Fifty Shades Darker: Chapter Eighteen
If you’re looking to kick your weekend off with a dizzying spiral of boredom, frustration, and bad writing, I’ve got you covered. To the recap!
We left off with Christian driving Ana back from their appointment with Christian’s therapist (“therapist”), but Christian announces that he’s taking Ana for a “surprise” visit somewhere. I’m not saying this is going to end up with some Dexter-esque torture-murder dealio, but…
They drive up to a big ol’ house surrounded by a giant field, where Ana imagines herself lying and staring up at the sky.
“The thought is tantalizing yet makes me feel homesick for some strange reason. How odd.”
Is it because this place is going to BE her home soon, the beautiful house she shares with Christian and spews out all his babies and lives happily ever after as his sex slave and/or wife in? Surely EL, the master of subtle foreshadowing, wouldn’t bother with anything as ham-fisted as that.
They get out of the car and enter the house, where a woman greets them. Ana is INSTANTLY on high alert, because the woman is wearing a suit and therefore is deffo trying to bang her boyfriend.
“Her isn’t-he-dreamily-gorgeous-wish-he-was-mine flush does not go unnoticed.”
I guarantee you- I guarantee you- that none of these women think about banging Christian as much as Ana does. Does she have some kind of reverse cuckold fetish? Nah, that might make this book interesting. Moving on.
Christian leads Ana through the house, and they look out over the balcony, where EL gets preeeetty ballsy using a, um, very specific word:
“The panoramic, uninterrupted vista is breathtaking—staggering even: twilight over the Sound”
Bitch is getting too big for her britches. Christian and Ana admire the view some more, and Ana STILL hasn’t clicked that Christian has brought her here because he wants the house for the two of them. He reveals that he wants to demolish the house, and build a new place for the two of them.
““Why do you want to demolish it?” I ask, looking back at him. His face falls slightly.Oh no.
“I’d like to make a more sustainable home, using the latest ecological techniques. Elliot could build it.””
Right, so, sustainable living apparently means smashing to pieces a perfectly livable home and replacing it with a fancy new one? As opposed to…fucking hell, this is another one of those times you have to wonder if anyone read this book before these words were committed to the page.
They look around the house, Ana loves it, etc. They leave and go to a club to celebrate Ana’s promotion, which obviously Christian had steamrollered over in order to show her the house that he’s going to pump out hellspawn in with her. They go to the bar, and he tells her to take off her underwear (“panties”, as the text describes them, is a word that just…ugh. No. It’s just my Britishness coming through, but I puke a tiny little bit in my mouth whenever I read it).
Ana takes her undies off (in the bathroom, thank God), and returns to the table, where Christian sexily feeds her oysters. I know they’re meant to be an aphrodisiac and all that, but…seafood. Not the hottest breath for making out, I would imagine. They eat the rest of their meal, and Christian says he won’t touch her till they’re home.
““It will be your fault if I combust here on the seventy-sixth floor,” I mutter through gritted teeth.
“Oh, Anastasia. We’d find a way to put the fire out,” he says, grinning salaciously at me.”
With…with what? Is he going to jizz on her until she goes out? This is meant to be sexy, but…but…but…the image of Ana bursting into all-consuming flames, then Christian announcing “STAND BACK, PLEASE” as everyone rushes to help her while he then furiously masturbates to repeated ejaculation so the sperm just kind of fizzles out in the fire as she burns to death is the worst thing I’ve ever had in my head. Well, at least since Wednesday.
Ana tries to touch Christian, and he bats her away and says he won’t touch her till she’s eaten. I guess this scene could be hot if it didn’t come in the context of Christian constantly controlling everything Ana does, but as is, it’s creepy as hell-
““You really don’t eat enough. You’ve lost weight since I’ve known you.” His tone is gentle.
I don’t want to think about my weight; truth is, I like being this slim. I swallow the asparagus.
“I just want to go home and make love,” I mutter disconsolately. Christian grins.
“So do I, and we will. Eat up.”
Reluctantly, I turn back to my food and start to eat. Honestly, I’ve taken my panties off and everything. I feel like a child who has been denied candy.”
