I’m currently working on a revised edition of Fifty Shades of Neigh, for a book promotion next year, and I realised that it’s missing something – a chapter by chapter recap of Fifty Shades of Grey, so that people can enjoy the parody without having to wade through the mindnumbing source material.
So, you know what this means, don’t you?
Be warned. If you are offended by bad language then this is not the Fifty Shades recap for you; here be dragons, dangling participles, prepositional phrases gone wild and vicious, unwarranted abuse of the helpless comma. Also I tend to say fuck a lot.
I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror. Damn my hair – it just won’t behave, and damn Katherine Kavanagh for being ill and subjecting me to this ordeal.
Already we’re off to a fine, non-whiny start with our unnamed protagonist – she’s unable to even assert control over her own hair and thinks other people become ill to spite her in some way. She sounds fun. I wonder what she looks like?
Well, fear not. She’s in a badly written novel and she’s sitting in front of a mirror. Cue the ham-fisted self-description.
I roll my eyes in exasperation and gaze at the pale, brown-haired girl with blue eyes too big for her face staring back at me, and give up.
Holy shitballs. That was certainly…a sentence.
Kate is my roommate, and she has chosen today of all days to succumb to the flu. Therefore she cannot attend the interview she’d arranged to do, with some mega-industrialist tycoon I’ve never heard of, for the student newspaper.
It’s not going to get any better, folks. Eventually you sort of get used to it, but my initial impression on opening Fifty Shades of Grey was a kind of thrashing, Lovecraftian horror. The sentences are so grotesquely formed that the brain just flat-out rejects them. Think too hard about them and you’ll be right there in a cosy rubber room next to Randolph Carter, gibbering about tentacles and people who look like fish.
Anyway, prose aside for the moment, we are introduced to the plot. Our protagonist, she of the rolling, staring, gazing blue eyes too big for her face, now has a name. Ana. It seems that Ana must go and interview this man for the student newspaper, because Kate can’t.
“Ana, I’m sorry. It took me nine months to get this interview. It will take another six to reschedule, and we’ll both have graduated by then. As the editor, I can’t blow this off. Please,” Kate begs me in her rasping, sore throat voice. How does she do it? Even ill she looks gamine and gorgeous, strawberry blonde hair in place and green eyes bright, although now red-rimmed and runny. I ignore my pang of unwelcome sympathy.
I’m already confused; why can’t Kate just Skype him? Or do the interview over the phone? Of course, the plot demands that Ana must meet super mega industrialist big cock magical man Christian Grey, so we’re going to pretend we’ve never heard of these methods of journalism. Three pages in and already the main character is annoying, the writing is incomprehensibly horrible and the plot is a hollow contrivance. Goody. I’m looking forward to more, aren’t you?
Ana drives to Seattle in Kate’s Mercedes because her VW Beetle – which used to be Bella’s pick-up truck in Twilight – won’t make the journey. I don’t know why we’re privy to this information, but there it is.
My destination is the headquarters of Mr. Grey’s global enterprise. It’s a huge twenty-story office building, an architects utilitarian fantasy, with Grey House written discreetly in steel over the glass front doors.
Get used to the comma splices, by the way. They’re going nowhere.
Ana schleps into the building, describes it some more (glass, steel, white sandstone) and promptly turns self-conscious when speaking to the ‘immaculate’ blonde receptionist. She compares her clothing to that of the blonde and mopes slightly.
She hands me a security pass that has VISITOR very firmly stamped on the front. I can’t help my smirk. Surely it’s obvious that I’m just visiting. I don’t fit in here at all. Nothing changes, I inwardly sigh.
We’re going to be spending twenty six chapters in the company (and the head) of the charming Ana. It’s a good job she’s such a vibrant, confident personality, isn’t it?
The elevator whisks me with terminal velocity to the twentieth floor.
Yeah. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that she’s probably not a Physics Major.
The doors slide open, and I’m an another large lobby – again, all glass, steel and white sandstone. I’m confronted by another desk of sandstone and another young blonde woman dressed impeccably in black and white who rises to greet me.
To have one meaningless receptionist scene is a tragedy; to have two begins to look like carelessness. And judging by that last sentence I’m guessing she’s not an English Major either. Yikes.
