Previously: Grey decided he wanted Ana to struggle more when he forced himself on her. Apparently, you can be too good a victim.
Lorraine: Last chapter’s curbhanger was the little reveal that Leila, also known as The Ghost of Submissives Past, has shown up and is waiting for Ana at reception with another woman. First, though, female bodyguard Prescott (I’m not sure if we’ve ever mentioned her before) wants to talk to Ana. Prescott says that the GSP is on Ana’s list of “proscribed visitors.”
Think about this for one second. Ana’s husband has drafted up a list of people she is not allowed to see, and he’s done it without her knowledge. She has at least one security guard with her at all times, and they are instructed to make sure that certain people never see her. If this were for her “protection,” Grey would’ve been all, “hey, heads up. I’m not going to let my crazy ex-girlfriends near you. Cool?” Instead there is some mysterious list of proscribed visitors, that may include Ana’s mom, little old ladies, anyone with a penis, and police officers. You never know.
Sweeney: I have all the accompanying rage about everything just said, because fuck that shit forever, especially since Ana’s got no reaction beyond moderate surprise over the fact that this is a thing. BUT ALSO: I can think of half a dozen words, off the top of my head, that I’d put in place of “proscribed.” It’s possible that my rage is blinding me to the fact that I just don’t happen to know people who use this word, but I’m going to go ahead and assume it’s another American v. British language use failure.
Anyway, Prescott admits that the only reason the GSP got this far is because she had to take a tinkle. This makes Ana laugh, because, pee pee is funny! Prescott tells Ana that she’s left a voice message for Taylor, so Grey will soon know what’s going on, meaning Ana only has a short amount of time to exercise her free will, and talk to whoever she wants to fucking talk to. Prescott advises against it, but gives in on the conditions that she search the women before they enter and that she remain in the room while they talk. All of this is going to happen in one of the conference rooms, by the way, which should really help Ana with that professionalism she’s always so worried about.
“Christian is going to go nuts. My subconscious purses her lips, primly crosses her legs, and nods. I need to tell him that I am doing this. I type a quick e-mail, then pause, checking the time. I feel a momentary pang of regret. We’ve been getting along so well since Aspen.”
Gosh darn! You had like a whole week where you were getting along with your husband and now this and soon he will hate you again.
The email she sends to Grey says that she’s going to talk to the GSP with Prescott and that she’ll use her slapping skills if any bitches get out of line. If we briefly put aside the fact that Christian is an abusive, controlling asshole, why would Ana be willing to risk Grey’s unhappiness to see the woman who pulled a gun on her? Because. “Plot.”
Weirdly, Ana gets ready to see the GSP by pinching her cheeks to add some color and unbuttoning a button on her blouse.
Sweeney: You show that mentally damaged former abusive victim whose murderfuckable now! Ana also makes a point of leaving her Blackberry in her desk drawer, rather than taking it with her, cutting off Christian Grey’s all important lifeline to Ana. Again, because “plot.”
Lor: Leila (GSP) is looking much better. In fact, she’s downright attractive! Thanks, therapy. The woman with Leila is a brunette, and Ana guesses right away that she’s another ex-submissive. Before their conversation gets too far, Ana’s assistant interrupts because Grey has been blowing up all of the phones in a five mile radius. I’m making that up, but it could be true. Ana tells her assistant to tell Grey that she’s busy, and the two ex-subs stare at her in awe. It makes Ana uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable that fictional women exist who would be in awe of Ana’s “backbone.”
Sweeney: I was going to go with “ragey” rather than “uncomfortable,” but I see we’re a little early in the recap for that. Uncomfortable it is, then.
Lor: Susi, the other ex-sub, admits that she wanted to meet the woman who managed to hold down the cure for cancer. Susi lets slip that they call themselves “the sub club.” The Sub Club: keeping local liquor stores and therapists in business for years. Susi excuses herself after making sure that Leila will be okay.
We have another interruption, because now Grey calls Prescott’s phone. Ana takes the phone from Prescott and gets an ear full of Grey shouting, and seething. Ana tells him not to shout, and he shouts louder, so she says they’ll talk when he’s calmer and hangs up. I’d give her more credit for the backbone but (1) – LOL. I learned my lesson loooong ago, and she’ll certainly lose that credit very soon and (2) – this whole scene has such a show-off-y vibe, it makes me sick. I mean, Ana goes back into the meeting room and thinks, “Apparently, I handle him…”
Once they finally start talking, Leila apologizes for that whole thing where she pulled a gun on Ana. Leila says she wasn’t well, but that she’s feeling better, even though her doctor doesn’t know about this little visit. Leila admits that she was hoping to see Christian. Ana thinks about how not okay she is with Leila seeing Christian, but then just says that it’s up to Christian. Turns out, Leila didn’t actually come to ask Ana’s permission, just as a last resort, because Grey has already turned down her requests to see him.
