LET'S DO THIS MOTHERFUCKER.
(Catch up: Vol 1, 2, 3 and 4)
So, all the lipstick drawing naturally leads to yet another sex scene, identical to most of the previous ones, full of "Oh baby", "I want you", foil packets and "Oh my", as per usual.
Amount of times Ana says "Oh my" altogether: 40 (Forty. COME ON.)
Foil packets: 15
Let's talk about foil packets for a minute. I mean, surely it's not REALLY necessary for EL James to inform us of "the telltale rip" of a goddamn condom wrapper every single time Christian and Ana bang. Every time! At this stage you kind of have to wonder if there's some manner of Pavlovian response deal going on here. Like, if Christian rips the foil on a microwave dinner, or, like, some tin foil, is Ana just automatically taking her pants off? Worth investigating, surely.
Anyway, after all the sexy sexing, Christian whips off his condom "dropping it unceremoniously on the floor beside the bed" because he's gross as well as a terrible person. His poor housekeeper, having to clean up his spoogy carpets. Bleh.
"I hate those things. I've a good mind to call Dr. Greene around to give you a shot."
Hey, cool, have your girlfriend forcibly injected with birth control hormones without even consulting her first. ROMAAAANCE. After a little while, the subject of Elena comes up again when Ana starts touching his chest along the agreed lines.
"My past is my past. It's a fact. I can't change it. I'm lucky that you don't have one, because it would drive me crazy if you did."
Oh, ok, so he's telling Ana to get over the fact that he has a past, but if she had one it'd be the biggest deal EVAR? Yeah that sounds totally fair and not at all like a ridiculous double standard. Fucker.
They're supposed to be going to some big charity event that evening at Christian's parents' house, so Ana gets ready, putting on fancy clothes from the wardrobe that Christian had stocked for her, taking care to tell us exactly how much her new underwear, dress and shoes all costed. Then Christian arrives into the room with the ben-wa balls from the last book and has clearly decided that an evening where she has to hang out with his parents is the perfect time to stick them into Ana.
Before they leave for the charity thing, Christian gives Ana a decorated mask (the one on the book cover, in fact) because the event that night is a masquerade ball. Then Christian shows her the library in his apartment that EL forgot to include in the first book, which has a pool table in the middle of the floor. I can't think of any reason for this bit, other than introducing the pool table so they can angry-bone on it later.
In the car on the way to the gala thing, Ana asks Christian where he got the lipstick from earlier.
He smirks at me and points toward the front. "Taylor" he mouths.
What? Really? Is Taylor a secret ladies man? Or into drag? Either way, I want to know more. Taylor is easily the most interesting character in this entire series. MOAR TAYLOR.
They get to the party and there's a fuckload of boring descriptions of everything, including how many entrances there are to the dance floor. For real. I know any time I read about a fictional party, my first thought is to hope there's enough fire exits. Anyway, Christian's sister Mia appears and brings Ana over to her friends to introduce them.
I shoot a quick panicked glance at Christian, who shrugs in a resigned I-know-she's-impossible-I-had-to-live-with-her-for-years way, and let Mia lead me over to a group of four young women.
I mean, introducing people? At a party? HOW BLOODY INAPPROPRIATE. GODDAMMIT MIA, YOU LEAVE PRINCESS ANA ALONE.
They sit at their table with Christian's parents and Ana is introduced to his grandparents.
"Grandmother, Grandfather, may I introduce Anastasia Steele?"
Mrs. Trevelyan is all over me like a rash. "Oh he's finally found someone, how wonderful and so pretty!"
Like a rash. This is how Ana reacts to someone's GRANDMOTHER being NICE TO HER.
For some reason, we get the entire pretentious dinner menu listed on one of the pages, because "oh my" and "holy fuck" can only fill up the word count to a certain point, I suppose. It actually really annoyed me because it's so pointless, even though I'm really into George RR Martin describing every bit of food going in A Song Of Ice And Fire. Although I suppose the major difference there is engaging and enjoyable writing, compared to EL James and her mission to ruin sex and the English language for everyone.
Ana decides she's had enough of the sex toys currently inside her (because she's still got a cooch full of ben-wa balls, remember) and gets up to go to the bathroom. Christian "darkly" says he'll show her the way (he says most things "darkly"), but Mia insists on taking Ana, so he sits there and sulks because he doesn't get to bang his girlfriend in the bathroom at his parents' party.
There's a list of auction prizes (which, like the menu, we pointlessly get the entirety of) and one of the items is a weekend in Aspen, donated by a Mr. C. Grey. Taken aback, Ana asks Christian if he owns the place in Aspen (the basement of which is presumably filled with the bones of Colorado cheerleaders). "He nods, surprised at my outburst and irritated, I think." WHY. Why would he be irritated by that? I hate this fucking guy so much.
The bidding moves on to the Aspen weekend and as it's about to go for twenty thousand dollars, Ana suddenly bids the twenty four thousand that Christian put in her account and wins. I have no idea why she does this. She's just paid for a weekend at Christian's own house.
Of course, her first thought is how mad Christian is going to be and true to form, he leans over to Ana with "a large fake smile plastered across his face" and whispers in "a very cold, controlled voice":
'I don't know whether to worship at your feet or spank the living shit out of you."
