Happy New Year, people. I hope you have a happy, healthy and wealthy one. And what better way to celebrate the beginning of a shiny new year by plunging back into one of the dullest books in human history? Well, I can think of a bunch of better ways, but I’ve committed to this garbage and I like to see things through.
Chapter ten opens with sourpuss Christian Grey in an uncharacteristically good mood, apparently because his mother just showed up and interrupted his awful, repetitive rutting with the plastic girl he kidnapped just yesterday morning.
He’s amused, his eyes dancing with mirth. He kisses my forehead quickly and beams at me.
“Another first,” he acknowledges, but I have no idea what he’s talking about.
Ana freaks out because she has no clean clothes and doesn’t especially feel like meeting his mother, which is quite reasonable considering that she’s spent a total of one (conscious) night with Christian Grey and has no idea if she wants to sign his creepy sex contract yet.
“…I’d like you to meet my mother. Get dressed. I’ll just go and calm her down.” His mouth presses into a hard line. “I will expect you in that room in five minutes, otherwise I’ll come and drag you out of here myself in whatever you’re wearing…”
So no pressure then.
Holy shit. Christian’s mother. This is so much more than I bargained for. Perhaps meeting her will help put a little part of the jigsaw in place. Might help me understand why Christian is the way he is…Suddenly, I want to meet her.
This relationship is just dreamy, isn’t it? He manipulates her into doing shit she doesn’t want to do and she convinces herself she does actually want to do the shit she doesn’t want to do because she thinks it will give her an insight into why he’s such a goddamn psycho.
Christian’s mother is Esme Cullen, basically. Except her name is Grace. Gresme.
She looks groomed, elegant, beautiful, and inside I die a little, knowing I look such a mess.
Never mind Ana. It’s what’s inside that coun…oh. Yeah. Oh dear. Oh well. You have nice hair?
“Mother, this is Anastasia Steele. Anastasia, this is Grace Trevelyan-Grey.”
Dr. Trevelyan-Grey holds her hand out to me. T…for Trevelyan.
No. It’s stands for ‘Thundercat’. Shut up. It does.
“Call me Grace,” she grins, and Christian frowns. “I am usually Dr. Trevelyan, and Mrs. Grey is my mother-in-law.” She winks. “So how did you two meet?”
Plot contrivance. And kidnapping. There was also vomit – lots of vomit. Actually it was quite special.
“Anastasia interviewed me for the student paper at WSU because I’m conferring the degrees there this week.”
Double crap. I’d forgotten that.
I’d just like to take a moment to remind the readers that Ana also forgot where she lived.
Ana’s phone rings.
“Dios mio! Ana!” Holy crap, it’s José. He sounds desperate.
I’m not surprised. With lines like these, who wouldn’t be?
José says he needs to see her and to apologise in person for his behaviour Friday night. This is perfectly reasonable, but at this point we’re supposed to hate José and love Christian, so he ‘whines’ and Ana hangs up on him.
Gresme fucks off after cooing some more and then Christian starts the early rumblings of a tantrum because Ana was on the phone to José. Ana wonders what Christian’s problem is, which is kind of reductive and obvious since the man has enough personality disorders to keep an entire convention of psychiatrists happy for months.
After some barking down a telephone that passes for ‘work’, he stomps off and fetches the sex contract and hands it to Ana. He suggests she do some ‘research’ into what’s involved.
“You’ll be amazed what you can find on the Internet,” he murmurs.
Internet! I don’t have access to a computer, only Kate’s laptop…
No access to a computer. Did you get that? How do you get through four years of college in the twenty-first century without having a computer of some sort? Or looking on the internet? This is ridiculous. Ana’s supposed to have been born in about 1991.
She says she needs to make a phone call and he turns pissy again.
“The photographer?” His jaw clenches, and his eyes burn. I blink at him. “I don’t like to share, Miss Steele. Remember that.” His quiet, chilling tone is a warning, and with one long, cold look at me, he heads back to the bedroom…what happened to the generous, relaxed, smiling man who was making love to me not half an hour ago?
You say ‘making love’, I say ‘date rape’. Please, please let’s call the whole thing off.
Anyway, he offers to take her for lunch and he puts on a leather jacket so that Ana thinks he looks like ‘a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, maybe be a badly behaved rock star or a catwalk model’. She also thinks she should be able to talk to Kate about her sex life, because Christian is ‘so open one minute and so standoffish the next’.
I think she should buy a vibrator and call the cops.
“What is it, Anastasia?” he asks. How does he know I’m chewing something over in my mind?
He can hear the squeak of the rusty hamster wheel that powers your mind. And the high pitched wheezing of the fat, three-legged hamster.
He reaches up and pulls my chin.
“Stop biting your lip, or I will fuck you in the elevator…”
Well, I’ve never heard it called that before.
