Fifty Shades of Grey Revisited Chapter Seven: REDRUM (of Pain)

For those of you keeping tabs on Siena Noble book news, I now have a release date for Drawn into the Shadows (aka the revamped paranormal version of High Risk): November 30th. I know that’s quite a ways off, but I still have a good bit of work to do on the edits and rewrites, and for once in my life I’d like to hopefully have the sequel almost ready to go as well by the time the first book comes out. It’s available for preorder on Amazon right now (link to it on Amazon UK as well), but as I said previously I feel bad about making anyone who already bought and enjoyed the old High Risk pay for approximately 60-70% of the same story that you already read and never got the original planned sequels to. So, if you’d like to spend some of your hard-earned cash to support my poor writing habits that would be very kind, but I’m also sticking to my promise to have advanced copies available to download for a limited time prior to release as soon as the manuscript is ready. Keep checking back here for more details!

(Content Warnings for emotional manipulation, coercive/controlling behavior, creepy stalker behavior, hints of codependency, mentions of vomit and other bodily fluids in a fetish context, and really badly portrayed BDSM. As always, quotes from Ana’s POV are in purple, and Grey’s POV are in green.)

We pick up right where we left off at the end of chapter six, with Christian having let Ana into his playroom, where there is sadly no Xbox, no ball pit, no DDR machine, not even a bowling alley. Just a boring old sex dungeon. YAWN. Ana—who clearly does not follow @zillowgonewild on Twitter—is taking it all in like she’s just entered the Twilight Zone:

The first thing I notice is the smell: leather, wood, polish with a faint citrus scent. […] The walls and ceiling are a deep, dark burgundy, giving a womb-like effect to the spacious room, and the floor is old, old varnished wood. There is a large wooden cross like an X fastened to the wall facing the door. […] By the door, two long, polished, ornately carved poles, like spindles from a banister but longer, hang like curtain rods across the wall. From them swing a startling assortment of paddles, whips, riding crops, and funny-looking feathery implements.

Beside the door stands a substantial mahogany chest of drawers, each drawer slim as if designed to contain specimens in a crusty old museum. I wonder briefly what the drawers actually do hold. Do I want to know? […]

But what dominates the room is a bed. It’s bigger than king size, an ornately carved rococo four-poster with a flat top. […] Under the canopy, there are more gleaming chains and cuffs. There’s no bedding—just a mattress covered in red leather and red satin cushions piled at one end.

[…] An odd arrangement, to have a couch facing the bed, and I smile to myself—I’ve picked on the couch as odd, when really it’s the most mundane piece of furniture here. I glance up and stare at the ceiling. There are carabiners all over the ceiling at odd intervals. I vaguely wonder what they’re for.

Now, to be fair, I honestly mostly like ELJ’s description here, even if I find it hard to believe that the first thing Ana notices is the smell of Lemon Pledge, and the bit of sensuality she managed to evoke was spoiled by the mention of “crusty old museum” specimens and calling the burgundy color scheme “womb like”. It is largely a very long itemized list with very little emotion attached, but considering in another page or so Ana says that she feels like she’s in shock it makes sense to me that she’d just be numbly observing it all at first and trying to get her bearings before she can process how it all makes her feel.

As loathe as I am to compliment ELJ in any way, I will admit that for the most part this description is pretty evocative and rich in sensory detail… and my issue is that there’s just way, way too much of it. You’ll notice that I cut quite a bit out of the quote above because this playroom description goes on for so damn long. I swear, so many of her descriptions read like she’s afraid of the readers visualizing the setting the tiniest bit differently that she did, which I’m sorry to be the one to have to say is unavoidable no matter how minutely detailed your writing is. Look, James, I know it’s hard, but trust me, you don’t need to describe every square inch of this space all in one go; you are allowed to cut stuff out or leave a few details vague to be filled in later when they become more relevant.

