So. If you know me you know my opinion about Fifty Shades of Grey. But if you don't know me, you don't know that I think it's a highly deplorable pile of rubbish, and it's badly written, too. I've never read the book, never want to. However I have read many reviews on how badly it was written, despite the terrible content. I couldn't help myself, I read the first chapter sample they have on Amazon. The rumors are true, folks, it is terribly written. Its monstrosity haunts me. It's a bane to the literary arts! Egh!
Of course... I am a bit of a writing snob, but there it is.
Unable to live with this knowledge that such a heinous sin exists, I took it upon myself to re-write the first chapter. However after beginning my noble venture I found it hard to even seriously re-write it and it turned out to be a huge mockery of the original. A delicious, huge mockery.
I leave it here for you--but before you read you must know a few things.
First, it's even more hilarious if you read the original 1st chapter. Don't worry, I assure you there is no sex in the first chapter, it's just her meeting the idiot and complaining, then making a complete fool of herself as though she were a ditzy, brainless loser that doesn't have an ounce of self confidence or control.
Second, I claim no rights to anything in the original story and, come on guys, I'm not out to make money off of this or steal anybody's (blood) money. In fact I'd be horrified to make money off of a sex novel. I'm writing this with my nose in the air. Literally. I think it must be the long day at work that I just don't want to sit up straight, or I really am that snobbish that my nose upturns when I'm looking down on other peoples' "success" (through terrible means).
Third, I'm not claiming rights to any sort of copywrite material in this segment. Except for my own material. That I'll claim.
Right. Without further adieu.
Why did I go to bed with wet hair? I ask myself for the fifteenth time as I painstakingly comb out the unruly mane. I should just chop it all off, honestly I don’t look half bad with a pixie. I tried it once, but then I was a teenager and, if I’m being honest with myself, my face was a little thinner then. At least I still have my blue eyes to draw the attention away from the fluff that is now my hair. It’s a good thing I love my roommate, Cait Cavenaugh, I begrudgingly think as I tame my brown hair into a ponytail. She had this fabulous opportunity to interview the CEO on Gray Enterprises Holdings Inc.. Even I know what a big deal this is, and I’m me! For those who don’t know, I’m a big home-body. I don’t know much about the outside world, unless it has to do with Facebook. Either way, my dearest roommate is dreadfully ill and I recommended myself as her champion, volunteering to drive the 170 miles to meet this tycoon (who has absolutely no time to waste and simply cannot reschedule the interview). Yep, Cait is darn lucky that I love her. And that she’s my cousin. Because, honestly, who’s willing to throw off their cramming sessions and Gilmore Girls for a roommate you hardly know? No one does that, right?
“I’m sorry, Anna, are you sure you don’t want to just drive me there? I could pull off health for an hour once we got there.” My cousin calls from the living room couch. She still looks gorgeous, even on her death bed. She’s looking at me with her puppy eyes, the same ones she used on my mom when we wanted to go to the mall as kids.
“Don’t be ridiculous. I’ll just ask all the questions you wrote down and record his answers. Easy peasy, it’s no problem. And I’ll take the scenic route back, I always wanted to drive up the coast, now’s my chance!” Putting a positive spin on things is always important in my life, as I could have easily been grumbling the entire drive up to Seattle about how my roommate is inconveniencing my studying time and my lack of social life. Nope, I won’t be such a person! Instead I take advantage of this long drive in Cait’s Aston Martin to meditate on my life.
Before I know it, I am in Seattle and in front of this enormous building. Big, architecturally appealing and shiny. I’m feeling quite smug that I not only played the good samaritan to my poor, sick cousin, drove 170 miles in an amazing car, and dressed appropriately for an interview with a Fortune 500 CEO, but I also arrive early. I wipe the grin off my face as I waltz through the rotating glass doors. The lobby is white sandstone, glass and steel. Cold and boring, but very business-like. Behind a sandstone desk sits the receptionist, she’s smartly dressed in a charcoal jacket that I immediately covet--though mine is a little more fashionably sound with a flare at the back, therefore I hold my own in her presence. I have no qualms over approaching this receptionist as I stroll up and announce, “I’m here to see Mr. Gray.”
