So in Chapter 7, Ana dials the BatshitInsanimometer straight up to 11 with this Iiiiiiiinterjection:
“Holy shit, did really I just do that?”
Did you, Ana? Did you?! Yep. You did. And stop blaming it on the champagne, this was all you, baby.
Christian is furious and aroused, and so is Ana. Ana’s multiple personalities are back in full force this chapter. The Subconscious makes ‘The Scream’ faces at her, and The Inner Goddess has taken up figure skating. Apparently.
[So, sometime in that blissful period between finishing Chapter 6 and starting Chapter 7, I realised that Ana had a $24K cheque from the sale of her ostensibly classic car, an aging, broken down VW Beetle. I vaguely remember there being drama (quelle surprise), Ana refusing to take the cheque, and at least one full-out fight over it, and honestly I don’t remember what became of it in the end. So there is the distinct possibility that Ana can, in fact, pay for her scandalous bid at the charity auction. And if that’s the case, I don’t know WTF Christian is all mad about.]
Christian threatens to spank Ana and she is all Hoooray, which is weird because the spanking is the reason she left him the first time. She hated it. But now, after some drunken reflection, it’s totally hot. They stare way too long, slurp their lips at each other like the dogs in Lady and the Tramp, and then Christian (ever so discreetly!) takes Ana’s hand and puts it on Mr. Peepee. At the table. In the middle of dinner.
I’m not a prude, so this isn’t really the problem. Get this though: Ana claims he does it sooo slowly and surreptitiously that she doesn’t realise what’s happening until it is too late. Really? What other thing did you imagine your hand was doing in his crotchal area? Honestly woman. Ana darts her eyes around the table, but apparently no one cares that they are practically fucking.
Thank heavens for my mask, Ana thinks. Yeah. That mask isn’t hiding as much as you think. She’s like Clark Kent with those fucking glasses. No one will know my secret now! They are grinding and gasping and panting right at the table, but it’s O-fucking-K because she’s got her fucking mask.
Ana claims to feel his erection growing beneath her fingers. But..but..but it was already erect three paragraphs ago. I’m not sure she understands how these things work. It’s not an erection if it isn’t erect. I’m pretty sure there’s a metapod joke in here someplace…
It’s super effective!
The crowd rudely interrupts their sex play with loud clapping because, thank fucking god, the auction is over. Christian and Ana have to do socially acceptable things with their hands. They get ready to leave for some sexytimes when Christian’s manically cheerful sister, Mia, corners Ana and tells her it’s time for the First Dance Auction.
The First Dance Auction.
Let’s stop here. What do *you*, the reader, think that means? Something about first dances? And auctioning them off? Right?
But Ana haz a dum.
Because Ana gets herded onto stage with a dozen other ladies, including Mia, and then has to have this concept explained to her. Ana blushes, “from head to toe.” She calls it ‘humiliating.’ Mia assures her that Christian won’t let anyone else win a dance with her anyway. He’s pathologically jealous!
Ana argues with herself for a surprisingly long time about whether Christian can or should spend more money to bid on her. She rationalises that it’s for charity. Just like the twenty four thousand dollars he’s already spent. Ha! She forgot the cheque too. Ana *does* think Christian is paying for the weekend Ana won. Ok then. That’s settled.
Ana is further horrified to find that men are lining up to bid on the women on stage. OK Ana, they already explained how the auction works. Do we need to go over it again? The auction goes on for an interminably long time, during which Ana experiences all the various flavours of mortification.
She makes small talk with Mia and finds out that Christian was a problem child until the age of 15 when he suddenly became well behaved. Something creaks into place in Ana’s rusty old brain – that’s just when he met Mrs. Robinson! Now she’s confused, humiliated, and mad. Sweet.
Eventually, Ana is auctioned off at 10 times the price of any other girl. Ana is shocked that someone bids against Christian, and in a lame attempt at drama it is revealed to be Christian’s therapist.
Our crappy couple has some time to kill between the first dance auction and the actual first dance. Christian tells Ana he ‘has to show her something.’ Of course he does. His etchings? What could it be?
Well, I’m stumped.
They fuck off to…Christian’s old bedroom! Eeeeew! His parents have some kind of creepy shrine dedicated to teenage Christian, complete with band posters and ticket stubs so Ana can learn some much needed backstory for God’s sake. The room is tastefully decorated in all white: the only colour rich people like in 50Shadesland.