Hmm, perhaps that’s asking too much, though, considering she swung the pendulum so far in the opposite direction in the corresponding scene in Grey that Christian might as well have opened that door and stepped straight into the void (would that we were so lucky, but alas):

Ana stands in the middle of the room, studying all the paraphernalia that is so much a part of my life: the floggers, the canes, the bed, the bench… She’s silent, drinking it in, and all I hear is the deafening pounding of my heart as the blood rushes past my eardrums.

Do I appreciate the brevity as someone who has subjected myself to the torture that is recapping both of these books at once? Yes. And I’m sure the vast majority of people who willingly picked up this book had already read the original FSOG first. But again, Grey is supposed to be a whole-ass novel in its own right, and I don’t think it’s unfair to expect it to be able to stand on its own. I think ELJ realized that she couldn’t just copy-paste from Ana’s POV here and change a few words and phrases because it would sound unnatural to have that level of heavy description coming from the owner of the playroom who is already intimately familiar with everything in it. Unfortunately, creativity isn’t her strong suit, so she seems to have given up on the idea of describing it from Christian’s POV entirely, ignoring how that intimate familiarity could have shone a different light on certain aspects of the room. With how little she’s giving us here, she isn’t really selling me on kink being “so much a part of (Christian’s) life.”

Ana thinks that “Weirdly, all the wood, dark walls, moody lighting, and oxblood leather makes the room kind of soft and romantic… I know it’s anything but; this is Christian’s version of soft and romantic.” At least she acknowledges that it’s weird? I mean, I guess I do see where she’s coming from with the room having a sensual aura given the dark red color scheme and muted lighting, but it’s astounding how quickly Ana’s shoved those rose-colored glasses on her face regarding this dude if she’s already calling the playroom Christian’s idea of “soft and romantic” with zero context apart from his previous statements regarding romance. Namely, that he doesn’t do it, and more specifically that he Fucks. Hard. (again, lmao) as opposed to making love and has explicitly said that agreeing to a sexual relationship with him constitutes signing up for “debasement.” And the unreal levels of self-delusion are only gonna get worse from here.

Perhaps I’m being unfair and should cut Ana some slack since she’s still in shock, though. After all, a sex dungeon was clearly the last thing she was expecting despite Christian dropping some embarrassingly large hints that he likes to dominate women and would gleefully physically punish her for getting drunk “if she was his.” But whatever, the point here is that she’s way out of her element and is trying to reconcile this new knowledge with her previous perception of this man and of relationships in general. Christian, however, is not quite so understanding as I am:

She turns and gives me a piercing state as I wait for her to say something, but she prolongs my agony and walks farther into the room, forcing me to follow her.

Her fingers trail over a suede flogger, one of my favorites. I tell her what it’s called, but she doesn’t respond. […]

“Say something,” I ask. Her silence is unbearable. I need to know if she’s going to run.

So, he recognizes that what he’s showing her could potentially scare her off–a point that he has already brought up multiple times in his POV–and was the one who insisted on not preparing her for this at all just so we could have a dramatic reveal, but now he’s too impatient to stop and consider that maybe she’s in shock and could use a moment to work through her feelings on all of this. Real class act, this guy.

Ana, meanwhile, has snapped out of it enough to realize that she’s afraid, though what of exactly isn’t clear:

What is the appropriate response to finding out a potential lover is a complete freaky sadist or masochist? Fear…yes, that seems to be the overriding feeling. I recognize it now. But weirdly not of him. I don’t think he’d hurt me—well, not without my consent.

I don’t appreciate her judgy tone, but I suppose it also isn’t fair for me to get all judgy about someone with no sexual experience reflexively calling sadomasochism “freaky” and scary. Especially considering she really has no idea just how much of a terrifying freak and terrible Dom Christian will turn out to be; all she has to go on right now is a room full of whips and chains with no clue as to how he plans to use them and what kind of input she gets to have in that.

