I hop into the hot bath after he has disappeared. Luckily for me, the bath was deep and I got to hide everything below the neck in the tub as it filled with water.
I hold my knees to my chest and glance at my nighty and underwear on the ground.
How embarrassing, that he’d judge me so much on the design.
“Have you eaten, Wren?” Theo calls out from the other room, presumably from the kitchen. I glance up and I can see him looking in the fridge.
There is a danger to his question. He was going to be pissed off if I said no. But how else would I get to check out his cooking ability?
“Just a little bit,” I yell back out, “I guess I’m still hungry.”
There is no response from Theo but I slyly look over the rim to see him preparing something. He starts slicing up tomato’s, cheese and onion. He actually glances up, as if feeling my gaze, catching me staring.
He holds my eyes as I awkwardly smile, then when I see him simply looking at me, not reacting nor smiling back – I decide to face the charcoal tiled wall. I sink down, my bottom sliding along the smooth bath as the water comes up to my nose. I’m now successfully hidden.
Watch yourself, sweet cheeks, I know what you’re doing... Theo’s words from this morning when I was teasing him, come back to me from that look he was giving me now. There were so many ways I could take it. A light threat, a joke or perhaps he was... dead serious.
Telling him I only ate a bit and was still hungry was a bad move, I admit. He liked to know I could take care of myself. Then simply watching him make food while I’m naked in a bath... I might be seen as trying to seduce him over to me.
If you push him too far tonight you might actually get your ass spanked, be careful, my conscious is weary and knowing. I was good at reading people’s vibes and despite Theo’s teasing I had a feeling he wouldn’t appreciate any more disrespect from me.
He’d want me to listen, do as I’m told, stay warm, eat, sleep well etc. If I didn’t behave perfectly tonight from now on, from that look he just gave me while making me dinner... he wasn’t going to give me much more rope to work with.
I grimace... oh man, that was a terribly inappropriate pun.
I start to think about him tying me up and I squirm at the thought, pressing my thighs together and closing my eyes. I sink deeper into the water, until my head is all the way submerged. I like the feeling, I come back up for air and take a deep breath, deciding to see how long I can stay under. Call me childish, but I was pretty good at it and it was a challenge.
I sink under the water, calm as I’m engulfed by the muffled sounds of everything beyond. I liked how water did that, it made everything sound more stretched and low.
Eventually I decide to fall on what Rhea would inevitable tell me in this situation. You’re overthinking it, Wren, over-analysing nothing, just calm down.
So I decide to calm down and just relax. Theo was still my boss, even if he liked being suggestive sometimes, mentioning ropes... it was just teasing. Not to mention, I was overanalysing a simple look he gave me.
At the end of the day, you work for him and you have to maintain your professional relationship.
“Exactly,” I breathe out as I come up for air and then rub out the water from my eyes. I decide it’s been long enough, about half an hour or so of warm soaking and nearly falling asleep. It was time to get out of the bath.
I peek over the edges, but I can’t see him. So I stand up, feeling just a bit wobbly from sleepy muscles as I step over the edge and hop down to the black fluffy bath mat.
I quickly pick up the towel and dry myself off, wrapping my hair up and then shrugging on my nightgown. I’d have to deal with the nighty, it was either that or a towel. When I walk out, food is prepared on the coffee table, a simple toasty. I smile as I hop over the back of the couch and settle with my legs crossed, picking up the plate and popping it on my knees. I glance over into Theo’s open bedroom and I see him standing by the window, looking out over the sea.
He still looks dead serious so I decide to shrug my shoulders and just eat up. When I’m done, Theo comes out of his room exactly as I plop the empty plate onto the glass top.
“Thanks...” I mutter as he comes over and grabs the plate, walking off to the kitchen, “Why are you so quiet sometimes, Theo?” I ask, looking over my shoulder, hoping to break his mood.
I watch him darkly smile to himself as he washes my plate, avoiding my gaze as he thinks. I know he heard me. I take off the towel wrapped in my hair, to break the silence.
“Why did you call me, Wren?” he asks suddenly, looking up to finally lock eyes with me.
“What?” I ask, confused about what he meant, “Do you mean, why did I call you when the apartment caught on fire?”
I shrug and try to keep this conversation as relaxed as possible.
“I don’t know, maybe because you’re close by and we’ve been spending more time together so I thought of you first?” I’m happy with the way I’ve answered the question, “So, I don’t suppose you’ll lighten up? You look... sort of angry... or something... have I done something wrong?”
Theo thinks to himself for a moment, as he puts the plate in the dishwasher and then calmly holds my gaze once more.
“Wren, that’s not why I believe you called me. You called because you trust me to look after you and I will look after you, but these things are about give and take. If I take care of you, I can’t just let you take me for granted...” Theo pauses and then decides to add, “What do I get in return for helping you out and protecting you?”
