Thursday, January 31, 2013

50 Shades Darker Chapter 5 Part 2 in which Erika feels cheated because there is no sex.

So, the first half of this chapter had Ana going blind with rage because Grey brought her to a hair salon that he owned with Mrs. Robinson, and she happened to be there. He then tries to throw her in the back of his van (well, not quite, but just about) and back to his place because his ex, Elena, got a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Ana then got her hair cut by a stereotypical gay man who was treated like some cute fluffy pet. Right, so, picking up where we left off!

The second Franco is gone, Grey asks Ana if she's still mad at him. She says "No shit" and he smiles like the jack-ass he is. "Oh, look at the cute widdle woman be emotional! She thinks she's people!" and proceeded to keep aiming for sex. Ana says no again, and he tells her to "spit it out" because that's a reasonable way to ask someone to tell you what's wrong. He's still grinning/trying not to laugh at her, and since I'm getting tired of running through the same "GREY IS AN ABUSIVE COCK" "AUGH BOUNDARIES!" schtick, I'm going to point out how common it is for women to be told they're cute when they're angry.

Seriously, show of hand my lady readers, how many of you have been told it's cute when you're upset. Not screaming or blind rage, but upset. Still keeping your head on your shoulders, and some ass thinks that's "cute". It feeds into the dehumanization of women. Women aren't real people with thoughts and feelings, they're just silly little creatures who need to be protected and isn't it just precious when they get upset? I feel this is exactly what is going through Grey's head here. He isn't prepared to take Ana's upset seriously, he's expecting to have to stroke her hair, say some soothing things, and then he'll get to stick it in her.

"What’s bothering me? Well, there’s your gross invasion of my privacy, the fact that you took me to some place where your ex-mistress works and you used to take all your lovers to have their bits waxed, you manhandled me in the street like I was six years old—and to cap it all, you let your Mrs. Robinson touch you!” My voice has risen to a crescendo.
He raises his eyebrows, and his good humor vanishes.
“That’s quite a list. But just to clarify once more—she’s not my Mrs. Robinson.”

I think she means she's your Mrs. Robinson in that she was an older woman who seduced you when you were younger- you know, where the nick-name came from? Not, you know, your girlfriend? Okay, maybe I'm giving Ana way too much credit here. Ana repeats that SHE CAN TOUCH HIM (she touched him on the forearm) and I'm torn on this. The way she touched him was totally non sexual, and one that I'm fairly certain we've seen Ana touch Grey herself, but we all know Ana's tantrums around not being able to touch Grey.

I however am going to consider the whole "BUT I WANNA TOUCH" thing in a new way. It isn't that Ana and Grey don't touch. They hold hands, he puts an arm around her, they fuck like rabbits... It is REALLY hard not to touch someone when they're inside you. The thing is that Grey always is initiating it. It is one of the many ways in which he holds power and she doesn't. So, if we look at touching as a metaphor for equality in the relationship, as to just idle lust, her anger becomes both less obnoxious, and more reasonable. Now, this still isn't a perfect parallel, because things don't always need to be perfectly equal in all aspects of a relationship, and Grey is supposed to have Major Issues with being touched, which makes it shitty that Ana is latching onto that, but Grey holds all the power in the relationship. I think Ana just latched onto this one thing because of the power differential. It makes more sense than she's just so horny and can't resist his sexy man meat, doesn't it? So, Ana being upset that he let Mrs. R touch him even now, in front of her, when she still isn't allowed, is suddenly reasonable.

Ana, naturally, sticks to the touching thing, not giving up on this whole rant. I am annoyed that she's singling in on this one aspect as to the hauling her over his shoulder bit. Grey's response to Ana is this:

He runs both hands through his hair and closes his eyes briefly, as if he’s seeking divine guidance of some kind. He swallows.

I get that compromise and discussion are supposed to be new and confusing things to Grey, but if your response to "I am still mad about all these things and feel I still have a point" is THAT, well, that should be pissing you off more. Grey is supposed to be a successful, powerful man. You do not get to build an empire from nothing when you are incapable of giving people what they want.  You need to know how to schmooze. You need to know how to be liked enough to get a chance. When Grey's response to someone (from his point of view) being stubborn is apparent and obvious exasperation... I'm unsure how I'm supposed to believe he managed all of these work place accomplishments when he was starting out when he's this stunted as a person.

“You and I don’t have any rules. I have never had a relationship without rules, and I never know where you’re going to touch me. It makes me nervous. Your touch completely—” He stops, searching for the words. “It just means more . . . so much more”
More? His answer’s completely unexpected, throwing me, and there’s that little word with the big meaning hanging between us again.

When they first started dating, Ana's big thing was she wanted "more" than to be his sub- which is why she isn't his sub now. I get the author intent is meant to be Grey trying to express he loves her and this is all hard and confusing and new territory, but the word choice feels... deliberate, to me. They haven't even touched on anything besides Mrs. R/touching, but he sees she won't be easily pacified this time. Relationships are a lot of work, but I feel he's trying to skip over the work here (sitting down, addressing that he has been engaging in some very bad behavior, and considering how to act in the future) he's trying to emotionally soften her up so she'll forgive him. It's very manipulative, and, once again, a Hallmark of an emotionally abusive person.

So we get to the rest of Ana's list, or at least, the stalking bits.

“So, the rest of your list. Invading your privacy.” His mouth twists as he contemplates this. “Because I know your bank account number?”
“Yes, that’s outrageous.”
“I do background checks on all my submissives. I’ll show you.” He turns and heads for his study.
I dutifully follow him, dazed. From a locked filing cabinet, he pulls a manila folder. Typed on the tab: Anastasia Rose Steele.
Holy fucking shit. I glare at him.

 He has a copy of my birth certificate, for heaven’s sake, my hard limits, the NDA, the contract—Jeez—my social security number, resume, employment records.

Grey will go on to tell us that anyone could have gotten this information if they wanted to, he doesn't misuse it, and a man in his position needed to be careful about his kinks. In that framing, this is only slightly less terrifying, but I can understand him wanting to make sure he isn't about to ask an undercover reporter to bend over while he bleaches her asshole. The thing is... He does misuse it. Ana wasn't his submissive when he did this background check. He stopped by her place of work to buy bondage gear* long before the photo shoot for Kate, and he knew where that was because of the background check. This means, that at the point in time he had done the background check, he had met her once. There are also things on that list he shouldn't have easily been able to get (like her social security number) at all, but hey, he has abs so hard you could grate cheese on them, so who cares? Ana calls him out for putting the money in her account, and she's still upset about it.

Ana has her backbone this scene, it seems.

“Anastasia, do you have any idea how much money I make?”
I flush, of course not. “Why should I? I don’t need to know the bottom line of your bank account, Christian.”
His eyes soften. “I know. That’s one of the things I love about you.”
I gaze at him, shocked. Love about me?
“Anastasia, I earn roughly one hundred thousand dollars an hour.”


Does this mean, per hour he hangs around, or actual per hour he works? If we go with every hour he works, that means he makes $800 000 dollars a day. If he is a workaholic (which the text likes to pretend he is even though we never see him working weekends or something like it) I think we can safely assume this means he makes $240 000 000 a year. Which is only about a hundred million less than Oprah. So what I'm saying is that Oprah would still make the better boyfriend than Christian Grey.

Now, this is an awkward bit of world building. I mean, we can assume that he's donating a metric ass ton to charity, and investing and start-ups (and man, he is SO addicted to kick-starter, you don't even know, guys) but even keeping that in mind, I don't think his life style matches what he makes. I mean, he has the whole "tons of cars, huge penthouse condo, goes flying for fun" thing, but how much does his condo cost? Let's say 10 million. That means he owned it within two weeks. He should not only own his own helicopter, he should own his own airline. THAT would fit the level of wealth we're being told this character has, what we see? What we see is a random amount picked by the author that sounded rich enough that money would never, ever be a concern for him and Ana. I mean, I get the fantasy there. He's so loaded that even if all his business ventures go belly up, he still has enough assets to be alright. The very real fear that comes from not being sure will never ever be felt by Ana because of Grey. That might be the most powerful part of the fantasy that Grey is supposed to be.

I gaze at him. He really has no idea. Extraordinary.
“If you were me, how would you feel about all this . . . largesse coming your way?” I ask.
He stares at me blankly, and there it is, his problem in a nutshell—empathy or the lack thereof. The silence stretches between us.
Finally, he shrugs. “I don’t know,” he says, and he looks genuinely bemused.
My heart swells. This is it, the crux of his Fifty Shades, surely. He can’t put himself in my shoes. Well, now I know.

I like Ana here. She is aware of his rich-white-dude privilege. Her boyfriend has just gone and done something that made him seem... alien.

Her response is bafflement and... a nearly academic assessment of the situation. Okay, he is not an empathetic person, how can I explain this? She tries, too, but Grey is too busy being amused, and too caught up his own wants to care that he makes Ana uncomfortable, something she says explicitly, and repeatedly. She tries again here, and sees she's getting nowhere, so Ana decides to table it for later. I have mixed feelings on this. Knowing when you're getting nowhere and need to stop and take a break before you get pissed off is healthy. However we keep seeing Grey just slip out of fights and discussions with being impossible so Ana just gives up. It's a lose/lose. So they start talking lunch.

“I’ll cook.”
“Good. Otherwise there’s food in the fridge.”
“Mrs. Jones is off on the weekends? So you eat cold cuts most weekends?”
He sighs. “My submissives cook, Anastasia.”

