I think I'm at the point I was at when I left Seattle--of looking at my life and thinking there's nothing at all wrong with it, except that I can't see this being my only life. I want to reincarnate. There's so much stuff out there to experience, and I have the freedom and opportunity to go out and experience some more, and I intend to.
I've been going through my grandfather's slides lately. My grandmother died a few months ago, and I took the slides from her house. My grandfather loved to travel, and I'm not sure I fully understood that until I started going through these slides. There's wild leopards in them, and thousand-year-old synagogues, and million-year-old glaciers, and a stunning variety of things that look like penises. Just pages and pages of rock penises and wood penises and gourd penises, interspersed with all the glories of the Earth. I love my grandfather now more than ever. I want to travel as widely as him, to live as fully as he did, and to see as many penises.
And so I'm going to leave Boston. I don't yet know when or for where. I still love Rowdy dearly and the idea of leaving him breaks my heart--but I also know he doesn't want me to stay here just for him, and deep down neither do I. I'll visit often and I'll email and I'll always love him. But I may move away from him.
Anyway. Wherever I go, Fifty Shades of Grey will still be with me. Unfortunately.
Content warnings for this chapter: Stalking, mostly. Physical and emotional abuse, although the physical is not quite so intense as in some other chapters. And one sketchy-ass gynecologist.
I open my eyes, and I’m draped in Christian Grey. He’s wrapped around me like a victory flag. He’s fast asleep with his head on my chest, his arm over me, holding me close, one of his legs thrown over and hooked around both of mine. He’s suffocating me with his body heat, and he’s heavy.He managed to be overbearing and inconsiderate in his sleep. I feel like he should get some sort of award for that.
[Ana emails Crash CrumpleZone:] You wanted to know why I felt confused after you – which euphemism should we apply - spanked, punished, beat, assaulted me. Well during the whole alarming process I felt demeaned, debased and abused.
[He emails back:] So you felt demeaned, debased, abused and assaulted – how very Tess Durbeyfield of you. I believe it was you who decided on the debasement if I remember correctly. Do you really feel like this or do you think you ought to feel like this? Two very different things. If that is how you feel, do you think you could just try and embrace these feelings, deal with them, for me? That’s what a submissive would do.So she should shut up about her feelings because probably that's just society making her guilty, but if they are real feelings, she should also shut up about them.
And like hell she "decided on the debasement." This is a book, E.L. James; we can just flip back a couple pages and see that you're lying. It's not a good medium for gaslighting.
[Ana:] If I listened to my body, I’d be in Alaska by now.
[Jerk MeatStain:] Alaska is very cold and no place to run. I would find you. I can track your cell phone – remember?Ha ha, it's funny, except for he actually did track her cellphone and kidnap her before, so wait, now it's less funny.
(Also, Alaska is huge, so "no place to run"? I realize facts hardly matter at this point, but still.)
They bicker over email for like five pages and it feels like five hundred. I'm not even picking through those except to note for the umpteenth time that there's nothing cute or affectionate or even friendly between them. It's not like "You're adorable, sweetie, but a little bit controlling!" It's like "Seriously, I am frightened and I cannot stand you."
My heart sinks. What has Christian sent me now? I sign for the small package and open it straight away. It’s a BlackBerry. My heart sinks further. I switch it on. [And the message on the Blackberry is:] I need to be able to contact you at all times, and since this is your most honest form of communication, I figured you needed a BlackBerry.This guy has the "weaponized gift" down to a science. I guess he's a wonderful fantasy man because he gives her expensive gifts all the time... except that he does it to control her and she realizes that and hates it.
Emailing Christian is addictive, but I am supposed to be working. It buzzes once against my behind… how apt, I think ironically, but summoning all my willpower, I ignore it....Wha? But every time they email, all that happens is they fight and complain! These lines must come from some alternate version of the story where they were exchanging sweet sexy little nothings. I didn't see any of those.
E. L. James does this now and then. Ana will be miserable and irritable every time she sees or talks about Butt AssCrack, then throw in a "it was so sexy" or a "I was so smitten with him" that seems to come out of fucking nowhere. It's not "telling without showing", it's telling and showing two completely different things.
