Mastering Wren

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Chapter 3

“No cuddles for you now, Mr. Fox,” I mutter as I flatten out my mid-thigh length, super tight, curve hugging black and white dress. I was a little nervous about the style because it was one of my party dresses. I figured the black and white would hopefully make it more work related, I had no other choice but to wear it anyway. Theo said to dress up and this was the only outfit I could come up with.

I brush through my hair, decides it needs to be straightened a little bit more and then I’m ready. Mr.Fox has curled his way through my legs and has now jumped up onto the bathroom sink. He mews, he was a talkative little ginger kitten.

He really wanted a cuddle.

“I can’t,” I hiss, but instantly feel guilty and I can’t help myself, “Just a little hug, okay?”

I pick him up in one hand, give him a gentle pat and a light squeeze, before letting him go. I brush off any cat hair that might be remaining and he waltzes off, happy he got a hug.

“Alright, done, ready, I’m going to ace this event,” I pick up my phone and take a snapchat, sending it to my best friend Rhea. Is this appropriate? I caption the picture.

I’m a little nervous for the reply and I decide to just make my way down to the office.

“Have a good day, Mr. Fox!” I farewell my little kitten and finally walk out, phone in hand.

It’s not until I’m opening the office door and I’ve just closed it shut that I get a reply from Rhea.

I open it quickly, the waiting room and my desk empty, I assume Theo is in his office. I check the snap and my smile drops off my face when I see her snap, ‘way too low cut, change!’.

“Fuck,” I mutter under my breath, never ignore a best friend’s advice, right? But it was too late now! I was already at work!

As I look up from my phone, Theo has come out and is standing in the hall, leaning on the side of the wall.

“Never thought you’d be one to swear,” as he says this, I instantly want to curse myself for being so careless, “It’s okay, I’m only teasing. However, make sure you don’t swear in front of clients.”

“Of course not,” I rush out, “So, are we leaving now? Is Cynthia coming?”

Just as I ask, I can hear high heels clicking on the floorboards coming out of his office.

“Theo! We’re going to be late, let’s go!” Cynthia calls out, walking down towards him the first thing she does is grab his shoulders and give them a light squeeze, coming forward to lean her chin on his shoulder, “Wren! How are you?” her eyes do a quick once over of what I’m wearing.

I’m on instant high bitch-alert, I knew what girls could be like, was she judging me? I assess her relaxed smile and I safely go with no, she wasn’t, she wasn’t threatened by what I’m wearing.

“I’m good thanks,” I smile and watch as Theo reaches into his pocket, I hear a jingle of car keys, “Should I get my car too?”

“No, I’ll drive us,” Theo’s response is instant, he catches my gaze and there is an obvious challenge shining there.

He remembered yesterday and the way I took off in Flame. No doubt he wanted to prove his worth with his own car. I had a feeling it would be a very expensive one and might possibly put Flame to shame. An emphasis on possibly. I wouldn’t admit defeat just yet.

“We’re going to be matching today,” Cynthia lets go of Theo’s shoulders and walks around him, smiling, she seems far too happy and I see why, “We have the same dress!”

“Oh, shit,” the words are out of my mouth before I can take them back, “What I mean is, I know girls hate wearing the same dresses. I can change, I can –”

“Don’t be silly, we’ve got to go! We look like we’re from the same charity anyway, it’ll work in our favour, don’t stress,” Cynthia walks over and literally links her arm in mine, catching me off guard, “Let’s go.”

I’m whizzed around, Cynthia was in a very good mood. I can only put it down to the fact that Theo and her must have solved all their issues and were in the good books with one another again. Or perhaps it’s because of the way she pulled off this dress, ten times better than I did. It’s not that I wasn’t attractive or didn’t have a good body. I’d say in most situations this dress made me feel very sexy. However, Cynthia was lithe, very thin and very tall in her high heels.

I was wearing flats. Just compared to her, I felt stumpy.

Not to mention awkward as she walks with me outside the office, heading for the underground garage. Theo gets ahead, eager to show the way, keys in hand.

“Don’t freak out from his driving,” Cynthia reassures me, “He’s fast, too fast... but at least he knows how to drive. Typical men and their cars, am I right?”

I don’t know how to answer that last question, but I lie to keep the peace.

“Yes,” I laugh and try to make it sound natural.

“As long as we get there alive, that’s all that matters,” Cynthia lets go of my arm as we walk down a narrow ramp to the underground car park, “Also today Theo and I will be doing a lot of the presenting to the clients, so you can just help out as an assistant today. If you take down some notes to help us improve, that would be good. Other than that, enjoy the free food and drinks!”

If that’s all I had to do, then today was going to be easy as!

We finally head down a couple of parking bays and Theo looks over his shoulder to give me a sly look just before he turns into the bay containing an Aston Martin Vanquish.

My jaw drops.

“Awesome,” I’m already super excited to hop in, just less excited about his ego which was clearly evident in his high chin and sly eyes.

“Shotgun,” Cynthia chooses the front passenger seat and I know that means I’ll be forced to choose a squishy backseat either behind Theo or Cynthia.

I’m not sure what to choose, but I eventually decide sitting behind Cynthia will be the better option. Then I could see a better profile of Theo’s perfectly cut jaw line. Yes, that was a good decision.

I watch as Theo opens the door for Cynthia.

“Hop in, doll face,” he smirks at her lovingly and she futters her eyelids – she loved the nickname.

I hated it, it sounded so stupid.

Then there is an awkward moment as she has to get back out, because I have to get over the seats into the back, it was only a two door car. Just the fact that I’m forgotten for a moment makes my heart sink a little.

However, soon we’re all buckled in and Theo is driving us to the first charity event for the company that I’d experience.

