Well, we're ten volumes in and it's frankly amazing that I haven't developed a drinking problem at this point. I think four more of these will see us through and out the other side so I get can back to sunshiney Sweet Valley and whatever else happens to catch my attention and/or ire.
(Catch up: Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9)
So Ana is now trapped in the office kitchen with Jack, her very creepy boss who rambles on about how he had to fight for her to get her job and that he looked through her work email account but the only personal emails were from her to Christian and all of Christian's replies were deleted. So remember earlier when Christian kept giving out to Ana, telling her to use her Blackberry instead of emailing him through her work address, even though he kept fucking replying to it? He had one of his shady IT minions go into the server and delete all his emails to her, but left Ana's replies there, which makes NO SENSE AT ALL. But logic is a bonerkiller in these books, so never mind that.
Anyway, Jack accuses her of being a corporate spy and tries to blackmail her for sex. Then he weirdly calls her a "cock-blocking prick tease", which makes me wonder if he actually knows what cock-blocking means. He gets increasingly horrible and rapey, until Ana eventually knees him in the balls and runs away. Although not before snarling "Have a nice trip. And in the future, get your own damn coffee" at him. Which just seems foolish. I mean if you've just managed to stop a sex attacker, don't stand around being quippy, get the fuck out of there. Leave the snappy dialogue to Buffy.
Ana runs outside the office and collapses on the footpath outside, where Christian and Taylor have been waiting. However, instead of actually being concerned for Ana, Christian is furious because someone else tried to play with his toy. Taylor runs into the office building, presumably to bring the pain as only Taylor can, and Christian goes to follow him. Ana pleads with him not to leave her, and when she tells him that Jack has her personal emails to Christian, he calls up his guy to delete them and snarls "I am so mad at you right now" at his girlfriend who, moments ago, was ALMOST ASSAULTED.
He's so angry with her that "a frisson of fear" runs through Ana.
"This is Very Angry Christian. I've not seen him this mad before. He's barely holding on to his self-control."
Wowww and I'M barely holding on to my knickers. Is there ANYTHING sexier than a romantic hero whose anger terrifies his girlfriend? And when you read a line like "He narrows his eyes at me. He punches a number into his Blackberry" and you genuinely wouldn't be all that surprised if "a number into his Blackberry" was replaced by "Ana in the face", you KNOW you're onto a winner.
He then leaves her in the car and joins Taylor and eventually the two of them re-emerge with Jack holding a storage box in the universal sign for "just been sacked".
"Opening the driver's door, Christian slides smoothly into the seat, presumably because I am in the front, and Taylor gets in behind me."
Wise move, Grey. Couldn't have Taylor sitting beside Ana, seeing as his raw sexual magnetism would have Ana hopping onto his lap and riding him the whole way to Escala. Christian is cranky with Ana the entire way back, until he pounces on her in a sex-rage while they're in the lift. "I taste his relief, his longing, and his residual anger while his tongue possesses my mouth." Er, lovely.
"He said you kicked him in the balls." Christian's tone is lighter with a trace of admiration, and I think I'm forgiven.
FORGIVEN. FOR ALMOST BEING ATTACKED. WELL YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY MARRY THIS GUY, HE'S SUCH A FUCKING CATCH.
However, all of ten seconds passes before the next argument, when Ana brings up her Friday hangout with José. Christian doesn't like it of course, but finally concedes that José can stay in his apartment for the night so he can "keep an eye on him", presumably while keeping a samurai sword pointed at José's chest at all times. Then Christian has to go do some work, so he leaves Ana to wander around the apartment, bored out of her mind, because she has none of her own stuff there and Christian's apartment is where fun comes to die.
She eventually finds the door of the playroom and discovers that it's open, so she goes in to have a look around.
"It's as I remember it. A womb-like room."
A womb like room in which he bangs women that look like his mother.
Ana is looking through a drawer full of butt plugs when Christian arrives in and suddenly she's scared of him again, because she feels like she's trespassing, oh and she also tosses out this little gem:
"You're always mad at me."
Now there's an indicator of a healthy relationship if ever I saw one. Anyway, Christian then says "Am I angry with you all the time? I wasn't this morning." Oh YEAH, there were those ten minutes earlier that day when he wasn't scowling or snarling or hissing at her. His mouth didn't even harden into a grim line, I mean how is that not enough for this broad? For real though, he's angry with her almost as often as I am, and THAT'S all the time.
So Ana continues her tour of the sex toy press, finding a set of anal beads, which Christian then explains to her.
Oh! I examine them with fascinated horror. All of these, inside me...there!