Why is this here? BECAUSE FUCK YOU GREY THAT'S WHY! Why am I being sold a fantasy of a man incapable of making fucking eggs? I get some people don't/can't cook. I've met people who couldn't boil water (I'm not even kidding. My college room mates were both like this. I had to explain that you usually don't want to cook on HIGH, though you do when you're boiling water.) but you know what? They knew how to chop a vegetable, they knew how to make a few basic things because THAT IS PART OF BEING AN ADULT! My Mother always said if my siblings and I left the house not knowing how to cook, do laundry, or sew a button than she had failed. I've dated guys who were bad cooks, (thankfully The Boy is a good student) but never who just... didn't cook. It's a sign that they're immature. However that isn't even what pisses me off, it is that Grey sees this as being beneath him. He has his submissives cook, and a housekeeper who cooks, because it's woman's work!

Want to know the really funny thing about the whole "a woman's place is in the kitchen"? Walk into a professional kitchen and tell me how many women you see. We're a definite and obvious minority. Women are waitresses, and pastry bakers (bread is mostly men), not cooks**. That's the men's domain. Grey however doesn't know this, so he just bumps along and lets the woman do their work. I wonder if he would expect the chef** at a restaurant to be a woman?

So we cut ahead to Ana deciding what to cook, turning on the iPod, and starting to cook. We are told everything in excruciating detail, and as someone who, you know, cooks for a living, I can't help but feel she's bad at it. She's excited to find frozen peas so she can make an omelet. Eggs. Her big "I'm not gonna cook like a submissive!" move is to make eggs? No side salad? No toast? And it is a four ingredient meal. Eggs, ham, cold potatoes (already in the fridge) and peas (frozen, so nothing needs to be done to them). She has to whisk a few eggs, and chop two things. By the time Grey wanders back in to try and touch her cooter, that shit should be coming out of the pan, not being set daintily on the cutting board. I promise I am less judgmental when people feed me. I'm usually just happy I didn't have to cook, but the text keeps treating Ana like a super duper awesome cook, and, well, I expect it to deliver if I have to hear about her cracking each egg. It does not.

So as Ana busies herself with whisking the eggs (siiigh) she contemplates Grey's newest character revelations.

No empathy, I muse. Is this unique to Christian? Maybe all men are like this, baffled by women. I just don’t know. Perhaps it’s not such a revelation.

THIS IS NOT A MAN THING! YOU HAVE MALE FRIENDS! YOU'VE HAD LIKE 12 DADS! YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN, INTERACTED, AND BEFRIENDED ENOUGH MEN IN YOUR LIFE TO NOT SEE THEM AS A MONOLITHIC MASS ANA! Grey is just a dick! So, Grey then wanders in to try and touch her vixen. I'm sorry did you think I was kidding about that?

Desire uncurls in my belly. No. I shrug out of his embrace.
“I’m still mad at you.”
He frowns. “How long are you going to keep this up?” he asks, dragging a hand through his hair.
I shrug. “At least until I’ve eaten.”

So does this reek of "Women are the gatekeepers of sex and withhold it when they're angry" to anyone else? Yes? Okay just making sure.

They then go on about specific songs (Ana had put on "Crazy in love" and he is now putting "I put a spell on you")

Oh, the Nina Simone version? I suppose I should just be glad EL James is keeping her hands off of something I love. Seriously it sounds like he's trying to break his voice. It's awesome. Still, it keeps to the theme of Grey being creepy and possessive. And that he is a warlock. Seriously, the book isn't even trying to hide it anymore.

Oh my . . . his look has changed, the levity gone, his eyes darker, intense.
I watch him, enthralled as slowly, like the predator he is, he stalks me in time to the slow sultry beat of the music. He’s barefoot, wearing just an untucked white shirt, jeans, and a smoldering look.
Nina sings, “you’re mine” as Christian reaches me, his intention clear.
“Christian, please,” I whisper, the whisk redundant in my hand.
“Please what?”
“Don’t do this.”
“Do what?”
He’s standing in front of me, gazing down at me.
“Are you sure?” he breathes and reaching over, he takes the whisk from my hand and places it back in the bowl with the eggs. My heart is in my mouth. I don’t want this—I do want this—badly.

So this is a nice creepy passage. The imagery of Grey stalking Ana like some sort of predatory animal while she feebly holds her whisk, asking him not to even though she's conflicted on what she wants...  Tell me this isn't black magic glamor.

He’s so frustrating. He’s so hot and desirable. I tear my gaze away from his spellbinding look.


So Grey explains that fighting is a new thing to him (seriously? Was there no one ever in his past he fought with?) and the only way he can know they're totally okay is if they fuck. Ana, still feeble and weak, but apparently developing a resistance to his black magic, tells him no, no, it's cool, I'm still enthralled.

“I’m not going to touch you until you say yes,” he says softly. “But right now, after a really shitty morning, I want to bury myself in you and just forget everything but us.”
Oh my . . . Us. A magical combination, a small potent pronoun that clinches the deal. 


“I’m going to touch your face,” I breathe, and see his surprise reflected briefly in his eyes before his acceptance registers.

Alright, so I suspect this won't be funny except to people who actually know me, but I have the habit of touching people's faces. Not a tender, sweet caress, but planting my hand over their face (like, over eyes/nose, not cheek) and then running my hand down. Or sometimes just leaving it there. This isn't even just a drunk thing, this is just one of the "Erika is feeling bratty" aka "all the time" things. So when I read this I am struck with the image of Ana nearly smacking him in the face as she touches it.

Now, silliness aside, this shit is so not okay. Grey has within that last hour gone over how touching is a hard limit. Ana's response is "FACE PETS!" even if we consider this is an attempt to level out the power differential, it is still a dick move. I mean, he stopped tying her up and spanking her with a hockey stick.

The sexy-times are interrupted (BOO!) by Taylor wandering in. It's super awkward, and Ana is mad at herself for having sexy time wants and needs because really only whores have those! We then get a super awkward lunch between the two of them ("Oh your Mom must be proud!" "I AM NOW AWKWARD AND ANGRY GO PICK A DRESS ALSO I HIRED SECURITY TRALALALALA") and Ana wanders off to Google multiple personality disorders. Ana, you know he's in therapy, just- leave it at that unless you think it's dangerous. Please?

Grey catches her mid-research, there's some "cute" banter and he hands her lipstick, saying that she's to draw on him to outline the no-go areas. I'm not sure where the lipstick came from, as he points out it isn't for her unless she wants to wear it. Did an ex leave it? Is it his house keepers? Did he buy a tube of harlot red lipstick for this purpose?

“You want me to draw on you, with lipstick?”
“It washes off. Eventually.”
This means I could touch him freely. A small smile of wonder plays on my lips, and I smirk at him.

About fucking time.

“You seem—enthusiastic for this,” he comments wryly.
“I’m always eager for information, Mr. Grey, and it means you’ll relax, because I’ll know where the boundaries lie.”
He shakes his head, as if he can’t quite believe that he’s about to let me draw all over his body.

I'm kind of hoping he just draws around his neck, wrists, and ankles, and says everything within these lines is no go. I'm also really hoping Ana takes the opportunity to draw a dick on him.  

I'm not far off, Grey looks awkward and pained the whole time she draws where he instructs her to, and she describes the end result as him wearing a skin-colored vest with scarlet trim. That is a deeply unpleasant mental image. So, his chest/back are covered in pock-mark burns, and those are the no-go areas. I'm not sure why he couldn't just say that, but hey, this is supposed to be sexy. I think?

He tenses and stares, seemingly impassive, into my eyes, but beneath his careful blank look, I see his restraint.
The trust he’s giving me is heady but tempered by the fact that I can I count his pain. Seven small, round white scars dot his chest, and it’s deep, dark purgatory to see this hideous, evil desecration of his beautiful body. Who would do this to a child?

 And Ana is now just pleased as a pig in shit that she can touch him freely since she knows the where to touch/where not to touch! I still think this was far more complicated than need be, but at this point I'm just glad we can get past the whole touching thing already.

“Those are the boundaries,” he says quietly, his eyes dark and pupils dilated . . . from fear? From lust? I want to hurl myself at him, but I restrain myself and gaze at him in wonder.
“I can live with those. Right now I want to launch myself at you,” I whisper.

And then she does just that. Tragically, the sex is waiting for us in the next chapter. I know, I know, I was really hoping for a hilarious sex scene to break all this up, but EL James doesn't like us that much you guys.

So, tune in next Tuesday for... what ever I run next Tuesday, and next Thursday for chapter 6! As always, comments make me want to work on this project more so you should leave lots telling me and my poor liver how awesome we are. Also for those of you who just can't get enough of me, I'm now on Twitter @SnappyErika!

*WHICH IS A TERRIBLE IDEA! YOU DO NOT USE DUCT TAPE, NORMAL ROPE, AND ZIP TIES IN BONDAGE BECAUSE IT IS DANGEROUS! There are better, safer alternatives, which as someone into the "scene" Grey should be very educated about. It isn't like Grey needs to save the money by being cheap on his sex supplies.

**Cook is the random schlep who works in a kitchen. Chef is the one running the kitchen. They are the boss. Sous-Chef is second in command (think assistant manager) while we're at kitchen terminology. They are all very different things. Cooks are not chefs. [/end food wizard rant]

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A few announcements and a link dump

First the announcements!
1) This blog now has a designated e-mail,
2) This blog ALSO now is on Twitter! I promise I'll try to be amusing and/or insightful form time to time and never post pictures of my lunch. You can follow me @SnappyErika
3) I'm still looking for people interested in doing a guest post exchange. You can contact me via e-mail or comment on this post.

Now, I will admit the reason there is going to be a link dump(is it a dump if it is two links?) is because with all of the surgery stuff (which has all gone super well!) I am just wiped and struggling to put eloquent and thoughtful posts together. So here are some other people doing it for me!

