[disclaimer: I don’t own any of the gifs used in this post. If you see a gif that you created and would either like credit for it or would like it taken down, please let me know.]
This whole series is literally exhausting. I also just heard that E.L. James wants to publish a how-to guide for writing. Is this how the world ends? Because that’s sure what it feels like this all is leading to.
ANYWAY. Let’s do a recap, because I seem to have willfully forgotten everything that happened in the last chapter.
RECAP: So Ana and Christian are still in Aspen with their friends. The last chapter opened with them discussing the whole “some guy danced with/was very creepy towards Ana and she slapped him and then Christian punched him” thing. And then they discuss the spanking and rough sex stuff they like. And then Christian says that he’d like to “subdue” Ana in bed while she “resists” him. So they have gross rape-play sex and it made me really uncomfortable. They go back home, and Ana goes back to work. But she doesn’t REALLY go back to work because she spends all her time emailing Christian. E.L. James uses these emails as a really stupid, boring way to show that time is passing. Cut to a few days in the future, when suddenly Leila (the crazy girl with a gun who showed up in Ana’s apartment and was really weird but at no point actually posed an actual threat) shows up at Ana’s office. THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME.
(No it isn’t)
So apparently Leila brought a friend with her. But we don’t get to find out who it is or why they’re here yet, because first Ana’s bodyguard, a woman named Prescott, needs to talk to Ana. We find out that Ana has a “proscribed list of visitors,” basically a watch-list of people who shouldn’t be allowed to “come into contact with” Ana. Even though Leila is just mentally ill and doesn’t actually pose a threat to Ana and has been receiving treatment for her mental breakdown. The girl is literally like 100lbs when soaking wet, I doubt she’s a threat to much of anyone, especially when she doesn’t have a gun.
Prescott didn’t even want to let Leila in the building, but she was in the bathroom at the time, and Leila got past her and to the reception. This is all very riveting and I’m so thrilled to be reading this right now. Much excitement. Very wow.
Prescott advises Ana against seeing Leila, but Ana says she wants to know why they came to see her, so finally they agree that Ana will see them, but first Prescott will search them.
My brain is literally liquefying, this is the most boring thing I’ve ever read in my whole life.
Of course Ana emails Christian to tell him about all this, and says not to worry and that she’ll call when the meeting is over. Lol. Christian is going to show up and fucking murder Leila. He is the literal king of overreaction. I have no idea why Ana thinks this email will appease him, but okay.
I stand, smoothing my gray pencil skirt over my hips, pinch my cheeks to give them some color, and undo the next button on my gray silk blouse. Okay, I’m ready.
Uh…are you going to…seduce them? “My husband’s ex-submissive who once pointed a gun at me is here to see me. Better look as sexy as possible to protect myself!” What the fuck.
I know, I know, she’s trying to intimidate Leila by showing her how sexy and cool Ana is, but like…come on, man. It’s not a contest. It couldn’t be LESS of a contest. You married the guy. I do not understand anything about this.
Leila looks much better. More than better–she’s very attractive. There’s a rosy bloom to her cheeks, and her brown eyes are bright, her hair clean and shiny.
LITERALLY ANA COULD NOT BE MORE OF A LESBIAN. She’s VIOLENTLY IN LOVE with Kate, and now she appears to have fallen head-over-heels for Leila. No wonder Ana wanted to flash a little cleavage. Someone write some Ana/Leila fics ASAP.
So apparently the other girl (who also has dark hair) is named Susi, and she was also a former submissive of Christian’s. While Ana invites them to sit, her secretary says that Christian is on the phone and was “very insistent.” Cool, Christian. Let your wife handle something on her own for once in her life. Although idk why Ana even told him anything, she had to know that he’d freak out.
So Susi says that she wanted to meet “the woman who captured Christian.” Because apparently he’s a mythical creature that requires capturing. We also learn that they call themselves the “sub club.” Which is…a weird phrase. Subway needs to copyright that phrase as soon as possible.
But then Susi leaves? Because this whole meeting is Leila’s show? But before Leila can say anything…Christian calls Prescott. Who gives the phone to Ana.
