Tuesday, October 30, 2012


When I was a little kid, I was convinced I could fly. Anyone who knows me will once again wonder how on Earth I have not gotten myself killed yet. I did, though. I used to have dreams about flying so much as a little kid I thought I could. I would clamberer out of my bed in the night, stand on the floor beneath my window, and just soar up through it into the night sky. I still remember what it felt like, a strange pull in my gut as my feet would leave the ground. I remember the feel of the icy air ripping through my thin night-gown. I remember flying with strangely vivid detail, even as an adult. Part of me knew that flying was a night time thing, and no one could ever know, but I also knew I couldn't force it. My ability to fly wasn't one I had perfect control over, but that was okay. I relished the moments I got to spend sky born.

This is something I don't give much thought to these days. Once in a while something will trigger the thought or memory and there will be a deep sink in my stomach. A sort of dull, lingering sadness, one that will never quite go away, I only get to forget about it. Yes, I am saying that not being able to fly is one that causes me ongoing angst. I am well aware that it is silly. My more jaded, sensible adult self is reluctant to admit that I used to think I could fly, even thought the memories will sometimes bubble up to the surface with more vivid detail than almost anything else from my childhood. Still... I can't be the only one who sometimes is just really sad that we can't fly, right?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

50 Shades of Grey chapter 26 - THE LAST ONE ZOMGZOMG

Okay, so, I'm excited to finish this book. Not because I want to know how it ends (I am positive it will have nothing remotely resembling an ending) but because I am excited to be done it. Due to personal things after this post the blog is going off of a Tuesday/Thursday schedule and onto "when ever I get a chance" until some time in early December, in which case I will likely come back to Tuesday/Thursday updates. I just don't know if I can bring myself to read 50 Shades of Grey in a hospital. Though if I popped a blood vessel or had a rage stroke I suppose that would be the best place for me to do it. Maybe I'll reconsider this plan, but for now, expect sporadic updates.

Right, all that aside, lets jump into finishing off this blight on literature!

Oh yessss. We start the chapter with Ana waking up at 5AM with no Grey beside her. She wakes up because it's time to take her pill (she set her time for 8AM*? Really? Does she never ever sleep in or plan to?) and realizes that Grey is playing piano in his bubble of isolation again!!

Shrouded in darkness, Christian sits in a bubble of light as he plays, and his hair glints with burnished copper highlights. He looks naked, though I know he’s wearing his PJ bottoms. He’s concentrating, playing beautifully, lost in the melancholy of the music. I hesitate, watching from the shadows, not wanting to interrupt him. I want to hold him. He looks lost, sad even, and achingly lonely – or maybe it’s just the music that’s so full of poignant sorrow.

Awww look at him over there being an emo little teenager. He thinks he's people! Silly warlock! So Ana snuggles up to him and he keeps playing piano and being Obviously Upset. Ana is at least aware of the fact that he is capable of being upset at things that are not her.

“Well, I can’t sleep.” He frowns once more as a trace of irritation or anger flashes across his face. With me? Surely not.
I ignore his facial expression and very bravely sit down beside him on the piano stool, placing my head on his bare shoulder to watch his deft, agile fingers caress the keys.

However the act of sitting next to him is "very brave". She asks him to play the song he was playing last time and remains snuggled against his shoulder. That seems like a sub-optimal place to be when the other person is playing piano.

It is a hauntingly beautiful piece, sadder even than the Chopin, and I lose myself to the beauty of the lament. To a certain extent, it reflects how I feel.

Ana is like a teenager who just discovered Simple Plan. It's like they totally get her! So Ana, being Ana, naturally starts to pry about why he started to learn the piano (To please his new Mother. That shit is in the text) and Ana rather than thinking "This seems like a terse subject" goes "OH SO YOU COULD FIT INTO HER PERFECT FAMILY" and thankfully the topic is changed to Ana's birth control and how she was so stupid and silly to start it in another time zone!

Grey suggests they bang, Ana is all "NO LETS TALK!" and once again wants to talk about their relationship and where it stands and DIDN'T YOU DO THIS TWO CHAPTERS AGO?!

“So, let me be clear. You just want me to follow the Rules element of the contract all the time but not the rest of the contract?”
“Except in the playroom. I want you to follow the spirit of the contract in the playroom, and yes, I want you to follow the rules – all the time. Then I know you’ll be safe, and I’ll be able to have you anytime I wish.”

I'm actually confused about what this meant. The thing was almost all rules. So saying "just the rules count" isn't saying much.

Whoa. This has gotten serious so quickly. He rises from the piano and walks lithely to his study. My scalp prickles. Jeez, I need some tea. The future of our so-called relationship is being discussed at 5:45 in the morning when he’s pre-occupied with something else – is this wise?

NO IT IS NOT! Listen, I'm not saying all important conversations need to wait for an ideal time and place to happen. There is no such thing. You definitely need to make Important Conversations happen sometimes, even though the timing sucks and one or both or you is stressed. However, Ana doesn't know what's up with Grey. He isn't trusting her enough to let her in on that. It's his choice, and one she is being surprisingly respectful of (I'd be on him about The Situation not his Tragic Past myself) but she needs to consider he's going to be in a strange place right now. She has no idea where he is emotionally or mentally because she doesn't know what's going on, so she can't consider the factors that might be affecting him at all. You know, aside from the sleep deprivation.

So we get to see The Rules. Again. I don't begrudge it this time. I mean, we saw it six times in three chapters, but it makes sense that EL James would go over it again. The whole "Must be shaven/clean/made up/wear what he says/do her hair like he says/exercise/act modestly/can't drink or have fun" is all still there. The only one that got cut is food. So he still wants her to be super controlled by him. Her response is to roll her eyes. SPANKING TIME!

“You want to spank me now.”
“Yes. And I will.”
“Oh, really, Mr. Grey?” I challenge, grinning back at him. Two can play this game.
“Are you going to stop me?”
“You’re going to have to catch me first.”

Ana then makes a mad dash to the floor to ceiling window and free-falls- Sorry writing fan-fiction in my head again. No, they just circle the breakfast bar taunting each other. They're only being kind of obnoxious here. So they chase each other around the apartment.

I’m a child again, though that’s not right.

Cue the pigtails? So the whole scene is very playful. Fun even. Then Ana makes a bad.

“Anyone would think you didn’t want me to catch you.”
“I don’t. That’s the point. I feel about punishment the way you feel about me touching you.”


His entire demeanor changes in a nanosecond. Gone is playful Christian, and he stands staring at me as if I’d slapped him. He’s ashen.
“That’s how you feel?” he whispers.

Ana realizes that maybe she isn't that opposed to being spanked. You know, with the whole naked horror at the thought of making anyone feel that way ever. She tells him "Well, not quite" and realizes that Grey is actually really serious about the not wanting to be touched thing. I'm curious if she'll keep pouting and demanding to touch him now that she can grasp how upset he is by it.

“You hate it that much?” he breathes, his eyes filled with horror.
“Well… no,” I reassure him. Jeez – that’s how he feels about people touching him? “No. I feel ambivalent about it. I don’t like it, but I don’t hate it.”
“But last night, in the playroom, you… ” he trails off.

Yes, funny how "playing" and "punishment" are seen differently Grey. Funny that. Ana explains that in the playroom, it's fun. As punishment, it's scary and she's afraid he'll hurt her. His response is to tell her he wants to hurt her, and she's all "Dude, seriously, what the HELL?" and he confesses that he actually knows EXACTLY why he wants to hurt her, but doesn't want to tell her because then she will get scared and run away and he doesn't want that.

Ana is too busy being all "HE WANTS ME!" to stop and consider that he doesn't trust her to make her own choice about if his issues are ones she wants to deal with and is withholding vital information for his own sake. Seriously, he's distracting her from the issue at hand with INTENSE FEELINGS! This is classic abuser type stuff guys. Scared now. Is the book going to end with him about to beat the shit out of her with a TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO! ?

“Don’t leave me. You said you wouldn’t leave me, and you begged me not to leave you, in your sleep,” he murmurs against my lips.
Oh… my nocturnal confessions

 This is after the panicked passionate kiss. I get that this is being aggravated by The Situation but how emotionally manipulative is this? ALL OF THE EMOTIONAL MANIPULATION!

This is a man in need. His fear is naked and obvious, but he’s lost… somewhere in his darkness. His eyes wide and bleak and tortured. I can soothe him. Join him briefly in the darkness and bring him into the light.

So, let me get this straight. Ana is going into this saying "I CAN FIX HIM!"Ana thinks she can fix the manipulative, abusive, controlling man in her life. I may have a rage-stroke yet. Ana's theory on how to do this is to get him to beat her to her limit. Grey is confused. Mostly because she just pulled the "I LIKE BEING PUNISHED ABOUT AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE BEING TOUCHED" and that caused him to go into BSOD of horror and is now offering to do it on her own.

“You would try?”
“Yes. I said I would.” But I have an ulterior motive. If I do this for him, maybe he will let me touch him.

OH MY GOD ANA YOU ARE THE WORST PERSON EVER! Ana doesn't say this out loud, she just stops short of saying it, but Grey gets the point. Ana has said "Well, okay, I don't hate it that much, but I don't like it because I'm freaked out" and is now using this as leverage to get him to do something that makes him look like he's about to faint and/or vomit  at the mere thought of making someone else feel the way he does about it. FUUUUUUUUUU

“I’ll show you how bad it can be, and you can make your own mind up.” He pauses by the door. “Are you ready for this?”

So he puts her over the bench, grabs a belt and goes into "Dom mode" and demands she counts as he hits her six times. The spanking is reading much like her first one. But worse. Kind of disturbing.

“Five.” My voice is more a choked, strangled sob, and in this moment, I think I hate him. One more, I can do one more. My backside feels as if it’s on fire.
“Six,” I whisper as the blistering pain cuts across me again, and I hear him drop the belt behind me, and he’s pulling me into his arms, all breathless and compassionate… and I want none of him.

“Don’t touch me!” I hiss. I straighten and stare at him, and he’s watching me as if I might bolt, gray eyes wide, bemused. I dash the tears angrily out of my eyes with the backs of my hands, glaring at him.
“This is what you really like? Me, like this?” I use the sleeve of the bathrobe to wipe my nose.
He gazes at me warily.
“Well, you are one fucked-up son of a bitch.”
“Ana,” he pleads, shocked.
“Don’t you dare, Ana me! You need to sort your shit out, Grey!”

