I know, my dears, I know. I’m late, and this book is forever and a day long of nothingness. My excuse for being late? I’ve just plain been too achy.
In Fifty Shades news, the next movie might be delayed. Reportedly, Dornan’s wife isn’t happy he’s in these movies. Can’t say I blame her. Despite the money, I might divorce my own husband if he said he was going to promote rape and abuse. I’ve read comments where people have said he’s got a child now, and needs to be able to support her. Well, my husband and I manage to support out daughter on a middle-class income. Dornan doesn’t need half a mil off a rape film to raise his.
However, that’s not the rumored problem Amelia Warner has. Oh, no. Her problem may be that her husband’s gotten too close to Dakota Johnson, and not just physically while on camera. I can’t help but suspect this could be true.
This is on top of the delays announced a few months ago. That delay is because EL James wants to pull a Stephenie Meyer and get her grubby hands all over every aspect of the movie. The Twilight movies were actually very funny, at least until Meyer got involved. Then then were boring. Sam Taylor Wood altered some of the rapier scenes, and nixed others, against the protestations of James. James being in control will probably make worse movies.
James needs to study up on recent history and stop trying to emulate everything Meyer does.
And Dornan needs to wear a badge of shame for making the world crappier for his daughter.
The last recap ended with Grey grabbing condoms since he says he might get lucky. Yeah, lucky that Ana doesn’t call the cops.
Grey stops at a liquor store outside Portland. Uh, tip from someone who lives here: Liquor stores in Oregon are tightly regulated by the infamously strict OLCC. Most are closed by 7pm on Thursday, a few are open until 8, and I think two are open until 10.
Anyway he says the alcohol is to celebrate. Celebrate what, breaking a woman enough that she will be compliant and do something she really doesn’t want to do? When he gets to her place, she notes that she’s pale. Y’know, scared. He says she’s “skittish.” So she’s like a puppy that’s learned to be on edge and ready to perform to avoid being beaten. When she speaks, he calls her voice “small and strained.”
This is a romance?
She gives him the books back, with a quote asking him to go easy on her and not to hurt her too much. It’s her way of pleading with him.
“A plea? For me to go easy on you?”
To me these books were an investment, but for her I thought they’d mean something.
“I bought these for you.” It’s a small white lie—as I’ve replaced them. “I’ll go easier on you if you accept them.” I keep my voice calm and quiet, masking my disappointment.
“Christian, I can’t accept them, they’re just too much.”
Here we go, another battle of wills.”
This is awful. He bought them as an “investment” where the return if her feeling obligated to let him take what he wants from her body. And he’s disappointed. He wants to go as rough on her as he wants.
He lectures her on how she’s being a bad submissive and tries shaming her, until she agrees to give them back. She tells him she’s donating them to charity, and he response, at least to us, is to get pissy and to say she can burn them, for all he cares. Then he internally begs her to keep them sine they’re a gift.
In such a short space, he lies twice. He DOES care what she does with the books, and they’re not a gift. They’re an “investment” to make her feel obligated to him.
“It makes me feel cheap,” she says.
“It shouldn’t. You’re overthinking it. Don’t place some vague moral judgment on yourself based on what others might think. Don’t waste your energy. It’s only because you have reservations about our arrangement; that’s perfectly natural. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.”
Anxiety is etched all over her lovely face.
“Hey, stop this. There is nothing about you that is cheap, Anastasia. I won’t have you thinking that. I just sent you some old books that I thought might mean something to you, that’s all.”
She blinks a couple of times and stares at the package, obviously conflicted.
Keep them, Ana—they’re for you.
“Have some champagne,” I whisper, and she rewards me with a small smile.
She doesn’t feel cheap because of what others might thing, but because she’s selling herself out. She’s doing what she doesn’t want to do, and will accept what is essentially payment for sexual services.
Grey admits she doesn’t know what she’s getting into. This is part of why this whole thing is incredibly wrong, and why consent is invalid. Consent requires knowing and understanding. She doesn’t know. Also he’s trying to ease her further along by trying to get alcohol into her. Drunk consent also isn’t legal consent.
I fetch the champagne and refill her cup. She regards me suspiciously. She knows I’m plying her with alcohol.
THIS IS WHY THIS IS ALL ILLEGAL!! Any why he’s a filthy rapist who should be in jail! He admits it right there. He’s trying to get her drunk to have his way.
“I’d help you move, but I promised to meet my sister at the airport.”
Daryl has more redeeming qualities to him, and he’s so bad he, a black man, managed to be racist to another black man for being from Africa. Daryl also tries forcing Lisa into marriage. Yet he’s better than Christian Grey. And he’s still played as a villain.
