Happy Thursday! And on this penultimate day of the work week, let’s continue our recap of Chapter Twenty-five of Fifty Shades Freed, in which we’re learning the story of Christian’s tragic past and the reasons why he acts as he does.
“She channeled my anger.” His mouth presses together in a bleak line. “Mostly inward—I realize that now. Dr. Flynn’s been on and on about this for some time. It was only recently that I saw our relationship for what it was. You know . . . on my birthday.”
I shudder as the unwelcome memory of Elena and Christian verbally eviscerating each other at Christian’s birthday party surfaces unwelcome in my mind.
“For her that side of our relationship was about sex and control and a lonely woman finding some kind of comfort with her boy toy.”
“But you like control,” I whisper.
“Yes. I do. I always will, Ana. It’s who I am. I surrendered it for a brief while. Let someone make all my decisions for me. I couldn’t do it myself—I wasn’t in a fit state. But through my submission to her, I found myself and found the strength to take charge of my life . . . take control and make my own decisions.”
“Become a Dom?”
“Dropping out of Harvard?”
He shakes his head. “You,” he mouths. He caresses my cheek with his knuckles. “She knew,” he whispers.
I frown. “She knew what?”
“That I was head over heels in love with you. She encouraged me to go down to Georgia to see you, and I’m glad she did. She thought you’d freak out and leave. Which you did.”
I pale. I’d rather not think about that.
“She thought I needed all the trappings of the lifestyle I enjoyed.”
So Mrs. Robinson, or Elena, encouraged Christian to stalk Ana and show up in Atlanta even though she specifically told him she wanted to be left alone during her trip? Maybe this was all an elaborate scheme to have Ana break up with Christian so Mrs. Robinson could have another shot with him? You think?
He nods. “It enabled me to keep everyone at arm’s length, gave me control, and kept me detached, or so I thought. I’m sure you’ve worked out why,” he adds softly.
“Your birth mom?”
“I didn’t want to be hurt again. And then you left me.” His words are barely audible. “And I was a mess.”
“I’ve avoided intimacy for so long—I don’t know how to do this.”
No, but you certainly know how to be an abusive asshole, don’t you?
My frown deepens. He reaches over and traces his finger over the middle of my brow above my nose.
“You have a V here when you frown,” he murmurs. “It’s very soft to kiss. I can behave so badly . . . and yet you’re still here.”
“Why are you surprised I’m still here? I told you I wasn’t going to leave you.”
“Because of the way that I behaved when you told me you were pregnant.” He runs his finger down my cheek. “You were right. I am an adolescent.”
Oh shit . . . I did say that. My subconscious glares at me. His doctor said that!
“Christian, I said some awful things.” He puts his index finger over my lips.
“Anyway, at some point in the evening—about halfway through the second bottle—she leaned over to touch me. And I froze,” he whispers, throwing his arm over his eyes.
My scalp tingles. What’s this?
“She saw that I recoiled from her. It shocked both of us.” His voice is low, too low.
Christian look at me! I tug at his arm and he lowers it, turning to gaze into my eyes. Shit. His face is pale, his eyes wide.
“What?” I breathe.
He frowns, and swallows.
Oh . . . what isn’t he telling me? Do I want to know?
“She made a pass at me.” He’s shocked, I can tell.
All the breath is sucked from my body. I feel winded, and I think my heart has stopped. That fucking bitch troll!
He snorts. “Baby, I understand angry.” He pauses then sighs. “You see, Ana, I want you to myself. I don’t want to share you. What we have, I’ve never had before. I want to be the center of your universe, for a while at least.”
Oh, Christian. “You are. That’s not going to change.”
He gives me an indulgent, sad, resigned smile. “Ana,” he whispers. “That’s just not true.”
“Blip will love you, too. You’ll be the center of Blip’s—Junior’s world,” I whisper. “Children love their parents unconditionally, Christian. That’s how they come into the world. Programmed to love. All babies . . . even you. Think about that children’s book you liked when you were small. You still wanted your mom. You loved her.”
“That’s why you’re able to love me,” I murmur. “Forgive her. She had her own world of pain to deal with. She was a shitty mother, and you loved her.”
He gazes at me, saying nothing, eyes haunted—by memories I can’t begin to fathom.
Oh, please don’t stop talking.
Eventually he says, “I used to brush her hair. She was pretty.”
“One look at you and no one would doubt that.”
“She was a shitty mother.” His voice is barely audible.
So he’s an asshole and it’s okay because he has issues with his mother and he had a horrible childhood. There are plenty of other people who have had horrible childhoods who aren’t assholes like Christian.
I nod and he closes his eyes. “I’m scared I’ll be a shitty father.”
I stroke his dear face. Oh, my Fifty, Fifty, Fifty. “Christian, do you think for one minute I’d let you be a shitty father?”
He opens his eyes and gazes at me for what feels like an eternity. He smiles as relief slowly illuminates his face. “No, I don’t think you would.” He caresses my face with the back of his knuckles, gazing at me in wonder. “God, you’re strong, Mrs. Grey. I love you so much.” He kisses my forehead. “I didn’t know I could.”
“Oh, Christian,” I whisper, trying to contain my emotions.
“Now, that’s the end of your bedtime story.”
“That’s some bedside story . . .”
He smiles wistfully, but I think he’s relieved. “How’s your head?”
“My head?” Actually, it’s about to explode with all you’ve told me!
“Does it hurt?”
“Good. I think you should sleep now.”
Sleep! How can I sleep after all that?
And my head is exploding, too. This was just too much and too melodramatic.
So here. Have some cake.
And that’s it for this week!