...Oh god. Alright, so, this chapter open with a dream sequence. I know it is a dream sequence because Grey is hanging out in a cage, shirtless, with his chest and feet "deliciously naked" and a bowl of strawberries. He's ordering Ana to eat one, sticking his arm through the bars of the cage but she can't! She's tied back and can't get to it! But he just keeps ordering her to eat the fucking berry! And she's struggling and I am considering rounding up all the copies of this book and locking them in a cage where they can do no one else any harm. The dream ends with Ana chomping on the berry (which, shockingly, is not "deliciously sweet") and the cage dissolved and Grey starts waking her up in reality and LAY OFF THE DREAMS EL JAMES! They weren't so bad when you had just quick tableau but I am exhausted of you and your three writing devices. FIND NEW ONES.
So Grey is dragging Ana out of bed at 5:30 to "chase the dawn" what ever that means. Ana is, shockingly, still half asleep and wants to go back to her "nice" dream. ... Being tied back and taunted with fruit is a good dream? Well, she was about to start manhandling his chest before he woke her up so I guess that is what she's into. Grey is all excited, Ana wants to go back to sleep or shower first but TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! THIS IS THE SURPRISE WE HAD HINTED AT US LAST CHAPTER! So he's going to take her out in the plane to watch the sunrise, right? Maybe he had her name etched onto the sun with a laser? Something cool and unique?
So groggily, Ana starts to get up and dressed.
Hmm, another piece of Christian Grey’s underwear – a trophy to add to my collection
Think she has them bronzed?
I frown as a scene from Tess crosses my mind: the strawberry scene. It evokes my dream.
OH MY GOD EL JAMES I HATE YOU SO MUCH. Tess is not, to my understanding, a novel read by the average person, you know, the target audience for 50 Shades of Grey. It is something read by English majors and lovers of classical literature. There is nothing wrong with the odd allusion, but before she at least gave enough context. I like classic literature. I've read Austen, Shakespeare, and Wilde* outside of English classes, but I had never even heard of Tess before reading this book. So I have no fucking clue what "the strawberry scene" is. I have no context here. That? That is shitty self indulgent writing. [/rant]
“Eat,” he says.
Holy Moses… my dream. I gape at him, thinking about his tongue on his palate. Hmm, his expert tongue.
Because throwing up once today wasn't enough for me. This chapter may pose challenges I hadn't anticipated. I can't even cope with booze you guys! Alright, I better get ready to make some sanity rolls. Honestly though, this is irksome. "OH MY HE IS DOING SOMETHING HE DOES ALL OF THE TIME! SOMETHING MY SUBCONSCIOUS HAS APPARENTLY PICKED UP ON AND WORKED INTO MY DREAM BUT NOW IT IS SEXY!"
So despite the fact that this is supposed to be ALL FOR ANA...
“I’ll have some tea. Can I take a croissant for later?”
He eyes me suspiciously, and I smile very sweetly.
“Don’t rain on my parade, Anastasia,” he warns softly.
She points out that she just isn't hungry super early in the morning. I relate to this myself. I mean, if The Boy lures me out of bed with bacon (he is the morning person in our home) I'll eat it, because bacon, but if left to my own devices I won't eat until nearly noon. What actually bugs me about this is that Ana having a common enough eating habit (not eating before 6am) is raining on Grey's parade. How DARE she not go along with this super wonderful fantasy day he has been playing in his head to each detail he has imagined!
So despite the fact that Ana is still asleep on her feet she teased Grey about eye rolling and is all coy before they're out to a convertible that is waiting for them.
“You know, sometimes it’s great being me,” he says with a conspiratorial but smug grin that I simply can’t help emulating
Erika: You know, I almost want to write about how glad I am I don't have to deal with trans-prejudices.**
Trevor: That is a weird thing to want to write about. Would you follow it up with a peice called "Guys, I have to admit, white privilege is pretty great"
Erika: That is my plan, yes.
So much of this book reads to me like EL James is just telling me how awesome it is to be wealthy and above normal concerns like going to work and having to be away from your significant other for a week when they visit their folks or knowing where your next meal is coming from. BUT GREY DOES KNOW ALL THAT! Ah, yes, he knew very well what it was like to have to get up every morning, exhausted from what ever horror life may have thrown at you that day and drag himself into work even though all he wants to do is curl up into a ball under the covers.
