Chapter twenty-five starts with Ana’s mom burping out yet another string of self-help platitudes as she bids goodbye to her hellspawned daughter.
“Follow your heart, darling, and please, please – try not to overthink things. Relax and enjoy yourself. You are so young, sweetheart. You have so much of life to experience yet, just let it happen. You deserve the best of everything.” Her heartfelt words are comforting whispered in my ear.
Just in case that Hallmark pink moment above wasn’t Disney enough for you, ditz-princess Renee Carla reminds Ana that ‘you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.’ Then she promises to visit, although she probably won’t, since she couldn’t be bothered to stir herself to come to Ana’s graduation. Ana wanders aboard her flight thinking on the subject of ‘unconditional love’, and promptly pulls out her BlackBerry in order to ‘stare at it despondently’.
I know it looks like nothing is happening at this point in the book, but trust me – it’s all about to hinge on this moment. Ana is about to have one of her moments of slack-jawed revelation and we’re all about to die a little more inside.
What does Christian know of love? Seems he didn’t get the unconditional love he was entitled to during his very early years. My heart twists, and my mother’s words waft like a zephyr through my mind…
I enjoyed this. I’ve always thought she was an airhead. It’s nice to have it in writing. I wonder what pop-psych melodies the wind is gently whistling as it blows between her ears?
She thinks Christian loves me, but then she’s my mother, of course she’d think that. She thinks I deserve the best of everything. I frown. It’s true, and in a moment of startling clarity, I see it.
Strap yourself in, folks. This is it. This is the big psychological reveal that the whole book has been lumpenly trundling towards for the past twenty-four chapters. Are you ready?
It’s very simple: I want his love. I need Christian Grey to love me. This is why I am so reticent about our relationship – because on some basic, fundamental level, I recognise within me a deep-seated compulsion to be loved and cherished.
Really? That’s it? Really?
There’s more, of course. There is always more.
And because of his fifty shades, I am holding myself back. The BDSM is a distraction from the real issue. The sex is amazing, he’s wealthy, he’s beautiful, but this is all meaningless without his love, and the real heart-fail is that I don’t even know if he’s capable of love. He doesn’t even love himself.
Oh for goodness sake.
I stare at the BlackBerry in the vague hope that it will give me some answers. Rather surprisingly, it is not very forthcoming. As we haven’t taken off yet, I decide to e-mail my Fifty Shades.
NO. No no no no no no NO. I am done. I am beyond done. He doesn’t love you. He will never love you. He’s a sociopathic narcissist with less charm than a rectal prolapse and you’re too fucking astonishingly, hilariously stupid to understand that. Shit, you’re so incredibly stupid that you sit around having ‘moments of startling clarity’ over the apparently mind-bending understanding that most people get into relationships because of some fundamental desire to be loved. Well, no fucking shit, Sherlock. Holy mother of fuck – would it blow your fucking tiny little lizard brain to discover that you require oxygen? And water? I own houseplants with more sense than Ana Steele.
Twenty-four chapters and this is the reveal? This is the point? That she wants the man she loves to love her back? Sweet fancy lace-trimmed Jesus – what in the name of all that is purple and dancing are we supposed to do with this revelation? Besides feel justifiably pissed off that someone felt the need to waste hours of our time and our lives with twenty-four chapters of guff that went nowhere. This is beyond insulting. This is season eight of Dexter.
And then there’s more e-mail? Are you fucking kidding me? I am e-mail post-traumatic at this point. I cannot even look at the words ‘subject line’ without wanting to get Sophoclean on my own fucking eyeballs. Why can’t you stupid fucking bastards leave each other alone for five minutes? Why am I forced to be privy to your every terrible, banal, moronic exchange? Why, for fuck’s sake, can’t you JUST TEXT HIM PICTURES OF YOUR TITS LIKE A NORMAL FUCKING PERSON?
Sorry about that. It’s been building for a while.
Breathe. E-mail. (help. me.)
Dear Mr. Grey
I am once again ensconced in first class, for which I thank you. I am counting the minutes until I see you this evening, and perhaps torturing the truth out of you about my nocturnal admissions.
Your Ana x
Yeah. Whatever. So you mumble plot points in your sleep – I hear it’s an occupational hazard of being in a dreadful novel. He e-mails back to say ‘I look forward to seeing you’ (one line) and Ana is worried once more.
His response makes me frown. It sounds clipped and formal, not his usual witty, pithy style.