Leila insists that she wants to see Grey to thank him for not sending her to prison and for funding her art lessons. Ana suspected he was, but surprisingly doesn’t feel any ill will toward Leila. For some reason, Leila takes this opportunity to list the men she’s loved in her life, and Grey is one of them. Ana and Leila start giggling over how easy to love Grey is and I’m so completely baffled by this scene. I JUST DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING. Ana’s subconscious is reading Jane Eyre (crazy ex tries to kill new woman, see?) and I wish I could just go do that too.
Sweeney: Backing up just a step, right before she breaks out Jane Eyre (L. O. L.) she says this:
Mentally I run through all the classical literature I can think of that deals with unrequited love. Swallowing hard, I clutch the moral high ground.
That’s her reaction to, “You loved my husband!” She clutches the moral high ground…because she can think of some classical literature? I don’t even know what to say about this, but I felt we should throw that in there.
While I’m interrupting: it fucking kills me that Leila’s all, “MR. GREY DID SO MUCH FOR ME WITH THE THERAPY AND THE ART SCHOOL.” Uh, no, MR. GREY IS THE REASON YOU NEEDED THOSE THINGS IN THE FIRST PLACE. HE FUCKING OWES YOU.
Lor: Both excellent points! I love that she mentally runs through this list of classical literature in a few seconds, confirming to us that Ana has in fact only read like 5 books.
Ana says Leila will get her chance to see Grey, because he’s surely running over to come see them at this very moment. Leila figured as much, and this was her plot all along. I’m torn between being angry because this is another, “SEE? If Ana would’ve just unquestioningly obeyed Grey, this wouldn’t have happened!” and being angry because I’m still reading this book. I guess I’m not really torn. I’m just both of those angrys at once.
Sweeney: But sometimes it’s really hard to decide which of your angries you should focus on! It’s very difficult when your angries divide your attention this way.
Lor: I’m so happy I have you to understand me.
Leila mentions how happy Ana looked with Grey when she was breaking into their apartment and stalking them. I’m not sure why she felt the need to say that, but I guess she can say whatever she wants because her master plan worked and Christian has arrived.
“The menacing cool glint in his eyes reveals the truth- he’s emanating rage, though he hides it well.”
As he’s emitting all this rage, he’s also hiding it well. He’s scooping up his own rage out of the air, like a ninja.
Sweeney: Filing that awesome mental image away.
Lor: Grey fires Prescott on the spot, presumably for having a bladder and/or letting Ana exercise her free will. Ana tries to protest, but she isn’t exactly handling him now that he’s in easy murdering distance, is she? After barking and staring and being evil for a bit longer, Grey finally gets around to asking Leila why she wanted to see him, and apparently, she just wanted to make sure Grey was fine, but this time, creepily watching him from the shadows was out of the question, because she’s healed, see?
“I’m fine. There, question answered. Now Taylor will run you to Sea-Tac so you can go back to the East Coast. And if you take one step west of the Mississippi, it’s all gone. Understand?”
I love when James’s shitty writing reminds me that I’m not paying enough attention. What’s gone? THE EAST COAST? SHIT. LEILA. STAY YOUR ASS IN PLACE. I LIVE ON THE EAST COAST AND I WANT IT NOT GONE.
Sweeney: I’m safe though. In fact, that’ll put me super close to the beach! But no, what’s gone is another human’s free will because Grey can buy that.
Lor: Leila makes a transition into awkward sub-dom and says that of course she’ll obey Grey, even when Ana tries to stick up for her. Then, Leila sadly says, “This is the Christian Grey I know.” Ana is stunned by this statement.
“I can’t breathe. Was Christian like this with her all the time? Was he like this with me at first? I find it hard to remember.”
WOMEN OF LITTLE UNDERSTANDING, LOW SELF ESTEEM, AND SUCKY READING COMPREHENSION: Just because Ana doesn’t remember the abuse doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. FURTHERMORE, just because she doesn’t remember it, and because she can’t even recognize it anymore DOESN’T MEAN GREY HAS CHANGED.
Ana, you empty headed jizz-rag, Christian Grey is like that with you RIGHT NOW. He forbade Leila from crossing the Mississippi? He has a whole list of people he’s forbidden you from seeing, and that happened a few pages ago! He’s yelling and glaring at you just as much as he is yelling and glaring at Leila, in this same, God abandoned scene. He forbid you from going out in public, driving alone to work, wearing a bathing suit to a beach and riding a jet ski, all in this book alone.
Lor: Leila gets permission to stay in town until her flight leaves the next day and then takes her leave. As soon as she’s gone, Ana tells Grey not to even think about being angry with her, and he accuses her of going back on her word not to defy him. Ana goes on a little rant about how she wasn’t defying him because she informed him of her actions, had Prescott search the women and remain in the room, and didn’t even know she had a honest-to-goodness proscribed list of visitors. Grey takes in all of these valid arguments, and decides if he can’t beat her, he’ll mock her. I swear to you, he starts trying to joke with her.