The pretentious hussy looks at me as though I weren’t wearing a sixty dollar jacket and I feel the need to elaborate, “I’m Annastsiya Ananyev, I’m here in place of Catherine Cavenaugh.”
“Oh yes, one moment,” the receptionist types a few things then announces, “yes, Miss Cavanaugh is expected. Please sign in here, Miss Anennev.” Nobody gets my last name right. “Then you’ll want the last elevator on the right--the twentieth floor.”
She gives me a kind smile which I can’t mistake as slightly judgmental as I sign my loopy signature that took me ages to perfect. She hands me a visitor’s pass. It’s a good thing, too, because people would mistake me for an employee with how well I am dressed. My mother always told me that every woman should own at least one interview outfit. Taking that advice to heart I had invested in two blazers and some suit pants. The amount of smugness on being prepared could not be overstated.
The elevator takes me to the twentieth floor. At this time I’m beginning to feel dizzy as I don’t deal with heights that well. I’m sure to keep my gaze away from the windows as I approach the same style sandstone desk as was downstairs. The assistant rises to greet me, “Miss Annyenev, wait here, please.” She ushered to the seated area full of white leather chairs, beyond the chairs are windows. I quickly find a chair facing the desk and count to ten, imagining solid ground and fresh air. It was beginning to feel a little claustrophobic in here.
A third lady comes out of an enormous stone door and smiles warmly at me. Rather than blonde, like the first two, she has shiny raven hair and sharp glasses. She looks like one of those super models dressed to look like a nerd.
“Miss Anvenyev, hi,” she reaches out and shakes my hand. “Mr. Gray will see you in a moment. Have you been offered any refreshment?”
This woman is much friendlier than the judgy one downstairs. “Uh, no I haven’t.”
“Would you like tea, coffee, or water?” She asks, giving a quick, disciplinary glance at the blonde lady.
“Water would be fine, thank-you,” I say. Model nerd looks at blonde girl and blonde girl stands and leaves without a word.
“I apologize, Helga is a new intern. It’ll be just another five minutes.” Without any other explanation, she drifts away and into another office. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet? I’m beginning to seriously doubt Shakespear’s beliefs once I find out this woman’s real name. Her stunning beauty seems to have dropped down a couple of notches. In fact, I swear I spotted a mole under her chin when she returned with a bottle of sparkling water. I brush off my stereotyping when I realize I haven’t had water since my bottle ran dry about an hour ago, I take the opportunity to drink as much as possible before the large stone door opens again and a businessman sporting short dreads walks out. He turns back to the doorway and says, “golf this week, Gray?”
I don’t hear the reply, but it must have been a yes as the man seemed satisfied with the answer and turned into the reception area. Helga jumps out of her seat to call the elevator as the man gives me a sparkling smile, “good afternoon, ladies,” he says as he departs through the elevator doors. What a pleasant sort of fellow, I think to myself.
“Mr. Gray will see you now, Miss Anvenyev. Do go through.” Black-haired model ushers to the stone door.
I’m sure to keep the water bottle with me, as I’m not sure how long this interview will be. As I walk the few yards to the door I briefly wonder how old this guy is going to be. After all, he started his own company and it’s obviously flourishing. This dude has to be around his 40’s. I push open the surprisingly light door but trip over my heels on my way in. I smoothly recover before I face-plant and end up in this position that looks like a bird trying to do a kung fu pose. I immediately straighten up and clap eyes on a very young, sandy-haired man. This has to be some mistake, you only read about rich, young billionaires in books! He reaches out his hand to greet me, “Miss Cavanaugh, a pleasure.” His fingers are long, thin and spindly. Up until viewing them I would have imagined him a perfect specimen--everyone has their flaws. I consider my options of avoiding the shake but it’s inevitable, I reach out and clasp the stringy hand and resist the temptation to wipe my hand on my pants afterwards.