Now come on Ana, if you're going to start referring to your asshole as "there", when that's already what you call your vagina, things are going to get very confusing. Eventually, Ana comes across a spreader bar, decides she likes the idea of this one, so it's riding time. Christian carries her to the bedroom, while Ana's inner goddess "pole vaults from the bunker onto her chaise longue" (unfortunately she doesn't land on her head and break her fucking neck) and if you'll excuse me a moment, there's some rum over there that I need to be pounding right about now.
They eventually get to the bedroom after Christian compares his proclivity for whips 'n chains to alcoholism (i.e. A DISEASE. Go fuck yourself, EL James) and there's SO MUCH shite-talk and terrible flirty banter, it's just unbearable. To be honest, this book's greatest crime, apart from the awful, repetitive writing, the romanticising of an abusive relationship, the complete misunderstanding of BDSM relationships and the central characters that you'd happily set fire to, is that it's...
They eventually get to the bedroom and Christian sets about strapping Ana's ankles at either end of the bar.
Reaching down he grasps the bar and twists it so I flip on to my front. It takes me by surprise.
It takes her by surprise? I would expect so, seeing as he's probably broken both of her fucking ankles right there. Either that or this is proof that Ana has actually been a plank in a bra this whole time, seeing as human bodies don't just flip over like that. Certainly not the ones with spines, anyway.
Banging ensues, followed by sleep, followed by morning banging, during which Christian somehow manages to kiss Ana "chastely" while fingering her, defying all logic and the very definition of the word chaste. Right before all of this though, Ana makes note of Christian's "dazzling, all-American-drop-dead-male-model-perfect-teeth smile". Good lord. So many hyphens. So much terrible.
Ana finally gets to drive her new Saab to work, although Christian comes with her so he can point to the ignition and tell her that's where the key goes (he actually does this) and not let her listen to the radio because he wants her to concentrate. Even though she's been driving for years and he's not her dad. Christian has arranged for the two of them to meet his therapist, Dr. Flynn, that evening, because Ana wants to ask him a bunch of questions about Christian that completely contravene doctor-patient confidentiality.
Before all that though, Ana has to go to work and is immediately summoned to Elizabeth the HR lady's office, who wants Ana to fill in for Jack until they find a replacement. Ana, who has been working there FOR A WEEK AS AN ASSISTANT in her first job out of college and spends all her time sending idiotic emails to her jerk boyfriend is now acting commissioning editor. Elizabeth assures her that she'll be well able (my HOLE) and praises her "shrewd mind". Everyone in this book falls over themselves to tell Ana how clever she is, despite there being absolutely no evidence of that. Anywhere. There's cheese in my fridge that has more intelligence than Ana Steele.
She sits down in her new office and calls Christian, telling him the news and asks whether he had anything to do with it. He says he didn't, but Ana asks again as she's not entirely convinced.
He is silent for a moment, and then he says in a low menacing voice. “Do you doubt me? It angers me that you do.”
Boyfriend! Of! The Year! Why be reassuring and sound when you can be menacing and angry and generally act like a cuntbucket rage-monster! Also, fuck this guy right in his facehole. He tries to control literally every aspect of Ana's life, so it's not exactly beyond the realms of possibility that he's still pulling strings on her career, seeing as HE BOUGHT THE FUCKING COMPANY SHE WORKS FOR. I mean it's not as if her asking the question is coming out of nowhere, considering his past behaviour. The prick.
Ana apologises (ARGH. TEXTBOOK ABUSIVE BULLSHIT) and they murmur at each other for a while. No, really.
“Okay,” I murmur. “I’d better go. I have to move offices.”
“If you need me. I mean it,” he murmurs.
Murmurmurmurmur. They are constantly murmuring and muttering and whispering and JUST FUCKING ENUNCIATE ALREADY. It's amazing that anyone can hear a word they say.
It's actually out of control. Check this out:
Amount of times people "murmur": 100
Amount of times people "whisper": 100
Amount of times people "mutter": 100
ONE HUNDRED TIMES. EACH. WHAT IS HAPPENING.
Anyway, Ana's new job entails a lunchtime meeting, but she was supposed to meet Mia for lunch that day. Conveniently, Ethan turns up at the office right before Mia does, to see if Ana wanted to get lunch with him, because Ana is just so in demand and interesting as a person, so she pawns Mia off on him and everybody's happy because they're both hot and therefore immediately into each other.
When Ana gets back from her meeting, Christian has sent her flowers, kicking off some more emailing back and forth and OH YAY I was HOPING there'd be more sexy and hilarious and witty emails. That's JUST what this book needs. After work, Ana wonders what to get Christan for his birthday that weekend, sudden inspiration hits her and she runs into a nearby souvenir shop. Before going into Dr. Flynn's office, Ana hands Christian the wrapped present and tells him he can't open it until Saturday. I suppose EL James has to manufacture suspense somehow now that Leila has been taken care of. I for one can't wait to find out what it is.