I help Chloe with her makeup and surprisingly she appreciates my help considering I honestly don’t know much. We become fast friends and her passion is infectious.
“You should be a model too, you know,” Chloe suggests as she twirls around before the mirror and her younger cousins sit back and play with her makeup, trying to compete.
“I would be terrible, I’d probably fall off the cat walk I’d be so nervous,” I joke and Chloe spins to face me in disbelief.
“Nervous? How could you be nervous when Theo would be there to catch you if you fell off,” she points out, very wisely and very seriously. It makes my heart skip a beat, desperately wanting her words to be true.
Who knew a thirteen year old’s words would be so powerful to my ears?
It’s a fantasy, Wren, you’re not going to be walking on any cat walks any time soon. If you did you’d probably we wearing one of those fashion designer bear-meets-the-city designs, with fur and twigs covering you to make you look like an urban cave woman… and you could hold Mr. Fox in your arms as an accessory.
Ok brain, what the fuck, shut up.
My imagination was a little too over active sometimes.
“Chloe!” I quickly come back to the present when a new voice calls out. I turn my head and down the small hallway, where Chloe and I had found a mirror to get her ready in, Bryony, the birthday girl, appears.
“What is it?” Chloe asks, still inspecting the highlighter on her cheek bones I generously applied for her.
“You having fun?” the birthday girl asks.
“Yeah, why?” Chloe is impatient, clearly being interrupted in her most crucial preparation faze.
“I have a surprise for you,” Bryony winks and Chloe pauses.
“Tell me,” she turns, hand on hips, demanding her surprise be shown.
“Just someone you love, who arrived just a few moments ago. She’s been looking for you,” Bryony’s hints are strong now and my stomach drops when Chloe’s eyes sparkle.
It could only be one person.
“Your favourite model just arrived to spice up the party,” Bryony steps out into the hall, with a hand on Cynthia’s elbow, making her a surprise for Chloe.
The blood drains from my face as the blonde bombshell, dressed in a tight black maxi dress that looks stunning, opens her arms to Chloe. Cynthia gives the teen her biggest smile and drops down to her knees.
“My perfect little angle,” Cynthia holds out her arms and Chloe screams in utter delight and runs her way up to give her role-model the biggest hug of her life. I quickly shuffle on my knees so my back is to the three girls. I’m hoping Cynthia doesn’t notice me just yet. I make sure I am utterly consumed in the other cousins, who are fighting over lipstick and blusher.
I wonder to myself if Theo would have noticed Cynthia’s return. He was in the ball room, speaking to family while I agreed to get Chloe ready behind the scenes for her cat walk.
Now, I was happy to stay with the kids, but not happy to be left in a hallway with Cynthia.
I quickly realise she must have come with Kyros… why else would she be here?
And they had come late, too, how rude.
As I attend the little cousins, I keep a keen ear open to the conversation behind my back.
“Are you getting… fat?” Chloe asks, boldly and in shock.
I literally snort at that, uncontrollable and loudly.
Wren, no! She’ll notice you now!
Freaking out and without thinking of the consequences, I turn my head to see Cynthia has heard me and she is staring at me with wide, unbelieving eyes.
“Have you met Wren?” Chloe asks, innocently, “She did my makeup, do you like it?”
I watch with morbid curiosity to see what Cynthia will say.
Of course, I am not surprised to see the smirk of arrogance as she witnesses my amateur job on Chloe’s face.
“Did you want her cheekbones to go flying off with her nose?” Cynthia asks me with a polite laugh added in at the end to make it sound like she wasn’t trying to be totally savage about my handy work.
“I like my silver highlighter,” Chloe complains, “It’s pretty, it was my favourite–”
“Subtlety is more beautiful, angle,” Cynthia explains sweetly, “I haven’t succeeded in my industry for nothing. I might have a little chat to Wren if you don’t mind if I pull her aside?”
“Be quick,” Chloe grumbles and runs back to me.
Cynthia gives me a fully fake smile and is about to approach me, when Kyros suddenly enters the corridor, looking for her.
I never thought he’d end up being my life-saver.
Kyros, Bryony and Cynthia start to have a quick chat and I find myself scrambling to my feet as Chloe comes to my side to grab my hand.
“Where are you going?” she asks, holding my hand tighter.
“The toilet,” I mutter quietly, “I’ll be back, my stomach hurts.”
She lets my hand go with a nod of approval for my request to leave.
I turn and pretend to know where I am going in Theo’s beautiful big mansion.
I take the first turn I can see and to my delight I am facing a winding stair case.
Run, my mind screams at me and I, for once, agree.
I take the stairs two at a time, my hip hurting but my resolve firm. I didn’t want Cynthia cornering me. Not after what she said to me in Theo’s apartment yesterday.
When I finally reach the top of the stairs, I breathe in fresh paint fumes. I see plastic lining the floors, walls half painted and some floorboards old and cracking in some areas.
At least now I could explore.
When I step on these floor boards they creak loudly and I find myself trying to take slow steps; but the creaking won’t go away. I decide to carefully get down on my knees and crawl my way through the hall, silently. I head towards the one half of the hall where renovations seem to be complete.
I keep crawling, eager to find a room to stow away in; if I disappeared for the rest of the party, so be it. I would text Theo my location so he didn’t worry and I would be safe from Cynthia’s words.
