Anastasia gets a call from her mom, who can’t make Anastasia’s graduation because her husband twisted a ligament. After all, it’s only the graduation of your only daughter, right? Anastasia is okay with it, though. Then she receives an email from Grey.
Dear Miss Steele,
Following my more thorough examination of your issues, may I bring to your attention the definition of submissive (page 208).
Which, incidentally, is the definition of submissive straight from dictionary.com, which is handy. Anastasia promptly writes him back and provides the dictionary definition of the word ‘compromise’.
There’s some back and forth about how they’re going to meet up. Grey wants to pick her up, Anastasia wants to drive. I’m assuming all these nonsense is because in Twilight, Bella drove an old (yet awesome) deathtrap while Edward drove his poncy Volvo. Of course, here, Grey has dozens of cars (and a helicopter!) and Anastasia drives an old Beetle, so it’s totally different.
The next day at work Paul follows her around at work asking for a date. Okay, so Paul is the Mike Newton wannabe. Got it.
She drives to Grey’s hotel and meets him in the bar. They get a table and he orders wine and eats an olive…sexily.
“You know this contract is legally unenforceable.”
“I am fully aware of that, Miss Steele.”
“Were you going to tell me that at any point?”
He frowns. “You’d think I’d coerce you into something you don’t want to do, and then pretend that I have a legal hold over you?”
“Well…yes.” (page 216).
At least she’s being honest with him. Not that he’s really being honest with her. Or answering her questions.
“Anastasia, it doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not. It represents an arrangement that I would like to make with you – what I would like from you and what you can expect from me. If you don’t like it, don’t sign. If you do sign and decide you don’t like it, there are enough get-out clauses so you can walk away.” (page 216)
Except, of course, for a no-holds-barred, any-reason-you-want get-out clause.
I really just have one question for you, Grey. If it doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not, and it just clarifies the terms of the arrangement, why didn’t you mention that at the start, when you first gave it to her? I mean, if you truly have the best of intentions –
“Relationships like this are built on honesty and trust,” he continues (page 216)
EXACTLY. So, if you’re trying to build a relationship on honesty and trust, why not sit Anastasia down, give her the contract, explain that it’s not legally binding (obviously) but that you want something on paper so you’ve both set clear boundaries and have spelled out what you’re looking for in the relationship? I mean, that seems like the most honest and upright way to handle that situation, you fucking asshole.
So, they banter a bit, he asks if she’s hungry, she says no, he asks if she’s eaten today. Sweet! It’s been an entire chapter since he was a dick about eating. He asks if she wants to eat here or in his suite, she says here because she’d like to stay on public ground.
“Do you think that would stop me?” he says softly, a sensual warning (page 217).
Holy shit, that’s hot.
They start on dinner and begin going through the list. He says that she can walk away at any time and he won’t stop her. But, if she does go, that’s it. No chance of ever getting back together, or, I suspect, redefining boundaries. So that’s another method of control. Nice work, Grey. You’ve even managed to be controlling when you give her an escape clause.
They talk through the details of the contract. Anastasia is worried about the pain, but Grey explains that he’s not going to really hurt her, it’s just going to be small bits of pain that will be pleasurable, they’ll take it slow, etc.
Grey, naturally, brings up the food, and it being a deal breaker.
“Can I modify it to say you will eat at least three meals a day?”
“No.” I am so not backing down on this. No one is going to dictate to me what I eat (page 222).
Except for when Grey dictates to you what you’re going to eat…every time you’re together?
Anastasia asks why she isn’t allowed to masturbate.
“Because I want all your pleasure.” His voice is husky but determined (page 223).
Yep, this contract is definitely for Anastasia’s benefit.
Anastasia doesn’t want to go over soft limits over dinner, so after Grey bitches about her not eating enough, he says he wants to peel her out of that dress. We get a page and a half of playful sexual banter and then Anastasia picks up a stalk of asparagus and starts fellating it. He twitches a bit, and eventually Anastasia says she has to go, because she wants some distance to think about things. Grey responds well to this:
“I could make you stay,” he threatens (page 226).
Grey tells her he thinks she really doesn’t have a submissive bone in her body. Probably not, but I bet she’d like one! Ba-dum-tsh. They kiss goodbye and he escorts her to her car and is appalled when he sees what a piece of shit she drives.
“That’s what you drive?” He’s appalled (page 228).
Anastasia tells him he’s not allowed to buy her a car, but let’s face it, does anyone think that’s going to stop him?
She drives home and starts crying because she’s upset, and it’s actually a pretty good scene. I’ll quote some of it:
I don’t even know how to categorize him. If I do this thing… will he be my boyfriend? Will I be able to introduce him to my friends? Go out to bars, the cinema, bowling even, with him? The truth is I don’t think I will. He won’t let me touch him and he won’t let me sleep with him. I know I’ve not had these things in my past, but I want them in my future. And that’s not the future he envisages (page 229).
She angsts for quite a bit longer than this, and it’s pretty natural stuff for her to be angsting about it so I don’t mind much. Although I wonder why she’s freaking about him not letting her sleep with him. Sure, he’s said that won’t happen, but they have already slept together, and he did just ask her to spend the night at the hotel with him.
She gets home to an email from him that’s a little hurt, but he promises her again that he really wants to make this work. So she gets into bed and drifts asleep while thinking about all the warnings he’s given her about how he’s dangerous, not right for her, and she should totally stay away. Just like Twilight! Except instead of killing her and drinking her blood, he wants to tie her up, beat her silly, and fuck her like she owes him money.
Anastasia has an erotic dream where she’s tied up and sucking on…a riding crop that Grey is holding. Then he uses the riding crop to hit her in the clitoris, which makes her wake up in the throes of an incredible sleep orgasm. I don’t have a clitoris, nor have I ever been hit in the clitoris I don’t have with a riding crop, but that sounds incredibly unpleasant.
She gets up, and her dad picks her up and takes her to graduation. Kate, who’s giving the valedictorian speech because some colleges still have those, is up on stage alongside Christian Grey, who’s also giving a speech. Some girls sitting next to Anastasia ogle and whisper about him, so she tells them he’s gay.
After Kate gives an amazing speech, Grey talks about some the philanthropic work he does in conjunction with the university to eliminate world hunger. He mentions that he personally knows what it’s like to be profoundly hungry, and Anastasia realizes this is why he’s such a Nazi about food. Plot point!
Afterwards, Grey corners her and asks why she hasn’t responded to his emails or texts. She points out that she hasn’t checked them. And it’s been like half a day, she doesn’t point out. Half a day that was mostly spent with her sleeping, then getting ready for, then attending graduation. But it turns out he was mostly worried about her car.
Grey wants to meet her dad, and says she can just introduce him as her friend. But when they get together Kate butts in and introduces Grey as Anastasia’s boyfriend. After some momentary awkwardness, Grey starts talking to her dad about fishing which smoothes things over. Eventually she and Grey get a moment alone, and after some banter, she agrees to the soft limits and to being his submissive.
That night, after she gets home, Anastasia sends him an email saying she’s interesting in coming over, but Grey continues to not be happy about the car she’s driving and says he’ll come and get her.
Dun dun dun.