Previously: Grey crashes Ana’s family vacation, the couple tragically survive a flight in a glider, and Grey reveals that letting Ana buy pancakes from IHOP would be a threat to his manhood.
Sweeney: We are so near the end that Lor is off in a corner weeping with joy.
Sweeney: Except, you know, there are still two more chapters, (L: KILLJOY.) so let’s get down to business. This chapter is highest in sexytimes of the few chapters I have done, which incidentally means less hulksmash, and more uncontrollable giggles because there is nothing appealing about Ana and Grey having sex.
The chapter begins with a tearful airport goodbye where Ana’s mother has dramatic parting words that make it sound like she’s sending her off on an epic journey of some sort.
Ana internal monologues about how much she loves her mother, which is funny since she has alternated between ignoring her and mocking her the entire trip. Anyway, even though Grey is several time zones away, we manage to talk about him right away, with Ana’s mom making some kiss-a-lot-of-frogs comment and Ana likening him to a Prince, and me getting my headdesk on good and early.
On the plane, in her first class seat, she gets out her BlackBerry and “stare[s] at it despondently.” This is generally how I look at my tablet while reading this, so I understand. She gets all deep and emotional about the unconditional love she receives from her mother and how every child should get that from their parents and oh, “What does Christian know of love?” Because ladies can’t resist trying to fix the broken guy, of course.
Lor: I can’t help but feel like Ana is playing her own version of “give me any word and I show you that the root of that word is Greek.” “Give me any life situation and I will immediately relate it back to Christian Grey.” Saying goodbye to your mom for an indertiminate amount of time –> Love mom –> Mom –> CHRISTIAN GREY’S MOM WAS A CRACK WHORE.
Sweeney: It might be an impressive game if I didn’t hate them both so much and if this game didn’t exemplify just how warped this relationship is.
We get more of the, “DOES HE LOVE ME? HOW CAN HE LOVE ME?” crap, complete with the ultra-pathetic sentence:
It’s true, and in a moment of startling clarity, I see it. It’s very simple: I want his love. 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.
Right, so you decide to stay with the guy who stalks you, regularly disregards your wishes, and occasionally beats you up for funsies? These ideas are totally compatible. Totally.
Lorraine: 1.) Guys, look at how super special Ana is! She needs to be loved and cherised unlike… OH WAIT, FUCK. NO. NEVERMIND. These are things universal to the human condition but it’s taken Ana 21-years, a couple of spankings and some period sex to recognize her need to be loved. GENIUS.
2.) I can’t shake the feeling of this underlying “if you are into BDSM, you are RUINED” theme James seems to be smashing us over the head with.
3.) Let me remind you all that Ana has known Grey, like, a month. And she already knows all the intricacies of his, and forgive me, childhood trauma. STFU, ANA.
Sweeney: Blah, blah, blah, he can’t love me if he can’t love himself, blah, blah, blah, more reasons she shouldn’t be in this relationship, but is going to keep trying to ~fix him~ anyway.
Since they are geographically separated, we are treated to more stupid email exchanges. This one starts out thankfully free of subject changing, though that is how we are supposed to see that something is off with the murderapist boyfriend. Eventually she has to turn the phone off, as per the rule that she not endanger herself, though she is still anxious about Christian’s mood and “the situation.” Probably because a moody Christian will end badly for Ana.
She briefly considers that the seat next to her may have also been purchased by Christian to keep her from talking to anyone, but “no one could be that controlling, that jealous, surely.” LOL.
Lor: Certainly someone that controlling would exhibit other outrageous behavior, such as cell phone tracking, cross country vacation bombing, memorization of family addresses, contractual agreements meant to dictate behavior- OH MY GOD. WAIT A SECOND….
Sweeney: At the airport Ana is greeted by Taylor and is still uncomfortable with being waited on, but decides she shouldn’t be so awkward since Taylor has bought her underwear before? I don’t know. This is so low-ranking on my list of Illogical Shit Ana Thinks that it’s not worth considering. She also gives herself a #hosuspension for wearing a short skirt in Seattle. See previous comment.
They spend a long time in the car, in traffic, and Taylor doesn’t want to talk to her, because who would? She refers to him as “taciturn” and I want to punch her in the face for the million and eighth time. We learn that Christian is “preoccupied” (Ana assumes this is also about “the situation”) and that’s about it for this useless exchange.
Lor: I wonder if it would change E.L. James’ life if someone told her that she didn’t have to write conversations in the car. Like, if someone just introduced her to “and then we drove home.”
Sweeney: We’ll be sure to include that in the multi-volume Guide To Things E. L. James Needs To Learn About Writing.
Ana gets to Christian’s apartment and in E. L. James’ usual style of sharing pointless things, Ana is thrown out of sorts by Taylor’s parking the car and therefore not greeting her when she enters. Fortunately, this allows her to be alone while she stands there and stares at Christian, becoming non-functioning at the sight of him.
