Chapter Twenty One
The last post ended on a bombshell about Christian's mother being a crack whore. "Holy fuck. What does that mean?" wonders Anastasia. It's nice to see that after a long break, the protagonist is still as gormless and clueless as ever.
What does it mean? I'd wager it means that his mother was a crack whore, as that's what he said. Ana fall asleep and dreams about a little boy with grey eyes and then wakes up. She thinks for a few moments about the utter horror of the revelation that Christian dropped last night, but then gets to thinking about the more important stuff: their relationship.
She has a good old whinge to herself about whether Christian will try to be a real boyfriend or not. "I need to clarify between us to see if we are still at opposite ends on the see-saw or if we are inching closer together." I'm sorry, is this a phrase? It's ludicrous. At first I found the image of them both in a children’s playground, shuffling towards each other on the see-saw, quite funny, but then I realised that we’re back to the child-like descriptions. Yikes.
Ana goes looking for Christian and finds a woman stood in his kitchen; she's described as blonde-haired, blue-eyed and attractive, with a business-like tone. Don't forget - to be a successful female in the 50 Shades universe, you need to be a hot blonde!
"Why does Christian only have attractive blondes working for him?" wonders Ana, as she finds out from the woman that Christian is in his study and sets off to find him. Why, indeed? She enters his study and finds him on his phone, and when he sees her, her smiles a smile that is 'too beautiful for the little people below'. Shut up Ana. E. L. James is such a Tory.
"Good morning, Miss Steele," he says as he finishes on the phone. The whole 'Miss Steele' and 'Mr Grey' thing was a bit of a novelty when they were acquaintances, but they've been having sex all over Seattle for the best part of a month now, you'd think they'd dispense with the cringe-worthy formalities. The author obviously thinks it’s very endearing and an example of the great banter and rapport that they share.
"I just came in to say hi before I had a shower," says Ana. She's crossed his palatial apartment and disturbed him while he was taking an important phone call just to say hello before she gets in the shower. Clingy. Dependent. Scary.
They kiss, and Christian gets all growly: "I suggest you go and have your shower, or I shall lay you across my desk, now." Not even been awake for five minutes, I tell you.
Christian does that awful cliche thing of sweeping everything off his desk with one arm. "You want it, you got it, baby," he says. Urrrrggggghhhhh.
There's another full paragraph about the technicalities of putting on a condom, as though it's a really complicated process and we all need reminding how it's done.
"Oh, Mr Boy Scout," thinks Ana. WHAT?! I don't understand what's just been said. Boy scout? Why? I'm pretty sure that if your significant other had just swept the contents of his desk to the floor and indicated he was going to absolutely ravish you on it, the last thing on your mind would be boy scouts. What a weird thought process.
If you're thinking about this while having sex, you're doing it wrong.
They have sex. It's pretty much like every other time they've previously had sex so far in this book. Lots of groaning, Ana has a mind-blowing orgasm and there's some really bad grammar and upsettingly bad dialogue. For a book about whips and stuff, there sure are a lot of samey sex scenes.
"Come on baby, give it up for me," says Christian. I can't speak for others but if someone said this to me in the heat of the moment, I'd have to respond by vomiting on their face.
They both orgasm and lie on his desk panting for a bit. "Wow... that was unexpected," thinks Ana. Was it? Was it really? We all know that's a lie. They exchange some chat about how much they 'beguile' one another. Disgusting. Again, if any man ever said that I 'beguiled' him, there would be vomit, and it would be on his face.
Ana looks down at the condom packet that's still there on his desk (I wonder if he ever got rid of that one he put in his pocket? I wonder what he's going to do with this one? This is the most enthralling part of the plot). "Always prepared," Ana murmurs. "A man can hope, Anastasia, dream even, and sometimes his dreams come true." That's a bit deep as a response to the observation that he always has a condom on him. The dialogue in this book is so weird. Imagine if someone said that in real life?
Ana goes back to take her shower. She has another whinge about how much she can't understand Christian. "We had sex... and then he wasn't." That is an actual sentence from the book. Please at lease try to make some sense.
Ana has some sort of internal conference with her subconscious and her inner goddess; the three of them all trying to figure it out. "No - we're all clueless," she thinks. Yes, yes we are.