So they get in the car and start driving, and once again EL James decides to use OPERA to underscore how classy and cultured Ana and Grey are.
“La Traviata? I’ve headr of that. I can’t think where. What does it mean?”
Christian glances at me and smirks.
“Well, literally, the woman led astray. It’s based on Alexander Dumas’s book, La Dame aux Camelias.”
“Ah. I’ve read it.”
“I thought you might.”
They then swirl some brandy around and chortle until someone says something shocking and Ana's monocle pops right out of her socket. Just kidding, Ana thinks the song MEANS something and he is trying to tell her something, and comments the story is depressing (The doomed courtesan). So Grey points out his iPod and challenges her to pick something. Hang on, need to roll for sanity.
...Whew. That was close. Okay, I am rationalizing this with "It started off as fanfiction" and not thinking too hard about how popular it is.
I scroll through the touch screen, and find the perfect song. I press play. I wouldn’t have figured him for a Britney fan. The club-mix, techno beat assaults us both, and Christian turns the volume down. Maybe it’s too early for this: Britney’s at her most sultry.
“Toxic, eh?” Christian grins.
Her most sultry involved murdering people. Gotcha. Grey however turns it down, repeatedly, and admits that he didn't put the song on there. NICE TRY GREY! You may not have put it there, but you left it there. Ana is distracted by Grey's incriminating tastes in music because she is obsessing over who put this song on his mp3 player if not him? Naturally, one of his exes.
Let's recap. Grey has woken Ana up before dawn, been cranky at her for wanting to shower, and not eat, first thing, and is now deliberately bringing up that his ex put the song on there. This is supposed to be the romantic surprise he is doing for her. So far he's not so good at this game.
“What happened to her?”
Oh jeez. It’s too early for this kind of conversation. But he looks relaxed, happy even, and what’s more, talkative.
“She wanted more.”
BECAUSE THAT DOESN'T READ LIKE A VEILED THREAT AT ALL! I mean, sure, he adds on "You're the only girl I've ever wanted more with" but this is just awful and manipulative. "Don't push too hard or I'll leave". Ana however thinks this is a good time to comb his romantic history since he seems talkative enough and isn't getting bitchy about it. I don't even-
He goes on to tell her that there were four women and Elena who were serious relationships (Mrs. Robinson to us!) one met someone else, the other THREE wanted more. I get that this is supposed to underscore "I AM SO INTO YOU" but it just reads as a threat to me.
Elena! Holy Fuck. The evil one has a name and its all-foreign sounding. A vision of a glorious, pale-skinned vamp with raven hair and ruby-red lips comes to mind, and I know that she’s beautiful. I must not dwell. I must not dwell.
So I'm going to assume that EL James figured leaving a random vampire reference in a book where there is no gothic or supernatural references was fair game here? I mean, I guess there's nothing wrong with it, but you just know that she used to be a vampire. Although didn't we already know she was beautiful? She managed to have a young Christian Grey all over that shit, so she had to be something of a looker.
Ana's head is reeling from all of this new information (because finding out your boyfriend has exes that it didn't work out with is a big shock) and we find out that "Chasing the dawn" means "Soaring" (which I think is like going gliding? Small plane with no engine.) which is Grey's second favorite hobby. The first is Ana's snatch.
*Erika rolled for sanity! She failed her roll and lost three points of sanity! Erika trembles for a few minutes, eyes wide, mouth silently trying to form profanities but only coming out with a few angry squeaks*
So they get to the air field where there's some Dude who Grey starts talking to and Taylor. Seriously what the hell is his job description?
“Miss Steele.” He nods a greeting at me, and I frown. “Ana,” he corrects himself. “He’s been hell on wheels the last few days. Glad we’re here,” he says conspiratorially.
Oh, this is news – Why? Surely not because of me!
Nope, he totally stalked you across the country and was a cantankerous bastard until he did! This isn't a sign of unhealthy obsession! Nope! Just affection!
“First we need to strap on your parachute.”
“I’ll do that,” Christian interrupts him and takes the harness off Benson, who smiles amenably at him.
He then clutches Ana and screeches "MY PRECIOUS!" and then Ana gets bullied into the plane.
“This won’t take long – twenty, thirty minutes at most. Thermals aren’t great this time of the morning, but it’s so breathtaking up there at this hour. I hope you’re not nervous.”
