We left off at the end of chapter 6 with a zomg huge cliff hanger of Ana blowing almost all of the money she made on the sale on her car on a weekend for 6 in Colorado at the place her boyfriend owns. Seriously, doesn't she have student debt or something? I also have no idea WHY she felt compelled to buy that as to... I don't know, the first edition book of Pride and Prejudice* on the list? Why did she feel the need to buy the thing that was Grey's?
Holy shit, did I really just do that? It must be the alcohol. I’ve had champagne plus four glasses of four different wines.
And that, in a nut-shell, is WHY they ply you with booze at these things. Seriously though Ana what the fuck?
Crap, he’s going to be so angry, and we’ve been getting on so well. My subconscious has finally decided to make an appearance, and she’s wearing her Edvard Munch Scream face.
I was wearing this:
So we get a weird exchange. Ana is worried Grey is going to beat the shit out of her for this stunt, and Grey is telling her he's conflicted on if he wants to do that, or worship her. She says she'll take the spanking.
You didn't like the punishment spankings, remember Ana? But she's all turned on because apparently her vag-balls were also enchanted and she has just lost all sense of... well, sense.
Grey is pleased that Ana is horny, and his anger is gone, for now, at least, while he starts to mess with her. You know, kissing her knuckles, toying with her shoulder. Innocent enough things.
Slowly and surreptitiously, so I don’t realize his game until it’s too late, he eases my hand up his leg and against his erection. I gasp, and my eyes dart in panic around the table, but all eyes are fixed on the stage. Thank heavens for my mask.
The mask is covering only around her eyes, 1. 2, YOU JUST SAID NO ONE WAS PAYING ANY ATTENTION TO YOU AT ALL WHY THANK HEAVENS FOR A MASK?!
3) HIS GRANDPARENTS ARE RIGHT FUCKING THERE AND YOU START STROKING HIS TURGID WANG UNDER THE TABLE SERIOUSLY?! I get it's supposed to be all tee hee maybe we'll get caught, but my grandparents would ruin me if they caught me pulling that shit with a guy. They would also ruin him. There would be a public, family shaming for our terrible judgement. Lynching would also be on the table.
I feel him growing beneath my fingers, and it makes me feel so powerful.
If she keeps talking about power I expect her to start threatening to fire his balls. "I'm sorry Mr. Testicles, but it is within my power to let you go, and you really aren't fulfilling your duties..." So the final lot goes, and before they can slip off to bone, Mia drags Ana up for something she agreed to in the frenzy earlier (the reader doesn't know, but five whatnapples on it being some sort of "BUY THIS PERSON!" auction.)
“Ana!” Mia calls. “It’s time!”
What? No. Not again! “Time for what?”
“The First Dance Auction. Come on!” She stands and holds out her hand.
I glance at Christian who is, I think, scowling at Mia, and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, but it’s laughter that wins. I succumb to a cathartic bubble of schoolgirl giggles, as we are thwarted once more by the tall, pink powerhouse that is Mia Grey.
So Mia knows that they're trying to bone and is just cock blocking him now, right? Right? So Grey, in front of his whole family is all "THE FIRST DANCE SHALL BE MINE!" and "quietly" tells Ana "and it won't be on the dance floor". ... I will admit my experience with charity auctions where things go for over 100k regularly is limited, but for those sorts of things isn't the dance usually... in front of everyone? ALSO EVERYONE KNOWS YOU'RE TRYING TO SNEAK OFF TO FUCK! GRANDMA IS JUDGING YOU HARSHLY!
I lean over and plant a soft, chaste kiss on his mouth. Glancing around, I realize that our fellow guests at the table are astonished. Of course, they’ve never seen Christian with a date before.
LET ALONE ONE WHO'S TRYING TO JERK HIM OFF UNDER THE TABLE AND THINKS THAT BONERS ARE CAUSED BY MAGIC!
So Ana is dragged up on stage where there are other girls (as well as Lilly, the mean girl from the last chapter).
“Gentlemen, the highlight of the evening!” the MC booms over the babble of voices. “The moment you’ve all been waiting for! These twelve lovely ladies have all agreed to auction their first dance to the highest bidder!”
So the highlight of the evening is a chance to buy some young girls company for a few minutes? Creepy. Also didn't most of these people come with dates? I thought they came with dates.
So, I'm going to guess that Grey will somehow loose the bid for Ana, OR Ana will get thrown in a burlap sack while his unhinged ex steals her mask and dress and takes Ana's place. I mean, even EL James isn't so bad an author as to just set all this up only to have it be a show of how rich Grey is, right? Something interesting is bound to happen. Please let something interesting be bound to happen.
But it means spending more money on you! my subconscious snarls at me. But I don’t want to dance with anyone else—I can’t dance with anyone else—and it’s not spending money on me, he’s donating it to the charity. Like the twenty-four thousand dollars he’s already spent? My subconscious narrows her eyes.
