And with that, onwards we go to Volume 9.
(Catch up: Vol. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8)
So Ana has arrived into her and Kate's apartment, only to find Leila standing there with a gun. SUPER TENSE MOMENT. And the first thing we're told is "My subconscious swoons into a dead faint, and I don’t think even smelling salts will bring her back." Because what we really want to know at this actually quite interesting turn of events is how Ana's stupid fucking imaginary friend is doing.
Ana proceeds to have a weird, strung-out conversation with Leila, who talks like a sad house-elf, caresses her gun and says things such as "Master is a dark man, but I love him." Ana wonders where Ethan is and hopes that Leila hasn't hurt him. Suddenly, Christian bursts into the room with Taylor behind him, which makes me wonder why he's wasting Taylor's goddamn time by employing him as a bodyguard if he's just going to burst into dangerous situations before him like that.
|Taylor. Every day.|
When she sees Christian, Leila freezes and he stares her down, then mouths something to her which causes her to drop to her knees in a submissive pose, the pose that Christian made Ana get into in the first book when he brought her to the playroom. It's CHILLING because it looks like Christian has brainwashed this woman. However, empathy isn't exactly Ana's strong suit.
Christian’s expression is raw, full of some unnamed emotion. It could be pity, fear, affection...or is it love? No, please, not love!
Christian tells Ana to go downstairs, like four times in a row but she doesn't want to leave him alone with Leila because she's worried that the unwashed, unwell, crazy woman with a gun IS GOING TO STEAL HER BOYFRIEND. FOR REAL.
Taylor ends up carrying Ana down the stairs to the ground floor where they meet Ethan, who has only just arrived. Once he's been filled in on the situation, he reacts like a normal person and asks if anyone has called the police, although Ana replies “No, it’s not like that” despite the fact that it's fucking exactly like that and the cops should have been called back when Leila first broke into Christian's place and tried to kill herself. But then that would resolve this whole dumbass subplot and would deprive us of all this needless dicking around.
Ana and Ethan go for a drink in the bar across the road where they just talk about Ana and her problems because she's the most important and interesting person in the whole world. Ana eventually gets back to Christian's apartment, to find Christian freaking out because he couldn't find her and she had left her bag in his car so he couldn't even track her whereabouts through her phone WHICH IS SOMETHING HE ACTUALLY SAYS. FUCK ALL THE WAY OFF CHRISTIAN.
Then Ana has another "I can't be what you need me to be" moment and tries to go so she can think things through and have a bit of space. Christian panics because he thinks she's leaving him altogether because these two fucknuts can't communicate AT ALL and in his desperation, Christian drops to his knees in the submissive pose from earlier and it's framed as this huge end-of-chapter cliffhanger.
Holy Fuck...Christian. The submissive.
It's actually so stupid that I just want Ana to laugh at him and kick him in the face. Instead, Ana stands there, appalled, thinking that it's "so wrong" and "so disturbing" that Christian is acting like a submissive, which is just a whole extra layer of gender stereotyping bullshit on this already crap-filled cake.
The thought of me dominating anyone is appalling. The thought of dominating Christian is nauseating.
This whole chapter is pretty much EL James saying a big judgmental and wildly misguided fuck you to people who partake in BDSM activities. Christian and Ana then have this long meandering conversation that goes nowhere and involves Ana prattling on about herself and it takes FUCKING AGES for anything new to happen, because at this stage we've been put through their "Don't leave me! - I won't leave, I love you, don't leave me!" conversations about a thousand goddamn times by now. Eventually the big reveal is Christian admitting that he likes to whip and fuck brown-haired girls like Ana "because you all look like the crack whore". Haaa! He's an actual motherfucker. I can't even begin to imagine how utterly insulting this must be to the BDSM community though. For real.
Ana's all "my poor damaged broken Fifty!" and then lashes out, calling him a sicko, there's some more repetitive "don't leave me! - I won't, don't leave me!" assholery before Christian reveals that Ana's magic vagina has cured him of his sadistic needs and ASKS HER TO MARRY HIM.
Ana wants time to think about it seeing as they've known each other FOR FIVE WEEKS and says she's tired and hungry and just wants to go to bed. Then there's this tiny sequence of events that don't actually mean anything but drove me fucking crazy reading it. Within half a page, Ana mentions that she's hungry, Christian says "you're hungry?", Ana replies that yes, she is. So having established that Ana is in fact hungry, Christian microwaves some macaroni and cheese for her and within that same half page, Ana suddenly comes out with “Christian, I’m really not hungry.”
JESUS TITTYFUCKING CHRIST. Apparently EL James can't keep her own godawful story straight within HALF A FUCKING PAGE. I HATE EVERYTHING.
While they're eating their microwaved pasta, Ana asks Christian what he did with Leila in the apartment when they were left alone and hey it was no big deal, just the most inappropriate thing you've ever heard in your life.
"We talked, and I gave her a bath.” His voice is hoarse, and he continues quickly when I make no response. “And I dressed her in some of your clothes. I hope you don’t mind."
First of all, those were probably Kate's clothes seeing as Ana doesn't appear to have any of her own and secondly, WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE? Both of these idiots are raging jealousy-monsters, but Christian thought it'd be totally fiiine to give the ex-girlfriend that both looks like and tried to kill his now-girlfriend some naked bath-time and dress her in Ana's clothes? NOT. COOL. Ana then runs off crying and falls to the bathroom floor, bawling her eyes out in super dramatic fashion.
