Fifty Shades Darker: Chapter Eight
It’s too hot where I am- the kind of blazing, stifling heat that seems to get everywhere, practically setting me alight every time I go outside which is never because the last time I did I got burned like an idiot. I only mention it because I assume this is roughly how hot Christian Grey is, and roughly how enjoyable, too. On with the recap!
We left off last time with Christian and Ana arriving home from a fancy party to find someone had broken into Christian’s apartment. Christian went charging in like an idiot, leaving Ana outside to wring her hands over the various ways he might die. Ana wanders round the foyer, looking at the paintings to distract herself;
“I’ve never really looked at them before: all figurative paintings, all religious—the Madonna and child, all sixteen of them. How odd?”
Yeah, odd/a thunderingly obvious metaphor. Moving on. Christian and Taylor the bodyguard come out of the apartment, and give the all-clear. Everyone is nervous and jumpy, but Christian still finds it in him to order Ana to go to bed. As they head up to bed, we get this confusing contradiction:
““Taylor and his crew are checking all the closets and cupboards. I don’t think she’s here.””
How…could they have given the all-clear and brought Ana back into the apartment, claiming it was safe, when they hadn’t actually checked everywhere? What, did Christian just do a cursory glance around and, upon seeing no axe murderers chilling in plain sight, decided everything was fine? But he’s sooo protective of Ana and would never do aaaaaanything to put her in danger, obviously.
Christian orders Ana to bed again, and as he’s undressing her, she asks if he’s going to call the police about her vandalised car.
““No. I don’t want the police involved. Leila needs help, not police intervention, and I don’t want them here. We just have to double our efforts to find her.””
Haha, hold on a minute here. For one thing, that’s not a desicion he gets to make- Ana’s car was vandalised, so she gets to decide whether or not to call the police. For another, NO I REALLY THINK LEILA NEEDS POLICE INTERVENTION. If she’s broken into your house before and tried to kill herself in front of your housekeeper (you know, probably not a great experience for either of them),and then stalks your current girlfriend, acquires a concealed-carry license and potentially breaks into your house again, YOU NEED THE POLICE. I know police in American aren’t the best at dealing with mental health problems, but if you’ve got a potentially murderous stalker on your tail, the least you can do to protect the people around you in make sure that they are in custody. This, once again, shows how little Christian cares about Ana- he’s letting her get terrorized by this woman, because he’s decided she needs psychiatric help (which I thought she was already getting, courtesy of him?) and his word goes. I’m starting to wonder if there’s a reason he’s not getting the police involved. Does Leila know too much?
Ana wakes up in the middle of the night, and thinks she sees a woman at the end of her bed, but finds herself alone when she turns on the light. “The alarm says it’s two fifteen in the morning”, even though that seems like something the clock might say. She goes to find Christian, who is on the phone warning Elena (Mrs Robinson) to stay away from Ana. He finishes his call, and Ana starts trying to seduce him- but luckily, they’re interrupted by the iminent threat of murder!
They realize the balcony door is open, and Ana mentions the figure at the end of her bed, and Christian orders her to get dressed and get out. Where the hell are the bodyguards? How and why didn’t they do anything to stop this? In my headcanon, they’re in cahoots with Leila in an attempt to wipe the scourge that is Ana and Christian from the earth, as opposed to just incompetent.
Christian gets the bodyguard up and tells him to search the place while he and Ana leave. Ana, for some reason, decides everyone is over-reacting, and points out that Leila could have shot her already if she’d wanted.
“In a menacingly soft voice he says, “I’m not prepared to take the risk […]””
But he was toootally prepared to risk bringing any into an apartment that hadn’t been properly searched, and letting her stay there overnight after it was broken into by someone who has, at the very least, not got Ana’s best interests at heart (I can see why you might think it was me breaking into the apartment, but I would have successfully gunned both of these idiots down by now, so I can confirm it isn’t).
They bid farewell to the bodyguards, and head for the car. Ana wonders how Leila knew which car was her’s to attack, and-
““She had an Audi A3. I buy one for all my submissives—it’s one of the safest cars in its class.”
Oh. “So, not so much a graduation present, then.”
“Anastasia, despite what I hoped, you have never been my submissive, so technically it is a graduation present.””
I love that even in the middle of all this palaver, Christian can still manage to reveal that he essentially purchased Ana’s car not as the kind gift he made it out to be, but as a way to force her in line with the rest of his submissives. Ana asks if he still hopes for her to be his submissive, and he doesn’t answer, instead driving so fast that she’s thrown back in her seat, because MATURITY.
