Christian introduces Ana to his mother, Dr. Grace Trevelyan-Grey. Grace is very warm towards Ana, but Ana is distracted by a phone call from José, who has been frantically trying to reach her in order to apologize for his behavior. After Grace leaves, Christian tells Ana that she should read the contract and research some of its stipulations over the next week. Ana admits that she doesn't have access to a laptop. When Ana calls Kate, Christian assumes she is calling José, and behaves coldly. However, when Ana asks if she can break their confidentiality agreement in order to confide in Kate about their relationship, he agrees.
Christian drives Ana back to Vancouver, and they stop for lunch along the way. He confides that he has done things with her that he has never done with any other woman. He also explains that when he was fifteen, he became the submissive to an older woman who was a friend of his mother. They are still friends, although they no longer have a sexual relationship. Ana is conflicted about what her relationship with Christian will be like if they move forward. He drops her off at her apartment with a plan for them to meet in a few days for dinner. Kate and Ana immediately share their experiences with their respective lovers; Kate is enthralled by Elliott. However, both of them have other things to think about. Ana has internship interviews scheduled with several publishing houses, and Kate is about to depart for a family trip to Barbados before starting a journalism internship. In a few days time, Kate and Ana will be moving to Seattle to share an apartment there together.
Ana eventually accepts a call from José: he apologizes, but also annoys her by complaining about her relationship with Christian. Ana also reads over the contract Christian has provided her with, which details a relationship in which he will have almost total control over her life. She is very hesitant, but also can't stop thinking about how much Christian excites her. The next morning, Ana receives a laptop which Christian has given her as a gift. Now, they can communicate via email, and she quickly begins exchanging flirtatious messages with him. Ana also uses the laptop to do further research into dominant-submissive sexuality, and winds up even more confused than before. To calm herself, she goes for a run. When she returns, she sends Christian a playful email, and is surprised that he doesn't respond.
However, a short time later, Ana is surprised to find Christian in her room. They make love, and then she tries to find out more information about why he has the specific desires he does. Although she loves the way he plays with power during sex, she also wishes they could have the prospect of a loving and emotionally intimate relationship. When he leaves, she bursts into tears, and explains her apprehension to Kate. She also emails Christian to articulate some of her concerns about the contract and is not comforted by his stern response. The next day, Ana calls her mother, who is not going to be able to attend the upcoming graduation ceremony.
Wednesday is the night Ana and Christian have planned to meet to have dinner and discuss the contract. She meets him at his hotel and they discuss some of the terms. Christian shows some willingness to compromise on minor terms, but is mostly insistent on the structure of the agreement. Unwilling to totally cede control, Ana leaves without making love, and goes back to her apartment. The next morning is her graduation ceremony, which she attends with her stepfather Ray. Christian delivers a speech at the ceremony and alludes to having experienced hunger as a child. After the ceremony, Christian tells Ana that he needs an answer from her by the next day. He is also eager to meet her stepfather. Spontaneously, Ana tells Christian that she will agree to the contract. That night, after the ceremony, he comes to her apartment.
The intimacy Christian and Ana establish when they make love for the first time extends into her getting a spontaneous window into his personal life. Christian has hinted that his relationship with his birth mother was very difficult, and that this seems to be a source of his inability to achieve emotional intimacy. However, his relationship with his adopted mother seems to be warm, and more significantly, Grace is very friendly and welcoming to Ana. Grace's reception implies that she has had concerns about the isolated way her son lives his life, and that she also sees the potential for Ana to be a good influence in his life.
Ana finds herself reeling after her first sexual experience. Christian has introduced her to pleasure she never even imagined she could feel. She was already enamored by him, but now she is even more determined to keep exploring their relationship. She is also heartened by evidence that Christian has repeatedly compromised his usually strict boundaries for her: he has let her sleep in his bed, he's revealed hints of his past, and he had non-BDSM sex with her because he knew that she needed a less intense introduction to sexuality. However, it is clear that many aspects of Christian's personality and desires have not changed. He is still very controlling and jealous, as evidenced by his reaction to Ana talking to José. Despite having been aggressive with Ana when she was drunk, José now seems contrite and harmless. If anything, the roles have been reversed, and Christian may appear to be the more threatening male figure in Ana's life. Elliot also appears as another version of a foil character for Christian. While they are brothers, they are almost totally unalike in personality. Elliot's carefree ways and sunny disposition heighten the contrast with Christian's more brooding and aloof character. However, it's also clear that Christian is by far more attractive by Ana's standards.
While Christian may have made some exceptions to his policies around sex and relationships, he shows no indications of being willing to change what he fundamentally wants and expects from his relationship with Ana. Christian values informed consent: he wants Ana to take her time, reflect on the details of the contract, and properly inform herself. Still, he wants a relationship governed by a legalistic document, which leaves little room for spontaneity, compromise, or growth. Christian's admission that BDSM has been part of his sex life since he was a teenager shows just how central these practices are to him. He's never known any other type of relationship, and he doesn't want to explore any other options. The fault lines of conflict between him and Ana are already being clear: Ana fears that if she refuses to act as a submissive, she'll lose Christian entirely. However, she also wants the possibility of exploring a genuine emotional connection with him, and relating to one another as equals. Christian's refusal to let her touch his chest and torso becomes a symbolic touchstone for his refusal to genuinely experience intimacy with Ana. Everything that happens has to happen on his terms.
While Ana is caught up in the newfound passion she is experiencing, she also knows the relationship is distracting her from other areas of her life. Ana's goals and ambitions of finding an internship and starting a new life stage with Kate threaten to get sidelined by the amount of time she now has to spend being with Christian. Her doubts and fears raise the suspicions of both Kate and her mother: these women only want to see Ana happy, and while they can concede to some of Christian's dazzling appeal, their caution also signals that the relationship is not entirely positive. It is also interesting that Ana's convocation ceremony comes to revolve almost entirely around Christian. In theory, this day celebrates Ana's academic accomplishments, and marks the transition to the next stage of her life. However, she spends most of the day thinking about him, and barely reflects on what the day means for her.