Christian doesn't understand the concept of giving someone space, so he's over there like a shot, pulling Ana into his arms and finally carrying her to bed. Ana wakes up in the middle of the night and gets up for a drink. She's gone for all of five minutes when she suddenly hears a shout from the bedroom and runs back in to find Christian having a nightmare. Because she wasn't there. She literally can't get up for a drink in the night without him freaking the fuck out IN HIS SLEEP. JESUS. Get a grip Christian, you PAIN IN THE GEE.
Once Ana wakes him up from the nightmare, he gets all gropey, but suddenly the thought of her looking like his mother has put Ana off the idea of some midnight banging. So she asks Christian to stop, as she needs some time to process all the loopy shit that's gone down in the last 24 hours and because he respects Ana and her wishes SO MUCH, he stops. No, wait...
“Christian... Stop. I can’t do this,” I whisper urgently against his mouth, my hands pushing on his upper arms.
“What? What’s wrong?” he murmurs and starts kissing my neck, running the tip of his tongue lightly down my throat. Oh...
“No, please. I can’t do this, not now. I need some time, please.”
“Oh, Ana, don’t overthink this,” he whispers as he nips my earlobe.
Oh yeah, I forgot that he's TERRIBLE AND I HATE HIM. Then follows another dumb sex scene, where Christian says “You are going to unman me, Ana” and like, who the actual fuck talks like that? Seriously? And this is actually the second time he's said that in this book. I gave him a pass the first time around because there are only so many things I can make fun of in this hape o' shite but COME ON. However, Ana is finding it hard to come, because of the whole not being into having sex in the first place thing, not to mention almost being murdered and whatnot, but it's fine because CHRISTIAN TELLS HER TO COME AND SHE MAGICALLY DOES. BECAUSE THAT'S HOW VAGINAS WORK.
Also, within four pages Christian is described as being wrapped around Ana "like a vine", Ana clings to him "like a vine" and Christian is then wrapped around her "like ivy". Just. Stop. After the sexing, Christian says how serious he is about marrying Ana.
"We can get to know each other then."
Ana is late for work the next morning so Taylor drives her super fast across the city to get there and by now Taylor looks like Mike Ehrmantraut from Breaking Bad in my head for some reason. Just a stone-cold badass dude. Ana ends up being fifteen minutes late and when Jack snaps at her not to let it happen again and orders her to type out some letter for him she genuinely thinks to herself "Why’s he so mad? What’s his problem? What have I done?"
She then proceeds to send stupid fucking emails over and back to Christian for about half an hour and takes a personal call from José, who wants to deliver the giant portaits of Ana to Seattle because his show is closing and he wants to meet her for a drink and is also hoping for a place to crash. Ana then wonders how she's going to handle this with Christian, because if your boyfriend is going to give you "a truckload of grief" (HER ACTUAL WORDS) for meeting a friend and giving them a couch to sleep on then you should DEFINITELY marry him.
“Ana!” Jack pulls me abruptly out of my reverie. Is he still mad? “Where’s that letter?”
“Er - coming.” Shit. What is eating him?
YOU ARE THE WORST ASSISTANT IN THE WORLD. THAT IS WHAT'S EATING HIM, YOU TURD.
Then Ethan calls her and wants to collect keys from her again although I don't know why she doesn't just lend him her keys altogether as it's not like she can go and spend a night at her apartment without Christian throwing himself off the top of Escala in ridiculous despair. So that's two personal calls, a friend dropping by the office, incessant emails to her boyfriend instead of working, all on top of her being late into the office and Ana just CAN'T UNDERSTAND why Jack is being short with her today. It's like we're meant to think that Jack is being unreasonable and punishing Ana for having a boyfriend, when the reality of the situation is that she's fucking terrible at her job.
Jack sends her out to get his lunch and because she's actually been kinda working, there are three unopened emails from Christian on her phone, the last one of which is essentially PLEASE ANSWER ME WHERE ARE YOU ARE YOU OK. She's at WORK you fucking MORON. I SWEAR TO GOD. Ana rings Christian so he won't file a missing persons report (Ha! As if he'd actually go to the cops!) and at the end of their conversation they do that "you hang up...no YOU hang up" thing that everyone stopped doing once they got past the age of fourteen.
Ana then goes to Starbucks for her lunch, (which is a latte - altogether now... YOU MUST EAT ANA) and thinks about what a "good man" Christian is (HA!) and how he's "entitled to unconditional love" (the fuck he is), before she starts to wonder which clothes of hers Christian gave Leila to wear.
"I hope it wasn't the plum dress. I like that."
THAT WAS KATE'S FUCKING DRESS. I HATE YOU SO MUCH + NOW HATING YOU ON KATE'S BEHALF. HATE FRENZY.
Suddenly Ana realises that her lunch hour has run over, so she rushes back to the office and when Jack is all snarly with her, she thinks about what a bastard he is. Worst. Employee. Ever. Then she gets a call from Mia, telling her that it's Christian's birthday that weekend and there's going to be a party at his parents' house. Then there's another round of MOTHERFUCKING EMAILS where Ana asks what he wants for his birthday and it immediately devolves into lame sex innuendo, coupled with Christian telling her to stop emailing him with her work address and to use her Blackberry. Even though he replies to that address every time. JUST FUCKING TEXT EACH OTHER YOU ASSHOLES.
Jack is leaving for New York that night and it's just him and Ana in the office that evening. Christian is collecting her at 6.30, but when Ana goes into the kitchen because she's suddenly realised she hasn't eaten all day (give me a fucking break), Jack follows her in, closes the door and decides to get creepy as all get-out.
"Now...are you going to be a good girl and listen very carefully to what I have to say?"
RUH ROH. How will the intrepid Ana get out of this one, seeing as she has all the intelligence of a toothbrush? Tune in next week!