Leila came to Ana’s office, knowing that Christian would storm in and shout at her, which for some reason was what she wanted. Afterwards Ana was on the verge of making a point about Christian’s anger, but he distracted her with sex. The chapter ended with Ana getting a call that her stepdad is ill – I guess we’re meant to care about that.

Read Chapter 16.

50 Shades Freed
Chapter 17

“He’s been in a car accident.”

This had better not be anything to do with Jack Hyde. That part of plot is tenuous enough as it is, without him targeting family members too.

Inadvertently I slam the phone down, but right now I couldn’t care less.

About what? Slamming the phone? Believe me, NOBODY cares.

“Hannah! Cancel all my appointments today. And Monday. You’ll have to finish prepping the e-book presentation.”

Quite fortunate that she’s in a position to just drop everything and leave.

“Yes,” Hannah whispers, “We’ll muddle through.”

Of course you will, because she NEVER DOES ANYTHING.

Ana gets in the car and tries to call Christian, but he’s left his mobile in his office and gone off somewhere. If Ana did that to him – even if it wasn’t urgent – he’d freak the fuck out. Ana is forced to leave a distressed-sounding message instead.

My phone rings.
“Christian,” I gasp.
“Christ, Ana. What’s wrong?”

Might have thought part of her message might be ‘my dad has had an accident’, but apparently not.

“I can be there in about three hours. I have a meeting I can’t blow off. It’s a deal we’ve been hammering out for months.”

But you’re rich now. You don’t need to work, do you? Not really. You could just stay at home. Why do you insist on working?

…the truth is I want him with me.
“I’ll be okay, Christian. Take your time.”

If I tried to point out every single double standard in this book, I’d die from exhaustion.

Later, she is woken up by Sawyer (SHE FELL ASLEEP?! HOW?!?). They’re at the hospital and she is directed to the Operating Room.

“Can I help you?” asks one officious nurse with a myopic stare.

You can tell we’re back in normal-person land because every woman isn’t stunningly attractive.

“My father, Raymond Steele.”
“He’s been in for a couple of hours. The waiting room’s there.”

A couple of hours? I imagine that’s not good.

José and his dad are in the waiting room. Ana falls into José’s arms. He explains that they were out fishing and got hit by a drunk driver. (Drunk … or MURDEROUS?) Ana starts shivering so José puts his jacket around her. I’m sure Christian will see this and understand that his wife was simply in distress and needed comforting.

Suddenly the door opens. Christian strides in.

He can’t just bloody walk anywhere, can he?

“Have you eaten?” he asks.

Oh fuck off, she’s probably not able to eat right now.

“But you’re cold?” he asks, eyeing José’s jacket.

There you go, I knew he’d point it out.

In comes the doctor.

All the blood disappears from my head as I stumble to my feet.

It doesn’t just drain, it disappears! Poof! No more blood!

“You’re his next of kin?” the doctor asks.
“I’m his daughter, Ana.”
“Miss Steele –“
“Mrs Grey,” Christian interrupts him.

Now is NOT the time for possessiveness.

We learn that Ray is stable but critical. He has massive internal injuries, his heart stopped briefly and he has severe head trauma. He’s in an induced coma with possible brain damage. All in all, not hunky-dory.

“It’s possible he could make a complete recovery, but that’s in God’s hands now.”

I would be very concerned if my doctor brought GOD into it.

“Well, he’s alive,” I whisper to Christian.

Ana, ever the optimist.

José whispers in my ear. “He’s a fit and healthy man. The odds are in his favour.”

They’re really not. He was flattened by a car.

He offers for Ana to keep his jacket, but she turns it down, looking nervously at Christian as if he should give a shit (which he probably does, ‘cos he’s a dick). As soon as Ana and Christian are alone he tells her she should eat something. I’d give him my knuckles to chew on.

“How was the meeting?”
“They let me buy a shipyard. We’re going to use it to do the fitting-out. Build the hulls in the Far East We should be able to keep redundancies to a minimum.”

Oh really? That’s so interesting. Oh wait, no it’s not, because there’s a family member in a fucking INDUCED COMA to think about.

My dad has never been so diminished.

Horrific injuries will do that to a person.

A monitor displays his heart rate: beep, beep, beep. It’s beating strong and steady.

How can you tell that it’s beating ‘strong’?

This I know.

Oh, fair enough then.

I clasp Ray’s hand. It’s surprisingly warm.

That would be because he isn’t dead!

“All Mr Steele’s vitals are good,” Nurse Kellie says quietly.
I glance up in time to see her gape. She’s finally gotten a good look at my husband.

Even HERE, even NOW, EL James is flogging the ‘Christian is attractive’ dead horse. For FUCK’S sake, is nothing sacred?

Incongruously, I find myself thinking blonde is not her true colour.

Who gives the remotest flying FUCK about the nurse’s hair?

Eventually Christian and Ana go to a hotel. Christian runs her a bath and says it strange not to see her being brave and strong (Surprise! You married a human!). If this is his idea of comforting her, he’s even more hopeless than I thought.

“You look so young,” Christian says softly. “And to think you’ll be a whole year older tomorrow.”

Nope, she’ll be a whole day older!

They go back to the hospital. A doctor (a lady! An attractive lady!) tells them that everything is improving. They go back to the hotel again.

“Baby, you’re exhausted. You should sleep.”
We’re not going to make love?

Jesus, take a night off.

I’m relieved.

What? It’s not up to him when you have sex. You can say no.

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.

Because your husband hasn’t tried to make a move on you whilst you’re dealing with the severe illness of a family member? IS THIS SOMETHING YOU WOULD EXPECT HIM TO DO?

“Promise me you’ll eat something tomorrow. I can just about tolerate you wearing another man’s jacket but, Ana, you must eat. Please.”

Couldn’t just let it go for one night, could you?

“Sleep,” he murmurs, and it’s a command.

Of course it is. Fucking HELL.

- gildius -

Read Chapter 18.

Why not let me know what you think? You can buy the book here, or the entire trilogy, if you’re a glutton for punishment. Ironically.

About abusive relationships
Domestic violence helpline 0808 2000 247
Help for abused men 0808 801 0327

About eating disorders
Eating disorder helpline 0845 634 1414