This recap is not going to be all fun and games. I’ll warn you now. These next couple of chapters are some of the most stomach-churning in the entire book, although not for any funny reasons to do with tampons or unpleasantries involving other people’s toothbrushes.
Chapter Fifteen is one of those ones where you might want a stiff drink on standby. Or a punchbag, perhaps one with ‘unruly copper hair’ and an anthropomorphic tie. Let’s dive straight in, shall we? Christian goes round to Ana’s.
“Hi,” he says, and his face lights up with his radiant smile. I take a moment to admire the pretty. Oh my, he’s hot in leather.
No shit. It’s almost June.
Unsurprisingly, he’s bought roofies, box wine and a funnel champagne, because it would be a damn tragedy if anyone in this book reached the end of the day without exceeding their daily recommended alcohol units.
“I thought we’d celebrate your graduation. Nothing beats a good Bollinger.”
“Interesting choice of words,” I comment dryly.
“Oh, I like your ready wit, Anastasia.”
I must be missing something. That wasn’t funny at all.
I head into the kitchen. Nervous, butterflies flooding my stomach, it’s like having a panther or a mountain lion all unpredictable and predatory in my living room.
I have no idea what this sentence is supposed to be and I’m too tired and irritable to even attempt to untangle it.
He finds the books and says the quote is ‘very apt’. It’s not, for reasons discussed in the previous chapter, but these are people who are so fucking stupid they think ‘Bollinger’ sounds like some kind of sordid innuendo and that butterflies are a liquid.
She says she doesn’t want to accept the books because they’re too expensive. He says no.
“You see, this is what I was talking about, you defying me. I want you to have them, and that’s the end of the discussion. It’s very simple. You don’t have to think about this. As a submissive you would just be grateful for them. You just accept what I buy you because it pleases me to do so.”
So basically, it pleases him to make her feel uncomfortable and beholden to him. You can tell this ‘arrangement’ is going to be fun already, can’t you?
She says that if he must give her the books then she wants to auction them to a charity in Darfur, which is nice of her, but then as soon as ‘his mouth sets in a hard line’ and she senses he’s disappointed, she decides she’ll only think about auctioning the books. So much for that saintly gesture then.
Oh, can’t we rewind? The atmosphere between us is now tense. I don’t know what to do. I stare down at my fingers. How do I retrieve this situation?
You don’t. Try starting over with a boyfriend who actually respects your convictions and boundaries.
“I will buy you lots of things, Anastasia. Get used to it. I can afford it. I’m a very wealthy man.” He leans down and plants a swift, chaste kiss on my lips. “Please.” He releases me.
‘Ho’, my subconscious mouths at me.
“It makes me feel cheap,” I murmur.
This isn’t a particularly funny chapter, by the way, mainly because it reads like a teaching aid for emotional abusers. Christian is straight in there, minimising her feelings by attributing them to others.
“It shouldn’t. You’re over-thinking it, Anastasia. Don’t place some vague moral judgement on what others might think. Don’t waste your energy.”
He gently tells her to stop worrying and tells her that ‘I just bought you some old books that I thought might mean something to you’, because he’s literary, you see. Then, because it’s always six o’clock somewhere in the world in these books, he starts pouring pink champagne down her throat.
“Congratulations on your degree, Anastasia.” We clink cups, and he takes a drink, but I can’t help thinking this is about my capitulation.
It is, yes. Totally. See? Even she gets it, and she’d lose a battle of wits with a Kardashian.
They talk vaguely about stuff that happened in the previous chapter, because this book doesn’t have enough padding yet. He sloshes more champagne down her neckhole and she wonders if he’s trying to get her ‘tipsy’, then we learn that his sister Alice Mia is on her way back from Paris at the weekend and that Elliot is going to help Ana and Kate move. It’s all very exciting.
“Yes, Kate and Elliot, who would have thought?” he murmurs, and for some reason he doesn’t look pleased.
The girls might swap notes, you see. And Elliot’s hung like a stallion. That’s my theory, anyway. Would explain the whole non-disclosure agreement nonsense. And the big cars. And the helicopter.
He asks her what she plans to do for work in Seattle and she says she has interviews. It’s pretty much a boring, ordinary conversation, except Ana is constantly wondering why they’re not talking about ‘soft limits’. I’ll give you a clue, Ana – it’s probably got something to do with the constant stream of booze flowing in your direction.
Christian is surprised by the knowledge that she wants to work in publishing, almost as if they know nothing about one another. Clearly an excellent basis for a kinky relationship that will strain their trust to the limits.
He asks her if she’s eaten, she rolls her eyes and he says:
“Next time you roll your eyes at me, I will take you across my knee.”
“Oh,” I breathe, and I can see the excitement in his eyes.
