I actually didn't think I was going to get this one written in time this week, but here we are! I'm not even pretending like I can give any preamble to these anymore though, as at this point I'm just trying to get to the end of this endurance test and move the fuck on to some sweet sweet Sweet Valley. Let's go!
(Catch up: Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.)
Ana is freaking out over the text from Elena, sinking into a chair and weeping and rocking back and forth, but then again that's probably how she'd react to running out of her precious Twinings teabags, because normal human reactions are unequivocally Not Her Thing.
His wrath and fear, his need to lash out at me I can understand, and forgive - just. But this...this treachery is too much.
Mmm hmm. Sounds healthy.
Ana then hatches a plan, which is just her forwarding the text to her Blackberry and then forwarding it on again, to Christian's phone (which is where the text already is) with her own text asking if he wants Mrs. Lincoln to join them when they eventually discuss the aforementioned text. It's as pointlessly convoluted and fucking stupid as this entire series. Anyway, in the process of her ingenious scheme, Ana sees that Christian's wallpaper on his phone is a collage of photos of her, "a patchwork of tiny Anastasias in various poses", like a total psychopath, and she finds an email from Barney the investigator guy, detailing a bunch of stuff found on Jack's computer and mentioning that a woman rented the car that chased them a while back, or something. It serves absolutely no purpose, so of course we get the entire email and list in full, before getting back to Ana's fiendishly clever plan. She then locks herself into the playroom and sleeps there for the night, waking up in the morning to the sound of Christian banging on the door and freaking out because oh no, she wasn't there when he woke up and this is the worst punishment these idiots can bestow upon each other apparently.
Ana emerges and pointedly ignores Christian when he follows her to the bathroom asking her where she was. Because the locked room with a bed in it couldn't possibly be the answer I guess. She locks the door of the bathroom and takes a shower and Christian is still waiting outside when she's done.
His expression is wary, that of a hunted predator.
Jesus fucking Christ, do words just not mean anything anymore? AM I LOSING MY MIND? Christian tries to talk to Ana while she gets dressed, but she cuts him off every time and bizarrely and quite intentionally puts on something of a show in the process, dropping her towel, "shimmying" into her La Perla knickers and bending over to dry her hair, which is a really weird way to be mad at someone. Christian actually has the nerve to ask her why she was snooping on him, which is fucking rich coming from someone who literally has Ana's birth cert and bank account numbers in a folder from BEFORE THEY EVEN GOT TOGETHER. WIND YOUR FUCKING NECK IN, GREY. Ana tells Christian that him running off to Elena really hurt her and that he needs to cop the fuck on and then starts talking like she's in the Bible for some reason.
"You may not be happy about this baby. I’m not ecstatic, given the timing and your less-than-lukewarm reception to this new life, this flesh of your flesh."
Right. She also tells him that when she gets home from work she's going to move her stuff into the spare bedroom and then Christian threatens marital rape, because he's such a FUCKING DREAMBOAT.
He swallows and takes a step forward. I step back and hold my hands up.
“Don’t even think about it, Grey,” I whisper menacingly.
“You’re my wife,” he says softly, threateningly.
“I’m the pregnant woman you abandoned yesterday, and if you touch me I will scream the place down.”
His eyebrows rise in disbelief. “You’d scream?”
“Bloody murder.” I narrow my eyes.
“No one would hear you,” he murmurs, his gaze intense, and briefly I’m reminded of our morning in Aspen.
Really? Because I'm reminded of a terrifying serial killer, the tagline for the classic sci-fi horror Alien and the fact that you need to RUN THE FUCK AWAY.
They continue to argue and get precisely nowhere, so Ana heads for the office, while talking to "Little Blip" and saying things like "Let's go kick ass at work", which is ridiculous because all Ana seems to do all day at her job is cancel appointments and fight with her husband. When she gets home that evening, Christian is working late and not home by the time she goes to bed. Then the next morning he's gone before she wakes up and I pretty much spent this entire chapter just shouting "FUCKING BAIL, DUDE!" Christian sends Ana a terse email saying that he's flying to Portland that day and doesn't even allude to sex or change his email signature so things are obviously going terribly for these two fucknuts. Ana then gets a call from Mia, but when she answers, it's Jack Hyde on the phone. Quick! We need some manufactured drama to drown out any opportunity for this truly awful couple to meaningfully resolve anything about their monumentally horrible relationship!
Jack tells Ana that she and Christian fucked up his life and now they're going to pay. Jack wants "his fucking money" and is demanding five million dollars, giving Ana two hours to get her hands on the money and make the drop. (Really? Dude's a billionaire Jack, go big or go home.) And if she calls the cops or tells Christian or the security team, he'll somehow just know and then Mia is dead. Ana runs out of the office, tells Hannah to cancel her appointments (yet again) and gets Sawyer to drive her home, telling him she's not feeling well. She then has to orchestrate an escape from the apartment and her security detail because Ana lives in an actual prison. A shiny and sleek and expensive prison, but a prison nonetheless. Before doing that, she finds the gun that Christian still has left in a desk drawer like a fucking dope and takes it with her.
