When we last saw our intrepid heroes, Ana was falling down because clumsiness is the Designated Harmless Romantic Heroine Flaw, and Buff HardBack was using catching her as an excuse to paw and stare at her because he is gross.
Also, this is the beginning of the part of the book where we're going to want warnings going in, because hoo boy. CONTENT WARNINGS FOR THIS CHAPTER: Stalking, rape threats, sexual assault, abuse of drunk people.
Kiss me damn it! I implore him, but I can’t move. I’m paralyzed with a strange, unfamiliar need, completely captivated by him.Maybe he's an incubus. That is seriously the only thing that would explain this.
Everything about how Ana describes attraction sounds painful. It exists for no reason, fills her with anxiety, twists up her stomach, and now she's not able to even move or speak? I'm really not sure that's desirable. She hasn't once mentioned being happy to be around this guy. Only exceptionally stricken.
Kiss me, please. He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and gives me a small shake of his head as if in answer to my silent question. When he opens his eyes again, it’s with some new purpose, a steely resolve. “Anastasia, you should steer clear of me. I’m not the man for you,” he whispers.Bear in mind that all this is happening because she tripped and he caught her. After a coffee date where they sat around and listed their relatives' occupations.
Also, when someone straight up tells you that you shouldn't date them, roughly 9 times out of 9 that's because you seriously fucking shouldn't date them. The "oooh, I'm too dangerous for your innocence" act tends to lead into actual bona fide danger.
NO! My psyche screams as he pulls away, leaving me bereft. He has his hands on my shoulders, holding me at arm’s length, watching my reactions carefully.How "bereft" is she when he's not only still there, but he's still touching her? Her screaming psyche is going to have a really rough time the next time he has to take a bathroom break.
“Anastasia… I… ” He stops, and the anguish in his voice demands my attention, so I peer unwillingly up at him. His gray eyes are bleak as he runs his hand through his hair. He looks torn, frustrated, his expression stark, all his careful control has evaporated. [...] “Good luck with your exams,” he murmurs. Huh? This is why he looks so desolate? This is the big send off? Just to wish me luck in my exams?I'm fairly sure "desolate" isn't the word you're looking for.
"Inexplicably acting like they just broke up a five-year relationship, instead of being at the end of an exceptionally tepid coffee date" is less concise, but much more accurate.
I turn on my heel, vaguely amazed that I don’t trip,Can't say she isn't self-aware.
Placing my head on my knees, I let the irrational tears fall unrestrained. I am crying over the loss of something I never had. How ridiculous. Mourning something that never was – my dashed hopes, dashed dreams, and my soured expectations.I want to stop going "lol what a doofus" all the time and admit that I actually find this kind of relatable. I've had times, when I was younger, when I emotionally invested way too much in someone I didn't honestly know that well, and I crashed big time when reality came home and I realized we were never going to have a grand romance.
Where my life diverges from Ana's is that I cried it out, life went on, the people went on their ways, and I grew a little more guarded and a little more realistic. Nobody ever came back to me with a "just kidding, we can have a grand romance," and ultimately I'm glad for that. It helped me create a space in my head for "I want you, but I can go on living without you," and that space is good for both me and my partners.
He’s too gloriously good-looking. We are poles apart and from two very different worlds. I have a vision of myself as Icarus flying too close to the sun and crashing and burning as a result. His words make sense. He’s not the man for me.E.L. James writes like a graceful dancer, a dancer who flows like a river, and the river is also the ocean, and the ocean is deep like a freezer, and this one time I opened my friend's deep freezer and it was full of dead iguanas. I forget what I was talking about.
It’s Friday, and we shall be celebrating tonight, really celebrating. I might even get drunk! I’ve never been drunk before.She's also never held hands before, never been on a date before, never been attracted to a man before, and most certainly and above all else never had sex before. This is stuff I wouldn't criticize a real person for--hey, some people get to 21 without doing these things--but to give these traits to a character suggests the author is trying to make her perfectly innocent and naive, an absolute blank slate sexually and romantically, because for her to be otherwise would mean that Lump BeefBroth would have to work with an actual complex human being when he dominated her, and what's sexy about that?
...that was a really long sentence.
“Ana, there’s a package for you.” Kate is standing on the steps up to the front door holding a brown paper parcel. Odd. I haven’t ordered anything from Amazon recently.How the hell did he get her home address? I feel like even in the "possessiveness is love" romance universe, this is too far. There's "he's pursuing me, ooh" and then there's "he is literally fucking inescapable," and even if you're turned on by the first, isn't this a bit much?
