Hello! I'm Alex, otherwise known as Editor #2, or Mad Scientist Alex. I'll be filling in for Erika this week, as she's moving and may or may not have Internet again by the time this is supposed to be posted. I was originally tasked to do Chapter 14, but Erika decided that it would be far too cruel and inhumane and took it upon herself. Apparently I dodged an artillery shell there, as I have heard that Chapter 15 is far more humane. Let's find out if that's the case! Onward!
The chapter begins with a very short scene of Grey following Ana into the bathroom, and attempting to console her. This, of course, means that Erika lost last week's bet, since this wasn't even close to seven seconds into the scene. It was more like zero. They end up cuddling on the bathroom floor while Ana cries herself out. After forever, Grey carries Ana off to bed and they go to sleep.
I'm not entirely sure why this scene warrants being the start of a new chapter. It's a mere three very short paragraphs that I think would have fit better as the end of the last chapter, rather than being the start of a new one. I suppose that it makes Ana's storming off to the bathroom at the of the last chapter seem much more dramatic and important than it actually was.
Ana wakes up with a headache after a dark and troubled sleep. She decides to go on a quest for Advil. Her first challenge is freeing herself from Grey, who's wrapped himself around her like a vine! A short, uneventful struggle later, Ana has freed herself from Grey's entanglement and makes her way to the kitchen. There she finds the objective of her long quest, as well as some orange juice. While waiting for the precious headache relief to kick in, she wanders over to the window to enjoy the view from Grey's fortress. While gazing out on city of Seattle at night, Ana contemplates moving in with Grey, marrying Grey, and finally Grey's Oedipus Complex.
My smile fades. I look like his mother. This wounds me, deeply, and the air leaves my lungs in a rush. We all look like his mom.
Taken out of context, that last line amuses me more than it probably should.
It's probably inaccurate to refer to Grey's issue as an Oedipus Complex, since what he really seems to be doing is using BDSM as a means of living out his fantasy of beating his negligent crack whore mom. However, his love of Ana does seem to be fairly well grounded in it, as, in contrast to his mom, she's “good and pure”. I guess that makes Ana some sort of surrogate mother figure for Grey? What about his adoptive mother? Alright. I'm done with this paragraph and don't want to dig any deeper into this mess. Onward!
I lied, one more thing on this: I am surprised that Ana, with all the unnecessary literary references she made in the first book hasn't made any references to Oedipus herself yet.
Ana once again contemplates getting more information from Dr. Flynn. Considering that its come up a few times in past entries, I can only assume that this is supposed to be foreshadowing for Ana's eventual meeting with Dr. Flynn. I have to admit, I am somewhat curious to see how terrible that scene is.
Ana's reverie is suddenly interrupted by a terrifying scream! Has one of Grey's warlock pets escaped? Has Grey's Dark Master from Beyond torn its way into reality to claim Ana's soul? Did someone witness the Grey's Dark God's arrival in this world and gone mad from his inability to comprehend this nightmarish being's horrific glory?
Nope. It's just Grey having a nightmare that Ana left him. Wasn't that the end of the last book? Was the entire first book really just a nightmare Grey had? That would explain the scream. Anyway, Ana consoles him and naturally they have sex, but with a twist! Grey gives Ana permission to touch him in his special areas*! A shocking development, I'm sure.
“Don’t ever leave me,” he whispers, and I roll my eyes in the full knowledge that he can’t see me.
“I know you’re rolling your eyes at me,” he murmurs, and I hear the trace of humor in his voice.
“You know me well,” I murmur.
“I’d like to know you better.”
“Back at you, Grey.[...]”
Now, maybe I'm just old fashioned, but that seems to be the sort of question you ask someone before you ask them to marry you.
Anyway, Ana asks Grey about his nightmare, and he opens up, explaining that he was reliving his memories of when he was three, and his mom's pimp used him to put out cigarettes because he couldn't find an ashtray, and how Grey is angry that she didn't do anything to protect him. I can understand Grey's anger here. If you allow people to smoke in your apartment, it's only polite to provide them with an ashtray, otherwise you risk getting burn marks in your carpet, furniture or children.
“Sometimes in the dreams she’s just lying on the floor. And I think she’s asleep. But she doesn’t move. She never moves. And I’m hungry. Really hungry.”
And here's Grey's most traumatic memory again. This piece of Grey's characterization always annoys me. He considers food to be super-important, to the point that he wants to micromanage his Sub's diets because he spent three days starving alone in an apartment, AND YET HE CANNOT COOK FOR HIMSELF. Now, I have life threatening food allergies, as a result I consider having the ability to cook my own meals critically important, since it greatly reduces my chances of accidental death and/or hospitalization and/or misery. Now, I'm not a Food Wizard by any means, but I do take pride that I've lived twenty seven years and never had to resort to eating KD. I can only imagine that someone who starved for three days because he was unable to fend for himself, would consider it important to be able to fend for himself. I certainly wouldn't expect Grey to be a Food Warlock or even a master chef (although he would be), but I certainly expect him to know how to cut a god damn pepper.
“You are so precious to me, Ana. I was serious about marrying you. We can get to know each other then. I can look after you. You can look after me. We can have kids if you want. I will lay my world at your feet, Anastasia. I want you, body and soul, forever. Please think about it.”
And further proof that Grey is a Warlock and/or Necromancer.
Grey goes on to talk a bit more about how loveless his childhood was, and how his mother's pimp would beat him. Ana asks if that's the reason he doesn't like to be touched, and he tells her that its complicated, but that Dr. Flynn could explain better. Naturally, this leads Ana to asking if she could talk to Dr. Flynn, and Grey agrees and then tells her to go back to sleep.
