Believe it or not, Chapter Four starts off promisingly. After nearly getting run over by a cyclist (Team Cyclist Heading The Wrong Way Up a One-Way Street!), Anastasia is so busy hoping-wishing-begging that Christian will kiss her (silently, of course, because good girls don’t ask for what they want) that she temporarily forgets how to breathe.
Meanwhile, I’m hoping-wishing-begging out loud that Anastasia dies from oxygen deprivation:
…I mean, it’s only fair.
Oh, and then, to make the moment perfect, Christian says the smartest thing anyone’s ever said in this book so far:
“Anastasia, you should steer clear of me. I’m not the man for you.”
Preach it, you scary motherfucker, preach!
… And then they both ruin it. Christian by telling Anastasia to breathe and Anastasia by not dying.
My hopes… My dreams… Shattered.
Oh, well. After that lovely interlude where I had just started to regain some semblance of hope, we get to see Anastasia castigate herself for Christian not kissing her (because she’s responsible for what he does and doesn’t do, like a good little woman… Excuse me, I’m going to be sick). It’s the usual, really: She’s too stupid, awkward, unpretty, crap at reading signals, inexperienced, desperate… Her “subconscious” really tears into her.
She can’t read signals, by the way, since Christian looks “desolate” as he wishes her luck on her exams, so obviously he’s trying to be a good boy, Anastasia, for chrissake. Or maybe he’s upset that he’s in this book at all? Both are valid interpretations.
Oh, and we have to add one more guy to the “in love with Anastasia for some ungodly reason” list: Random Guy in Chemistry Class. So to recap: Anastasia is “too pale, too skinny, too scruffy, uncoordinated” as well as brick-stupid, yet she’s never been rejected (…until now. High-five, Christian! ) and she has no less than four guys interested in her untouched hoohah… My god, Anastasia. How do you ever deal with the torment.
Granted, 75% of those guys are certified creepers, but still. You’re not an unlovable monster, Anastasia, kindly get the fuck out of here with that bullshit.
She shares her crushing disappointment with Kate—although I think she would get over it a lot better if she just makes out with Kate after confessing her love, but what do I know? I’m not a bestselling author—and then wonders if Christian is celibate before falling asleep and dreaming of stupid shit. Yeah. Christian is celibate. Because nothing says “monastery living” like ropes, cable ties, and masking tape.
So anyway. After that fuckery’s done with, we get to see Anastasia finish her last exam ever and she says she smiles for the first time that week. Actually, she says she feels “the Cheshire cat grin” spread over her face.
Anastasia pictured here:
… Ooh, girl, you need to look after your teeth!
Then Kate and Anastasia head home for some celebratory sex, but are distracted by a mysterious package for Anastasia.
Turns out Christian, sticking to his guns and not encouraging Anastasia’s affections at all, has sent her a box of three first edition Tess of the D’Urbervilles, which are apparently worth more than $14,000. I admire your fortitude, Christian. Also, your willingness to spend so much money on a book that Anastasia may be totally sick of. Or not know how to read.
Anastasia resolves to send the books back to Christian and sets out to get fucked up with Kate and her Hispanic friend José. We know José is Hispanic, because he brought margaritas to the party and says “dios mio” a lot.
José also turns out to be a gigantic douchebag of Christian Grey proportions… But we’re getting there.
First, we have to deal with the fact that Anastasia has never drunk before, yet is still conscious after champagne and five margaritas.
Yeeeeeah, not unless she’s Bender, the alcoholic robot.
Anastasia, pictured here?
So then Anastasia pervs on Kate a bit, then decides she needs to go potty. While she’s waiting in line, she decides to drunk dial Christian which is actually sort of hilarious… except then it leads to Christian being a big ol’ stalker again.
Which is good (something I never thought I’d ever say about stalking… fuck you, E.L. James), because José morphs into a cockbag and tries to kiss Anastasia against her will. It is at this exact moment that I realized that E.L. James wants me to hate every single person in this book.