“Oh,” he responds, mirroring my tone. “So it begins, Anastasia.”
My heart slams against my chest, and the butterflies escape from my stomach into my constricting throat. Why is that hot?
Because random violence against women is the new sexy, apparently. Do try to keep up, Ana.
They go through the list of sexual acts that have already been typed out in full twice already. You want to know how a book with this little plot ended up being the size of an industrial doorstop? This is just one of the many annoying answers.
Ana says ‘no fisting’, and goes on to say that ‘anal intercourse doesn’t exactly float my boat.’ So all you people who came here via search results for ‘when do they do anal in Fifty Shades of Grey’ – this is it. This is all you get. Okay? I hope that answers your question. THERE IS NO BACKDOOR ACTION IN FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. NONE. HER POOPER REMAINS UNPUNCTURED. AND THERE’S NO POINT IN READING THE OTHER TWO BOOKS, BECAUSE THEY DON’T DO IT IN THEM EITHER. THIS IS NOT GOOD PORNOGRAPHY, PEOPLE. YOU CAN GET BETTER SMUT ON SMASHWORDS.
I feel like I’m providing a public service here. I mean, someone should, right? Everyone makes out these books are the filthiest filth that ever did filth, but they’re actually the porn equivalent of cream of wheat. (If you want really weird, nasty butt stuff, Google James Joyce’s love letters – and don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
Anyway – speaking of butt stuff…
“I’ll agree to the fisting, but I’d really like to claim your ass, Anastasia. But we’ll wait for that. Besides, it’s not something we can dive into,” he smirks at me. “Your ass will need training.”
So that’s that, basically. Anal – not appearing in this book. Or the next one. And I think he sticks a finger up there in book three. But you’re not missing much.
“Okay…swallowing semen. Well, you get an A in that.”
I flush, and my inner goddess smacks her lips together glowing with pride.
Well, that was gross.
He pours out more booze. At this point she’s had about three cups and the bottle’s still not empty. Maybe he bought one of those gigantic bottles with the stupid names – like Jereboams or something. Then they discuss sex toys, most of which are also – like butt stuff – Not Appearing In This Book.
“Butt plug? Does it do what it says on the tin?” I scrunch my nose up in distaste.”
“Yes,” he smiles. “And I refer to anal intercourse above. Training.”
“Oh…what’s in other?”
“Beads, eggs…that sort of stuff.”
Okay, no. It doesn’t say that. I just wish it did. This is quite a boring chapter.
“Beads, eggs…that sort of stuff.”
“Eggs?” I’m alarmed.
“Not real eggs,” he laughs loudly, shaking his head.
I purse my lips at him.
“I’m glad you find me funny.” I can’t keep my injured feelings out of my voice.
Ana’s a pissy drunk. Actually that was almost funny. Just a shame they don’t find the same things amusing, isn’t it?
Oh for God’s fucking sake – we have now moved past the list of sexual acts and we are now reiterating the entire list (again printed out in full) of various bondage acts. This is like the literary equivalent of those end of season clipshows that everyone justifiably hates.
Ana says she’s not sure about being gagged.
“…I’d be worried I wouldn’t be able to breathe.”
“I’d be worried if you couldn’t breathe. I don’t want to suffocate you.”
… “The last time I accidentally did that to a girl you don’t want to know how many people I had to pay off. And the hours I had to put in on the golf-course, calling in favours. Eesh…”
For the first time this chapter, Ana’s brain grinds into gear.
“And how will I use safewords if I’m gagged?”
“First of all, I hope you never have to use them. But if you’re gagged, we’ll use hand signals.”
Did you spot the deliberate No NO NO NO RUN FOR YOUR LIFE in that sentence, gentle readers? Of course you did. ‘I hope you never have to use them’. Yeah – that’s not how safewords work. In fact, the first thing you should have explained to her was safewords. He has just said ‘I hope you never have to use [safewords]’ to a drunk, stupid girl who he knows damn well will just about do anything to please him. There is nothing about this that doesn’t scare the living shit out of me.
I blink up at him. But if I’m trussed up, how’s that going to work? My brain is beginning to fog…hmm, alcohol.
“I’m nervous about the gagging.”
“Okay. I’ll take note.”
I stare up at him, realisation dawning.
What? That you’re going to be found in a shallow grave somewhere in the rainforest? Yeah, I’d run with that feeling if I were you. Run all the way out the door and to the nearest police station.
But no. Ana doesn’t figure that out, because she is a drunken ditz. It’s obviously time to start rummaging around in his unconvincing issues in order to figure out how he works and shit.
“Do you like tying your submissives up so they can’t touch you?”
He gazes at me, his eyes widening.
