(Catch up: Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.)
Ana rushes out of the office, but not before describing her assistant Hannah as "pale" and "pinched" because there's always time to remind us that Ana is beautiful and all other women are garbage, even in the midst of a family emergency. She tells Sawyer that she needs to get to the hospital in Portland immediately because her dad has been in an accident and calls Christian on the way, to let him know. He's got some super important meeting that he can't cancel, but he'll follow her there as soon as he can.
“I have a meeting with some guys over from Taiwan. I can’t blow them off. It’s a deal we’ve been hammering out for months.”
Why do I know nothing about this?
Because Christian doesn't tell you anything, ever.
Ana and Sawyer arrive at the hospital and Ana gets directions from an "officious nurse with a myopic stare" (EL James has such a cromulent command of the English language).
“My father, Raymond Steele. He’s just been admitted. He’s in OR-4, I think.”
Even as I say the words, I am willing them not to be true.
“Let me check, Miss Steele.”
I nod, not bothering to correct her as she gazes intently at her computer screen.
ACTUALLY, NURSE BOSSYPANTS, I'M A MARRIED WOMAN AND THAT'S MORE IMPORTANT THAN FINDING OUT IF THE MAN WHO RAISED ME IS DEAD OR WHATEVER.
"The waiting room’s there.” She points toward a large white door helpfully labeled WAITING ROOM in bold blue lettering.
That's right, fill that word count out Erica. You've definitely earned that net worth of $60 million.
José and his dad are in said waiting room, and José fills Ana in on what happened. The three of them were on a fishing trip in Astoria and their car was hit by a drunk driver. José has bruised ribs, his dad has a broken wrist and ankle and Ray's in surgery because the car hit the side he was on. Ana starts shaking, so José puts his jacket around her and Sawyer gets her some tea. Ana's main focus for the rest of the time sitting there is on her tea, until Christian arrives.
Sawyer reenters, bearing a paper cup of hot water and a separate teabag. He knows how I take my tea! (Hot water and a teabag, how revolutionary!)
I slowly sip my tea. It’s not Twinings, but some cheap nasty brand, and it tastes disgusting.
I glance at my watch: 2:15 p.m. He should be here soon. My tea is cold... Ugh!
I love a good cup of tea, but oh my god, shut the fuck up, Ana. Eventually, the door swings open and it's everyone's favourite buzzkill.
Christian strides in. His face darkens momentarily when he notices my hand in José’s.
Seriously dude. SERIOUSLY.
Christian sits with them, and is filled in on events so far, while "eyeing José’s jacket" and then a doctor arrives in with news. He asks Ana if she's Ray's next of kin, she tells him she's Ray's daughter and then this happens:
“Mrs. Grey,” Christian interrupts him.
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME. NOW IS NOT THE FUCKING TIME YOU MASSIVE DICKWEASEL. SIT THE FUCK DOWN AND SHUT THE HELL UP.
Once Christian stops swinging his dick around the room and stapling MRS. CHRISTIAN GREY labels all over Ana, the doctor tells them that Ray had severe internal injuries and swelling in his brain so he's in an induced coma for now and is stable but still critical. Ana can go to see him in half an hour, so José and José Sr. head home for a rest and will come back later. Ana and Christian go to see Ray, who is being attended by a blonde nurse called Kellie.
I glance up in time to see her gape. She’s finally gotten a good look at my husband. I don’t care. She can gape at Christian all she likes as long as she makes my father well again.
I'm actually running out of things to say about this whole series to be honest. There's only so many ways to say FUCK THIS ENTIRE STUPID THING AND EVERY FUCKNUGGET IN IT.
ANYWAY. Christian takes a call outside and Ana prattles on to a comatose Ray about the weekend in Aspen and going sailing and their plans for the house and oh my god, imagine being trapped in a coma and having to listen to Ana babble incessantly at you. Just pull the plug on him guys, it's the kindest thing to do.