I've wanted to write a follow-up to the Language around consent post I did a while ago, but I have since come across this wonderful post from Yes Means Yes about how our society is USED to hearing indirect "no" and people who choose to ignore it and act like it's sooo hard to know when a person is consenting to sex are not are doing it knowingly.

Then to further my huge brain-crush* on Cliff from Pervocracy she went and wrote a post on a related tangent pointing out how it is basically bullshit when people conflate that "NO ANYONE COULD ACCIDENTALLY BE A RAPIST BECAUSE CONSENT IS CONFUSING!" and really just go and read everything she has written. She's just awesome and I want to rub my brain against her's in hopes to gain some of her intelegence.

If you have any links that you'd like to see up here for future link-dumps you can e-mail them, or post them in the comments. Hopefully by next week things will be all the way back to normal, and barring anything dramatic 50 Shades should run on Thursday as normal. Till then dear readers!  

*Brain-Crush: For those (often platonic) crushes where you are attracted to the person entirely due to their mental prowess.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

50 Shades Darker Chapter 5 in which I am so defeated I had to split it into 2 parts Part 1

So we start chapter 5, shockingly, right where we left off. At the salon with Ana staring at Elena talking to Grey from across the room. But rather than have Ana figure out that she's staring at her ARCH NEMESIS by feeling it in her bones or something we have her ask Greta, the receptionist, who's talking to her MAYUN.

“Mrs. Lincoln?” I thought Mrs. Robinson was divorced. Perhaps she’s remarried to some poor sap.

Oh, Ana, you petty, catty creature you.

Gretchen gives up the goods- Lincoln's first name (Elena, duh) and that she's the co-owner of the chain of salons. She's not usually in (called it!) but someone was sick so she had to cover. ... Just throwing this out there, but in service industry, you usually know damned well how to deal with being down a man. The DM for my area is never in just to help out unless there's some paper work or huge ass event, so I am confused by this. The thought of calling him in because our line cook is sick... I imagine I'd be fired for trying. Maybe they were in the midst of hiring someone new so they were already short staffed? I know with hair dressers they often basically rent the chair from the owner of the salon and get paid by their customers (or at least a vast majority of any hair dresser I've ever been to does) so this seems extra bizarre to me. I just- I do not get. I'll just tell myself this is a spa thing, if someone in the comments works in/goes to spas often enough to know anything about their inner workings feel free to correct/confirm this.

I’m swamped by a strange sense of relief that my spidey sense has not let me down.
Spidey sense? My subconscious snorts, Paedo sense.

Yes EL James, we get it. You need to reassure the reader that Ana isn't being petty, jealous, and mean spirited, Elena is an evil and deserves it. Also paedo senses seems like it would be a highly marketable skill. I mean, if that was a thing, there would be no school board without one on hand for hiring processes. Need to hire a new baby sitter? Just give your local pedophile senser a call for screening potential candidates! And they could charge a FORTUNE! Do you know how much people will shell out for the sake of their babies safety? It would be way less work than publishing, way more money, annnnd... actually do good in the world!

Another nod, and she glances at me and offers me a small reassuring smile.
I can only stare at her stony-faced. I think I’m in shock. How could he bring me here?

As someone who in that situation would be too stunned to think to be mean as my Good Girl programming runs deep (I'm in the process of deprogramming but it's an ongoing and lengthy process) so my thought here is actually congratulatory. You need to piss me off in the moment to remind me to be unfriendly, and I think Ana not making an effort to be nice here is... reasonable. Grey will naturally disagree, but I'm actually unsure of how EL James will treat this in text.

She nods, and I think she’s wishing him luck, but my lip-reading skills aren’t highly developed.

Wha- you have been able to narrate their entire conversation up to this point! Apparently you are an expert body-language and lip-reader! Don't try and fool me Ana!

Fifty strides back to me, anxiety etched on his face. Damn right. Mrs. Robinson returns to the back room, closing the door behind her.

I wish I could follow Elena and go into hiding to avoid this scene...

“Not really. You didn’t want to introduce me?” My voice sounds cold, hard.
His mouth drops open, he looks as if I’ve pulled the rug from under his feet.
“But I thought—”
“For a bright man, sometimes . . .” Words fail me. “I’d like to go, please.”
“You know why.” I roll my eyes.

IHATEYOUSOMUCH! Ana, you couldn't even bring yourself to SMILE at her, and you're mad he didn't introduce you? I can read your every thought and I'm surprised you're mad at him for that. I get that you're upset that he brought you where she'll be, but you and I now both know that she wasn't supposed to be there that day and what the what? Grey also points out "She opened a new store where she's usually based" and Ana's response is to storm out.

“We won’t need Franco, Greta,” Christian snaps as we head out of the door. I have to suppress the impulse to run. I want to run fast and far away. I have an overwhelming urge to cry. I just need to get away from all this fuckedupness.

Okay, so, firstly, Grey, stop being awful to your employees/service people in general. It is not their fault you're a d-bag who keeps pissing off his girlfriend. Secondly, for all the harshness I heap on Ana, I actually get that she is just floored and totally overwhelmed here, and that's... well, pretty reasonable. If I was dating a dude who had just gone through a really messy divorce because she cheated on him blah blah blah they're still friends, I would be HELLA uncomfortable with that. If he (even accidentally) just ambushed me with this woman, my instinct would be to run the fuck away and sort my thoughts out, too. Although the conversation for me would be:
"Dude. What the what?"
"Yeah, sorry, I didn't mean to. She wasn't supposed to be there and I just wanted to do something nice."
"Alright. Maybe next time call ahead just in case? I'm not at a point where I want to hang out with your ex wife in anything resembling a one on one sense. First time I officially meet her, big group, okay?"
"Done." and that would be that or he would not be a dude I was seeing.

BUT I'm trying to be nice here, so let's concentrate on Ana being totally justified in being freaked out and overwhelmed and upset at the moment, even if it isn't rational because funny thing, people aren't usually very rational when it comes to their feelings.

“I see. So Mrs. Robinson met all your subs.”
“Did they know about her?”
“No. None of them did. Only you.”
“But I’m not your sub.”
“No, you most definitely are not.”
I stop and face him. His eyes are wide, fearful. His lips are pressed into a hard, uncompromising line.
“Can you see how fucked-up this is?” I glare up at him, my voice low.
“Yes. I’m sorry.” And he has the grace to look contrite.

D-did he just apologize? Without it immediately being followed up by some sort of move to establish dominance? Is he actually worried and scared that he has pissed off Ana? I struggle to understand why Ana is so upset that HE TOOK OTHER WOMEN THERE! Yes, he OWNS the place and wanted to do something nice for them, why take them to a place he didn't own? However I'm going to put this in the pile of "really fucking overwhelmed right now". Or is this all supposed to be feeding back into her being resentful that he's trying to backdoor his RULES from book 1? I suppose that makes more sense than the other alternatives at this point- so clearly that can't be true.

“She’s very attractive.”
He blinks. “Yes, she is.”
“Is she still married?”
“No. She divorced about five years ago.”
“Why aren’t you with her?”
“Because that’s over between us. I’ve told you this.”

DAMN IT ANA I'M TRYING TO BE NICE HERE AND GIVE YOU SOME CREDIT WHY DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THAT SO DIFFICULT?! Does Grey need to conquer the moon and have "Christian + Ana 4 Evarz" carved on it with a laser in a little heart before you realize that he wants to be with you and not every other woman who soils herself in arousal at the sight of him?

They don't get a chance to REALLY start fighting because Grey gets a MYSTERIOUS PHONE CALL! Obviously about Leila as he talks about being watched 24-7. So, there are two ways I can take this. 1 is that Leila is THERE and watched them RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT! The other is that Grey has hired security dudes to watch him, which means he's hired them to watch Ana because it's Grey. ...

So bets on Grey having hired people to watch Ana 24-7 without her knowledge or consent?

“Wait a minute. We were in the middle of a discussion, about us. About her, your Mrs. Robinson.”
Christian’s face hardens. “She’s not my Mrs. Robinson. We can talk about it at my place.”
“I don’t want to go to your place. I want to get my hair cut!” I shout. If I can just focus on this one thing . . .

So, I commented a lot last book how any time Ana stood up for herself she painted it as she was throwing a tantrum. Now she actually is and doesn't seem to notice- again, she's upset, she's overwhelmed, and Grey is trying to change the subject and not telling her anything. Grey responding with having some poor hair dresser arranged to come to his place, where he is demanding he and Ana go RIGHT NOW, isn't helping Ana's frayed emotions at the moment.

Alright, so, warning, wall of text, but I can't NOT put this up. 

“Anastasia, Leila is obviously suffering a psychotic break. I don’t know if it’s you or me she’s after, or what lengths she’s prepared to go to. We’ll go to your place, pick up your things, and you can stay with me until we’ve tracked her down.”
“Why would I want to do that?”
“So I can keep you safe.”
He glares at me. “You are coming back to my apartment if I have to drag you there by your hair.”
I gape at him . . . this is beyond belief. Fifty Shades in Glorious Technicolor.
“I think you’re overreacting.”
“I don’t. We can continue our discussion back at my place. Come.”
I fold my arms and glare at him. This has gone too far.
“No,” I state stubbornly. I have to make a stand.
“You can walk or I can carry you. I don’t mind either way, Anastasia.”
“You wouldn’t dare.” I scowl at him. Surely he wouldn’t make a scene on Second Avenue?
He half smiles at me, but the smile doesn’t reach his eyes.
“Oh, baby, we both know that if you throw down the gauntlet I’ll be only too happy to pick it up.”
We glare at each other—and abruptly he sweeps down, clasps me round my thighs, and lifts me. Before I know it, I am over his shoulder.
“Put me down!” I scream. Oh, it feels good to scream.
He starts striding along Second Avenue, ignoring me. Clasping his arm firmly around my thighs, he swats my behind with his free hand.
“Christian!” I shout. People are staring. Could this be any more humiliating? “I’ll walk! I’ll walk.”