Ana sits around, describes a few things around her and then grouses that Kate didn’t provide her with any clue about the man she would be interviewing. Yes – Kate sent Miss Mope to do the interview she’d been chasing for nine months, without even telling her how old Christian Grey is. Kate is about as good a journalist as Ana is an English Major. (And she is, by the way)
To be honest, I prefer my own company, reading a classic British novel, curled up in a chair in the campus library. Not sitting twitching nervously in a colossal glass and stone edifice.
There are no such things as ‘classic British novels’. There are pastoral novels, epistolary novels, polemic novels, allegories, satires, pastiches and many many more. You’re asking me to believe that a woman who’s about to gain a degree in English Literature not only refers to ‘classic British novels’ but is also okay with using words like edifice when ‘building’ would do just as well.
Then again, you’re asking me to believe that Ana here can endure her own Eeyorish company for more than five minutes without wanting to eat a shotgun barrel. So maybe suspension of disbelief is one of those other things we’re going to have to let slide. Along with the actual writing. And the plot. (help. me.)
Another receptionist comes out to see Ana and she’s all ‘What’s with the blondes? It’s like Stepford in here’. Then there’s a totally pointless page in which Ana is given a glass of water.
Then the elevator opens and a tall, good looking black man walks out. Plot twist! And you thought this was just another white-bread romance.
Nah. I’m kidding. I think his name is Claude, by the way. I’m getting that from the Christian Grey fanfic the author committed in the back of the final book. But don’t worry about Claude. Enjoy him (He gets a whole line) before he exits stage left and never appears again.
On hearing that Christian Grey is now available, Ana gets to her feet, walks five yards and faceplants into his office. No, she really does.
I push open the door and stumble through, tripping over my own feet, and falling headfirst into the office.
This happens mostly because – before the magical powers of find/exchange lifted Ana free from the bonds of international copyright law – she used to be Bella from Twilight. If you know Twilight you’ll know that Bella was clumsy to the point of absurdity, mainly because if she didn’t have any flaws people would no doubt be driven to the unhappy conclusion that she was a hollow self-insert with less personality than an overlaundered sock. Thankfully, due to her clumsiness, nobody thought that at all.
Anyway, hang on your to your gussets, girls and boys – we’re about to meet the kneetremblingly beautiful Christian ‘Slimed to the Knees’ Grey. Are you excited? I know I am.
So young – and attractive, very attractive. He’s tall, dressed in a fine grey suit, white shirt, and black tie with unruly copper-coloured hair and intense, bright grey eyes that regard me shrewdly. It takes a moment for me to find my voice.
This may be my favourite prepositional mess of the entire series. Just saying. Also, that’s a fucking strange tie.
As our fingers touch, I feel an odd exhilarating shiver run through me. I withdraw my hand hastily, embarrassed. Must be static.
It’s more likely to be bad writing, but carry on.
I blink rapidly, my eyelids matching my heart rate.
Try this. It’s hilarious.
Ana peers at some art pieces on the wall, which are described in such loving detail that I mistakenly took them for a plot point when I first read this book. Of course, this was back when I was still clinging to my last, desperate hope that the author had the first fucking clue about what she was doing. These days I’m much more cynical. They’re not a plot point, by the way, unless you know that this is the moment where Christian Grey realizes he’s into our heroine, which it is. Apparently it’s because she’s ‘bright’. Hang onto that thought, okay? It will keep you laughing when nothing else will.
She sits down and proceeds to stutter and mumble and blush like Kif from Futurama when he’s trying to get up the courage to phone Amy. Then she fumbles about with the mini-disc recorder and reveals that she had no idea he was going to be presenting the degrees at her graduation. Or about anything at all, I’m beginning to think.
Then she starts asking him interview questions.
“Business is all about people, Miss Steele, and I’m very good at judging people. I know how they tick, what makes them flourish, what doesn’t, what inspires them and how to incentivize them. I employ an exceptional team, and I reward them well.”
Well, there goes my hope that these books are at least going to fulfil the function of cheap pornography. I can’t masturbate to a man who uses words like ‘incentivize’. What the fuck is your damage, James? Are you ill, woman? Are you flicking it to The Apprentice? Because that’s just wrong – sick and wrong.
I’m already bored of this man. He brays a gobful of corporate dick-smack speak in her general direction and Ana just sits there percolating away in a puddle of her own humid panty-pudding.
“You invest in manufacturing. Why, specifically?” I ask. Why does he make me so uncomfortable?