As soon as he sees her, he hangs up the phone and marches over to her all possessive-like, which we are supposed to believe is somehow new and unlike anything Ana has ever seen from him, as if she hasn’t been around for the last twenty-four chapters of this book. He kisses her, and Ana makes note of his smell “all body wash and Christian,” for our chapterly reminder that he smells like himself. He orders her to take a shower with him and compliments the #hosuspension skirt.
He locks eyes with her even while he takes his socks off, which is a wholly unsexy bit of explanation.
Lor: Socks always remind me of Harry Potter. Forgive me, I just had to add my own useless bit of information as well.
Ana “mirrors his actions,” by “stepping out of her black flats” which is actually not quite what he just did and renders the first part of this clunky writing pointless, but whatever.
Grey gets as far as the bathroom before pushing up on Ana, demanding to have her now, unwilling to wait for the shower. E. L. James continues to punk us all with more unsexy writing in her erotic novel, as Grey then asks, “Are you still bleeding?” That’s usually the best order in which to approach this: get me going and then ask about my period, because that’s the best way to push me over the edge for sure.
Oh, internet, how I love you.
Anyway, I am also trying to figure out whether I find all of this disgusting because of the writing itself, or because I simply find them both so gross that I just can’t bear the thought of reading about Grey letting Ana “taste her arousal.” In any event, I am repulsed.
Lor: For me, I find the writing horrible enough that the sex scenes were never anything other than “make it stop.” But now, I hate these characters so much that it’s a special kind of torture to have to read about their sexy times. Like if you suddenly had to read about sex between the asshole who cut you off in traffic and your dickwad of a boss.
Sweeney: YES. THIS. EXACTLY. So it’s both, then. I’m glad we’ve cleared that up.
They have sex, sans Grey “producing a foil-wrapped package” which is terrifying because even though Ana is on the pill, I don’t want us taking any chances of these two procreating. NO CHANCES. Though, really, her continued use of the word “producing” often made me wonder if he was getting a condom out of his pocket, or actually manufacturing one right before sex. That might be impressive, if a little mood-killing. (L: AMAZING.)
They chat a little about nothing and Ana has to restrain herself from touching his chest, because of the rules. Banter turns to Ana’s new job news. She is surprised that he hasn’t figured it out yet, and we get more LOL-worthy commentary of how non-extreme Grey is when he says, “Anastasia, I wouldn’t dream of interfering in your career, unless you ask me to, of course.” You so funny, Grey.
She tells him which publishing company hired her, and then they get in the shower, where Grey proceeds to wash her.
Lor: Dude, I loved the part where Ana gets in the shower, and she’s all “OW!” ’cause the water is hot. Grey says, “it’s only a little hot water.” Ana: “Actually he’s right. It feels heavenly.”
WTF. Did he just change her mind about how hot the water was, you guys? Oh, Grey said it isn’t hot. This feels wonderful! I repeat: WTF.
Sweeney: While his hands are on her boobs she mentions Josecob’s photography show, which is totally not awkward at all. He hesitates, but ultimately accepts Ana’s invitation to attend with her.
He’s surprised that she was so nervous to ask; she reminds him that he gets jealous easily. And scarily. Her internal monologue continues to remind me of a middle schooler than a recent college graduate, when Grey suggests that they take the helicopter: “More flying…cool! I grin.”
It’s as if E. L. James knew she was being too easy on me, letting me chill over here in, “Ha, Ana’s ridiculously immature,” land, so she had to remind me of all! the! problems! with this relationship: Ana then asks if she can wash Grey, and gets shut down. She then asks if she’ll ever be able to touch him, to which he replies:
“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.
Yep, perfectly health relationship that women everywhere should wish that they were in. That Christian Grey, so dreamy.
Lor: The best example of the manipukiss so far.
Sweeney: After shower sexy times they drink wine at the breakfast bar, which is probably the thing I most approve of in this chapter, as wine is the best way to get through this. Grey is evasive when Ana asks about “the situation” which we keep referring to as “the situation.”
Grey tells Ana that he has plans for her in the playroom in fifteen minutes, and Ana makes a point of emphasizing how murderface he is during this scene, so that’s not at all unsettling. He essentially sends her to her room and tells her that the closet is now full of clothing for her, and that she’s not allowed to complain. He leaves and she grumbles to herself about how she wouldn’t complain because “It’s more than my backside’s worth,” yet another sign of the healthy nature of this relationship. As if trying to outdo herself now, she lists all the shit he has bought her, and how she’s only a condo purchase away from being a proper mistress. AND THEN, she goes to her room, confused because he said she could sleep with him, but grateful that at least she will have “somewhere to escape from him,” and then I punch a wall because WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU STILL. IN. THIS. RELATIONSHIP?
In the Red Room, Ana is naked and waiting for Grey, filled with what seems like genuine terror as she searches for her “inner sub” who is probably “hiding behind [her] inner goddess.”
But we move quickly from terrified to “wet already” so it’s all good, guys! We’re not making a mockery of normal people with kinks here at all! See, it feels wrong, but it’s OK because:
It’s right for Christian. 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.