What's that? Respect? Boundaries? Being treated like an adult? Grey being worried about paparazzi? LOL NOPE! This is also terrifying, and Ana is too busy being ZOMG SO EMBARRASSED by him heaving her off. He is doing this in the middle of the god damned day- why is no one saying anything? Calling the cops? Ana's response rather than telling him to fuck off and die- she'll take her chances- is to stomp home. Grey follows her. She is about to ignore the fact that he has threatened her- again. I've commented on him using violence in more subtle ways before (pinning her and forcefully kissing her) but he is outright saying he will make her do what he wants by force here. There is no shade of gray here Ana, this is a huge fucking red flag. She's shocked, she knows this is awful and outrageous, but she isn't going to act on it ever again. I also want to draw attention to Grey treating Ana standing up for herself as a cute challenge. Oh, look at the little woman who thinks she's people!


I know there is so much to unpack there but I am struggling to come up with anything that isn't incoherent rage sputtering, so have a pineapple and let's move on!

As I stalk back home, I make a mental list:
1. Shoulder carrying—unacceptable for anyone over the age of six.
2. Taking me to the salon that he owns with his ex-lover—how stupid can he be?
3. The same place he took his submissives—same stupidity at work here.
4. Not even realizing that this was a bad idea—and he’s supposed to be a bright guy.
5. Having crazy ex-girlfriends. Can I blame him for that? I am so furious; yes, I can.
6. Knowing my bank account number—that’s just too stalkery by half.
7. Buying SIP—he’s got more money than sense.
8. Insisting I stay with him—the threat from Leila must be worse than he feared . . . he didn’t mention that yesterday.
Oh no, realization dawns. Something’s changed. What could that be? I halt, and Christian halts with me. “What’s happened?” I demand.

I hate how this is all being framed as Grey being the perfectly reasonable one, Ana just didn't know what was really going on and should have trusted the big strong man to keep her safe to start with! I at least like how the text is treating it as reasonable for Ana to demand to know what's going on. Now, Ana is also pointing out some things that make no sense, like the ongoing "he's such a stoopid head". ZOMG HE SHOULD BE PSYCHIC AND FAILURE TO ANTICIPATE MY EVERY REACTION WHEN THE READER WHO SEES ALL MY THOUGHTS CAN'T MAKES HIM SUCH A JERKFACE!

“She managed to obtain a concealed weapons permit yesterday.”
Oh shit. I gaze at him, blinking, and feel the blood draining from my face as I absorb this news. I may faint. Suppose she wants to kill him? No.
“That means she can just buy a gun,” I whisper.

Yes, that is what these things mean. Although I thought you had to have a permanent address to do such a thing? If a bunch of people are looking for her- how did she manage to get a gun permit and potentially a gun without being found? Is this supposed to be a statement on American gun laws or just careless writing? I just- what?

Okay, let's try this again. Grey's ex who is apparently distraught with grief over the loss of her lover in a car accident, and stalking him and Ana because of... we don't know why, has now gone out and gotten a permit to buy a gun. She has turned up at the doorstep at Ana's place of work, and Ana's thought is... OH NO WHAT IF SHE HUTS GREY?! Absolutely no concern over herself? I just- what?

“Let’s get back,” he murmurs, and he reaches down and kisses my hair, and that’s it. All my fury is gone, but not forgotten. Dissipated under the threat of some harm coming to Christian. The thought is unbearable.

Right because one crisis will over ride everything. I feel he just doles out information when and where he needs to for the sake of keeping Ana so frazzled and upset she can't think straight.

So onto packing up to go stay with Grey "for a few days". Ana mentions that Ethan, Kate's brother, is coming to live with them as of Tuesday until he can get set up himself in Seattle. Grey is shockingly not totally horrible. I mean, he's clearly bitchy about it but behaves, shockingly.

“Well, it’s good that you’ll be staying with me. Give him more room,” he says quietly.

 Holy crap, Grey is trying to behave and act like people.

It doesn't last for longer than 30 seconds though.

“Something wrong with my driving? Don’t tell me you know what I scored on my driving test . . . I wouldn’t be surprised with your stalking tendencies.” Maybe he knows that I just scraped through the written test.
“Get in the car, Anastasia,” he snaps angrily.
“Okay.” I hastily climb in. Honestly, chill, will you?

 So rather then express what he's actually uncomfortable, "I'm not okay with you living with a guy" he will instead get upset at her for wanting to drive her own car and trying to crack jokes in a serious situation.

“Were all your submissives brunettes?”
He frowns and glances at me quickly. “Yes,” he mutters. He sounds uncertain, and I imagine him thinking, where’s she going with this?
“I just wondered.”
“I told you. I prefer brunettes.”
“Mrs. Robinson isn’t a brunette.”
“That’s probably why,” he mutters. “She put me off blondes forever.”
“You’re kidding,” I gasp.
“Yes. I’m kidding,” he replies, exasperated.
I stare impassively out the window, spying brunettes everywhere, none of them Leila, though.
So, he only likes brunettes. I wonder why? Did Mrs. Extraordinarily-Glamorous-In-Spite-Of-Being-Old Robinson really put him off blondes? I shake my head—Christian Mindfuck Grey.

What is this I don't even. Okay, so, Grey says "Yes, I was just kidding" in a way that proves he thought this should be super obvious, and Ana then goes onto obsess over WHAT DID IT ALL MEAN!? I am struggling to say anything intelligent as I feel the exerts should be speaking for themselves.

So Ana goes on to ask about Elena, which prompts Grey to explain that he's a silent partner in the beauty business. Silent, but he brings girls in for free shit and everyone who works there knows who he is, but he's totally a silent partner. Elena runs it well, and Grey explains that he "owed" her the money to help her start up this venture. This is because when he dropped out of Harvard after two years to start his own company from the ground up (naturally, because he doesn't NEED an education to be good at something because he's so perfect and awesome.) she gave him 100k to do so. 100k of her rich husband at the time's money, but he was evil and mean and wouldn't let her work so it was totally okay you guys!

So Ana and Grey get to his place, he vanishes to make some calls, and Ana despairs as she looks at the lavish gowns that he bought for her, and calls her Mother in a panic. This conversation lasts about five lines, and 3 of them are Ana realizing that other people have problems, too, and she seems surprised. I actually like this. Ana is 21ish. She has just graduated from university, and has been in the throws of her first romantic drama. Thinking she is the only one in the world with problems is one of the first things she has done that I thought "Yup, that's a 21 year old."

So Grey turns up, and Ana, rather then pointing at the phone and waving him off just hangs up with her Mother and asks Grey "WHY ME? YOU COULD HAVE ANY WOMAN! WHY AM I SO SPECIAL AND AWESOME?!" because your author decided you were, Ana.

“You make me look at the world differently, Anastasia. You don’t want me for my money. You give me . . . hope,” he says softly.
What? Mr. Cryptic is back. “Hope of what?”
He shrugs. “More.” His voice is low and quiet. “And you’re right. I am used to women doing exactly what I say, when I say, doing exactly what I want. It gets old quickly. There’s something about you, Anastasia, that calls to me on some deep level I don’t understand. It’s a siren’s call. I can’t resist you, and I don’t want to lose you.” He reaches forward and takes my hand. “Don’t run, please—have a little faith in me and a little patience. Please.”

So, in short, because... she's fun and not a terrible person? I mean, er, OH MY GOD HE'S SO ROMANTIC AND SENSITIVE *SWOON*. That's how I'm supposed to react, right? I've never been one to receive the big romantic speeches, usually because if a dude said this to me I would probably taunt him endlessly for it because I am a terrible girlfriend.

So that's that, and now for Ana's hair cut! It's literally a paragraph, because Grey isn't in the scene, it's skipped. We do, however, get this.

Franco is small, dark, and gay. I love him.

Oh, joy, the gay hairdresser. This is the second time we've met a gay character in this series, and both times they've been flamboyant cartoonish caricatures of stereotypes. The first time was a random dude Ana met in the airport, and somehow befriended (this naturally all happens off page) who ends up giving her a massage- something she uses to taunt Grey because deliberately making your boyfriend jealous is a mature and reasonable thing to do. She tells him (and the reader) he's gay to assure Grey (and the reader) that what she did was just a little mischievous, not actually bad and wrong. Still, we're left with Ana, private to the point of resenting people asking her how her day went, somehow befriending this random man in an airport, and all we know about him is he's gay.

Now, we have Ana, who is not a people person, and who is generally neutral at best to people, adoring this man. As far as I can tell BECAUSE he's gay. So, we have the narrator treating gay men like they're some small, silly, cute fuzzy animal.

Look he thinks he's people!

“Such beautiful hair!” he gushes with an outrageous, probably fake Italian accent. I bet he’s from Baltimore or somewhere, but his enthusiasm is infectious.

I know, I'm reading a lot into two cameos of gay characters (you've now basically seen everything the man will say or do, since Grey doesn't linger to tell him how to cut her hair, he isn't in the scene and therefore it is glossed over) but here is the thing- we're two books in, and these are the only two characters we've met who HAVE been gay. There hasn't been mention of a bisexual anywhere, either. I mean, it's possible that everyone that isn't trying to have sex with Ana is actually gay and just never talks about it, but that seems unlikely. The two character's we've met who are gay have largely been defined by their gayness, as to any other given trait. Plus almost everyone is either hitting on Ana, drooling over Grey, or talking about a boyfriend/wife of some sort, so that doesn't give me much hope for any hidden gay/bisexual characters.