“I like to build things. I like to know how things work; what makes things tick, how to construct and deconstruct. And I have a love of ships. What can I say?”
“That sounds like your heart talking rather than logic and facts.”
His mouth quirks up, and he stares appraisingly at me. “Possibly. Though there are people who’d say I don’t have a heart.”
Dear God. It’s like some kind of brain-damaged Ayn Rand porn. The start of the book was boring, but now she’s met Sparky here it’s even worse. It’s a good thing the author’s here to point out they have great chemistry.
Then – because Ana is a witless automaton who is incapable of looking at a page of questions without thinking ‘Well, that’s none of my business,’ – she asks him if he’s gay. This girl’s a real winner.
He inhales sharply and I cringe, mortified. Crap. Why didn’t I employ some kind of filter before I read this straight out?
We’d all like to know that, Ana. We really would.
One of Christian’s minions interrupts the meeting and is promptly told to fuck off, because Christian Grey is a very, very busy businessman and therefore has plenty of time to sit around talking to half-bright college seniors who flush more often than a portapotty at a rock festival.
“I want to know about you. I think that’s only fair.”
His grey eyes are alight with curiosity. Double crap. Where’s he going with this? He places his elbows on the arms of the chair and steeples his fingers in front of his mouth. His mouth is very…distracting. I swallow.
“There’s not much to know,” I say, flushing again.
I’m not kidding about the flushing, by the way. Or the crap crap and double crap. There’s a distinctly toilety bouquet to this first chapter. Or maybe that’s just the smell of the prose.
Then he offers her a job and she declines on the grounds that she’s ‘uncoordinated, scruffy and not blonde’.
His gaze is intense, all humour gone, and strange muscles deep in my belly clench suddenly. I tear my eyes away from his scrutiny and stare blindly down at my knotted fingers. What’s going on?
Our heroine, ladies and gentleman. A woman of twenty-one who has never felt so much as a tingle before she met Christian Grey. And when she does experience something that could just as easily be Irritable Bowel Syndrome as it is sexual arousal, her response is to stare at her hands like she’s on magic mushrooms.
He offers to show her around the building, because he’s very busy, you see. She says no and he tells her to drive carefully. Because of the rain. Also because he’s Edward Cullen.
The second chapter of the book opens with Ana having some kind of panty-spasm outside of Christian Grey’s office building. Beg pardon – edifice.
No man has ever affected me the way Christian Grey has, and I cannot fathom why.
Was the head of steam building from between your thighs not a tip off? For fuck’s sake – you spent the entire interview in a breathless state of sexual arousal. This is our ‘bright’ heroine? A woman so stupid she doesn’t even recognise the symptoms of simple lust?
On the way home, in between rehashing the events of the last chapter, Ana has what can only be described as an Edward-attack. Or an Edisode. Remember how Edward used to appear in Bella’s head when she tried to off herself in various creative (but sadly unsuccessful ways) in New Moon? Yeah. Well. That happens.
I’m driving more cautiously than I would on any other occasion. And I know it’s the memory of two penetrating grey eyes gazing at me, and a stern voice telling me to drive carefully. Shaking my head, I realize that Grey’s more like a man double his age.
More than double, actually. Since he used to be a crap vampire. It’s also helpful to know that he has two eyes, don’t you think? I would never have assumed that was the default number for human beings.
Christian’s not the only one with age-appropriate issues, by the way. Ana switches on the MP3 player and listens to ‘thumping indie rock music’, like all these crazy kids listen to these days.
Ana gets home to the apartment she shares with Kate. She doesn’t pay much in the way of rent there, since Kate owns the place outright, having received it as gift from her wealthy parents. I don’t know why I’m recapping this, but since I’m forced to be privy to every detail of Ana’s so-far tedious life, you’re going to suffer along with me.
Once she’s home Ana talks to Kate about how Christian was ‘intimidating’ and then fucks off to Claytons, the DIY store where she works part time.
…ironically, I’m crap at any DIY. I leave all that to my dad. I’m much more of a curl-up-with-a-book-in-a-comfy-chair-by-the-fire kind of girl.
That’s a lot of words and a lot of hyphens to point out that you’re basically useless.
Rather like this section. Having established that Ana works at a DIY store, she then buggers off back home. Kate, by the way, is now feeling well enough to type up the interview. Way to rub in that plot contrivance there, E.L.
