(Catch up: Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.)
Ana wakes up the next morning feeling fuzzy and hungover, and thinks how amazed she is that Christian let her drink so much. Super. It's literally the first line of this recap and I'm already doing a search for "exasperated gif". Christian wakes up, immediately asks Ana what's wrong (because she woke him up when she moved a bit) and then talks about how much he likes taking care of her and looks pleased about it.
It’s like he’s won the World Series or the Super Bowl.
USA! AMERICAN THINGS! FOUR MORE YEARS!
They end up boning and start things off by wrestling a bit because Christian reveals that he likes it and that this is what he was talking about when he mentioned to Ana about taking her anger out on him in bed before. So it wasn't pegging after all.
Later that day, everyone is heading back home on the plane and Ana remembers that Christian quietly called Elliot "Lelliot" when congratulating him on getting engaged.
What did Christian call him? Lelliot. Perhaps that’s a family nickname?
Yes. It clearly is. This does not warrant any further discussion or energy. My brother Joseph has been called Joefish by me and my immediate family since forever, and I highly doubt that anyone, on hearing it, has thought about it later on and wondered "Is it a family nickname? WHAT COULD IT POSSIBLY MEAN? I NEED ANSWERS."
Anyway. We're told about them being on the plane and getting back to the apartment, during all of which, literally nothing happens. Then Christian reminds Ana that they're meeting Gia that evening and then it just skips to Ana brushing her teeth before bed. I'm pretty sure you're supposed to skip the boring bits and focus on the scenes where potentially interesting things might actually happen. EL James doesn't play by the rules and she sure as fuck doesn't get results. But hey, I'm not the billionaire author here, so what do I know.
Ana fills us in on what went down with Gia earlier, apparently she told Gia that she saw her in Aspen and her being there turned out to be a coincidence.
She’d camped out at her holiday place to work solely on our plans. For one awful moment I’d thought she’d had a hand in choosing the ring, but apparently not. But I still don’t trust Gia. I want to hear the same story from Elliot.
What fucking story?! Jesus Christ, just make out with her and be done with it.
Ana continues to think some thoughts and realises that Christian was so super relaxed over the weekend (he was scowling and snappy the entire time and literally knocked a guy out in the club. Christian was about as relaxed as a kick in the hole) because he was around his family.
Maybe that’s the answer. Maybe he needs his own family. I shake my head in denial - we’re too young, too new to all this.
Oh GOD, please just get this fucking pregnancy arc OVER WITH ALREADY. It hasn't even started and I'm already sick of it.
A few days go by and the passage of time is illustrated through the medium of FIFTEEN FUCKING EMAILS because there's just no other reasonable way of doing things I suppose. I'm starting to forget what it's like to enjoy reading a book. This series its doing its absolute utmost to ruin reading for me. In any case, time has passed and one morning, Hannah comes into Ana's office to tell her that Leila is waiting for her in reception, along with some other girl. Prescott was in the jacks so she didn't have a chance to stop Leila from getting this far, and explains to Ana that Leila is on a list of proscribed visitors that Ana apparently has. Christian has essentially created a list of people banned from Ana's life and she DOESN'T EVEN KNOW ABOUT IT.
Despite Prescott's insistence otherwise, Ana agrees to meet Leila and the mystery lady and has Prescott search both women in a meeting room beforehand. She also fires off an email to Christian, because we definitely haven't had enough of those lately, letting him know what's up. Hey, I wonder if he's going to show up, kick the door down and generally be furious?
Ana meets Leila, who introduces the girl she's with. Her name is Susi and she looks like both Leila and Ana, so she's another former submissive of Christian's. She tells Ana that she wanted to come with Leila so she could meet Ana, the woman who locked down Christian Grey.
“We call ourselves the sub club.” She grins at me, her eyes shining with mirth.
Ok, here is another alternate point of view story that I would heartily enjoy, along with The Sexy Adventures of Taylor and Jonesy. Christian's former subs all meet up and plot together to psychologically torment their careless, evil former Dom, exacting their revenge, like a sexy, violent First Wives Club. GIVE ME THREE BOOKS OF THAT INSTEAD.
|This whole dance sequence could remain pretty much unchanged.|
Leila tells Ana she wanted to see her so she could apologise and also tells her that she wants to thank Christian for paying for art school. Surely she could have just sent him an email to do that though, I mean all he seems to do in work is sit around scowling at people and sending emails. Leila then tells Ana that she's only ever loved her husband who recently died, and also Christian.
“I know. He’s very easy to love,” I whisper.
They both start giggling at this point, and it's time to check in with Ana's subconscious:
My subconscious rolls her eyes at me in despair and goes back to reading her dog-eared copy of Jane Eyre.
You and me both, lady. And hey, Jane Eyre! That's some speedy reading.
Apparently Christian has been refusing all of Leila's requests to meet, so she came to see Ana, knowing that Christian would show up. Which he does, fires Prescott on the spot, and is then horrible to Leila, telling her that if she comes near Ana again, he'll cut off all support, i.e. art school, doctors, medical insurance. He tells her to go back to the East Coast and that if she takes "one step west of the Mississippi, it’s all gone". YOU ARE NOT IN CHARGE OF HER YOU HORRIBLE FUCK.
Anyway, Leila agrees to all this and then leaves. Christian and Ana then have a bit of an argument, in which Christian keeps trying to distract her so they won't actually get to resolve or work through anything and when she asks him why he was so cold and callous to Leila, he replies:
“Anastasia,” he says as if to a child. “You don’t understand. Leila, Susannah - all of them - they were a pleasant, diverting pastime."
Eh, no, dickhead, they were women who you treated awfully, if your relationship with Ana is anything to go by and the sooner they team up and murder you in your sleep, the better.
Ana tries to get Christian to admit that he still cares about Leila, because she doesn't like how mean he was to her and it's a big, drawn-out conversation that ends up with Christian alluding to sex as usual, so they won't talk about their many many issues and they go home.
Cut to them mid-bang, with all the usual "you are mine" inanity, Ana referring to her vagina as "the center of my universe", before coming when Christian commands her to. Then there's two more emails to show that more time has passed, followed by Ana getting a call at work, because her stepdad Ray is in hospital after an accident.
OH GOD I'M SO BOOOORED.