Ana’s not having it. She says he was super hard on Leila and he replies thusly:
“Anastasia,” he says as if to a child. “You don’t understand. Leila, Susannah-all of them-they were a pleasant, diverting pastime. But that’s all. You are the center of my universe. And the last time you two were in a room together, she had you at gunpoint. I don’t want her near you.”
(1) – That entire thing is so condescending, I can’t even.
(2) – It’s really no wonder all of your exes came together to form a SUPPORT GROUP, if you consider them not as beings with thoughts and emotions and the ability to be TRAUMATIZED FOREVER, but as “diverting pastimes.” Mario Kart is a diverting pastime, asshole. Baseball. Stamp collecting. NOT PEOPLE.
(3) – Legit concern about Leila and the gun. For real. If a month and a half later, the lady who had a psychotic episode was all, “hey, I’m totes better. Wanna meet? No my doctor doesn’t know. It’s fine!” I’d be all, “NO.”
(4) – BUT. Grey is an expert at removing himself from the equation. Leila had Ana at gunpoint… because Christian Grey is a dickbag. Like, more or less.
Sweeney: I’m too exhausted to find more applause gifs, but I just want you to picture me standing up in my room cheering you on.
Lor: I can see it clearly. Picture me dropping a mic, then.
Grey blahblahblahs about how he doesn’t want Ana tainted by his old life, but Ana takes the “taint me all you want!” position. Then, it becomes Ana’s mission to get Grey to admit that he cares about Leila. Guys, when was the last time I pulled the dictionary on my BFF ELJ?
“It’s painstakingly obvious that he cares.”
It is diligently obvious that he cares! WEEEE!
Grey calls himself heartless instead and then declares the discussion over. He wants to go home, but remember that all. this. crap. has gone down at Ana’s job. I don’t know about you, but I’d be right outside the conference room with a random stack of papers, looking busy, but listening, laughing, and collecting collateral. The point is that Ana wants to get back to work, but of course Grey doesn’t want her to.
“Christian.” My voice is weary. “I’m tried of having the same argument with you.”
He frowns as if he doesn’t understand.
“You know,” I elucidate, “I do something you don’t like, and you think of some way to get back at me. Usually involving some of your kinky fuckery, which either mind-blowing or cruel.” I shrug, resigned. This is exhausting and confusing.
I CAN’T TAKE IT.
I THINK WHEN SHE’S SELF AWARE IT’S WORSE THAN WHEN SHE CAN’T REMEMBER THE ABUSE. (S: YUP.)
Grey’s all, “did you say mindblowing???” SHE DID GREY. AND SHE FOLLOWED IT UP WITH “CRUEL” AS IN, “THIS BOOK IS A SICK, CRUEL JOKE.”
Knowing that Ana has brought up the essence of their completely fucked in the ass relationship, Grey switches tactics to seduction. Ana recognizes that he’s trying to divert her and avoid the things he doesn’t want to discuss and her subconscious pipes up, “and you let him.”
Remember that abused women of the world: you let him.
Grey keeps insisting that they go home, and when Ana doesn’t budge, he threatens her with sex in the meeting room. I mean, he suggests it, but when Grey suggests sex, it might as well be a threat on account of he never takes no for an answer. Ana doesn’t want to have sex in the meeting room, not because she’s at work for sweet baby Jesus’s sake, but because Leila was just in the room, and that would be weird!
Sweeney: Another reminder of Ana’s totally excellent priorities.
Lor: Ana figures out that she just wants Grey to admit he still cares for Leila, because the thought that he could completely write her off is concerning. What if Ana ever steps over the line? Will Grey be as heartless to her? Ana’s forgetting that Leila did get art lessons and the whole East Coast in the divorce. Not bad, am I right?
Ana says no to going home and Grey says, “yes.” So, you know. They go home.
They have sex, in which Ana is tied up with leather cuffs and then comes on command. After sex, Ana’s all, “…so you DO care about Leila, right?” because Ana loves discussing Grey’s emotionally damaged past right after sex. Grey admits that he does.
A section break takes us to a couple of emails that serve to tell us it’s three days later. Ana’s at work, reading her racy emails, when she gets a call from Josecob’s dad, Josecob Sr. He tells us that Ana’s dad, Ray, is in the hospital.
After this chapter, I might end up in the bed next to him. Pass the pain meds, Ray.
Whisper Count – 11
Murmur Count – 10
Favorite comment last post: New abusive Ken comes dressed in pants that hang off his hips in “that way” and a handy ball gag! Accessories sold separately and iclude pre-used butt plugs, high quality lube, and top of the line make up for covering any bruises society might be too judgemental to accept. They obviously don’t understand the depth and healing power of true love. Buy one for your daughters immediately! - wlreed
Next time: Is this another sub-plot that will resolve it self in a single chapter, and some how inspire Ana and Grey to have more redundant sex? Find out in Fifty Shades Freed Chapter 17!