Instead of finding that completely fucking terrifying, Ana finds it totally hot. Yeah, fake rictus grins and a cold, controlled voice are exactly what gets a girl going, apparently. Christian then takes her hand and puts it on his lap, so she can jack him off through his pants AT THE TABLE WITH HIS GRANDPARENTS. NO.
Their wildly inappropriate fondling is interrupted by Mia dragging Ana towards the stage for the First Dance Auction, which is exactly what it sounds like. A bunch of the girls at the party line up on stage so rich men can bid on a dance with them and the MC refers to the women as "comely and compliant wenches", which is gross. The girls before Ana all go for around four or five thousand dollars and when it's her turn a mystery stranger gets into a bidding war with Christian, resulting in Christian winning the auction with a one hundred thousand dollar bid. Ana is standing there, telling us how mortified she is, but if anything I feel bad for the girl who went for three thousand earlier. Sucks to be her.
After the meat market auction there's a bit of time before the dancing kicks off, so Christian takes Ana up to his old childhood room for some spanking and banging, during which he says "This is going to be quick, baby". Between that and "put the chicken in the fridge", Christian really needs to up his dirty talk game. They go back outside for the dancing and after the first song, the mystery dude from earlier arrives to cut in and turns out to be Dr. Flynn, Christian's therapist. Who he surely shouldn't be hanging out with at social occasions, I would have thought.
"I'm glad to finally meet you, Anastasia. Are you enjoying yourself?" he asks.
"I was," I whisper.
Remind me again why everyone is so crazy about this rude, whiny, discourteous little bitch? Seriously. She's just awful. Later on, when she's alone, Ana is confronted by Elena, who tells Ana that Christian obviously loves her and that she's never seen him like this before.
A hundred images dance through my head: the iPad, the gliding, flying to see me, all his actions, his possessiveness, one hundred thousand dollars for a dance. Is this love?
At this point I actually shouted, quite loudly, "NO! NONE OF IT FUCKING IS!"
NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THOSE THINGS IS LOVE. THEY ARE ALL CHRISTIAN THINKING HE OWNS YOU.
Anyway, Elena continues and says that she's happy for the two of them, but if Ana hurts Christian again, she'll come after her and...I dunno, beat her up or something? She just says "I will find you, lady, and it won't be pleasant when I do." At this point, Ana actually gets her sass on and surprisingly manages to stand up for herself instead of running off crying and biting her lip or whatever.
"Christian and I have nothing to do with you. And if I do leave him and you come looking for me, I'll be waiting - don't doubt it. And maybe I'll give you a taste of your own medicine on behalf of the fifteen year old child you molested and probably fucked up even more than he already was."
We'll just breeze past the part where Ana appears to be threatening to have sex with Elena. She storms off and finds Christian, who says he'll talk to Elena and asks Ana not to let the encounter ruin their evening. Then while Ana is in the bathroom, he rings Elena, telling her to back off, even though she's like, right over there. They can probably see each other while they're talking on the phone.
At midnight there's a fireworks display and while Christian and Ana are in the crowd, Taylor and the extra security guys that Christian has hired due to Leila are milling around. After the show, Christian mentions that the fireworks have probably aged Taylor by a hundred years. Has he got PTSD? Was he in the army? Seriously, why can't this book be about Taylor instead?
Ana is tired so they decide to leave the party and say goodbye to Christian's parents.
"Please do come again, Anastasia, it's been lovely having you here," says Grace kindly.
I am a little overwhelmed by both her and Carrick's reaction.
Overwhelmed. By people being polite to her. Which is far more than she deserves.
Fortunately, Grace's parents have retired for the evening, so at least I am spared their enthusiasm.
As Christian and Ana head back to the car, Christian says that the following day "Dr. Greene is coming to sort you out." Sort her out? Fuck you, buddy! Ana asks why and what follows made me so angry that I almost smashed my iPad.
"Because I hate condoms," he says quietly. His eyes glint in the soft light from the paper lanterns, gauging my reaction.
"It's my body," I mutter, annoyed that he hasn't asked me.
"It's mine too," he whispers.
THE FUCKING FUCK IT IS, YOU ABSOLUTE COCK. YOU DID NOT JUST TELL A WOMAN IN ALL SERIOUSNESS THAT HER BODY BELONGS TO YOU. SOMEONE BRING ME MY WALLOPING STICK.
I'm not sure what's worse though, Christian legitimately thinking he owns Ana's body, or her reaction to that rage-inducing reply.
Yes, my body is his...he knows it better than I do.
Would it too much to ask for the aforementioned paper lantern to explode in flames and set both of these assholes on fire? Or for Leila to jump out from behind some bushes and murder the fuck out of both of them? Come on Leila, step it up a notch for fuck's sake.
When they get into the car, Sawyer (new security man working with Taylor) hands Ana a note that has been addressed to her. It's from Elena, and says that they've misjudged each other and to call her if she needs to "fill in any of the blanks". Of course, what they should both do here is just ignore Elena, but I somehow doubt that's what's going to happen.
They get back to Christian's apartment, but Sawyer stops them from entering, as he has just been informed that someone has slashed the tyres of Ana's Audi and thrown paint all over it. It was clearly Leila's doing, so the security team want to be sure that she isn't in the apartment. Christian goes in too, leaving Ana outside with Sawyer, and says that Leila can't have gotten in, even though she did just that while he was in Georgia, but hey. Oh and also, Taylor is going in through the service entrance with two other security lads called...for real...RYAN and REYNOLDS.