Ana rushes to get ready to go to work in the morning, while Grey tries to convince her to call in sick instead. Surprisingly, she does somehow manage to make it out the door, and gets a ride to work from Taylor. Despite Taylor driving like a Meatloaf album, Ana still arrives late. Her boss is in a foul mood, and while she's supposed to be typing up a barely legible letter for her boss she instead starts an e-mail conversation with Grey, who has to remind her three times that she owns a Blackberry and not to use the company e-mail for private correspondence.
As soon as she picks up her Blackberry, she gets a call from José, who shockingly hadn't fallen off the planet, and agrees to talk to him soon, after she's talked to Grey about it. Still, she takes a moment to pause and reflect on Grey's double standard:
So, I could spend the evening with José on Friday. How will Christian like that? I become aware that I am biting my lip till it hurts. Oh, that man has double standards. He can—I shudder at the thought—bathe his batshit ex-lover, but I will probably get a truckload of grief for wanting to have a drink with José. How am I going to handle this?
Ana's reverie is interrupted by Jack reminding her that she's supposed to be actually doing work. She quickly finishes typing up that letter, does a terrible job and Jack makes her redo it, and get him another coffee while she's at it. After numerous trials and tribulations, Ana eventually succeeds in typing the letter and getting it photocopied. Ethan calls and asks if he can stop by and get his keys back from Ana. He does so. Jack sends Ana out to get him something for lunch. Ana begins to regret not skipping work and staying home with Grey.
On her way out, she finally checks her messages on her Blackberry and discovers she has a collection of unchecked messages from Grey. Including this winner:
From: Christian Grey
Date: June 15, 2011 09:50
To: Anastasia Steele
Is the better part of valor.Please use discretion . . . your work e-mails are monitored.HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THIS?Yes. Shouty capitals as you say. USE YOUR BLACKBERRY.Dr. Flynn can see us tomorrow evening.xChristian GreyStill Pissed CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.
Good old shouty capitals. Ana calls Grey, as he was beginning to get worried in his more recent messages, and is shocked to get his receptionist, as Grey is in a meeting. Ana leaves a message with the receptionist, only for her to recognize Ana's name and forward her to Grey regardless. Ana eases Grey's fears, complains about work and makes arrangements to be picked up by him after she finishes work. Ana completes her quest and gets lunch for Jack from the deli and returns to work and delivers lunch.
He is scowling when I get back.
“Is it okay if I take my lunch now?” I ask tentatively. He gazes up at me and his scowl deepens.
“If you must,” he snaps. “Forty-five minutes. Make up the time you lost this morning.”
“Jack, can I ask you something?”
“You seem, kind of out of sorts today. Have I done something to offend you?”
He blinks at me momentarily. “I don’t think I’m in the mood to list your misdemeanors right now. I’m busy.” He continues to stare at his computer screen, effectively dismissing me.
Whoa . . . What have I done?
Well, there was all those typos and spelling errors you made in the first draft of that letter... Ana leaves to go and find lunch of her own.
My mind drifts. Christian the sadist. Christian the submissive. Christian the untouchable. Christian’s oedipal impulses. Christian bathing Leila. I groan and close my eyes while that last image haunts me.
There we go! Ana's long overdue reference to Oedipus! Ana spends the next few paragraphs thinking about Grey, making more allusions to Greek mythology, and wondering if she can provide him with the unconditional love that a warlock of his calibre deserves, nay, is entitled to! Ana hopes that Dr. Flynn can provide her with the answer to that question. Then, and only then, can she know if she'll be able to spend her life with Grey.
Having lost track of time, Ana returns to work late from lunch. Jack, still in a foul mood, assigns more work to her, asks her to stay late and makes her get him another coffee. The fiend, expecting work from his employees. How dare he!
Around 4, Mia shows up and informs Ana that Grey's birthday is on Saturday and that she's organizing a party for him. Of course Grey hasn't told her that his birthday is coming up soon. Let alone that it was on the upcoming weekend.
“Cool.” My mind is in a flat spin—what the hell am I going to get Christian for his birthday? What do you buy the man who has everything?
I heard a great joke that used “What do you buy for a person who has everything” as the setup, but I cannot remember what the punchline was. It's going to bug me for the rest of the day now.
Grey and Ana have another e-mail discussion. Ana teases Grey about getting old and asks him what she can get him for his birthday. She informs Grey that she's been asked to work late, and asks Grey to come and pick her up around 6:30.
The end of the day approaches, and Ana has everything ready for her boss' trip to New York. While waiting for him to finish on the phone so she can deliver the last of the documents, she wanders over to the break room to loot the communal cookie jar. Before she can claim one of the delicious cookies within, her boss appears, closing the break room door behind him!
He stares at me. “Well, Ana, I think this might be a good time to discuss your misdemeanors.” He steps in, closing the door behind him, and my mouth instantly dries as alarm bells ring loud and piercing in my head.
His lips twitch into a grotesque smile, and his eyes gleam a deep, dark cobalt. “At last, I have you on your own,” he says, and he slowly licks his lower lip.
“Now . . . are you going to be a good girl and listen very carefully to what I say?”
And now we've reached the shocking cliffhanger! Is this the SHOCKING PLOT TWIST that everyone saw coming? Was Jack Hyde secretly a Creepy Boss all along? Or is he just here to teach her how to type properly? Perhaps he's only upset because he caught her with her hand, literally, in the cookie jar? I don't know. I'll leave that for Erika to find out!
Wow. I survived an entire chapter and didn't even need to bust out the whatnapple. I don't know if I'm disappointed or relieved. That's it from me for now! Next week, we will return to your regularly scheduled Erika in Chapter 16 of Fifty Shades Darker!
*This might be the only time that phrase was used in reference to sex, but not as an innuendo.