“My amazing company, of course,” keep it casual Wren, you’re doing a good job, lighten him up some more, he is way too serious right now, “What, is my amazing company not enough, bossy-pants? I’m a laugh and a half, you can’t deny it.”
Theo looks at me in disbelief for a moment and then his eyes travel to my nightgown as I stand up, crossing my arms over my chest.
“I’m trying to be direct with you,” Theo continues, slowly coming around the counter.
“About what?” I ask, trying again to sound disinterested and casual.
Theo goes silent and then considers my reaction as he walks right up to me and his eyes lazily travel from my toes to my cheeks...
“I want you to know I will always put you first. You’re already starting to rely on me... and these types of arrangements don’t come without sacrifice, do you understand, sweet cheeks?” Theo is sticking to his word of being very direct. He reaches up a hand, his finger tugging on a wet curl of hair dangling to the side of my face.
I want to stick by my own advice and keep it casual, even if I was blatantly ignoring what he was saying... and doing.
“Of course, I really do appreciate that you are a great boss, Theo. Really, you deserve an award for being so caring. Maybe I’ll shout you out to lunch tomorrow? Oh... I was going to ask; can I have the day off tomorrow? I’ll need to fix my apartment from the damage done by the sprinklers,” I smile at him, despite his close proximity, he was closer than ever to be honest. I really had to look up at him, assessing his frustrated gaze.
He knew I was avoiding the conversation he really wanted to have with me.
“Of course you can have the day off,” Theo responds, he then pauses, opens his mouth to say more but then abruptly closes his eyes. He shakes his head a little as if mentally holding himself back from what he wants to say. I wait until he opens his eyes and I tilt my head, still smiling, my hands were clasped in front of me, trying to stop any trembling.
I was nervous he’d not give up on the previous conversation.
But I had a feeling he was done with it for now.
“Get some sleep, sweet cheeks,” Theo takes a step forward, and I feel he is going to usher me along with a hand on my back.
However, I’m startled when his hand slaps down on my ass instead, hard.
I literally squeak like a frightened mouse and jump forward.
I look over my shoulder at him, my face already blushing beet-red.
“G-... G-Goodnight,” I blurt out through my nerves and I see him also glancing at me over his shoulder as he walks to the spare bedroom.
“Goodnight, Wren,” Theo simply embarrasses me more by answering so smoothly, unfazed and clearly satisfied he’s made me almost squeal.
“Goodnight,” I answer again and then quickly face his room. Wren, you already said goodnight, shut it.
I feel like I’ve almost reached safety, as I step into his bedroom. Until he calls out from the other side of the penthouse.
“I’m holding you to that lunch tomorrow, sweet cheeks. Meet me out front the office at noon.”
I turn and shut the door, choosing to ignore that last part, even though I clearly heard him.
Stupid, Wren, why did you offer to take him out to lunch?
Oh well. No point wishing I had offered something else... I couldn’t get out of it now. I had the day off to fix my apartment. But I still couldn’t bloody escape Theo for lunch.
What are you going to do, Wren? You could call him and tell him you’re sick?
Or I can show up in my best outfit, and outwit him and manage to keep it professional.
You say that every day.
Yeah, well, the definition of insanity is attempting the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result to what you always get. So, I guess I’m insane.
Or at least I felt like I was going insane... over my boss... who was still having issues with a fiancé he dumped in the last two months.
This situation could only get more awkward if he tried to make a move on me.
Like... kiss me, or something else.
He smacked your ass, Wren. He finds your discomfort amusing. Be careful. Next time he tries something like that, slap him back. Show him you won’t take shit.
Ah yes. Show him I won’t take shit! I liked this new philosophy.
I have my answer as I lie in his bed and pull up the covers to my chin.
Next time he tried to talk to me so directly about us personally, I wouldn’t just avoid the conversation. I’d face it head on... and put him in his place.
In fact, I’d just hit him over the head time and time again about how professional our relationship was.
He’d get the point quick enough.
You genius! You smart little cookie, kick his ass! Besides, do you look like a rebound? No! Do you look like a garlic bread? No! You’re human, Wren, you have a heart that can be broken and you’re not going to let him fool with it. Keep your walls up, you won’t regret it! Tell him how you are nothing but his employee and he’ll have nothing to say in return.
Bring it on, Theo!
One hour later
I can’t sleep.
I think over and over again about what he tried to say to me tonight. About how his hand came into contact with my ass. Nice and hard, it’s like I still felt the sting. But really, it was just because I was re-living it over and over in my head, way too many times.
The thought of blatantly confronting him next time he brought up ‘us’ and how we worked...more like how we didn’t... is suddenly... too scary.
I can’t do it.
I decide not to show up to lunch with him.