Wait, she spent his money, not her own from the car? What?!
“Now, gentlemen, pray gather round, and take a good look at what could be yours for the first dance. Twelve comely and compliant wenches.”
Ana notes, rightly so, that this feels a lot like a meat market. Comely and compliant wenches. You're selling a fucking dance, and unless this is actually all an elaborate ploy to trick girls into becoming high class strippers, it seems unlikely that this is a remotely appropriate thing for him to say at all ever. These are the daughters/wives/girlfriends of rich and influential people, this MC should be hyper aware of that. You do not call the daughters/wives/girlfriends of rich and influential people "compliant wenches" it's just a bad idea. Because there might be some over-zealous jackass warlock in the crowd who might take offense.
we shall maintain the mystery behind the masks and stick to first names only. First up we have the lovely Jada.”
Because none of these people know each other at all and "Jada" is a totally common first name.
“A thousand bucks!” one calls.
Very quickly the bidding escalates to five thousand dollars.
“Going once . . . going twice . . . sold!” the MC declares loudly, “to the gentleman in the mask!” And of course all the men are wearing masks so there are hoots of laughter, applause, and cheering. Jada beams at her purchaser and quickly exits the stage.
Just to set the scene. So as the next woman is bid off, Mia comments on how Grey better win Ana or there might be a brawl, because apparently he used to do that in his younger years. I personally am shocked that Grey would have a violent streak. It's implied that Mrs. R straightened him out when she came into the picture and it's all so, so tacky.
So Ana is shoved on stage and Grey gets into a bidding war over Ana with some random dude (who he clearly knows) and buys her for 100k. The dude gets almost no description, but Grey seems amused at his antics, that's it. Not even a hair color- unlike all the women who got hair colors and dress colors, he's just well dressed. Yes, shocking that a man in a crowd full of rich people, who is obviously one himself, would be well dressed at a formal event.
So they have a half hour before they have to be there to dance (because apparently it will take that long to sell off about 10 girls and what happens to Mia doesn't matter) so he brings her to his childhood room.
The walls are hung with movie posters: The Matrix, Fight Club, The Truman Show, and two framed posters featuring kick boxers
Don't get me wrong, Fight Club holds a very special place in my heart, but my first thought was "Wow we're trying to go for mainstream "I'm so smart and tough" I see." and I realized that, for a teenager, those are about right. So, points to James I guess? He tells Ana he's never brought a girl there before and it works. Because she wasn't already positively dripping from the black-magic vag-balls.
Seeing him standing there on the royal blue carpet in that mask . . . it’s beyond erotic.
Note to self: Carpet the orgy room in royal blue.
So Grey takes Ana's dress off, and his jacket and shirt and socks and folds each individual article of clothing up and stacks it all nearly, largest to smallest, and asks Ana why she asked to be spanked.
“Volunteer? I don’t know. Frustration . . . too much alcohol . . . worthy cause,” I mutter meekly, shrugging. Maybe to get his attention?
YOU ALREADY HAD HIS ATTENTION YOU GIT!
He begins to monolog about how he vowed he'd never spank her again. Even if she begged (which she does) and Ana is so doped up on sexy black magic that she can't even form a full sentence or not drool on herself.
“But then I realized, you’re probably very uncomfortable at the moment, and it’s not something you’re used to.” He smirks at me knowingly, arrogant bastard, but I don’t care because he’s absolutely right.
“Yes,” I breathe.
“So, there might be a certain . . . latitude. If I do this, you must promise me one thing.”
“You will safe word if you need to, and I will just make love to you, okay?”
“Yes.” I’m panting. I want his hands on me.“You really want this, Anastasia?”
I close my eyes. This is the first time since I met him that I really want this. I need it.
“Yes,” I whisper.
“Why?” he asks softly as he caresses my behind with his palm.
I groan as soon as his hand makes contact with my skin. I don’t know why . . . You tell me not to overthink. After a day like today—arguing about the money, Leila, Mrs. Robinson, the dossier on me, the roadmap, this lavish party, the masks, the alcohol, the silver balls, the auction . . . I want this.
“Do I need a reason?”
“No, baby, you don’t,” he says. “I’m just trying to understand you.”
I don't hate Grey here. He doesn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but he wants to know why his girlfriend who tried to dump him over spanking is now asking him to spank her. He's not pushing, but it's obvious he wants to know "what the hell?" and is trying to be careful to do this in a way she will enjoy, and not cross a boundary. These are good things. There aren't many in this book, so let me enjoy it.
This feels different than the last time—so carnal, so . . . necessary.
Necessary? Really? Care to explain what you mean by that Ana? No? Oh, er, alright, then.
I don't even know if Ana is aware of what she just agreed to. So he spanks her, and it doesn't read in a terrifying rapey sort of way this time (yay?) and then he finger blasts her a little bit.