“What the fuck are you playing at?” he shouts. He’s seething.
Oh yes, good, scream at your wife for meeting with someone before getting your permission. It must be really hard for her to get through her work day, since she’s not allowed to talk to anyone without you giving the OK first.
Seriously, this controlling, manipulative bullshit is so out of control. How do people read this and go “ah, yes, perfect, this is the man for me!”
“I gave specific instructions which you have completely disregarded–again. Hell, Ana, I am fucking furious.”
YOU DIDN’T EVEN GIVE ANA THOSE INSTRUCTIONS. YOU GAVE THOSE INSTRUCTIONS TO HER BODY GUARD, AND ONCE AGAIN KEPT ANA OUT OF THE LOOP, BECAUSE YOU EXPECT HER TO JUST FOLLOW YOUR ORDERS. WHY DON’T YOU TRY GIVING ANA ALL THE INFORMATION YOU HAVE AND THEN ALLOWING HER TO MAKE HER OWN GODDAMNED DECISIONS BASED ON THAT INFORMATION?? SHE IS A GROWN-ASS ADULT WHO CAN MAKE HER OWN GODDAMNED DECISIONS.
“When you’re calmer, we will talk about this.”
“Don’t you hang up on me,” he hisses.
“Goodbye, Christian.” I hang up and switch off Prescott’s phone.
I…I can’t believe it! Ana was being reasonable and openly defied Christian’s wishes! THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE.
Holy Shit. I don’t have long with Leila.
Like she LITERALLY KNOWS THIS. She knows Christian is going to come to her office and flip the fuck out all because she’s talking to someone he decided she shouldn’t be allowed to talk to. What is Christian afraid of? That Ana will get hurt? Ana took down Jack Hyde, a guy who was bigger and (probably) stronger than her. I think she can handle little waif-like Leila. But it won’t even come to that, because Christian’s already given Ana a body guard. Who’s already made sure Leila has no weapons. So…calm the fuck down, Christian.
So Leila says she wants to apologize and to thank Ana for not pressing charges for the whole breaking-into-Ana’s-apartment thing. She’s not supposed to be here, but she had to get some things, and she wanted to see Susi, and she also wanted to see Ana and Mr. Grey. She wants to ask Ana if that’s okay.
I gape at her, and I want to tell her that it’s not okay. I don’t want her anywhere near my husband. Why is she here? To assess the opposition? To unsettle me? Or perhaps she needs this as some sort of closure?
“A girl is here to see my husband! SHE’S TRYING TO STEAL HIM AWAY!!! Or maybe she’s just being very reasonable and wants to see him to get some closure and move on…BUT SHE’S PROBABLY TRYING TO STEAL HIM AWAY!”
Come on, Ana.
“Leila.” I flounder, exasperated. “It’s not up to me, it’s up to Christian. You’ll need to ask him. He doesn’t need my permission. He’s a grown man…most of the time.”
If only Christian could give Ana this kind of respect. Also Christian is FOR SURE not a grown man. He is a giant baby.
Apparently Christian has refused all of Leila’s attempts to see him, and all Leila wants is to thank Christian for getting her the proper treatment after her “psychotic episode.”
To my surprise, I feel no ill will toward her. It’s a revelation, and I’m glad she’s better.
“Society has told me I should hate all other women, especially my husband’s exes, but weirdly I don’t! THAT’S SO STRANGE, IT’S ALMOST LIKE HATING OTHER WOMEN JUST BECAUSE THEY’VE TOUCHED YOUR HUSBAND’S PENIS IS A RIDICULOUS WAY TO LIVE YOUR LIFE.”
Seriously. Stop the girl hate. It’s very silly and not worth it.
Ana finds out that Leila was just in town to pick up her belongings that Susi had, and then she plans to return to the East coast and continue painting. Apparently Christian already owns several of Leila’s paintings, and just never told Ana about it, because keeping secrets from his wife is literally his favorite thing to do.
Leila then starts talking about how she loved her boyfriend, the one who died earlier this year, which was the event that caused her breakdown. She also had a husband, who she loved…but I thought she left her husband for her boyfriend? I have no idea what the fuck is happening.
