When I wake up the next morning, I have a leg curled out of the blanket and my head nestled into the pillow. There is a warm cat against my back, and my arm is stretched out over a cool empty space.
For about twenty hopeless minutes, I lie and stare at the empty half of the bed next to me. I lie the first five minutes smiling to myself, waiting to hear a noise in the bathroom or kitchen. I spend the last fifteen minutes wondering why there is so much silence.
I eventually realise... and admit... I’m alone.
Theo is gone.
I let out a long sigh and turn around carefully, reaching out my arm I wrap it around Mr. Fox and give him a cuddle a little too tight, which he doesn’t appreciate. After wriggling out of my grasp he tip-toes to my feet and curls up on one of my ankles instead.
I close my eyes, my heart hurting. Perhaps if I fell back asleep, I’d awaken to find Theo back in my apartment. I have a sinking feeling in my chest, perhaps it was just wishful thinking.
I don’t think for too much longer.
I fall back asleep, for a few more hours. I then wake up around lunch time, and wander around my empty apartment.
“We just started our deal...” I mutter to myself, confused as I squat on the carpet near the window and peer out over the streets beyond. Mr. Fox follows me and sits down next to me thoughtfully. I eventually lie back against the carpet and assess the ceiling, “Just as I was getting comfortable with him... just a little bit more confident... Mr. Fox. At least you’ll always be the man of the house... foxy... maow...” Mr. Fox purrs deeply and then abruptly swipes at my foot for no reason, biting down on the end of my big toe, “...hey!” I sit up to push him away, just as my phone starts to ring from my bedroom, “Theo!”
I jump to my feet and Mr. Fox’s tail swishes dramatically in an excited swipe.
I knew what that meant.
“Mr. Fox... no...” I back up slowly a foot or two, and then he pounces, “No!” I run and skip my way dramatically into my bedroom as he tries to grab onto me. He wanted to play, but I wanted to answer my phone.
I jump onto the bed and reach for my bedside table where I find my phone lit up and vibrating. Mr. Fox glares at me from the carpet with an evil look in his eye. He may like to sleep all day but when he came alive, he loved to play.
“Hello?” I answer, slightly out of breath as I wait eagerly for a response.
“Wren,” I may have been spot on that Theo had called me, but my little nervous smile drops from my mouth when I hear his tone.
“Where are you Theo–” I begin but he cuts me off.
“Not important. I need you to go to my apartment, I want you to wait for me there...” Theo is rushed as I hear him suddenly snap at someone else with him, “You’ve got to be joking... Wren, did you hear me?” Theo seems to be directing his anger at me.
“Good, be there,” Theo snaps once more.
“When do I –... how –” and then he hangs up, leaving me very flustered and half way through working on my sentence, ”What the...?” I whisper to myself.
Mr. Fox jumps up onto the bed and I scatter off the edge, shaking my head at him.
“Not now, mister. I need to get ready,” I flurry through my clothes and get changed into some leggings and a jumper. I make sure Mr. Fox has water and food before heading out the door.
I admit I’m in a bit of a rush, but it was just because I felt there was something wrong. Once I’m driving towards Theo’s place I continue to ask myself questions, while my stomach grumbles in hunger.
How the heck was I going to get into his place?
Was I even meant to leave right now?
I just frown and think about food as I get a park near his apartment and then hesitantly walk towards the lobby. As I slow my pace before I reach the doors, confused about what to do next... I hear a rev of a familiar engine down the street.
I turn to see the Vanquish heading my way and I smirk to myself. I try to catch Theo’s gaze but there is a poke on my shoulder.
“Miss?” I spin around to see what appears to be a cleaning woman, short and stout, looking at me. She had just walked out of the lobby doors onto the sidewalk and snuck up behind me.
“Yes?” I ask.
“Wren?” she looks at me quizzically, seeming kind enough despite the multiple look overs she gives me in the following three seconds.
“That’s me,” I nod, slowly, smiling with gritted teeth.
“Ok, dear, come on up, Theo let me know to come down and fetch you,” she nods towards the entrance and I follow her in.
“Sorry to ask you this,” I say shyly as I follow her in, “I was rushed to get here and I’m actually not sure what’s going on. Is there... something wrong?”
The woman looks back at me, utterly confused as she leads me towards the lift.
“No, of course not,” she tilts her head while assessing me, “Were you not told of the party?”