I will have to end part 1 of this post here, as there is no way anyone will get through this cluster fuck of a chapter in one go. Part 2 will go up next Thursday!

Till Tuesday dear readers! As always, comments/generic encouragements/drink recipes are appreciated.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On Being a "Good Girl"

I will admit that there may be a different, or official term for what I'm talking about, but I have yet to encounter is and in my own circles refer to it as "Good/Nice Girlism" I'm opting for Good for this as I do not want to get it confused with Nice Guyism which is a totally different thing.  So what AM I talking about?

I will preface this bit with the fact that I am speaking to, and from, my own experiences and observations and yes, I am going to be using generalizations. Right, that out of the way, let's get into this.

Many, if not most, girls are brought up with expectations that is tied very much to them being a girl. A Good Girl smiles and is pleasant and doesn't cause trouble. A good girl will smile and eat shit rather than ruin the afternoon when someone has said or done something particularly offensive, because it is her place to be the one who smooths things over. A Good Girl wouldn't just bluntly tell a man she isn't interested (TW: Rape, rape culture) because that would be rude. A Good Girl knows how to cook and clean and laugh at others' jokes and always be sweet and helpful! Good Girlisim is deeply ingrained into encouraging gender norms, is the short and long of it.

I could refer to some specific examples, like the new "1 million likes for X" meme to, so far, include a man basically coercing a woman into sex and another man trying publicly shame his wife into having kids which point out the shame and fear that us taught to women, not men, of holding an unpopular opinion, because that isn't what Good Girls do. 

I was in college, and several of my male classmates made no effort to play nice with others. I thought nothing of it. One of my female classmates didn't. Many acted like she was SUCH a bitch zomg! I hardly knew her, but the few half conversations I had had with her she wasn't exactly... approachable. I assumed she was, in fact, a bitch, as to just reserved. Why else would the others? Then I got to talk to her a little bit more. This wasn't just a case of her being a mean person- which was something I could accept from woman. They could be mean but still "Good Girls" she was actually very nice, but she had her boundaries and she didn't give a flying fuck if you were offended when she maintained them. Creepy guy who was overly touchy with the girls but everyone brushed off simply as "John just being John"? She told him off, openly called him creepy, threatened to sucker punch him in the junk, and made herself an unappealing target. I was fascinated and would eventually befriend her. She was fun, outgoing, smart, creative, a hard worker and a fiercely loyal person. She just didn't feel the need to play nice when given every reason not to. That, apparently, made her a bitch, which was a title that, as a Good Girl, I feared.

I look back now and realize that it was a stupid double standard that had been ingrained in me from a young age. I still grapple with the things that I was raised to do, such as keeping quiet when someone has offended me, apologizing when I was the one who had wrong done to them because bad blood couldn't be allowed to sit, looking to own up to my own fault in any given conflict because that made it easier to fix a situation regardless of if there was one or not. I have generally had more male friends than female friends, and I have seen the women in my life do these things, but rarely have I seen the men.

My friends, I am calling bullshit. Just because I have a vagina does not mean it is my duty to make nice and make sure everything is going well and there are no hurt feelings, and I should pretend I don't have any. If you piss me off, I am with a deliberate and practiced even and calm voice tell you that shit was not cool. I won't start screaming and flailing about and clutching my pearls at you, but I am not going to just bite my tongue and pretend it never happened so you don't have to face the awkwardness that might come with being confronted by the fact you were a jackass. If you apologize and mean it, I will happily accept it and move on, if you give me a non-apology about being super stressed and you didn't INTEND it that way... Well, I'll still move on, but I'm not going to pretend that we're okay. I am going to start distancing myself from you. That might not make me a Good Girl, but it doesn't stop me from being a good person.

One of the most powerful gifts I have given myself is permission to be a bad girl, so long as I'm still a good person. It's liberating, if not totally terrifying on occasion.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

50 Shades of Shit part 1

Once again Thursday rolls around and because of a fun mix of being sickly/trying to get my shit together to make life easier when shit starts hitting the fan*, I do not have a post ready. However, I hate leaving you hanging, and because of just mentioned shit, I know there is a danger that I will miss a few updates in the near future**, so instead you will get my frantically cobbled together version of what I think 50 Shades of Grey would look like if it was more to the point. So, basically fan fiction. I want you all to know that I feel I am sinking to a new level of depravity doing this, and I do it all for you. 

I gaped at his perfect profile. It was like someone had looked at one of those old school cameos and carved a face based on that, out of stone- sexy stone. It made my heart flutter and my pee-parts feel all tingly like. He looked at me with his super-sexy smouldering eyes and I found myself sucked in like a moth to the flame- a sexy flame. Like, super sexy. So sexy and hot that if you touched it you would burn yourself, but you probably shouldn't because it's another person's eyeball and no one likes to be poked in the eyeball. Well, maybe he does, I mean, he's so dark and tragic and he has such a fucked up past, like, super fucked up. His Mom killed herself when he was a toddler in front of him and he was left to hang out in squalor for like days and he's super traumatized now! It's super sad! So all that led him to being into kinky fucked up shit- like getting poked in the eyeball, maybe.

"Do you like being poked in the eyeball?"

Christian Grey frowned his perfect lips at me. It was like they were chiseled out of clay, and then baked because they were so firm but looked kind of soft, too. I was too distracted by his clay-lips to hear what he was saying, mesmerized by the way they moved, like nimble mountain goats. "Ana?" he asked, his concerningly well groomed eyebrows furrowing. What was it my Mother always used to say? Never trust a man with nicer eyebrows than you? Wait, no, that was finger nails! Whew! Safe! I can still trust my 50!

"Sorry," I said feeling embarrassed at how much he affected me. "I was distracted."

He smiled, his secret private smile that no one else ever got to see, "That will happen. It is a well known side effect of the black magic I use to keep you subdued."

I blinked. "Sorry, what was that?"

"I said I don't like being poked in the eye. I don't like being touched at all. The only person who ever touched my eye was Elena, because she was my Dom."

I felt angry fast. My lady bits went from being moist and soggy like the sponge of a day old tiramisu, to dry and crackly like a desert. "If you liked your Mrs. Robinson so much why don't you just go and have crazy kinky sex with her?" I snapped.

"Ana how many times do we have to go over this? It is over between her and I. I only have stalking tendencies for you. Also I bought the company your Mother works for." he said, and I was once again mesmerized by his clay mountain goat lips.

"Then why do you still spend so much time with her?"

"Because the plot demands I can only have one friend, and she called first dibs."

I took a deep breath and forgot to let it out again. He was such a stupid-head. Christian sighed, and peeled his shirt off. I remembered to exhale. "I will not be distracted by sex."

"What if I let you slickle my peeny?" he asked arousingly, sexily undoing his belt. Standing in his boxers and socks, I could see his turgid wang throbbing and ready to be inside my lady-bits.

I eyed his beef whistle hungrily. "Will you let me touch you?"

"Not until next book." he said slowly advancing on me. He grabbed me by the hair and forced our faces together. I forgot how I was talking about. His custard launcher was pressed against my leg, and my inner goddess did a triple-half-caff off the diving board before landing in a double axle***. I did this to him! I made his throbbing python of love come to life!

He pressed his one-eyed-wonder weasel up against me and whispered the magic word, "CUM FOR ME ANA!" and I exploded all over the place. "OH! FUCK YES! SUCH A SEXY EXPLOSION!" he screamed, following suit. His cleaning lady was going to be super confused when she had to clean us off of the walls and ceiling and out of the carpet.

Alright, so I had way more fun writing that then I thought I would. I also accomplished a life goal of using the phrase "turgid wang" sorry for no real update this week, but assuming things don't get too horrific, I should have a regular update by next Thursday. Failing that, expect 50 Shades of Shit part 2 (or a guest post). Till Tuesday!

*Man, I'm only now realizing how great it is to know ahead of time when shit will be flying. I have till Monday and then things get thrown into the terrifying/stressful unknown of post-surgery of someone I am in a border-line care giver position to? Cool, better make sure the apartment is clean and my laundry is done because I don't know when the next time I'll have a chance to do that is! I'm not even being sarcastic, give me planned chaos with some fretting leading up to it than happily going along and getting bowled over when shit start flying any day.
**On a very related note: I am looking for guest posts. Things on feminism or 50 Shades are ideal, but I'm open to suggestions. I will write a guest-post in exchange if it is wanted on the subject of your choosing when things have quieted down.
***Stole this line from Marz's comment. I can not take credit.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


So I was in the process of writing this involved and (I hoped) thoughtful post about adulthood and my relationship with it, when I realized there was no way in hell it would be done by tonight. So instead I will rant about people telling The Boy and I that he needs to get a baby in me right away.

I think our reaction can be summed up in the following picture.

Neither of us is particularly fond of children, we don't WANT kids. We've seen the life style, not our thing. I'm also fairly certain there is a federal ban on my uterus.

However for some reason when I tell people "I don't plan on having any" their response is a knowing smile and telling me just wait, I'll change my mind. It is an ongoing exercise in will power to not start screaming.

"BITCH DO YOU KNOW HOW CONDESCENDING YOU SOUND? I am a grown ass adult who is more than capable of making the decision of if I want to spend 9 months making a person now as I will be in 5 years! Plus, why do you want ME to make a child? Have you not realized I am a horrible, crass, mischievous creature who is likely to train their spawn for the sake of evil? Have you met my fiancee, the presumable Father of my imaginary spawn? He and I are bad people! The school system has done NOTHING to deserve our genetic contribution! It would be the physical embodiment of brat! Forget the school system, I don't deserve that!"