I moan loudly as my body takes over, and I come and come, convulsing around his fingers. It’s so intense, unexpected, and quick.
I'm not convinced EL James has ever actually had an orgasm. I think she's just read about them in bad Twilight fanfiction.
“This is going to be quick, baby,” he murmurs and grabbing my hips, he eases out then slams into me.
“Ah!” I cry out
This is not the first time Grey has been all "Welp, I'm planning to last about forty seconds, hope that's good for you" and it's been presented in a way I'm supposed to think is sexy. Ana is still doped up on the vag-balls which were obviously powerful sexy artifacts as the girl still can't even think. Also I can't be the only one who finds an attempt to write dialog for sex noises awkward always, right? "Ah!"? Sounds like he started her. "Ah! Where did THAT come from?!"
He’s hitting the bellyache square on, again and again, eradicating it with each sharp, sweet thrust. The feeling is mind-blowing, just what I need.
Bellyache. You are using the word "bellyache" to describe deep sexual longing. What.
“Ana, no,” he grunts, trying to still me. But I want him too much, and I grind against him, matching him thrust for thrust.
“Ana, shit,” he hisses as he comes,
So, Ana starts to move, and that is enough to make Grey loose it. I get that this is supposed to be "AND SHE ALSO IS DEVELOPING MAGIC POWERS AND HE'S SUPER DUPER INTO HER!" but it seems like the real reason he's into tying her up and restraining her is because he lasts thirteen seconds otherwise. So he convulses and explodes and she transcends time and space to become a butterfly or some shit. Sex scene over. Sad now.
So Grey says they must hurry people will start looking for them soon, and Ana takes a second to inspect a pin board that was above the bed. It's filled with pictures of Grey on different travels all to immediate and recognizable places, and of ticket stubs, all to immediately recognizable bands.
U2, Metallica, The Verve, Sheryl Crow, the New York Philharmonic performing Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet—what an eclectic mix!
Oh my god EL James will you stop beating us over the head with how eclectic his tastes are supposed to be? We get it already! There's also a picture of a woman Ana can't place, and Grey brushes off telling her who it is. I'm going to guess his Mother, but I'm sure this will come up again.
So they dance and gush at each other and then the guy who bid on Ana before asks to cut in. It's *drum roll*
I recognize the man who bid on me at the auction. Christian grudgingly lets me go, but he’s amused, too.
“Be my guest. Anastasia, this is John Flynn. John, Anastasia.”
The notorious Dr. Flynn! So, he was bidding on Ana, knowing she is dating his patient, probably BECAUSE of that. That seems... inappropriate at best. The conversation is so awkward to read, but I can tell it's supposed to be witty banter. Ana confesses that she just wants to ask about Grey, Flynn doesn't suck in response.
He smiles. “First, this is a party so I’m not on duty,” he whispers conspiratorially. “And second, I really can’t talk to you about Christian. Besides,” he teases, “we’d need until Christmas.”
I gasp in shock.
“That’s a doctor’s joke, Anastasia.”
Oh Ana, you're so clever and witty and wonderful. Also why the FUCK would you think to ask a shrink about their patient? Do you KNOW how illegal it would be for him to tell you anything? So they say all of nothing and then Grey cuts back in.
“He’s much younger than I expected,” I murmur to him. “And terribly indiscreet.”
Christian cocks his head to one side. “Indiscreet?”
“Oh yes, he told me everything,” I tease.
Christian tenses. “Well, in that case, I’ll get your bag. I’m sure you want nothing more to do with me,” he says softly.
I stop. “He didn’t tell me anything!” My voice fills with panic.
The panic should be from "Shit, what is it he isn't telling me that is so horrible I would want to run for the hills?" not "OH NO I HAVE UPSET HIM!" although this just layers of bad.
There's the whole panic for the wrong reason, but there's the implication that Ana being ignorant to Grey's life is important. Rather than reassure him "I'm sure one day you'll tell me and I won't make a break for it when you do" and that she, you know, cares about him and his issues are things she wants to try and handle. What? Acknowledging that relationships take work and that she wants to try because she's crazy about him isn't fantasy appropriate? Really? Damn. No, fantasy appropriate is "NO I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING AND NEVER WILL!" and this makes me sad. Because this implies that they will go on forever with Grey being unable to be honest with Ana, being unable to rely on her for emotional support ever. He also expects her to tell him everything always, and this is all just so unhealthy, dysfunctional, and sad. I hate that this is what is selling millions of copies and being considered a great romance.
I'll end part 1 here, because I know what comes next and you guys are going to love it. As always, love to hear your thoughts on this cluster fuck!
Also you can now follow me on Twitter for smaller, regular snark through the week at @SnappyErika
*Speaking of P&P, if you haven't come across it yet someone has been doing a modern version of it called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and they're incredible. Even if you've never read the book you should check it out just for the way they use media as a story telling medium.