I’m not gonna lie – it’s getting rough. I knew what I was in for when I started this blog, and my overall mission to better understand women through reading this book still remains unfulfilled. But here I am, a little over halfway through this thing, and I kind of feel like I’m hitting a wall. Those of you wondering why these updates have been so sporadic now have your answer – I legitimately need a few days to recover after each chapter. I am honestly amazed by the number of women that have read not only this book, but the entire trilogy, in just a manner of days! Between that and the pain of childbirth, I am now more than ready to admit women might actually be physically tougher than men.
But still, even though I can think of far better things for people to do with their time than read this book…
…and even though I can definitely think of better uses of my time…
…the fact remains that it is still insanely popular, with no end to the madness in sight. That means my work isn’t done. And so I soldier on, still hopeful of some sort of surprising light at the end of the tunnel…or at least one well-written chapter. Is that really so much to ask?
I guess so, because it sure ain’t happening with this chapter. How do I know that? Well, consider the opening sentences:
Slowly the outside world invades my senses, and oh my, what an invasion. I am floating, my limbs soft and languid, utterly spent. I’m lying on top of him, my head on his chest, and he smells devine: fresh, laundered linen and some expensive body wash, and the best, most seductive scent on the planet… Christian.
I couldn’t have said it better myself, Mark.
Ana is of course basking in the afterglow of last chapter’s sex scene, the first in which Christian allowed her to “take control.” As you’ll remember, this meant Ana rode him like a cowgirl till both experienced explosive orgasms – one thing I noticed is that it was one of the briefest sex scenes in the book. Maybe there’s a story point to Christian being unable to contain himself when Ana is in charge, but I think it’s far more likely that E.L. James just isn’t as turned on by the whole “woman in charge/on top” thing. I mean, I’m not trying to suggest she’s using this book as an outlet for her own weird fantasies of being sexually dominated by Edward Cullen or anything…I’m just pointing out that the Christian dominated sex scenes tend to go one for multiple pages, while the “Ana on top” scene consisted of just a couple paragraphs. Draw your own conclusions.
But that was last chapter. This is now. And we’re right back to usual aloof Christian crap, as he forbids Ana from tenderly stroking his chest as they lay in post-coitus bliss. When she asks him (for the dozenth time) why he doesn’t like to be touched, Christian responds, “because I’m fifty shades of fucked up, Anastasia.” GET IT? Just like the name of the book! I see what she did there!
So after a bit more supposedly playful chit-chat in which Christian tells her “you’ve had six orgasms so far and they all belong to me” and then threatens to kidnap her if she doesn’t sign the contract soon (no, really, I swear it’s playful!), he gets up to leave. This bums Ana out – she notices Christian brought two condoms, and she thinks it’s a waste not to use them both. You know, there are starving kids in Africa who would kill to have that second condom, and all that. But while discussing this with Christian, she makes the mistake of rolling her eyes at him…and he already told her what was going to happen if she rolled her eyes at him again.
“I told you what I’d do. I’m a man of my word. I’m going to spank you, and then I’m going to fuck you very quick and very hard. Looks like we’ll need that condom after all.”
And then that’s exactly what happens. I mean, seriously, how much detail do you still need me to go into for these scenes? What’s that? You at least want some highlights? What, you mean like Ana saying her “insides practically contort with potent, needy, liquid, desire” at the thought of being spanked? Or how about this head-scratcher:
“Aargh!” I cry out on the tenth slap – and I’m unaware that I have been mentally counting the blows.
But, wait. if you’re mentally unaware that you’re counting the blows, how did you know that was the tenth…ah, fuck it.
So after finishing the long spanking set (we don’t hear the final number, I guess because Ana remembered that she wasn’t consciously counting or something), Christian also makes good on his promise to fuck her – first graciously giving her permission to come while he does so, cause he’s a great guy. Ana, who I’m starting to think would pop if she just bumped into Christian at the right angle, takes him up on the offer:
And he’s inside me, quickly filling me, I moan loudly. He moves, pounding into me, a fast, intense pace against my sore behind. The feeling is beyond exquisite, raw and debasing and mind blowing. My senses are ravaged, disconnected, solely concentrating on what he’s doing to me. How he’s making me feel, that familiar pull deep in my belly, tightening, quickening. NO… and my traitorous body explodes in an intense, body-shattering orgasm.
Man, that sucks. One time, my traitorous body exploded in intense, body-shattering orgasms, and I hated it…but nearly as much as the other people waiting in line at the bank.