There was never anything remotely witty or pithy about the endless windbaggery that belches forth from both his keyboard and the chapped guff-hole in the middle of his worthless fucking face. But by all means carry on. I’m numb at this point. I just don’t have the energy to scream any more. Do your worst, Fifty Shades of Grey. I don’t even give a shit if they talk like cartoon Victorians for the remainder of the book.
Dearest Mr. Grey
I hope everything is okay re ‘the situation’. The tone of your e-mail is worrying.
You know what’s worrying? People think this kind of twitchy co-dependency is romantic. These aren’t people who love one another – they’re just a couple of nitwits who keep bothering one another because they’re too bored, boring and unlovable to do anything more productive.
Have they even taken off yet?
Oh, they haven’t. Although he e-mails her back to tell her to stop e-mailing on the plane – again. You can tell the heroine of a novel is ‘bright’ when she fails to remember that e-mailing aboard flights can make planes drop out of the fucking sky.
Ana e-mails back accusing him of ‘over-reaction’, which is hilarious considering it’s maybe the only time he hasn’t overreacted in the entire book.
Finally she turns off the BlackBerry and settles down to worry some more about Christian and ‘the situation’. She then wonders if Christian bought the empty seat next to her so that she couldn’t talk to anyone on the flight.
I dismiss the idea as ridiculous – no one could be that controlling, that jealous, surely.
Excuse me? Have you met the man you’ve been thinking about more or less continually for the previous two hundred thousand words or so?
Anyway, she nods off for a section break and the next thing we know Taylor is picking her up in Seattle. And Taylor is ‘avuncular’ now, which is all very English Major of Ana, but would be more convincing if the dumb cow showed any signs of picking up her participles, having read more than the back cover of Tess of the D’Urbervilles or learning how to use a fucking comma.
I must admit I’m quite tired at this point.
Ana heads up in the elevator to meet Christian and he’s once again yapping into a BlackBerry.
“No trace…Okay…Yes.” He turns and sees me, and his whole demeanour changes. From tension to relief to something else: a look that calls directly to my inner goddess, a look of sensual carnality, grey eyes blazing.
Sensual carnality? Oh dear. I’ve just realised they didn’t fuck in the last chapter.
He kisses her and…
…it’s dark and sensual and alarming all at the same time. I kiss him back with equal fervour, my fingers twisting and fisting in his hair. Our tongues entwine, our passion and ardour erupting between us. He tastes divine, hot, sexy, and his scent – all body-wash and Christian – is so arousing. He drags his mouth away from mine, and he’s staring down at me, gripped by some unnamed emotion.
They can’t even hump without poking at one another’s artificial feelings at every turn.
Ana and Christian wander off into the shower and bang, then she tells him she has a job and he wants to know where. She jokily asks him how he doesn’t know already, because obsessive stalking is such an endearing quality in a man, and he says he ‘wouldn’t dream of interfering’ in her career. I feel like this should be spoiler tagged for books two and three, because you know he’s going to interfere like crazy. Because he is insane.
She asks him if he wants to come to José’s photography show and he says yes and for once Ana is happy. Why? Because Christian didn’t grind his teeth, flare his nostrils or throw an all-out tantrum at the mention of José’s name. Although he does insist on arriving at the show in his fucking helicopter.
After more sex and showering they eat pasta and he tells her that he’s filled the wardrobe in her room for her.
Car, phone, computer…clothes. It’ll be a damn condo next, and then I really will be his mistress.
Ho! My subconscious has her snarky face on. I ignore her…
You missed out the BlackBerry and the first editions of Tess of The D’Urbervilles – which you have yet to make any moves to auction. And the fact that he won’t let you even pay for breakfast.
Anyway, it’s time for some more kinky sex. She goes into the Red Room of Pain and waits for him to join her.
I’m excited, aroused, wet already. This is so…I want to think wrong, but somehow it’s not. It’s right for Christian. It’s what he wants – and after the last few days…after all he’s done, I have to man up and take whatever he decides he wants, whatever he thinks he needs.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking Ana is basically trading first class airline tickets, expensive hotel rooms and gliding lessons for the right to smack her ass, but it’s not like that. They have a connection.
Anyhow – it’s business time. He’s got his sexy jeans on and the silly fucking cartoon people in Ana’s empty little head are doing all kinds of stupid things to signify that she’s once again all tickly in the bathing suit area.
