Fifty Shades Freed: Chapter Two
Iiiiiiit’s Friday night! You know what that means (no, not that). It’s time for another Fifty Shades Freed recap! It’s early enough in the game at this point for me to still slightly enjoy writing these, and it’s only a matter of time before I spin out into my usual furious depression over these books once more. So, with that grim inevitability in mind, let’s thunder on!
We left off last week with Ana taking of her top and sunbathing adjacent to a beach where many women are doing the same thing. However, she wakes up to Christian reacting to her nudity like an adult. Oh, no, my bad-
“”Put this on!” he hisses.
“Christian, no one is looking.”
“Trust me. They’re looking. I’m sure Taylor and the security crew are enjoying the show!” he snarls.”
He then goes on to suggest that Ana is going to be photographed by the paparazzi that “besieged” them outside their apartment after the wedding because, uh, nobody English graduates and successful businessmen are the bread-and-butter of the gossip industry now, I guess? They return to the jetty, where Ana has put her top back on-
“He’s bristling with tension and anger. My heart sinks. Every other woman on the beach is topless – it’s not that big of a crime. In fact I look odd with my top on. I sigh inwardly, my spirits sinking. I thought Christian would see the funny side . . . sort of . . . maybe if I’d stayed on my front, but his sense of humor has evaporated.”
HE NEVER HAD A SENSE OF HUMOUR. I mean, if you count the fucking endless “I’m hungry, but not for you” and the “fair point, well made, Miss Steele” bullshit from the last two books, maybe, but I consider those an affront to human comedy rather than proof of an ability to have a bit of fun, so maybe I’m not the person to ask.
“”Please don’t be mad at me,” I whisper, taking his book and BlackBerry from him and placing them in my backpack.
“Too late for that,” he says quietly – too quietly.”
This is romantic, isn’t it? A nice, romantic, relaxed honeymoon break where the newlywed wife has to beg the husband not to be angry at her because she decided to take her top off on a beach where almost every woman was also apparently topless. How gorgeous is Ana that Christian is concerned about this? Did he think hundreds of Frenchmen, driven to anamlistic heights of sexual madness by the sight of a skinny, pale American woman in the middle distance, were going to hurl themselves into the water and cause a spontaneous tidal wave or something? Because that’s the only reason he would have to be actually angry, at the thought of Ana inadvertantly causing a disruption to France’s eco-system?
They get on a jet-ski, and then back to the boat where they get a drink and something to eat. Christian asks Ana if she wants him to punish her-
“”Depends,” I mutter, flushing.
“On what?” He hides his smile.
“If you want to hurt me or not.”
His mouth presses into a hard line, humor forgotten. He leans forward and kisses my forehead.
“Anastasia, you’re my wife, not my sub. I don’t ever want to hurt you. You should know that by now. Just . . . just don’t take your clothes off in public. I don’t want you naked all over the tabloids. You don’t want that, and I’m sure your mom and Ray don’t want that either.””
Alright, once again, let’s get into this. Subs and wives (or indeed spouses of any gender make-up) are not exclusive to each other, but Christian obviously assumes that wives are for respecting where subs are for degrading. Also, all this “you should no that by now” bullshit- would you not be concerned that your wife is still not sure whether or not you’re going to hurt her when you know she isn’t into that? Would you not explore that a little, or would that pull at too many strings regarding the times you’ve intimidated, assaulted, and straight-up raped her over the course of the relationship? Oh, and on another note- if Ana was photographed by the paps and had her topless picture posted to the tabloids against her will, her parents would be assholes to be mad at her about it. That’s it, I’ve already hit my wall of furious depression, and we’re barely a chapter and a half in. It’s all downhill from here, folks. Donations of wine gratefully received.
They talk a little about how very, very, deeply rich Ana is now that she’s married Christian, and she acts all “oh noes, I did nothing to earn this!”. Which is why she’ll continue to work despite her material wealth, and use the money she does have from the marriage to do plenty of charity work and help those in n- oh, she’ll do pretty much none of that by the end of the book? Cool.