“I’m Christian Gray, please have a seat.”
He is dashing. But his sparkling blue eyes seem a little too sparkling for my taste, and there’s something about his smile that makes me squirm. I take a seat on a sofa that deceptively comfortable only to find it was a rock covered in cardboard and leather.
“My name is actually Annastasiya Annanyev. My cousin is Cait--er, Miss Cavenaugh--she was sick and I volunteered to do the interview for her. I hope that’s alright.”
“It isn’t a problem,” he assures as he walks over to a glass bar, “may I offer you something to drink?”
“No thanks.” As he gets himself something I look around the expansive office. Figures, someone making this much money couldn’t be bothered to have a practical office. It looked more like a penthouse. A boringly-decorated penthouse. Not a stitch of taste! However my taste is that of Mike Wazowski and Buzz Lightyear rolled into a small apartment room. I get right down to business, pulling out my iPhone and Cait’s questions. I activate the recorder app and start, though I feel completely out of my element, I’m determined to play the part, if I can fool this billionaire, perhaps I’ll have a future in acting!
He takes a seat in a chair across from me, takes a sip of his water, then smiles, “go ahead and start at anytime?”
The smile again… it’s just so… beautiful, it’s just creepy. Like one of those cakes you buy at the grocery store that are covered in way too much frosting. Ugh, I want to leave and take a shower, I have a jug of Dr Bronner’s castile soap under my bathroom sink but right now I’m imagining it won’t be enough to wipe this guy’s memory away.
“Right, so these are all Cait’s questions, she wrote them down ahead of time, I’ll just dive right in. Uh, what--you’re very young to have grown such a company. To what do you owe your obvious success?”
“Business is all about people, Miss Annenyev, and I’m good at finding out how they tick, what makes them flourish, what inspires them, what incentives they need. I reward ingenuity and creativity.”
Halfway through the answer I go off into a daze tracing the pattern on his silverish tie. It shifts in the light and I’m trying to figure out if they’re diamonds or some sort of French pattern. I only catch the last bit of his self-appreciating accolade, “the growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”
“Sounds like something a control freak would say,” I comment flatly.
“I control a great many things, Miss Annanyev.” He looks at me as though he’s dead serious, like I offended his dynasty somehow. Or maybe he’s trying to intimidate me or make some secret point? All I notice is that he’s properly pronounced my name, twice! An incredible feat, I must admit.
“Just maybe not your decorators, eh?” I laugh a short, blast of a laugh native to the women in my family. He was not amused. I clear my throat and look down at the questions, “Do you have any interests outside your work?”
“I have varied interests.” He gives me an intense look and I fight the urge to scoot away from his gaze. “Very varied.” This guy’s a creep, and he’s not good with words. He was definitely given the wrong name, this guy seems more like Satan than a Christian. I don’t realize I’m staring back at him, all I see are the two red horns protruding out of his head. Now it hits me, he probably thinks I’m mentally challenging him so I quickly rush on to the next questions, all about his interest in agriculture, sciences and manufacturing; all areas in which he conducts business. Every answer of his revolves around his want for power and control. He is very arrogant, too, not showing an ounce of humility or even a shout out to his mother who raised him. Maybe he wasn’t raised by a mother, perhaps a pack of ravenous wolves. That’s what he reminds me of, a wolf, a starving, creepy sort of werewolf that wants to rip the flesh off of innocent people. Of course, as fate would have it, the next question on Cait’s list was about his adoption. I blurt out another Annanyev laugh but try to stifle it halfway through, it ends up sounding like a strangled seagull. I start coughing and take a drink of water from the bottle I carried in with me.
“Are you alright?” He didn’t sound concerned, but rather bored.
“No. I mean, yes, I was just taken aback by… one of the questions.”
“Well, since it was so outrageous, I must hear it now.”
I really don’t want to tell him that I find the fact that he’s an orphan hilarious. So instead I skip on to the next question which I can pass off as funny if I am a really good actress, “are you gay?”