Grey’s brother is helping though, and Grey snarks about being surprised Elliot is still interested in Kate. Kate’s more interesting than Ana, and she and Elliot have a healthier relationship that includes doing stuff that isn’t sex.
He starts chastising her for not telling him she’s applying for internships in Seattle.
Oh! Just to let you know, I’m not jumping from topic to topic just because. This is how it is in the books. It’s disjointed and dull.
So shame on his fire hydrant…
…for not telling him everything. Then he gets back to his favorite topic: Abusive sex with himself!
Her eyelashes flutter and she takes a shaky breath, then drains her cup. She’s really nervous about this. I offer her more liquid courage.
How can anyone at all call this book a romance full of consensual sex when it’s clearly not, and that even he knows what he’s doing? This is canon. He knows he’s getting her drunk to have his way with her.
“She swallows. “Anal intercourse doesn’t exactly float my boat.”
“I’ll agree to the fisting, but I’d really like to claim your ass, Anastasia.”
She inhales sharply, gazing at me.
“But we’ll wait for that. Besides, it’s not something we can dive into.” I can’t help my smirk. “Your ass will need training.”
She says no, he says yes, so it’s going to happen in just a couple weeks book-time.
His deliberate choice to openly ignore her NOT consenting invalidates the rest of this conversation they have. Even though it’s supposed to be about her limits, he’s shown us, and her, that it’s just going through the motions and doesn’t care about what she’s not freely willing to do.
He keeps laughing in her face about how inexperienced she is. She doesn’t know what things like butt plugs are, or spreader bars, and she asks him not to laugh at her anymore. He apologizes, but snaps his apology at her, and is mad at her for “making” him apologize, and snaps some more about how she’s not to do that again.
He’s mentally beating her down. This is open abuse. She’s not having fun.
My voice is sharper than I intended, and she leans away from me.
Ignore her reaction, Grey. Get on with it.
That’s right. He knows she isn’t comfortable, and even in canon, he’s ignoring how she feels.
“And how will I use safe words if I’m gagged?” she inquires.
“First of all, I hope you never have to use them. But if you’re gagged, we’ll use hand signals.”
“I’m nervous about the gagging.”|
“Okay. I’ll take note.”
Take note. He’ll take note. Her not being okay with gagging means DON’T DO IT. She’s not freely consenting. That means it’s OFF THE TABLE. Actually, everything with her should be off the table when he knows she’s scared and has to give her alcohol to get her to talk about this stuff. Worse, he openly tells us it’s why he’s giving her alcohol.
“Would you like another drink?” I ask. “It’s making you brave, and I need to know how you feel about pain.” I refill her cup and she takes a sip, wide-eyed and anxious. “So, what’s your general attitude to receiving pain?”
She remains mute.
Bravery is a result of being drunk (and on her fourth glass of wine, which is almost an entire bottle!) isn’t bravery. Bravery means weighing a risk against a potential benefit, understanding that there is an elevated chance of some harm, but choosing to take the risk in the face of inherent danger. Grey is making her too drunk to understand. He’s calling her brave to butter her up and make her think this is all her choice. It’s not.
“It’s not as bad as you think. Your imagination is your worst enemy in this.” Trust me on this, Ana. Please.
“Do you have to do it?”
You really don’t want to know.
I swear part of their communication issues is that they don’t actually talk to each other. All these thoughts he has are things he should say to her so that she can respond to them.
Also that reason she really doesn’t want to know?
As he will later tell her, he likes to “fuck little brown-haired girls, like [his] mother.” What it breaks down to is how dare his evil bitch of a mother, that woman who has only shown him love, literally whose every action we are shown is of her doing what she has to to try providing for him, go off and be a bad mother by… I don’t know. She wasn’t rich and her situation wasn’t ideal, but damn if she didn’t try her best, and she succeeded enough that he loved her and knew she loved him. He didn’t dislike her until she died, after which point she became “the crack whore.” And then he decided to punish her by having sex with women who look like her.
So his reason that hitting is something he says he has to do, and that she doesn’t want to know, is that he is using her, and other women he has sex with, as stand-ins for his mother, so he can beat and get revenge on her.
Raise your hand if you think this sounds remotely healthy.
The list of punishment methods unsettles Ana.
“Well, you said no to genital clamps. That’s fine. It’s caning that hurts the most.”
“We can work up to that,” I state quickly.
“Or not do it at all,” she counters.
“This is part of the deal, baby, but we’ll work up to all of this. Anastasia, I won’t push you too far.”