“You’ve got some good stuff here, Ana. Well done. I can’t believe you didn’t take him up on his offer to show you around. He obviously wanted to spend more time with you.” She gives me a fleeting quizzical look.
I flush, and my heart rate inexplicably increases. That wasn’t the reason, surely?
This is pretty much Ana and Christian’s entire relationship, by the way. Every time he comes onto her she’s all ‘Oh, I’m so mousy and bookish and clumsy – he couldn’t possibly be into me.’ This gets tiresome after about five minutes.
“Why did you want to know if he was gay? Incidentally, that was the most embarrassing question. I was mortified, and he was pissed to be asked, too.” I scowl at the memory.
“Whenever he’s in the society pages, he never has a date.”
Does this mean that every person who has ever appeared in public without a member of the opposite sex and presumably wearing t-shirts that read WE HAVE HETEROSEXUAL INTERCOURSE is secretly more fabulous than Dumbledore?
Wait – no. Isn’t this how the Church of Scientology thinks homosexuality works? I don’t know. I’m so confused. Why are we even supposed to care? Why did she even ask the question if it made her uncomfortable to ask it? It’s a pretty fucking personal question after all.
…I work on my essay on Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Damn, but that woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong century.
Yeah. Apart from the bit where she stabs that guy to death. We’re fine with that kind of thing these days.
That night I dream of dark places, bleak white cold floors, and grey eyes.
No, I don’t know either.
Next paragraph Ana starts on about her mother, who is dizzy, much-married and totally nothing like Bella’s mom from Twilight. Ana telephones her, just in case we were unaware we were reading about mammals here, and Mom immediately flunks the Bechdel Test by asking Ana about boys. Then Ana phones Ray, her mother’s second husband. He’s not her biological father, but in all other respects he’s Charlie from Twilight. So – Rarlie, basically.
Friday night, Kate and I are debating what to do with our evening – we want some time out from our studies, from our work, and from student newspapers – when the doorbell rings. Standing on my doorstep is my good friend José, clutching a bottle of champagne…Jacob José is the first person I met when I arrived at WSU, looking as lost and lonely as I did. We recognised a werewolf kindred spirit in each of us that day, and we’ve been friends ever since. Not only do we share a sense of humour…
Yeah, I’m gonna stop you there, Ana. In two and a half chapters I have yet to see any evidence of your sense of humour.
And if you were in any doubt that José used to be Bella’s werewolf buddy, feast your eyes on this.
José and I are good friends, but I know deep down inside he’d like to be more. He’s cute and funny, but he’s just not for me. He’s more like the brother I never had…
…or the son-in-law you never wanted when he fell madly in creepy wolf-love with your terrifying CGI Gollum baby. (That never gets less fucked up, does it?)
…the truth is – I just haven’t met anyone who…well, whom I’m attracted to, even though part of my longs for those trembling knees, heart-in-my-mouth, butterflies-in-my-belly, sleepless nights.
Is she talking about a good deep dicking here? I honestly can’t tell. And hey, dingbat – what about that man you met in chapter one? You know – the one who’s probably called in specialist cleaners to get your snail trail off his couch?
Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me…
…oh dear. Where to even start.
…perhaps I’ve spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high.
Right. Even if we go by Angel Clare, the ‘better’ man in Tess of the D’Urbervilles, we’re still talking about a cowardly hypocrite who abandons his bride when he realises she’s not a virgin. And if we’re talking about Alec D’Urberville then we’re talking about an actual rapist. If this bar was set any lower you’d have to drill for it.
Finally Ana’s strange little mind finally connects the dots between her ‘literary heros’ and the man who spent the whole of chapter one making her hyperventilate and practically come in her panties every time he touched his finger to his lips. Well, almost. Actually she writes off her frequent Christian Grey dreams as some means of purging her unconscious from the humiliation of asking him if he was big on musical theatre, but yeah – maybe she’ll get there eventually. Maybe when he’s actually inside her she’ll figure it out.
[José]’s tall, and in his jeans and t-shirt he’s all shoulders and muscles, tanned skin, dark hair and burning dark eyes. Yes, José’s pretty hot, but I think he’s finally getting the message; we’re just friends.
