(Catch up: Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10)
Christian and Ana arrive at Dr. Flynn's office, and I immediately want to push Ana down a flight of stairs when they meet the receptionist.
"She greets Christian warmly, a little too warmly for my taste - jeez, she's old enough to be his mother - and he knows her name."
OF COURSE HE KNOWS HER FUCKING NAME, HE'S BEEN COMING HERE FOR AGES. Also, just in case we'd forgotten, every other female character in this book is a rampaging whore, according to Ana. They go into the office and great care is taken to tell us exactly what the room looks like and what Ana thought it would look like and where Christian sits and how exactly all of his limbs are arranged and that he and Ana are at right angles to each other and it's all just so goddamn unnecessary. It's like the dancefloor exits from the fundraiser party all over again.
Dr. Flynn asks Christian what he'd like to discuss, Christian "shrugs like a surly teen" (so sexy) and says that Ana was the one who wanted to see him. It's all really awkward, which should come as no surprise to anyone who isn't an idiot, considering that Ana has known Christian for all of five weeks and now they're in therapy together. Dr. Flynn asks Ana if she'd be more comfortable if Christian left them alone for a bit. She says yes, so Christian gets into a huff and "stalks out of the room", because of course he fucking does.
|Oh, hey Christian.|
Afterwards, Ana gets a call from José and has to talk in monosyllables to him because Christian is standing there glaring at her the entire time she's on the phone.
"So are you allowed out tomorrow?"
"Of course I am." I hope. I automatically cross my fingers.
What an awesome relationship. If only I could buy some flammable clothes with quotes from this awesome relationship printed on them. From, say, Tesco.
Oh yeah. I can. (Tip o' the hat to Aoife and Catherine for that particular revelation.)
Ana and Christian then argue about who gets to drive and I start to wonder why Christian even bought Ana a car in the first place if he's never going to let her drive it. He also has the gall to say "I don't like to be driven" WHEN THAT IS LITERALLY WHAT TAYLOR IS EMPLOYED TO DO. THIS FUCKING GUY.
Ana eventually gets to drive and the arguing continues, to the point that she pulls over so they can get out of the car and argue at each other some more by the side of the road. Honestly, the next four pages consist almost entirely of these dickholes arguing. Then Christian drives and is being all mysterious about where he's taking Ana.
They eventually arrive at a big mansion on the coast and are greeted by a woman who, of course, Ana is in immediate competition with.
Her isn't-he-dreamily-gorgeous-wish-he-was-mine flush does not go unnoticed.
The lady turns out to be an estate agent and Ana manages to restrain herself from scratching this bitch's eyes out long enough for Christian to steer her out the back to the terrace. There's a super amazing view from there and then the sky is described for us in a manner that sounds like Ana working her way through a Dulux colour chart.
Vermillion hues bleed into the sky - opals, aquamarines, ceruleans - melding with the darker purples of the scant wispy clouds and the land beyond the Sound.
Christian then asks Ana how she'd like to live there "for the rest of her life" (so, probably until Christian murders her in a jealous rage for smiling at the postman) and says how he's always coveted these houses on the coast. Oh and that he intends to buy this one, knock it down and build a new one in its place.
"Why do you want to demolish it?" I ask, looking back at him.
His face falls slightly. Oh no.
"I'd like to make a more sustainable home, using the latest ecological techniques."
Well that makes perfect fucking sense! Why there's nothing more environmentally friendly than pointlessly tearing down a perfectly good house and wasting a bunch of resources building a new one in it's place! After all, houses are usually constructed by the fucking fairies from Fern Gully and an architect just wishing really hard. Seriously though, how did this idiot ever become a bajillionaire?
Ana asks to look around the house, which has a music room, library, indoor pool, a games room and a cinema in the basement and Ana's conclusion is:
It's a little shabby now, but nothing that some TLC couldn't cure.
Shabby, like. Shabby. IT'S GOT A FUCKING CINEMA IN THE BASEMENT.
