What’s the Big Deal?: Fifty Shades of Grey Live-Blogging Edition, Chapter 24

Hello, hello, from Idaho!

So, I’m finally sort-of-kind-of in the Pacific Northwest. Technically Idaho is still considered a Rocky Mountain state, but I’m only about 5 miles from the Washington state line, so I am ALMOST a PNW-er. By the way, even in my small town, there is no Ulta beauty store but I DO have access to hair serum. Anna officially has no excuse.

I realize I started this thing months ago and a lot of people who had been wishing I’d finish have now forgotten all about it, but I feel obligated to finish anyway. I have to see this crazy leather-n-angst journey through to its inevitably disastrous conclusion. I actually thought, “Hey, I should review some scary books for Halloween!” But, you know what? After the tampon scene, I don’t think any book is as terrifying as this one.

Prepare to be frightened out of your wits by….

Fifty Shades of Grey

by E. L. James

The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House, $9.99 Nook book, ISBN-10 1612130291

When last we encountered our heroes, Christian had promised Ana a surprise, after which she fell asleep to the soothing sound of him commanding her to go to sleep. Oh, yeah, and they’re in Georgia, because she went there to get away from him, which didn’t work because he’s a stalker with a private jet.

Anyway.

Chapter 24: Breakfast at IHUMP

Ana has a dream. A dream that all men… Wait, no, not that kind of dream. Ana’s too self-absorbed to worry about equality for all humankind. No, she has a dream that Christian is locked in a big cage and trying to convince her to eat a strawberry. Wow, that’s so deep and hard to interpret. Could it be that her subconscious is telling her that Christian is trying to tempt her into his “cage” of issues?

That, or she’s dreaming about food because she starved herself.

She wakes up to Christian coaxing her to get out of bed at 5:30 am because he wants to “chase the dawn” with her. I have no idea what that means. It sounds like something Rainbow Brite and her flamboyant rainbow horse would get up to. Have you guys ever watched Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer? I’m telling you, Starlite is FAB-yoo-lussssss!

“Chase the dawn” seems to equate to “getting up at an ungodly hour while on vacation so we can go see the Special Surprise.” Christian won’t let Ana take a shower because then he’ll have to have sex with her and then they’ll have to keep having sex all day. The man has all the self-control of a hump-happy Pomeranian confronting a particularly tempting velour throw pillow. Also, let’s all think back to the sex scene in Chapter 23, in which certain items were removed and, as far as was mentioned, not replaced. Surely Ana needs a shower and the sheets need changing. Heck, the mattress probably needs changing!

Christian tries unsuccessfully to force Ana to eat (her dream was prophetic!) and manages to convince her to drink some Twining’s tea. She’s ultra-impressed and convinced he cares after all! He remembered she drinks tea! He remembered what kind! Never mind that Twining’s is a ubiquitous brand and probably just what the hotel had on hand. It’s not like he had a fresh pot of Earl Grey flown in on the Concorde. (See what I did there?)

Just so we’re all clear: Brand-new Audi = he does not care. So-new-the-public-can’t-get-it-Macbook = he does not care. New Blackberry = he does not care (well, actually, he could have gotten her an Android.) However, cheap bag of hotel tea = true love. I guess it really is the little things that matter.

On the drive to Special Surprise, Christian brings up a former submissive to explain away the presence of a Britney Spears song on his iPod. Really, your pride is so important to you that you’d rather bring up a past lover than laugh off your apparent Britney fandom? Not smart enough to stop there, Christian goes on to bring up Hester the Molester by (at last) her real name: Elena.

Ana immediately freaks out. Elena sounds like an evil name! She must be a “pale-skinned vamp with raven hair and ruby-red lips.”

Not only is she sure that Elena looks like Morticia Addams, Ana is also concerned because “Elena” is “all foreign sounding.” Goldurnit, she’s right! That hussy is bound to be a furriner, here to take our jobs! She prob’ly don’t even speak good Christian English! Lord knows she don’t have a good, strong American name like ANASTASIA.

Ahem.

All drama aside, I’m sure you’re dying to know about the Special Surprise, so I’ll save you from the suspense: He takes her gliding! In a glider! Anastasia Steele, flying in a glider! Most exciting thing ever holy crap wow can this really be happening to her and oh she got to hold the stick for three seconds (not THAT stick, you pervs) and have you ever heard of anything so incredible in your life she could just pee from excitement!

As soon as they’re out of the glider, Christian is all over Ana: “Holy cow–his erection…we’re in a field.”

Yeah? Well, he’s on a horse.

What happened to those ads? There was nothing wrong with the Old Spice horse guy.

Christian seductively offers Ana breakfast, which one assumes will be a big juicy bite of his favorite sausage. In the car, her phone alarm goes off, reminding her to take her birth control pill despite the fact that she’s on her period and shouldn’t have to take the pill this week. Oh, who cares about reality?

Speaking of reality, here’s a sudden dose of it: he took her out to IHOP for breakfast. IHOP. Thank the Lord IHOP is already in all caps or I’d need to resort to emphatic italicizing again. I have nothing against IHOP. They sell crepes with Nutella inside and therefore have all my love forever and ever, amen. Still, Ana’s as surprised as I am that Christian took her to the local corporate greasy-spoon. My guess? With as little research as the author did on the Pacific Northwest, I’m sure she didn’t bother looking up diners in Georgia.