So, just to be clear – the smoking hot gym bunny friend is not good enough for Ana, because he’s not Lord Byron or whatever, but she’s too unblonde and scruffy and uncoordinated for the dazzling ‘Adonis’ Christian Grey, who has so far demonstrated no signs of being remotely ‘literary’. I don’t understand how someone whose default setting appears to be twitchy self-loathing can simultaneously hold such an incredibly high opinion of herself.
Anyway – section break time. It’s back to the DIY store.
Saturday at the store is a nightmare. We are besieged by do-it-yourselfers wanting to spruce up their homes.
How strange to find such people in a DIY store. Why are they not besieged by people wanting coffee, or halibut, or dildo enthusiasts shopping for new knobbly ones?
Actually, as known by anyone who watches television, DIY stores are haunted by two types of people. People who want to fix up the house or garden, or people who come in late at night to buy large chemical-proof containers and rolls of electrical cable. Or plastic sheeting. And shovels.
And oh look; here’s one now.
…I glance up…and find myself locked in the bold grey gaze of Christian Grey who’s standing at the counter, staring at me intently.
Why? Is he high in cholesterol or something?
“I was in the area,” he says by way of explanation. “I need to stock up on a few things. It’s a pleasure to see you again, Miss Steele.” His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel…or something.
Oh. So he is high in cholesterol? Glad we’ve cleared that up.
He’s not merely good-looking – he’s the epitome of male beauty, breathtaking, and he’s here. Here in Clayton’s Hardware Store. Go figure. Finally my cognitive functions are restored and reconnected with the rest of my body.
I highly doubt that, Ana. Unless after almost two chapters of flushing, hyperventilating and steaming at the loins you have finally figured out that you want to fuck him? This really doesn’t bode well for a dirty book, does it?
Christian asks to look at some cable ties. No, beg pardon – cable ties. Just imagine that whenever someone mentions a hardware item in this section they are doing so in breathy, innuendo-laden italics. Because they are. Ana doesn’t even understand that he’s buying serial killer kink supplies, but that doesn’t stop her gushing hotter and wetter than Old Faithful. It’s just that kind of book.
Why is he in Portland? And why is he here at Clayton’s? And from a very tiny, underused part of my brain – probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata where my subconscious dwells – comes the thought: He’s here to see you.
You know, I used to write erotica myself, back in the day. (For Random House, funnily enough) And I remember thinking quite clearly on more than one occasion, “This sex scene is pretty good, but you know what? I think it needs more neurology.”
As usual, Ana gets it wrong. The medulla is not so much subconscious as unconscious – it does the basic but essential stuff, like regulating blinking and breathing. If your medulla oblongata is tiny and underused then I’m afraid to say you might be a vegetable.
But probably still smarter than Ana.
He gazes at a selection of cable ties we stock at Clayton’s. What on Earth is he going to do with those? I cannot picture him as a do-it-yourselfer at all.
I can. (Sorry. In my defence, the man’s clearly a wanker.)
His fingers trail across the various packages displayed, and for some inexplicable reason, I have to look away. He bends and selects a packet.
“These will do,” he says, with his oh-so-secret smile, and I blush.
“Is there anything else?”
“I’d like some masking tape.”
This is just to show you I’m not kidding, by the way. He buys a bunch of perfectly ordinary serial killer supplies and she’s all gasp-flutter-kersploosh even though she has no idea what’s creaming her kipper. In less than two chapters this book has crammed in more stupidity than even the worst ones manage in ten. It’s quite special.
“I’ll take that one,” Grey says softly pointing to the wider tape, which I pass to him…
…how do you point softly? Point softly lest you point at my dreams?
…our fingers brush very briefly, and the current is there again, zapping through me like I’ve touched an exposed wire.
Dear authors – enough with the ‘ffzzt, ooh, sparks!’ nonsense, okay? If you want me to believe your couple have amazing, smoking-hot chemistry, find some other, less ridiculous way to show me. As it is I’m lately convinced that every other romance novel protagonist has had their entire house, office and other surroundings recarpeted in the kind of cheap-and-nasty nylon flooring that used to give us so much sparky fun in High School.
Then Christian asks to buy some rope and Ana ties a sexy, sexy slipknot, prompting him to ask her if she was a Girl Scout.
“Organised, group activities aren’t really my thing, Mr. Grey.”
He arches a brow.
“What is your thing, Anastasia?” he asks, his voice soft and his secret smile is back. I gaze at him unable to express myself…
… “Books,” I whisper, but inside my subconscious is screaming: You! You are my thing!