“A party?” I ask, blood rising to my cheeks, “N-no –”
“It’s for Kyros’ welcome home from his study in Hawaii,” she explains, smiling now, “Theo was first to know of this only in the morning as well, sweety, that’s probably why you don’t know much either.”
“I d-don’t understand...” I whisper, thinking of the fact I had cat hair covered leggings on and a jumper covering neither a t-shirt nor bra.
And I was walking into a party.
“I thought this was Theo’s apartment,” I explain to the lady as the lift comes to a steady halt on the top floor.
“It is. Kyros is his younger brother, they bought it together,” she laughs now at my pale expression, “Sweety, why are you so worried? Theo was very insistent you be brought up immediately. You’re very welcome here.”
“Hmmm... I know, I just – I think I’d prefer to wait outside before I go in, I’ll wait for Theo, he just parked a moment ago...” I say quietly as we both walk towards the penthouse apartment.
I was feigning shyness. To be honest, I was raging inside with embarrassment and shock.
I didn’t know what I was walking into, but Theo could have at least warned me about a party. I would have dressed up, or at least put a bra on.
You hardly know Theo, Wren, my subconscious speaks of my fear, you’re just starting to get to know this guy. Now that he is getting comfortable with you, all his bad qualities will start to shine through. He won’t be so polite. He’ll start to become ruder, less-considerate, less-kind... you know it’s happened before with other people you’ve met.
Argh, I try to shake the toxic thought process from me. I didn’t want to start doubting Theo’s integrity. I had to at least speak with him before I jumped to conclusions.
“Certainly,” she nods at me and waits next to the door, “Wait out here and I’m sure he’ll arrive any moment, sweety.”
“Thank you,” I smile at her in thanks for understanding and just as she opens the door to enter, I get a sneak peak of the apartment.
My eyes widen at who I see inside.
The place is full of university students. I glance college jumpers, alcohol and laughing groups of girls. There’s light music playing in the background, and a similar look alike to Theo reclining on one of the couches... talking to Cynthia.
Just when I thought this Saturday couldn’t get any weirder.
Now I had to deal with Cynthia as well? Fantastic.
The door clicks shut and I turn my flame filled cheeks to the light bing that comes from the lift as it reaches the top floor. I glare at the doors as they slide open and Theo, dressed up in a nice suit, comes waltzing forward.
Oh, put aside your anger for a moment and just feel proud he looks so mature. He looks like a man. A real man. His brother looks like a kid compared to him. A cute kid. But you’ve got the handsome man. Mmmm....
I go from blushing in anger, to blushing for all the wrong reasons as Theo doesn’t slow his approach as he comes up to me.
“Sweet cheeks,” he growls as he reaches down and puts a hand on my neck, his thumb under my jaw and tilting my head up, so he can assess me, “Thank you for coming so quickly.”
“I’m not dressed for a party,” I whisper, “I’m dressed like a slob. I thought you needed me to pick up something for you... or something.”
“All you need to know is I need you,” he looks nervous as he says this, but he doesn’t break eye-contact with me, “I need you by my side.”
“Something’s wrong. Theo. Where have you been this morning, what’s been happening?” I ask, “I’m so confused.”
“You’re about to meet my brother –”
“Kyros?” I cut him off, trying to sound smart. I quickly bite my tongue when Theo looks all at once impatient with my sudden attitude, “Cleaning lady told me,” I add in quickly, “A-and, and you know doll – blergh, I mean, Cynthia, you know Cynthia is... is in there... right?”
“A hundred percent, I know,” Theo may be amused by my stumbling words but he looks torn and riled up within his eyes. I can see his worry, “I need you to support me in there, as my Submissive. No better way than to start in front of a crowd, huh, sweet cheeks?”
I get a nervous flutter of warmth to my legs but it quickly dissipitates when I see him reaching for the door knob.
“Oh, please wait – !” I try to stop him but he already has a hand on the back of my jumper and the door is swinging open.
“Wren... relax,” Theo is super confident as he murmurs into my ear. My eyes are focused forward, however, as the door swings fully open.
My mind is racing, as I try to settle on thinking, well... I’ll just meet his brother, right? Can’t be that hard. Should be fun.
Except it can’t stop the other thoughts in the very back of my head, the thoughts influenced by all my insecurities.
My shitty dress sense. Cynthia. A party of young college kids. Inexperienced submissive. The fact I stutter a lot in front of Theo.
I can’t really deny it.
It was time to come face to face with another inevitable disaster.