Dec 162012
 

The scene I have anticipated for some time has come. Ana wants to go out shopping out and Christian’s security detail won’t let her. Being Mrs. Christian Grey means being a bird in a gilded cage.

I want to roll my eyes at him, but I narrow them instead, sighing heavily and expressing, I think, the right amount of frustrated indignation that I am not mistress of my own destiny. Then again, I don’t want Christian mad at Taylor—or me, for that matter.

I know some people want to see (and have written fan works) that go inside Christian’s head. I’d like to get inside Taylor’s head, and find out what it is like to bodyguard a neurotic, obsessive-compulsive, borderline-personality-disorder billionaire and his dimwitted, paranoid, gold-digging new bride. “I resigned from the FBI to do this?”

Weirdly, Ana views the security guys as people she needs to protect from Christian, rather than a tool of Christian’s control of her. They’re not there because they like her, they’re there because Christian pays them, and the chain of command is pretty clear.

Ana tells Christian she’s going out with the security goons:

Why do I feel like I’ve entered the principal’s office? This man had me in handcuffs yesterday. I refuse to be intimidated by him, he’s my husband damn it.

If the honeymoon began to end with the boobs incident, it ended ending here, with Christian preferring to spend time with this Blackberry than Ana. Ana is like a teenage daughter, reduced to asking permission to go out, and only with minders. On the Jetski she makes childish displays of independence, but at the end she follows Christian’s rules: “I’ll come back on the boat. Don’t be mad.” Even when she’s supposedly having time to herself, asserting her independence, she takes the time to send cutesy emails to her husband.  She does tease Taylor, Christian’s de facto eunuch harem keeper. Oh, and then she calls up Jose back in Washington State and wakes him up to ask him about gifts for Christian. Lovely girl, that Ana.

Back on the boat (she meekly takes the boat instead of the Jetski back), Ana is like a naughty child slinking back to her parent. She’s on edge again, wondering if she’s done something wrong, wondering how Christian’s going to react.

And in a possibly unique moment of extraordinary depth and clarity, it comes to me—the fire, Charlie Tango, the Jet Ski . . . He’s scared, he’s scared for me, and seeing these marks on my skin must bring that home. He’s been fussing about them all day, confusing himself because he’s not used to feeling uncomfortable about inflicting pain. The thought chills me.
He shrugs and once more his eyes move down to my wrist where the bangle he bought me this afternoon used to be. Bingo!
“Christian, these don’t matter.” I hold up my wrist, revealing the fading welt.
“You gave me a safe word. Shit—yesterday was fun. I enjoyed it. Stop brooding about it—I like rough sex, I’ve told you that before.” I blush scarlet as I try to quash my rising panic.

Ana’s conflating two different things: Christian’s apparently justified fears about external threats to his empire, and his discomfort with topping Ana. Underlying all this is her fear of him, and as I’ve said before, fear has no place in an intimate relationship.

Ana is doing the right thing of assuring Christian that she is at home as a bottom and enjoyed what they did. Her choice of words, “rough sex”, is odd, and I think the author is using it as some kind of vague distinction between that and BDSM.

Given Ana’s childish role in her relationship with Christian, it’s odd to hear her joking about “women’s oppression” when trying to get him to take photographs of her.

“You want to be oppressed?” he murmurs silkily.
“Not oppressed. No,” I murmur back, snapping again.
“I could oppress you big time, Mrs. Grey,” he threatens, his voice husky.
“I know you can, Mr. Grey. And you do, frequently.”

This many mixed messages would drive anybody crazy: confusing real punishment with play punishment, Ana’s real helplessness and meekness with play submission, Christian’s quasi-parental role with play dominance. Of course Ana’s constantly on the edge, trying to figure out what the rules are, because there aren’t any. Without the contract, Christian has no boundaries, no ethical principles to guide his interactions.

This segues into a tickling scene, and that segues into sex. Lust always overrides talking about relationships.

Even in the post-coital cuddling, Christian is still shut down and refuses to talk, leaving Ana to work overtime to manage their relationship. She gets him to join her in repeating their wedding vows, perhaps putting things back into the area of contracts that Christian can understand.

Christian finally tells her that the fire back in Seattle was arson. This somewhat justifies his need to control Ana, as he’s trying to keep her safe. It still means that to be Mrs. Christian Grey is to live in a high security bubble under constant surveillance.

  One Response to “The Curious Kinky Person’s Guide to Fifty Shades Freed, Chapter 4”

  1. She may like rough sex, but she didn’t consent to being so marked up that she has marks a mere bangle can’t cover that anyone in public can see. He marked her like a dog pissing on a tree.

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