Ana and Christian go to the Heathman hotel to rest for a bit and are staying in the same suite where Christian took her when Ana was drunk and unconscious and he kidnapped her from a night out with her friends in the first book. It was super cool of him. Christian asks Ana what she wants to do and she realises that he's "rudderless" and doesn't know what to do because for once he can't "manipulate and predict" the situation.
“A bath. I’d like a bath.” I murmur, aware that keeping him busy will make him feel better, useful even.
Cool how Ana has to worry about her man-baby husband's inability to deal with not being the centre of her attention as well as her father potentially dying. They take a bath together and then head back to the hospital, where they meet José on his way out from seeing Ray. José and Ana hug and say goodbye and Ana congratulates Christian "for not frothing at the mouth", because they're such a super well-adjusted couple.
It turns out that Christian's mother, Grace is in the room with Ray and she knows the doctor who's looking after him and assures Ana that she's an expert in her field. Ana and Christian go back to the hotel, get into bed and Christian tells Ana to get some sleep, thus ending the chapter. Ana wakes up the next morning (beginning the next chapter, in accordance with The EL James Centre For Writing Books Good) and remembers with a start why she's in a hotel room.
“Shit! Daddy!” I gasp out loud, recalling with a gut-wrenching surge of apprehension that twists my heart and starts it pounding why I’m in Portland.
That is probably the most unwieldy goddamn thing I've ever seen. I had to read it three times before it made any sense. It's Ana's 22nd birthday today, so after asking “I want to wish you happy birthday.
Is that okay?” (this is the man who basically doesn't take no for an answer when it comes to sex, but for this he asks permission) Christian gives her a little gift wrapped box with a charm bracelet in it. Ana tells us all about each charm and how they all relate to their honeymoon, the helicopter and Christian's precious feelings (i.e. a key “To my heart and soul” and so on). There's even a letter C charm, because god forbid Ana would have her own initial on it. In fact there's nothing relating to Ana's personality on the bracelet, and to be fair, I suppose you'd be hard pressed to mine that bitch for ten charms.
The last time I was here I was single, and now I’m married at twenty-two! I’m getting old.
Christian has also gotten Ana a white Audi R8, because money CAN buy you love, and they go to the hospital to see Ray. They wait around while Ray is having a CT scan done and Christian talks to his father on the phone about the drunk driver, saying things like "I want you to throw the fucking book at him, Dad", despite the fact that they're in a completely different state to the one where Carrick practices law, and as other bloggers have pointed out, he has absolutely no business getting involved, as he's not the District Attorney for the area. Which would be Clatsop County, where Astoria is. And the DA is this guy:
|His name is Joshua Marquis and look how much he loves Astoria! Can't get enough of the place.|
Doing more research into the things that happen in this book than EL James has done continues to be a theme in this series of recaps.
ANYWAAAAY, Ana then realises that maybe she should call her mother to let her know about Ray and wonders why she hasn't already gotten in touch to wish Ana happy birthday, but there's no answer when Ana rings. It turns out that the swelling has gone down in Ray's brain and he'll be taken out of the coma the following day, so he's healing up at a spectacular rate, almost as if the writer of this story has just given up on reality altogether. Then a bunch of exceedingly boring scenes happen, in which they go for a drive in Ana's new car, have lunch and end up back seeing Ray in the evening, until Christian decides it's time to go.
“I want to feed you. Come. It’s late.” Christian sounds insistent.
He also sounds like a grumpy zookeeper.
They go back to the hotel, change clothes and head down in the lift, to have dinner.
The two women inside shoot admiring glances at him and less generous ones at me. I hide my smile. Yes, ladies, he’s mine.
They walk into a dining room and it's a surprise party for Ana, her mother is there with her husband Bob, along with the Josés, Kate, Elliot and all the assorted Greys. It's a dinner party and nothing really happens, the next morning they all have breakfast together and Ana opens her presents because none of these idiots knows how a birthday party works. Ana and Christian go back to the hospital and Ray wakes up. Ta daah.