As they drive back into the city, Christian says he's going to buy the house and Ana asks if that means he'll sell the penthouse apartment in Escala and he's like "duh, no, I'm Daddy Bigbucks, idiot" because a husband keeping an apartment in the city always ends well.
They're going for dinner to celebrate Ana's completely ridiculous promotion and Christian takes her to some fancy members club called - groan - The Mile High Club. Hang on, I just have to chase my eyeballs across the floor as they appear to have rolled entirely out of my head. Before they sit down to dinner, Christian tells Ana to go and take her knickers off and they have a really annoying dinner where Ana is AMAZED when she's served sea bass ("I don't believe it" - wuh?) and Christian makes a point of not touching Ana in order to drive her sex-wild. It works, so Ana performs a blowjob on some asparagus to get back at him and on and on it goes until they finally finish dinner and Ana appears to have forgotten how to talk.
"I believe you have certain expectations, Miss Steele. Which I intend to fulfill to the best of my ability."
"The best...of your a...bil...ity?" I stutter.
A - That's not a stutter. B - Christian, your love doll robot appears to be malfunctioning.
The pair of them are so horny that Christian fingers Ana in the lift on the way down to the ground floor, despite the fact that the lift IS FULL OF PEOPLE.
Oh my. I gape at the people in front of us, staring at the backs of their heads. They have no idea what we're up to.
No Ana, they're all just too fucking polite and uncomfortable to acknowledge you getting fingerbanged in the corner behind them. Unless that lift is utterly massive, they know what's happening.
As they walk through the lobby, Ana mentions that she's never had sex in a car.
Christian halts and places those same fingers under my chin, tipping my head back and glaring down at me.
“I’m very pleased to hear that. I have to say I’d be very surprised, not to say mad, if you had.”
I flush, blinking up at him. Of course; I’ve only had sex with him. I frown.
“That’s not what I meant.”
“What did you mean?” His tone is unexpectedly harsh.
“Christian, it was just an expression.”
“The famous expression, ‘I’ve never had sex in a car.’ Yes, it just trips off the tongue.”
Jesus Christ, she was just thinking out loud you massive tool. He actually just looks for things to fly off the handle about. They get as far as the foyer of Christian's apartment before they end up boning on the table by the lift and Christian gives out to Ana for closing her eyes while they're fucking, because in case you hadn't noticed by now, HE'S THE WORST.
The next morning, Christian has left early for a meeting and while Ana is getting ready to leave for work, she thinks of another present for him, but we're not told what it actually is exactly, because, again, fake suspense for shit I don't care about. While looking through some drawers for one of Christian's ties, (because this has something to do with the present) Ana finds a black box full of photos of former subs in the playroom. While driving into work, she wonders whether she should tell Christian that she found the photos.
No, screams my subconscious, her Edvard Munch face on.
What she means here is that her subconscious is making a face like Munch's The Scream. It's a face that she makes quite a lot, because, like the whole Icarus thing, once EL James has found a metaphor she likes, she proceeds to use it and then reuse it and use it again a few times, until the arse has been well and truly torn out of it.
Either that, or Ana's subconscious actually just looks like Edvard Munch at this point. In any case, I'm sure he'd be super-jazzed to know that his most famous painting, borne of years of depression, family tragedy and anxiety has been used as shorthand for a fictional idiot's imaginary friend being worried.
Ana gets into the office and immediately begins sending stupid emails back and forth with Christian, until she admits that she's planning a surprise for his birthday, which he replies to with a terse "I hate it when you keep things from me." We can only assume that he stomped his foot when he pressed send, and then he doesn't reply to her for the rest of the day. Ana meets José and Ethan after work and Kate is finally back from her four year holiday in Barbados so she comes along too and meets them at the bar, complimenting Ana on the dress she's wearing. I'm betting that she's just glad Ana finally has some goddamn clothes of her own and maybe now she'll get her fucking plum dress back.
There's still been no reply from Christian, so something is definitely wrong because he can't go ten minutes without emailing her. Ana's suspicions are confirmed when Elliot calls and tells her that Christian and his helicopter have GONE MISSING. ERMAHGERD.
Hopefully he's dead.