Theo clearly shows off in his driving all the way there.

But I can’t help but think it’s more to impress Cynthia than I. Not that it even mattered. This was work, no drama’s needed.

Chill out, Wren, enjoy yourself, I try to convince myself it’ll be a good day. I mean if there was going to be free food and drinks it couldn’t get much better than that, right?

****

The day is long and boring to say the least. We were at a retirement village full of older people, with some younger people scattered about. I listened to both Theo and Cynthia talk about their own education experiences at university and how they wanted more kids to get an opportunity to study what they loved and to get good jobs. I had learned from their presentation that they had both completed double bachelors in law and business. It’s how they met and started the charity together. I also learnt they were both from rich families. Cynthia explained how her family had a famous designer brand for sleepwear. Theo was from a complex hierarchy of shared businesses within his family; mostly real estate and law firms.

I only took some notes down and I wasn’t sure if either of them would appreciate my advice. My only points seemed to be... talk with less emphasis on ‘I’ and use more inclusive words like ‘we’. Otherwise it sounded too much like it was about them, rather than the charity.

It’s nearing the end of the day and I’m sitting at a table with drinks and left over finger foods, picking away at the food. I wanted to leave already. I had hardly spoken to them all day while they flittered around being social little butterflies. Was my presence even needed? I felt useless here.

Eventually the boring day comes to an end, but just before it does, there is a dramatic change of tone.

Pretty much everyone has left the large room that had been done up for the talk and it’s just Theo, Cynthia and I. I’m jolted from my day dreaming to hear raised tones and an argument ensuing.

I glance over and try not to stare as I listen in. They weren’t too far off and I could hear everything.

“What do you mean?” Cynthia is nearly yelling at Theo, completely flustered, “I told you we’re not involving my family. Why did you book it without asking me?”

“We may as well make an effort!” Theo snaps.

“How many times do I have to tell you, no,” she seems very upset and I assume whatever this is about, this must be the main tension between them at the moment.

“I hear you. Trust me, I do. Yet you refuse to tell me why it’s an issue that I try to introduce our charity to your family!” Theo is just as passionate about this argument but Cynthia is about to crack it.

“I don’t mix my personal business with family, ever,” Cynthia shoves some papers she is holding at him, “You can put this all through with Wren when you get back, I don’t want to help. I’m having a break, okay? You never listen to me. I’ll get a taxi.”

“I’ll see you later,” Theo snaps arrogantly, as if he knows she’ll come around and they’ll probably have some amazing hot make-up sex afterwards. I shiver at the disgusting thought that goes through my head. Ew, don’t even think about that, Wren.

I watch Cynthia stalk out of the room, already calling a taxi.

That leaves Theo with me.

“Hi!” I wave to him, seeing that he is pissed but hoping he doesn’t take out his frustration on me.

“Let’s go,” he snaps, not eager to speak any further on the matter.

The walk to his car, we spend in silence. When I question him about Cynthia, he doesn’t want to answer. More silence ensues.

The whole car trip, you guessed it; no words, no talking, not even the radio, just more silence. So I look out the window or check my phone to pass the time and eventually we reach the carpark. We walk our way to the office and I let out a sigh of relief when we make it to the door.

We could enter in the details and then I could go home and relax in a nice hot bath.

Today was way more stressful than it needed to be.

I’m waiting for Theo to open the door, except he ends up cursing loudly.

“Damn it!” he searches all his pockets and I end up thinking how could this possibly get any worse?

“What’s wrong?” I ask, curious.

“She’s got the key,” he hisses under his breath and he turns around to face me, determination back in his expression, “Do you have a laptop?”

“Of course,” I nod, already guessing where this is going to.

“I don’t have a spare key with me and I’m not going back to my place now to run into her and get into another argument. I need this all written up on a computer before tomorrow, it’s urgent. We’ll have to do it on your laptop,” as Theo explains he slowly calms down and relaxes because he now at least has a solution.

Except he is giving me a funny look and I’m guessing this is where he expected me to stuff up and get nervous.

“In my place?” I confirm and he nods, “No worries, I’ll do it myself.”

“Not a chance, I’m showing you how to do it correctly. Do you have an issue with us working in your apartment?” he asks for confirmation and I slyly smile.

“As long as you’re not allergic to cats, we’ll both be fine. Mr. Fox isn’t leaving, so I’ll buy you some allergy tablets if you need them to survive –”

“I’m not allergic,” Theo cuts me off and I feel like I must have started rambling again.

“Good, let’s go, um, do you want food first?”

“You want to go out and eat with me?” Theo asks, raising an eyebrow, “Are you sure about that?”

“Not like a date, like, um, wait, what do you mean? Why do you think I’m not sure about going out to eat with you?” I’m going red in the face now, instantly overthinking and over explaining everything.

“I seem to make you uncomfortable talking one on one, am I wrong, Wren?” Theo questions and I’m not sure how to respond. I choose to avoid the topic.

“Let’s just go to my apartment and get these details done!” I force on a smile, turn around and Theo follows me.

Theo was now officially in a shitty mood and the next few hours I’d have to spend in his company. I had a feeling he wasn’t going to make this easy on me.

In fact, it certainly wasn’t going to be easy.

I wouldn’t know it yet, but later on he’d receive a text from Cynthia announcing that she was done with the relationship, the business, the engagement – everything.

I’d never know why it escalated that far, or why they both couldn’t work through it.

However, I would soon be the one to reap the consequences of the collapse of their relationship and everything Theo was use to in his life.

This job was going to become something more than I ever bargained for.

I was going to fall in love in a way I never expected to.

That is when I’d really start to reap the consequences.

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