Whaaaaat? Okay. So, 1) Doing BDSM wrong. 2) Ana had safe-words. 3) lolwhat? I honestly do not know what the hell just happened here. Ana first volunteers for this- at its most extreme, because she wants to touch him. Grey had said that he would probably stick to spanking as she learned to like it. He does what she asks him to. She screams and cries that he has issues and just shits all over his kink- and the book does play it as Issues, not kink. As in he needs to have issues to be into it. I just... I don't even have words.

So Ana leaves, betrayed that it hurts, and goes to hide in her room. She could go home. She could leave, but she decides to go to her room for space. So she goes to her room, in his condo, to sob.

I think of the couple of times he has hit me, and how easy he was on me by comparison. Is that enough for him? I sob harder into the pillow. I am going to lose him. He won’t want to be with me if I can’t give him this. Why, why, why have I fallen in love with Fifty Shades?

Know what? I'm going to treat Ana's angst like a sex scene.

My subconscious is shaking her head sadly, and my inner goddess is nowhere to be seen. Oh, this is a dark morning of the soul for me. I’m so alone.

Ana then remembers her Mother's Wise Words and thinks

I did follow my heart, and I have a sore ass and an anguished, broken spirit to show for it. I have to go.

And the thought of not seeing him again practically chokes me… my Fifty Shades.

"My Fifty Shades" is her pet name for him? Naturally Grey then comes into the room, because it is appropriate for the narrative.

“Hush,” he breathes, and I want to pull away from him, move to the other side of the bed, but I’m paralyzed. I cannot move and lie stiffly, not yielding at all. 
“Don’t fight me, Ana, please,” he whispers. Gently, he pulls me into his arms, burying his nose in my hair, kissing my neck.
“Don’t hate me,” he breathes softly against my skin, his voice achingly sad. My heart clenches anew and releases a fresh wave of silent sobbing.

Wow. Just, wow. I don't even have words to tear apart how FUCKED UP this is. "I'm sorry I beat you please don't be mad." so then they just lay there for ages and he timidly tells her he brought advil and something for butt rubbing.

“I don’t want to go,” I whisper. Fuck – this is it. Pay or play. Tears swim in my eyes once more.
“I don’t want you to go either,” he whispers, his voice raw. He reaches up and gently strokes my cheek and wipes away a falling tear with his thumb. “I’ve come alive since I met you.” His thumb traces the contours of my lower lip.
“Me too,” I whisper, “I’ve fallen in love with you, Christian.”
His eyes widen again, but this time, with pure, undiluted fear.

Is it wrong that I laughed at this? His response is terror. I kind of love it. Alright, get your popcorn kids, it's time to watch this shit go DOWN!

“No,” he breathes as if I’ve knocked the wind out of him.
Oh no.
“You can’t love me, Ana. No… that’s wrong.” He’s horrified.

He then bops her with a rolled up newspaper.

Holy fuck. This really is it. This is what it boils down to – incompatibility - and all those poor subs come to mind.
“We’ll never get past that, will we?” I whisper, my scalp prickling in fear.
He shakes his head bleakly. I close my eyes. I cannot bear to look at him.
“Well… I’d better go, then,” I murmur, wincing as I sit up.

Gogogogogogogo don't stop to linger and stare at things keep going!

I have had my eyes opened and glimpsed the extent of his depravity, and I now know he’s not capable of love – of giving or receiving love. My worst fears have been realized. And strangely, it’s very liberating.

I kinda of get that, actually. Realizing that you have done what you can and there is nothing else left to be done is liberating, if not sometimes totally soul crushing.

The pain is such that I refuse to acknowledge it. I feel numb. I have somehow escaped from my body and am now a casual observer to this unfolding tragedy. I shower quickly and methodically, thinking only of each second in front of me. Now squeeze body wash bottle. Put body wash bottle back in rack. Rub cloth on face, on shoulders… on and on, all simple, mechanical actions, requiring simple mechanical thoughts. 

 So. Dramatic. Ana must have sucked as a teenager.

My subconscious nods with approval. Even she knows not to be snarky right now. I cannot believe that my world is crumbling around me into a sterile pile of ashes, all my hopes and dreams cruelly dashed.

All of her hopes and dreams. All of them. They all revolved around Grey and his octo-cock. When Ana walks out into the living room Grey is screaming into the phone about a fuck up and to find someone. Ana quietly puts the laptop, blackberry, and car keys on the counter and Grey accuses her of trying to wound him by not wanting to keep them. She makes the decent argument of "I don't want any reminders" but just left the gift (a model plane) that she bought for him before with the note "A reminder of happier times" on his pillow. She's basically booby-trapped his bed. I suppose she's at least giving him the chance to hurl it out the window when she's not around.

“I don’t want you to go,” he murmurs, his voice full of longing.
“I can’t stay. I know what I want and you can’t give it to me, and I can’t give you what you need.”
He takes another step forward, and I hold up my hands.
“Don’t, please.” I recoil from him. There’s no way I can tolerate his touch now, it will slay me. “I can’t do this.”

YAAAAY! Ana is NOW asserting her boundaries and backbone! I get that leaving a relationship when nothing is "wrong"** is really, really fucking hard and painful. I've been there, I've done that. Ana also has to deal with "I'm in love with you and you're not in love with me" which is another layer of suck. In this exchange, despite the hamfisted writing, Ana is being reasonable.

I fall onto my bed, shoes and all, and howl. The pain is indescribable… physical, mental… metaphysical… it is everywhere, seeping into the marrow of my bones. Grief. This is grief – and I’ve brought it on myself. Deep down, a nasty, unbidden thought comes from my inner goddess, her lip curled in a snarl… the physical pain from the bite of a belt is nothing, nothing compared to this devastation. I curl up, desperately clutching the flat foil balloon and Taylor’s handkerchief, and surrender myself to my grief.

Ana has all the feelings. And this is it. That is the end of book 1. I am tempted not to do book two so I can imagine this is the ending. Ana leaves Grey because she realizes that a relationship with him is ultimately impossible, and despite the pain and agony is causes her, starts her new job and new life and after a lot of bad RomComs and wine with Kate moves on with her life. I would shit my pants in glee if this were the real ending. It takes a long time but eventually she meets some bookish, sweet guy. He doesn't do things like take her to lavish restaurants and extravagant helicopter rides, but he is constantly buying her books that he think she'll love, who is compassionate and sensitive. They spend many a sleepy Sunday curled up together reading, a quiet, comfortable sort of relationship. That is how this story ends in my head if I don't read book two. This book on its own becomes not about a HUGE ROMANCE but a woman who realizes that you can't fix or change people and sometimes relationships just don't work, no matter how badly you want them to. If this was the real end to the book, I might take back all the mean things I've said. Sadly, it isn't, and it was never meant to be. To quote the final line in the book:

End of Part One

Till 50 Shades Darker dear readers! Let me know what you think of the book now that we've seen it as a whole. I mean, EL James doesn't really "get" contained stories, or the concept of a story ark or plot, and the three books I'm certain just sort of meander into each other, but let's pretend that this book is a stand alone, and not just terribly edited.

*Time difference from Georgia to Seattle is alluded to here.
**I mean, I think there was lots wrong with it, but Ana didn't

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gendered Toys

My brother and I are not terribly close. I mean, there isn't too much animosity between us, but had you asked me when I was a kid if I wanted a brother, the answer would have been "NOOOO!" as an adult, however, there is one thing that came from having a brother almost my own age that I'm glad for. Exposure to boy toys.

Now, as a kid, I loved my Barbies and My Little Ponies and Polly Pocket (did anyone else have those magnetic sets?) but I also loved my Pokemon toys, and dinosaurs and animals and robots and my brother's hot wheels. I love my Mother, but she subscribes to traditional gender rolls pretty strongly, and had I not had a brother, I don't think I would have grown up watching X-Men and Dragon Ball Z and many other nerdy properties that, if I'm honest with myself, shapes the fiction I write to this day a lot more than Jem and the Holograms* ever has. I wouldn't have grown up with a Super Nintendo (and later N64) in the house because, officially, those were my brothers. I think I would have been at least partially exposed to these things, but I don't think I'd have been as exposed if I didn't have a brother, and I would have faced a lot more resistance for wanting to play video games. I don't think the long lasting love affair the N64 and I have going on would have happened at all. So I'm glad I had a brother, even if he beat me up and called me names and was, generally, as unpleasant as you'd expect a big brother who is only barely bigger to be. 

I am now reaching an age where people around me are having kids, on purpose. I have two cousins who gave birth within 48 hours. I have other family members with more babies on the way. So far they've almost all been boys, but lately, a few girls have been trickling in, which has gotten me to reflect on my own childhood with a brother.

Even as a kid, I resented how... Pink, and princessy, I was expected to be. I wanted to be a princess AND a superhero! Who rode a robot-dinosaur! I don't think all kids need to have clearly defined gender boundaries, but I suspect buying little boys Barbies won't go over well, so I have come up with a plan for the little brats that are rapidly infiltrating my life.

Consider this an oath.

I swear to never buy a gendered toy for the kids in my life.**
I will buy stuffed animals in the most neutral colors I can find.
I will buy arts and crafts.
I will buy SO MUCH lego.
I will buy science toys.
I will buy puzzles.
I will buy board games.
I will buy sporting equipment.
I will buy them musical instruments. 
I will buy them more books than their parents will know what to do with.
I will buy them video games that don't pander to a specific gender (RPGS FOR ALL!).
I will buy them a toy that is not typically aimed at their gender if they show interest (little boy wants an Easy Bake Oven? IT IS DONE!)
I will not buy them anything wrapped in gaudy pink and purple and glitter.
I will not buy them anything that is covered in muscle men and army cameo.

Do I think this will make a difference? Probably not. But maybe it will. If nothing else, it's something I can do, and sometimes finding that baby step you as an individual can take to adressing an issue is huge. I want the kids in my life to have awesome toys, and both genders have them. Come on, you think my brother wasn't playing with my Polly Pockets while I was playing with his hot wheels? They fit inside the convertible!

