Chapter 26. Ana wakes up with a start, remembers her pill, hears Christian playing, and goes out to look at him. Grey plays for her. He gets evasive about her questions, then has a mind to bed her again instead of answering. Which she finally mentions. She asks about their relationship and the contract, which he says is “moot.” The Rules are not, though. The contract was from “before more.” The “spirit” of the contract applies in the “playroom,” and the Rules all the time. So she can still be punished. But he’d need her okay, and she could say no. Wow, Ana has a mind, after all.
She confuses him, so he gets the rules. Some things have been edited. She rolls her eyes, then says if he wants to spank her, he has to catch her first. They banter stupidly, and then Grey says that one would think she didn’t want to be caught. Ana sez, “I feel about punishment the way you feel about me touching you.” Grey’s in shock with these words. Ana tries desperately to remove her foot from her mouth. Grey doesn’t understand because in the “playroom” she’s all responsive and eager, but it’s for his benefit. She doesn’t want him to hurt her.
But Grey wants to hurt her. “But not beyond anything you couldn’t take.” Yeah, that’s normal. He can’t tell her why, or rather, won’t, because she’ll run away if she knows the truth. How can she trust you, then? It’s a two-way street, pallie.
And so, Ana, in a bid to understand, asks him to show her how bad it can be. And he acquiesces, and marches her to the playroom. He grabs a belt and bends her over the bench, telling her he’s going to lash her with it six times, and he wants her to count. And, as you probably guessed, it hurts a lot and she can barely stand it. When it’s over he tries to gather her in his arms, but she pushes him away. Ana finally finds her backbone, and calls Grey “one fucked-up son of a bitch.” He’s so shocked her calls her “Ana.”
She leaves the room, wondering where to go. She heads to “her” room, realizing now why he wanted her to have it (for distance). Ana cries into her pillow, wondering why she let him do that. So you could see how depraved he really is? He warned her, but she didn’t listen, and now she has a broken heart – and a sore ass, to boot.
Grey comes in and slides into bed with her. He says, “Don’t hate me.” She apologizes for what she said, then tells him she can’t be what he wants her to be. Even though he says that she is. She doesn’t want to go because she Wuvs him. This frightens him; “it’s wrong.” Because he can’t make her happy. Well, Ana says, I guess I better go, then, and heads downstairs to dress. She’s numb as she showers and dresses, sore ass in her jeans, but it’s helping her not to think about her “splintering, shattered heart.”
She leaves the gift she’d brought, a model kit for a glider. She returns the laptop and phone and asks for the money for her old car. He won’t take it, and tries to argue about the money. He finally writes her a check for the car.
They say good-bye awkwardly. He tries to touch her, but she says no. Taylor takes her home, and she sobs in the car. Taylor, probably well-used to this, gives her a handkerchief. She arrives to a lonely apartment, hugs the helicopter balloon, and sobs some more. “The physical pain from the bite of a belt is nothing, nothing compared to this devastation.” Well, it’s what you wanted, so . . .
Ana wallows in her sorrow, and I grab an alcoholic beverage, and the book is over. That took forever! I have no words left, really. Well, actually, I do, but I will put them in a separate entry.