So, onwards with volume two!
(Catch up on Vol. 1 here and the first two books are here. Also, giz an aul like on Facebook there, because I know you're sound.)
Ana is quite correctly furious about the marks all over her boobs and wonders how she didn't feel him doing it to her at the time. She was blindfolded while they were fucking and claims that the reason she didn't notice was because "Mr. Orgasmic was using his fine-motor sexing skills on me", which...what the fuck kind of sentence is that? Also, bullshit, I don't care how intense the whole thing was, you would definitely notice someone sucking on your skin to the point of bruising. Repeatedly. And in case you were wondering what her subconscious and inner goddess are up to, because I know you were:
My subconscious peers over her half-moon specs and tuts disapprovingly, while my inner goddess slumbers on her chaise longue, out for the count.
Ana then tells us how much sexier she's gotten, while considering her refection. "I’ve become leaner and fitter, and my hair is glossy and well cut. My nails are manicured, my feet pedicured, my eyebrows threaded and beautifully shaped" and then immediately says she doesn't want "to think about grooming at the moment", after detailing how very well-groomed she is now. But back to being mad. She picks up a hairbrush and when Christian asks if she's ok from the other room, her subconscious "folds her arms beneath her small bosom" and Ana comes out and flings the hairbrush at him, before storming out onto the deck. Now jump overboard and swim to freedom! Go! Before he goes all Billy Zane in Dead Calm on your ass!
Instead, she tells Christian that she's mad at him, that he made his point on the beach and he has to stop trying to bring her to heel.
“Well, you won’t take your top off again,” he murmurs petulantly.
|I need this pointy fish to jump onboard and stab Christian through the heart. Any minute now.|
Ana insists that it's a hard limit for her and pulls the neckline of her top down to show him what he's done. She wants to shout at him but stops herself.
I don’t want to push him too far. Heaven knows what he’d do.
HE WOULD MURDER YOU LIKE BILLY ZANE IN DEAD CALM, THAT'S WHAT. (I'm not even sure how well-known a reference Dead Calm is, it's just all I can think about for this whole bit.)
Christian apologises and Ana starts thinking about something that Christian's therapist Dr. Flynn said. Namely, that Christian is emotionally adolescent, as he bypassed that part of his life and focused on business instead. Which is no fucking excuse really, and if that is the case, then surely the absolute last thing he should be doing is getting married. Anyway, Ana seems to think this is reason enough to forgive him when he asks to be and then she asks if she's forgiven (UM, FOR WHAT, EXACTLY?) and they're all good again. Or you know, as good as this appalling relationship can be.
The next morning, Ana is watching Christian shave and it's time for another fucking pointless flashback, wherein Ana shaves her pussy while they're in London, because she thought Christian would like it, but she made a hames of it and missed a few bits. Christian suggests that he finishes off the job for her and Ana is horrified.
My subconscious slams down her Complete Works of Charles Dickens, leaps up from her armchair, and puts her hands on her hips.
Aww, but WHICH VOLUME?
Christian tells her he knows her body better than she does AND SHE FUCKING AGREES. AGAIN. So he gets a razor and finishes it off, followed by banging. Back to the present, and Ana decides "Hmm...it's payback time" and gets Christian to sit so she'll finish shaving his face. Ana is up to her old "hmm" tricks again in this book. More often than not, she's thinking hmm instead of it being part of her dialogue and it always looks ridiculous.
Hmm...Christian speaking fluent French wakes me.
Will I ever understand this man? Hmm - this crème brulée is delicious.
Hmm...love barefoot Christian.
The word "hmm" appears no less than 79 times in this book. 79. That's 24 times more than the last book, which clocked in at 55. SEVENTY FUCKING NINE!
So Ana finishes shaving Christian's face (instead of taking her chance, punching him in the throat and jumping overboard) and they go to a medieval hilltop village for the day, to look at galleries and buy some artwork.
Art...he wants to buy art. How can I buy art?
Try the massive amount of money you just married into. Christian says that they can pick out some pieces for their new house and mentions the architect that's doing some work on it for them.
He had to remind me of her...Gia Matteo, a friend of Elliot’s who worked on Christian’s place in Aspen. During our meetings, she’d been all over Christian like a rash.
Ah yes, and as a woman she of course wants to steal Ana's husband. They all do. Poor Ana. She's locked him down and these bitches still don't know their place. They go to the village and look at a display of photos of naked women, which makes Ana wonder whether she should let Christian take nude photos of her. They move on and Ana picks out three paintings of peppers to buy, as she is the most basic of all the bitches.
Ana has red marks on her wrists and ankles from the handcuffs, and more importantly, from Christian being a horrendously bad Dom and closing them so tightly. So they go to a fancy jewellery shop, where he buys her a €30,000 platinum cuff that hides the redness on her wrist. The other one is obscured by the "platinum Omega watch" he gave her on the first morning of the honeymoon. I can't even make fun of this part, because it just makes me so sad. He leaves visible marks on his wife and buys her expensive things that cover it. It's their abusive relationship in an epically bleak nutshell. The bleakest of nutshells. The most miserable squirrel in the world be like "Nope. That nutshell is too depressing, even for me."
