Mastering Wren

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Chapter 23

Theo keeps me close as we enter the apartment. I assess Theo’s reaction as he takes in all the strangers partying all over the place.

Theo heads straight to the kitchen bench where alcohol is laid out with glasses galore. He fills up two wine glasses and heads towards the couch, tilting his head at me so I follow behind.

“Theo!” Kyros and Cynthia sit next to each other closely while Theo sits opposite them, handing a glass of wine to his brother. I take a nervous seat next to Theo.

I decide to get comfortable, but it’s hard to relax into the couch when I hear the next words fall out of Theo’s mouth.

“We should celebrate your return from your studies in Hawaii,” Theo begins, “And the fact that you slept with my fiancé at the time and knocked her up. Welcome home, Kyros.”

I bite my tongue not to swear out loud.

“Don’t say it like that,” Cynthia snaps at Theo, glaring at him.

“Who the hell is that?” Kyros ignores them both and arrogantly glares me down like I’m the dirt beneath his boot.

I suddenly feel fourteen again when a football came flying across a field and smacked me in the forehead. It was followed by a whole football team of mates laughing their heads off. No one asked if I was okay.

In this moment, I felt the same rush of insignificance. Kyros didn’t even know me but he was acting like he already knew he was superior in reputation. He looked like a typical fuck-boy too. Despite his attractive smile, I didn’t like his personality at all so far.

“Wren is my girlfriend,” Theo speaks clearly, to both of them.

Cynthia literally chokes on her water, spitting it back into her glass.

The next moment, Kyros and Cynthia both start laughing.

“Nice one,” Kyros smirks and sips from his wine glass.

“I wasn’t joking,” Theo growls back.

“Oh, sweety,” Cynthia ignores Theo and focuses on me, not even glaring. She looks disappointed in me, almost like I’ve betrayed her or let her down somehow. She shakes her head at me and I feel sick to my stomach. I also feel speechless.

Why did this all feel so wrong?

I wasn’t the one who cheated and I wasn’t a joke like Kyros tried to make me out to be.

But I felt terrible.

I look to Theo for support but he is leaning back against the couch, sipping his wine, glaring at Cynthia.

I reach for Theo’s thigh to get his attention but chicken out and end up poking his shoulder instead. He turns to me slowly, a raised eyebrow directed at me. The look says it all – even he seemed domineering in this moment. Superior.

And not in the way I liked.

Now – I felt worthless.

I didn’t know how or why, but I just did.

“I forgot about an appointment I have in thirty minutes, I have to go...” I whisper, coldly, trying to sound sincere and failing.

Theo opens his mouth to reply but his brother starts talking before Theo can.

“The party isn’t over until tomorrow morning, bro,” Kyros explains in exasperation, pretending I hadn’t said a word, “Do you have an issue with that?”

There is suddenly a tense silence as I see a vein in Theo’s neck pop and his hand clenches the wine glass too tightly. He slowly pops it down onto the bench and places his hands on his knees, as if he is getting ready to rise.

I freeze, holding my breath.

Theo was about to crack it.

“Too bad you’ll never get a good fuck again, you clearly need one,” Kyros also notices Theo’s intense frustration, but he makes the mistake of provoking him further.

Theo simply stands up, takes two steps towards his brother leans over and curls his fist into Kyro’s shirt, yanking him up off the couch.

“Say that one more time,” Theo snarls, clearly taller and better built than Kyros, who was still in his skinny-lanky stage before he’d fill out when he was older.

“I can’t deal with this,” Cynthia sighs and jumps to her feet, grabbing her bag she heads for the door, but not before she passes my couch and leans down to whisper, “... didn’t think you were a whore, Wren. You’re not his type, you’re just a rebound. He’ll be done with you in two weeks, I can guarantee it. You’ll bore him to death.”

I’m speechless yet again.

After Cynthia’s whispered attack on me, she takes her leave and Kyros tries to punch his brother.

Theo and Kyros end up brawling while the college students suddenly crowd over, some cheering, other’s pulling them off each other.

“Relax,” one big bulky guy grab’s Kyros’ shoulders and yanks him away.

Two students hold back Theo, who shrugs them off while his eyes scan the room.

“Everyone, get out! Now,” Theo points to the door, and after multiple sighs and groans of frustration, people start to leave.

“Aw bro... always the party pooper,” Kyros chuckles, wiping blood away from his nose as he dramatically turns and stalks his way into the bathroom.

I watch as Theo has to stalk around the room and grab a few stragglers by the arms, ushering them towards the door.

“Get out,” Theo snarls one last time, throwing out the last two people, before slamming the door shut.

The cleaning lady gives me a sympathetic glance as she starts cleaning like a mad-woman.

Kyros is still in the bathroom while I sit a little shell-shocked on the couch.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to be here.

"Don’t leave,” Theo snaps at me, as if reading my mind as he storms over to his balcony and heads out to pick up a few stray bottles of alcohol. He brings them inside and chucks them in the trash.

I’m frozen on the couch, my hands within my long baggy jumper sleeves while my arms are crossed over my chest.

I tap one of my feet anxiously while my mind runs riot.

Cynthia just laid it all out for you. Yeah, she cheated on him but she knows Theo better than you ever will. You’re not his type, you are a rebound and you will become boring to someone like him over time...

I shiver with anxiety as my dark thoughts get even darker.

He’s using you to get back at Cynthia. He doesn’t even really like you. He’s all talk, he knows what to say to keep you close, he’s good with words. That’s all it is...

And now I felt like crying.

I stand up, and my hand fumbles in my pocket for my car keys.

Theo hears the keys jingle and he glares at me from the kitchen, where he is helping the cleaning lady put away the glasses in the dish washer.

"What?” I snap at him, offended by his glare.

“Relax in my bedroom, or take a bath, please, Wren, try to relax,” Theo orders me, a little bit more gently this time.

“I’m not sure if I should stay –”

“You’re okay, sweet cheeks,” Theo cuts me off, “Go relax. I’ll talk to you after I’ve talked more with Kyros.”

I nod, still confused as I force myself to make my way towards his bedroom.

I wouldn’t be having a bath – there was no door to the bathroom for privacy anyway.

I would simply sit on his bed and think.

I only sit for a moment before I decide to head out to the balcony. I slide open the door just outside his bedroom, where I sit on a wooden bench seat overlooking the beach.

I try to calm myself, but my doubts don’t dissipate.

Cynthia’s words were haunting me.

I couldn’t.... I c-can’t see it working; Theo and I.

I just couldn’t.

Cynthia and I were worlds apart. Theo wouldn’t have proposed to someone like Cynthia unless he really wanted to be with someone like her for the rest of his life. There was no reason why he’d choose me as a partner unless I was just his take at revenge on his ex-fiancé.

I didn’t want to be that girl.

I had some weird issues but I still valued my sanity.

I couldn’t be fooled by Theo’s smooth way with words or his commanding tone.

This was too much for me.

I had to end it.

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