*This is not a shot at Jem, it just didn't impact me the same way.
**Says the woman never planning to have children.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

50 Shades of Grey Chapter 25

This chapter opens with Ana's Mother continuing to spew generic "FOLLOW YOUR HEART YOU DESERVE EVERYTHING" type cliches and Ana is marveling in her wisdom and HOW MUCH her Mother loves her. I will admit to being a terrible daughter, but I don't usually go off on tangents about ZOMG MOM LOVES ME SOOO MUCH! I mean, you sort of... get used to these things. Am I just a terrible daughter or are most people just sort of accepting that "unconditional love" is the baseline with their own parents*? It just makes Ana seem so... alien, to me.

A page of ZOMG PARENT LOVE however leads to this.

What does Christian know of love? Seems he didn’t get the unconditional love he was entitled to during his very early years.

Okay, so, I have ranted, and ranted, about how this is a Developmental Psychology Fail. I'm sure you guys don't care anymore, but I need to point something else out. Yes, that sort of shit would affect a kid, and could into their adult life. It would not affect them in a way they were likely terribly self aware of, and it wouldn't be something as specific as "no touching and into BDSM" but rather "they have had developmental issues" type thing. I also want to rage that EL James goes to such great lengths to explain Grey is into BDSM because he's damaged. Which is very harmful, and disrespectful, to the BDSM community.

I need Christian Grey to love me. This is why I am so reticent about our relationship – because on some basic, fundamental level, I recognize within me a deep-seated compulsion to be loved and cherished.

And here I thought I could get through this chapter without a drink.

Ahh, Somersby, you understand me, don't you? Alright. Lets try to unpack this nonsense. So, firstly, need? Really? No. You NEED food and shelter. You will survive and eventually get over Grey not loving you, if he didn't. Secondly, being apprehensive about a relationship because you're super into the dude seems backwards. I mean, I get forcing yourself to take it slow because you're waaay too into him and don't want to come on super strong out the gate, but, that isn't what's going on here, is it? Also, why is wanting to be loved and cherished a "deep-seated compulsion" as to... basic human instinct? Wanting to have people who love and value you isn't strange, it's normal and healthy. It's what you DO with those wants/needs that make it a problem. I think the only person who hates Ana more than me is Ana**. Yikes. There is a lot of self loathing as well as internalized-patriarchy (sorry to those of you who's eyes just glazed over). There is an expectation that women should be happy with what we're given and not be greedy and high maintenance and ask for more. More being "love and respect" in this case. Ana thinks there is something wrong with wanting a partner who will love and cherish her, as to thinking of that as "basic condition for a relationship". I hate that EL James is slipping this shit into erotica aimed at women.

Ana continues to angst over Grey's damage and how she doesn't know if he even can love! No, really, that is in the text with no sense of irony. She is haunted and disturbed by the thoughts of his TRAGIC PAST and how TRAGIC he is because he's just so SAD AND TRAGIC! DID I MENTION HE'S TRAGIC? TOTES IS BITCHES!

So they e-mail back and forth and it sounds like typical Grey and Ana e-mails but Ana decides at the end of their exchange that Something Is Up with Grey. There is next to nothing in text to support this. I looked. The Situation is alluded to again, and I'm sure whatever the Situation is will be awful and make me want to punch things.

I become aware that once again the only empty seat is beside me. I shake my head as the thought crosses my mind that Christian might have purchased the adjacent seat so that I couldn’t talk to anyone. I dismiss the idea as ridiculous – no one could be that controlling, that jealous, surely.

Except for Grey. Oh God. Guys. Do you think he really did? Ana has some decent instincts. She is aware that Grey's behavior is jealous and controlling and stalkerish. She doesn't catch onto the abusive, but still, she has observed the red flags. I am immensely bothered that she isn't bothered by them at all. I mean- right. Warlock.  

Naturally Grey is busy dealing with The Situation so Taylor picks up Ana and... is really fucking boring. Taylor just has no personality. Ana is suffocating under his inability (or unwillingness) to maintain a conversation. So she asks him to put on some music. Being a man living the classy life, he chooses Pachelbel’s Cannon. The song apparently lasts until they get to Grey's.

Why am I so nervous? And I know it’s because I have no idea what kind of mood Christian’s going to be in when I arrive. My inner goddess is hopeful for one type of mood, my subconscious, like me, is fraught with nerves.


So we get a hint of what The Situation is. "No trace of her...". I'm guessing his sister or Mrs. Robinson has gone missing. He gets off the phone and then leaps upon Ana, going tongue first because he's so eager. Guys, never go tongue first. Never. She describes things as "almost" hurting but she's so into it that Grey is going to have to have to buy a new mop.

His tongue is relentless, strong and insistent, laving me – swirling round and round, again and again – non-stop.

Grey uses his vortex tongue to then summon his dark lord. The end.

Sadly, no.

He grabs my face with both hands, holding me firmly, and he kisses me hard, thrusting his tongue into my mouth so I can taste my arousal.

Do you think EL James took classes on how to write sexy from someone's Granny? And then they fuck. He heaves her against the wall and it's over and done pretty quick. He's all "COME SHOWER WITH ME" and they get to the fucking before they get to the shower. Ana is too busy gushing over all this lust and hormones to wonder what the hell is going on (though she did try to ask earlier, in her defense) and this is all just so trite.

He undoes the next three buttons of his shirt, removes the cufflinks, tugs it over his head, and discards it on the floor.

Wait, he was just chilling out in his apartment. He wears cufflinks around the apartment? Or was he doing work stuff earlier in the day instead of dealing with what ever crisis has popped up? So he starts to scrub Ana down, she tells him about her new job, and about Jose's art exhibit and asks him to go. He doesn't loose his mind, shockingly, and agrees to go. Grey is much calmer now, until Ana asks if she can scrub him down. He says no, and she asks if she can touch him because OH MY GOD ANA WILL YOU GIVE IT A REST FOR ONE FUCKING CHAPTER?! Grey's response is to stick it in her.

“Put your hands on the wall Anastasia. I’m going to take you again,” he murmurs in my ear as he grabs my hips, and I know that the discussion is over.

We don't even get to see the sex scene. We then flash forward to them chilling out at the breakfast bar. Ana tries to ask about The Situation again and Grey shrugs it off- none of her concern, and tells her to go get changed in her room and be in the play room in 15 minutes. He also tells Ana that he bought her an ass ton of clothes and don't say anything about it or else. Uhm? Okay? Ana is confused about him sending her to her room, and comments that her door has a lock, but no key. TERROR. Then we flash forward to her hanging out in the play room. 

It’s what he wants – and after the last few days… after all he’s done, I have to man up and take whatever he decides he wants, whatever he thinks he needs.

 So, just to under line this. Ana thinks that since Grey pulled some Rom Com shit, she is obligated to fulfill his sexual wants and needs. She feels she owes him.


I can see his naked feet, and I want to kiss every inch of them… run my tongue over his instep, suck each of his toes. Holy shit.

I guess this is the chapter EL James tries to make the book at least a little bit kinky?

“Don’t start with your smart mouth in here, Miss Steele. Or I will fuck it with you on your knees. Do you understand?”
I swallow instinctively. Okay. I blink rapidly, chastened. Actually, it’s his tone of voice, rather than the threat, that intimidates me.

Creeeeepppyyyy. Almost everything he says or does is threatening. Just want to point that one out. So, Grey reminds Ana of the safe words and tells her she won't be able to see or hear him, just feel. She won't hear him because he will be blaring music of his choosing from his iPod. I just face-palmed hard enough I may have given myself a black eye. Are you ready for a long series of title drops?

Okay. A musical interlude, not what I was expecting. Does he ever do what I expect? Jeez, I hope it’s not rap.


So Grey takes her to the bed, says "This is where I'll be flogging you" and begins braiding her hair. He comments that he prefers pigtails but is too impatient to do that, so one braid. The way her hair is described makes me think it is likely stupid long. Like, down to her ass, or close.

“Touch it,” he whispers, and he sounds like the devil himself.

No, you get no context. He might be talking about his penis, he might be talking about a kitten. You'll never know.

“Good girl. Remember, most of your fear is in your mind.”

A frisson of trepidation mixed with tantalizing exhilaration sweeps through my body, making me wetter.

 Soon Grey will have to start stripping her out of her panties and putting her into Depends. 

Abruptly, the soft silent hiss and pop of the iPod springs into life. From inside my head, a lone angelic voice sings unaccompanied a long sweet note, and it’s joined almost immediately by another voice, and then more voices – Holy cow, a celestial choir – singing acapella in my head, an ancient, ancient hymnal.

Thankfully Ana doesn't know what song it is, so we're spared another title drop. Grey then begins to stroke her while wearing... a fur glove? I'm picturing cookie monster fuzzy gloves myself - because I used to own a pair of Cookie Monster blue fuzzy gloves.

Running his hands all over you.

I’m trying to anticipate where he’s going next… but the music… it’s in my head… transporting me…

Is Ana high? Did Grey drug her? Is she tripping balls? Because that is the only way this makes sense.

And then the flogging starts.

“Aagghh!” I cry out. It takes me by surprise, and it doesn’t exactly hurt, but tingles all over, and he hits me again. Harder.
I want to move, to writhe… to escape, or to welcome, each blow…

Did I mention that most of this is written.... like.... this with maybe... five words...? In between each ellipses...

I am dragged into a dark, dark part of my psyche that surrenders to this most erotic sensation. Yes – I get this.

Yeah you do.

Seriously, this is all painfully written. I get what EL James was going for. It was meant to be a sensuous sexy thing, but it reads in such a boring way. Stream of consciousness does not need to be littered with ellipses. I also can not even be knackered to go into any detail around the "angelic voices". Just, I got nothing. Nope. Sorry.

Taunting each of my nipples in turn… his tongue swirling round one while his fingers relentlessly tease the other…

He then steals her nipple's lunch money and makes it carry his backpack while calling it names.

So he starts to slobber on her cooter and riiiight as shes about to spew all over the place unties her legs, heaves them in the air, and then starts to pound away. She's supported by her shoulders. That sounds like a really uncomfortable angle for the neck and just- ow?

And as the number of voices in the choral piece increases… so does his pace, infinitesimally, he’s so controlled… so in time with the music.

