Chapter 10 | Relations
“Want a mini pretzel dog?” Sara offers as we take a break from all the shopping by having a snack in the food court. Actually, I think I might suggest we head home. I’ve never seen someone shop so crazily. She wouldn’t even take a moment to consider; if she likes an item at all, she’s purchasing it. At one point, she even offered to buy me a diamond necklace just because I glanced at it. I didn’t want her to know that I could afford it, but that wouldn’t even matter. I only glanced at it because it was so flashy.
As an escort, I learned the art of tasteful fashion, steering clear of all things over the top. The goal was to be high class, but also easy to blend in. If I stood in an elevator with nine other people, I’d want at least eight of them to check me out once and maybe only one of them (hopefully a potential client) to take a second look.
“So how are things between you and Alex?” Sara asked as she threw a mini pretzel dog into her mouth. These pieces were two-bite sizes, so as she chewed, her mouth stretched into something of the chipmunk nature.
“Oh, we’re alright,” I answered cautiously. While Alex and I have somewhat become a real thing, I still do what I do and we had started out as a lie. “He’s as sweet as ever.”
“That’s so good to hear!” She smiled genuinely at me before sipping on her strawberry lemonade.
“And how was the honeymoon?” I pulled my hair out of its ponytail and loosened my locks over my shoulders. When she didn’t answer, I looked up to find her deep in thought, staring at nothing with a pair of sad eyes. “Sara?”
“What’s wrong?” I leaned forward to search for her eyes.
“It’s probably nothing,” she shook her head with a slight smile.
“What is it, hon?” Oh god, knowing Theo’s a dick only makes me more worried.
“Well, don’t laugh, but I was kind of saving myself for the past few months just so he could go crazy on me after the wedding.”
I smiled at her. I had no idea she was so… innocent.
“Okay, you’re laughing at me.” She frowned, but quickly continued. “He just… didn’t seem interested. He’s a perfect husband and we did consummate on our first night there, but he kept saying he wanted to cuddle. I’m just worried that he doesn’t find me attractive.”
I nodded in understanding as I brought my straw up to my lips and took a sip.
“What if he’s gay?”
I spat all the liquid in my mouth into the air beside me.
I thought back to all the times in bed with him, back when I hadn’t known how much of a dick he was. No, Theo definitely is not gay.
“Are you okay?” Sara raised a brow at me, but I knew she was only concerned.
“Went down the wrong pipe,” I pointed at my throat as I croaked. I cleared my throat and went on, “Well, was he like that before?”
“No, he was very open to sex before I decided on the saving myself thing, and honestly, he seemed normal up until the wedding. What if he had cold feet and now he’s regretting marrying me?”
“Don’t say that,” I tried to reassure her, “He married you and he hasn’t stepped away. That’s what matters.”
She nodded slowly, offering a grateful smile.
“I’m so happy Alex has you. He deserves a girl like you.”
I looked away, blushing, despite the knowledge of how untrue that really was.
“Why are we here?” Theo whined as we strolled along the shopping mall I knew was across town from where Sara and Val were.
I was focusing on the window outfits, finding a certain style that seems befitting for Valerie. She had this simplicity in her style, something I can’t put my tongue on. She didn’t look like she tried so hard, but she still always came off looking like an amazing goddess.
“Wait, are we shopping for the girls? We’re shopping for the girls while they shop for themselves?” Theo raised a brow at me.
“I just want to get her something nice,” I shrugged and caught an uncomfortable look on his face. “What?”
“Nothing, but I think I know what you should get her.
“Get her this,” he pointed at a deep red dress that hugged the mannequin at the waist with a large rose shaped bunch of fabric for embellishment. Mermaid in shape and wine in color, this dress caught the light in such a way that displayed muted elegance. It was royalty in disguise.
“Do you think she’ll like it?” What am I saying? Of course, she would. I can’t even take my eyes off the thing!
“Something tells me she’s the type to love roses.” There was a confidence in the way he said that, but I paid no mind, still mesmerized by the outfit in front of me. Within half an hour, we both walked out with gifts for our girls. I had insisted he get something for Sara and he seemed to have no problems pointing at a few things for the worker to wrap up.
We made our way to Val’s apartment and I found myself doing what I always did before seeing her: internally checking my breath, fixing my shirt and my hair, even licking my front teeth to make sure nothing was wedged between them.
I was comfortable with being by her side, but I still wanted to give her the best version of myself. Theo gave me a mocking smile, to which I rolled my eyes at. I am not whipped. And so what if I was?
After pressing the doorbell twice, the door opened, revealing Valerie with a very pale expression as she glared at Theo. Glared?
Just as quickly, though, she turned to me and smiled, “What are you guys doing here?”
“I wanted to get you a gift,” I stuttered, still heavily distracted by her expression a moment ago. Awkwardly handing her the bags dangling on my fingers, I caught a look from Theo, who was just spacing out.
“What is it?” She peeked into the bag and gasped very lightly. I had asked for the worker at the store to fold it in a manner so that the rose on the dress would be the first visible thing. I had hoped that upon seeing it, Val would be delighted, but as she took in the sight of what was inside the bag, her eyes snapped right to Theo with an emotion kin to hatred.
“I love it, Alex,” her expression softened as she took a step forward and planted a slow, loving kiss on my lips. “I’ll see you tonight?”
I nodded, and kissed her again before turning around to head out. The rest of the ride home with Theo was silent, but in my mind a million thoughts raced through.
Did they know each other?