Fifty Shades Freed: Chapter Fourteen
Hey, dudes and duderinos! I’m back from Spain, miserably cold, with a coffee-drinking habit I didn’t have before and a LUST for BADLY WRITTEN ABUSE MASQUERADING AS ROMANCE. Luckily, EL James is here to sate my hunger with another chapter of Fifty Shades Freeeugh!
We left off last time with Elliot proposing to Kate in a big restaurant. I’m not the first person to say this, but damn if springing a surprise proposal on your partner in public isn’t manipulative as fuck, because it gives them no option but to accept, or risk embarrassing both you and themselves and pretty much everyone else in the room by turning you down. But wait, this is a Grey brother pulling this shit, so of course he thinks that’s a dandy idea.
Obviously Kate says yes, because this book might have been even remotely interesting if she didn’t, and everyone’s happy. They kiss, and Ana makes a snarky inner remark about it being “chaste” for them because she cannot turn off the cuntery for even her best friend getting engaged. Oh, and Ana realizes that Elliot was chilling with That Bitch Gia because she was helping him choose a ring, which is maybe the first thing Gia has done which has actually been questionable but Ana for some reason breezes right by it instead of using it as an excuse to tear the shit out of a woman who has the vicious temerity to do her job and be around Ana’s husband occasionally?
Christian’s sister wants to go clubbing, and Christian suggests they ask Kate and Elliot what they want to do
“Elliot shrugs and Kate turns puce.”
Apparently it’s super obvious that Kate wants to fuck Elliot judging by the shade of literal burgundy she’s gone, but they decide to go clubbing anyway. They go to some exclusive upscale club, where OF COURSE a woman flirts with Christian:”Miss Satin Hot Pants flutters her eyelashes at my husband, flicks her long blond hair, and sashays through the entryway.”Look, I know Ana is pathetically sheltered, but could it not be that this hostess is a) simply being friendly in order to provide good customer service or b) only flirting to get a tip as lots of women in the service industry are encouraged to do? Like, she might not want to tackle-fuck Christian where he stands maybe?
Christian’s sister and Kate’s brother go off to dance and Ana asks to see Kate’s ring and blah blah fucking blah. Another waitress comes up, and doesn’t flutter her eyelashes at Christian, but Ana still has to comment on it to her husband who seems to enjoy the fact she’s so stupidly jealous and hopelessly insecure in his presence. Hmm, why could that be? Christian makes Ana drink some water because she’s had a real fuckton to drink (Several cocktails, multiple glasses of wine and champagne), and she downs a glass and:
“I wipe my hand across the back of my mouth.”
Just picture it. Give it a second. Imagine the editor dangling in silhouette by a noose in their long-forgotten offices as people next door whoop distantly and count their piles of fucking money for this atrociously written mountain range of nonsense. I am. I’m that editor. This was a horror story in three sentences. Or so.
Ana reminds Christian fondly of that time he dragged her unconscious from a bar, undressed her, and slept next to her without her consent, and I guess it’s meant to be…romantic? I’ve heard a few romantic vomiting stories in my time, as I’m sure we all heave (typo unintended but happily left untouched), but this is not one of them.
Ana gets up and dances, and wonders why she spent so much time reading when she could have been doing this. She also thinks about how Jane Austen didn’t have good music to dance to, which is some bull fucking shit and got me thinking about how hanging out with Jane Austen would probably be a way better night than one spent with Ana Steele. Also, I just crunched the numbers, and if we go by the publication date of this book and the rough time period this scene is meant to take place in, there’s a good chance the club was playing Party Rock Anthem. I hate to remind you of it, but…
So yeah, just imagine that this song is scoring this scene, as I’m sure it will be in the movie. Ana is dancing away to LMFAO when some asshole comes up to her and starts feeling her up – she turns around and slaps him in the face, which is good, because she deserves to defend her bodily autonomy whenever it’s challenged by dickholes like that! And then, of course, we’re back into regression corner:
” I thrust my uninjured hand in front of his face,spreading my fingers to show him my rings.
“I’m married, you asshole!””
Oh, yeah, because that’s what makes it unacceptable – the fact that another man already owns you. Not because some jerk felt you up without your consent. That’s your husband’s job, dammit!
Speaking of, Christian storms up to the man and punches him. And then we get this edifying little bit of text:
““Christian, no!” I gasp in panic, standing in front of him to hold him back. Shit, he’ll kill him.”
I’m pretty sure I’ve gone over the warning signs for an abusive relationship a dozen times in these recaps, but if not: fearing that your partner will inflict disproportionate physical harm on other people is one of them. Ana genuinely fears that Christian will beat this man to death in the middle of a club for touching his wife which, while shitty, he seemed to be backing down over after Ana told him off. How is that not chilling? How is that not frightening?
Forget what I said earlier by the way, because Ana lets us know what was playing, and it’s truly worse than anything I could have come up with:
“The song changes from the explicit lyrics of “Sexy Bitch” to a pulsing techno dance number where a woman sings with an impassioned voice.”
Wow, yeah, Sexy Bitch; because that’s not a pulsing techno dance number (also, the chances of that pulsing techno dance number being Titanium by Sia have got to be pretty high, right?). The guy who assaulted Ana gets to his feet and backs off, and Ana and Christian dance all sexy up on each other while Ana swoons over the fact that Christian can dance and that he punched a guy for no real good reason, I guess? They return to their seats, and Ana asks what they would have done if there had been press there:
““I have expensive lawyers,” he says coolly, all at once arrogance personified.
I frown at him.
“But you’re not above the law, Christian. I did have the situation under control.”
His eyes frost. “No one touches what’s mine,” he says with chilling finality,
as if I’m missing the obvious.””
Alright, so what we have here is Christian strongly implying that he can get away with assault and goodness knows what other crimes because of his expensive lawyers, but battering away that doozy by reminding us that the only reason he got involved in that fight was because someone was touching his property. Not because someone had committed an assualt – because a dude who wasn’t him had his hands on his wife. I know I shouldn’t be surprised by this stuff any more, but it’s fucking sick the way these books paint possessiveness as romance, depicting incidences like this as examples as to why Christian loves Ana when he clearly views her another asset to own.
They go to leave and Kate remarks to Ana how well she can “handle” Christian, which is not something you should ever, ever, ever have to say about your partner’s temper, and the group gets their coats and goes (presumably everyone in the club breathing a sigh of relief as they do so).
They get back to the cabin, and Christian helps Ana undress and takes off her make-up because she’s too drunk to do so, and of course Christian is one of those dudes who’s like “I prefer you without make-up”. I know this is petty, but I’ve known far too many dudes over the years who expect back-pats for saying they find a woman more attractive without make-up like they’re martyring themselves for pussy, while I’m over here like “how nice for your boner, I’ll be putting on these bright blue eyebrows and black lipstick kthxbye”. And hey, with Christian, it’s always safe to assume the worst.
Christian puts Ana to bed, and refuses to have sex with her on the basis that she’s too drunk, and Ana falls asleep and this staggeringly boring chapter is over. All I have to show for it is the song Sexy Bitch in my head. I’ll have you yet, EL James.