…Which is why her claiming not to be afraid of Christian himself is both incredibly stupid and also just reads like a blatant lie she’s telling herself to justify her desire for him. Ana, please, trust your gut. You should damn well be afraid of this man! He’s brought you to his sex dungeon with zero explanation of what it is, made you sign away your right to talk about it with anyone, said to your face that he wants to “debase you completely,” essentially trapped you in his apartment by flying you several hours’ drive from your home and made you reliant on his helicopter and his word that you can leave at any time, told you not even twelve hours earlier that he would’ve beaten your ass for exercising your free will to get drunk if you belonged to him, and has already violated his own promise not to touch you “without your written consent” by forcefully kissing you in the elevator. You have negative reasons to trust that he won’t hurt you, or obtain your “consent” through coercion or manipulation. And sure, you can argue that I only know he will hurt, coerce, and flat-out ignore Ana’s consent because I’ve already read this whole trilogy, but just look at the list of everything he’s done to her in the one single day since she woke up hungover and half-dressed in his bed that he slept next to her in without her knowledge and tell me that you couldn’t possibly have seen it coming when he does inevitably hurt her.

AHEM. ANYWAY. She asks him, “Do you do this to people or do they do it to you?” To which Christian gives this, uh, telling response:

“People?” He blinks a couple of times as he considers his answer. “I do this to women who want me to.”

Now, the magnanimous interpretation of this line would be that of course E.L. James didn’t mean to imply that Christian Grey doesn’t see women (or at least submissive/masochistic women) as people. Surely it was just an accident of poor wording and he was simply clarifying that he does this to women–as a subset of people–specifically and definitely not men because HE’S 100% NOT GAY, EVERYONE. REMEMBER THAT. NO, I AM NOT LETTING GO OF THE GAY THINGTM. Surely getting this same line and his thought process behind it from his POV will make him look less misogynist, right?

“People?” I want to snort. “I do this to women who want me to.”

Ah. So that’s a no, then.

Christian isn’t concerned with how Ana is dealing with all this emotionally so much as he’s relieved that she hasn’t run away and is “willing to have a dialogue.” Unfortunately for him, the dialogue they have only proves just how entirely not on the same page they are:

I don’t understand. “If you have willing volunteers, why am I here?”

“Because I want to do this with you, very much.”



[…] He likes to hurt women. The thought depresses me. “You’re a sadist?”

“I’m a Dominant.” His eyes are a scorching gray, intense.

“What does that mean?” I whisper.

“It means I want you to willingly surrender yourself to me, in all things.”

I frown at him as I try to assimilate this idea.

“Why would I do that?”

Ana gets all excited when he says that he wants her to surrender herself to him in order to please him, because she wants nothing more than for him to be “damned delighted” with her at that moment. This isn’t enthusiastic, fully informed consent; this is just Ana being so desperate for scraps of intimacy from him that she’ll jump through hoops and compromise her own needs and desires for his sake because she doesn’t understand what she’s getting herself into or that she shouldn’t have to bend over backwards for a man. And it plants the seeds of a troubling codependent thread that will run through the rest of the book.

Oh, and the part about him being a Dominant and not a sadist is a lie, by the way. “Fuck. She sees me,” Christian thinks when she asks him, and he tells her he’s a Dominant instead because, as Don Draper would say, “If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation.” Except this isn’t a conversation about ketchup or department store branding. For starters, Dom vs. sadist is a false dichotomy; one can very well be both at the same time and I’d argue these traits overlap more often than not, and he’s giving this woman with zero knowledge or experience of kink a dangerously wrong first impression of it. But worse than that, he’s specifically misleading her about himself, since as we’ve already picked up on from his own thoughts and as we will see as the story progresses, he is very much a sadist as well as a shitty Dom.

Pleasing Christian means following his rules and being punished when she doesn’t. Ana still isn’t grasping what the canes and floggers have to do with that:

“It’s all part of the incentive package. Both reward and punishment.”

“So you’ll get your kicks by exerting your will over me.”

