Anal beads. Whatever our differences, I think we can all agree that literature has long suffered from a lack of anal beads. Indeed, the fact that none of Jane Austen’s dashing male characters used anal beads on their comely heroines was the main crux of Mark Twain’s intense dislike for her novels – a fact that has since been swept under the rug by “respectable” English professors. But I know, and now so do you do. And even if it has never consciously occurred to you before, I guarantee that while you have been reading the works of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Rowling or even Dan Brown, a small part of your brain has been nagging at you, saying “this is OK…but it needs more anal beads.”
Thankfully, one author has come along determined to right this injustice…and I don’t think I need to tell you who. But, you know what, I’m getting ahead of myself – and far be it from me to short shift the rest of this fine chapter (I don’t have a “sarcasm font, but if I did, it would have been used on the last part of that sentence).
Anyway, Chapter Twenty opens with Christian carrying Ana into his family’s dark boathouse – where I was really hoping we would discover he had covered the room in plastic sheeting beforehand, “kill-floor” style, in preparation of murdering Ana and finally bringing this nonsense to an end. But, alas, Ana’s death is not in the cards, at least not yet. Instead, we are treated to…well, do you want to take a guess?
If you said another sex scene, give yourself a gold star!
And what a romantic sex scene it is, as a scared, pleading Ana whispers “please don’t hit me” to an angry looking Christian. It’s real love! In a further attempt to distract Christian from the planned beating, she begins gently stroking his face and hair, pulling him into a kiss. This confuses Christian, who doesn’t understand how Ana could possibly be in a romantic mood if she had only recently stopped him from sticking his hand up her skirt at the dinner table. Ana, quite obviously, points out “but we were at your parents’ dining table.” Christian, having apparently never read Emily Post and therefore not recognizing the poor etiquette of finger-blasting your date while eating with your family, is still thrown off by this.
“No one’s ever said no to me before. And it’s so – hot.”
No one has ever said “no” to that before?? Wow, dinner with the Grey’s must be one hell of an interesting event whenever it happens.
“I’m mad because you never mentioned Georgia to me. I’m mad because you went drinking with that guy who tried to seduce you when you were drunk and who left you when you were ill with an almost complete stranger. What kind of friend does that? And I’m mad and aroused because you closed your legs on me.” His eyes glitter dangerously, and he’s slowly inching up the hem of my dress.
“I want you, and I want you now. And if you’re not going to let me spank you – which you deserve – I’m going to fuck you on the couch this minute, quickly, for my pleasure, not yours.”
Well, isn’t that nice of him. You know, I’ve compared myself to Christian on a couple occasions before, and here again I think I might have an advantage. I don’t know how many single ladies are reading this, but for any that are, let me just assure you that I’m always willing to share the pleasure…even if you do do something as unforgivable as, oh, say, express a desire to go visit your mother. Even then, I’ll still throw a little extra your way, you know what I mean?
Christian, not sharing my feminist attitudes regarding sex, goes on to claim Ana’s nether regions, sinking his fingers into Ana as if he was planting a flag on the moon.
“This is mine,” he whispers aggressively. “All mine. Do you understand?”
“We don’t have long. This will be quick, and it’s for me, not you. Do you understand? Don’t come, or I will spank you,” he says through clenched teeth.
Well, on one hand, this is an interesting development, as every sex scene up until now has seemingly suggested that Christian can barely sneeze around Ana without giving her multiple orgasms – how will she ever control herself now? But, on the other hand, Christian’s tone and “this is just for me” attitude lends a kind of rapey overtone to a book that was already getting uncomfortably creepy.
Oh, but don’t worry, everyone – it turns out Ana is into it, so it’s all good.
With one swift thrust, he’s fully inside me. I groan loudly, gutturally, and revel in the fullness of his possession. He puts his hands on mine on top of my head, his elbows hold my arms out and down, and his legs pinion me. I am trapped. He’s everywhere, overwhelming me, almost suffocating. But it’s heavenly, too; this is my power, this is what I do to him, and it’s a hedonistic, triumphant feeling.
Christian’s goodwill – and Ana’s misguided acceptance of it – continues after he quickly climaxes.
All of a sudden, he withdraws, leaving me aching and hungry for more. He glares down at me.
“Don’t touch yourself. I want you frustrated. That’s what you do to me by not talking to me, by denying me what’s mine.” His eyes blaze anew, angry again.
I nod, panting.
I sit up, a little unsteadily, dazed.
“Here, you may put these on.”
