We start chapter fourteen with Ana in the throes of a sex dream about Christian, in which he is wearing old, faded, ripped Levis. In my head he looks like this:
|"I'm Christian Grey. I fuck - HARD."|
In the dream, he’s whipping Ana in all sorts of places with a riding crop. We’ve all been there, sex dreams are a lot of fun. Except Ana literally wakes up half way through having another orgasm. Seriously?!
“I had no idea that I could orgasm in my sleep.” Well, that’s because you can’t. I am like the 50 Shades Mythbuster, but men (and women), please believe me: you can’t have an orgasm from boob-groping, and you can’t have one in your sleep (while I’m here, that scene in 40 Days and 40 Nights? Completely impossible. If you could come from getting a flower petal blown around your stomach, women would buy hand-held fans instead of vibrators).
Ana stumbles into the kitchen, still wearing Christian’s jacket. She slept in it. The bunny boiler inside this girl has lain dormant for so many years, and now it’s making up for lost time. Kate tries to ask Ana what happened last night, but Ana deflects the questions and offers to listen to Kate’s valedictorian speech for their graduation, and because no one in this story has an attention span that can safely reach thirty seconds, Kate agrees. “I worked on it last night over at Lilah’s,” says Kate. Who the hell is Lilah? I love the way E. L. James just invents characters for no reason. Why couldn’t she just have said that Kate worked on it last night and left the sentence right there? No doubt we’ll never see Lilah again. This is brilliant story-telling.
Ana’s dad, Ray, shows up at their apartment. He gives her a ride to the campus for the graduation. “Good luck, Annie. You seem awfully nervous, do you have to do anything?” Sorry Ray, I know we’ve only just met you, but this is a ridiculous question. It’s her graduation day, of course she’s nervous.
Ana’s reaction is even more stupid: “Holy crap… why has Ray picked today to be so observant?” Yeah, ‘holy crap’ indeed. I highly doubt he’s sussed from your facial expressions that you’re about to graduate whilst coming face to face with your lover, who wants to suspend you from the ceiling and have you try out his slow-cooked asparagus (euphemism alert!).
Ana takes her place in the auditorium, between two girls who know each other. When Christian comes out on stage (wearing the tie he used to bind Ana to her bed. Smooth…), the two girls get all giggly. “Must be Christian Grey. He’s hot. Is he single?” Ana can’t resist. “I don’t think so. I think he’s gay,” she tells them. This is a bit of a spiteful reaction. I don’t really like Ana much, I’m sure you can tell.
Christian gets up to give his speech. It turns that not only is he mind-numbingly hot and stupefyingly rich, he’s also a philanthropist. He is on a mission to eradicate world hunger and is donating a few million dollars to the university’s environmental science department. Awww! Redemption! (I’m kidding, he’s still a dick. Just a dick with a lotta money and no other way to spend it.)
He says that it’s a very ‘personal mission’ to him, and Ana deduces that he must have been starved as a child before he was adopted by his current family. “I’m seized by a sense of raw outrage, poor, fucked-up, kinky, philanthropic Christian…” Oh, hey! We’re back with the nonsensical sentences. I thought we were past those, but apparently not.
After Christian finishes his speech, the graduates go up one by one to collect their degrees from Christian himself. He takes this opportunity to effectively sabotage one of the most significant moments in Ana’s
boring life so far, by quizzing her on stage
as to why his emails went unanswered.
Let’s just stop for a second. The girl is graduating and he can’t even think about anything but their undecided love life. If you needed any more proof of what a self-obsessed creep the guy is, I’ve just presented it to you on a silver platter.
After the ceremony, when Ana should be spending time with her family and friend(s), Christian finds her, drags her into the men’s locker room, locks the door and begins to interrogate her as to why she hasn’t replied to his emails. The most important day of her life, and he expects her to be constantly checking her emails to reply to his stupid requests. Ladies, tell me that this is not what you want.
As their relationship has been going
not so steady for a full five days, Christian
feels it is very important that he meets Ana’s stepdad right away. “Just tell
him I’m your friend, Anastasia,” he coaxes. Ana takes Ray for a drink in the
marquee, and as they’re toasting her graduation, someone called Ethan runs up
to Ana, picks her up and spins her around.