“It’s about gaining your trust and your respect, so you’ll let me exert my will over you. I will gain a great deal of pleasure, joy even, in your submission. The more you submit, the greater my joy—it’s a very simple equation.”

“Okay, and what do I get out of this?”

He shrugs and looks almost apologetic. “Me,” he says simply.

So basically what you’re saying here, Christian, is…

No but seriously, he’s making this sound like a pretty bum deal for Ana; he’s just lucky that she’s so enthralled by his hotness and mysterious brooding rich boy aura that she’ll do anything to fuck him. He adds in his head that she’ll get “Just me. All of me. And you’ll find pleasure, too…” Which is hilarious because 1) the part about her getting “all of him” out of the bargain is obviously a lie; 2) I can’t even begin to parse what the hell Christian thinks he means by that; and 3) you’d think that someone whose supposed to be such a savvy business negotiator would’ve not only voiced the part about her “finding pleasure, too” out loud but that he would’ve fucking lead with that. This is literally the first mention we get in this scene–actually, the first of it in Grey at all, IIRC–of him considering Ana’s pleasure and not just his own beyond that brief reference to “reward and punishment”, and it’s not even said out loud. It’s not even in the original goddamn Fifty Shades of Grey.

These two people are so not on the same page that they’re not in the same book or even the same fucking library. Christian might as well be on a page of the Voynich Manuscript for all the sense he’s making to Ana. Like, my dude. She’s clearly not getting it, and you’re not selling this whole idea very well at all. And the fact that she’s not getting it should tell you that she’s not into this, because the whole idea of BDSM should be that it happens between two (or more) people who both enjoy and get something out of it equally. If she sees the kinky stuff as something to put up with for the sake of having sex with you, then I don’t know what else to tell you other than to leave this girl alone and move on.

Ana’s too overwhelmed to react much, which frustrates Christian (like pretty much everything she does or doesn’t do seems to frustrate him), so he takes her out of the playroom since her presence in there is soooo distracting to him. She hesitates to take his hand, and finally he acknowledges that he’s “frightened her” and figures some reassurance would be nice.

He’s dangerous to my health, because I know I’m going to say yes. And part of me doesn’t want to. Part of me wants to run screaming from this room and all it represents. I am so out of my depth here.

“I’m not going to hurt you, Anastasia.”

I know he speaks the truth. I take his hand, and he leads me out the door.

*Sighs* Ana… you don’t… never mind.

Instead of taking her back downstairs like he said, Christian decides that now’s the perfect time to spring another surprise room on her. This time it’s the “submissive’s bedroom,” where he’d expect her to sleep on the weekends for the duration of their arrangement. And again, he doesn’t bother explaining this part-time arrangement to her first, so Ana’s initial assumption is that he’s expecting her to move in, at which she “can’t hide the horror in my voice.” He tells her they’ll have to negotiate the specifics if she agrees to submit to him, and she questions why the separate bedrooms:

“No. I told you, I don’t sleep with anyone, except you when you’re stupefied with drink.” His tone is reprimanding.

My mouth presses in a hard line. This is what I cannot reconcile. Kind, caring Christian, who rescues me from inebriation and holds me gently while I’m throwing up into the azaleas, and the monster who possesses whips and chains in a special room.

There’s just so much wrong with this short passage that I don’t even know where to start. The continued scolding and guilt-tripping, perhaps? Buddy, she didn’t make you sleep with her, that was your choice.