Okay, so here’s a thing- we know Ana doesn’t eat that much. We’re in her head all the time, and she regularly forgets to eat or just forgoes eating altogether, sometimes for days at a time, according to the text. She’s so slim that people comment on it, and it’s because she in no way eats enough for a woman of her height and age. There’s nothing wrong with being skinny, if that’s just how you’re built or you achieve it in a healthy way, but knowing that Ana just straight-up does not eat enough and enjoys being the apparently unhealthily skinny weight she is is…ugh, it gives me the boke. Also bokey: Ana referring to herself as a child in an explicitly sexual situation. This section is a clusterfuck, is what I’m saying.
They finally finish their meal, and they get the elevator downstairs. There are a bunch of people in the elevator as well as Ana and Christian- they’re all standing in front of our leading couple, facing the doors, which is important to remember- when Christian goes down to tie his shoelace. But, in fact, he instead sticks his hand up Ana’s dress and starts fingering her. Right there. In the elevator. The fucking thing stops to let more people on, and Christian outrightly says “always so ready”, and Ana’s gasping and panting and all that stuff- and apparently NO-ONE NOTICES. I’ll tell you what’s actually happening, everyone’s too fucking embarrassed to turn to them and demand that they stop fingerbanging in a fucking crowded elevator because it’s fucking disgusting and inconsiderate as well as super, super gross.
This scene goes on and fucking on, with SEVEN PEOPLE on the elevator with them politely pretending they don’t see Ana getting fingerblasted against the wall.
““Don’t come,” he whispers. “I want that later.” He splays his hand out on my belly, pressing down slightly, as he continues his sweet persecution. The feeling is exquisite.”
Right, so, we can all agree that everyone in the elevator knows what’s happening. There’s no way they can’t. What happened to Christian’s obsession with no-one finding out what he’s into? The NDA, what have you? Surely, jamming your hand up her vag in a small lift full of people isn’t exactly discreet.
The scene is finally over, and Christian takes her outside and suggest they bang in the car. Ana says she’s never done that before-
““I’m very pleased to hear that. I have to say I’d be very surprised, not to say mad, if you had.””
Ah yes, nothing adds to a sex scene like the dude saying he’d be angry at the lady if she’d had sexual experiences that didn’t involve him. He goes on being a dick for a few more lines as Ana tries to explain herself, and then they drive home. Christian changes his mind about fucking in the car and says he wants to do her in the apartment instead-
“It’s like he’s addressing me below the waist . . . my inner goddess performs four ara-
besques and a pas de Basque.”
CHRISTIAN GREY: PUSSY WHISPERER. I haven’t been excerpting it because it’s so fucking stupid, but this is the fifth or sixth iteration of the Inner Goddess we’ve seen in the last ten pages and it’s perhaps the dumbest of the lot. Christian begs Ana to accept his proposal once more, and then they actually get down to banging. God, this sex scene just doesn’t end. And not in the hot way.
Finally, it’s over, and we cut to Ana waking up the next morning as Christian leaves for work. She gets out of bed, and thinks some more about what to get for Christian’s birthday. As she wanders round the apartment, she finds a cardboard box- and discovers compromising pictures of one of the other subs within it. We don’t find out which sub, but she quickly closes the box and leaves.
Now, I’m of the opinion that if someone takes sexy sexy picture for you and then you guys break up, the best course of action is to get rid of them, out of respect for your ex-partner. At the very least, don’t leave them kicking around the apartment where apparently anyone can get hold of them. But hey, when has Christian ever had even the minutest ounce of respect for any of them women in his life? Hint: fucking never.
Ana goes to work, and they email back and forth a little- until Christian abruptly starts ignoring her. When Ana does next get a call, it’s from Kate (remember Kate?) and Ana invites her to join her and Jose for drinks that evening. Not long after that, Jose arrives at her work and they head out for craic. Goodness, it’s interesting how much more full and happy Ana’s life seems without Christian in it, isn’t it?
Jose, Ana and Kate drink and have a good time, but Ana still hasn’t heard from Christian (also, Kate comments on how much weight Ana has lost, lest we forget how skinnyskinnyskinny she is). And then, out of the blue, Kate gets a call from her boyfriend/Christian’s brother Elliot-who asks for Ana.
““It’s Christian. He’s not back from Portland.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“His helicopter has gone missing.”
“Charlie Tango?” I whisper as all the breath leaves my body. “No!””
And the chapter comes to a genuinely tantalising cliffhanger as Christian may actually be dead.