Instead I just grit my teeth, smile, and say "Probably not. The boy's head is MASSIVE" and take some solace in their awkward laughter.

So, in short, if you know someone who is saying "They don't want kids" the correct response is, "Oh, cool." if you MUST you can add on something to the effect of "to each their own" not "YOU'LL CHANGE YOUR MIND BECAUSE EVERYONE MUST MAKE A GENETIC CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORLD!" because there are enough people, we don't need to make more.

EDITED TO ADD: As was pointed out in the comments, there are also some people who would LOVE to have kids but for what ever reason can't, or have recently miscarried, or a million other things that could make this such a loaded question. One that would be diverted with "Nah, I don't think so." So, you know, to the person who's about to chime in and tell me it's an innocent, polite question, and maybe I shouldn't take it so seriously... maybe people should consider how personal that question is, and how cruel they can be by pushing the subject. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

50 Shades Darker Chapter 4 in which they ruin Ice Cream.

Alright, happy new years y'all! Hope that your hangovers were gentle and your year is already off to a rockin' start!

So, chapter 4 takes off seconds where chapter 3 left off. I feel the chapter breaks in this book are arbitrary. This wasn't a dramatic break, it was just some dick sneeze where they cut it. Most of the chapter breaks are like this and I just- DAMN IT EL JAMES DO YOU NOT EVEN READ?! Ahem. So this chapter starts with Grey pulling his dick out of Ana--no, really, and with this little nugget in there:

his hands holding mine by the side of my head. Sadly, I suspect that’s so I don’t touch him.

There is a lot about this book that makes me sad. The fact that it's wildly successful when it's such shit, the fact that it romanticizes abuse, the fact that Ana is an insufferable wank, the fact that other women out there LIKE Grey. The ongoing inability for Ana and Grey to not empathize with each other is climbing on that list. While I never agreed with Ana's inability to respect Grey's wish to not be touched simply because he didn't want to be--a wish she herself has wished more people were respectful of when it comes to her--but I can understand how when you don't know the why of a thing it can be hard to simply accept it. I still maintain she was shitty about it, but I could at least wrap my head around it. I'm having a much harder time doing that now and remaining sympathetic to the character. She observes that he is doing things to prevent her from touching him, and while I don't fault her for being sad that she can't, she should be able to realize that he doesn't trust her enough not to, and maybe go about making it obvious to him that she is going to respect the hell out of that boundary instead of pushing it at every given opportunity?

He takes hold of my chin and kisses me hard. A passionate, beseeching kiss, asking for what? I don’t know. It leaves me breathless.
“Don’t leave me again,” he implores, looking deep into my eyes, his face serious.
“Okay,” I whisper and smile at him. His answering smile is dazzling; relief, elation, and boyish delight combined into one enchanting look that would melt the coldest of hearts. “Thank you for the iPad.”

So I assume he was asking her not to leave with the tongue-slipping? I find this passage just weird and awkward. Why have Ana ask what he's trying to ask without words and a line later have him just say it? I find this troubling as well--Grey was trying to hold Ana to something she said in her sleep it's easy to say "sure I won't leave you" in the afterglow of perfect sex, you know, the only kind these two will ever have, but it doesn't mean anything, and it makes me sad that neither of them recognize this.

I also find the mention of the iPad here so weird. I mean, I get that it was a sentimental gift, and she really is into it, but she already thanked him, a few times, and they just boned. I know iPads can be addictive but it should not be the first thing you think about after sex.

She also then asks him which his favorite song on the playlist was and he's all "OH THAT WOULD BE TELLING OF MY DEEPEST FEELINGS WOULDN'T IT HMMM?" and I started screaming at the book.


“Come cook me some food, wench. I’m famished,” he adds, sitting up suddenly and dragging me with him.

YES BECAUSE I LOVE IT WHEN MY EROTICA MAKES "GET BACK IN THE KITCHEN" JOKES! I get that they're supposed to be cute and silly but really, I actually have to listen to this shit from men (always men) cracking jokes about it and I'm just--I want them to get a new bit already.

Since we've gotten Grey's Dark! Tragic! Past!(TM) it is not time to get Ana's, because that is how this book runs.  

Christian and I sit on Kate’s persian rug,

Why the FUCK does a recent college grad have a fucking Persian rug?! How rich IS her family, and how spoiled is she?

Since we know husband Number 1 (Ana's Dad) died because of generic war training stuff, and that Ana wasn't raped or beaten in her youth, that means we get to find out what the hell the deal with Husband Number 3 (or he who shall not be named) is!

Christian gazes down at me. “You didn’t stay in Texas with your mom?”
“No. Steve, her husband and I, we didn’t get along. And I missed Ray. Her marriage to Steve didn’t last long. She came to her senses, I think. She never talks about him,” I add quietly. I think that’s a dark part of her life, which we’ve never discussed.

Or Steve. I guess we could call him Steve. And I guess the Dark Tragic Past for Ana isn't so much dark or tragic and just that her mother married a jackass who she quickly divorced and that Ana was lucky enough to have a loving surrogate parent who was happy to take her in. Sure, he couldn't cook anything at all ever, and she took care of him because she's such a GOOD GIRL and Ana has always been taking care of other people, but ignoring the author's heavy implications, that's a pretty decent crop. It's still not a good crop, and I'm not trying to belittle the experience of being chased out of your own home because your mother married a man so foul that you felt you couldn't stay--and, rather than leave him because he chased you out of the house, choose to stay with him. That sucks, but that's a realistic sort of suck, not a big dramatic AND HE STOLE HALF OF ANA'S COLLEGE FUND AND BROKE ALL OF HER SNOWGLOBES! It's a nice change of pace from EL James' usual over the top angst for all.

“Sounds like you looked after him,” he says softly.
“I suppose.” I shrug.
“You’re used to taking care of people.”

Oh, EL James, you had gone three whole lines without trying to wring every interaction for maximum drama and angst. I was almost proud of you. Grey then goes on to tell Ana that HE SHALL TAKE CARE OF HER!

“I’m still mad at you for buying SIP.”
He smiles. “I know but you being mad, baby, wouldn’t stop me.”
“What am I going to say to my work colleagues, to Jack?”
He narrows his eyes. “That fucker better watch himself.”

“Oh . . . will I be out of a job?” I ask, alarmed.
“I sincerely doubt it,” Christian says wryly, trying to stifle his smile.
I scowl. “If I leave and find another job, will you buy that company, too?”
“You’re not thinking of leaving, are you?” His expression alters, wary once more.
“Possibly. I’m not sure you’ve given me a great deal of choice.”
“Yes, I will buy that company, too.” He is adamant.
I scowl at him again. I am in a no-win situation here.
“Don’t you think you’re being a tad overprotective?”
“Yes. I am fully aware of how this looks.”
“Paging Dr. Flynn,” I murmur.
He puts down his empty bowl and gazes at me impassively. I sigh. I don’t want to fight. Standing up, I reach for his bowl.
“Would you like dessert?”

Holyfuckingshit. Remember what I said before about this book needing very little editing to be an erotic horror? Oh, what's that, there is nowhere you can go where he won't find you? He'll fire any man (and maybe woman) who so much as looks at you? Telling him you are angry and not okay with this is of no concern to him because he's concerned about your... safety? Grey is a fucking sociopath who has basically kidnapped Ana without physically restraining her. She went to Georgia to visit her mother, and he followed her when she made a cutesy "Miss you!" comment. She knows he can (and will) follow her where ever she goes, she knows he has power and resources beyond anything she could possibly hope to combat. Sure, she could go to the cops, but do you really think Grey wouldn't just buy them off? This book isn't erotica, it's a tragic tale of domestic abuse, and about how Grey strips the agency and power from Ana to control her. He's also training her, I'd like to point out. She doesn't want to fight, so she offers a domestic, ladylike (hey, remember that list from book 1 that listed the obscene things he wanted in a woman?) out. He's trained her to be afraid to fight with him.

“Now you’re talking!” he says, giving me a lascivious grin.

And when she acts in the way he wants her to she's rewarded with the side of him she likes. He's wonderful and sweet and fun so long as she never pushes too hard for any given want or need or boundary. I was bitching about Ana pushing against Grey's boundaries early, but he just steamrollers over hers to cartoon villain lengths.

“We have ice cream. Vanilla.” I snicker.
“Really?” Christian’s grin gets bigger. “I think we could do something with that.”


“In the oven.” I smile sweetly at him.
He cocks his head to one side, sighs, and shakes his head at me. “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, Miss Steele.” His eyes glitter.

I thought that was toilet humor and/or puns. One of us has been lied to, Grey, and I suspect it's you.

“I am very glad to hear it, Mr. Grey, and I thought you said that sarcasm was the lowest form of wit.”
“Well, Anastasia, my new motto is if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

WHAT DID I JUST SAY ABOUT PUNS GREY?! Ana is properly shocked and disgusted at him for making that joke but he distracts her with his black magic penis glamour.

“This will do just fine.” He looks up at me, eyes dark. “Ben & Jerry’s & Ana.” He says each word slowly, enunciating every syllable clearly.
Oh fucking my.

Sometimes when I work on these posts The Boy looks over at me as a thrash and groan and scream and suggests that rather than do a decon, I just film my reactions to reading the book. This section would have been a good one for it, as I suspect I may be curled into a small, trembling ball by the end of this chapter. Grab your drink, this one's going to be a doozy.

I feel winded. Desire, dark, sleek, and wanton runs hot through my veins. We’re going to have fun, with food.