Wait, I’m sorry, what has he done? He stalked your vacation, demonstrating his creepertastic powers with his knowledge of your mother’s address (so now you’re leaving your mother in the path of your stalker). He is continuing to refuse reasonable concessions, likening allowing you to pay for IHOP breakfast to “emasculating” him. He refused to let you shower after you presumably spent the night bleeding all over yourself.
But, then, he flew a plane! Weeee! So, on the whole, a win?
Lor: Sweeney, he bought her first class tickets and a pancake combo and a closet full of clothes. The lesson here, ladies, is that if a man buys you something, you must do whatever he wants.
Sweeney: True story. It’s just one of the many amazing things I’m learning from reading this book.
Anyway, after more of her internal monologue then I cared to have to read, Christian finally comes in the room and he is naked except for his jeans, which seems like a pretty significant exception to being naked, but all right, Ana.
Lor: I’m often naked, except for my clothes, but I’m a rebel that way.
Sweeney: She rambles about all the things she wants to do to his feet and I have to try not to vomit, because even after the tampon scene, feet still rank pretty high on my list of Things That Will Never Be Sexy.
Grey tells her how beautiful she is and then reminds her that they have safe words, and asks her if she remembers them. She’s all dumbfounded and non-responsive at this question/command, because even though she was terrified thirty seconds ago, she suddenly can’t fathom why this would be necessary. She then adds:
I can’t help it…I raise my eyebrow at him and am about to remind him of my GPA, but the sudden frosty glint in his icy gray (!) eyes stops me in my tracks.
Yes, Ana, you’re a fucking genius. Truly.
Anyway, the safe word reminder isn’t because it’s going to hurt, but because what’s going to happen will be “intense.” She’s going to be blindfolded with headphones so that she can’t see or hear him, and Ana’s main concern in all of this is, “Jeez, I hope it’s not rap.”
Lor: Fuck your priorities, girlfriend.
Sweeney: More talking and waiting and Ana’s supposed to wait and picture herself “totally at his mercy” which shouldn’t be difficult since, you know, she is. Then Ana gives us another “Oh my” and I have to stop reading for another minute or two to laugh.
He then braids her hair, something I associate more with middle school slumber parties than sexytimes, so it mostly just gives me the creeps. Before he ties her up, he makes her touch the flogger and then uses it on her a few times and rehashes the safe words conversation. Then some pointless explanation of the technology involved: there’s an antenna on the iPod connecting it to the Red Room’s sound system, so that Grey can hear the music too and control it with a remote control, that Ana feels the need to tell us looks like a calculator, because she apparently has limited experience with remote controls.
Several pages after announcing the tied up / can’t see / can’t hear game plan, it’s finally a thing. The music of choice? SOME SORT OF HYMN. A HYMN, YOU GUYS. Again, what else is there to do but laugh? How is this supposed to be erotic? How/why is being reminded of church supposed to be appealing in this scenario?
Lor: So, I’m not gonna lie. When I read it, I basically skipped entire chunks of this scene and didn’t really pick up on that whole ‘hymn’ thing. As penance, I’ve Googled the lyrics for y’all:
- I have never put my hope in any other but in You,
- O God of Israel
- who can show both anger
- and graciousness,
- and who absolves all the sins of suffering man
- Lord God,
- Creator of Heaven and Earth
- be mindful of our lowliness
IS IT GETTING HOT IN HERE OR WHAT?
Sweeney: You know you’re my favorite forever, right?
Grey breaks out the first device of this odd little sensory experiment, which Ana eventually concludes is a fur glove. As Grey is feeling her up with the fur glove, Ana’s excitement seems to correspond with voices joining the church choir in her ears and I simply present that information to you without comment.
He moves from the glove to the flogger and Ana has a little epiphany about pain being pleasurable, and the next two pages would be totally acceptable erotica, were it not for all the other bullshit these pages are surrounded by in this book. Also the church music. Grey moves from the flogger to his mouth and then he undoes the leg restrains and fucks her in time to the aforementioned church music, which is on repeat. I can’t see the word “hymn” and think “hot.”
Lor: Girl, you put the hymn in hymen. Can I get an amen?
Sweeney: After the ultra intense orgasm, the music stops and Grey undoes the hand restraints and they have a little chat about the music. Ana tries to get him to tell her what she said her in sleep, to which he replies, “You talked about cages and strawberries.. that you wanted more.. and that you missed me.” Ana is relieved, and he wants to know what she thought she said. She jokes and avoids an answer. He jokes about being bad at jokes and blah, blah, he wants to know what she’s hiding and threatens to torture it out of her. CUTE.
Whisper Count: 5
Murmur Count: 11
Favorite comment last post:
“I’m totally hoping the job offer was a practical joke. If I were Kate Kavanaugh (that bitch), I’d be pranking Ana all the time.
I was going to say something about publishing houses not working that way, since they’re full of professional, intelligent people who actually DO read books. But then I remembered publishing houses also brought us FSoG, so maybe they do work that way and EL James is right and I am wrong and I officially quit life.” – Dani Denatti
Next time on Fifty Shades of Grey: THE END. THE END. DEAR SWEET HYMNS DURING SEX, THE END. See how it ends in FSoG Chapter 26.