On the way back in the car, he examines the marks on her ankles and feels all sad about it, but Ana insists that they don't hurt and it's just the love bites that she doesn't like. Things start to heat up in the backseat, Ana's inner goddess "looks up startled from her Jackie Collins" (there is NO NEED to drag Jackie Collins into this mess) but they get cut short when Christian gets a phonecall. There's been a fire in the server room at his office, but nobody was hurt and a fire suppression system put it out before too much damage was done. He tells the person at the other end of the line not to call the police or fire department, so clearly this is going to play out just like that last book, where a disturbed woman was roaming around with a gun, trying to kill Ana, but he didn't call the cops as that would have just solved things and removed all the needless suspense. Oh, and while he's on the phone, Ana starts to "fiddle nervously with the fifteen-thousand-euro bracelet" because EL James can't keep her story straight within three pages.
They're back on the boat and Christian has been in the study for ages, making calls to the office. Ana is bored, so she tells him she's going shopping. She has to take Taylor and one of the twins with her, and decides she wants to use the jetski to get to shore. Taylor shows her how to use it and she zips around on the water, doing two laps of the yacht.
This rocks! No wonder Christian never lets me drive.
Which. Just. I. IF HE WAS ANY ACTUAL GOOD AS A PERSON HE'D BE LIKE "BABE THIS IS SO MUCH FUN, HAVE A GO, ISN'T IT GREAT, I'M SO GLAD WE CAN SHARE IN THIS SUPERFUN ACTIVITY." I hate him so much you guys. So very very much.
Christian sees her on the jetski and is "gaping" at her, because she didn't tell him she was going on it and when she, Taylor and Gaston get to shore, Taylor tells her that Christian is "not entirely comfortable" with her being on the jetski, and he's clearly just gotten an angry phonecall from his dickhead boss about it. Ana gets into the waiting car and fires off an email to Christian. Even on their honeymoon they find a way to crowbar fucking emails into the story. I genuinely don't understand why they don't just text each other. She has said she'll get the boat back to the yacht so they're all cool there again. Ana goes to a small touristy shop and buys herself an ankle bracelet for a fiver, thinking how much more her it is than all the fancy stuff she's gotten lately and wonders again if she'll ever get used to all the sudden wealth. Which really starts to ring pretty hollow when she constantly goes out of her way to name-check all the expensive stuff she's surrounded by. It's always Bollinger champagne, a Mercedes car, her Omega watch and her "hideously expensive" bikinis.
Anyway, she wants to buy something for Christian and decides to buy him a camera. She's not sure what to get though, so she rings up José, waking him up in the middle of the night, to pester him for advice on cameras. And when he answers, understandably groggy and sleepy and is confused when she says they're staying on a boat, she sighs and thinks "I don’t need this right now" and is generally incredibly fucking inconsiderate. He helps her out anyway and she gets back on the boat, gives Christian the camera, saying it's for portraits "and the like", inferring that it's for taking naked photos of her.
However, the gift backfires and makes Christian all sad because we need some kind of drama at this point, I guess. He only ever used to take photos of the women he was with as his "insurance policy" i.e. the box of photos of his subs from the last book, and thinks he'll be objectifying Ana by taking photos of her. Even though she's asking him to. And really, NOW is the point where he starts thinking about feminism? It's all really stupid and goes on for ages and ends up with them fucking and then Ana reciting her marriage vows afterwards because something's up with Christian and he won't talk to her. He eventually tells her that the fire back in the office was arson, so between that and the helicopter sabotage from the last book, they know someone is after them and Christian is worried for Ana's safety. We know it's Jack Hyde, from the epilogue of the last book. Quick refresher: He was Ana's boss and tried to rape her. Taylor then beat the shit out of him and Christian fired him because he'd bought the company at that stage. Also, he's doing an exceedingly bad job of killing Christian thus far.
Suddenly, flashback time! I'm presuming this is the case anyway, as all of a shot, they're strolling through Versailles, which is nowhere near the south of France. The timeline in this book is incredibly exasperating. This series is annoying enough at it as, the last thing it needs is another fucking gimmick, particularly when each flashback scene could be summed up in one sentence. "We got married and banged on a plane", "We didn't sign a prenup", "Ana shaved her cooch and made a balls of it, so Christian finished it off" and in this case "We went to Versailles". THAT'S IT. All it does is provide a setting for a nightmare that Ana has in a bit.
Back on the boat, they've just had dinner and Christian has some work to do, so Ana checks her emails. Kate is online too, so Ana sends her a Skype message and they chat a bit. She didn't email! PROGRESS! I mean, anyone else would probably video chat, it being Skype and all, but look. Still progress. Kate asks about the fire, so Ana goes "I try my patented distract-tenacious-Kavanagh technique" and asks after Elliot and Ethan. Changing The Subject © Anastasia Grey.
That night, Ana has her aforementioned nightmare, in which she realises that her deepest, darkest fear would be losing Christian. That Versailles flashback definitely wasn't a massive waste of time, then.