So exploding orgasms everywhere for all. Even the maid down the hall. She doesn't know what's going on but daaaamn. So since EL James is incapable of not mentioning what every song they listen to is:

“It’s called Spem In Alium, or the Forty Part Motet, by Thomas Tallis.”

No, no youtube link for you. Go find it yourself. I don't want to know. Grey confesses that he's always wanted to fuck to that song. I have songs like that.

Though the odds of spraining the everything trying this one are high.

So Grey rubs Ana's shoulders with his knowing expert hands (gag) and Ana asks what she said in her sleep. He sums up her dream from last chapter and they banter a bit.

“And you are hiding something, Anastasia. I may have to torture it out of you.”

RUN BEFORE HE CHAINS YOU UP AGAIN! And this, boys and girls, brings us to the final chapter. Tune in next time to see THE EXCITING CONCLUSION! Seriously, this is the second last chapter? This book has no plot, awful pacing, abysmal character development... 

Who knows, maybe in the last chapter we'll ditch everything and the book will start to not suck! Surprise! Grey is a Time Lord and now they're about to go off on epic adventures! As always, comments help stave off the soul sucking this book is causing me. Till next week! 

*Assuming you don't have some tragic situation where it isn't. If that's the case, my condolences.
**And my liver. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A meta post about what's going on with Erika

Usually I don't like to post about personal problems. Things, sure, but problems? No one wants to hear about that. Still, it's affecting my ability to write, and I feel you guys should know what's up with me and why I might be missing a bunch of posts over the next month.

It's... Been another rough week. I've been in and out of the hospital. Everything is fine, but being the only person in the nearest big city to my home town sometimes puts me in unique situations. My cousin and his new spawn (oh, yeah, new born is the one in the hospital because life is awesome like that) will be around for the next three weeks, though I expect more family will be filtering up after things are a little more settled, I'm still planning to be around, because, local.

Oh, and then there was two weeks ago when I got sexually assaulted on the bus- again, I'm fine! I mean, I was a girl taking public transit on my own during rush hour. I really should have seen this coming, and what was I doing sitting in the back row unaccompanied? I was just asking for some big guy to trap me in a corner, press up against me, and rub his junk until it was time for him to get off the bus! I forgot that as a woman I should be super vigilant at all times, because I've got a vagina and that means I don't get to expect things like not being trapped in a corner on my way home from work! I mean, I was wearing a Batman shirt for crying out loud! Clearly I wanted physical contact from a stranger! I should just be flattered! I'm sure he doesn't rub his nuts at just anyone, after all. My being anxious in my daily commute is just me showing proper vigilance now!

Next week two of my in-laws are trading organs. The one who needs the organ is my age, and the one giving it is 50. As far as organ swapping goes, kidneys are pretty low impact, and hey, at least the hospital they'll be at is close to the one my cousin and his spawn are at, right? I think I can walk from one to the other...

November I'm planning to try to write a book in a month again. I expect this to swallow me whole and distract me from everything else ever, as it did before. This will give me a much needed break from thinking about things. Like what ever stresses the recovery from organ swapping might bring!

I have December set aside to sit in a corner and shake quietly. That should have me nice and refreshed for my 82 year old Grandfather's heart surgery in the new year!

Unhinged ranting aside, to quell those of you who are about to express concern, I really am fine. Frazzled, stressed, and kind of overwhelmed, but fine. I've dealt with worse before*, and I'm sure will again. I don't relish this, but I know I can, and will, handle it. I mean, what other choice is there? Hide in a blanket fort while I wait for it to all blow over? Actually, that sounds kind of tempting...

*One time I had to try to hold my Grandmother's head together after she head-butt the side walk while we waited for the ambulance. Fun times.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

50 Shades of Grey Chapter 24 which is all references all the time.

Okay, after this chapter, there will only be two left, you guys. I hope you are as excited to be done this book as I am! I will also warn you all that I am writing this as I'm home sick from work, so snark may be of questionable quality. My apologies. Let's begin, shall we?

...Oh god. Alright, so, this chapter open with a dream sequence. I know it is a dream sequence because Grey is hanging out in a cage, shirtless, with his chest and feet "deliciously naked" and a bowl of strawberries. He's ordering Ana to eat one, sticking his arm through the bars of the cage but she can't! She's tied back and can't get to it! But he just keeps ordering her to eat the fucking berry! And she's struggling and I am considering rounding up all the copies of this book and locking them in a cage where they can do no one else any harm. The dream ends with Ana chomping on the berry (which, shockingly, is not "deliciously sweet") and the cage dissolved and Grey starts waking her up in reality and LAY OFF THE DREAMS EL JAMES! They weren't so bad when you had just quick tableau but I am exhausted of you and your three writing devices. FIND NEW ONES.

So Grey is dragging Ana out of bed at 5:30 to "chase the dawn" what ever that means. Ana is, shockingly, still half asleep and wants to go back to her "nice" dream. ... Being tied back and taunted with fruit is a good dream? Well, she was about to start manhandling his chest before he woke her up so I guess that is what she's into. Grey is all excited, Ana wants to go back to sleep or shower first but TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! THIS IS THE SURPRISE WE HAD HINTED AT US LAST CHAPTER! So he's going to take her out in the plane to watch the sunrise, right? Maybe he had her name etched onto the sun with a laser? Something cool and unique?

So groggily, Ana starts to get up and dressed.

Hmm, another piece of Christian Grey’s underwear – a trophy to add to my collection

Think she has them bronzed?

I frown as a scene from Tess crosses my mind: the strawberry scene. It evokes my dream.

OH MY GOD EL JAMES I HATE YOU SO MUCH. Tess is not, to my understanding, a novel read by the average person, you know, the target audience for 50 Shades of Grey. It is something read by English majors and lovers of classical literature. There is nothing wrong with the odd allusion, but before she at least gave enough context. I like classic literature. I've read Austen, Shakespeare, and Wilde* outside of English classes, but I had never even heard of Tess before reading this book. So I have no fucking clue what "the strawberry scene" is. I have no context here. That? That is shitty self indulgent writing. [/rant]
“Eat,” he says.
Holy Moses… my dream. I gape at him, thinking about his tongue on his palate. Hmm, his expert tongue.

Because throwing up once today wasn't enough for me. This chapter may pose challenges I hadn't anticipated. I can't even cope with booze you guys! Alright, I better get ready to make some sanity rolls. Honestly though, this is irksome. "OH MY HE IS DOING SOMETHING HE DOES ALL OF THE TIME! SOMETHING MY SUBCONSCIOUS HAS APPARENTLY PICKED UP ON AND WORKED INTO MY DREAM BUT NOW IT IS SEXY!"

So despite the fact that this is supposed to be ALL FOR ANA...

“I’ll have some tea. Can I take a croissant for later?”
He eyes me suspiciously, and I smile very sweetly.
“Don’t rain on my parade, Anastasia,” he warns softly.

She points out that she just isn't hungry super early in the morning. I relate to this myself. I mean, if The Boy lures me out of bed with bacon (he is the morning person in our home) I'll eat it, because bacon, but if left to my own devices I won't eat until nearly noon. What actually bugs me about this is that Ana having a common enough eating habit (not eating before 6am) is raining on Grey's parade. How DARE she not go along with this super wonderful fantasy day he has been playing in his head to each detail he has imagined!

So despite the fact that Ana is still asleep on her feet she teased Grey about eye rolling and is all coy before they're out to a convertible that is waiting for them.

“You know, sometimes it’s great being me,” he says with a conspiratorial but smug grin that I simply can’t help emulating

Erika: You know, I almost want to write about how glad I am I don't have to deal with trans-prejudices.**
Trevor: That is a weird thing to want to write about. Would you follow it up with a peice called "Guys, I have to admit, white privilege is pretty great"
Erika: That is my plan, yes.

So much of this book reads to me like EL James is just telling me how awesome it is to be wealthy and above normal concerns like going to work and having to be away from your significant other for a week when they visit their folks or knowing where your next meal is coming from. BUT GREY DOES KNOW ALL THAT! Ah, yes, he knew very well what it was like to have to get up every morning, exhausted from what ever horror life may have thrown at you that day and drag himself into work even though all he wants to do is curl up into a ball under the covers.

So they get in the car and start driving, and once again EL James decides to use OPERA to underscore how classy and cultured Ana and Grey are.

“La Traviata? I’ve headr of that. I can’t think where. What does it mean?”
Christian glances at me and smirks.
“Well, literally, the woman led astray. It’s based on Alexander Dumas’s book, La Dame aux Camelias.”
“Ah. I’ve read it.”
“I thought you might.”

They then swirl some brandy around and chortle until someone says something shocking and Ana's monocle pops right out of her socket.  Just kidding, Ana thinks the song MEANS something and he is trying to tell her something, and comments the story is depressing (The doomed courtesan). So Grey points out his iPod and challenges her to pick something. Hang on, need to roll for sanity.

...Whew. That was close. Okay, I am rationalizing this with "It started off as fanfiction" and not thinking too hard about how popular it is.

I scroll through the touch screen, and find the perfect song. I press play. I wouldn’t have figured him for a Britney fan. The club-mix, techno beat assaults us both, and Christian turns the volume down. Maybe it’s too early for this: Britney’s at her most sultry.
“Toxic, eh?” Christian grins.

Her most sultry involved murdering people. Gotcha. Grey however turns it down, repeatedly, and admits that he didn't put the song on there. NICE TRY GREY! You may not have put it there, but you left it there. Ana is distracted by Grey's incriminating tastes in music because she is obsessing over who put this song on his mp3 player if not him? Naturally, one of his exes.

Let's recap. Grey has woken Ana up before dawn, been cranky at her for wanting to shower, and not eat, first thing, and is now deliberately bringing up that his ex put the song on there. This is supposed to be the romantic surprise he is doing for her. So far he's not so good at this game.

“What happened to her?”
“We finished.”
Oh jeez. It’s too early for this kind of conversation. But he looks relaxed, happy even, and what’s more, talkative.
“She wanted more.”

BECAUSE THAT DOESN'T READ LIKE A VEILED THREAT AT ALL! I mean, sure, he adds on "You're the only girl I've ever wanted more with" but this is just awful and manipulative. "Don't push too hard or I'll leave". Ana however thinks this is a good time to comb his romantic history since he seems talkative enough and isn't getting bitchy about it. I don't even-

He goes on to tell her that there were four women and Elena who were serious relationships (Mrs. Robinson to us!) one met someone else, the other THREE wanted more. I get that this is supposed to underscore "I AM SO INTO YOU" but it just reads as a threat to me.

