Absolutely fuck all happens in chapter 12 of Fifty Shades Freed. To the point where I am like, “why is it even there?” It does have some quantity of bad sex, so that might explain it, but taken as a whole, it’s like our protagonists are trapped together in a pit of existential despair where they are forced to desperately emote at each other in order to maintain their already limited sanity.
Here’s the short version: first they have a super emo “lets feel all the feels” session which includes a tiny little bit of Christian’s backstory; then they have sex a few times, first in the playroom and then back in the bedroom; they have another feel-the-feels-a-thon and then decide to take that trip to Aspen that Ana bid on at the charity auction at the beginning of book 2.
I guess those are technically “things” and they technically “happen” but, oh my God, they aren’t interesting things that I care about having happened.
Chapter 12 starts by reiterating that Jack was born in Detroit. This is clearly meant to be deep and meaningful except that it doesn’t connect with any piece of information that we have already been given. We then find out that Christian and Elliot were adopted in Detroit, so these two things are connected. Somehow. I guess. Because no one elaborates for the rest of this chapter anyway.
Then the feels, OH GOD! The feels!
Christian and Ana whisper desperately at each other about random topics. Ana whispers that she likes to imagine Christian as an abused child and feel all the horrific feels. She whisper-tells Christian that she *knows* that this is why he is so controlling. OK Mrs. Freud. Whatever.
Christian feels all the angry feels and whisper-chides Ana for defying him. If his controlling tendencies are the result of his childhood abuse then clearly Ana should go along with it because he is a poor broken baby. Christian tells Ana he *knows* that she does it on purpose to aggravate him. Ana acts all ‘well I never’, but the homunculi in her head facepalm in unison. She absolutely does it on purpose.
Ana is a terrible person.
Then Ana says something telling: “I just can’t seem to get a handle on how far you’ll overreact.” Well, duh. That’s why he does it: to keep you off balance.
Christian curses his therapist and Ana goes on to make a huge leap of “logic” (if you can even call it that). Ana tells Christian that even though he couldn’t save his mother, he doesn’t need to protect Ana because she is not his mother.
This makes zero sense. Christian said very explicitly that he enjoys beating women who look like Ana to punish his mother for not protecting him. So, since everything is really about Ana ALWAYS, she has somehow turned that into ‘Christian is abusive to her to protect her like he couldn’t protect his mother’.
Those are two vastly different things.
But, the huge mental game of twister Ana is playing makes Christian’s problematic behaviour A OK since Ana imagines it is for her own benefit. She tells Christian that she loves him and that she will always love him no matter what he does to her. That’s a biiiig promise considering all the crazy controlling and stalking he has already shown himself capable of.
Then we go back to Mr. McFeely who is feeling all the sads. Doesn’t Ana know that using the safe word hurt his feelings? He demands to know why she would do that. Ana admits that she “didn’t know how far” he’d go. She pussyfoots around that fact that she was tied up by a crazy man and literally afraid he might kill her. But who cares about that because goddammit it hurt Christian’s feelings!
Christian assures her that he would never hurt her but he just “got caught up in the moment.” Damn right! If she would just stop making him so mad he wouldn’t have to hurt her! And this makes Ana happy. She’s glad that she can drive him into a homicidal rage.
These two are both fucking insane. And not in a nice fun way. This is the most dysfunctional relationship I have ever read about. They spend a full page telling each other just how much they love and need one another and then they fall asleep exhausted from all the feels.
Ana wakes up and Christian is having a nightmare. Ana, being the gentle kind soul she is, decides the best way to deal with that is to shake the shit out of Christian until he wakes up. Christian half wakes up and then jumps on Ana like, I don’t even know. Something jumpy.
They have sex then and there with Ana thinking how she is going to heal Christian with sex. She thinks that. She’s dumb. Turns out Christian isn’t as worried about Ana as she is about him, because he’s done in like 2 seconds. Only then does Christian properly wake up, and he feels bad about it. He promises to make it up to Ana and there is the usual sexy spinning and exploding and at one point Ana even disappears off of planet earth.
Then they spend an entire page debating whether to sleep in the playroom or go back to the bedroom. What the point is, I will never know. Eventually Christian carries Ana to the bedroom, because somebody has to choose one way or the other.
Ana wakes up later AGAIN (I’m assuming this is all one night) and Christian is not in bed. He’s up playing deep sad soulful piano. He reveals that his nightmare involved Ana being dead and they go back to bed.
They wake YET again and Ana thinks about what a poor fragile baby Christian is. The same poor fragile baby who made her fear for her safety how many times now? But Ana decides that she is strong enough for both of them, whatever that might mean because I sure as fuckfire don’t know. Also I don’t care.
Christian wakes up and tells Ana to get ready as they are flying to Aspen to use that trip Ana bid on at the Charity Ball way back when before they got married. We fade to black on another round of that old fashioned healing sex and then fade back in at the air strip.
Ana is excited because Christian clearly has a secret, and keeping things from each other is a total turn on. Christian eventually admits that he has a surprise which honestly could be anything because with a crazy billionaire for a BF pretty much anything is possible.
They get on the corporate jet that they forgot about during their honeymoon, and surprise! Ana’s friends are there. Kate, Ethan, Elliot, and Mia. José is notably NOT INVITED. But Ana doesn’t notice. She also doesn’t notice that Elliot and Mia aren’t actually her friends, but rather Christian’s relations. But Ana can’t afford to be picky because Christian keeps her on a very short social leash.
Ana is agog, and wonders how Christian arranged all this. Well, he claims to have emailed them at 3am that same morning and invited them. Every one of them magically answered their email at 3 am and magically didn’t have to work or change any other plans to be there on like 6 hours’ notice.
I strongly suspect that Christian sent his security team out and rounded them all up at gunpoint. Considering all that has happened, it would not be out of character for him. Big smiles! Everybody’s happy!
The flight attendant shows up and Ana makes the time in her busy schedule to be jealous. How dare she exist! In the same universe as Ana and Christian! That bitch! Ana gets bored of hating random other women and her mind wanders. She wonders why Christian can’t always act like he is right now, instead of all controlling. This is the same Ana who was psychoanalysing his mommy issues just last night. She had it all sussed out. I guess it slipped her mind.
The only interesting moment comes right at the end of the chapter. Ana asks if they are going to be skiing and everyone laughs at her because it’s August. And also because she’s stupid.
There’s some bland small talk and then Kate asks Ana why Jack got fired. Ana lies and says it is because Jack made a pass at her. If by made a pass, she means ‘cornered her in the lunch room and tried to rape her’ then yes, he made a pass at her. No one mentions the fact that you can’t get fired for ‘making a pass’ at someone. And I find it disturbing that Ana can’t differentiate between the two things.
Elliot quips that Christian moves fast, having married his first girlfriend within weeks of meeting her. Ana agrees. She tells herself that Elena and the other FIFTEEN subs didn’t count. She’s not kidding. They are no one to her, and she decides they are no one to Christian either.
And then the flight attendant offers everyone coffee and that’s the end. That was a whole lot of nothing.