For once, I’m not side-eyeing Anastasia, because she does nothing wrong. In fact, I feel all this secondhand discomfort and I just wanna stab José in the eye with a drink stirrer because WHAT THE FUCK ASSHOLE.
Anyway, then Christian shows up—like a bat, one could say—and rescues Anastasia… Just in time, too, ‘cause Anastasia go boom.
All that lovely frosty nectar comes up, and Anastasia just spews all over the place as Christian holds her hair and José (best. Friend. Ever.) watches, then escapes back into the bar.
Then Christian fucking ruins it more by treating Anastasia like a fucking child.
… I mean, seriously? The chick’s sick and has just been attacked by a friend, and you wanna fucking scold her?!
Go die in a gas fire, Christian, quick as you can.
Then he admits he tracked her cell phone, and Anastasia (‘s “subconscious”) and I say the exact same thing at the exact same moment for the first time ever:
Who does this shit?! Who likes when someone does this shit?! People get restraining orders for less!
But apparently, we’re not dealing with any of it right now, because Anastasia is too out of it to protest as Christian continues to baby her. He makes her drink a glass of water (the right thing to do, if a little douchily done) and then makes her dance (which I don’t—I don’t even fucking know what or why) until she passes out in his arms.
The chapter closes on Christian’s (and my) “fuck!”
Fucking English, how does it work?
1. “I’m paralyzed with a strange, unfamiliar need, completely captivated by him.”
Redundant adjectives are redundant.
2. “NO! My psyche screams as he pulls away, leaving me bereft.”
Oh, yay, a new one. At least her subconscious isn’t alone in there.
3. “I have royally screwed up the coffee morning.”
… Shut up. Just shut up.
4. “I sink to the ground, angry at myself for this senseless reaction. Drawing up knees, I fold in on myself. I want to make myself as small as possible. Perhaps this nonsensical pain will be smaller the smaller I am. Placing my head on my knees, I let the irrational tears fall unrestrained. I am crying over the loss of something I never had. How ridiculous. Mourning something that never was—my dashed hopes, dashed dreams, and my soured expectations.”
For god’s sake, woman, he didn’t kiss you after one date. He didn’t leave you at the altar. Yikes.
And if E.L. James keeps abusing that poor thesaurus, I’m gonna have to perform a citizen’s arrest.
5. “ ‘Sure,’ I magic a smile on to my face and stroll over to the laptop.”
“Magic” a smile? Does this involve white doves and a lovely assistant?
6. “ ‘Open it!’ Kate is excited as she heads into the kitchen for our ‘Exams are finished hurrah Champagne’.”
I will never understand why this woman just can’t keep a fucking sentence simple. You’re not clever. Stop trying to be clever. Fuck.
7. “ ‘Anastasia, where are you, tell me now.’ His tone is so, so dictatorial, his usual control freak. I imagine him as an old time movie director wearing jodhpurs, holding an old fashioned megaphone and a riding crop.”
8. “ ‘Please, Ana, cariña,’ he whispers against my lips.”
Okay, I wasn’t gonna pick anything from this scene because it skeeves the fuck out of me, but I would just like to tell E.L. James to stick to butchering her own language and leave mine the fuck alone. Thank you, and good night.
9. “My subconscious is figuratively tutting and glaring at me over her half moon specs.”
10. “In the back of my mind, my mother’s often-recited warning comes to me: Never trust a man who can dance.”
What? Why? Is this a thing I don’t know about?
Shut the fuck up, Anastasia
“And it’s suddenly, blindingly obvious. He’s too gloriously good-looking. We are poles apart and from two very different worlds. I have a vision of myself as Icarus flying too close to the sun and crashing and burning as a result.”
Christian Grey, AA Counselor
“ ‘We’ve all been here, perhaps not quite as dramatically as you,’ he says dryly. ‘It’s about knowing your limits, Anastasia. I mean, I’m all for pushing limits, but really this is beyond the pale. Do you make a habit of this kind of behavior?’”