“That’s one of the reasons,” he says quietly…
… “You don’t like talking about that,” I murmur.
“No, I don’t. Would you like another drink. It’s making you brave, and I need to know how you feel about pain.”
So. Yeah. He admitted it. He’s getting her drunk so that she agrees to things she would not otherwise have agreed to if she was sober.
Once again we’re back to a loooooong list of things previously reiterated at least twice, and they’re going to go through them one by one. I bet you never knew sado-masochism was this tedious, did you?
“It’s caning that hurts the most.”
“We can work up to that.”
“Or not do it all,” I whisper.
“This is part of the deal, baby, but we’ll work up to all of this. Anastasia, I won’t push you too far.”
Although you will railroad her into doing things she doesn’t want to do. Remember how she said she’d never do anything she didn’t want to do? Seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it?
Following these protracted negotiations, he announces that he’s taking her to bed.
“Bed?” I blink rapidly, and my blood pounds round my body, warming places I didn’t know existed until very recently.
“Come on, Anastasia, talking through all this, I want to fuck you into next week, right now. It must be having some effect on you, too.”
It’s having an effect on me. Mostly nausea. Seriously – how are people masturbating to this character?
Then he blindsides her by saying he’s willing to ‘try more’, meaning he’s willing to behave like the boyfriend she wants him to be rather than a hopeless freak 24/7. One night a week, maybe. There’s bound to be a catch.
Holy cow…my mouth drops open, my subconscious is in shock. Christian Grey is up for more! He’s willing to try! My subconscious peeks out from behind the couch, still registering shock on her harpy face.
“I have one condition.” He looks warily at my stunned expression.
“What?” I breathe. Anything. I’ll give you anything.
“You graciously accept my graduation present to you.”
Yeah. Guess what? He’s bought her a car. All he asks for his tiny and conditional concession to her desires is that she once again sacrifices her deeply felt principles about accepting expensive gifts. And of course, he makes it all about him by saying he bought her the car because her old one was ‘unsafe’ and that he’d never forgive himself if something happened to her. Whatsmore, he even took the opportunity earlier in the day to have a quick chat with Rarlie about buying her a car.
I always felt there was something off about the way he continually pushes her to meet members of his family and vice versa, and it turns out that this is actually a tactic of abusers, known as ‘quick involvement’. It’s pretty much what it says on the tin – the abuser will make the relationship ‘official’ way too quickly and often utilise the sparkling charm common to psychopaths to snare relatives and friends into the fairytale they’re creating. It adds a handy layer of social awkwardness for when the victim attempts to break loose and friends and family are like “Oh, why did you break up with Christian? He was so great.”
Ana is ‘sick’, ‘mortified’ and in a state of ‘horror’ that he’s done this thing in spite of all she’s said about buying her expensive gifts, and he pulls her strings once more.
“It’s a gift, Anastasia. Can’t you just say thank you?”
Minimising – another tactic straight out the domestic abuser’s playbook. “You’re over-reacting, it’s nothing. Don’t make such a fuss.”
I frown at him, at a loss what to say. He just doesn’t get it! He’s had money all his life. Okay, not all his life – not as a small child – and my world view shifts. The thought is very sobering and I soften towards the car, feeling guilty about my fit of pique.
You can’t say this guy isn’t good at what he does; he could teach a masterclass. Her principles have now been reduced to a ‘fit of pique’.
Ana agrees to take the car on ‘indefinite loan’, much like the computer. She kisses him thank you and he then grabs her, pulls her hair and snarls at her for being ‘challenging’.
“It’s taking all my self-control not to fuck you on the hood of this car right now, just to show you that you are mine, and if I want to buy you a fucking car, I’ll buy you a fucking car,” he growls. “Now let’s get you inside and naked.” He plants a swift rough kiss on me.
Boy, he’s angry.
Now he associates anger with concern for her well-being – she’s made him angry because she didn’t do as she’s told, for her own good. Mix a little sexual aggression in there to keep her off balance, and voila…
My subconscious is behind the sofa again, head hidden under her hands…
“Please don’t be angry with me,” I whisper.
His gaze is impassive; his grey eyes cold shards of smoky glass.
“I’m sorry about the car and the books,” I trail off. He remains silent and brooding. “You scare me when you’re angry,” I breathe, staring at him.
…she’s well and truly broken.
The rest of the chapter is just another drawn out, unnecessary sex scene. I wish there was something funny I could say in conclusion, but there’s nothing funny to say about this. The only bright spot on the horizon is that with the end of this chapter we are now officially past the halfway point of the book.
If Christian Grey’s behaviour is familiar to you, here are just a few places you might want to head after reading this post.
All of these websites provide instructions as to how to cover your tracks, should someone be checking up on your internet history.