Chapter Twelve – Part One
“For the first time in my life, I voluntarily go for a run.” So, on top of having orgasms from boob-fondling and apparently being irresistible to all men, Ana is also able to maintain her skinny physique by doing approximately no exercise whatsoever. E. L. James knows how to create a relatable and likeable protagonist.
“I put my hair in pigtails, blushing at the memories they bring back, and I plug in my iPod.” You didn’t have an email address ten minutes ago, but now you’ve got an iPod stocked full of songs (which require an email address, or at least a computer, to download). Sure thing. At this point I will believe anything.
Ana runs through the park to the sounds of Snow Patrol (cool), wondering whether she’s prepared to submit to Christian entirely, and trying to figure out why he is the way he is. “Is it because he was seduced at such a young age?” I will get into this in more detail later, but for now I’ll just say that this question is quite offensive and largely incorrect.
When Ana gets back, Kate has been shopping for clothes for her holiday to Barbados. “Mainly bikinis and sarongs.” This doesn’t make sense, and it bores me that I’m still pointing this out but wow, someone sit this woman down and teach her how to construct a sentence. “She will look fabulous in all of them, yet she still makes me sit and comment while she tries on each and every one.” I get the feeling that E. L. James is trying to make the reader hate Kate at this point, but it comes off looking more like Ana’s a sour, bitter hag, who just can’t be happy for her friend in any way. “Could I feel any more inadequate?” she moans, as she slumps off to her room. Wish someone would tell Ana that the entire world and all its events do not revolve around her. (Note: if anyone’s holding out for someone in this book to actually tell Ana this, I wouldn’t raise your hopes too high.)
Ana goes back to her room and sends Christian an email: “Okay, I’ve seen enough. It was nice knowing you. Ana.” When I first read this, I was very confused. I thought I knew where this novel was going, for sure. I thought she would sign the contract and end up in a happily-ever-after dom/sub relationship with the sociopathic Christian, a romance for the ages. Why is she turning him down?
It turns out that she’s not turning Christian down, and that this is actually Ana’s attempt at a joke. Haha! Gotcha! “I press send, hugging myself and laughing at my little joke.” What joke?! All I saw was Ana completely putting an end to the relationship and intimating that she never wants to see Christian again. Haha, good one! Oh, that Ana and her sense of humour.
Ana doesn’t hear back from Christian until nine o’clock (surely way past her bedtime). She’s sitting at her desk, re-reading the contract, and she looks up and Christian is standing in the doorway. Oh. We’ve gone past borderline creepy and we’re way into Norman Bates territory now. If we hadn’t already met Christian’s mother, I’d have to assume that her rotten corpse was tied up in his womb-room.
“I feel your email warranted a reply in person,” Christian says. No, Christian. It really didn’t. She pretty much said she wanted nothing more to do with you, and I can only assume that you’ve turned up here at her apartment to try and convince her otherwise (which is completely contradictory to what he’s been telling her all along). He made it clear that if she didn’t want to sign the contract, that would be the end of the matter – but now he’s here trying to coerce her? Very healthy.
Christian reaches over and starts playing with her pigtails. “So you decided on some exercise,” he says. “Why, Anastasia?” That’s none of your business, you lunatic! That’s like saying, “So you decided to have porridge for breakfast. Why, Anastasia?” Does it matter?!
Ana says that she’s all ‘rabbit/headlights, moth/flame, bird/snake’. I imagine E. L. James must have thought she was being totally cool and inventive with these comparisons but I don’t see why we need all three.
“I thought I would come over and remind you how nice it was knowing me,” says Christian. Oh my god, this is not okay. He is literally coercing her, not just into having sex with him, but into signing her life away on his butt plug contract. He’s not allowing her to make this decision for herself; he’s using sex as a persuasive tool, almost as a weapon against Ana’s weak state of mind. Not. Cool.
Ana, predictably, takes a different view. “I take pre-emptive action and launch myself at him.” This girl is beyond help. Christian responds by tying her to her bedframe with his tie, blindfolding her and threatening to gag her if she makes too much noise. Good chat, guys. I’m glad you got everything sorted out in a mature and sensible way.
Christian leaves her naked, tied to her bed while he goes to fetch a glass of white wine from the kitchen, then he starts pouring it all over her. Ana has another orgasm. No, I’m kidding, she doesn’t, but would you really be that surprised?
“This is your punishment. So close and yet so far. Is this nice?” asks Christian. Her punishment for what, exactly? Politely declining your offer? Oh, good. So you’re not just pressuring her into signing the contract, you’re also punishing her for daring to think she had the option not to. This is such a healthy relationship, and definitely something I aspire to.