Elena! Holy Fuck. The evil one has a name and its all-foreign sounding. A vision of a glorious, pale-skinned vamp with raven hair and ruby-red lips comes to mind, and I know that she’s beautiful. I must not dwell. I must not dwell.

So I'm going to assume that EL James figured leaving a random vampire reference in a book where there is no gothic or supernatural references was fair game here? I mean, I guess there's nothing wrong with it, but you just know that she used to be a vampire. Although didn't we already know she was beautiful? She managed to have a young Christian Grey all over that shit, so she had to be something of a looker.

Ana's head is reeling from all of this new information (because finding out your boyfriend has exes that it didn't work out with is a big shock) and we find out that "Chasing the dawn" means "Soaring" (which I think is like going gliding? Small plane with no engine.) which is Grey's second favorite hobby. The first is Ana's snatch.

*Erika rolled for sanity! She failed her roll and lost three points of sanity! Erika trembles for a few minutes, eyes wide, mouth silently trying to form profanities but only coming out with a few angry squeaks*

So they get to the air field where there's some Dude who Grey starts talking to and Taylor. Seriously what the hell is his job description?

“Miss Steele.” He nods a greeting at me, and I frown. “Ana,” he corrects himself. “He’s been hell on wheels the last few days. Glad we’re here,” he says conspiratorially.
Oh, this is news – Why? Surely not because of me!

Nope, he totally stalked you across the country and was a cantankerous bastard until he did! This isn't a sign of unhealthy obsession! Nope! Just affection!

“First we need to strap on your parachute.”
“I’ll do that,” Christian interrupts him and takes the harness off Benson, who smiles amenably at him.

He then clutches Ana and screeches "MY PRECIOUS!" and then Ana gets bullied into the plane.

“This won’t take long – twenty, thirty minutes at most. Thermals aren’t great this time of the morning, but it’s so breathtaking up there at this hour. I hope you’re not nervous.”
“Excited.” I beam.
Where did this ridiculous grin come from? Actually, part of me is terrified. My inner goddess – she’s under a blanket behind the sofa.

EVEN THE VOICES IN YOUR MAIN CHARACTERS HEAD ARE INCONSISTENT! I didn't mention it earlier, but her subconscious was all "See? He cares! He got you Twinning!"  and now her brazen Inner Goddess is for some reason cowering behind the sofa like a scared dog.

So, "Soaring" involves a tiny two person plane, and it's getting towed by a bigger one.

Oh my. This is amazing, above us only sky. The light is extraordinary, diffuse and warm in hue, and I remember José rambling on about ‘magic hour’, a time of day that photographers adore – this is it… just after dawn, and I’m in it, with Christian.

 Abruptly, I’m reminded of José’s show. Hmm. I need to tell Christian. I wonder briefly how he’ll react. But I won’t worry about that, not now – I’m enjoying the ride. My ears pop as we gain height, and the ground slips further and further away. It is so peaceful. I completely get why he likes to be up here. Away from his BlackBerry and all the pressures of his job.
Holy fuck – it’s exciting. The plane banks and turns as the wing dips, and we spiral toward the sun. Icarus. This is it. I am flying close to the sun, but he’s with me, leading me. I gasp at the realization. We spiral and spiral and, the view in this morning light is spectacular.

I figured I should set the scene, since EL James has gone to great lengths to do so. There is great effort put into painting a picture of Grey and Ana up in the air, in their own private happy little bubble, him sharing something with her he is really passionate about. It's high energy and magical and fun! But Ana has two thoughts going on here that I want to talk about.

The first is Ana thinking about Jose. It's framed fairly innocently, but she keeps coming back to his art show and wanting to ask Grey about it. Frankly, if I were her, I would go stag. Jose doesn't like Grey. Grey doesn't like Jose. Unless it is something like your birthday, or an event about you, if your friends don't like your boyfriend, and he doesn't like them, why bring him to rain on their day? It'll be awkward and uncomfortable for everyone. So just, go on your own (or with Kate) and have fun. I get her wanting to tell Grey about it, but I hope it's "So I'm doing this thing. You are welcome to join me" as to "Wanna go and do this thing?" because that implies he gets a say. He doesn't.

The other thing I want to pick at is yet another reference. I get that we're supposed to be tying in all of Ana's Icarus references up to this point but this is not what the fable meant. If you MUST beat your readers over the head with an allegory, at least understand what the allegory means.

So more flying, Ana has a brief stint steering the thing (Is that allowed?) and they land and make out a little and Grey drags her off to go eat breakfast.

Oh my… sex in an IHOP

They don't, or at least, not yet? Their waitress is totally disarmed and turns red and blushes at Grey and Ana asks him to order for her. Ana comments on how UNFAIR it is that he is soooo sexy that women around him just melt and swoon all over the damned place. When ever he walks down a street he creates a hazard of swooned ladies left in his wake. It's why he drives in a car with a tinted window. Less collateral that way.

We just need to re-define our parameters, re-draw our battle lines, if you will. We can make this work, I’m sure. I want you submissive in my playroom. I will punish you if you digress from the rules. Other than that… well, I think it’s all up for discussion. Those are my requirements, Miss Steele. What say you to that?”
“I was frightened you’d leave me if I didn’t agree to all of it,” I whisper.
“I’m not going anywhere,

YOU HAVE BEEN DATING WEEKS IT IS WAY TO EARLY TO MAKE THE CALL OF NOT GOING ANYWHERE! That aside, I do like how Grey is being open to having Conversations about their relationship and is stating his wants is simple terms. I find the way he says anything pompous and obnoxious at best, but I can try to appropriate what he's saying here.

“Can I treat you?” I ask Christian.
“Treat me how?”
“Pay for this meal.”
Christian snorts.
“I don’t think so.” he scoffs.
“Please. I want to.”
He frowns at me.
“Are you trying to completely emasculate me?”
“This is probably the only place that I’ll be able to afford to pay.”
“Anastasia, I appreciate the thought. I do. But no"

*Erika rolled for sanity. Erika failed her sanity roll and takes four points of sanity loss!*


I have a lot of dude friends. I've mentioned this before. Sometimes I hang out with them one on one and we do things like go out for dinner or drinks. I am endlessly annoyed when the waiter/waitress just assume one bill and hands it DIRECTLY to the dude I'm out with. There are some dudes I'm less bothered about this than others. The ones who don't stop me when I try to pay next time- fine. This is just a case of a friend picking up the tab. Thanks! I'll get the next round, okay? I unfortunately have some dude friends who feel threatened when I inevitably try to return the favor because it is emasculating and they're afraid the waiter will think they're a dink. No, the waiter is going to think you boning a hot chick who doesn't mind picking up the tab, and that it is awesome. It makes you look like a god damned pimp! You're welcome! I am more lax about this if I am romantically involved with the dude in question because odds are I will be returning the favor in other ways (Food Wizardry, get your mind out of the gutter) but I still make a point to pick up the tab sometimes, too.*** Not letting me pick up the tab makes me feel like a kept woman, and that is icky. JUST LET ME DO THIS THING THAT IS NICE FOR YOU! SMILE AND SAY THANK YOU YOU WANKASAURAUS!

Back to the book. They finish breakfast and shockingly don't fuck. Grey drops Ana off at her Mother's.

Of course he doesn’t ask me for my mother’s address. He knows it already, stalker that he is.

Why are you so okay with this?!?!

Why do I want to spend every single minute with this controlling sex god? Oh yes, I’ve fallen in love with him, and he can fly.

The only part of this I'm giving you is the "and he can fly" Ana. I'm also picturing him flying by flapping his arms real hard. That makes this easier. Ana talks to her Mum a little (Her Mother is pretty blase about her daughter having been in a small plane with no engine) and Ana then goes off to send Grey a thank you e-mail. There are some awful puns and she calls him a scoundrel and a cad (which are admittedly kind of awesome insults to fling around) when he tells her she talks in her sleep, but won't tell her what she says. She then vows to make bread.

So Ana and her Mother are in the supermarket shopping for dinner when Ana gets a phone call with a job offer for the job she wanted. Naturally. Ana's Mother is appropriately delighted and is hopping up and down and Ana then notices that she has a missed call from Grey. He can't make dinner! Something Serious has happened and he is on his way back to Seattle! Oh no! Actually Ana is pretty good about it, and wishes him luck dealing with what ever this thing is.

Oh no. The last ‘situation’ he had was my virginity. Jeez, I hope it’s nothing like that.

Why is this where your mind goes, Ana? Why? So Ana is lounging with her Mother by the pool she mulls over the shift in Grey's attitude and then realizes something. Right at the time of the change in his attitude, he had dinner with Mrs. Robinson.

Whatever it is, or was, I hope the sea of change is coming from within him and not because of her.

Why? That would be a huge boon for you. If she is encouraging him into your arms it means that she definitely doesn't want her a piece of that anymore! Or at least, not in such a way that she is willing to really do anything about it. She is the only person he really talks to about Things, so if she's rooting for you, that is a good thing! Although I suspect it is more Ana being upset that Elena can affect change in Christian when she can not. Funny how people who have been in our lives for ages words carry more than people who we've only known for a few weeks.

So Ana e-mails him asking if he landed and they banter and we still don't know what the "situation" is. Ana also keeps pressing him about what she said and that she shouldn't be held responsible for what she utters in her sleep.

Subject: What you said in your sleep
To: Anastasia Steele
I’d rather hear you say the words that you uttered in your sleep when you’re conscious, that’s why I won’t tell you. Go to sleep. You’ll need to be rested with what I have in mind for you tomorrow.
Christian Grey
CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.

Oh no… What have I said? It’s as bad as I think, I’m sure.

So she's sleep talking about confessing her love to him? That's way less fun than what I was thinking which was something about donkey punching. That brings us to the end of this chapter! I'm going back to bed now. As always, comments make me write faster!