And there really isn’t anything to reconcile here, since being into BDSM does not itself make someone a monster and therefore incapable of being kind and caring. On the other hand, though, this is still Christian Grey we’re dealing with, so reconciling “kind” Christian with “monstrous” Christian is pointless since his kind side doesn’t really exist. Ana needs to stop thinking of last night as a knightly rescue and start thinking of it as a villain dragging the swooning heroine to his evil lair. I swear, this girl unironically thinks that Christine should’ve ended up with the Phantom…

I mean, we know she certainly has a thing for dramatic, self-obsessed weirdos…

Speaking of dramatic, self-obsessed weirdness, Christian says that he knows he’s leading her down a “dark path” and that he wants her to think carefully about her decision. But not before getting in some more scolding, this time about her not wanting to eat despite Ana having lost her appetite. “Her eating habits will be one of the first things I’ll work on if she agrees to be mine…” he thinks (with his subconscious sentient penis telling him to “Stop getting ahead of yourself, Grey!”), and as infuriating as this is on its own, I have to wonder just where is he getting this impression from that she obviously needs to be force-fed in order to eat properly? I can only assume this is him blowing the lack of food in her vomit out of proportion again (I can’t believe I just strung those words together in a sentence). Because the only time they’ve eaten together apart from their coffee date was breakfast that morning, and he got mad at her for wasting food when he was the one to order way too much in the first place. He really has no idea what her eating habits are like when he’s not around, and the fact that her loss of appetite both at breakfast end now is pretty clearly due to her nerves around him is apparently beyond his comprehension.

But, Christian says she must eat, so down to the kitchen they go… where according to Grey it turns out his housekeeper hasn’t actually left them anything for dinner because he was supposed to be on his stalker quest in Portland all weekend. Pal, you invited her over for dinner and have the gall to get all pissy over her not being hungry, yet you didn’t bother taking a few minutes out of your goddamn day to plan on having the meal you promised her? How this deal isn’t looking worse and worse by the minute in Ana’s mind I have no idea.

He contemplates ordering takeout our taking Ana out to eat, but I guess both of those options would mean acting like he wants a romantic relationship with her so he settles for cobbling together some bread, cheese, and grapes instead. What the hell is so date-like about ordering a pizza? Couldn’t he have at least had Taylor pick up a nice charcuterie board earlier? Is this guy so inept at cooking that he couldn’t make her a grilled cheese or scrambled eggs, or is that just too much like something a boyfriend would do?

Ana sits down when he orders her to, rationalizing her obedience by telling herself that “If I’m going to do this, I’m going to have to get used to it.” We’ve lost her, guys; she’s already beyond hope. She reminds Christian of the paperwork he mentioned besides the NDA, and it turns out there’s a contract she’ll have to sign to keep everything consensual. I think he just has a fetish for pseudo-legalese, because there’s no reason Ana needs to sign a highly formalized but legally unenforceable document to agree on the parameters of their relationship. Wait, no, I know why Christian needs an official contract; it’s so whenever his subs try to question anything that makes them uncomfortable, renegotiate terms, or update their limits, he can throw their signatures in back in their faces and claim it as them having given blanket consent with no take-backsies. Fuck, this book really just gets darker every time I come back to it…

Now, I do understand that there are plenty of BDSMers in real life who are into a very strict, formal, “high protocol” lifestyle, and I’m sure plenty of them write up formal contracts as well. But ELJ seems to think that Christian’s way of doing things is the standard for the kink community. Which couldn’t be further from the truth, not only because BDSM encompasses a huge spectrum of kinks and relationship styles, but also because from what I understand, it’s pretty red flag behavior for a Dom to have a standard list of rules and protocols that he demands all potential submissives to fall in line with without any input of their own.

Not to mention, what he’s expecting from Ana is a pretty intense level of power exchange that extends outside of just sex and encompasses pretty much everything; a 24/7 D/s relationship isn’t something that someone with no experience should be jumping into… though I guess given what we’ll come to learn about this relationship with Elena, it’s no surprise that throwing an inexperienced partner into the deep end seems normal to him. And usually a full-time power exchange like this is something that a couple grows into over time after developing a deep intimacy and trust and exploring their sexual interests with each other, or something that happens (maybe after a trial or “training” period) between two people who are already experienced with D/s and know what they want out of a relationship. And I’d hazard a guess that such couples are usually romantic in nature as well.