He’s okay with no genital clamping since something else will hurt her more. She doesn’t want to do it. Again, her “no” is “yes” to him. This isn’t a negotiation. It’s a meeting to intimidate her and let her know her place in this world is one where her will is going to be taken without her consent.
They get to the car she doesn’t know about. He’s willing to “try” to give her what she wants–a real relationship–one night a week, IF she’ll “graciously” accept surprise. Not only can a real relationship not only not exist when it’s one night a week, but there’s no way for her to graciously keep the car when she doesn’t want him buying her expensive things.
“She gapes at the car, speechless.
“I mentioned it to your stepfather. He was all for it.”
Perhaps I’m overstating this.
Her mouth is still open in dismay when she turns to glare at me.
“You mentioned this to Ray? How could you?” She’s annoyed, really annoyed.
“It’s a gift, Anastasia. Can’t you just say thank you?”
“But you know it’s too much.”
“Not to me it isn’t, not for my peace of mind.”
Come on, Ana. You want more. This is the price.
Her shoulders sag, and she turns to me, resigned, I think.
Manipulation. Lying about her father (and admitting it to us). Disrespect. More manipulation.
Ana tries to call it a loan, like the laptop that also isn’t a loan. He grits his teeth, angrily, and agrees to it being an “indefinite” loan. Heh. It’s not even a loan, or a gift. He’s not exactly going to allow her to drive it often. When he sells her car, without her willingness, she’s going to be dependent on him to get around.
“Please don’t be angry with me,” she whispers.
That saddens me. She shouldn’t have to ask that.
“I’m sorry about the car and the books—” She halts and licks her lips. “You scare me when you’re angry.”
And he won’t change. Nothing will change, at all. In fact, in Fifty Shades Freed, Ana’s scared he’ll kill her.
Another sex scene. When the most notable things are that Ana’s white cotton granny-panties have a seam in the back (typical cotton undies in the US have seams on the side), and that she doesn’t know how to put on a condom. After they both orgasm (takes Ana a few minutes only), he tells her he’s “fifty shades of fucked up,” and that he had “a rough introduction to life.”
Seriously, I can think of thousands of worse starts to life than being poor and having a mother who loves you and doesn’t hurt you.
I sit up and remove the condom and drop it by the bed.
Gross. Seriously gross, and disrespectful.
He tries making her think she was the one in control, even though his internal narration showed us he manipulated everything to what he wanted.
For a moment she seems distracted, then she tilts her head to one side and smiles. “If you imagine for one minute that I think you ceded control to me, well, you haven’t taken into account my GPA. But thank you for the illusion.”
HAHAHA! Her GPA. She was supposed to have gotten through university with a 4.0, yet she never used a computer and had no idea what a butt plug is, and doesn’t understand literature. I’m convinced her degree is honorary.
He railroads her all of a sudden, and makes a birth control decision for her. He’s going to have his own doctor, Dr. Baxter (I don’t know yet if this is a typo or if Baxter shouldn’t show up and that’s why Dr. Greene does instead…and I just realized that the girl who played Alice Cullen is Ashley Greene, which, knowing James, is another Twilight reference, just like the name James), meet at her at his apartment. Her only say in this is his place of hers.
She’s accepted the car as she should, but after all that champagne she shouldn’t be driving. “I think you’ve had too much to drink.”
“Did you get me tipsy on purpose?”
“Because you overthink everything”
And there we go again. He’s admitting he’s trying to impair her thinking.
“You’d kidnap me?”
“Hold me against my will?”
“Oh yes.” Now, that’s an interesting idea. “And then we’re talking TPE twenty-four-seven.”
“You’ve lost me,” she says, perplexed and a little breathless.
“Total Power Exchange—around the clock.” My mind whirls as I think of the possibilities. She’s curious. “So you have no choice,” I add, with a playful tone.
That’s not playful. That’s making sure she knows attempts to exert control over her own life are futile since he’ll just kidnap her and hold her against his will and rape her. May as well go along to make it less painful.
THAT IS NOT CONSENT.
“Anastasia Steele, did you just roll your eyes at me?”
“I think you did. What did I say I’d do to you if you rolled your eyes at me again?” My words hang between us and I sit down again on the bed. “Come here.”
For a moment she stares at me, blanching. “I haven’t signed,” she whispers.
“I told you what I’d do. I’m a man of my word. I’m going to spank you, and then I’m going to fuck you very quick and very hard. Looks like we’ll need that condom after all.”
Will she? Won’t she? This is it. Proof of whether she can do this or not. I watch her, impassive, waiting for her to decide. If she says no, it means she’s paying lip service to the idea of being my submissive.