Bear in mind this is the second time she’s met him. Nothing says true love like a clueless (and possibly unhinged) virgin imprinting on a man like a baby chicken.
At this point Christian has bought cable ties, masking tape and a length of rope, an unsettling shopping list he decides to round out with a set of coveralls in a fetching shade of Dexter Blue (also available in Lecter Green and Dahmer Orange). Ana suggests them so that he doesn’t get his beautiful, beautiful clothes dirty, at which he says that he could always take them off, prompting Ana to turn ‘the colour of the communist manifesto’.
The Communist Manifesto should be capitalised, Ana; it’s the title of a book. You know books, right? I thought they were your ‘thing’? Also I don’t think red was a colour associated with communism back when Karl Marx wrote it.
Ana blithers, babbles and drivels for another half a page, before the conversation moves round to the interview in the previous chapter. Ana says Kate’s only concern about the article she’s writing about him is that she doesn’t have any original photographs of him, because student magazines totally have that kind of budget.
Naturally Christian seizes this opportunity to see her again (and because he doesn’t have a business to run or anything) and Ana’s brain starts playing her up once more.
And you might see him again tomorrow, that dark place at the base of my brain whispers seductively at me. I dismiss the thought – of all the silly, ridiculous…
Oh for goodness sake.
For a fraction of a second, he looks lost somehow, and the Earth shifts slightly on its axis, the tectonic plates sliding into a new position.
You hear that, ladies? There’s no point bothering with a man unless he’s so good-looking he can cause actual earthquakes. Leaves us with kind of a short list – there’s Christian Grey, the Greek God Poseidon and…um…well, anyway. Possibly Thor? Was that his jurisdiction?
Anyhow. Paul Clayton appears. Who is Paul Clayton? Well, he used to be Mike Newton. Remember Mike? He was from Twilight – the ordinary (and seemingly quite pleasant) young man who was there to be scorned by Bella for not being a sparkly undead killjoy.
Paul has always been a buddy, and in this strange moment that I’m having with the rich, powerful, awesomely off-the-scale attractive control freak Grey, it’s great to talk to someone who’s normal.
Nothing has changed much, as you can see.
Paul is, of course, madly and passionately in love with Ana, but he’s a mere Princeton student and doesn’t cause earthquakes. So fuck him. And fuck José too. Nobody but a ‘literary hero’ is going to wield the crowbar that finally opens Ana’s rust-encrusted thighs. Although I have yet to figure out how Christian Grey is ‘literary’, since he’s never mentioned a single book in her presence so far.
When I glance up at Christian Grey, he’s watching [Paul and I] like a hawk, his grey eyes hooded and speculative, his mouth a hard impassive line. He’s changed from the weirdly attentive customer to someone else – someone cold and distant.
Ah. He’s a psychopath – just like Heathcliff. Oh, well. That is quite literary.
Yeah. So. Christian goes from zero-to-whackjob in a nanosecond and Ana admits it’s ‘baffling’. It’s also terrifying, but ‘baffling’ probably works as well as anything else does in Ana’s strange, illiterate brain. Then he says he’ll see her tomorrow and clears off out of the scene, but not before telling her that he was glad she did the interview and not Kate.
You bet he was glad. He’s a creep, and she’s a weirdo. It’s all very special.
I spend several minutes staring at the closed door through which he’s just left before I return to planet Earth. Okay – I like him. There, I’ve admitted it to myself. I cannot hide from my feelings anymore.
Finally. About time too. I’m surprised he didn’t grab a pair of wellington boots while he was in the store – the place must be ankle deep in your sexual fluids for all the crotch-frothing you were doing before Paul Clayton showed up.
I find him attractive, very attractive. But it’s a lost cause, I know, and I sigh with bittersweet regret. It was just a coincidence, his coming here.
Oh fuck you, Ana.
You don’t get to whine and complain about how men don’t find you attractive when you’ve got an Ivy League student and a muscle-bound hottie panting after you at every opportunity. I get that it’s an old-school romance novel trope to separate the ‘modest’ heroine from the preening strumpets who are so far beneath her it’s not even funny, but I think we’re far enough into the twenty-first century to retire this slut-shaming shit, don’t you?
It doesn’t make you look charmingly modest. It just makes you look dumb. And lord knows you don’t need any more help in that direction.