“Excited.” I beam.
Where did this ridiculous grin come from? Actually, part of me is terrified. My inner goddess – she’s under a blanket behind the sofa.
EVEN THE VOICES IN YOUR MAIN CHARACTERS HEAD ARE INCONSISTENT! I didn't mention it earlier, but her subconscious was all "See? He cares! He got you Twinning!" and now her brazen Inner Goddess is for some reason cowering behind the sofa like a scared dog.
So, "Soaring" involves a tiny two person plane, and it's getting towed by a bigger one.
Oh my. This is amazing, above us only sky. The light is extraordinary, diffuse and warm in hue, and I remember José rambling on about ‘magic hour’, a time of day that photographers adore – this is it… just after dawn, and I’m in it, with Christian.
Abruptly, I’m reminded of José’s show. Hmm. I need to tell Christian. I wonder briefly how he’ll react. But I won’t worry about that, not now – I’m enjoying the ride. My ears pop as we gain height, and the ground slips further and further away. It is so peaceful. I completely get why he likes to be up here. Away from his BlackBerry and all the pressures of his job.
Holy fuck – it’s exciting. The plane banks and turns as the wing dips, and we spiral toward the sun. Icarus. This is it. I am flying close to the sun, but he’s with me, leading me. I gasp at the realization. We spiral and spiral and, the view in this morning light is spectacular.
I figured I should set the scene, since EL James has gone to great lengths to do so. There is great effort put into painting a picture of Grey and Ana up in the air, in their own private happy little bubble, him sharing something with her he is really passionate about. It's high energy and magical and fun! But Ana has two thoughts going on here that I want to talk about.
The first is Ana thinking about Jose. It's framed fairly innocently, but she keeps coming back to his art show and wanting to ask Grey about it. Frankly, if I were her, I would go stag. Jose doesn't like Grey. Grey doesn't like Jose. Unless it is something like your birthday, or an event about you, if your friends don't like your boyfriend, and he doesn't like them, why bring him to rain on their day? It'll be awkward and uncomfortable for everyone. So just, go on your own (or with Kate) and have fun. I get her wanting to tell Grey about it, but I hope it's "So I'm doing this thing. You are welcome to join me" as to "Wanna go and do this thing?" because that implies he gets a say. He doesn't.
The other thing I want to pick at is yet another reference. I get that we're supposed to be tying in all of Ana's Icarus references up to this point but this is not what the fable meant. If you MUST beat your readers over the head with an allegory, at least understand what the allegory means.
So more flying, Ana has a brief stint steering the thing (Is that allowed?) and they land and make out a little and Grey drags her off to go eat breakfast.
Oh my… sex in an IHOP
They don't, or at least, not yet? Their waitress is totally disarmed and turns red and blushes at Grey and Ana asks him to order for her. Ana comments on how UNFAIR it is that he is soooo sexy that women around him just melt and swoon all over the damned place. When ever he walks down a street he creates a hazard of swooned ladies left in his wake. It's why he drives in a car with a tinted window. Less collateral that way.
We just need to re-define our parameters, re-draw our battle lines, if you will. We can make this work, I’m sure. I want you submissive in my playroom. I will punish you if you digress from the rules. Other than that… well, I think it’s all up for discussion. Those are my requirements, Miss Steele. What say you to that?”
“I was frightened you’d leave me if I didn’t agree to all of it,” I whisper.
“I’m not going anywhere,
YOU HAVE BEEN DATING WEEKS IT IS WAY TO EARLY TO MAKE THE CALL OF NOT GOING ANYWHERE! That aside, I do like how Grey is being open to having Conversations about their relationship and is stating his wants is simple terms. I find the way he says anything pompous and obnoxious at best, but I can try to appropriate what he's saying here.
“Can I treat you?” I ask Christian.
“Treat me how?”
“Pay for this meal.”
“I don’t think so.” he scoffs.
“Please. I want to.”
He frowns at me.
“Are you trying to completely emasculate me?”
“This is probably the only place that I’ll be able to afford to pay.”
“Anastasia, I appreciate the thought. I do. But no"
*Erika rolled for sanity. Erika failed her sanity roll and takes four points of sanity loss!*
ERIKA SMASH! HNNNNNGGGHHHHSAKFJGHESOIUTH SMASHSMASHSMASH!