He knows nothing about guns. Jeez, he could get hurt.
Jeez, ya think? Maybe you should leave more guns around the place actually, do us all a favour. She also grabs a duffle bag and Christian's gym bag, because two hand held bags are definitely enough to transport five million dollars in cash. She drives to the bank after manufacturing a distraction for Sawyer and making a dash to the lift to get out of Escala unaccompanied and with the chequebook for a joint account in her and Christian's name.
“May I help you, ma’am?” The young woman gives me a bright, insincere smile, and for a moment I regret changing into jeans.
“I’d like to withdraw a large sum of money.”
Ms. Insincere Smile arches an even more insincere eyebrow.
Even under pressure like trying to withdraw ransom money on a tight deadline to avoid her sister-in-law getting murdered, Ana still finds the time to be a cunt to other women and bestow her patronising nicknames upon them. It'd almost be impressive if it didn't make me want to fling her into the sun. Once Ana clarifies to the lowly information desk clerk that she is, in fact MRS. CHRISTAN GREY, she stares at her in "disbelief and awe" and immediately becomes pleasant and helpful (because all these tertiary bitches are mean to poor little Ana until rightfully put in their place) and brings a manager to her.
Ana informs him of her intention to withdraw five million dollars and he's like "we normally ask for notice for large amounts of money, but sure! Why not!" and accepts her fucking credit card as proof of ID because her driver's licence still has her old name on it. This bank is ridiculous and everything that happens in it is total nonsense. Oh, and Ana has a gun jammed down the back of her jeans while all this is going on. The entire transaction is painfully stupid, so I'll just skip to the part where the manager calls Christian and Ana acts like he's after ratting her out or something, despite the fact that she's asking for actual millions from a joint account with zero notice and acting all squirrelly about it to boot. Christian thinks she's leaving him and Ana has to lie and say that she is, because she thinks if he gets involved then Mia will end up dead.
“But why the cash? Was it always the money?” His tortured voice is barely audible.
No! Tears roll down my face. “No,” I whisper.
“Is five million enough?”
Oh please, stop!
“And the baby?” His voice is a breathless echo.
How can someone's voice be an echo when they're not even repeating anything that's already been said, and not actually an echo at all? Hmm? I see that 'words not meaning anything' is becoming a recurring theme here in Fifty Shades of Phoning It In. Manager Guy then comes back in and tells Ana that it'll be about half an hour to get the money ready in this alternate dimension where this is all totally plausible.
A few moments, minutes, hours later - don’t know - Miss Insincere Smile reenters with a carafe of water and a glass.
“Mrs. Grey,” she says softly as she places the glass on the desk and fills it.
“Thank you.” I take the glass and drink gratefully.
But not gratefully enough to stop calling her names, I see.
When the money is ready and Ana is about to leave, she suddenly sees Sawyer waiting at the entrance to the bank, so she tells manager guy that there's someone following her. He asks if he should call the police and she says no and then asks if she can use a back exit of the bank. This lady in his bank is visibly distressed, has been bawling her eyes out for the last half an hour and now has someone following her, all while withdrawing millions in cash. In real life, the cops are already there. Anyway, she calls Jack on Mia's phone and there's an SUV with blacked out windows waiting out the back for her. The manager has two clerks help with the bags and there are two security guards with them too, who all stand by and wave her off as she climbs into this hilariously suspect vehicle with her massive amounts of money.
The driver’s door swings open, and a woman clad in black with a black cap pulled low over her face climbs gracefully out of the car. Elizabeth!
Who? I actually had no idea who this was supposed to be, but it turns out it's the head of personnel at Ana's office or something. She was in the last book I think? Christ, who even cares at this stage. Elizabeth throws Ana's phone into a bin so they can't be traced and they set off to meet Jack. Ana deduces that Jack must have something on Elizabeth for her to go along with this plan. They come to some dilapidated old buildings and meet Jack, who keeps calling Ana "bitch" and then smacks her across the face, knocking her onto the ground.
I scream a silent cry of suffering and shocked terror.
WORDS MEAN NOTHING ANYMORE! BANANA! MUFFLE BLERP! PNEUMONOULTRAMICROSCOPICSILICOVOLCANIOSIS!
Jack kicks Ana in the ribs, Ana grabs the gun out of her arse, shoots him in the leg and passes out. But not before hearing cars screeching and doors opening and "Christian’s voice...Christian’s agonized voice" before the darkness closes in. Oh GREAT.