It is picture day at IckyFeels Junior High and Christian is mentally gearing himself up for the big event. He takes a two hour run and listens to Moby. Is Moby rich people music? Is it running music? I don’t know. But I do know a cliché when I see one and here one comes right now!
As Christian runs, uncertain if he will ever win his One True Love™ “sunshine breaks through the clouds and it gives me hope.”
Awwwww…sweet huh? It’s nice how Christian’s moods dictate the weather. And by nice I mean ‘unsettling.’
He passes a coffee shop and wonders if he should ask Ana on a date. A coffee date. He gets back to the hotel and eats before showering, because, he informs us, he does not tolerate hunger.
Taylor comes to tell Christian that the kids are set up for the photo shoot. His hair is still wet and unstyled but he doesn’t ‘give a shit.’ He doesn’t give a shit how he looks. He’s a public figure with an image to maintain, a clearly vain fucker who uses his good looks to get what he wants, but he doesn’t care how he looks for his publicity photos?
He doesn’t care how he looks to show off for Ana? That doesn’t even make sense. He’s a calculating guy who notices hair and clothing choices. He’d spend a little effort to look good.
Christian arrives at the shoot, finds Ana and shakes her hand. He wants to kiss it instead. He even grosses himself out with the insipid sweetness of this thought.
Kate introduces herself and Christian assesses how much she resembles her father. His conclusion: a lot. He notes that she will have never wanted for anything in her life. He wonders why she is friends with Ana as they have nothing in common. Christian says this knowing almost nothing about either woman. But he can tell with his
vampire billionaire powers. He assesses their clothes and handshake styles and determines that they have nothing in common.
Then, a wild José appears and it is ON. Christian immediately assumes he is Ana’s boyfriend. He immediately wonders: are they fucking?
José extends his hand for shaking and says, “Mr. Grey.” Christian loses his metaphorical shit. He calls this “a warning.” And tells us that Jose is, “telling me to back off.” Yes Christian, everyone is challenging your manliness ALL THE TIME. He is just as delusional as Ana.
He lets himself be directed around for the shoot while he watches Ana interact. He decides that Kate likes to be in charge and Ana likes to be submissive so thaaat must be why they are friends. Not because of anything as crass as shared interests, or experiences. That’s crazy talk!
Ana looks at Christian and for some reason he decides to stare her down, being very gratified when he succeeds. Um, okay dude, you out-stared and naturally meek person. Nooot that big of an accomplishment.
Then the pictures are done and Christian angles her out into the hall to ask for that coffee date. There’s a brief moment of tension where we are led to believe that Ana doesn’t’ want to go. But it turns out she just has to change cars with Kate so Kate can drop everyone back home.
Ana heads off to trade keys with Kate while Christian broods in the hallway. He imagines Ana making out with José and gets all mad and jealous. Of his imagination. When Ana gets back he is relieved that she doesn’t look like she’s been kissing. Whatever that might mean.
They board the Sexy Elevator of Sex, and interrupt another couple making out. Christian mutters: “What is it about elevators?” Yup. They went there. Somebody has a thing for elevators. I guess. But the elevator soon works its sexy magic on them and “the atmosphere is thick with unfulfilled desire.”
Christian consoles himself by thinking about how Ana is much too young, and much too innocent for his illicit advances. And anyway, holding hands is super groovy. For some reason they are holding hands.
They arrive at the coffee shop and Christian memorises Ana’s order so he can know it for later. He agonises because the cashiers are nice to him, and all he wants is for them to shut up and give him his order. He should be on white whine.
As he turns to head back to the table he catches Ana looking at him and a, “bubble of hope swells in my chest.” Oh honey, that’s just gas. You should get that looked at. He ‘manages a cordial response,’ to the cashier despite her being unfailingly nice to him.
What an asshole.
Christian sits down and begins interrogating Ana. José, is he her boyfriend? Paul from the hardware store, he is her boyfriend, right? Ana tells him no and makes a huge mess with her tea – these things are both pleasing to his Royal Craziness. But despite all this scintillating conversation, Ana seems nervous. Under questioning, Ana admits that she finds Christian intimidating.
“You should find me intimidating.”
He says. He says that. What a guy! No, dude, buddy, pal, she should be afraid of you. Because you are crazy. It gets weirder though, I swear. Christian calls Anastasia by her first name, but expects Ana to call him Mr. Grey. When she calls him on it, he thinks to himself that he doesn’t even know if that is his real name.
Dude. That’s not how names work. If his adoptive parents named him Christian and that’s the name he goes by then that is his name. His birth name isn’t some magical power source – it doesn’t matter. He certainly doesn’t remember it, so why get all emo about it?
Then this line happens:
As she tells me she likes her tea weak and black, for a moment I think she’s describing what she likes in a man.
Whaaaaaaat?! What do I even say about that line? I’m not going even going to try, because it is its own worst enemy.
Then, in a fit of the ‘One Directions’ Christian realises that Ana doesn’t know she’s beautiful. That’s the problem! He peels back the paper on his muffin as sexfully as he can while imagining all the sexy things they could do with…a…muffin?
Christian continues to press her for details about her family, while not really even listening and thinking about how dreamy her eyes are. He imagines taking her on vacation to all the tropical places where the ocean would match her eyes. But he’s not a flowers and romance kind of guy.
Ana then (Gasp! Swoon!) asks Christian about his family. He’s upset and tries to redirect her to another topic. He tells her that she already asked him some pretty ‘probing’ questions at the interview last week, so she doesn’t get to ask any more.
And, of course, if you didn’t get what Christian was aiming at with his probing questions remark, he spells it out for you – You asked if I was gay.
The horror! The horror! Apparently they are going to flog this just as much in Grey as they did in 50 Shades. And it is just as uncomfortable for the reader. Both Ana and Christian are mortified by the mere possibility that someone is gay. Think about it: not a single incidental side character in the series is gay. Not one. Nobody. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
They should have called this book 50 Straights of White because that’s what it is. The straightiest, whitiest book ever. Jose is the only PoC, as far as I can see. Take from that what you will.
After bringing up the forbidden question, Ana is suitably flustered and babbles about her family instead of asking Christian anything more. Ana talks about how much she likes books and it makes Christian…sad. He can’t compete with romantic heroes from books! That’s not what he is!
The date is starting to fall apart. Ana looks at her watch and thanks him for the tea. She really has to be going. Christian moans internally that he’s blown the deal. He offers to walk her back to her car because he’s suddenly desperate for Ana to stay.
You wouldn’t think it possible, but it just gets weirder. Ana reveals that she always wears jeans, and Christian is way turned off. Jeans are gross. Then Ana asks if Christian has a girlfriend. That’s the last straw. Christian is done with this date. He doesn’t do the girlfriend thing.
Ana is so shocked she falls into the road and almost gets run over by a cyclist. Christian catches her and they stare longingly into each other’s eyes. Christian notices that she smells like apple orchard. Ana puts her lips out like a cartoon (I remember this part from the other book!) and Christian pushes her away dramatically.
Ana is pissed, and Christian gets sent into an emo spiral. He warns Ana to stay away. He just isn’t the right kind of man for a nice girl like her. They return to the hotel in pissey silence and they exchange curt goodbyes. Ana leaves and all Christian can think about is blue eyes and apple orchards.