Chapter 17 of Fifty Shades Darker: In Which We Find Tedious, Barely Believable Plot Points

Chapter 17 starts with early morning sexy times which involve hissing, for some reason. It also involves Christian showing off his amateur magician skillz, because he produces condom packets out of thin air just when he needs them. Ta-da!

During all this, Christian’s eyes manage to be glacial, volcanic, stormy, and blazing all at the same time. Those are some crazy-ass funky eyes. Ana is taken with a fit of giggles, and Christian tells her that sex is not the appropriate time for, you know, laughing or having fun.

“I need to stop you, and I think I know how,” he says ominously…

I love the choice of words here. Should sex ever be ominous? It almost sounds like he’s going to kill her. At least then the book would be over. Ugh.

And then it’s breakfast time! Because (yet again!) why describe the sex when we can skip straight to breakfast? The breakfast is granola – good wholesome granola. I’m not sure what kind of novel you thought this was?!

Ana is now dressed all in grey for her job that she has but doesn’t have anymore. She’s the personal assistant to the guy who just got very fired for trying to rape her. So, just exactly what is she going to do? Doesn’t matter! Christian owns the company and he says she still has a job.

They head off to work, and Christian finally lets Ana drive her own car. She asks to turn on the radio, but Christian says no.

“I want you to concentrate,” he says sharply.

Ana snaps that she can concentrate just fine with the radio on. They listen to King of Pain, by the Police. They make some lame innuendos about it, and I want them never to mention it again. It is one of my favourite songs. In fact, I choose to believe that they never mentioned it in the first place.

It turns out Ana can’t concentrate with the radio on. Instead of paying attention to the road, Ana mentally catalogs all the phone calls she will be able to make now that she doesn’t have to pretend to work. She wonders how she is going to fill her day, and who her new boss will be. Christian tries to snap her out of her daydream, but she immediately lapses into a montage of learning to drive.

They do make it to the parking lot without an accident, more by luck than anything else. They get all emo, and Christian bemoans the fact that Ana requires more than one day to think about his marriage proposal. They make kissy face until Ana insists that she has to go to work. She has important work to work at, you know, at work.

Ana arrives at work and is immediately promoted to her old boss’s position of editor. Yeah, that’s believable. It may just be the least believable thing to ever happen in this book. The HR lady tells her that Jack had “high hopes” for her. Well, he did, but those hopes involved putting his penis inside her vagina, so…maybe not the best qualifications for the job. Oh well, they’ll find out soon enough!

The promotion is so unbelievable that Ana doesn’t believe it. She immediately calls Christian on her Blackberry to accuse him of interfering. Christian is furious that she would ever suggest that he might interfere in her job. Like by firing her boss. Or, you know, buying the company. He would never, ever do that. For good measure he yells at her for not calling on her Blackberry, except that she did. Force of habit I guess.

Ana spends the day doing editor things, or so we are led to believe. She tells us that she reads the detailed job description until the HR lady buzzes her three and a half hours later. That is some detailed job description. She is so busy she doesn’t get to make any of those phone calls she was daydreaming about. Her two lunch dates, Mia and Ethan both show up and she sends them off for lunch together in a bout of emergency matchmaking. Ana briefly worries about Christian’s reaction, because no one asked his permission before sending Mia out on a date.

Because apparently his permission is necessary before sending his adult sister out for lunch with a man.

But it is all better in just a moment because Christian has sent roses! And a love note! That excuses any and all behaviour.They exchange some email, and Ana proposes a picnic and I hope to God that doesn’t happen. Please don’t make me go on a picnic with these two idiots. It’ll be like going on a picnic with Zapp Brannigan and Kwazy Kat. Sweet lord.

At the end of the day Ana suddenly remembers that it is Christian’s birthday soon. She ducks into a souvenir store to buy him a surprise, because if there’s one thing millionaires love, it is cheap mass produced tchotchkes. Our crappy couple meets up and Ana tells us he is dressed like a ‘bad boy’ in jeans and a white T-shirt. Ummmm…okaaaaay. Maybe in 50’s themed musical theatre. She exclaims, “You’ve showered.” As if that is something extra special. Well, for her it is, but Ana, normal people shower daily.

They head off to meet Christian’s therapist, Dr. Flynn. He starts the appointment under the impression that this will be a couples therapy session, but he quickly sends Christian out of the room. He proceeds to tell Ana about all about Christian’s past and all his diagnoses. To hell with client confidentiality. Dr. Quackenstein also tells Ana that she has basically cured Christian of all his past ‘illnesses.’ That is some solid professional assessment. See ladies? You can change your man! A doctor just said so! It must be true. He may not have a real “degree”, or actual ‘training” but you can trust him.

Ana has trouble absorbing “all these long words,” that Dr. Flynn uses. It’s funny because Dr. Flynn doesn’t really use any long words, and the two he does use – parasomnia, and haphephobia – he explains immediately. Ana tells him that she is afraid that Christian is a sadist. Dr Flynn tells her that is not a thing anymore.

“Dr. Flynn has lost me again. I blink at him. He smiles kindly at me.”

That speaks for itself. Doesn’t it? He gets that she doesn’t really know what’s going on. As a general rule. Then Christian barges back into the room, and tells them the session is over, so it is over.

Ana’s phone rings and she is scared because it is Jose. It’s a good thing they are out of the therapists office by this time because this is all kinds of wrong. She isn’t worried because she hates talking to Jose, but rather because Christian gets insane jealous rages when she does. Ana pretends everything is hunky dorey and invites Jose out for drinks even though Christian frowns and frets the whole time. After Ana hangs up, Christian makes the obligatory douche-remark about Jose ‘trying anything,’ which leads into a fight about Ana driving. Her own car. Christian allows it, but insults her and backseat drives the whole time. Eventually Ana is so angry that she pulls over and has a hissy fit on the sidewalk while Christian pretends that he doesn’t want to drive.

Ana is refuses to get back into the car until Christian agrees to drive. Which is what he wanted in the first place. Christian is all smug after that, and Ana has to tell him she does not want to argue. That’s funny. You did just a minute ago.

Then Christian mentions that he wants her to be “more” than just a sexual partner. The very word more (even though nobody ever explains what they mean by that) sends Ana into fits of ecstasy. Christian makes a sudden turn onto a street Ana doesn’t recognise, and we end the chapter with Christian telling her that their destination is a surprise.

Surprise Ana! You’re going to sleep with the fishes tonight!

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