Fucking finally, a short chapter. Halle-frikken-luiah!
Since the chapter is so short, it has to dramatically step up its tedium factor. I guess. Does that make sense? No? Welcome to 50 Shades! We start with an epic pages long montage detailing all the cloying, insipid things Cristian has ever said to Ana. Ana has clearly already pegged Christian as dead and is just waiting for confirmation.
She has somehow gotten back to Christian’s apartment and dragged all of Ana’s friends along for the ride. Christian’s family and staff are all huddled around in little groups waiting for news, and not you know, OUT LOOKING. They are watching the news and talking with ‘the authorities’ about Christian’s disappearance.
Ana begs God for Christian’s life and promises to go to church faithfully if he survives. I am eager to watch this not happen at all. Ana stares into the fireplace like a lobotomized manatee and waits for something to happen.
And then Christian just shows up.
There’s shrieking and hugging and then anger and accusations. Instead of getting up or moving or anything Ana stays in her chair and stares some more. She thinks about how much Christian’s family loves him and how he just doesn’t know it.
Ana finally gets up to hug Christian, and then she and Christian’s mother alternate between relief at seeing him alive and fury that he didn’t bother to call anyone. Christian tells them his helicopter engines both started on fire; he made an emergency landing and then hitchhiked home. No problem.
He stops to be briefly jealous that José is present and then says, “What’s with the welcoming committee?” He has no idea why his family is there. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch.
Back in chapter 15 Christian sent Taylor to check on Ana at work because she didn’t reply to his emails quickly enough, yet in this chapter, Christian has no idea that he ought to call somebody, anybody to let them know that he is in fact not dead. He was gone long enough that not only were the police involved in a search, but also long enough that the search had been called off.
In all that time it literally never occurred to him to think about anyone else’s feelings for even one second. HE knew he was okay, so what’s the big deal? He’s that asshole who doesn’t use his turn signals because *he* knows where he’s going. He actually starts to get irritated by all these people feeling feelings at him. The nerve!
Christian settles in and tells the long version of his story. Ana gets confused, stops paying attention and describes his watch instead, “an Omega with three small dials.”
It turns out that Christian was taking a detour, and flying extra low to show his passenger the sights on the way back. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to land quickly enough to get the fire out. So he very nearly almost died. From the number of times Carrick (Christian’s soap opera-themed father) mentions the engine fire and how odd it is, it is painfully clear that we are being primed to find out that it was no accident.
Are we about to tangle with Evil Ex number 3? Will there be an epic battle of the bands culminating in a vegan-mind-power boss fight? Here’s a hint Ana: if she has a giant glowy eye attack it with the arrows. You’re welcome.
Christian then apologises for not calling. By way of explanation he claims that he was in too much of a hurry to get back home to stop and call. Then he glares meaningfully at José. Ana fills in the gaps for us – basically Christian was sooo jealous at the thought of José existing at Ana he couldn’t be bothered to call them.
Or, maybe he didn’t call on purpose to make sure it ruined Ana’s night out. It wouldn’t be out of character, considering all the stalking and interfering he’s done up to this point. I mean, he bought the company where Ana works to spite her for refusing to work for him. Soooo yeah.
The party breaks up and everyone goes home, except for José who is stuck at Casa Awkwarda for the night. José heads for bed, but not before making an off colour remark about being available next time Ana’s Richie Rich boyfriend goes missing. Ana knows some real class acts, I must say.
Ana goes after Christian, who has gone off to find some supper. Christian makes sure to emphasise how much José is still in love with Ana. Because that’s what’s important right now. Christian reluctantly admits he had a few scary moments landing Charlie Tango, and that all his thoughts were about Ana.
Ana then realises that it is past midnight and technically Christian’s birthday. She gives him the first present. The one she bought in a tourist shop. It’s a keychain. A cheap, crappy keychain. But!!! It says “Yes.” Her birthday present is agreeing to marry him. Way to cop out of buying a gift, Ana!
And that’s it. Super short. Super sweet. Super insipid.