His facial expression doesn’t change at all, it’s flat, plain. He blinks at me twice, “no, Miss Annenyev. Did you really drive all this way just to ask me that?”
“No, of course not, these are Cait’s questions.”
“Right, I forgot. And Cait was…?”
“Sick. She couldn’t make it.”
“Of course. And are you working on this project together?”
“No, she’s my roommate and cousin, I volunteered.”
“That’s very noble of you.”
The door opened behind him and the black-haired girl walked in, “Mr. Gray, your next appointment is in three minutes, sir.”
“Of course, thank-you Olga.” I stifle another dying seagull laugh. Helga and Olga. These women are not nearly as intimidating or amazing as I originally thought. Interesting what a change of a name can do. He directs his gaze back to me and all I can think is, ‘wolf eyes’. Maybe he should change his name from Christian to Wolf.
“What say I ask you some questions now.” He leans forward, resting his arms on his knees and clasping his hands together like a greedy man at a poker table.
I can’t control the instinct to lean back slightly.
“Go ahead.” I’m not scared, I mentally tack on. I mentally imagine braiding his golden hair into a chain, and that thought quickly morphs into one of the dreadlock dude chilling on a beach in San Diego wearing said chain. And then a shark hops on land and asks him where to get one. I blink the thought away and attempt to pay attention.
“What are your plans after you graduate?”
“I’m not sure.” I lie, I have great plans to move back to California and get a job at Pixar Studios. But I won’t tell him that, he doesn’t deserve to know about my ambitions.
“We have an excellent internship program here, if you’re interested.”
“Oh, um... I don’t know. I don’t imagine I’d fit in here.”
He raises his dark eyebrows that clash with his sandy hair. “And why do you imagine such a thing?”
The way he says it, his voice, it sounds like velvet or something, it makes me want to take some of that castile soap and squirt it in one ear and out the other. Especially the almond-scented kind.
“You seem to employ women who cannot pronounce names properly and are only interested in looking pretty. I know it’s a harsh observation, but it is just an observation so don’t take it too personally. I’m sure they’re lovely women. But I have higher ambitions than working in a stuffy office full of people wearing the same outfit.” I really can’t believe I say all that, but then I’m known to be blunt. I’m not quite a mousy sort of lady, I speak my mind, I almost wish I wouldn’t.
“Let me show you around the building, perhaps I can change your mind.”
I stand up and collect my water bottle, I had chugged almost all of it and now felt the undeniable urge that soon follows. I should have stopped at a restaurant and used the restroom before coming. This sudden feeling mixed with the squirmish ones I’m experiencing in his pristinely greasy presence, I find it hard to concentrate on giving a good excuse.
“I appreciate the offer, truly. But I honestly need to leave as soon as possible.”
Waterfalls, beaches, they all start flashing past my mind as I hastily shake his hand, “it’s been,” I stop myself before saying pleasure, “have a good day!”
His noodle fingers grip onto my hand like octopus tentacles and I momentarily panic thinking he’s going to shove me in a closet and save me for a snack. I give him a forced smile and rush out of the room and into the elevator. Once the doors close I take a big sigh of relief then march to the nearest restroom once they open again.
The drive home doesn’t take nearly as long. Maybe it was because I drove down the coast, like I said I would, and felt a huge weight off my shoulders once I left the building, and the burning gaze of that Mr. Gray. Yuck. I got home in great time and Cait was ecstatic over the interview. We all went on with our lives after that, until one fateful day about 18 months later… I stumbled across that man with the wolf gaze, his name and picture were on Facebook, of all places, on an article link. The title? Billionaire guilty in sex trafficking. So that’s where he got all his money. Agricultural science my Aunt Fanny. What a creep! I’m glad I listened to my intuition and hightailed it out of there. A weaker woman may have fallen into his trap, been overwhelmed by his Ken-doll-like features and then what might have become of her? A poor, abused slave kept under the controlling, noodly fingers of Mr. Grey--who was said to have made bail momentarily, but is looking at 50 years in prison. Good.