Oh chapter 16, you are such a fickle bitch. Chapter 15 left us pretty sure that Ana was trapped in the break room and about to be raped. But it turns out the Leering Satyr Boss doesn’t have rape on his mind, but rather something even better. Blackmail.
You will be very proud of Ana – she never once offers her boss tea, even though this is the break room and it is probably readily available. She tells him if he wants to air his grievances, they should take it to HR. Jack complains that Ana has been a bad employee, and that he had to fight with HR to hire her, and so Ana ought to repay him…some other way.
Still in full-on cartoon-villain mode he asks, “is it your boyfriend who’s leading you astray?”
He then implies that Ana is a corporate spy, sent by Christian Grey for…some…reason that I can’t even imagine. Seriously, Ana is the Inspector Gadget of the trashy romance world, sans awesome cybernetic implants. Can you even imagine her doing any spying?
Boss Jack reveals that he has been reading Ana’s emails and knows that Christian somehow put the kaibosh on his little rapey trip to New York. Remember those emails that Ana sent every single day of work? And that Christian told her to send from her personal phone? I may or may not have mentioned that; it didn’t seem important.
He demands to know what Christian has done to interfere. Here’s where they lose me. He knows that Christian is richer than God; he knows that Christian has been pulling strings in the company. He doesn’t yet know that Christian owns the company yet. He does know that Ana and Christian are dating. But he still thinks it is a good idea to try and blackmail Ana. His deal – “keep him happy,” which Ana interprets as meaning sex, and Jack will not reveal to the world that Christian is using his influence to, er, influence the company.
This would have been more enjoyable if there was anything at stake here. We know that Christian owns the company, and Ana knows it too. So the whole blackmail thing is a non-starter. There’s a small bit of tension as Jack menaces Ana into a corner and gets all rapey again. But it’s over quickly as Ana tells us that self-defence is one of the many arts that her stepfather Ray has taught her.
Ana describes her anxiety level as being at DEFCON 1, a very unapt description that we’ve heard before. I want to point out that DEFCON 1 is a full nuclear exchange – if you are at that stage, then it is already too late. There’s no defensive move you have left.
Ana breaks his finger and knees him in the goody bag before fleeing the building.
“Arrgh!” he yells; the same sound that Ana makes when she has an orgasm, oddly enough. As he rolls around on the floor I fully expect him to cry, “Curses! Foiled again!” But as usual, I’m disappointed. So much disappointment.
Ana runs out of the building and collapses. Christian and Taylor (always absent when it counts) rush over and when Ana manages to communicate what happened, they rush into the building. They are gone for a long time, eventually returning with Jack who is carrying a cardboard box. They trundle Jack into a cab NOT a police car, which seems pretty irresponsible considering what just happened. Perhaps they are taking him away to be quietly wiped out?
And then the metaphorical shit hits the rhetorical fan. Christian is furious. At Ana. This is all her fault for sending all her emails on her work account and not her Blackberry. Christian calls his personal IT guy to wipe all the emails and anything else he might find from the company records.
Christian gives her the silent treatment as they drive home, and Ana thinks, “how childish.” She is pissed because now there is going to be a fight when they get home.
When they get back to Escala everything is solved by the Magic Sex Elevator and its sexy, sexy force field. Christian’s anger is tempered down to whining between makeout sessions. He chastises Ana again about the Blackberry thing, and then sort of…forgets…to be angry. Christian goes off to finish some business, which I assume means deciding where to dump the body.
Ana, left to her own devices, has a glass of wine and sits around bemoaning her ‘interesting’ life. When Christian returns they slide effortlessly into supper and an uber awkward conversation about José. Remember all that shit that just happened? The blackmail? The almost-maybe rape? They don’t talk about that. Remember yesterday? With the shooty-shooty? They don’t talk about that either.
These two have their priorities straight. They talk about Jose and how Ana wants to go out for drinks with him and bring him home to Christian’s house for the night. Christian of course is jealous and angry. He doesn’t want her talking to any men. That’s OK because Ana doesn’t want Christian to talk to any women either. So it works out. In crazy world. I guess.
Ana is…well Ana never! She tells Christian she doesn’t like his friends (*cough* Elena *cough*) but she never complains about him seeing them. In fact Ana complains all the goddamn time about Christian seeing Elena. Christian is still pissed but he allows Ana to see Jose. Ana gets up from the table in case Christian feels like hitting her. She suspects that he might. Christian gives her a ‘crushing’ hug and Ana tells us she feels ‘safe.’ Mixed messages again. How safe can you feel when you thought he was going to hit you 25 words ago?
Christian has more ‘work’ to do and off he goes. Those bodies just don’t bury themselves I guess. Ana heads straight for the Red Room of Pain and starts rummaging through Christian’s stuff. She tells us that the room is usually locked up tight, so it’s pretty clear that this isn’t the first time she’s tried to get in.
Being the top level secret agent type that she is, Ana is caught almost immediately by Christian. I say caught because Ana considers it trespassing, but Christian doesn’t seem to care. She points out that he *is* always mad at her for some imagined slight, so it was a good bet that he’d be mad about this.
Christian demonstrates all his various implements, and explains what they are for. Ana is surprised that Christian buys a new set of toys for each submissive. So I guess she just assumed they were all using the same ones? Gross.
Talk turns to trust and control and both reveal that they feel helpless around each other. Healthy. I can see how this could be the foundation for a solid, lasting relationship. Apparently this is all sooper hawt, as Ana asks for a proper demonstration of one of the more pedestrian implements – the spreader bar. Christian agrees, but only on the condition that it doesn’t happen here. The Red Room is only for filthy sinners.
They head up the bedroom. On the way Christian asks if Ana wants to fuck on the stairs. She says yes, but he says no. Why did you fucking ask if you were just going to refuse? They do make it upstairs to the bedroom, where Ana uses her magical, no practice ever, fellatio skillz. Then there’s some…awkwardness. She says, “he comes, loudly and wetly, into my mouth.” I’m sorry, I know what they were getting at here, but it reads like somehow his penis made a whooshy firehose type sound. Or maybe it’s like a fog horn? I don’t know. In any case it’s loud.
Then Ana gets shackeled to the bar and they Get. It. On. Christian is amazed that Ana is wet. Sigh. That’s pretty normal. It’s like they don’t understand how sex works. Somebody doesn’t.
After it’s all done, Ana drifts off to sleep imagining Christian as a boy, ‘smiling shyly’ at her. Yeah. That’s not creepy. At. All. But it is the end of the chapter, all praise to the FSM.