I talk a lot about the fact that Grey is a fantasy I struggle to get. I struggle to get it because to me, it is so abusive and clingy* that I'm too hung up on those facts to see anything else. Ana Mardoll, who does an awesome (and very, very in depth) analysis of Twilight recently did a great break down on the fantasy of Edward Cullen, and Edward and Grey were initially the same character. What struck me as I nodded along was the point she makes about how "We are never invited to see Edward as real", because glittering vampire. Grey is described in many of the same terms, "perfect Greek god", but Grey is meant to be larger than life, while Edward is... not alive. Grey's actions also tend to go further than Edward's. He doesn't just watch Ana when she sleeps, he actively tracks her. He has people watching her at work. He bought the company she works for and Ana herself finds it all too much often enough. So unlike with Bella and Edward where we aren't invited to think of them as real, and Bella always sees it as sweet, we are invited to see Grey as real, and Ana isn't always comfortable with his actions. That makes it even harder for me to look past the icky parts of what he does.
Edward's bad behavior can be explained away with "He's a hella old vampire"**. The hand wave we're provided with for Grey stalking Ana after she bluntly and repeatedly asks him to stop is... he was traumatized as a child and is affected in very specific and unrealistic ways. You may ask, "Wait, you're okay with vampires, but childhood trauma is unrealistic?" Vampires are supposed to be fantasy, we're presented with Grey's back story as reasonable justification for him being a shithead which is so much bullshit I can't even.
So, with those thoughts that were bouncing around in my head out, let's get going on chapter 20! Chapter 19 ended with Ana agreeing to marry Grey after he failed to call and say "By the way, totes not dead!" after someone sabotaged his helicopter (not that they've told us yet, but come on). Sounds like solid husband material to me***. I mean, who wants their husband to check in when he may be in danger? Next he'll think to do things like let you know he'll be home late from work, or he won't be home for dinner, or is going out for drinks and ask if you want to come out! Who wants to deal with that?
After some spinning and giggling because they're just SO HAPPY YAY Grey realizes that Ana gave him the key chain when he was begging for an answer!
“I can’t believe you left me hanging.” His whisper is laced with disbelief. His expression alters subtly, his eyes gleaming wickedly, his mouth twitching into a carnal smile.
Holy hell. A thrill runs through me. What’s he thinking?
“I believe some retribution is in order, Miss Steele,” he says softly.
Just once I would like Grey's response to Ana exercising agency or free will NOT to be to "punish" her. Just once. He is so threatened by Ana doing anything other than bending to his whims that he must now immediately reassert his dominance by throwing her over his shoulder like a fucking cave man and dragging her to the shower to douse her, clothes and all, in cold water as punishment. No, really.
“Christian!” I scold loudly—his intent is now clear.
He switches the water on at max. Jeez! Arctic water spurts over my backside, and I squeal—then stop, mindful once more that José is above us. It’s cold and I’m fully clothed. The chilling water soaks into my dress, my panties, and my bra. I’m drenched and I cannot stop giggling.
I sometimes wonder how much shit I could make up before people would start questioning me, but then you guys sometimes are all "Y-you made that bit up, right? Right?" for things that actually happen, and realize the answer is "very little". So they start fooling around in the shower because that is what you do after you get engaged and your new fiancee drenches you for the sake of showing you who's boss.
My hands move involuntarily to his shirt as it clings to every line and sinew of his chest, revealing the hair scrunched beneath the white wetness.
I did a double take at "white wetness" thinking he had made a mess of his own shirt. Apparently not. Not sure if that makes it better or worse.
His lips become more insistent, more provocative, his tongue invading my mouth—and my body explodes with desire.
He planted a sexy bomb in her mouth with his tongue?
I tug his shirt hard, ripping it open. The buttons fly everywhere, ricocheting off the tiles and disappearing onto the shower floor
I am shocked it has taken this long for buttons to go flying, to be honest. Also, I'm not the only person who pictures someone letting a pair of breasts free in the wild when they read the phrase "freeing my breasts" right? Because that line is all over the damned place.
and push my breasts into his magical hands.
See? Warlock. Also: Seriously sounds like she just popped the suckers off and is all "HERE YA GO HONEY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"
Oh yes! It’s so arousing. My inner goddess has resurfaced after her evening of rocking and weeping in the corner, and she’s wearing harlot-red lipstick.
1) "It's so arousing."? Even you don't sound sold on it Ana.
2) What the fuck is "harlot-red"?
