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(Catch up on previous volumes here: 1, 2 and 3.)
Let's do this thing!
Understandably enough, Ana is not happy to be in the place where Christian has clearly brought all his former subs to be groomed and waxed and polished to his liking, like some sort of sex steaks and where his former lover now appears to be working. Although Ana being Ana, this is how she describes her unease:
My scalp is trying to leave the building. It’s prickling with apprehension, and my subconscious is screaming at me to follow it.
Which just makes me picture her hair trying to make a break for it, dragging her along through the door after it. Follow that scalp, Ana.
She watches Christian talk to Elena (Mrs Robinson if ya nasty) and tries to figure out what's going on.
She nods, and I think she's wishing him luck, but my lip-reading skills aren't highly developed.
|I know, Detox. I know.|
She points out how messed up the whole situation is and Christian admits that she's right and runs his hands through his hair. He does it a lot in this book. Fifteen times, in fact. It's the new "pants hanging from his hips". While they're talking, his phone rings and he has another snappy conversation where we hear him say things like "Killed in a car crash? When?" in amongst lots of dot-dot-dot bits. While this is going on, Ana contemplates how amazingly special she is.
People bustle past us, lost in their Saturday morning chores. No doubt contemplating their own personal dramas. I wonder if they include stalker ex-submissives, stunning ex-Dommes and a man who has no concept of privacy under United States law.
Christian eventually finishes up and Ana has to make him tell her what's going on. It turns out that Leila left her husband three months ago and ran off with a guy who was killed in the aforementioned car crash four weeks ago. Christian then tells Ana to gets in the car and come with him back to his place, seemingly forgetting that he and Ana were in the middle of a conversation, until Ana reminds him. Amazingly, the world doesn't pause itself when he takes a phone call. He says they're going back to his place and Ana's like "eh, no, I'm getting a haircut, jerk". So Christian arranges for a hairdresser named Franco to come to his apartment and tells Ana that she's coming with him, even if he has to drag her there by her hair. How lovely! HOW ROMANTIC. EXCUSE ME WHILE I SWOON.
We glare at each other - and abruptly he sweeps down, clasps me round my thighs and lifts me. Before I know it, I am over his shoulder.
|I swear I could illustrate this whole mess solely through the medium of Drag Race gifs.|
He finally releases Ana from his caveman grip when she agrees to go with him and she suddenly realises that something drastic must have happened with Leila for him to get so freaked out all of a shot. Christian (again, after much convincing because he doesn't seem to think that Ana's wellbeing is any of her business) tells her that Leila has gotten a concealed weapons permit, apparently without a background check. Many other people online have pointed out that that would actually be pretty much impossible, as background checks are mandatory in the state of Washington and after Leila's suicide attempt, there's no way that would actually happen for real. But this book doesn't concern itself with pesky and unsexy things like facts. Facts are for squares.
Ana's anger disappears at the thought of Christian being hurt, even though, newsflash idiot: Leila is gunning for you too. Self-preservation is also for squares.
On the way to Christian's place, Ana asks about Elena and is told that she runs the beauty salons and Christian is a silent partner. She was a bored trophy wife and helped him out back when he dropped out of Harvard, loaning him money to start his first business. He also mentions that her then-husband wouldn't let her work.
"You know, he was controlling. Some men are like that."
He gives me a quick sideways grin.
"Really? A controlling man, surely a mythical creature?"
HA HA HA. BECAUSE CHRISTIAN'S CONTROLLING BEHAVIOUR IS SO CUTE AND FUNNY AND TOTALLY NORMAL AND NOT AT ALL A CAUSE FOR CONCERN.
Also, while they're talking about Elena, during her narration of the conversation Ana refers to her as "Mrs. Extraordinarily-Glamorous-In-Spite-Of-Being-Old" and it's like...she's only in her late thirties or possibly early forties, you little bitch. My god, she's practically DECREPIT.
They get to Christian's apartment and we find out in passing that Taylor has a daughter. Ana asks about her, while Christian stands by impatiently and CHRIST he's just so fucking rude to everyone that works for him. He goes off to make some calls, so Ana wanders up to her room in the apartment and rings her mother. She tells Ana that her and her husband Bob are thinking about moving to Vegas from Georgia and Ana's self-involvement can pretty much be summed up by her reaction to this news:
Oh, someone else has problems. I'm not the only one.
Christian finds her and she finishes up talking to her mam immediately, even though she's had to wait around for ages every time he takes a call. Franco arrives to cut Ana's hair and speaks in a Super Mario accent the whole time and is, like, super-gay so he manages to avoid being choke-slammed into the wall by Christian for touching Ana.
After her haircut, Christian asks Ana if she's still mad at him and when she says yes, he suggests that they have sex instead of talking about it. He's intent on fucking all their problems away. Ana says no, so they decide to talk about it over lunch.
"I'm hungry, and not just for food" is what Christian says. You see, his go-to attempt at flirty humour is to pretend that he's confusing sex with food and he does this ALL THE TIME. He's practically Oscar Wilde.
Before lunch though, he explains that his repeated outrageous invasions of Ana's privacy is totally fine, because he does background checks on ALL his submissives. Because that's SO much better. He shows Ana a folder with her name on it that contains her birth certificate (which there is absolutely no good reason for him to need) and a bunch of other stuff about her, but it's fine because he doesn't MISUSE all the information that he collects about these women. In his filing cabinet. HE LITERALLY HAS BINDERS FULL OF WOMEN.
Ana points out that he does in fact misuse these details, as he put a load of money into her account that she expressly did not want. But it's ok, says Christian because he's SUPER RICH and the money meant nothing to him. Because, again, her feelings on the subject are irrelevant.
"Anastasia, I earn roughly one hundred thousand dollars an hour."
THEREFORE I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT REGARDLESS OF HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT.
Ana makes a Spanish omlette for lunch, while dancing around to Beyoncé in the kitchen. Buzz Killington then arrives and switches the music to I Put A Spell On You.
I watch him, enthralled as slowly, like the predator he is (NOT A GOOD THING), he stalks me in time to the slow sultry beat of the music. He's barefoot, wearing just an untucked white shirt, jeans and a smouldering look.
So again, fully dressed. Also, someone "stalking" their way across a kitchen in time to music would look totally ridiculous and it's just yet another time that Christian is supposedly being devastatingly sexy, whereas in real life you'd actually laugh your ass off at him.
They eat their tortilla and then Ana goes to her room to look up multiple personality disorder on her laptop, because of Christian's mad mood swings. Seriously. Oh yeah, and she "fires up Google" again, because she's like a hundred years old when it comes to technology. (Although that's actually not fair to elderly people. My Grandad is in his nineties and on Viber for god's sake.)
Christian arrives into the room and they have some playful chit-chat about serious mental illness. Tee hee. He then produces a tube of red lipstick (that he just had lying around, I guess?) and suggests that they draw the boundaries he has when it comes to Ana touching his chest, as he's been freaking out every time she so much as glances at his torso from the beginning. He takes off his shirt and gets her to draw a bunch of lines on him, cordoning off all the bits around his still-mysterious cigarette burn scars and it takes, like an entire page of dicking around before it's done.
It looks like he's wearing a bizarre skin-coloured vest with a harlot red trim.
|Don't you hate it when someone turns up in the same outfit as you?|
Ana also throws out yet another "holy fuck" mid drawing session, so will we take a look at the amount of times she comes out with one of her annoying exclamations? Let's.
Holy cow: 38
Holy fuck: 29
Holy crap: 7
Holy hell: 7
Aaand for fun, the amount of times the word "crap" appears in the entire book: 34