“Christian, I have a problem.”
Yes, you do. His name is Christian Grey. Get rid of him.
“Well,” I flush. How to say this. “I need to talk to Kate. I’ve so many questions about sex, and you’re too involved. If you want me to do all these things, how do I know-?” I pause, struggling to find the right words. “I just don’t have any terms of reference.”
Why don’t you read a book, dumbass? I thought books were ‘your thing’? That was how we used to educate ourselves about sex, back before we had unfettered access to the internet and all its eyewatering pornography. I admit that my recollection of the early 1990s is kind of patchy, given that it was the age where I discovered weed and the joys of underage drinking, but I’m pretty sure I managed to glean a reasonable idea of sex just from lunchtime Cosmo quizzes, Jackie Collins and the occasional pornographic magazines that mysteriously appeared in woodland and hedgerows.
And don’t you sit there muttering that you only read ‘classic British novels’, Miss Piss. There are plenty of works of world literature that deal with sex and sexuality, many of them books that every well-read person should have read at least once.
He says she can talk to Kate, just as long as Kate doesn’t talk to Elliot and then there’s a flash car or something and Ana’s overwhelmed by his ‘sleek, black, sporty number’.
I don’t know about you, but when a man has a helicopter and a whole bunch of fancy cars and he doesn’t want you to compare notes with your girlfriends, I’m thinking small penis.
They head out to lunch. (Shh, I know. They were there already.)
“Hungry?” he asks.
Not for food.
See? I told you that ‘joke’ would be back.
They drive to a pretentious bistro restaurant in the woods. It’s called Cuisine Sauvage and there’s no menu – they cook whatever they’ve caught or foraged. Sounds delicious. Hope you like squashed possum a la tarmac.
Christian orders wine and gets snitty when Ana says she wants a Diet Coke, his previous nagging all forgotten. Apparently it’s different if he’s the one pouring booze down her throat so that he can take advantage of her.
He smiles his dazzing head-cocked-to-one-side smile, and my stomach pole vaults over my spleen.
Well, that’s revolting.
“My mother liked you,” he says dryly.
“Really?” His words make me flush with pleasure.
“Oh yes. She’s always thought I was gay.”
And that would be a bad thing how? Did you seriously just imply that being gay was somehow worse than being a goddamn lunatic who snatches women from parking lots, partially removes their clothes and tucks them up in bed with you? Then again, you’ve admitted that you like to beat women, and apparently not only got away with that but somehow become some kind of international byword for the female orgasm.
Funny old world, isn’t it?
“You know, Anastasia, it’s been a weekend of firsts for me, too,” he says quietly.
“Yes. Usually at this point in our relationship I’d be burying you somewhere in the forest.”
“I’ve never slept with anyone, never had sex in my bed, never flown a girl in Charlie Tango, never introduced a woman to my mother. What are you doing to me?”
The thing she was designed to do – her magical vagina has torn you from the paths of manwhoredom and set you on a smooth course of monogamy hereafter. I hear it’s a common thing when you date the heroine of really bad romance novels. Now if only her magical hoo-ha could cure you of your strange kinks and turn you into a perfect prince…
Ana’s way ahead of me on this one. She sets about asking him why he’s into kink and he says it’s because one of his mother’s friends seduced him when he was fifteen.
“Oh.” Holy shit that’s young.
Holy shit that’s statutory rape and child abuse. But hey – we’ll let that slide just like we let the kidnapping slide. And the stalking. Everyone in these books ignores the law because they don’t seem to think it applies to the super wealthy. While this is sadly sort-of true, it’s little things like this that populate the Fifty Shades novels with a cast of characters that most decent people wouldn’t piss on if they happened to be on fire.
It turns out that fifteen year old Christian was a ‘submissive’ to an older woman for six years, and that the reason he didn’t date anyone in college was because she would have ‘beaten the shit’ out of him. Ana is not nearly as appalled by this information as she should be and adds it to her personal scrapbook of Reasons Why I Should Make Excuses For My Abusive Boyfriend. Also she kind of enjoys the moral high ground over ‘Mrs. Robinson’ – a bit. A lot.
He nags her about eating, again. It’s funny how she loses her appetite whenever he’s around. It’s kind of like he makes her anxious and uneasy or something.
He takes her home and time is once again doing weird things. It’s apparently five in the evening and and the lights are on, which is odd because it’s supposed to be late May. Kate immediately asks Ana how she is and Ana – like the sad, sour little fart she is – complains that she’s being interrogated. Yes – fuck people and their concern for your wellbeing, Ana. How dare they?
Kate asks Ana how it was for her and in the course of their conversation Kate reveals that her first time was ‘horrid’, just in case you weren’t clear on the fact that Ana and Christian’s sex is so much better than yours – so great, in fact, that she had multiple orgasms the first time.