“I loved my husband…and one other,” she murmurs.
“MY DOG. I LOVED MY DOG SO MUCH. CAN YOU GET ME A NEW DOG, PLEASE? GOD, WHY EVEN HAVE HUSBANDS WHEN YOU CAN HAVE DOGS. LIKE SERIOUSLY.”
^The dialogue that should have happened.
“My husband.” The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them.
How the fuck does Christian con so many women into falling in love with them when he CLEARLY doesn’t care about any of them as actual people? He only sees women as property? And all of these women are like “OMG SO ROMANTIC I AM SO IN LOVE WOW”. I do not get it.
“I know. He’s very easy to love,” I whisper.
So Leila’s whole plan, it turns out, was to basically see Ana and thus lure Christian there to see her, because she knew he would freak out and rush over once he knew Ana was disobeying him. And this is the man they’re both violently in love with. Please, someone explain this to me.
WHOOOPS Christian just showed up.
Christian’s burning gray gaze pins first me then Leila to our chairs. His demeanor is quietly determined, but I know better, and I suspect Leila does, too. The menacing cool glint in his eyes reveals the truth–he’s emanating rage, though he hides it well. In his gray suit, with his dark tie loosened and the top button of his white shirt undone, he looks at once businesslike and casual…and hot.
…excuse me? The man who just DISRUPTED HIS ENTIRE WORK DAY, WITH THE SOLE PURPOSE OF DISCIPLINING YOU FOR BREAKING A RULE YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED, is…hot? His frothing rage is attractive?
Oh, and Christian immediately fires Prescott. What a nice guy. He then threatens to take away all of the things he’s given Leila (doctors, art school, medical insurance…) if she comes near Ana again. Such a generous guy! So nice!
“Christian–” I try again. But he silences me with a chilling look. Why is he being so unreasonable?
Because he IS unreasonable. He’s an asshole. I don’t know why it’s been 2.5 books and you still haven’t figured this out.
He then says he’ll have someone take Leila to the airport, and she’s not allowed to take one step “west of the Mississippi.” Lol okay, that’s reasonable. Leila, however, is loving this, because apparently when you’re a submissive you just love it when people are assholes to you and control every aspect of your life even when you’re no longer in a dom/sub relationship with them. Because that’s how BDSM works! You give someone total control over your entire life forever, and you can never take it back! FUN!
So then Leila leaves. And Christian turns on Ana, and is super pissed off, as always.
“You promised you wouldn’t do this.” Now his tone is accusatory.
“No I didn’t. I said I’d be more considerate. I told you she was here. I had Prescott search her, and your other little friend, too. Prescott was with me the entire time. Now you’ve fired the poor woman, when she was only doing what I asked. I told you not to worry, yet here you are. I don’t remember receiving your papal bull decreeing that I couldn’t see Leila. I didn’t know that my visitors were subject to a proscribed list.”
FUCK YEAH. GO OFF, ANA.
…Except Christian just hears that and suddenly is fine. Another of his scary, constant mood swings. Seriously, she never knows when he’s going to switch from mad to sad to happy, and that’s not good. He is an active nightmare.
Ana calls him out on being a jerk to Leila, and she asks him why he was so callous towards her.
“Anastasia,” he says, as if to a child. “You don’t understand. Leila, Susannah–all of them–they were a pleasant, diverting pastime. But that’s all. You are the center of my universe. And the last time you two were in a room together, she had you at gunpoint. I don’t want her anywhere near you.”
“Listen, little baby wifey poo, you just don’t understand! These women were basically objects to me, toys to play with and throw away, and therefore I can’t be callous towards them because they’re not people! Silly Ana, thinking that women are people again.”
Like, how the fuck does that even answer the question, Christian? And why are you being so fucking patronizing???
Ana brings up the fact that Leila was ill, and now she’s better, so it’s fine, but to Christian it still isn’t fine.
“I don’t want you tainted with my old life.”