OH MY HOW EDGY! NO ONE HAS EVER DONE THAT BEFORE! Although seriously, considering how fixated Grey is on food I'm surprised it's taken until book 2 for this to happen.

“I hope you’re warm,” he whispers. “I’m going to cool you down with this. Come.”


“Wouldn’t dream of it, baby, but I do want to mess with you and these sheets.”
My body practically convulses.

She actually then hits the floor and has a seizure.

My robe falls open while I stand paralyzed under his heated gaze.

He's got eye lasers now?! Warming her up so the ice cream melts and makes a huge fucking mess of her mattress. Sure, the sheets are still there, but it'll soak through so he'll have to buy her a new super comfy huge bed with a head and foot board perfect for bondage.

When I’m tied-up, staring at him, he visibly relaxes. He likes me tethered. I can’t touch him this way. It occurs to me that none of his subs would have touched him either—and
what’s more, they would never have the opportunity to. He would have always been in control and at a distance. That’s why he likes his rules.

THANK YOU FOR THAT INSIGHT ANA! THAT WAS IN NO WAY OBVIOUS UNTIL JUST NOW! Gotta love that his BDSM tendencies are being drawn more and more as a sign of damage and not kink. Those two things are clearly the same thing! I'm such a fool for assuming it's a matter of different strokes for different folks! Thank you Ana/EL James for showing me the light! Seriously, you're stark naked being threatened by a man armed with a spoon and carton of ice cream, your mind should be in other places.  

My inner goddess is doing a triple axel dismount off the uneven bars, and abruptly my mouth is dry. He really is beyond beautiful. He has a physique drawn on classical lines: broad muscular shoulders, narrow hips, the inverted triangle. He obviously works out. I could look at him all day.

I've been trying to leave the inner goddess stuff out as much as possible. It's all just mindless obnoxious fluff and I really just want her to get crushed by an anvil, but I want you to know I have been avoiding putting it here for your sake. There is a lot more of it than you're seeing here. Also how many times do you think EL James will describe Grey to us (IT HAS BEEN TWO BOOKS WE GET IT DUDE'S A BABE!) before the pages turn purple from all of this purple prose? That or start having to reach for things that prove the sonofabitch isn't human. "As his turgid wang glittered with saliva and fairy dust"

“Hmm . . . it’s still quite hard,”

That's what she said.

 he says with a raised brow. Scooping out a spoonful of the vanilla, he pops it into his mouth. “Delicious,” he murmurs, licking his lips. “Amazing how good plain old vanilla can taste.”

Hey, remember last book when he was mocking vanilla? Because I do.

“Hey,” I start in protest.
“Why, Miss Steele, do you like your vanilla?”
“Yes,” I say more forcefully than I mean and try in vain to buck him off.
He laughs. “Getting feisty, are we? I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

Because if you get feisty he'll leave you there until Kate comes home to find you naked tied to the bed. Just kidding he'll only blue ball you. Grey decides that he will be a good boy and share his pilfered ice cream.

“Hmm, well, this is one way to ensure you eat—force-feed you. I could get used to this.”


“Mmm. Tastes even better off you, Miss Steele.”

Melted ice cream does not taste better than unmelted ice cream, even when eaten off of a sexy lady. I'm sorry, it just doesn't.

I pull against my restraints and the bed creaks ominously, but I don’t care—I’m burning with desire, it’s consuming me.


and into my navel where he deposits a large dollop of ice cream. Oh, this is chillier than before, but weirdly it burns.

Ana, have you never been stuck in the cold long enough for it to burn a little? She's been in Washington for a good chunk of her life, I'm pretty sure they get cold winters. You should understand how cold/burning works. No? Oh, er, uhm, alright. I guess.

And I try, I try to stay still despite the heady combination of cold and his inflaming touch. But my hips start to move involuntarily, gyrating to their own rhythm, caught up in his cool vanilla spell.

cool vanilla spell.

Cool vanilla spell.

Cool Vanilla Spell. 

I don't even have words. 

I moan. Holy cow. It’s cold, it’s hot, it’s tantalizing, but he doesn’t stop. He trails the ice cream further down my body, into my pubic hair, on to my clitoris. I cry out, loudly.


I erupt unexpectedly

Show of hands, who didn't expect this? That's what I thought.

 into a mind-blowing orgasm that stuns all my senses, obliterating all that’s happening outside of my body as I writhe and groan. Jeez, that was so quick.

Is it really that hard to write an orgasm? There's exploding and shattering everywhere. It all sounds very messy, and not even from all of that wasted ice cream.

I am vaguely aware that he has stopped his ministrations. He’s hovering over me, sliding on a condom, and then he’s inside me, hard and fast.

Give a girl a second to catch her breath won't you?

He then flips her over, seats her on his dick (facing away, so she can't touch him, naturally) and starts to go to town. 

“Do you know how much you mean to me?” he breathes against my ear.
“No,” I gasp.
He smiles against my neck, and his fingers curl around my jaw and throat, holding me fast for a moment.
“Yes, you do. I’m not going to let you go.”
I groan as he picks up speed.
“You are mine, Anastasia.”
“Yes, yours,” I pant.
“I take care of what’s mine,” he hisses and bites my ear.

This all seems really kind of threatening and black magic/warlocky to me. I think his powers work better when he's inside her, and she will now be less resistant to him owning every place she ever works. Also, how does she know he's smiling when she is facing away?

His magic is powerful, intoxicating. I’m a butterfly caught in his net, unable and unwilling to escape. I’m his . . . totally his.
“Come on, baby,” he growls through gritted teeth and on cue, like the sorcerer’s apprentice I am, I let go, and we find our release together.

If this is not proof that Grey is, in fact, a warlock, I don't know what is. 

They then immediately get into a conversation about how much they love each other and never ever ever want to break up. 

“I’ve never felt the way I felt when you left, Anastasia. I would move heaven and earth to avoid feeling like that again.” He sounds so sad, dazed even.

And by "move heaven and earth" he means "lock her in a cabin in the woods".

He then asks her to go to a random charity party his Dad is hosting tomorrow, and confesses he kept all the clothes he bought for her. 

I purse my lips. “Do you, now?” I mutter, my voice sardonic. I don’t want to fight with him tonight. I need a shower.

Again, there's this "I don't want to fight with him so I won't enforce a boundary" and it makes me both sad and uncomfortable and I feel like he's training her with his rage when she dares object. 

The girl who looks like me is standing outside SIP. Hang on—she is me. I am pale and unwashed, and all my clothes are too big; I’m staring at her, and she’s wearing my clothes—happy, healthy.
“What do you have that I don’t?” I ask her.
“Who are you?”
“I’m nobody . . . Who are you? Are you nobody, too . . . ?”
“Then there’s a pair of us—don’t tell, they’d banish us, you know . . .”1 She smiles, a slow, evil grimace that spreads across her face, and it’s so chilling that I start to scream.

The one is a footnote, before I go on, pointing out that this is from "I'm nobody. Who are you?" by Emily Dickinson. Ow, my liver.

So Ana wakes up screaming and Grey is reasonably worried and freaked out and asks what the fucking hell and Ana tells him about the girl who looks kind of like her that she met outside of SIP.

“Who?” I press.
“It’s Leila.”
I swallow. The ex-sub! I remember Christian talking about her before we went gliding. Suddenly, he’s radiating tension. Something is going on.
“The girl who put ‘Toxic’ on your iPod?”
He glances at me anxiously.
“Yes,” he says. “Did she say anything?”
“She said, ‘what do you have that I don’t have?’ and when I asked who she was, she said, ‘nobody.’ ”
Christian closes his eyes as if in pain. Oh no. What’s happened? What does she mean to him?
My scalp prickles as adrenaline spikes through my body. What if she means a lot to him? Perhaps he misses her? I know so little about his past . . . um, relationships. She must have had a contract, and she would have done what he wanted, given him what he needed gladly.

Jesus fucking Christ Ana he has said he would buy entire organizations to keep you safe and would move the stars and moon to keep you two together. I'm not saying these are good things, but can you stop being so uncertain? If a friend said these sorts of things to me, assuming they're sprinkled with stories of how way too into her he is, I would be grabbing her by the shoulders and shaking while letting out a wordless scream. If that didn't work I would bounce because fuck. That. Noise.

Grey's response is to ask about the girl, and for the new readers, at the end of the last book there was some crisis where someone went missing. A she. We weren't told who or why or what or how or huh, but it was left hanging. After this he calls... someone, to tell them about this sighting.

“Find out how . . . Yes . . . I wouldn’t have said so, but then I wouldn’t have thought she could do this.” He closes his eyes as if he’s in pain. “I don’t know how that will go down . . . Yes, I’ll talk to her . . . Yes . . . I know . . . Follow it up and let me know. Just find her, Welch—she’s in trouble. Find her.” He hangs up.

He then once again tries to drag Ana back to bed for even more sex. Jesus Christ, how are they not chafed?

“Well, I need some tea. Would you like to join me for a cup?” I want to know what’s going on. I will not be sidetracked by sex.

Oh hai there Ana's back bone! Nice of you to drop in! Ana asks and he refuses to talk, on account of it has nothing to do with her and he doesn't want her tangled up in this! Ana points out that she showed up at her place of work and knew her name and what she looked like and spoke to her.

“Okay,” he says, resigned. “I have no idea how she found you. Maybe the photograph of us in Portland, I don’t know.” He sighs again, and I sense his frustration is directed at himself.

So he makes this huge deal about protecting Ana but didn't think of the potential consequences of dragging her in front of a camera with him for random media shots?

I distract myself with pouring tea into teacups. So Leila wants back into Christian’s life and chooses a suicide attempt to attract his attention? Whoa . . . scary. But effective. Christian left Georgia to be at her side, but she disappears before he gets there? How odd.