I grab my phone. Five missed calls and one voice message. Tentatively, I listen to the message. It’s Christian. [he yells at her and threatens her] Double crap. Will he ever give me a break? I scowl at the phone. He is suffocating me. With a deep dread uncurling in my stomach, I scroll down to his number and press dial. My heart is in my mouth as I wait for him to answer. He’d probably like to beat seven shades of shit out of me. The thought is depressing.As always, his behavior is unacceptable, but it's her reaction that really makes this awful. She's very honest about how miserable and afraid she is around him, and how much she doesn't want to do BDSM. That's really disturbing. It's sending the message that this is how you're going to feel when you're in a wonderful relationship with Mr. Right.
Also, when you're writing an erotic novel for erotic enjoyment, unless you're targeting a very particular demographic, you probably should not bring up the fact that shit can be a variety of colors.
Kate’s dad has done us proud. The apartment is not large, but it’s big enough, three bedrooms and a large living space that looks out on to Pike Place Market itself. It’s all solid wood floors and red brick, and the kitchen tops are smooth concrete, very utilitarian, very now. We both love that we will be in the heart of the city.Not large, just three bedrooms for two people and a giant living room and Pinterest-worthy fittings three blocks from the waterfront. Your typical new-grad apartment.
Then Crash BandiCoot sends an uninvited housewarming present, which is a bottle of champagne and a helicopter-shaped balloon. Because he has a helicopter, you see, and because he has absolutely no concept of giving people gifts that match their interests.
“Did you give him our address? “No, but stalking is one of his specialties.” I muse, matter-of-fact. Kate’s brow knits further.Wow, she's certainly gotten comfortable with that little personality quirk of his. I guess compared to the beatings and rape, it's downright innocuous.
I’m wearing the underwear that Taylor bought for me. I flush at the thought of his buzz-cut roaming the aisles of Agent Provocateur or wherever he bought it.Really? The thought that her underwear probably comes from an underwear store is that exciting? Well, at least she's enjoying herself for once.
I'm flushing at the thought that Large HardonCollider sends his assistant to buy underwear for his girlfriend. He's being a terrible boss and a terrible boyfriend at the same time! Ruthlessly efficient.
He hands me the Seattle Times. On page eight, there’s a photograph of the two of us together at the graduation ceremony. Holy crap. I’m in the paper.Okay, I searched the book, and there are:
- 30 "holy crap"s
- 39 "holy shit"s
- 16 "holy cow"s
- 7 "holy Moses"s
- 100 "flush"es
- 7 "double crap"s
- 6 times CG is "tousled", 6 times he is "sculptured," and 11 times his eyes "blaze"
“So, Anastasia, you have a much better idea of what I’m about since you were last here.” “Yes.” Where’s he going with this? “And yet you’ve returned.”"Well, you've repeatedly and credibly threatened to hunt me down if I didn't," Ana does not reply, although she truthfully could.
“She’s the best Ob/Gyn in Seattle. What more can I say?” [...] Holy Moses, if she’s the best Ob/Gyn, he’s scheduled her to see me on a Sunday – at lunchtime! I cannot begin to imagine how much that costs.I have no idea why he'd go to this trouble for a simple birth control prescription. Why not just send Ana to a regular doctor's appointment or Planned Parenthood? Hiring the best OB/GYN in the city for private duty to write a basic prescription seems like a particularly pointless rich-guy gesture, like salting the driveway with French sea salt.
I guess it's about the "our relationship must be a shameful secret" thing. Except that no one's going to see a woman going to a gynecologist and immediately jump to "oh, clearly she's in a BDSM relationship with a billionaire."
...Oh shit. I just realized what it is. It's a bruises thing. Dirk HardPec doesn't trust Ana to come up with a sufficiently convincing excuse for her bruises and for the "is anyone hurting you at home?" question. So he hired this doctor not because she's actually the best, but because for whatever reason he knows she'll keep her mouth shut.
...Physician, go fuck thyself.