Fifty Shades Darker: Chapter Sixteen
Sorry about the longer-than-usual wait between recraps, but Suicide Squad was on and y’all know I had some major thoughts on that. Oh, and I realized last night- despite the fact that I’m writing about erotica (“erotica”) I think I failed to mention up until know that I write my own, under a pen-name, which you can buy if you’d like to check it out/stick a massive middle finger up at EL James. Which, I believe, we are all obliged to do as human beings.
But away with my plugging, and on with the next round of Fifty Shades Rapier (we all remember the last recap, right?). We left off with Ana’s boss Jack cornering her and turning into a moustache-twirling rapist, which for some reason the book doesn’t depict as sexy despite the fact that Christian straight-up raped Ana in the last chapter.Ana tries to throw him off by pointing out that his cab is almost there, and he moves towards her-
“His pupils are dilating as I watch—the black eclipsing the blue.”
Have you ever seen that happen to someone who wasn’t on a fuckton of drugs? No? Yes? What I’m saying is I want on whatever office-friendly eccies Jack has tucked away in his front desk drawer. Jack leches over her some more, and tells her that he thought he saw potential in her-
“”You’ve become distracted and sloppy. And I wondered . . . is it your boyfriend who’s leading you astray?””
I mean, I’m not saying I condone bosses cornering their employees and using their position of power to make them viscerally uncomfortable, but all of this is true. She has become distracted and sloppy, and it is because of her boyfriend. She’s constantly phoning him, emailing him, and generally pandering to him, keeping her too busy for the tasks Jack sets her. Those are just…facts. #teamjack
Theeeeen he immediatley loses any moral high ground he once may have had by demanding Ana suck his cock to keep him from “looking too far” into Christian’s involvement with the company.
“He’s blackmailing me. For sex! And what can I say? News of Christian’s takeover is embargoed for another three weeks. I can barely believe this. Sex— with me!”
Aw shucks, but who would want to have with little old Ana apart from every dude in the entire world wants to rampantly dick her? Seriously, when these two walk down the street, buildings must fall and cars veer wildly off the road because they’re just so gorram pretty.
““You are such a tight-assed, cock-blocking, prick tease, you know, Ana,” he whispers through clenched teeth.””
Unless Ana has stopped Jack having sex with someone else, which she hasn’t, she isn’t a cock-block. She is a tight-ass, to be fair. Jack strokes her face and does some more “ooh, you know you want it,” which is interesting because I thought anyone who was blackmailing anyone else into sex was doing it because they were under the impression that that person wouldn’t fuck them without it. But hey, who’s needs narrative consistency when Ana could bravely knee him in the balls?
She does that, runs off, and bumps into Christian outside as she collapses to the ground. Ana says Jack’s name, and Christian immediatley deduces that someone else has been playing with his toy. I say that because these are only logical reactions to that scenario, not your fucking partner getting threatened with blackmail and rape by her boss-
““Don’t go in. Don’t, Christian.” Suddenly my fear is back, fear of what Christian will do to Jack.
“Get in the car,” he barks at me.
“Christian, no.” I grab his arm.
“Get in the goddamned car, Ana.” He shakes me off.
“No! Please!” I plead with him. “Stay. Don’t leave me on my own.” […]
““Please don’t be mad at me.” I blink up at him.
“I am so mad at you right now,” he snarls and once more sweeps his hand through his hair. “Get in the car.”
“Get in the fucking car, Anastasia, or so help me I’ll put you in there myself,” he threat-
ens, his eyes blazing with fury.
Oh shit. “Don’t do anything stupid, please,” I beg.
“STUPID!” he explodes. “I told you to use your fucking Blackberry. Don’t talk to me about stupid. Get in the motherfucking car, Anastasia—NOW!” he snarls and a frisson of fear runs through me. This is Very Angry Christian. I’ve not seen barely holding on to his self-control.”
Sorry about the giant word-dump, but I figured it’d be best for you to see these full extracts so you could get a sense of how fucking horrible this really is. I mean, look at this fucking disaster. After Ana has been through some level of trauma, collapsed on to the street, and begged Christian to stay with her, Christian screams at her, blames her for what happened, threatens to manhandle her, and actually scares her. I’m saying this so often now that it’s becoming a fucking mantra, but- HOW IN THE HOLY HELL IS THAT SOMETHING YOU WOULD WANT IN A PARTNER? I don’t care if this is misplaced rage from his anger at Jack- he should be able to aim it in the right direction, and not at his innocent girlfriend who just came out of a very scary and dangerous situation and into your arms. You fucking want Christian Grey? You can keep him. This guy is a psychopath, or a child, or both, and I’m not sure which is worse.
