50 Shades Freed – Chapter 18

Ana’s step-dad is in hospital, in a coma, after having been squished by a drunk driver’s car. Christian decided that during visiting hours was the perfect time for a pissing contest with the doctor. Afterwards Ana wonders whether she should be worried that Christian didn’t try to jump her shortly after visiting her critically ill dad in hospital.

Read Chapter 17.

Chapter 18
50 Shades Freed

“Hi,” Christian says. “I want to wish you happy birthday. Is that okay?”

Since when do you ask permission to say ‘happy birthday’?

He hands me a small, exquisitely wrapped box. In spite of the worry I feel about my father, I sense Christian’s anxiety and excitement, and it’s infectious.

Doesn’t matter how worried you are, it can all be made better with presents!

I find a beautiful red leather box. Cartier.

She’s had so much Cartier she recognises the box now.

Inside is a charm bracelet with several charms: Eiffel Tower, London cab, helicopter, glider, catamaran, bed and ice cream cone (because of vanilla sex!).

“Thank you. It’s yar.”

Anyone have any idea what ‘yar’ means?!

My favourite is the heart. It’s a locket.

Ah yes, the heart that you didn’t mention AT ALL in your list of charms.

I fondle the last two charms: a letter C and finally, there’s a key.
“To my heart and soul,” he whispers.

And a little silver sick bucket!

My voice cracks. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

Think for yourself, maybe?

I know Christian is pleased to see me eating my granola and Greek yoghurt.

I ate that today. Now I feel dirty. L

They get in the elevator (the one they used to snog in!) and she gets turned on. They kiss a bit but manage to keep it together so they can go visit the UNCONSCIOUS MAN IN THE HOSPITAL. Honestly, does your libido never take a day off?

The hum of an approaching car engine distracts me. Oh shit! It’s an R8.
“Happy birthday,” he says.

Didn’t ask her permission about that now, did you?

My face splits in a huge grin, and I jump up and down on the spot.

Long gone are the days of, ‘I’m perfectly happy with my crappy car.’

I check the rearview and roar off in the direction of OSHU.
“Whoa!” Christian exclaims, alarmed. “I don’t want you in the ICU beside you father.”

You bought her a fast car, don’t complain when she uses it.

“Slow down,” he growls, not to be argued with.

Oh fucking floor it, please.

Ray’s condition is the same. I must ask Christian what’s become of the asshole who hit Ray – I’m sure he knows.

Why would he know? And what would he do to him?

I wander into the waiting room where Christian is talking on the phone, pacing.
“How far above the limit? … I see … All charges, everything.”

EL James had made this accident the fault of a drunk driver so we all feel happy when Christian opens a can of whoop-ass on him.

“Some drunken trailer trash from southeast Portland.”

Hooray, class snobbery!

“I should call my mom. Tell her about Ray,” I murmur.

HAS NOBODY THOUGHT TO DO THIS YET?

“I’m surprised she hasn’t called me.” In fact, I feel hurt. It’s my birthday and she was there when I was born.

What? She was probably a little more than just ‘there’.

There’s no reply, just the answering machine. How can my own mother forget my birthday?

Of course she hasn’t, she’s probably driving to be with you.

Someone calls Christian again, business things.

“Good … ETA is what time?”

ETA stands for Estimated Time of Arrival. You DO NOT need to ask what time it will be.

Ray comes back from his CT scan – his brain has stopped swelling and he’ll be woken from his coma tomorrow. Instantly, Ana decides to go for a drive in her new toy.

I subtly put my foot down, forcing us both back in our seats.

I’m conflicted: I want her to drive as fast as she likes to spite Christian, but I also want her to remember that her dad is in hospital after a horrible car accident. It’s almost like buying a super-fast car is pointless.

“Steady, baby,” Christian warns.

No, fuck it, drive him into a wall.

I park outside Le Picotin restaurant, where we went after José’s show.

Gosh, this trip to the hospital has been a real nostalgia trip, hasn’t it?

They have lunch (nothing happens), visit Ray again (nothing happens), then go out for dinner in a private room at the hotel. He even has a ballgown waiting for her.

The dress hugs me, skimming over my curves and holding everything in place.

Come on, a dress can’t both skim and hold you in.

“Surprise!”
Oh my. Kate and Elliot, Mia and Ethan, Carrick and Grace, Mr Rodriguez and José, and my mother and Bob are all there.

Oh God, just when I thought we’d got rid of the entourage.

“Mom! I thought you’d forgotten.”
“How could I? Seventeen hours of labor is not something you easily forget.”

Or, you know, celebrating your daughter’s birthday EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

They all say hello individually. I’ll spare you.

Life is so precious, I realize that now.

Bring on the clichés!

Tightening my hands around his lapels, I pull his lips to mine.

Lapels is a word I’d only ever seen written down, so the first time I asked my boyfriend about his ‘lay-pulls’, it was a little embarrassing.

“He obviously adores you, darling.” [says Ana’s mum]
“And I adore him.”
“Make sure you tell him. Men need to hear that stuff just like we do.”

It’s almost like HUMANS need to hear that.

The next day all the people leave. Christian and Ana go back to the hospital and Ray is now breathing on his own.

I unfold the sports section of the Sunday Oregonian and begin reading out the report about the soccer game.

That would probably put me into a coma.

“And the final score, Sounders one, Real Salt Lake two.”
“We lost? No!” Ray rasps.
Daddy!

He’s awake! So dramatic! I’m surprised Christian hasn’t knocked him out for talking to Ana!


Read Chapter 19.

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

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