Happy Wednesday, Persephoneers! It’s time for yet another recap of Fifty Shades Freed. We’re currently on Chapter Eighteen, which adds more drama to Ana’s life as her father’s just been in a car accident. Can’t this girl catch a break?
“I’ll see you there.” Mr. Rodriguez chokes and the line goes dead.
A dark dread seizes me by the throat, overwhelming me. Ray. No. No. I take a deep steadying breath, pick up the phone and call Roach. He answers on the second ring.
Well, for the boss’s wife who can probably come and go as she pleases, she certainly is pretty conscientious, isn’t she?
“Is Christian there?” I breathe.
“Um . . . he’s somewhere in the building, ma’am. He’s left his BlackBerry charging with me.”
I groan silently with frustration.
“Can you tell him I called, and that I need to speak with him? It’s urgent.”
“I could try and track him down. He does have a habit of wandering off sometimes.”
So she has to keep her BlackBerry on her AT ALL TIMES and pretty much answer whenever he calls, but he can leave his phone with his personal assistant and do whatever? Is there something wrong with this picture?
“I have a meeting with some guys over from Taiwan. I can’t blow them off. It’s a deal we’ve been hammering out for months.”
Why do I know nothing about this?
“I’ll leave as soon as I can.”
“Okay,” I whisper. And I want to say that it’s okay, stay in Seattle, and sort out your business, but the truth is I want him with me.
It’s not Twinings, but some cheap nasty brand, and it tastes disgusting.
I remember the last time I waited for news. The last time I thought all was lost when Charlie Tango went missing. Closing my eyes, I offer up a silent prayer for the safe passage of my husband. I glance at my watch: 2:15 p.m. He should be here soon. My tea is cold . . . Ugh!
“Have you eaten?” he asks.
I shake my head.
“Are you hungry?”
I shake my head.
“But you’re cold?” he asks, eyeing José’s jacket.
I nod. He shifts in his chair, but wisely says nothing.
I really find this to be a disturbing trend throughout the book, Ana not eating. It’s very easy to lose your appetite if you’re sick or stressed out, but you have to eventually eat something just to keep going.
There’s more to this, though: In some Victorian novels, you’d see the more virginal, feminine young heroines hardly eat anything and excuse themselves from meals because they weren’t feeling well. A perfect example of this is Laura Fairlie in the first few chapters of The Woman in White, when Marian Halcombe and Walter Hartright are at lunch. Laura, for whatever reason, is tired and not feeling well, so she goes to her room to rest. I think E. L. James thought this trope would accentuate Ana’s fragile femininity, but it’s not working out too well. Instead, it’s making Ana dependent on others to tell her when she needs to do things that she ought to know when to do for herself. And I certainly mean no disrespect to those with eating disorders; an eating disorder is a very complicated illness that you spend your whole life recovering from and is completely different from some “fragile” female character “forgetting to eat.”
“How was Charlie Tango?” I ask.
He grins. “Oh, she was yar,” he says, quiet pride in his voice. It makes me smile properly for the first time in several hours, and I glance at him, puzzled.
“It’s a line from The Philadelphia Story. Grace’s favorite film.”
“I don’t know it.”
“I think I have it on Blu-Ray at home. We can watch it and make out.” He kisses my hair and I smile once more.
How can you NOT know about The Philadelphia Story? I swear, Ana just sat in a hobbit hole her whole life and read the same books over and over again AND HAS NO CLUE ABOUT ANYTHING AFTER CIRCA 1910! SHE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO WORK A LAPTOP IN THE FIRST BOOK!
“How were the Taiwanese?”
“Amenable,” he says.
“They let me buy their shipyard for less than the price I was willing to pay.”
He’s bought a shipyard? “That’s good?”
“Yes. That’s good.”
“But I thought you had a shipyard, over here.”
“I do. We’re going to use that to do the fitting-out. Build the hulls in the Far East. It’s cheaper.”
Oh. “What about the workforce at the shipyard here?”
“We’ll redeploy. We should be able to keep redundancies to a minimum.” He kisses my hair. “Shall we check on Ray?” he asks, his voice soft.
Don’t you just love how he says that? “Oh, yeah, baby, I just bought a shipyard from the Taiwanese because building ships over there is cheaper. Some people might lose their jobs because I don’t want to pay them more than I need to, but hey, all in a day’s work, baby! Oh, and how’s your dad?”
“All Mr. Steele’s vitals are good,” Nurse Kellie says quietly.
“Thank you,” Christian murmurs. I glance up in time to see her gape. She’s finally gotten a good look at my husband. I don’t care. She can gape at Christian all she likes as long as she makes my father well again.
Whoa, huge slam against nurses here! And most nurses I have seen have an ID badge with all of their information somewhere on their uniforms so they know who the fuck you’re talking to. Please do your research!
“You didn’t get into the bath with Leila, did you? That time you bathed her?” I ask.
He stiffens and snorts, his hand tightening on my shoulder where it rests. “Um . . . no.” He sounds astounded.
“I thought so. Good.”
He tugs gently at my hair knotted in a crude bun, tilting my head around so he can see my face. “Why do you ask?”
I shrug. “Morbid curiosity. I don’t know . . . seeing her this week.”
If you cared that much, why did you even marry him?
It’s been an emotional day. I crane my head around and gaze at him a beat. We’re not going to make love? And I’m relieved. In fact, he’s had a totally hands-off approach with me all day. I wonder if I should be alarmed by this turn of events, but since my inner goddess has left the building and taken my libido with her, I’ll think about it in the morning.
There’s just so much wrong with this paragraph, I don’t even know where to begin.
And that’s it for this week!
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