I love him so much, and I’m suddenly overcome by the enormity of my love and the depth of my commitment to him. I will spend the rest of my life loving this man, and with that awe-inspiring thought, I detonate around him—a healing, cathartic orgasm, crying out his name as tears flow down my cheeks.
So, "Jesus fuck he nearly died and I love him so much" prompts orgasms and crying. Just:
They go to bed, and Ana (rightly) tells him off for being a huge wank by NOT calling because he was super eager to get back since Jose was around and apparently he didn't trust Ana to not hop on his meat-pogo? She doesn't comment on the trust issue, though she should. It dissolved into "You asshat you're loved! Stop being a dickhead!" and Grey actually responds well by apologizing and realizing that he honestly panicked people and that is Not Cool even if your girlfriend who has a magical cooter is hanging out with other men and you are afraid that if they touch her cooter the black magic you've been dumping in there will cause a giant explosion.
And on to the next morning!
He looks much younger when he’s asleep, and I grin because today he’s a whole year older.
No, he's a whole day older.
Ana goes off to make Grey breakfast, and remembers Jose is still there when she finds him eating cereal at the breakfast bar. She taunts him by offering a "real" breakfast and Jose asks a bit about their relationship, and cracks a joke that she loves him because of his money. Ana, reasonably, isn't so thrilled by this.
“Hey, Ana, just kidding.”
Hmm . . . will I always have this leveled at me? That I’m marrying Christian for his money?
“Seriously, I’m kidding. You’ve never been that kind of girl.”
“Omelet good for you?” I ask, changing the subject. I don’t want to argue.
HEY LOOK I FOUND ONE OF THE THEMES FOR THE NEXT BOOK! [WW: I hoped it would be omelets but she's probably right that it's marrying Grey for his houses full of money.]Also, I find it very odd that Ana says "I don't want to argue" when he's basically taken back his tactless statement and is putting up no reason FOR them to argue. We haven't seen Ana really interact with anyone besides Grey and Jack in this book, so it's kind of interesting to see the reminder of "Right, she thinks people are constantly attacking/prying into her life". Which makes her responses to Grey all the more bizarre since he actually does do those things.
So Grey turns up wearing his PJ bottoms that he knows makes Ana all hot and bothered because apparently she has about as much control over herself as a teenage boy (further proof Grey is using black magic) and there is even more bullshit posturing where Grey has to assert his dominance and ownership of Ana. God, when he buys her a ring she won't be able to lift her hand, the diamond will be so big. Not because Grey will want to flaunt his wealth, but because he will want to make it impossible for anyone to miss the thing. It's going to be a goddamned collar. He might as well just pee on her while making steely, unrelenting eye contact with Jose.
In a move of passive aggressiveness through civility, Grey chats Jose up. Jose talks about his and Ana's dads being BFFs and comments that he's going fishing with them. From here the two find something to gush about (fishing) and exclude Ana from the conversation entirely. When he leaves Grey maintains he still wants in Ana's panties (because women love being told that their friends are only their friends because they want to have sex with them) but is less hostile and territorial.
“You didn’t tell him we were getting married.”
“No. I figured I ought to tell Mom and Ray first.” Shit. It’s the first time I’ve thought about this since I said yes. Jeez—what are my parents going to say?
Christian nods. “Yes, you’re right. And I . . . um, I should ask your father.”
I laugh. “Oh, Christian—this isn’t the eighteenth century.”
Holy shit. What will Ray say? The thought of that conversation fills me with horror.
“It’s traditional.” Christian shrugs.
So Grey is the type to do things simply because that's how they're done, but aims to create new, safer, and more green tech constantly? And ignored his fiancee's open horror at the idea of him asking to own her? Siiiigh.
So Ana then gives him his birthday presents. Because apparently ownership of her wasn't even hers to give! One is a solar powered toy helicopter (which is kinda cute) and the other is the equivalent of sex coupons as she asks him to take her to the playroom.
After some hesitation, and pressing that she's okay with it, they head there and that is the end of chapter 20. Soon! SOON THIS BOOK WILL BE OVER!
Come back Sunday for the next Ender's Game post, next Thursday for the next 50 Shades, and as always, share your thoughts on this fluster cuck in the comments!
*I have FEELINGS on independence within relationships. To the point that Will makes fun of me for splitting apart compound words, claiming it is my deep seated desire that everyone needs their own space that causes me to do it. "NO! BE YOUR OWN WORDS!" [WW note: In proofing this very post I had to reunite several forcibly separated compounds. She's seriously hardline on this.]
**I do not think this is a valid explanation, mind you, but we're talking about fantasies.
*** The Boy has promised to always keep me up to date on the level of exploding his plane experiences when flying.