Fifty Shades in Fifty Days or a Booknista Writer’s Descent into one of the Bestselling Books of all Time: Chapter 23
In which pedophiles are discussed, sex is had, and really, really bad advice is given.
To recap: Ana has gone home for a few days to visit her mom and get her head on straight. She needs a break from Christian, his expectations, and his stalkerish ways. So, in prime Christian Grey style, he’s stalked her all the way from Seattle, Washington to the bar she’s at with her mom in Georgia.
Most sane people in Christian’s place, having just followed their lover across the country after said lover reported needing some alone time, might come to their senses, say “it seemed like a good idea at the time,” and quickly get the hell out of there. Most sane people in Anastasia’s place, having just been stalked across the country by their boyfriend, would quickly reevaluate the longevity of that relationship, and—barring a pretty amazing apology—would quickly tell the dude to get the hell out of there.
But who am I kidding? Christian Grey isn’t normal or totally sane.
And Ana’s really kind of a pushover, so when Christian pops up and charms her mother, Ana just kind of… sits there. And then he smiles at her! Oh, thank goodness he’s not angry, she thinks! The whole evening might turn out ok after all! Because keeping your bf/stalker happy is always the first step to a happy life, right?
Oh, but wait! In a surprising show of fortitude, Ana’s finally decided to call him out on his weird relationship with his abuser! You go girl!
“I think of her as a child molester, Christian.” I hold my breath waiting for his reaction.
“That’s very judgmental. It wasn’t like that,” he whispers, shocked. He releases my hand.
“Oh, how was it then?” I ask. The Cosmos are making me brave.
He frowns at me, bewildered. I continue.
“She took advantage of a vulnerable fifteen-year-old boy. If you had been a fifteen-year-old girl and Mrs. Robinson was a Mr. Robinson, tempting you into a BDSM lifestyle, that would have been okay? If it was Mia, say?”
He gasps and scowls at me.
“Ana, it wasn’t like that.”
I glare at him.
“Okay, it didn’t feel like that to me,” he continues quietly. “She was a force for good.
What I needed.”
“I don’t understand.” It’s my turn to look bewildered.
“Anastasia, your mother will be back shortly. I’m not comfortable talking about this now. Later maybe. If you don’t want me here, I have a plane on stand-by at Hilton Head. I can go.”
He’s angry with me… no.
“No – don’t go. Please. I’m thrilled you’re here. I’m just trying to make you understand. I’m angry that as soon as I left, you had dinner with her. Think about how you are when I get anywhere near José. José is a good friend. I have never had a sexual relationship with him. Whereas you and her,” I trail off, unwilling to take that thought further.
“You’re jealous?” He stares at me, dumbfounded, and his eyes soften slightly, warming.
“Yes, and angry about what she did to you.”
Finally! Some backbone! I’m really liking this new Ana. The fact that it took her some multiple cocktails to get to this point is sad, but I’m willing to take what I can get. Especially when she manages to weasel out of Christian the reason that his relationship with the dreaded Mrs. Robinson finally ended: “Her husband found out.”
According to Christian, he never thought the adult woman he had sex with as a teenager was a paedophile, so Ana really shouldn’t be concerned. I’m a little concerned about Christian’s understanding of US law, especially with all his high-profile work and businesses, but that’s beside the point.
When Christian leaves, Ana’s mom takes a moment to pressure Ana into going to talk to him. In her infinite mom wisdom, she tells Ana that just because Ana thought she needed some time to figure out her feelings without Christian around to muddle her head, she won’t actually be able to come to any reasonable conclusions until she talks to him.
To be clear: This is TERRIBLE advice.
If you need time to think, take some goddamned time to think. And an attempt to think clearly about your possibly-emotionally-and-mentally-abusive relationship should probably be done away from your definitely-manipulative boyfriend.
Ana, of course, takes her mom’s advice and shows up at Christian’s hotel room. *sigh*
Before they get to the sex (because let’s be real, we all know where this is headed) they have a little heart to heart. I say “little” because not much information is actually exchanged. One tidbit that Christian does let slip, however, is that he likes when Ana’s mad at him because he’s never noticed anyone other than his family being angry with him, so it’s kind of exciting. I find it very, very hard to believe that no one has ever been angry with Christian Grey besides his family. Him not noticing their anger, however, is so believable it hurts.
Then they have sex. Period sex. At least he makes sure she’s not having cramps, first?
After some absolutely *lovely* imagery and a scene that somehow contains absolutely no blood, Christian relaxes enough to tell Ana more about his relationship with Mrs. Robinson.
“I would probably have gone the way of my birth mother, had it not been for Mrs.
Oh! I blink at him. Crack addict or whore? Possibly both?
“She loved me in a way I found… acceptable,” he adds with a shrug.
What the hell does that mean?
“Acceptable?” I whisper.
“Yes.” He stares intently at me. “She distracted me from the destructive path I found myself following. It’s very hard to grow up in a perfect family when you’re not perfect.”
Poor Christian. I’m wondering at this strange dichotomy, now, between his loving and attentive parents who always want the best for him and have provided him with everything he’s ever wanted or needed, and the inattentive parents of his childhood who apparently didn’t notice his depression and unhappiness, or didn’t think they were issues worthy of professional help, and managed to totally miss his affair with an older, married woman. I’m glad he has a therapist now, but I really wish he’d had one earlier (and maybe a better one now). Especially since he readily admits that his interest in being a Dom is mostly to assuage his need for control, brought on by the lack of it “in his formative years.”
Then they have sex again. This time it’s bath sex, probably written by someone who’s never had bath sex and thus doesn’t fully understand the difficulties inherent in two slippery people in a slippery tub trying to passionately get it on through the water pressure while trying not to flood the bathroom. Also: still no blood. Does Ana have magical menstruation? What is going on?
After two rounds they’re understandably tired, and snuggle up in bed for some light chatting about the number of women Christian has slept with. There are a lot of them. He hasn’t kept count. Ana, however, is his only vanilla conquest. (His word, not mine. But it sure does say a lot about his state of mind that he readily calls her a “conquest” to her face.)
Despite all this, or perhaps because of it, Ana is happy. And that wonderful state of happiness is where we leave her today.
Come back next week for Book Babe’s account of Christian’s surprise for Ana. And if you’ve somehow missed the earlier chapters, start here.