*He is my favorite ever.
**The intent would be more to underscore how much it must suck to have to deal with them and how cis-gendered people should make more of an effort to be aware of it because it is something that is so easy to just... not think about, unless you interact with it on a regular basis. I suppose I could say that for almost any minority group, but I had been binging on trans-rights articles at the point this conversation happened.
***Admittedly less with The Boy since we have mostly shared finances. I did take him out for fancy dinner on his birthday, but that was because I was too exhausted to cook. Shhh.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It is Tuesday. That comes after Monday.

So, there has been some Awful dropped into my lap this week. There is a post about the main event pending, but the whole thing has left me rattled and upset and triggered. This is shockingly not super helpful when trying to work on posts, so while I'm hoping to get 50 Shades done for Thursday still, today is just going to be me inviting all of you to take a moment to relax with me.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

50 Shades of Grey Chapter 23

So, I'm starting this post with a drink in hand. There is no way that Grey is not about to drive me to drink after he's flown across the fucking country after a DAY to breath heavily on Ana specifically after he said he wouldn't. I mean, I'm sure he has some "legitimate" reason to be there. Some work related thing that, oh, whoops! Came up last minute and he didn't tell Ana because he was trying to stay away! Uh huh. And I can reach the top shelf*.

“Ana, what is it? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“It’s Christian, he’s here.”
“What? Really?” She glances around the bar too.
I have neglected to mention Christian’s stalker tendencies to my mom.

I also neglect to mention to my Mother the really problematic things my dates do. Like lean in and breath real deep and shudder. Which you KNOW Grey does when Ana isn't looking. Also her Mother's response is about right, though I wish it was also heavy with "WHAT THE FUCK DAUGHTER?" but since her Mother thinks all men are the same, and two dimensional, she will instead insist that this is a romantic gesture, not a total lack of respect towards boundaries. I would like to remind you all that Ana has come to Georgia to visit her Mother because she wanted to get AWAY from Grey because she has a hard time thinking when he's around. He knew this. And came anyways.

He’s really here – for me. My inner goddess leaps up cheering from her chaise longue.

Hey, Ana's inner goddess, I heard someone tossed some Sex in the City DVDs onto the interstate! You should go grab them before someone else does! This is seriously the wrong response. Fear or shock would be what I'd have expected, myself. As Grey stalks through the crowd like some sort of animal Ana comments that he looks angry, and that she's still angry at him herself and not sure how to be around him at all right now, let alone in front of her Mother. I really hope Ana says something to the effect of "Sorry darling but it's girls night and I'll just have to see you when I get back to Seattle" which would 1) Reaffirm her boundaries, and that they matter, 2) Let Ana have time to cool down/sober up and 3) save me from the inevitable and painful wooing of her Mother.

“Mrs. Adams, I am delighted to meet you.”
How does he know her name? He gives her the heart-stopping, Christian Grey patented, full-blown-no-prisoners-taken smile. She doesn’t have a hope. My mother’s lower jaw practically hits the table. Jeez, get a grip Mom. She takes his proffered hand and they shake. My mother hasn’t replied. Oh, complete dumbfounded speechlessness is genetic – I had no idea.
“Christian,” she manages finally, breathlessly.
He smiles knowingly at her, his gray eyes twinkling.

See? I also want to know how Grey knows her name when I DIDN'T UNTIL JUST NOW! We now have proof that Grey is not only stalking Ana, he's at least doing some research on her family. That? That is NOT OKAY! THAT IS CREEPY EL JAMES! So fucking creepy. Like, I kind of want to take a shower just writing about this chapter creepy. The fact that he's basically seducing Ana's Mother with his black magic doesn't make it any better.

“I came to see you, of course.” He gazes down at me impassively. Oh, what is he thinking? ...
“Well, yesterday you said you wished I was here.” He pauses trying to gauge my reaction. “We aim to please, Miss Steele.” His voice is quiet with no trace of

Okay, I was wrong about him having a pretext for being there. So, Ana says she's fleeing the state to get away from him to think. In e-mailing fondly she mentions "I wish you were here!" in a way that you DO when you're away from your significant other on vacation. It's a thing you say, not necessarily a thing you mean. The fact that Grey took this literally, and didn't ask Ana, or tell her, is... Upsetting to me. He happened to bump into them. Was he going to stop by her Mother's place unannounced and then have to explain how he knew where that was?

“Well, I was going to pay you a visit tomorrow. But here you are.”
He reaches over, takes my hand, and squeezes it gently, running his thumb across my knuckles to and fro… and I feel the familiar pull. The electric charge zapping beneath my skin under the gentle pressure from his thumb, firing into my blood stream and pulsing around my body, heating everything in its path. It’s been over two days since I saw him. Oh my... I want him. My breath hitches. I blink at him, smiling shyly, and see a smile play on his beautiful, sculptured lips.

When I first read him taking her hand I thought it was kind of cute. I remembered the first boy I ever dated and I at the movies early in our relationship, and holding hands. His thumb dragging over my knuckles was a daring move and got me all fluttery. I don't even remember what movie it was, but I remember the way he held my hand to this day. And then Ana had to go and ruin that by getting lady-boners all over the damned place. Your Mom is right there dude!

I glance quickly at Mom who is staring at Christian… yes staring! Stop it Mom. As if he’s some exotic creature, never seen before. I mean, I know I’ve never had a boyfriend, and Christian only qualifies as such for ease of reference – but is it so unbelievable that I could attract a man? This man? Yes, frankly – look at him – my subconscious snaps. Oh, shut up! Who invited you to the party? I scowl at my mom – but she doesn’t seem to notice.

She doesn't notice because she's too busy being enthralled by his dark magic glamor. Also so much self loathing and doubt here. The fucker has stalked you across the country, can't you get even a little ego boost here Ana? You also think your Mom is thinking he's too good for you? Mom will never think your boyfriend is too good for you. MAYBE good enough, but never too good.

Grey pretends to be a decent human being and insists he won't stay long and Calra (Ana's Mom has a name now!) and Ana don't see each other much and he doesn't want to infringe, and so Carla insists on Grey joining them for dinner tomorrow and then is off to powder her nose or something so Grey and Ana can have a quickie. And by quickie I mean a fight.

“So, you’re mad at me for having dinner with an old friend.” Christian turns his burning, wary gaze to me, lifting my hand to his lips and kissing each knuckle gently.

This gesture is icky to me. I'm all for touching during fights. I will hug and hold hands with The Boy when we're fighting, but this feels manipulative. Grey KNOWS how affected Ana is by his touch, and he brings up something he knows she is upset about in a way that is meant to distract her. Maybe this is meant to be soothing, but it feels manipulative to me. So, Grey initiates the conversation, and insists that it "isn't like that! I only want you baby! Can't you see that? I stalked you all the way to Georgia!" and Ana, finally, calls him out on the fact that MRS. ROBINSON IS A FUCKING CHILD MOLESTER!

“That’s very judgmental. It wasn’t like that,” he whispers, shocked. He releases my hand.
“Oh, how was it then?” I ask. The Cosmos are making me brave.
He frowns at me, bewildered. I continue.
“She took advantage of a vulnerable fifteen-year-old boy. If you had been a fifteen-year-old girl and Mrs. Robinson was a Mr. Robinson, tempting you into a BDSM lifestyle, that would have been okay? If it was Mia, say?”
He gasps and scowls at me.
“Ana, it wasn’t like that.”

I glare at him.

I love this. Ana is calling him out on this, and doing it in a way he isn't able to really back peddle out of, the the text isn't magically letting him smooth talk his way out of it. Almost like he's able to be wrong or something! Wait, forgot what I was reading here.

“Okay, it didn’t feel like that to me,” he continues quietly. “She was a force for good. What I needed.”
“I don’t understand.” It’s my turn to look bewildered.
“Anastasia, your mother will be back shortly. I’m not comfortable talking about this now. Later maybe.

Grey realizes he can't win this one with logic, so he says something cryptic, and despite being the one to open the can of worms, he slams it shut when he realizes he doesn't have control over the conversation. Ana had already called Mrs. R a child molester, so he had to know that was coming, right? Ana not taking his cryptic response at bay, he instead offers to leave Georgia.

He’s angry with me… no.
“No – don’t go. Please. I’m thrilled you’re here.

So after ending a conversation he started, he gets terse so Ana will back peddle, knowing to fear his moods and anger. ADJHRFG. Ana DOES however stand by the fact that what he did was upsetting. She left and he rushed to Mrs. R's side! She tries to make Grey understand by using Jose as an example. Rather then skin Ana for muttering "The Photographer's" name, he sees the conversation has twisted into a way that works for him again.

“You’re jealous?” He stares at me, dumbfounded, and his eyes soften slightly, warming.
“Yes, and angry about what she did to you.”
“Anastasia, she helped me, that’s all I’ll say about that. And as for your jealousy, put yourself in my shoes. I haven’t had to justify my actions to anyone in the last seven years. Not one person. I do as I wish, Anastasia. I like my autonomy. I didn’t go and see Mrs. Robinson to upset you. I went because every now and then we have dinner. She’s a friend and a business partner.”

So, Grey is saying "I'm sorry I'm an inconsiderate prick-hole but Mrs. R HELPED me by teaching me HOW to become an inconsiderate prick-hole! Can't you see how that's a good thing? Also she's my business partner" Wait, WHAT? Grey uses this as PROOF that there is nothing going on between them. "See? We're coworkers, the sex has been over for aaaages! We've been too busy working! People never hook up with co-workers!" and then... Oh god, this conversation just... It doesn't make sense, you guys. Ana once again is acting like an alien. 

“Why did your relationship finish?”
His mouth narrows, and his eyes gleam.
“Her husband found out.”
Holy shit!
“Can we talk about this some other time – somewhere more private?” he growls.
“I don’t think you’ll ever convince me that she’s not some kind of paedophile.”
“I don’t think of her that way. I never have. Now that’s enough!” he snaps.
“Did you love her?”

Ana, what the hell? One topic at a time. No one does this. I mean, I get that Ana has Questions. Lots of them. I do not get how she hardly gets an answer for one before she rushes on to the next. At least she isn't asking him why she can't touch him this time. What irks me the most is Grey insists "No, it wasn't pedophilia." and Ana's response was to ask if he loved her. LOL WHAT? Naturally her Mother returns RIGHT THEN AND THERE so that Grey can't answer (I like to think his answer would be to bop Ana on the head with a rolled up news paper and scream "NO! BAD!" but that's mostly because I want to hit her with a rolled up newspaper).