From his inside pocket, he produces my panties. I don’t grin as I take them from him, but inside I know – I’ve taken a punishment fuck but gained a small victory over the panties. My inner goddess nods in agreement, a satisfied grin over her face – You didn’t have to ask for them.
At this point Christian’s sister Mia comes in, because if she had come in moments earlier and caught them screwing it might have been interesting, and we can’t have that. Anyway, she informs them that Kate and Elliot are leaving. While saying their goodbyes, Ana actually takes offense and mentally admonishes Kate for warning Ana to be careful because she senses that Christian is “so controlling.”
I KNOW WHAT’S HE REALLY LIKE – YOU DON’T! – I scream at her in my head.
Uhh, judge, if it pleases the court, I’d like to show Miss Steele Exhibit A – namely, the last dozen or so pages!! God, I’m really starting to hate this girl.
Christian and Ana say their own goodbyes to the Grey’s, and Taylor begins driving them home. On the way, they make some more awkward, flirty small talk that I’m sure James was bored writing. Christian does ask Ana if he can come with her to visit her mother, but Ana doesn’t think it’s such a good idea. She works up enough nerve to tell Christian she is still unsure about this relationship, that she wants more. “I know,” Christian says, “I’ll try.” AWWWWWW.
Christian tells Ana not to worry about signing their contract until after she gets back from Georgia (ugh!), and then asks Ana to spend the night with him tonight. Of course Ana can’t refuse this request, but when she tells Christian that she wants to “make love” instead of have sex – meaning she wants to be allowed to touch him, too – he balks and orders her to just get into bed, so the two of them can go to sleep. Well, I suppose denying her sex is a lot better than physically abusing her, so perhaps he is taking baby steps.
Then again, perhaps I spoke too soon. Christian interrupts Ana as she brushes her teeth in preparation for bed…
“…his PJs hanging off his hips in that way that makes every little cell in my body stand up and take notice. He’s bare-chested, and I drink him in like I’m crazed with thirst and he’s clear cool mountain spring water.”
As the two share a toothbrush (the closest this book comes to a pure romantic gesture), Ana again pressures Christian into telling her why he doesn’t like to be touched, eventually deciding to use her true “power” to get what she wants – she tells him that, if he tells her why, she’ll let him punish her again. Good thinking, Ana!
Christian of course takes this bait, telling Ana to wait there while he goes to get something. Ana suddenly wonders if she made the right decision, worried that he might return with a cane. He doesn’t. Instead, he returns with “two round, shiny, silver balls, linked with a thick black thread.”
Whoa, calm down, girl! Apparently, it’s not gonna be that bad!
“I am going to put these inside you, and then I’m going to spank you, not for punishment, but for your pleasure and mine.”
And, in fact, Ana does end up enjoying the experience, as Christian has her first suck the balls (“they need lubrication”), then inserts the balls (not into her backside, though – I guess he’ll work her up to that one) and has her keep them in while she goes to fetch him a glass of water. Ana digs it. “Fuck, this is sexier than the toothbrush,” she evens says…which has to be one of the best out-of-context sentences in erotic fiction history.
As I leave the bedroom, it becomes abundantly clear why he wants me to walk around – as I do, the balls weigh down inside me, massaging me internally. It’s such a weird feeling and not entirely unpleasant. In fact, my breathing accelerates as I stretch up for a glass from the kitchen cabinet and I gasp. Oh my… I may have to keep these. They make me needy, needy for sex.
But Ana has to wait for that sex, as first Christian instead does as he promised – spanks Ana while she keeps the balls inside her.
“It’s such a stimulating, erotic feeling, and for some reason, because this is on my terms, I don’t mind the pain. It’s not painful as such – well, it is, but not unbearable. It’s somehow manageable, and yes pleasurable… even. I groan. Yes, I can do this.”
Fifty Shades of Grey – The best-selling, romantic tale of manageable pain!
Eventually Christian pulls the balls out (I imagined a cartoonish “pop” sound effect, just to entertain myself) and inserts himself instead, quickly sending Ana into “a delicious, violent, exhausting orgasm.” Having fulfilled her part of the bargain, Ana asks Christian to finally spill the beans on his mysterious beginnings. A man of his word, Christian – as he tenderly rubs lotion onto Ana’s swollen backside – shares his darkest secret.
“The woman who brought me into this world was a crack whore, Anastasia. Go to sleep.”
Boy, oh boy…I can’t wait for the “Christian Begins” prequel novel.
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