They then proceed to get it on in typical 50 Shades style. Ana begs Christian to spank her and he refuses because that’s how he rolls. He eventually gives in as long as she remembers to use the safe word. I’m not even sure they ever decided on a safe word. It’s been awhile. Ana notices that the spanking is either fueling her desire or quenching it. She can’t be sure. Let me repeat that. She can’t. Be sure.
It’s one thing or the other, baby. One or the other.
Afterwards, they get dressed without fixing their hair or wondering if they look decent. They go off to the dance which is wave after wave of boring backstory as Ana is forced to dance with Christian’s male relatives and his therapist. The therapist, Dr. Flynn, asks Ana if she is enjoying herself to which she answers, “I was.” Classy.
Ana torments Christian by pretending that the therapist has told her all his secrets in the two or three minutes they were alone together. Christian is predictably hurt and furious and Ana has to tell him she’s just teasing. I’m not sure how he runs a multinational corporation like he claims to do. Of course, his pet project IS a windup cell phone for destitute third world kids, soooo…well you see where I’m going. I’m starting to wonder more and more if his parents aren’t just bankrolling all his expensive failures. Yes, Dear, of course starving kids want wind-up cell phones. You’re a marketing genius.
Finally, after champagne, five glasses of wine, sex, and at least four dances, Ana needs to pee. My first thought was to wonder, After all this time? What are they setting her up for? What indeed.
It turns out to be Mrs. Robinson who has snuck past Christian’s bumbling Keystone Cops-style security team, to confront Ana. Ahhhhhh. Now I understand. Time to board the Overdramatic Express straight to Crazytown Station. Mrs. R dearly loves Christian and approves their relationship but if Ana hurts Christian, then Mrs. R will kill her. Ummm…ok. Thanks? Ana is shocked when Mrs. R says Christian loves her. Mrs. R is shocked when Ana calls her a pedophile. They trade insults until Christian gets there. It’s shocking. I guess. If you are a moron.
Ana storms out forcing Christian to choose between her and Mrs. R even though there has been ZERO indication that he has feelings for Mrs. R. Ana is glad that he makes the right choice but still reams him out because she’s just plain nuts. She expects Christian to make a choice but isn’t even sure what that means. What am I asking him to do, she asks us. I don’t know! It’s not a Choose Your Own Adventure book! You are supposed to tell us!
Christian suggests they leave, but instead Ana chooses to stay and pout.
Finally, in the moment I have been waiting for, Christian’s father corners Ana to ask how she’ll pay her twenty-four thousand dollar bid. Ana says she recently came into some money. Or rather, money came into her. Bah-dum tiss! So she does remember that cheque! I can’t even begin to speculate why she thought she was punishing Christian, or why she ‘had gotten away with it’ when it was her damn money.
Daddy Crazybucks drops some more backstory, and becomes one in a long line of Christian’s family members who tell Ana how surprised and glad they are that Christian is capable of having a relationship. Huge Red Flag. When your date’s own parents can’t believe that he is capable of loving anyone but himself, it is time to cut your losses. Run Ana! Run!
Of course, she doesn’t, and we get to spend an entire, agonizing page describing the ritzy high-priced fireworks (all the good kind, and sooo many!) before they finally leave the Convenient Way to Drop Backstory Auction and Pedophile Convention.
In the car, Christian announces that Ana will now be taking birth control shots, and that the doctor will arrive in the morning to administer same. Ana is vaguely mad and then just doesn’t care. This, Ana. This is a thing you can legitimately be mad about. Ana has been angry for most of the chapter over nothing. But this? A OK. I guess she used up her mad quota already?
Then, despite Christian’s crack security team, Mrs. R manages to sneak Ana a personal letter, asking Ana to meet her for lunch and threatening her again for good measure. I’m just…I feel like I’m getting some mixed messages here. Care to meet for lunch and death threats? Ummm…no, I’m good.
Christian assures Ana that he will deal with Mrs. R in the morning. Yay! He’s having her killed! They arrive back at Christian’s penthouse to find that another crazy ex has broken in, and is maybe dun dun dun still there. But maybe not. We don’t know. Ana is left standing in the lobby as the chapter finally, mercifully ends.
I have a monster migraine.