Did he love her? I think if he did, I will lose it, big time.

I get that being jealous is supposed to be Ana's "thing" but COME ON! YOU ARE NOT THE FIRST WOMAN HE HAS EVER MET! Are you SO insecure that the thought of him having been with, and cared about, a woman before you will drive you to "lose it big time" or is it that you honestly think Mrs. R abused and molested him and you're angry about him having potentially loved someone who abused him? If nothing else, you need to stop and listen to what he's saying. He is telling you 1) He doesn't want to talk about it, 2) He wasn't scarred by it 3) He has gone as far to say that he was HELPED by her actions. Ana can disagree. She can not like it, but she really needs to listen to what Grey is telling her for a change. He at least listens when she gets over herself long enough to voice her rage concerns. 

So Grey leaves Ana to her Mother, and naturally the text needs to remind Ana (and the reader) how perfect and wonderful Grey is.

“Ana, you came here because you’re confused about that boy. It’s obvious you two are crazy about each other. You need to talk to him. He’s just flown three thousand odd miles to see you, for heaven’s sake. And you know how awful it is to fly.”

Ana insists that she came to visit her Mother, and her Mother brushes this off because THEY MUST TALK TO WORK THROUGH THEIR PROBLEMS! Well, that is true, Carla, but you talk in clichees and it hurts me.

“Ana, honey, you’ve always had a tendency to over-analyze everything. Go with your gut. What does that tell you, sweetheart?”
I stare at my fingers.
“I think I’m in love with him,” I mutter.
“I know darling. And he with you.”
“Yes, Ana. Hell – what do you need? A neon sign flashing on his forehead?”

So Ana's Mother tells her Grey loves her. Kate has also basically said this. I hate how Grey is so emotionally constipated in EL James' head that she needs TEH WIMMINZ to tell Ana how Grey REALLY feels because he can't tell her himself! Calra then orders her daughter to go up to his room and have sex (but use a condom!) and I have mixed feelings on that. On one hand, I think it's great that her Mother is being so comfortable with her daughter having sex and relationships and treating her like a big girl, on the other... Being told by your Mom to go bang your boyfriend is weird no matter how you look at it.

So Ana goes to his room. He's on the phone doing Business Dude things. Once he's off she insists to know if he loved Mrs. R (he doesn't) and then they leap RIGHT into the "playful" banter. He teases her for being jealous, she teases him for teasing her... It's all very trite. Despite the fact that Ana went to have a SRS CONVERSATION they jump right into foreplay but Grey somehow magically knows Ana is on her period. Huh? The only reason The Boy has any idea when I'm bleedy is because, well, he's been with me three years, living with me for one of them. He knows the signs. He knows that I'm wiped and lethargic and cranky and in a great deal of pain. He also knows when my last one was, which gives him a frame of reference. He gets flashing neon signs leading up to the event as well as having a rough time frame. He can science that bitch. Grey just... knows.

“I want you,” he breathes.
I moan and reach up and grasp his arms.
“Are you bleeding?” He continues to kiss me.
Holy Fuck. Does nothing slip by him?
“Yes,” I whisper, embarrassed.

I suppose she could have mentioned when she was due, or he could have figured if they've been screwing for about a month and she hadn't had her period she was due, but, as I said before, uterus are strange and magical things. Neither are periods. No two are alike, often even for the same woman. I discovered this month I get fucking kidney pain with mine now sometimes. What the hell uterus? So, if Grey was keeping track of Ana's potential menstruation on a calendar, there would be little to no guarantee that she would be bleeding on those days because SHOCK! Most women don't menstruate like clock work! Not unless they are already on the pill or something of the like. Which he also has no way of knowing.

His response, thankfully, isn't "YES BLOW JOB WEEK!"** but rather "BATH TIME!" and he leads her to an elaborate sounding bathroom.

He takes me into the bathroom which is two rooms, all aquamarines and white limestone. It’s huge – In the second room a sunken bath, big enough for four people with stone steps that lead into it, is slowly filling with water. Steam rises gently above the foam, and I notice a stone seat all the way round. Candles flicker to the side. Wow… he’s done all this while on the phone.

Again, I don't imagine I stay at the same kind of hotels as Grey, but I don't think most rooms have magical spa bathrooms. Also where did he get the candles from? And how did he do all this with one hand? He was on the phone while he did this. And WOW that is presumptuous of you, Grey. Ana turns up, you know she's pissed at you, and it's reasonable that she came to finish the conversation. He however, despite being suspicious of her bleeding (which is grounds for not being in the mood) and having grounds for suspecting that she is upset with him one handed starts to set The Mood.

So, they get ready to start banging. Grey orders her to tie her hair up and then we get proof EL James doesn't have proof readers.

He leans over and shuts off the faucet. leadingL me back into the first part of the bathroom,he stands behind me as we face the wall-sized mirror above the two glass sinks.

I didn't touch that. Just copy pasted. I do not look forward to the next book.

“Look at you. You are so beautiful,” he murmurs. “See how you feel.” He clasps both my hands in his, his palms against the backs of my hands, his fingers in between mine so that my fingers are splayed. He places my hands on my belly. “Feel how soft your skin is.” His voice is soft and low. He moves my hands in a slow circle then upwards towards my breasts. “Feel how full your breasts are.” He holds my hands so that they cup my breasts. He gently strokes my nipples with his thumbs over and over.

I was about to start ranting about how I'm sure she's already done all this while going to town on herself but remembered Ana is an alien who has never ever masturbated. Carry on.

I watch in fascination at the wanton creature writhing in front of me. Oh this feels good. I groan and close my eyes, no longer wanting to see that libidinous woman in the mirror falling apart under her own hands… his hands… feeling my skin as he would, experiencing how arousing it is – just his touch, and his calm, soft, commands.

OH LOOK GUYS ANA IS HAVING A SEXUAL AWAKENING! CHECK THIS SHIT! She's only so into this because she's such a sexy special snowflake. I picture Ana in the mirror being all "Oh, who IS that sexy beast? Rawr baby."

Truly I am a marionette and he is the master puppeteer.

Right, because puppets are sexy, not inherently creepy.

“Carry on,” he orders, and stands back watching me.
I rub myself. No. I want him, him to do it. It doesn’t feel the same. I’m lost without him.

Ana is apparently so helpless she can't even get herself riled up without help. It's okay, Grey is there to save the day!

He stops abruptly and spins me around, circling my wrists with one hand, imprisoning my hands behind me, and pulling at my ponytail with the other. I am flush against him, and he kisses me wildly, ravaging my mouth with his. Holding, h me in place.

Again, I've got the e-book, that shit is copy pasted. Typo and all. I'm stumped as to what's going on here. He manages to get both wrists, which are in front of her, with one hand. Okay, I guess he did have his hands on hers as he was making her touch herself, but, how did he get them behind her? And what does her ponytail have to do with it? Is she facing him, or kissing him over her shoulder?

He reaches between my legs and pulls on the blue string… what! And… a gently pulls my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet. Holy fuck. Sweet mother of all… Jeez.

NO THANK YOU MR. GREY I CAN TAKE CARE OF THAT MYSELF. Also surprised at his aim here. I always miss when I play tampon basketball and end up having to wipe blood off of the back of the toilet. On the upside, at least I get the rebound shot.*** Usually.

Grey is about to go bareback, so lets see what Ana has to say about that!

Skin against skin… moving slowly at first… easily, testing me, pushing me… oh my.

Fun fact- You can still get pregnant when you're on your period. One Grey doesn't seem to know about, that or he's playing the odds. Also according to Ana bareback sex is just about the same as condom sex. That's been about my experience, too, but I hear it's different for the penis-haver in these situations. I would also like to reiterate that Grey is going bare-back when Ana is bleeding because he thinks he can't knock her up. Ana is a virgin, and Grey claims to have been tested/clean since his last partner. Still, you can be a carrier for a lot of things, and since Ana hasn't been tested, shoving his dick IN HER BLOOD seems like a really bad idea.

Whoa… and I come, loudly, gripping for dear life onto the sink as I spiral down through my orgasm, everything spinning and clenching at once. He follows, clasping me tightly, his front on my back as he climaxes and calls my name like it’s a litany or a prayer.

I feel we've gotten these descriptors already. EL JAMES I DEMAND MORE CREATIVITY ON YOUR PART!

“Oh, baby, will I ever get enough of you?” he whispers.
Will it always be like this? So overwhelming, so all-consuming, so bewildering and beguiling. I wanted to talk, but now I’m spent and dazed from his lovemaking and wondering if I will ever get enough of him?

My liver hates you EL James. It hates you so much.

I remember that I have my period.
“I’m bleeding,” I murmur.
“Doesn’t bother me,” he breathes.
“I noticed.” I can’t keep the dryness out of my voice.
He tenses slightly.
“Does it bother you?” he asks softly.
Does it bother me? Maybe it should… should it? No, it doesn’t. I lean back and look up at him, and he gazes down at me, his eyes a soft cloudy gray.
“No, not at all.”

You forgot that you were bleeding all over the place? Doesn't it look like he just tried to murder you with his dick? They then get ready to hop in the tub, but first- Drama!

As he does, I notice again the small, round, white scars on his chest. They are not chicken pox, I muse absentmindedly. Grace said he was hardly affected. Holy shit… they must be burns. Burns from what? I blanch at the realization, shock and revulsion coursing through me. From cigarettes? Mrs. Robinson, his birth mother, who? Who did this to him? Maybe there’s a reasonable explanation, and I’m over-reacting – wild hope blossoms in my chest – hope that I am wrong.

Grey notices that Ana is suddenly FREAKING OUT and reacts reasonably. She simply tells him his scars aren't from chicken pox. Dear god, Ana. Tact. Get some.

“Don’t look at me like that.” His voice is colder and scolding as he lets go of my hand.
I flush, chastened, and stare down at my fingers, and I know, I know that someone stubbed cigarettes out on Christian. I feel sick.

I'd be pretty freaked out if I found out my SO had had someone abuse them like this, Ana naturally thinks it's Mrs. R.

“She? Mrs. Robinson? She’s not an animal, Anastasia. Of course she didn’t. I don’t understand why you feel you have to demonize her.”