Christian reiterates that he’s only interested in a purely sexual but highly intense D/s relationship, and lies that he’d be cool with it if Ana decided to walk away. This right here is the heart of what makes the narrative so much more sinister from Christian’s perspective, I think. At this point in FSOG, there’s at least some plausible deniability that Ana’s being taken advantage of, because he’s telling her outright that she has the free will to decide if she wants this or not and it’s not super obvious yet that she’ll be railroaded into things she doesn’t want to do. In Grey, though, that one little line, “‘That’s fine,’ I lie,” gives it away that he can’t be trusted not to wear her down until she says yes.

Ana wants to know why he is the way he is, and we get this cheesy bit of navel-gazing (I’ll show myself out):

“Why is anyone the way they are? That’s kind of hard to answer. Why do some people like cheese and other people hate it? Do you like cheese? Mrs. Jones—my housekeeper—has left this for a late supper.” He takes some large white plates from a cupboard and places one in front of me.

We’re talking about cheese… Holy crap.

There’s a bunch of ridiculous back-and-forth in which he badgers her to eat and she still doesn’t get why he wants to dominate her when there are plenty of women out there who’d be more than willing to oblige him. He reveals that he’s been with fifteen submissives before which is a lower number than Ana was expecting. Then we get this little exchange on pain that I think is best appreciated from Grey’s POV since Ana’s is so sparse on detail:

“Have you ever hurt anyone?”



“No.” Dawn was fine, if a little shaken by the experience. And if I’m honest, so was I.

“Will you hurt me?”

“What do you mean?”

“Physically, will you hurt me?”

Only what you can take.

“I will punish you when you require it, and it will be painful.”

For example, when you get drunk and put yourself at risk.

Interesting to note that he doesn’t ask her to clarify what she means by “hurt” after her first question. Also interesting that the only clarification she asks him for is if his previous sub was hurt badly, not whether it was an accident or intentional or something he enjoyed. Given that we’re in the realm of sexual sadomasochism here and Ana still isn’t on board with the concept of pain as pleasure, what’s sorely missing from this conversation is a clear distinction between “hurt” and “harm” or between different kinds of pain. These are two people who presumably have very different definitions of the word hurt, yet in neither of their POVs do we get a clear picture of what it means to them. I think what Ana is asking here is if he’s ever injured anyone, but if so the narrative should specify that since hurt is such a vague term, especially in the context of kink. The incident with Dawn that springs to Christian’s mind seems to support that injury/unintended harm is how he’s interpreting her question as well, but he doesn’t give any details about how he hurt this other woman or reassure Ana that it was an accident.

Doesn’t help that when she asks if he’ll hurt her, the interpretation changes from “accident” to “deliberate punishment.” He doesn’t say out loud that he won’t do anything beyond what she can take, but most crucially he doesn’t ask her how she feels about being punished or receiving pain during sex. It’s all me, me, me with this guy, all about what he wants and what behavior he thinks “requires” punishing. And make no mistake, painful punishment is not optional for him.

Ana finally gets more specific and asks if Christian himself has ever been beaten, and is surprised when he says yes. That’s as specific as it gets, though, and while he does extrapolate in his head that “Elena was devilishly handy with a cane” and that it was “the only touch I could tolerate,” Ana and the FSOG-only reader are left to wonder if he means he was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds as an insolent child, or if he was consensually beaten as the submissive/masochistic/bottom partner in a previous relationship. Well, the reader is left to wonder, anyway, since “Before I can question him on this revelation further, he interrupts my train of thought.” So much for wanting her to take time to think things through…

He takes her to his study to show her the list of rules that are part of the contract. Again, I’m of two minds here regarding ELJ’s choice to skimp on certain details in Grey. Given how all-important these rules are supposed to be to Christian’s lifestyle, it’s absolutely atrocious writing that she completely skips over telling us what any of them are from his POV. On the other hand, the rules appendix was included verbatim in the original novel and took up over a full page, so can I really complain? I won’t copy the full thing here because there’s a bunch of extraneous detail, but the gist is:

  • she has to obey any instructions and be sexually available to him whenever he wants
  • she has to be monogamous with him
  • she has to be “respectful and modest”
  • she has to sleep eight hours every night
  • she’s not allowed to smoke, do drugs, or drink excessively
  • she has to eat from a “prescribed list of foods”
  • her clothes have to be approved by him and she has to accept money for clothes and go shopping with him whenever he feels like it
  • she has to work out four times a week with a personal trainer who will update him on her progress
  • she has to be “shaved and/or waxed at all times” (doesn’t specify which body parts) and go with him to a salon whenever he feels like it and undergo whatever treatments he wants
  • she’s not allowed to “put herself in any unnecessary danger”

Ana says “It feels wrong” letting him buy her clothes, “the word ho rattling around in my head.” But Fifty Shades is nothing if not wealth porn for those who don’t want to feel guilty about wanting a rich man to spend money on them, so of course Christian insists on showering her with expensive clothes and gifts despite her protests. Besides, he “may need (Ana) to accompany (him) to functions” and naturally she’s too poor to afford the kind of clothes required! Wait, what? “Grey, what are you saying?” chimes in his italicized inner voice that I’m still headcanoning as his penis, which I’m pretty sure was ELJ hastily backtracking in Grey to make this blatant contradiction of her established canon make sense. We already know that he’s never been seen in public with his previous subs; that how we got The Gay ThingTM, remember? I guess ELJ must’ve been watching Pretty Woman while writing this chapter and couldn’t resist stealing an idea from a better romance.

Ana pushed back on exercising four times a week, and actually gets him to reduce it to three after she calls him out on not being willing to negotiate despite telling her they were going to negotiate. Those two rules are the extent of their negotiation for now, though, since he hurries things along to discuss hard limits and hands her a list of his on another separate document. “This is it, shit-or-bust time,” Grey thinks as she reads it, which I take it is some kind of Britishism. I don’t know if I love it or hate it. Sounds like a game show. IT’S TIME TO PLAY… SHIT! OR! BUST!!!!

Hard Limits

  • No acts involving fire play.
  • No acts involving urination or defecation and the products thereof.
  • No acts involving needles, knives, piercing, or blood.
  • No acts involving gynecological medical instruments.
  • No acts involving children or animals.
  • No acts that will leave any permanent marks on the skin.
  • No acts involving breath control.
  • No activity that involves the direct contact of electric current (whether alternating or direct), fire, or flames to the body.

I guess fire play must be an extra hard limit for him, considering it’s both the first and last thing on the list. No mention of vomit, though, so either ELJ thinks that falls under “urination or defecation” or Christian “vomit-splatter analyst” Grey has a few kinks that were too spicy for the written word. Or, more likely it just never occurred to her that people could be into that and she’s never heard of a particularly infamous meme-ified porn vid that I won’t name here.

Shit, better control my gag reflex, it might be turning him on…

Also, is it just me, or does it feel like his “no acts involving children or animals” t-shirt is raising a lot of questions already answered by his “no acts involving children or animals” shirt?

Christian asks if she has any hard limits to add but secretly hopes she doesn’t because he wants “carte blanche with her.” His penis reminds him to be patient with her as Ana struggles to think of what to say. He asks, then “demands” to know if she’s done anything sexual before that she didn’t like. Then she drops the bombshell:

“Well, I’ve not had sex before, so I don’t know.” My voice is small. I peek up at him, and he’s gaping at me, frozen, and pale—really pale.

“Never?” he whispers.

I shake my head.

“You’re a virgin?”

I nod, flushing again.

He closes his eyes and looks to be counting to ten. When he opens them again, he’s angry, glaring at me.

“Why the fuck didn’t you tell me?”

And with that charming reaction from our romantic hero, chapter seven draws to a close. Tune in next time for chapter eight: it’s the sex one, finally. Hooray?

Chapter Six (Part Two) ~ Table of Contents ~ Chapter Eight

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