There’s a flashback to when Christian’s family asked for a prenup, and Christian threw a teenage tantrum over it, but honestly, who could blame them? I mean, they’ve known each other for what- a matter of months at this point? You’re god-damn right that if my son brought home a woman he had a weirdly intense relationship with and who he proposed to after less than eight weeks, I’d want to protect my family’s fortune from this person who fits that freakin’ textbook definition of gold-digger (from an outsider’s perspective). Christian snaps her out of her reverie by telling her she’ll “get used to” the enormous wealth she’s come into which…ugh, if that isn’t some gross entitlement I don’t know what it is. We get some of that famous humour Christian is so noted for;
“”Your nuts, sir,” I say with as straight a face as I can manage, trying to bring some humor to our conversation after my dark thoughts and my bikini top faux pas.
He smirks. “I’m nuts about you.””
Excuse me while I pause for a moment, as I fear my sides may have split.
“”Drink up. We’re going to bed.”
“Drink,” he mouths at me, his eyes darkening.”
Yes, because what I want to hear from my partner before we fuck is “you better fucking finish that drink first.” And why does he mouth it? That’s just dumb. I’m picturing my boyfriend doing all this to me, and I don’t think he could keep a straight face through even those ten words.
“”I’m going to make an example of you. Come. Don’t pee,” he whispers in my ear.”
“He steps out of his flip-flops and removes his shorts and trunks in one graceful move.”
Can we just…can we just take a minute here? Imagine this, right. Your man- who is wearing flip-flops, which are unarguably the least sexy footwear in the entire known universe-then proceeds to just grab his waistband and yank down his trousers and his underthings in one motion. I don’t care if you describe it as “graceful”, it’s another hysterical image courtesy of the true Master of Sex, EL James. You know, I didn’t know what an orgasm was before I read these books. Still don’t, actually, but I live in hope.
Christian brings out some handcuffs, and demands that Ana come up with a safeword. She picks popsicle. This is progress! This is good to see! Christian ties her up, and they kiss a lot and Christian says he’s going to fuck her till she screams etc. It’s actually one of the better sex scenes in the series so far, even if it is still kind of juvenile and generic. He starts to fuck her and is all “why do you defy me” and then-
“Tears spring to my eyes. This is too intense. I can’t stop him. I don’t want to stop him . . . I want . . . I want . . . oh no, oh no . . . this is too . . .
“That’s it,” Christian growls. “Feel it, baby!”
I detonate around him, again and again, round and round, screaming loudly as my orgasm rips me apart, scorching through me like a wildfire, consuming everything. I am wrung ragged, tears streaming down my face – my body left pulsing and shaking.”
This…uh, this isn’t great. Once again, Christian has failed to take his partner’s reactions into account- Ana tears up, and Christian ignores her. Yes, they put a safeword in place- but a safeword is just one of many ways in a BDSM encounter that one partner can indicate that it’s time to stop. One of the other ones is, uh, both partners paying attention to the reactions of the other, especially if the encounter involves stuff they’ve never done before (like handcuffs, which Ana notes are new for them). Christian is not obliged to keep fucking her until she uses the safeword and once again proves that he’s a shitty, shitty dom by not paying attention to her reactions- but, of course, she’s not a sub, she’s his wife, so that just makes him a shitty, shitty husband.
Also, is this not meant to be, you know, sexy? In what way is having an encounter that you feel as though you can’t put a stop to sexy or desirable? I get that it’s meant to be intense, but there’s “intense” and then there’s “wow, this character does not seem to be enjoying this encounter one little bit”. Also, I read the description of the orgasm out to my boyfriend (as I do every time, because they are hysterical) and he remarked that it sounded as if she had actually died. We live in hope.
He kisses her tears away- not bothering to ask why she’s crying, or if she’s okay- and Ana thinks about how great it is so that makes it sexy in retrospect, I guess. They go to sleep, and when they wake up, Ana needs to piss real bad. The chapter ends on this cliffhanger-
“I stare at myself in the mirror, shocked.
Holy f**k! What has he done to me?”