Christian orders Ana to stay in the car, goes into the building, and a few minutes later Jack comes down with a box full of his stuff, presumably fired. As Christian and his bodyguard return to the car, Christian tells Ana he’s still mad at her. They arrive back at Christian’s apartment, and, as they wait-
““Christian, why are you so mad at me?” I whisper as we wait.
“You know why,””
She might not know why, but I have an idea. Is it because she dared to take a job, dared to interact with her male boss, dared to ignore Christian’s raging jealousy over his existence, and that makes her responsible for this? Am I right? Ooh, please let me be right.
Christian and Ana go upstairs after he kisses her all sexy like in the elevator(Ana’s internal monologue describes it as “imprisoning” her), then he leaves to call his PD while Ana sits about and thinks on how she never has one boring day with Christian.
They have dinner, and Ana tells Christian than Jose called and that he intends to deliver the photos Christian brought. Oh, and that she’s going for a drink with him and then he’s staying over. Look, I can see being a bit pissed if your partner was chilling with someone who’d made an agressive and unwanted sexual overture at them, but Christian’s reaction is, of course, pointlessly petulant-he strops back and forth for about a page before he “allows” Jose to stay at his apartment, so he can keep an eye on him like a totally normal, trustworthy, loving boyfriend.
Christian heads off to work, and Ana strolls round the apartment and ends up in the Red Room of Pain (once again, that’s really what the text refers to it as). Christian catches her wandering around in there, and she asks if he’s mad-
““Why would I be mad?”
“I feel like I’m trespassing . . . and you’re always mad at me.” My voice is quiet, though I’m relieved.”
Hmmm, yes, why on earth would he be mad at her? It’s not like earlier in the chapter he was angry at her for letting another man attempt to blackmail her into sex. Or before that, for hugging Elliot or Jose, for drinking too much, for not telling him she’s a virgin…yeah, Christian, why would you be mad, because it’s not like you’re prone to random, aggressive bouts of anger over every little thing Ana does, now, is it? Fuck me, this chapter is depressing. I haven’t even really got anything funny to say, because there’s too much bleak stuff to get through.
Christian explains some of the toys to Ana (namely, anal beads and butt plugs, because he’s SO KINKY HOLY SHIT NEVER HAS ANYONE I’VE EVER KNOWN HEARD OF LET ALONE USED SEX TOYS OF THAT WILD KINKERY). They wander round the room and check out some other toys, and then get on to how much Christian must miss the kinky kinkery. He denies it, and says that the thought of losing her is the only real pain he can conceive of-
““Oh, Christian . . . that works both ways. If you didn’t want me—” I shudder, glancing down at my twisting fingers. Therein lays my other dark reservation about us. If he wasn’t so . . . broken, would he want me? I shake my head. I must try not to think like that.”
Fuckery on top of fuckery in the chapter. Here’s something else I fucking loathe about this book, that I don’t believe I’ve touched on yet- the fetishization of Christian’s mental health problems. Not the ones he clearly has but EL James won’t acknowledge (narcissistic personality disorder, for one, not to mention some kind of mood imbalance), but the ones that are canon in the text- PTSD, depression, etc. All the way through the books, there’s been talk of how “Beautifully broken” he is, how he’s “fifty shades of fucked up”, and how much Ana wants to make him better with her love, and it’s fucking gross. Mental illnesses are not cute or sexy- they’re difficult and draining and hard, even if you’re just dealing with them as a partner. I’ve dated a number of people with mental health problems over the years (WELL THEY’D HAVE TO TO DATE ME BADUM TSH), and I seriously fucking hate seeing it depicted as one of the most attractive things about Christian. What happens when he isn’t so broken? What happens if he actually begins making strides to get better? What then? When he doesn’t need Ana to fix his “darkness”, what reason does she have for sticking around?
Christian and Ana pick up a spreader bar, and they had to his bedroom to have some kinky sex. Christian gets undressed, and Ana sucks his dick a little with asking him first-
“The feeling is heady, I’m not just powerful—I’m omniscient.”
Yes, who knew dudes like putting their junk in people’s mouths? Literally two sentences later, he’s all like “I’M GONNA COME”, which, again, the sexiest sex God you ever met will literally spunk in your mouth as soon as you hover it near him. He straps her feet into the spreader bar, they make out, they fuck, Ana says “Aargh!” at least twice, etc. Honestly, the sex scenes are so painfully boring and so painfully similar that unless something major happens in them, I’m not going to bother writing them all out for you.
And with that, the chapter is mercifully over for another week.