Stop talking about your past BDSM relationships as if they were some dirty, terrible thing? I mean, the way YOU did them, they WERE terrible, but that’s because you’re a terrible person. Christian acts like his relationships with his subs were these sinful things, and then he meets Ana and it’s all pure and good, even though he still does all the BDSM stuff with Ana? I just don’t understand his character development (or lack thereof) at all.
“Christian…you are who you are because of your old life, your new life, whatever. What touches you, touches me. I accepted that when I agreed to marry you, because I love you.”
YOU SHOULD HAVE HAD THIS CONVERSATION BEFORE YOU GOT MARRIED BUT OKAY.
“She didn’t hurt me. She loves you, too.”
“I don’t give a fuck.”
What a nice guy!
“Look, Christian, I don’t think Leila and I will be swapping recipes and knitting patterns any time soon.”
The gender roles are strong with this one.
“But I didn’t think you’d be so heartless to her.”
His eyes frost. “I told you once, I don’t have a heart,” he mutters.
UUUUGGGHHH THIS IS GETTING SO OLD.
WE KNOW YOU HATE YOURSELF, CHRISTIAN. I HATE YOU TOO. CONGRATULATIONS. GET OVER IT.
Also you clearly do have a heart because you’re in love with Ana? None of what you’re saying makes any sense. I get it, you hate yourself, and your low self-esteem is very tragic and understandable, but that doesn’t excuse your fucking actions. You’re still a terrible person, regardless of what happened to you in the past.
uuuuuuggggggggghhhhhhhh and now Ana is trying to convince Christian that he does have a heart and is worth loving.
I could not give less fucks right now.
[also May the Fourth be with you.]
“This discussion is over. Let’s go home.”
I glance at my watch. It’s four twenty-three. I have work to do. “It’s too early,” I mutter.
“Home,” he insists.
CHRISTIAN YOU DON’T GET TO FUCKING DICTATE WHEN ANA LEAVES WORK. YOU’RE NOT HER FUCKING BOSS (technically…even though you own the company…) YOU’RE NOT FUCKING ALLOWED TO JUST ORDER HER TO GO HOME.
“I’m tired of having the same argument with you.”
He frowns, as if he doesn’t understand.
“You know,” I elucidate, “I do something you don’t like, and you think of some way to get back at me. Usually involving some of your kinky fuckery, which is either mind-blowing or cruel.” I shrug, resigned. This is exhausting and confusing.
THIS IS TEXTBOOK SIGNS OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP.
CHRISTIAN BLAMES ANA FOR HIS OWN ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR. HE ACTS LIKE HE HAS TO PUNISH HER FOR DISOBEYING HIM, EVEN THOUGH HE NEVER TOLD HER WHAT THE RULES WERE SO HOW CAN SHE KNOW WHEN SHE’S DISOBEYING HIM?
THIS BOOK ROMANTICIZES AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP.
I DON’T KNOW HOW MANY MORE TIMES I CAN SAY THIS.
“Mind-blowing?” he asks.
“What was mind-blowing?” he asks, his eyes now shimmering with amused sensual curiosity.
FUCK YOU CHRISTIAN. YOU ARE COMPLETELY DERAILING THIS ENTIRE CONVERSATION BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO OWN UP TO THE FACT THAT YOU’RE AN ABUSIVE PIECE OF SHIT.
AND THEN THEY JUST START TALKING ABOUT ALL THE “KINKY FUCKERY” THAT ANA LIKED. AND THEY COMPLETELY IGNORE THE VERY IMPORTANT DISCUSSION THEY WERE JUST HAVING.
Oh for the love of god, now Christian is suggesting that they have kinky sex IN ANA’S OFFICE. WHILE HER STAFF IS STILL VERY MUCH IN THE BUILDING, IN FACT THEY ARE RIGHT OUTSIDE HER OFFICE DOOR.
Then Ana has a weird daydream about Christian leaving her behind just the way he left Leila behind.
“No…” The words are out of my mouth in whispered horror before I can stop them.
“Yes,” he says, and grasping my chin, he leans down and plants a tender kiss on my lips.