She finishes her shower, gets out and puts her hair up. KATE'S PLUM DRESS hangs laundered and ironed in the closet. Kate's dress, don't forget. Kate's plum dress. Ana heads back into the kitchen where she tells the housekeeper she doesn't want anything to eat.
"Of course you'll have something to eat. She likes pancakes, bacon and eggs, Mrs Jones," says Christian, striding in. Then he orders Ana to 'sit', like a dog. I would tell him where he could shove his pancakes.
They start talking about Ana's upcoming trip to Georgia, and Christian offers Ana use of his company jet. Of course he does. At this point, Ana is just arguing with him for the sake of it; she flat out refuses and says she'd rather fork out to fly economy on a scheduled flight. I'm not sure what grounds she's refusing on really. She wants him to open up and be a 'real' boyfriend for her, but she shuts him out when he offers to help her? She sure picks her moments to come over all feminist. I wish she'd have one of those stubborn moments when it comes to signing that damn contract that all but makes her his property.
They get to talking about the job interviews that Ana has later that day. "Are you going to track my phone?" Ana asks. "Actually, I'll be quite busy this afternoon. I'll have to get someone else to do it," replies Christian. He is absolutely not kidding.
Later on, Ana is at her interview for 'Seattle Independent Publishing' with a Mr Jack Hyde. She says it's exactly where she wants to be. The book talks for a while about her surroundings, how excited she is about the job, and then wildly straying from the narrative as is the author’s habit, we’re suddenly talking about Ana’s upcoming trip to Georgia.
“Christian has ordered me to take my BlackBerry and the Mac. I roll my eyes at the memory of his overbearing bossiness, but I realise now that’s just the way he is. He likes control over everything, including me.” Nope, this isn’t okay. Now you’re not even attempting to fight back against his controlling and abusive nature, you’re just accepting it. “He can be tender, good-humored, even sweet.” I’m sure many women say this about their abusive partners when they’re trying to justify staying with them.
Ana gets called in for her interview. “I am wearing one of Kate’s dresses, a black pinafore over a white blouse, and my black pumps.” Another one of KATE’S DRESSES. GOT THAT? KATE’S DRESS. Nothing Ana owns can possibly be considered smart or stylish because she’s just such a hopeless mess. It really is a good job that this rich and powerful man is here to look after her.
Ana meets Jack Hyde, the guy who runs the publishing house. She’s creeped out by him for a reason she can’t describe. Let’s rewind for a second. Ana has taken part in two interviews in the course of the book. One is with Jack, who is rich, powerful, runs his own company, a little creepy, full of innuendo, and with red hair and two earrings. Christian is rich, powerful, runs his own company, a little creepy, full of innuendo and general consensus is that he’s absolutely smoking. What is the difference between these two men? NOTHING. NOT A SINGLE THING. Ana has taken a shine to powerful, creepy Christian because he is hot, and she’s wary of powerful, creepy Jack because he isn’t.
(Incidentally – how long is this chapter?! Really great show of narrative planning here.)
Ana gets the job on the spot (of course she does!) and goes back to the apartment; she’s flying to Georgia in the morning and needs to pack. She runs into Kate, and starts lecturing her about winding up Christian. “Incidentally, will you please stop winding Christian up? Your comment about José at dinner yesterday was out of line. He’s a jealous guy. It doesn’t do any good, you know.” In other words, “Will you please placate my boyfriend because he’s scary and controlling and I don’t know what he’ll do to me if I step out of line.” Eek.
Ana confesses to Kate that she’s really falling for Christian, but that they’ve not been talking so much as ‘non-verbally’ communicating. Kate comes out with this little gem: “That’ll be the sexing! If that’s going well, then that’s half the battle Ana.” Of course, because once you’ve shown a man how good you are in bed, he’s bound to like you! That’s what us girls are primarily here for anyway!
Kate leaves to get Chinese takeout and, within the space of about thirty seconds, Ana manages to convince herself that Christian is having a relationship with his housekeeper, Mrs Jones, because in this world, no man can have a working relationship within a woman without him dragging her into the Womb Room for hanging-from-the-ceiling sex. The email conversation is a bit pointless; Christian tells her nothing is going on between him and his maid and they do that awfully annoying ‘banter’ thing and Christian wishes her a safe flight to Atlanta.
Kate drives the two of them to the airport and when Ana tries to check in, she discovers that her flight has been upgraded. That fucking Christian Grey, upgrading her to first class. What a dick.