Christian eventually replies that she’s enough for him as she is, but Ana presses the issue.
““You cannot begin to understand the depths of my depravity, Anastasia. And it’s not something I want to share with you.””
He goes on to tell her that he KNOWS she would leave like she did before if she knew about his deep dark secrets, and honestly, this is kind of funny. When you’re in a relationship that is allegedly serious, doesn’t your partner have some right to know about the stuff that might affect your relationship going forward? Even if it’s just how you’re handling your issues? All this fucking swooning over Christian’s unthinkably upsetting past is just ramping it up into an un-get-over-able problem because that’s how he knows he can keep Ana around. By guilt-tripping her with his dark past, and directly connecting it to the reminder that she left him. I mean, she left because he beat her with a belt, but still, doesn’t mean Christian can’t hold it over her as a reason not to share potentially important information with his partner.
Ana brings up the conversation she had with his father about Christian’s early years, particularly that Mia’s arrival and the piano helped him come out of his shell. And folks, hop on in, because I need some help with this sentence;
““She was about six months old when she arrived.””
Who’s the first “she” in this sentence? The piano? Christian’s mother? Christian’s female alter-ego who he refers to in the third person? C’mon, copy-editor, hang on in there past the first ten chapters at least!
They arrive at the hotel, and of course Christian sends the female receptionist into what could well be a full mental and physical breakdown-
“Of course, she’s over-awed by Christian. I roll my eyes as she flushes crimson and stutters. Jeez, even her hands are shaking.”
I like to think Ana would, like, see a person having a legitimate fit or heart attack or something in the street and assume it was just because her boyfriend was so hot. And by person, I mean woman, and by woman, I mean dirty whoreslut who has the fucking audacity not to be Ana.
Ana refers to the woman as “Miss Flushing Crimson”, which is maybe actually too much hypocrisy in one sentence, and they go to their room. They get a drink (of COURSE they do) and Christian tells Ana he’d like to hit that. No, wait, sorry, he’d like to “take you to bed and lose myself in you”. How big is Ana’s vagina that Christian could get lost in there? Asking the serious questions, people.
Ana undresses Christian, and, “beyond courageous”, takes off her shirt. Look, maybe our defintions of courageous are different, but unless you’re in some kind of Saw trap that will shoot needles between your ribs if you remove an item of clothing, I wouldn’t consider getting your boobs out in front of your boyfriend courageous.
Christian tells Ana that she’s “Aphrodite”, and my reaction to a lover calling me that would be “u wot m8”, but apparently she’s into it. Ana starts pushing his jeans down, and he tells her that she’s going to “unman” him, because THAT’S WHAT SEXUALLY FORWARD WOMEN DO RIGHT, LITERALLY TAKE AWAY THEIR PARTNER’S MASCULINITY. Ugh, the amount of straight-up woman-hate in this book pains me. They fuck, whatever, bleh.
Ana wakes up late the next day and Christian tells her that he didn’t have the heart to wake her earlier.
““You told me you didn’t have a heart at all.”
He smiles, sadly but doesn’t answer.”
Christian tells her they’re going out that day-but not before, of course, he’s wrestled what little bodily autonomy she still had left from her willing fucking hands! Dr Greene arrives to give Ana her contraceptive shot, but not before scolding her for failing to take her pill and not once asking her if this is what she wants and whether or not it might possibly be getting forced on her by her relentlessly domineering sack of shit boyfriend.
Ana goes back to Christian, and tells him that when she skipped the pill and they fucked anyway, it could have got her pregnant. HU-DURRR. Somehow she’s “in shock” from this blindingly obvious news, which suggests to me she should either educate herself on how contraception works or stop having sex altogether (fingers crossed for the latter, for my sake if nothing else). Or maybe her boyfriend- who’s soooo careful about birth control- should stop forcing his preferences on his uneducated and potentially unwilling partner. Maaaaybe.
They shower together, Ana touches him, and then sobs her brains out about how much Christian doesn’t like it. She tells him how wonderful he is (so she can no longer be trusted), and we get this belter to end the chapter on:
““You love me,” I whisper.
His eyes widen further and his mouth opens. He takes a huge breath as if winded. He looks tortured—vulnerable.
“Yes,” he whispers. “I do.””