Kate looks wistful. “Yeah, took almost a year to have my first orgasm through penetrative sex and here you are…first time?”
I nod shyly. My inner goddess sits in the lotus position looking serene except for the sly, self-congratulatory smile on her face.
Pack it up, girls – Ana’s just better than us. Even her imaginary friends think so.
Speaking of imaginary friends…
My subconscious glares at me, wagging her long, skinny finger, then morphs into the scales of justice to remind me he could sue if I disclose too much.
Ana, did you have the magic mushroom appetiser back there at the Roadkill Grill?
I must remember to Google ‘penalties for breaching a nondisclosure agreement’ while I’m doing the rest of my ‘research’.
You do that. Why not Google ‘average penis size’ while you’re at it?
Oh, I can feel myself relaxing for the first time since I was in line at the bar…before the phone call that started all this – when I was admiring Mr. Grey from afar. Happy uncomplicated days.
That was about two days ago. Two days in which you have been in the company of a man apparently so unpleasant that he makes you nostalgic for the time when you didn’t really know him. This is truly a love story for the ages.
It turns out Kate is into Elliot.
Kate blushes. Oh my…Katherine Agnes Kavanagh goes all Anastasia Rose Steele on me. She gives me a dewy-eyed look. I’ve never seen her react this way to a man before.
What does that even mean? And why does everyone in this book have such stupid fucking names? Their initials spell out KAK and ARS, for God’s sake. This is basic stuff – making sure your main characters initials don’t accidentally spell out BUM or POO. (Unless you mean it. In which case you’re twelve. Or me.)
“And I’m seeing him on Saturday. He’s going to help us move.” She clasps her hands together, leaps up off the couch and pirouettes to the window. Moving. Crap – I’d forgotten all about that, even with the packing crates surrounding us.
Ana, you never cease to amaze me.
Then they yabber about boring crap. Apparently Ana has landed two interviews with publishing houses because her GPA is just that great. Yeah – sorry. Not buying that. Not coming on the heels of the revelation that she not only forgot where she lived but can’t remember that she’s supposed to be moving house when she’s in the middle of actually moving house.
Kate is off to Barbados with her parents and her brother Ethan for two whole weeks. I’ll be Kateless in our new apartment. That will be weird.
Again, I don’t think she’ll even notice.
José calls so that Ana can shit on him again for trying to apologise. He asks her if she spent the night with Christian and she says its none of his business, which is fair enough. Except at this point José is being a dick because the author needs him to be a dick, in order to make Christian look that much more dreamy. Unfortunately it doesn’t really work, since José’s little sexual assault in chapter four is looking more and more like a drunk misunderstanding in the light of Christian’s kidnap, sexual molestation and possible rape at the end of chapter nine.
And José is at least sorry. If you think Christian Grey is ever going to apologise – for anything – then by all means dream on.
Ana cooks dinner and she and Kate open a bottle of wine (in case Ana hadn’t already exceeded her recommended daily alcohol units at lunch)…
…and we sit amongst the boxes eating, quaffing cheap red wine and watching crap TV. This is normality. It’s so grounding and welcome after the last forty-eight hours of…madness. I eat my first unhurried, no nagging, peaceful meal in that time. What is it about him and food?
Hey, Ana – you know love, right? That thing you want to be in with a ‘literary hero’? It’s supposed to make you feel good. It’s supposed to make you feel dizzy and blissful. It’s supposed to make food taste better and make the colours of the rainbow that much more vivid. It’s supposed to make you smile. And laugh. And enjoy being alive and in the presence of the one you adore. How does anyone read a bunch of books and not realise that even Anna fleetingly felt this way about Vronsky at first? And that didn’t exactly end well.
If a man makes you feel nervous, anxious, harried and exhausted, chances are he’s not your one true dippy-dotty-fluffy-bunnies true love for ever; he’s just an annoying dick.
Look at Kate. You’ve got an example right under your goddamn nose. Idiot.
[Kate] should be writing her Valedictorian speech, but it seems Elliot is more important. What is it about the Grey men? What is it that makes them totally distracting, all-consuming and irresistible?
If I was more cynical I’d say it was money. No, okay – I am that cynical.
Ana wanders off to think about Christian, thinking about his ‘gentle banter’, his moody 3am piano playing and how he’s such a ‘complicated person’. Does she really want to get into a BDSM relationship with him?
My mind drifts to last night and this morning…and the incredible, sensual sexuality I’ve experienced. Do I want to say goodbye to that? No! screams my subconscious…my inner goddess nods in silent Zen-like agreement.
I just had to quote that in full. Sensual sexuality. Good lord.
Having subjected the English language to yet another shocking indignity, Ana buggers off to her bedroom to open the…wait for it…THE SEX CONTRACT!
The Fifty Shades Parody Just Got 20% Cooler!