And that will be it.
Make the right choice, Ana.
Her expression is grave, her eyes wide, and I think she’s weighing up her decision.
“I’m waiting,” I murmur. “I’m not a patient man.”
Right after he tells her he’d have no problem kidnapping and imprisoning her, he’s still trying to make it out like she has a choice. When the choices are to do as ordered or face abduction, there is nothing legal. What Grey is doing would get him tossed in jail.
Ana is trying to get away by saying she hasn’t signed. Grey thinks if she says no (she won’t, she’s too scared to), that she’s paying lip-service because…hell if I know. He knows she’s scared.
The right choice for her is the one that is freely right to her, not the one manipulated out of her. He’s furthering that manipulation by telling a scared woman that he’s not patient, which is forcing a quick decision. Again, she gets to decide between being hit when she doesn’t want to be, or to risk abduction, imprisonment, and rape.
After he has sex with her, he gets annoyed that she’s wearing cotton. He says she “should be in silks and satins.”
Dressmaker complaint: Silk is a fiber. Satin is a particular way a fiber is woven. Silk satin is lovely. Poly satin makes me cringe. Think of silk like whole wheat flour. You can make a lot of things using it. Let’s say satin is bread. Bread can be made out of whole wheat flour, or rye flour, white flour, almond, you name it. “Silks and satins” is like saying “whole wheat flour and bread.” Silk is basically an ingredient, and satin is the finished product made from the ingredients.
I make high-end couture for my day job. So this stuff irks me.
Anyway he disregards her saying she likes cotton. Of course he does. He doesn’t respect her enough to accept her having her own likes and dislikes.
Taylor picks Grey up, and this part is worth noting:
“Good. That reminds me. Can you collect her old Beetle tomorrow and dispose of it? I don’t want her driving it.”
“Of course. I have a friend who restores vintage cars. He might be interested. I’ll deal with it.”
Two reasons, one for each paragraph. Grey didn’t ask Ana if her Beetle could be taken away. This is theft. And Taylor’s going to see if his friend is interested, which will be important in a few chapters form now.
He goes to his computer and sends her an email where he tells her not to drive her Beetle again, and orders her to take Advil. He doesn’t need to tell her not to drive her car when he’s ordered it to be stolen, and if she doesn’t need any pain medication, it’s stupid to order her to take it. Also, as someone allergic to ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Advil), I personally cringe at being ordered to take it.
Ana replies that caning is a hard limit. Surprisingly, Grey says he “accepts” it as a hard limit. But we all know Grey will do what he wants anyway.
He replies (good lord, these two can’t just TALK to each other, can they?) that he’s going to have Taylor get rid of her car. Nope, not asking her. Telling her. Ana isn’t happy.
I am intrigued that you are happy to risk letting your right-hand man drive my car but not some woman you fuck occasionally. How can I be sure that Taylor is the man to get me the best deal for said car? I have, in the past, probably before I met you, been known to drive a hard bargain.
Even though they’re rare, I love when she calls him out on his crap, like how he’ll let Taylor drive her car, but not her, and she even refers to herself as a casual fuck-buddy.
I have to take a deep breath. Her response irks me…no, infuriates me. How dare she talk about herself like that? As my submissive she’ll be so much more than that. I’ll be devoted to her. Does she not realize this?
Um…because that’s all she is to you? Also HAHAHA to the lie about being devoted to her. He NEVER stops going to Elena on the side. He’s NEVER faithful to her, even when she gets pregnant not two months from now.
And she has driven a hard bargain with me. Good God! Look at all the concessions I’ve made with regard to the contract.
What concessions? No fisting, no suspension, that’s it. He ignored the rest of her no’s. Yes, he did. He’ll do everything else later.
In his reply, he says that Taylor is ex-Army and capable of driving everything from a motorcycle to a tank. Okay. So. That does no good if a vehicle is inherently unsafe. If brakes fail or a tire blows, there’s not a hell of a lot you can do, especially when you’re going 65MPH feet feet from cars on either side of you. Being ex-Army doesn’t give you the superpower to overcome high-speed vehicle failures just because.
Now please do not refer to yourself as “some woman I fuck occasionally” because, quite frankly, it makes me MAD, and you really wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t like him even when he’s not mad. And apparently, neither does Ana.
Dear Mr. Grey,
I’m not sure I like you anyway, especially at the moment.
As to be expected, Grey’s sudden concern is no more sex.
Is she saying that’s it?
It doesn’t matter. He’ll just break into her apartment again and rape her, or kidnap her and lock her up. He’s got no reason to worry. He’ll get his way, and never have consequences for it.