of things to create this one larger, beautiful, strange, and irrational picture. When EL James tries to tell me Ana is in love with Grey, I feel that is under selling and over simplifying love.
Part two tomorrow, but comments still make me write faster!