Christian is at least nice enough to rub some baby oil on Ana’s behind before leaving (“up and down like whores’ drawers,” Ana’s subconscious sarcastically notes when he lowers her sweatpants), causing Ana to muse, “from makeup remover to soothing balm for a spanked ass, who would have thought it was such a versatile liquid.” Well, that’s quite the ringing endorsement. My guess – E.L. James is getting a kick-back from the baby oil industry.
With Christian out of the apartment, Ana calls her mom, and almost immediately begins crying, eventually admitting the tears are over a guy. Although her mom doesn’t know the half of it, she rightfully tells Ana that knowing someone for only three weeks is barely any time at all, and that Ana should keep Christian “at arm’s length until you decide whether he’s worthy of you.” Likewise, when Kate comes home and finds a visibly distraught Ana, she says in no uncertain terms that Christian isn’t worth this hassle. “Just tell him to take a hike, Ana,” she says. “You’ve been so up and down since you met him. I’ve never seen you like this.”
The world of Katherine Kavanagh is very clear, very black and white. Not the intangible, mysterious, vague hues of gray that color my world. Welcome to my world.
Actually, I think I’m gonna have to go with Kate and your mom on this one, Ana. A fucked-up guy you just met wants you to sign a contract to become his personal sex play-thing. It’s really not that vague. Then again, I have to admit I’ve never had any super rich dudes make me the same offer, so maybe I should bite my tongue.
Anyway, we all know Ana gonna do what Ana gonna do, and that obviously doesn’t include listening to the logic of those closest to her. She has a case of Christian fever, and that’s not something you just shake off. So only seconds after finishing her talk, she is back on her computer and e-mailing back-and-forth with Christian. She informs him that, after the pain of her inaugural spanking,she wants caning added to her “hard limits,” which he agrees to. But then he has a demand of his own – that, now that she has her new car, she sell off her old VW Bug. Ana seems alright with that, but is bothered when Christian refuses to let her take care of it, instead insisting his assistant Taylor will come pick up the Bug and get a good price for it. An angry Ana rebuffs this idea, telling Christian “I am intrigued that you are happy to risk letting your right-hand man drive my car – but not some woman you fuck occasionally.” Christian does not take kindly to this, writing back:
I am assuming it is the RED WINE talking, and that you’ve had a very long day. Though I am tempted to drive back over there to ensure that you don’t sit down for a week, rather than an evening… Now please do not refer to yourself as ‘some woman I fuck occasionally’ because, quite frankly it makes me MAD, and you really wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
Huh. I feel like I’ve heard that somewhere before.
Nope, it’s not coming to me.
Ana eventually harshly cuts off the conversation with Christian, but not before telling him that she doesn’t particularly like him at the moment “because you never stay with me.” The reality of her situation finally sinking in, Ana’s “sluice gates open” (yup, that’s the actual phrase she uses), and she begins sobbing uncontrollably into her pillow. But then she is “momentarily distracted from my dark night of the soul” by the sounds of Kate yelling at someone, telling them they can’t come in. GASP. Could it be?
IT IS! Christian busts into her bedroom, concerned over the tone of her last message. That’s right, despite the fact that she has constantly asked him to stay with her, despite the fact that he spanked her to holy hell and then roughly fucked her even though she is still a fairly naive girl, it never occurred to him that she might be a little upset over the whole situation. “You told me you were okay,” he says. “I’d never have left you if I thought you were like this.” C’mon, Christian, a girl tells you she’s OK and you just believe her? Even I know better than that!
To his credit, Christian seems genuinely caring in this scene, fetching Ana Advil and trying to honestly address her concerns. But when she admits that she didn’t like it when he hit her and would prefer he doesn’t do it again, he tells her in no uncertain terms that this will not be the case.
“I like the control it brings me, Anastasia. I want you to behave in a particular way and if you don’t, I shall punish you, and you will learn to behave the way I desire. I enjoy punishing you.
It’s the way I’m made, Anastasia. I need to control you. I need you to behave in a certain way, and if you don’t – I love to watch your beautiful alabaster skin pink and warm up under my hands. It turns me on.”
Probably not exactly what Ana wanted to hear, but it doesn’t matter, because a few moments later he tells Ana that she has “bewitched” him, and that’s all it takes to make her putty in his hands again. In what I suppose counts as a chivalrous gesture from him, Christian decides to once again break his “no actual sleeping with anyone” rule and asks to spend the night. Ana is not surprisingly elated, and as she drifts into a peaceful sleep, we learn that she has clearly taken the right message away from the whole thing:
…he’s in my bed. I don’t quite understand why… maybe I should weep more often in front of him.
Sigh…I really hope it works out for these two crazy kids.
Oh, and two more “oh my’s” this chapter, by the way.