He’s standing there, naked, gloriously naked, with my blood on him… and we’re finally having this conversation. And I’m naked too – neither of us has anywhere to hide, except perhaps the bath.

Really? You had to point out that you've marked him as your own by bleeding on him here? And how EXPOSED you both are, emotionally and physically? Arrrkgfiuoaehtkjnhirnhksjdbna9eru. Kbhr. Pffjehg. Ana then scampers into the tub because it is the only place to hide and deflects Grey's question (which, admittedly, she's already answered earlier by saying she thinks the woman is a fucking child molester) and meekly wonders what Grey would be like if Mrs. R hadn't introduced him to BDSM.

“I would probably have gone the way of my birth mother, had it not been for Mrs. Robinson.”
Oh! I blink at him. Crack addict or whore? Possibly both?

Really? The Greys wouldn't have done something like an intervention or stuck your under aged ass in therapy or any number of things? You know, his doctor parents? No, it was Mrs. R loving him in a way he finds "acceptable" what ever the fuck that means that saved him from that path!

“Yes.” He stares intently at me. “She distracted me from the destructive path I found myself following. It’s very hard to grow up in a perfect family when you’re not perfect.”

OH POOR BABY BEING RAISED IN A FAMILY THAT IS GOING TO DO EVERYTHING TO HELP YOU BE A HAPPY HEALTHY PERSON! Seriously, privileged prick. All it took were some tits to "distract" him from his path. He then tells us that he hasn't talked to anyone but his shrink about this and is only talking to Ana about it because he wants her to trust him. I've got mixed feelings on this. On one hand, I like that Grey is trying to reassure Ana to protect one of the few people he has an emotional attachment to as to just ditching his friend in the name of some sweet snatch. On the other, I hate that the text is dismissing what is statutory-rape. Think EL James donates to NMBLA too?

“I do trust you, but I do want to know you better, and whenever I try to talk to you, you distract me. There’s so much I want to know.”
“Oh for pity’s sake, Anastasia. What do you want to know? What do I have to do?” His eyes blaze, and though he doesn’t raise his voice, I know he’s trying to rein in his temper.

Jesus fuck Ana. I'm with Grey on this one. He has made HUGE steps in talking to you, sharing about himself. You just keep demanding moremoremore. It is one thing to ask, it is another to press. You, Ana, are pressing. It shows a very base disrespect for boundaries. Which considering how huffy she gets when Ana has decided her own boundaries have been crossed is painful.

“I’m just trying to understand, you’re such an enigma. Unlike anyone I’ve met before. I’m glad you’re telling me what I want to know.”
Jeez – maybe it’s the Cosmopolitans making me brave, but suddenly I cannot bear the distance between us.

Is Ana not supposed to touch him, or just his chest? I'm honestly unclear about this rule. So Ana snuggles in and Grey, exasperated, explains that he isn't used to talking like this. He only talks to his shrink and Mrs. R. Ana behaves herself by not frothing at the mouth that he has an emotional relationship with this woman and she isn't the most special snowflake ever. Ana presses about what Grey talks to her about, and is upset to learn she is on the list.

“And you take advice from Mrs. Paedo?” I snap. The hold on my temper is more tentative than I thought.
“Anastasia – enough,” he snaps back sternly, his eyes narrowing.
I’m skating on thin ice, and I’m heading into danger. “Or I’ll put you across my knee. I have no sexual or romantic interest in her whatsoever. She’s a dear, valued friend and a business partner. That’s all. We have a past, a shared history, which was monumentally beneficial for me, though it fucked up her marriage – but that side of our relationship is over.”

Okay, deep breath. I first need to point out the obvious. The threat of "drop it or I will hit you" yes, Ana is being pushy and disrespectful and not handling this even a little bit well, but she is allowed to ask about his ex, and his relationship with her, and is allowed to be upset and confused about it considering how... dramatic, it is. I just hate them both SO MUCH right now. Grey is ignoring the fact that this woman had an affair for him. He is asking Ana to ignore that fact, and ignore the implications of it. These are not small things to ask, but he expects them, and expects them with a meek smile. This could be playing up what a controlling bastard he is, but honestly? I think we're supposed to side with him, and I just... I can't. I don't agree with Ana's approach, but these are "Deal Breaker" type things, and she is allowed to try and figure it out so she can make an informed decision.

“And your parents never found out?”
“No,” he growls. “I’ve told you this.”
And I know that’s it. I cannot ask him any further questions about her because he will lose it with me.
“Are you done?” he snaps.
“For now.”

Grey relaxes, and now we're onto softer, squishier subjects. Like the big e-mail he sent that she never sent a proper reply to.

“I was going to respond. But now you’re here.”
“You’d rather I wasn’t?” he breathes, his expression impassive again.
“No, I’m pleased,” I murmur.
“Good.” He gives me a genuine, relieved smile. “I’m pleased I’m here too – in spite of your interrogation. So, while it’s acceptable to grill me, you think you can claim some kind of diplomatic immunity just because I’ve flown all this way to see you? I’m not buying it, Miss Steele. I want to know how you feel.”

She feels pretty good about him having gone to SUCH EFFORTS to see her. Want to know what makes a romantic gesture LESS romantic? Talking about what a big deal it is. So Grey starts to ask her about their potential arrangement and Ana admits she doesn't think she can be a good submissive. Grey agrees, and then... *Sigh*

“Was it that bad when I spanked you the first time?”
I gaze back at him, blinking. Was it that bad? I remember feeling confused by my reaction. It hurt, but not that much in retrospect. He’s said over and over again it’s more in my head. And the second time… Well, that was good… hot.
“No, not really,” I whisper.
“It’s more the idea of it?” he prompts.
“I suppose. Feeling pleasure, when one isn’t supposed to.”
“I remember feeling the same. Takes a while to get your head around it.”

THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW THAT PEOPLE DON'T LIKE BEING SPANKED BECAUSE SOCIETY TELLS THEM THEY DON'T AND NOT BECAUSE THERE BODIES ARE TELLING THEM THEY DON'T! It's easy to say this once Ana has had time and space to rewrite the event in her head, but you know what? I read that chapter. I got the play by play from her point of view, and I found it upsetting and fucked up. Ana WAS that traumatized, and it bothers me that the text is going to try to gas light her, and us, about it. 

Ana then asks why he wants to control her, and...

“Because it satisfies a need in me that wasn’t met in my formative years.”

Show of hands, who remembers shit from when they were four? Because I don't and I really wish EL James had made Grey just a little bit older before pulling the "All his issues are from his tragic childhood" card. Nine I could have wrapped my head around. Six I would have been skeptical, but I could have seen it. Four? To this level? In these ways? Not so much.

“But, here’s the thing – one moment you say don’t defy me, the next you say you like to be challenged. That’s a very fine line to tread successfully.”
He gazes at me for a moment, then frowns.
“I can see that. But you seem to be doing fine so far.”

DOUCHE BAG. Ana points out that it makes her anxious and Grey deflects this and then they start fucking. No, really, it's... Almost instant. They make out a little and then with almost no foreplay Grey releases a mighty thrust with a scream of "FOR GLORY!" Okay, maybe I changed that in my head a little, but only a little.

“Please let my hands go,” I whisper.
“Don’t touch me,” he pleads, and releasing my wrists, he grabs my hips.

This is so fucking sad. How is she supposed to balance during all these sexual acrobatics if she can't brace on you dude? She just clings to the bathtub ledge before molesting his hair, because even though he asked not to be touched he's been okay with that one before, so it should still be fine, right?

We are wet mouths and tongues, tangled hair, and moving hips.

Mental image of floating disembodies bits summoned. Seriously, it would not take a lot of editing to turn this book into a Lovecraftian horror.

And the water… it’s swirling around us, our own whirlpool, a stirring vortex as our movements become more frantic… sloshing everywhere, mirroring what’s happening inside me… and I just don’t care.

RUN ON SENTENCES YAY! Also is Grey's dick being shredded by Ana's vortex vagina?

I love this man. I love his passion, the effect I have on him. I love that he’s flown so far to see me. I love that he cares about me… he cares. It’s so unexpected, so fulfilling. He is mine, and I am his.
“That’s right, baby,” he breathes.

ALL OF THE HATE! ALL OF IT FOREVER! Seriously?! "That's right baby" JUST AS ANA THINKS THAT I HATE DSFKGJNHAEORIHet4wjgeaf! So naturally they both have explosive earth shattering orgasms and then are in bed, naked, not snuggling, and talking. This is going to be all banter, isn't it?

“This will shock you, Anastasia. Ready?”
I nod, wide-eyed, still with the stupid grin on my face.
“All submissives in training, when I was training. There are places in and around Seattle that one can go and practice. Learn to do what I do,” he says.
“Oh.” I blink at him.
“Yep, I’ve paid for sex, Anastasia.”
“That’s nothing to be proud of,” I mutter haughtily.

I actually like that Grey has paid for sex. I like that he sought out people who knew what they were doing, so he could learn and practice in a "safe" way. I like that despite being Mr. Rich Fancy Pants he wasn't "too good" to pay for sex. I don't like Ana's response. It dehumanizes sex workers and know what? They're people with jobs. Now, I won't pretend there are not some very serious issues with sex work (you know, things like people being forced into it etc) but Ana is not taking the stance of "It is a problematic industry" and taking the "whores are icky and shameful" stance. They're not. Fuck yourself.

Grey declares that he wants to do something for Ana tomorrow "A surprise" unlike turning up in another fucking state which was totally expected. So, more "cute" banter/bonding, and then, this.

And in this quiet moment, as I close my eyes, spent and sated, I think I’m in the eye of the storm. And in spite of all he’s said, and what he hasn’t said, I don’t think I have ever been so happy.


Till next week, dear readers. Comments make me want to stab things less! So you should leave those because I don't think they'll let me blog from prison.

*I can not as I am a tiny person. "Too little for life" as The Boy always says. He also tells me there are unicorns up there but they run away when they hear chairs and are afraid of short people and can't come down from the top shelf as they can't survive without Top Shelfium, which naturally only exists on the top shelf. Man, I'm so jealous of you tall people.
** To whoever coined that phrase: You suck. I know not all women spend the week nearly crippled, but come on! Unless you're willing to ride the crimson tide, don't expect her to slobber on your dick.
***I just grossed myself out a little.