The thing about organizing a story by dates instead of chapters is that sometimes you have a day where nothing much happens. So your chapters may not necessarily all be the same size. Sure you could even out the chapters by skipping some short days and just talking about them later, but you could also just doggedly go day by day and say what happened and when. The choice you make says something about you as a writer.
It turns out that Thursday May 19, 2011 is one of those days when not a lot of stuff actually happens. The chapter is six pages long.
Christian wakes screaming from a nightmare. This happens often in the 50 Shades series. And that’s just me.
Seriously though, Christian informs us that he has woken up screaming every day since Sunday. His dream consists mostly of smells, with Christian telling us that it smells like beer, cigarettes and poverty. It would be nice if there was a particular smell he associated with poverty, but as usual we are left guessing. Description, it’s super effective.
Christian is sooo torn up about his decision to warn Ana away from…himself that he can’t sleep. He’s pissed that he has to work AND play golf when all he wants to do is lie in bed and moan about his lost chance with Ana. He briefly considers calling Elena to find him a new sub which seems to be his go to solution for anything.
Then we are treated to a little wandering-around-the-house-drinking-a-glass-of-water action. Gripping! Christian goes back to bed and stares at the ceiling until his alarm goes off.
Time to make the donuts motherfucker.
On the radio, Christian hears about the sale of a rare manuscript, and he thinks of Ana. He has a brilliant idea! He’ll give Ana a book as an apology for getting her hopes up, totally not as a gesture to show he’s still interested. Because he’s not. He’s totally not.
That’s kind of sweet right? Christian is going to acquire a rare manuscript at great expense for Ana! Ha ha, nope! Why bother? He already has several rare manuscripts just lying around, so he’ll just give Ana one of those. That’ll be fine. In Fifty Shades of Grey, the gift was actually kind of nice – I assumed it was a thoughtful, well considered purchase just for Ana. Now it’s a lame, no effort cop-out.
At least Christian could seem mysterious and dark when we couldn’t see into his thoughts. Grey just lays him bare as an unrepentant asshole. Neither book he has on hand (Jude the Obscure and Tess of the D’Urbervilles) is particularly romantic, so he just goes with Tess. Anyway, he figures, Ana’s probably never owned anything that expensive before so she should be super impressed by it.
He gets to work and is immediately annoyed by all his ultra-hetero female employees all falling all over themselves to hit on him. He’s disgusted that the receptionist greets him with a “flirtatious wave.” Dude. She’s the receptionist. Being cheerful and friendly is her goddamn job. Get over yourself.
But he calls her, “a cheesy tune on repeat.” Honestly dude. If you can’t stand your employees, hire some that you DO like. Why not hire some men? Or some women who have a bit of fucking professionalism? Or, if no one can resist his vampire billionaire powers, why not hire gay women who won’t care how attractive he is? Because there are no gay people in 50 Shadesland, that’s why. You’d think at least one gay man would trip over himself to hit on the world’s most magical billionaire, but it never happens. The only time gayness is even mentioned is as an insult and horrible social gaffe.
Hey! 1950 called, it want’s it’s social mores back.
Christian gets to his office and orders a coffee from his personal assistant. He’s glad to see Olivia (a random employee we’ve never met) is gone today because she’s “fucking irritating.” His PA asks how he would like his coffee. Christian doesn’t want milk today, not because that’s what he feels like drinking, but because he wants to, “keep them guessing how I take my coffee.”
He calls Welch to find out when Ana’s final exam is so that he can send the book as a gift for finishing school. Then we head right on in to Christian’s super important business meeting. We learn that he is a super important business man who transacts business at his business factory. There’s talk of shipments and airdrops and greasing palms to get ‘the shipment’ into the Sudan.
This is the fourth book, and we still don’t really know what he does for a living. One of the books assured us that he was developing wind up, or possibly solar powered phones for poor Africans. So is that what they are shipping to Sudan? We’ll never know! But we do know he is totally OK with bribing politicians to get his own way. Nice.
After the meeting Olivia shows up with Christian’s lunch. Dammit, he hates Olivia. Has he mentioned that? She can’t do anything right. He hopes to hell she has brought him a suitable lunch! Of course, he won’t tell his staff what he actually wants for lunch. Heavens to Betsy no! Then he couldn’t bitch when they got it wrong.
Ok, we are supposed to like this guy. Why isn’t he even a little bit likeable? Throw us a bone for God’s sake.
Christian writes a note to go with the book. We can only hope that he dots his i’s with little hearts. Then he has his too-eager staff send it off. It’s only at this point that Christian admits to himself that maybe he does want to see Ana again. Maybe. A little. We can’t be sure.
And that’s the end of the chapter.