I have a lot of dude friends. I've mentioned this before. Sometimes I hang out with them one on one and we do things like go out for dinner or drinks. I am endlessly annoyed when the waiter/waitress just assume one bill and hands it DIRECTLY to the dude I'm out with. There are some dudes I'm less bothered about this than others. The ones who don't stop me when I try to pay next time- fine. This is just a case of a friend picking up the tab. Thanks! I'll get the next round, okay? I unfortunately have some dude friends who feel threatened when I inevitably try to return the favor because it is emasculating and they're afraid the waiter will think they're a dink. No, the waiter is going to think you boning a hot chick who doesn't mind picking up the tab, and that it is awesome. It makes you look like a god damned pimp! You're welcome! I am more lax about this if I am romantically involved with the dude in question because odds are I will be returning the favor in other ways (Food Wizardry, get your mind out of the gutter) but I still make a point to pick up the tab sometimes, too.*** Not letting me pick up the tab makes me feel like a kept woman, and that is icky. JUST LET ME DO THIS THING THAT IS NICE FOR YOU! SMILE AND SAY THANK YOU YOU WANKASAURAUS!
Back to the book. They finish breakfast and shockingly don't fuck. Grey drops Ana off at her Mother's.
Of course he doesn’t ask me for my mother’s address. He knows it already, stalker that he is.
Why are you so okay with this?!?!
Why do I want to spend every single minute with this controlling sex god? Oh yes, I’ve fallen in love with him, and he can fly.
The only part of this I'm giving you is the "and he can fly" Ana. I'm also picturing him flying by flapping his arms real hard. That makes this easier. Ana talks to her Mum a little (Her Mother is pretty blase about her daughter having been in a small plane with no engine) and Ana then goes off to send Grey a thank you e-mail. There are some awful puns and she calls him a scoundrel and a cad (which are admittedly kind of awesome insults to fling around) when he tells her she talks in her sleep, but won't tell her what she says. She then vows to make bread.
So Ana and her Mother are in the supermarket shopping for dinner when Ana gets a phone call with a job offer for the job she wanted. Naturally. Ana's Mother is appropriately delighted and is hopping up and down and Ana then notices that she has a missed call from Grey. He can't make dinner! Something Serious has happened and he is on his way back to Seattle! Oh no! Actually Ana is pretty good about it, and wishes him luck dealing with what ever this thing is.
Oh no. The last ‘situation’ he had was my virginity. Jeez, I hope it’s nothing like that.
Why is this where your mind goes, Ana? Why? So Ana is lounging with her Mother by the pool she mulls over the shift in Grey's attitude and then realizes something. Right at the time of the change in his attitude, he had dinner with Mrs. Robinson.
Whatever it is, or was, I hope the sea of change is coming from within him and not because of her.
Why? That would be a huge boon for you. If she is encouraging him into your arms it means that she definitely doesn't want her a piece of that anymore! Or at least, not in such a way that she is willing to really do anything about it. She is the only person he really talks to about Things, so if she's rooting for you, that is a good thing! Although I suspect it is more Ana being upset that Elena can affect change in Christian when she can not. Funny how people who have been in our lives for ages words carry more than people who we've only known for a few weeks.
So Ana e-mails him asking if he landed and they banter and we still don't know what the "situation" is. Ana also keeps pressing him about what she said and that she shouldn't be held responsible for what she utters in her sleep.
Subject: What you said in your sleep
To: Anastasia Steele
I’d rather hear you say the words that you uttered in your sleep when you’re conscious, that’s why I won’t tell you. Go to sleep. You’ll need to be rested with what I have in mind for you tomorrow.
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Oh no… What have I said? It’s as bad as I think, I’m sure.
So she's sleep talking about confessing her love to him? That's way less fun than what I was thinking which was something about donkey punching. That brings us to the end of this chapter! I'm going back to bed now. As always, comments make me write faster!
*He is my favorite ever.
**The intent would be more to underscore how much it must suck to have to deal with them and how cis-gendered people should make more of an effort to be aware of it because it is something that is so easy to just... not think about, unless you interact with it on a regular basis. I suppose I could say that for almost any minority group, but I had been binging on trans-rights articles at the point this conversation happened.
***Admittedly less with The Boy since we have mostly shared finances. I did take him out for fancy dinner on his birthday, but that was because I was too exhausted to cook. Shhh.