I flipped through the first several pages of this chapter without finding anything worth remarking on. The first chunk of the chapter is mostly email exchanges between Ana and Christian; he’s bought her a new laptop (without asking her first, of course) and keeps checking in to determine whether she’s been doing her assigned research on BDSM.
He ascertains that she’s done her homework, based on the fact that she calls him “Sir” with a capital S. He also calls her a “sassy wench.” How sweet.
Christian’s also exchanging emails with his former domme, Elena. Her email signature tells us that she owns a beauty business called Esclava. As in, the Spanish word for slave. Subtle.
Ana asks Christian what she should Google to begin her BDSM research, and he says, “Always start with Wikipedia.” This seems like risky advice at best. Why not just recommend some specific websites you know are good, Christian? Or buy her some books? You’ve done it before…
After spending some time Googling, Ana sends Christian a curt email that simply says, “Okay, I’ve seen enough. It was nice knowing you.” If this was a book about a dude who respects when women say “no,” this would be the end of the story. She doesn’t want you in her life anymore, so you get out – easy. But this is Christian, so obviously he’s not going to do that.
I sit back in my chair, dumbfounded.
Nice? Nice. NICE.
She thought it was more than nice when her head was thrown back as she came.
Yes, amazingly, orgasms are not actually the same thing as everlasting consent.
Christian drives to Ana’s house to try to change her mind, chardonnay and condoms in tow. Dude, take a hint.
I’m uneasy; it’s reckless and too presumptuous of me to come here. Then again, I’ve already been here twice, though for only a few minutes.
Hey, cool fact: having been to someone’s house doesn’t entitle you to visit it again whenever you want! And likewise, having fucked someone before doesn’t mean you can fuck them forever!
Ana’s roommate Kate lets him into the house, and he sneaks up on Ana where she’s seated at her desk listening to music and looking over his BDSM contract. Does he ever stop watching her without her knowledge?
“Are you biting your lower lip deliberately?” I inquire, my voice sterner than I’d intended.
“I wasn’t aware I was biting my lip,” she whispers, her face pale.
CAN YOU STOP WITH THE LIP THING ALREADY?? I am so sick of hearing about lip-biting. Uuuuughhhh!
“Did you mean [it was nice] knowing me in the biblical sense?”
Her cheeks pink. “I didn’t think you were familiar with the Bible.”
“I went to Sunday school, Anastasia. It taught me a great deal.” Catechism. Guilt. And that God abandoned me long ago.
“I don’t remember reading about nipple clamps in the Bible. Perhaps you were taught from a modern translation,” she goads me, her eyes shining and provocative.
Oh, that smart mouth.
Ostensibly to “remind her how nice it was to know him,” Christian proceeds to have sex with her. It seems, actually, pretty consensual. Ana “launches herself at” him, and a few times he asks her check-in questions like “What do you think of that?” and “Trust me?” before going ahead with various actions. Okay, cool, yes. Why aren’t all the sex scenes like this? (Minus the creepy “sneaking into her apartment without her knowledge” beginning.)
There is one part, however, where he binds her and blindfolds her using a tie and her T-shirt, and then says, “I’m going to get a drink,” and does. Liiiiike… you probably shouldn’t leave someone unattended while they’re in bondage, particularly if they’re new to it.
Outside her room, I leave her door slightly ajar and enter the living room to retrieve the bottle of wine.
Kavanagh looks up from where she’s sitting on the sofa, reading, and her eyebrows rise in surprise. Don’t tell me you’ve never seen a shirtless man, Kavanagh, because I won’t believe you. “Kate, where would I find glasses, ice, and a corkscrew?” I ask, ignoring her scandalized expression.
Poor Kate. She has to put up with a lot of weird shit in this book.
When Kate asks Christian where Ana is, he replies, “She’s a little tied up at the moment,” as if no one in the history of popular culture has ever made this joke and he’s brilliant for inventing it. Excuse me while I roll my eyes forever.
Christian bosses Kate into helping him put ice in the wine glasses and pour the wine. Does he think all women are his submissives?! Kate quite reasonably asks him if he’s going to help her and Ana move into their new apartment, and he reacts like a caricature of a commitmentphobic man:
Fuck off, Kavanagh.
No way am I going to help. Ana and I don’t have that kind of relationship. Besides, I can’t spare the time.
So you have the time to travel back and forth between Portland and Seattle ad nauseum for sex dates but can’t spare a few hours to help Ana pack some boxes. Nice! Good boyfriend award over here. And on that note: he finally returns to Ana’s room, where the poor girl is still tied up and waiting.
I release each of her breasts from her bra so they’re supported by the underwire cups; her breasts are pert and vulnerable, just how I like them.
He takes her to the edge of orgasm five times but doesn’t let her come, and then when he finally fucks her, she apparently comes after the first thrust. Um. I suspect this isn’t exactly realistic. I mean, I know this is a romance novel, but come on.
As she lies flat on the bed, panting, I pull out of her and remove the wretched condom.
Of course Christian has a hate-on for safer sex supplies…
“Please pass me my sweatpants,” she orders, pointing to them.
Wow. Miss Steele can be a bossy little thing.
But… she said please…?!
I start the car and begin the drive back to Portland, analyzing what’s taken place between us.
She e-mailed me. I went to her. We fucked. She threw me out before I was ready to leave.
For the first time – well, maybe not the first time – I feel a little used, for sex.
Christian’s middle name should be Hypocrite. He’s constantly complaining about Ana doing the exact same stuff to him that he does to her. His sense of entitlement is staggering.
This chapter, in summary: a decent sex scene surrounded by terrible writing and problematic relations. That’s a good wrap-up of the entire book, actually…