My subconscious is frantically fanning herself, and my inner goddess is swaying and writhing to some primal carnal rhythm. She’s so ready. I lick my lips instinctively. My blood pounds through my body, thick and heavy with salacious hunger. What is he going to do to me?
At this point nobody but the most dedicated masturbators are even slightly interested.
In case you were (and you should really throw out the old batteries before they start to leak) the sex-scene lasts for about forty years and involves him putting a blindfold on her, sticking earbuds in her ears and playing music to her while he chains her to the bed and tickles her a bit with a flogger.
“I am going to tie you to that bed, Anastasia. But I’m going to blindfold you first and,” he reveals his iPod in his hand, “you will not be able to hear me. All you will hear is the music I am going to play for you.”
Okay. A musical interlude. Not what I was expecting. Does he ever do what I expect? Jeez, I hope it’s not rap.
You know what? If he blasts Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back in her ears it will make everything worth it.
As usual, it takes forever. We have a whole page of her putting her hair in a braid following by several million more of him tying her up, taking off her underwear and fiddling about with his iPod. I’m all for slow-build ups but since E.L. James couldn’t figure out how to write a non-horrible sex-scene if her life depended on it, it just comes across as the usual mental bimblings of our astoundingly moronic heroine.
Sitting down on the edge of the bed, he shows me the iPod. It has a strange antenna device as well as headphones. How odd. I frown as I try to work this out.
When one of your main characters is already stark naked and allegedly foaming at the crotch from sexual anticipation, it may not be a good time to start up a mundane chat about electronics.
“This transmits what’s playing on the iPod to the system in the room,” Christian answers my unspoken query as he taps the small antenna. “I can hear what you’re hearing, and I have a remote control unit for it.”
Panty-scorching stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Then he touches her arms while he’s tying her up.
Again, his long fingers linger along my arm. Oh my…I am fit to burst already. Why is this so erotic?
Because it’s more interesting than talking about his iPod? I’m still – after over twenty-four chapters – waiting for the unbridled pornography that made these books so notorious. I would say they were tame by Victorian standards, if I didn’t know better and that most things are tame by Victorian standards. (Nineteenth century porn is not for the weak of stomach.)
Anyway – time for some more annoying descriptions of music.
From inside my head, a lone angelic voice sings unaccompanied a long sweet note, and it’s joined almost immediately by another voice…
“Oh my God, Becky – look at her butt…”
Shut up. You were totally thinking it.
Holy cow, a celestial choir, singing acapella in my head, an ancient, ancient hymnal. What in heaven’s name is this? I have never heard anything like it.
There follows several hundred pages of intensely boring sex.
As the music reaches its climax, I fall…free fall…into the most intense agonising orgasm I have ever had, and Christian follows me, thrusting hard into me, three more times…finally stilling, then collapsing on top of me.
I don’t know about you, but I’m taking this as written proof that Christian Grey is a three-pump chump.
“What was that music?” I mumble almost inarticulately.
“What was that dialogue tag?” I expostulate almost redundantly.
“It’s called Spem In Alium, or the Forty Part Motet, by Thomas Tallis.”
“I’ve always wanted to fuck to it.”
Deal with it, proles. Christian Grey just has more refined taste in fuck-music than you. He’s not going to wet his refined wiener to anything lower brow than sixteenth century court composers.
It’s a shame really, because Spem In Alium – despite at first glance looking like the medical name for what sexual fluids taste like after someone’s eaten way too much garlic – is a remarkable and beautiful piece. Originally composed for Elizabeth I in her role as the Protestant Deborah, it draws heavily from the Psalms for imagery. It requires no less than forty voices, although it has often been performed with even more, producing an extraordinary ‘wall-of-sound’ effect that is guaranteed to make every last hair on the back of your neck stand up.
Now, I’m not saying that wanting to ‘fuck to it’ makes you an uneducated yahoo, but it does kind of undermine your pose as one of the classical cognoscenti.
It also presents something of a timing problem, since it’s about fifteen minutes long in all and the sex scene set to the sound of it appeared to go on for about sixty million years.
Still, I suppose it’s dragged a little known gem of sixteenth century music into the public consciousness, which is always nice for people who like music. Just don’t read the comments when you look for it on YouTube. They won’t make you happy. They never do.
Anyway, post fuckage, she asks him what he said in her sleep, and he says,
“You said a lot of things, Anastasia. You talked about cages and strawberries…that you wanted more…and that you missed me.”
I don’t actually care what she said in her sleep, but I do love that she somehow manages to allude to Tess of the D’Urbervilles even while unconscious.