Grey is handling this wrong. I mean, his ex clearly is in trouble and needs help and I am pleasantly surprised to see a character view it as such and want to do just that, but when someone is engaged in this sort of behavior the right answer isn't try and rush to their side and give them exactly what they want. That's rewarding and reinforcing this sort of thing. If Grey wants to pay to buy her the best shrink money can buy, and hire people to find her and help get her to said shrink since she's vanished, that is an awesome thing for him to do, but engaging with her directly is dangerous to him, to her, and to Ana. Otherwise this is going to turn into the anime trope of "Guy leaves the woman he loves to be with the one who needs him. Even thought she is evil and selfish and awful and abusive". Oh, I just summed up the rest of this book, didn't I? Damn it.

“Let me get this straight. She hasn’t been your submissive for three years?”
“About two and a half years.”
“And she wanted more.”
“But you didn’t?”
“You know this.”
“So she left you.”
“So why is she coming to you now?”

So this woman left Grey because she wanted a real relationship, got married within 6 months, carried a torch but tried to live a normal life, ran out on her husband about 4 months ago (I think about the time the first picture with he and Ana surfaced) she took that to mean ZOMG HE HAS A REAL GIRLFRIEND AND THAT BITCH HAS WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED! Turned up on his doorstep, when he wasn't there threw a shit fit, opened a vein causing his poor housekeeper who was just scrubbing out the toilet in her pencil skirt to have to rush her to a hospital, and realizing she had just done something really... dramatic, I will guess out of embarrassment, ran away before Grey got there. She has been MIA since then, and somehow tracked down Ana and harassed her/was creepy as hell at her when she found her. I think that brings us up to speed.

Grey decides he doesn't want to talk about it and drags Ana back to bed, claiming his reward for talking (access to her cooter) and we then get to wake up with them the next morning.

Hmm . . . Reaching up, I tentatively stroke his chest, running my fingertips through the smattering of hair, and he doesn’t stir. Holy cow. I can’t quite believe it. He’s really mine—for a few more precious moments. I lean over and tenderly kiss one of his scars. He moans softly but doesn’t wake, and I smile. I kiss another and his eyes open.
“Hi.” I grin at him, guiltily.
“Hi,” he answers warily. “What are you doing?”
“Looking at you.” I run my fingers down his happy trail. He captures my hand, narrows his eyes, then smiles a brilliant Christian-at-ease smile, and I relax. My secret touching stays secret.
Oh . . . why won’t you let me touch you?

 ANA WE HAVE GONE OVER THIS! This is supposed to be cute, but all I see is her ignoring his direct wishes because his discomfort with being touched isn't as important as her wanting to tweak his nipples.

“I think you’re up to no good, Miss Steele,” he accuses but his smile remains.
“I like being up to no good near you.”
“You do?” he asks and kisses me lightly on the lips. “Sex or breakfast?” he asks, his eyes dark but full of humor. His erection is digging into me, and I tilt my pelvis up to meet him.
“Good choice,”

We shockingly don't see the sex scene, although that's what, the fourth time this chapter? Ow. Instead they cut to her getting dressed and mentioning she needs a haircut, to cash a cheque, and buy a car. Because buying a car is something you just go out and do that day with no previous research.

“Ah,” he says knowingly and bites his lip. Taking one hand off me, he reaches into his jeans pocket and holds up the key to my little Audi.
“It’s here,” he says quietly, his expression uncertain.
“What do you mean, it’s here?” Boy. I sound angry. Crap. I am angry. My subconscious glares at him. How dare he!

Yes, how dare he give you back the car that he forced upon you before. This is totally unexpected and unprecedented. Ana hasn't cashed the cheque that she was given for him selling her old car, and when she tries to give it to him in exchange for the car he's trying to force on her again, he gets pissed.

“Do you really want to argue about this?”
“Good—here are the keys.” He puts them on the chest of drawers.
“That’s not what I meant!”
“End of discussion, Anastasia. Don’t push me.”
I scowl at him, then inspiration hits me. Taking the envelope, I rip it in two, then two again and drop the contents into my waste bin. Oh, that feels good.

Grey's response is to have TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS put into Ana's bank account. Apparently her old car was an antique.

“Good . . . Monday? Excellent . . . No that’s all, Andrea.”
He snaps the phone shut.
“Deposited in your bank account, Monday. Don’t play games with me.” He’s boiling mad, but I don’t care.
“Twenty-four thousand dollars!” I’m almost screaming. “And how do you know my account number?”
My ire takes Christian by surprise.
“I know everything about you, Anastasia,” he says quietly.

AHHHHHHHHHH! And then they start fucking. Again. No, really.

I glower at him and he glowers back, two angry stubborn fools glaring at each other.
And I feel it, the pull—the electricity between us—tangible, drawing us together. Suddenly he grabs me and pushes me up against the door

I keep having to cut sentences off halfway through because EL James hates periods, if you were wondering.

“Lord, I want to take you now, but I’m out of condoms. I can never get enough of you. You’re a maddening, maddening woman.”
“And you make me mad,” I whisper. “In every way.”
He shakes his head. “Come. Let’s go out for breakfast. And I know a place you can get your hair cut.”
“Okay,” I acquiesce and just like that, our fight is over.

Yup, just like that I dropped the topic and he was pacified!

So they go out for breakfast and Grey then takes Ana to the beauty salon he owns for her hair cut.

Yes, that's right, Grey owns a few high ends beauty salons. WHAT THE FUCK DOES HE EVEN DO FOR A LIVING?!
 Holy fuck! It’s Rule no 6, the damned beauty salon. All the waxing nonsense . . . shit!
This is where he brought all his subs? Maybe Leila, too? What the hell am I supposed to make of this?
“Miss Steele will tell you what she wants.”
I glare at him. He’s introducing the Rules by stealth. I’ve agreed to the personal trainer—and now this?

You give an inch, they take a mile.

“Yes. It’s a sideline. Anyway—whatever you want, you can have it here, on the house. All sorts of massage; Swedish, shiatsu, hot stones, reflexology, seaweed baths, facials, all that stuff that women like—everything. It’s done here.” He waves his long-fingered hand dismissively.

 Oh hey, something new to talk about besides what a creepy cockhole Grey is and what an awful harpy Ana is! I've talked about gender norms a little bit on this blog before, but this just leaped off the page at me. Grey has casually assumed half of the world's population likes massages and things of that ilk, simply because of their gender, and that the other half does not, because they have danglers. In Grey's list of "SHIT I EXPECT YOU TO DO" back in chapter 11 we saw this:

The Submissive shall not look directly into the eyes of the Dominant except when specifically instructed to do so. The Submissive shall keep her eyes cast down and maintain a quiet and respectful bearing in the presence of the Dominant.
The Submissive shall always conduct herself in a respectful manner to the Dom­inant and shall address him only as Sir, Mr. Grey, or such other title as the Dominant may direct.

and I accused Grey of being a fundie. I found then, as I do now, this to be very restrictive and... old school, shall we say. He wanted her to be a good little woman, quiet and meek and not someone who would make him think or pay too much attention. He thinks that's how women should be. I didn't give it much thought beyond that, but we see him painting women with a broad brush again. I've jokes that EL James hates women before, but I'm starting to wonder how much I'm kidding.

I peek up at him, and suddenly he blanches—something, or someone, has caught his eye. I turn to see where he’s looking, and right at the back of the salon a sleek platinum blonde has appeared, closing a door behind her and speaking to one of the hair stylists.
Platinum Blonde is tall, tanned, lovely, and in her late thirties or forties—it’s difficult to tell.


“Excuse me,” Christian mumbles hurriedly.
He strides quickly through the salon, past the hair stylists all in white, past the apprentices at the sinks, and over to her, too far away for me to hear their conversation. Platinum Blonde greets him with obvious affection, kissing both his cheeks, her hands resting on his upper arms, and they talk animatedly together.

I'm torn on this. Given how Ana has spoken of Elena before, I'm not surprised that Grey wants to talk to her not-near Ana. I however still think this is probably kind of shitty. Unless he's about to talk her out of coming over to say hello so Ana doesn't try to claw her eyes out?

Platinum Blonde turns and looks at me, and gives me the same dazzling smile, as if she knows me. I smile politely back.

Also we're up to four brunettes that have been mentioned in the book. Ana, Grey's sister Mia, Grey's ex Leila, and the receptionist at Ana's work. This is counting every service person they've ever met, most of which were women. Just throwing this out there.

Christian looks upset about something. He’s reasoning with her, and she’s acquiescing, holding her hands up and smiling at him. He’s smiling at her—clearly they know each other well.

How the hell can Ana tell from across the room that he's reasoning with her as opposed to just talking animatedly about something? Maybe they're having a passionate discussion about which is better, raspberries or cherries? Raspberries, for anyone wondering. It's science. You can shove a chocolate chip inside of them. Can't do that with a cherry. And those pits? Raspberries are simply superior.

It is after this that Ana realizes it's Mrs. Robinson, because it wasn't dramatically appropriate for her to do so until EL James could end the chapter with her realizing it.

I'd rant about "WHY THE FUCK DID GREY BRING ANA TO THE SALON ELENA WORKS AT?" but I suspect, since he owns several, that means she owns several, and the odds of her being there were low.

Alright my dears, that is it from me this week. As always, comments make me want to continue with this project, so you should leave lots of them to assure my liver that it's worth it. VALIDATE ME DAMN IT! *Ahem* Until Tuesday!

PS: This chapter basically caused my proof reader to repeatedly curl up in a little ball screaming "WHHHYYYY"  He looked like this: