Oh God, dear readers. The second-last chapter. Prepare your champagne and party hats: the end is almost here. And I’m going to need you when this is over. There is light at the end of the tunnel, even if that light is a copy of Fifty Shades Darker holding a torch.
Chapter twenty-five opens with Ana saying goodbye to her mum and her stepdad at the airport, where Ana’s mother spews a series of sentences that would sound okay by themselves, but read kind of creepy one after the other.
“Relax and enjoy yourself. You are so young, sweetheart. You have so much of life to experience yet, just let it happen. You deserve the best of everything.”
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the dying ramblings of a malfunctioning mum-bot who’s about to murder her human charge to me. Ana gets on the plane, and thinks about how Christian’s mother didn’t love him (because drug addicts sign away their capacity for love when they first spark up, apparently), then thinks how she “needs Christian Grey to love [her]”. And yeah, falling in love is often intense, that statement is grim when put next to Christian’s horrible push-pull of abuse. She thinks about how wrong the sex Christian had with his mother’s friend was, but because of the BDSM and not because of the, y’know, statutory rape. Oh, EL, how I will desperately not miss these recaps when they’re over. Anyone who wants my copy of the book (full disclosure: I once used it to put out a dropped cigarette end so there’s a burn on the front cover) when this is done is welcome to it. No, seriously.
Christian and Ana email some more, and she thinks that he sounds tetchy, not like his normal “witty, pithy” self. Name one time in these books when he has been those things. One. Time.
Ana arrives back in Whereversville, and Christian’s bodyguard Taylor is there to pick her up. Ana internally scandalizes herself by remembering that he once bought her underwear. That time Christian took her back to his while she was unconscious, remember? According to Taylor, “the situation” is what’s keeping Christian busy. Ana rides up to Christian’s apartment in the lift, and “a thousand butterflies stretch their wings and flutter erratically in my stomach”, because EL James wants you to know she understands how metaphors work. I wish there were actually bugs inside Ana, and she was being ripped apart from the outside as she tried to complete a task against the clock.
Ana arrives in his apartment, and Christian kisses her, and words like “painfully”, “alarming,” and “What the hell?” appear in her inner monologue. Hot. They fuck in the shower, and it’s utterly unsexy and the writing contains gems like “the invading, punishing, heavenly sensation”, which is kind of how I imagine eating a giant hotdog would feel.
Ana tells him that she’s got a job, and he asks her where. When she’s reluctant to answer, he replies “I wouldn’t dream of interfering with your career.” Spoiler alert: he buys the company she works for. Against her will. Christian wants to shower Ana, and this occurs:
“The water is practically scalding. Christian grins down at me as the water cascades over him.
“It’s only a little hot water.”
And actually he’s right. It feels heavenly […]”
Now THAT’s a logical disconnect. The water is too hot, until Christian decides that it’s fine. Man, this is some creepy codependent shit right here. And now I have the image of them shitting codependently. Eugh. They fuck again, but there’s a section break before we actually get to the nasty bits. Cut to them at the breakfast bar, confusingly having just finished dinner. Christian tells her that he wants to take her to the playroom, and that he’s purchased clothes for her and he doesn’t want to hear any complaints about it. Remember when they were discussing the contract, and Ana was like” The thought of your buying me clothes makes me feel like a prostitute, and I don’t like it?” Guess who gives no fucks about that?
She goes to look at the clothes, then the chapter jumps to her, naked except for her underwear, in the playroom. So…all this talk of clothes had nothing to do with what he wanted her to wear in the playroom, and everything to do with wanting to control what she wore in her day-to-day life? Remember how there are still people arguing that Christian is a great dominant? Yeah. Because a lot of the stuff Ana objected to- the clothes, controlling what she eats, and not getting enough space- has been steamrollered over, explicitly or implicitly.
Christian stalks around a bit, and Ana thinks about how hot he is yada yada. Christians reminds her of her safewords, and she thinks “what has he got planned that I need safewords?” To which the answer is: BDSM. Most BDSM has safewords, in case the sub wants to stop the scene for any reason, including emotional or physical strain. He puts headphones on her, and she hopes he isn’t going to put on rap music. I’m taking suggestions for the best rap music to fuck to, because that’s a music-themed fanfic I WILL write.
You’ve seen everything in this scene before; there’s nuzzling, pigtails, murmuring, breathing on skin, etc. My favourite bit comes as Christian is doing some mild sensation play by moving a whip across Ana’s skin, and then says, “Most of the fear is in your mind.”
Christian touches Ana with various fabrics while he plays her a choral hymn (why tho), and Ana thinks about what a “dark carnal” place she’s entered. This is about as fucking dark as Teletubbies. He starts licking her, and his tongue arrives at “the junction of [her] thighs.” Which means he’s performing cunninlingus, for anyone who’s not mortally afraid of sex. They fuck, and every other sentences is followed by an ellipses so it just reads as Ana having a heart attack as Christian pounds her. They finish, and Ana asks what music she was listening to. It was a Thomas Tallis piece, and you can listen to it here:
Lovely, isn’t it? Thought not really the beat for fucking to, I’d think. They laugh about how Ana said she’d never leave in her sleep, and how they’re both bad joke-tellers, which I can fucking attest to. Christian decides than Ana is hiding something, and resolves to beat it out of her. And that’s it- the last Fifty Shades review will be up later this week, a post that will also contain details of my next recapping adventure! Stay tuned, folks- we can do this.