HAS E.L. JAMES NEVER FUCKING HEARD OF CONSENT BEFORE IN HER ENTIRE LIFE? ANA CLEARLY SAID NO, AND THEN CHRISTIAN SAYS YES AND KISSES HER, AND THAT’S SO GROSS AND CREEPY AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY ANYMORE.
“Oh, Christian, you scare me sometimes.”
YEAH BECAUSE HE’S A SCARY PIECE OF SHIT WHO DOESN’T CARE ABOUT CONSENT OR ANY OF THE RULES OF BDSM RELATIONSHIPS.
OH, BUT SHE’S NOT SCARED BECAUSE OF HIS MOOD SWINGS, OR ANY OF HIS OTHER TERRIFYING PERSONALITY TRAITS.
“You could turn away from her so easily…”
He frowns. “And you think I might turn away from you, Ana? Why the hell would you think that?”
ANA HE IS A PSYCHOPATH WHO TREATS WOMEN LIKE OBJECTS AND WANTS TO CONTROL YOUR ENTIRE LIFE AND WANTS TO PUNISH YOU WHENEVER YOU DISOBEY ONE OF HIS ARBITRARY RULES. HE IS AN ABUSIVE FUCKHEAD AND YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID OF HIM HURTING YOU. YOU SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID OF HIM LEAVING YOU. THAT SHOULD BE THE LAST THING YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT. THAT WOULD ACTUALLY BE A BLESSING.
Oh, but now she wants him to kiss her and take her home. Because she can’t actually stand up to him for 2 fucking seconds without backing down. Fuck.
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuUUUGGGHHHH AND THEN IT CUTS RIGHT TO A SEX SCENE.
WHY AM I TORTURING MYSELF LIKE THIS.
Ugh he has her tied up and is teasing her and then eating her out. Cool. But she’s not allowed to orgasm? I literally don’t care. I think I’m one of the few people reading these books for the awful, awful plot, and all these sex scenes are just gross and boring, and they’re all basically the same.
The sex is mind-blowing, as per usual. Good for them.
But afterwards, Ana demands that Christian admit that he still cares about Leila’s well-being. Because apparently she needs to know this because if he DOESN’T care then he’s just a heartless bastard. I mean, even I know he’s not a heartless bastard, he’s just a regular bastard. He very much has a heart, he’s just a nightmare.
And now we get another set of flirty emails while they’re at work, talking about how great their sex is. Cool. I literally could not care less.
While at work, Ana gets a call from José’s dad, Mr. Rodriguez.
“Honey, I’m sorry to call you at work. It’s Ray.” His voice falters.
“What is it? What’s happened?” My heart leaps into my throat.
“Ray’s been in an accident.”
Oh, no. Daddy. I stop breathing.
“He’s in the hospital. You’d better get here quick.”
End of Chapter Sixteen
Ugh, can we please stop doing this? Stop injuring/killing people just to manufacture drama in your boring, plot-driven story? I mean, if a character gets injured or killed fine, it’s whatever, but this feels SUPER FORCED, and it feels like E.L. James knew her story was getting boring and had to spice it up a little bit, and instead of making it interesting by developing her characters better, she decides to throw in a big plot event to try and cling to what little interest her readers have left.
We haven’t heard anything about Ray in MANY chapters. If this accident is supposed to be an important plot point that WASN’T just invented to manufacture fake drama, we should have heard about Ray far more recently. Even if Ana just mentioned something about him, like she thought about him in this chapter, or she thought about how she is meaning to call him, that would make this plot twist better, because this accident wouldn’t just come out of left field and blind-side the reader.
Basically, this accident with Ray is a cheap trick that James is using to try and sustain the reader’s interest because she knows that her characters are boring and under-developed and her plot in this book is bland and all over the place. This is a very fanfiction-y problem to have.
But I guess we’ll have to wait until the next chapter to see how truly awful this plot is going to end up being.
Thank you guys SO MUCH for all your patience, as always! No guarantees on when the next chapter will be out…hopefully before the end of the month, but lord knows I’m terrible at updating this. But I must charge forward! For you readers! And for the good of the realm!
Thanks for reading! Up next…chapter 17…out of 25 total chapters (plus an epilogue…plus 3 bonus chapters…ugh).