Then they start swapping suggestive comments in IHOP, no doubt fogging up the glass booth partitions with their lusty exhalations. Hey, look, I can describe the situation better than the author! Yet again, a waitress shows up and drools all over Christian. Christian and Ana make a transparent exchange of sexual innuendos ending in a double order of pancakes, then start babbling about their so-called relationship. Christian says that despite his promise to try for “more,” the arrangement is fundamentally unchanged. “We just need to redefine our parameters, redraw our battle lines, if you will.” Okay, if the other person is talking about your relationship in terms of a.) business or b.) war before you’ve really kicked things off, it’s time to walk away. After the pancakes, of course, because come on, it’s not IHOP’s fault.

Ana offers to pay. Christian accuses her of trying to “completely emasculate” him. Dude, it’s pancakes, not a vasectomy. You bought her a car. You bought her a computer. You stalked her to the Deep South. We get it: You’re a big, strong, alph-hole douche-male person. AND WE HATE YOU FOR IT. NOW LET HER PAY FOR THE DAMN ORANGE JUICE, ALREADY!

Of course, he can’t cede control long enough to let her buy him a Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘n Fruity, so they merely head back to Ana’s mom’s house, which Christian creepily finds with zero trouble even though he’s never been there and Ana has never given him the address. Psycho.

As he leaves, Ana thinks, “Why do I want to spend every single minute with this controlling sex god? Oh yes, I’ve fallen in love with him, and he can fly.” Um…this argument only works if you’re Lois Lane. Christian can’t fly, his aircraft can fly. There’s a subtle aerodynamic difference.

Ana thanks him for “the more,” because she has mistaken flying in a glider for a fulfilling emotional connection. It’s like those reality shows where the couples go on fantastically romantic dates and then break up after the show. It’s easy to think you’re in love when reality is suspended. Unfortunately, in Ana’s brain, I’m pretty sure reality is always suspended.

Ana’s mom (aka the source of Ana’s stunning intelligence) is having hysterics about having to entertain a rich guy. Hello, Ana’s mom? He’s not even thirty. It’s not like you’re having Nelson Rockefeller over for cocktails. Get Chinese takeout, serve it on some nice dishes, and finish it up with an icebox pie. Done.

Ana offers to cook because her mom sucks at cooking, but mom says no. They have ten seconds of girl talk in which Ana leaves her mother speechless by mentioning the glider expedition. I had no idea gliding was such a hot female fantasy! I’ve never given it much thought, personally.

Ooooooooh more emails uuurrrrrrrgh.

Ana: (Subj: Soaring not scoring) Thanks!

Christian (doesn’t this fucking guy ever WORK?): Better than snoring. I have so much fun with you.

God, I wish I did. I hate this chick. Anyway.

Ana: I DON’T SNORE! And you shouldn’t tell me I do if I do because I’d rather continue to assume I don’t and die of sleep apnea! You’re being rude in the South!

Christian: Shouty capitals don’t scare me (because he’s not 12.) You don’t snore, but you talk.

Ana: What did I say?

Christian: I won’t tell you because having secrets is ultra fun so I keep secrets all the time because it’s funny to piss you off. I have to go work now (for the first time ever.)

Hmph! Well, fine, she just won’t talk to him if he’s going to be that way, which I’m sure he’ll totally notice while he’s busy working. Ana decides she’ll make bread to get out her frustrations. That’ll show him!

In yet another excess of unnecessary detail, Ana and Mom go grocery shopping. While they’re in the store, Ana’s phone rings with a job offer. She accepts. Mom jumps up and down and claps her hands, and Ana condescendingly thinks she’s being SO immature.  (Aside: my mom sent me flowers on my first day at my new job, and I did not accuse her of acting 12.

Oops, missed call from Christian! Better call him back right away!

Aw, he can’t come to dinner because “something’s come up” back in Seattle, and for once it’s not his penis.

Ana worries. After all, the last time there was a “situation,” it was her virginity! Hopefully it’s nothing like that! Yes, Ana, Christian flies all over the country deflowering virgins wherever he finds them. He just heard about a choir girl at a Seattle church turning 18 without, you know, breaking the holy seal.

They have dinner without Christian, and later, Ana panics because she hasn’t heard anything from him. You know what that means! It’s time for more emails.

Ana: I’m worried that you died in a terrible plane crash because I haven’t heard from you. After all, you would never, ever callously ignore me.

Christian: Sorry! I’m home! See ya laterz! Nice to know you care!

Ana: Of course I care swoon swoony swoon swoons. I hope everything’s okay. What did I say in my sleep?

Christian: Everything’s not okay. And I am not telling you. Nanny-nanny boo-boo.

Ana: I can’t control what I say in my sleep, plus you misheard me because you’re old. Tee-hee.

Christian: I can’t heeeeeear yoooouuuuuu….

Ana: Hmph! Hmph hmph snit snit hmph!

Christian: Sexual innuendo.

Ana: Snitty snitty hmph I’m mad!

Christian: I have a cat that growls at me.

Huh? What? Christian has a cat? But Ana has never seen a cat at his place. Cat O’ NINE TAILS, Ana you dumbass.

Ana goes to bed. Another message pings in. She’s not going to answer. She’s really not. She’s going to ignore him. Let him stew. She’ll show him!

And two seconds later, she’s checking her email.

Christian: I’d rather hear you say what you say in your sleep when you’re awake.

Oh no! WHAT DID SHE SAY? Whatdidshesaywhatdidshesaywhatdidshesaaaaaay?

Well, I’m sure we’ll have plenty more hand-wringing about that in the next chapter. Only two more to go!

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