Unfortunately, I think this might be trying to show his domliness. I've heard people before claim that not taking no for an answer is very dominant. It's an attitude that scares the shit out of me. Someone who can't deal with not getting their way can't be a safe partner for anything really, but they especially can't be a safe BDSM partner.
Why didn't you tell me there was danger? Why didn't you warn me? Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks...This is a quote Punt SpeedChunk includes with a bunch of super-expensive first edition novels in the package. What's that quote from? Well...
“This quote – Tess says it to her mother after Alec D’Urberville has had his wicked way with her.”So it's a rape threat. That's not even subtext; it's fucking text. They met twice and he found out her home address and sent her expensive gifts along with quotes about rape. This isn't merely bad romance writing. This is some Gift of Fear shit.
Seriously, shouldn't it at least be a quote about infatuation or lust or something? Unfortunately (boy, I'm using that word a lot today), I think it isn't because this is a kinky book and it's supposed to be a kinky love note. And clearly rape threats are the kinky version of love notes. I'm angry as a human being, of course, but I think I'm even angrier as a kinkster.
[She goes out to a bar with friends and drunk-dials Bold BigFlank.] “Anastasia, where are you, tell me now.” His tone is so, so dictatorial, his usual control freak. I imagine him as an old time movie director wearing jodhpurs, holding an old fashioned megaphone and a riding crop. The image makes me laugh out loud. “You’re so… domineering,” I giggle.[...]
“I’m coming to get you,” he says and hangs up. Only Splint ChestHair could sound so calm and so threatening at the same time. Holy crap. I pull my jeans up. My heart is thumping. Coming to get me? Oh no. I’m going to be sick… no… I’m fine. Hang on. He’s just messing with my head. I didn’t tell him where I was. He can’t find me here. Besides, it will take him hours to get here from Seattle, and we’ll be long gone by then.I don't really have anything funny to say about this, I just wanted to keep you up to date on what a colossal creep this guy is.
“No José, stop – no.” I push him, but he’s a wall of hard muscle, and I cannot shift him. His hand has slipped into my hair, and he’s holding my head in place. “Please, Ana, cariña,” he whispers against my lips. His breath is soft and smells too sweet – of margarita and beer. He gently trails kisses along my jaw up to the side of my mouth. I feel panicky, drunk, and out of control. The feeling is suffocating. “José, no,” I plead. I don’t want this. You are my friend, and I think I’m going to throw up. “I think the lady said no.” A voice in the dark says quietly. Holy shit! Slate SlabRock, he’s here. How? José releases me.SlabRock is not your savior, Ana, no matter how carefully the author sets you up with sexually aggressive racial stereotypes. He's just the Scylla to Jose's Charybdis. (I didn't want to say "the rock to Jose's hard place.")
[Ana vomits copiously, repeatedly, and graphically into a flowerbed while Fist RockBone holds her hair.] “We’ve all been here, perhaps not quite as dramatically as you,” he says dryly. “It’s about knowing your limits, Anastasia. I mean, I’m all for pushing limits, but really this is beyond the pale. Do you make a habit of this kind of behavior?”Really, dude? Really? You had to slip in a reference to how naughty and kinky you are while she's barfing?
(Not even getting into the victim-blaming here. Maybe he's just talking about the barfing. I'm going to go ahead and believe that.)
“How did you find me?” “I tracked your cell phone Anastasia.” Oh, of course he did. How is that possible? Is it legal? Stalker, my subconscious whispers at me through the cloud of tequila that’s still floating in my brain, but somehow, because it’s him, I don’t mind.Oh god oh god oh god. I have dug too greedily, and too deep. Who knows what I awoke in the darkness of this book. Shadow and flame. For fuck's sake, we're only on chapter 4.
I'll say this for E.L. James: she spells this shit out. A lot of authors would merely imply that stalking is cool if the guy is sexy. James puts it right out there.
He takes my hand once more. Holy cow – he’s leading me onto the dance floor.Dude. She was just barfing. I think she's done for the night. Call her a cab.
My thoughts crash through my brain, fighting the drunk, fuzzy feeling. It’s so warm in here, so loud, so colorful – too bright. My head begins to swim, oh no… and I can feel the floor coming up to meet my face or so it feels. The last thing I hear before I pass out in Christian Grey’s arms is his harsh epithet. “Fuck!”Okay, now call her an ambulance.
Man, Ana has shitty friends. Not only were they ignoring her when a guy was trying to assault her and she was vomiting, but now they're looking the other way while an older stranger (who her roommate knows is stalking her) takes her back to his hotel. While she's unconscious.
I'm going to make a Fifty Shades of Grey drinking game where you take a shot every time something about the relationship isn't terrifyingly abusive. So far I'm completely sober.