Before I even go any further, I am going to lay my entire life savings on the line and bet that Ethan’s presence in this novel is merely just another way of regurgitating what has been rammed down our throats constantly: Ana is irresistible to all men. Within the next three pages, he’ll have made an inappropriate comment, and Christian will have appeared and pissed all over Ana (metaphorically, but you never know with this book) to mark his territory.
It turns out that Ethan is Kate’s brother (who didn’t exist until now). He’s been travelling round Europe for a few months and his ‘dirty blonde hair tousled and sexy-looking’. That’s an actual phrase from the book. Please make sense, I beg you.
Ethan has got his arm around Ana’s waist when Christian saunters over. “Christian turns his arctic glare on Ethan, who still has one arm around me… Christian holds his hand out to me. “Ana, baby,” he murmurs, and I nearly expire at the endearment.” See what I mean? Ana = tree. Christian = dog. Endearment = urine. And what did I say? Called it.
In the middle of this exchange, Kate has also managed to drop in to Ray the fact that Christian is Ana’s boyfriend. Kate has no chill; she does not have Ana’s back whatsoever. Christian and Ray get on like a house on fire (because no one has any unnecessary beef in this book, except for Christian) and Ana goes to call Kate out. “How could you out me to Ray?” Ana asks. “He seems trés cool about it, Ana. Don’t sweat it,” says Kate. ‘Trés cool’. ‘Don’t sweat it’. Kate sounds so with-it and hip. (If you are someone who says ‘trés cool’ as part of your everyday vocabulary, slap yourself immediately.)
“[Christian’s] been watching you like a hawk,” Kate observes (not a handsaw!). Ana returns to Christian and Ray, and Ray excuses himself to use the restroom. Christian honestly can’t contain himself for ten seconds. “You look lovely, Anastasia, this halter-neck dress suits you, and I get to stroke your back, feel your beautiful skin.” Note: the vast majority of straight men don’t know a halter-neck from a redneck.
Ana says that she doesn’t know if she can go through with signing the contract because she wants ‘more’. She wants hearts and flowers. The fact that Christian introduced her to his mum, met her stepdad, bought her a laptop and generally did things he’s never done with women, all within a week of meeting her, apparently isn’t enough for Ana.
Christian agrees to try. Oh. That was easy. Not much persuasion needed at all there. It's almost as if the whole point of this novel wasn't an intriguing storyline or in-depth character study, but an experiment to see how many times a fictional character can have an orgasm in five hundred pages.
“Jesus, Ana, you’re so unexpected. You take my breath away.” Imagine if someone said this to you. Just vomited a bit.
With regards to what she’s just agreed to, Ana is… conflicted, shall we say? “What have you done? My subconscious screams at me. My inner goddess is doing back flips in a routine worthy of a Russian Olympic gymnast.” I would love it if the twist to this story was that Ana is a schizophrenic who has invented this entire scenario in her head, Christian and his womb-room included. That would be a cool story.
Christian leaves, Ana bids goodbye to Ray, then goes back to the apartment. The first thing she does is switch on her phone. Four missed calls, one voice message and two texts. The texts: “Are you home safe” and “Call me”. Oh no. Christian can’t punctuate. This is a deal-breaker for me (if the sociopathic tendencies, intense paranoia and fixation with controlling everything around him weren't already deal-breakers enough). A man who can’t properly punctuate his texts is the worst kind of unsexy. I think this is just me, though (although would it have killed him to just put a question mark at the end there?). She also has two emails from him when she turns on her computer. I’d wager they’ve been apart for around an hour. This is next-level clingy. Ana and Christian totally deserve each other.
Christian says he’s coming over to Ana’s because he’s not happy about her driving her car. The man’s a paranoid idiot. Ana goes to retrieve her first edition copy of Tess of the D’Urbervilles ready to give back to him. I hope she beats him over the head with it. (I don’t. Domestic violence = not cool.)
I do wish they’d stop contaminating one of my favourite books by association with this painfully dire one. On the front of her copy, she scribbles: “I agree to the conditions, Angel; because you know what my punishment ought to be; only – only – don’t make it more than I can bear!” Urgh. Goodbye, (what was left of) Ana’s self-respect. It was nice (briefly) knowing you.