God knows what she wanted to say to me.
…I admit, she was a little terrifying to confront.
Not just a little, Wren, she knows Theo better than you ever will, that’s why she’s terrifying.
I shake my fear from me, or I try to.
I finally reach an open-door frame with no door. I see white fluffy carpet freshly laid down and sprawled out before me.
My fears suddenly vanish at the beautiful room before me.
I quickly crawl onto the fluffy carpet, finding myself impulsively meowing once like Mr. Fox, as he would do if he ever found my towel on the ground.
Learn not to be so impulsive on the meows, Wren, it’s creepy.
“Oh, baby… wow this is soft,” I whisper after I’ve collapsed onto my stomach, feeling weirdly safe in here.
I was clearly in the master bedroom.
The walls were a royal light blue, with refurbished wooden panels on the bottom half of the walls. The room was furnished with old world furniture, all white. Despite white being a prominent theme, this place was far from feminine. It wasn’t a red room, clearly, but it was perfection.
My eyes keep resting on the king bed, with the blankets, sheets and pillows already in place.
“This is my kind of heaven,” I mutter to myself.
I get up onto my knees, eager to breathe in the fresh smell.
I loved this room already.
I wonder if it’d be my room one day?
However, I suddenly freeze when I hear an all too familiar tip-tap, tip-tap.
Outside the hall.
Getting closer; quickly.
I scramble to my feet, looking for a way out.
It was too late now, anyway, I had been too slow to stand and now I was caught red handed. I turn, utterly embarrassed, as I see Cynthia standing in the door frame, an eye brow raised arrogantly.
“Um… are you… okay?” she asks, “I thought I saw you run up hear.”
“I was searching for an unoccupied bathroom and ended up exploring,” I answer quickly.
Ooo, good one, Wren, for once.
“That’s funny because you seemed to be running from me,” she states, “Relax, I don’t bite, Wren.”
“Just thought I’d explore,” I repeat myself and shake my head at her words, not sure what else to say as I go quiet.
Fuck, she had a keen eye and ear if she really took note of my escape so effortlessly.
She licks her lips and puts a hand on her slightly enlarged belly. She glances down at the floor, as if nervous, before looking up to me.
“I wanted to apologise,” she admits… wait… what did she just say? What the –“I was quite rude to you at Kyros’ party yesterday…” Okay, hold up, hold up, she was actually apologising! “Being pregnant makes women all emotional… and touchy. I am so sorry for what I said. I know you don’t want to be my friend,” Cynthia trails off and she inhales before letting out a big sigh, “But I thought you should know that… um…” she continues to look at the floor, “This may shock you. I just learnt last night the names were swapped on the doctor’s results… Theo is actually the father… don’t worry, Wren,” now she looks up at me, while I have forgotten how to breathe, “I’m not having his child.”
“What?” is the only word that blurts out of my mouth.
“I’m having an abortion,” she rubs it in, like I’m stupid.
I look down at her belly, instantly.
I feel sick to my stomach.
Wasn’t it too late to have an abortion? I didn’t know. Perhaps so but maybe not.
Also, how did someone mix up names on DNA results that were this important?
Did that really happen?
I open my mouth to speak but no more words come out.
I didn’t know what to say.
“Just thought you’d like to know… and that you should know,” she says quietly, before turning to leave.
I am now gaping.
Just as I think she is leaving, she abruptly halts and turns back to me.
“Don’t just hide up here,” she adds, “This was going to be Theo’s room with me,” she sounds more angry now, far from forgiving, “I miss him, you know, he was good to me. He likes strong women. He likes discipline too. If you know what’s good for you and if you want him to be his happiest, perhaps get a personal trainer. I still have the one he helped find for me. Just thought I’d impart some advice… I’ll see you down there,” now she leaves, seemingly very content with what she has chosen to say.
This time as she goes I am not gaping.
Instead, my suspicions are raised and my confusion is gone. One thing I was good at; was reading people.
And she was lying to me. She could barely look at me as she spoke of the mixed results. If so, she was speaking of dangerous lies. She was playing a dangerous game.
I randomly glance down at my bruised wrist and I grimace.
Lately I had been physically wounded and mentally brought down. Now, however, Theo had helped build me back up. I had also become stronger in my confidence that Theo really did like me for me. At least a little bit more confident. And that had changed something inside me.
Now I wanted to fight back. Every day, Theo was feeling like he was more and more mine, exclusively. Cynthia needed to back off. I raise my chin and push back my shoulders. I couldn’t abandon Chloe and I was going to make sure she looked damn amazing when her cat walk began.
And most of all, I would show Theo and myself, that Cynthia did not scare me or intimidate me.
You were just crawling your ass in here, Wren, don’t get too cocky.
Oh, no, I wasn’t being cocky though…
…I was just starting to open my eyes.
Cynthia had had more control over Theo in his past than I realised. He had wanted me by his side this whole time to support him, because she was a fucking lying bitch. For whatever reason, whatever purpose, I was simply not sure of it just yet.
I wasn’t going to fail Theo.
I was going to stand strong with him.
And now I was damn curious to find out what the hell she was really up to.
There had to be an ultimatum to her words and her actions.
I had to find out what.