(Catch up: Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7)
The promised spanking and banging ensues, after around three and a half pages of "witty" banter and meandering build-up, during which Christian refers to Ana's "delectable derriere" which makes him sound like the 13th Duke of Wybourne from The Fast Show and Ana gets all graphic up in our grills with "He kisses me...there."
I stand paralyzed like a complete zombie, my heart pounding, my blood pumping, not actually able to move a muscle.
Oh GODDAMMIT EL James, don't make me come over there. The whole POINT of a zombie IS THAT THEY MOVE. THAT IS WHY THEY'RE SCARY. THEY ARE DEAD BODIES THAT CAN SHUFFLE AFTER YOU AS YOU WATCH IN MOUNTING HORROR.
|And sometimes they can dance really well.|
Before going to bed for the night, Ana asks Christian if Sawyer can just bring her as far as the door when he accompanies her to work the next day, which is what I assumed would be the case anyway and Christian grumpily agrees. Which makes me wonder what the original plan was, I mean did he expect Sawyer to sit at her desk beside her all day like a spare tool?
Ana gets into the office and of course there's an email from Christian, because it's been all of half an hour since they've spoken to each other. In it, he says "I hope you never leave, ever", which is apparently his way of asking Ana to move in with him. They've known each other for all of FIVE WEEKS even though it feels like around ten years. And since the start of this book only three goddamn days have passed, because time moves at a glacial pace in this universe.
Anyway, Ana says they can talk about it later and then Jack, her boss, interrupts the incessant emailing to inform her that he's going to New York later that week for a conference and he needs her to come with him. Ana's first thought is, of course, that Christian isn't going to like it, but she emails him to let him know and he immediately comes back with "If it's with the sleazeball you work with, then the answer is no, over my dead body." Even though she wasn't fucking asking for his permission in the first place.
Ana tells him to cop the fuck on and trust her and in the meantime she gets an email from Elena, asking again to meet her for lunch sometime. There are eighteen emails in this one chapter. EIGHTEEN. JESUS CHRIST. Suddenly Jack comes barging out of his office, telling Ana not to book any flights because orders have come from "up top" right that second that all company spending has to be pre-approved by senior management. Ana immediately knows it's Christian wading in to stop the New York trip, because he's a controlling fucknugget. They argue about it over more annoying emails (all through her work email, by the way, because she's a fucking dope), during which Ana tells him about Elena's message and then Jack tells Ana she has to work late.
When everyone else has gone home, Jack comes over to Ana's desk and proceeds to be super fucking creepy.
He tucks a strand of hair that's come loose from my hair tie behind my ear and gently caresses the lobe.
He eventually backs off when Ana tells him that her boyfriend is Christian Grey, because he's one of those cunts who will only leave a woman alone if he thinks that she "belongs" to another dude. Christian picks Ana up from the office and all his interfering assholery from earlier is forgotten because he's SO SEXY and they end up banging in the lift on the way back up to the apartment and I can't help thinking that they must both be dying from friction burns at this stage.
Over dinner, Ana tells Christian that he was right about Jack but assured him that he backed right off once he knew that her boyfriend was THE Christian Grey. She then points out that Christian has to let her fight her own battles and stop interfering with her job and says that if he can do that she'll move in with him. Because that definitely won't put his controlling tendencies into overdrive.
Next thing, Taylor arrives (yay Taylor!) to tell Christian that Elena is on her way up and announces her before she comes into the room because this is Downton Fucking Abbey, apparently. Elena is surprised to see Ana there and apologises for barging in. It turns out she's being blackmailed, but they only talk about that for a few lines and when Ana leaves the room, they then spend a page and a half talking about how great and strong Ana is. People keep saying how strong and bright and funny Ana is throughout the book, despite there being little to no evidence of any of those things. JUST BECAUSE YOU KEEP TELLING US SOMETHING DOESN'T MAKE IT TRUE, EL JAMES.
After Elena leaves, Christian and Ana argue about her, with him shouting at Ana to let it go, but can you IMAGINE what he'd be like if Ana had an ex that she was friends with who turned up unannounced at her house? He'd go into full-on gamma rage murder-frenzy for fuck's sake.
Ana goes to bed and then wakes up at two in the morning but Christian isn't there. She wanders out to find him playing the piano, which is almost exactly the same as a scene we were already put through in the first book, but this series is nothing if not repetitive.
"Why do we fight?" he whispers, as his teeth graze my earlobe.
Because you're an emotionally stunted fuckwit who tries to control his girlfriend's every move, ignores her wishes, constantly manipulates her and flies into a rage on the rare occasion that she shows a bit of backbone? Maybe? No?
They end up banging on the piano and it's essentially the scene from Pretty Woman with some oral sex thrown in, culminating in the two of them boning on the lid. Which is a great way to wreck a piano's tuning.
He hovers over me and I'm panting, gazing up at him with raging need, and I realize he's naked. When did he take off his clothes?
The next morning, Ana asks Christian if he has any happy memories of his childhood. Behold his answer:
"I recall the crack whore baking. I remember the smell."
The smell of baking or the smell of the crack whore? What do crack whores even smell like? Apart from crack?
As they're both being driven to work by Taylor, Christian gets a call from Elena and it appears that the blackmail threat was from her sub as part of a sex game, so that whole drama of her calling over to the apartment and Christian and Ana arguing over it and then angry-fucking WAS COMPLETELY POINTLESS. THANKS FOR WASTING OUR TIME, EL JAMES.
Ana gets cranky when she realises that it's Elena calling Christian again, but he brings her around by sucking and biting her little finger. Anyone else would probably ask him what the fuck he's doing, but this is Ana.
Whoa! He has a hotline to my groin, I gasp and glance nervously at Taylor and Sawyer, then at Christian, and his eyes are darker.
Ana gets to work and has a really dumb conversation with Claire the receptionist, who is black so Ana is totally cool with her talking about how hot Christian is (because she's super-cool to minorities, remember).
Your boyfriend is so dreamy, Ana," she says, her eyes glazing over.
I am tempted to roll my eyes at her.
"He's not bad looking," I smile and we both start laughing.
Whereas any time a white girl has so much as looked at him, Ana's inner monologue has been filled with "stop looking at MY BOYFRIEND, you WHORE!" type thoughts.
Jack is all snappy with Ana, because he knows there's something going on at the senior levels of the company, but doesn't know the details. (You see, Christian's sociopathic purchase of SIP has been embargoed - wooo boring corporate intrigue.) He asks Ana to keep an ear to the ground, but says it in the most dickish way possible: "I know how you girls talk," as if he's Don Draper and the women in the office are the fucking typing pool.
Ana and Christian exchange more stupid emails, with hilarious and sexy subject lines like "Wet Hardware" because they still haven't grasped the idea of texting. Later on in the day, Ana gets a call from Kate's brother Ethan, who has come back from the seemingly endless Barbados holiday that Kate is on and says he'll drop into the office to borrow Ana's keys to her and Kate's place. Claire calls Ana when he's there at reception, saying "You sure know some hunky guys" even though no one actually talks like that. Ana gives the keys to Ethan and they arrange to meet for dinner with Christian that evening after work.
Christian meets Ana outside the office at six and hey! "He's wearing his gray pants, my favourite ones that hang from his hips - in that way." Welcome back, hanging hip pants! We've all missed you terribly.
When they pull up outside Ana and Kate's apartment, Christian has to take a call so Ana runs up to get Ethan, who has left the door open for her. Except he hasn't, because when Ana gets inside, Leila is waiting for her in the kitchen with a gun. Finally! Where the hell have you been, Leila!
I'm 100% rooting for the unhinged would-be assassin at this stage.