The charity-business is paused for the week as Theo and Alex chase back that money owed to them. I sit down on my couch the next Friday afternoon, car keys in my fiddling hands as I watch Mr. Fox and Puddy Caita tumbling before me in a play-fight match of who-can-get-to-the-food-bowl-first.
I didn’t put in much, but enough to keep them happy and not to throw up in my car. I look at the clock, 5.50pm. It was still too early. So I reminisce about the week as my cats eat and explore the cat cages that I’ve set down and opened for them to inspect with their inquisitive feline senses.
I remember waking up very sober that Monday morning. And I had been furious.
Gosh, I remember how I couldn’t believe I really had forgiven Theo that quickly. But then, that morning I hadn’t completely disregarded him either. He lay with me for over two hours just spooning me from behind, apologising.
Eventually I gave in and agreed to wear the ring as long as he slowed right down and gave me a bit of space to breathe. To process the events. I knew Theo didn’t mean any harm, but he did cause some over the past few weeks.
So, Theo gave me the week off, said his father and him would sort out the charity money. They knew it’d be easy to get the money back as she was no longer an employee when the money was put in her account.
So, I spent all week doing yoga, watching T.V. dramas and talking to Theo over the phone. I didn’t let him into my apartment. No. Fuck that.
I wanted to give him some consequences of his own and now, five days later I was ready to see him again. To start fresh. He invited me over to his mansion. He told me to bring the cats, let them explore a bigger territory.
All I knew so far was that our private dinner was at 6.30pm and I didn’t want to be early. This morning I got a text from him that the money was refunded to Theo’s charity account, so I assumed work was on for next week.
And now we would start fresh with a dinner. I was both nervous, excited and a little apprehensive.
Yeah, I missed him – but I couldn’t shake that hurt feeling. It was always nagging at me, in the back of my mind. Even though I logically understood why everything happened… my heart refused to mend completely.
I was really scared if it didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to go through with us.
If the damage was too much, I couldn’t just move on. In fact, I don’t think we’d work together again. I was too paranoid about being betrayed.
But tonight was his last chance and I was going to make that known to him.
Even though I loved him and he loved me. My sanity was important too.
Short term we might be okay, long term I wasn’t so sure.
I look at my phone. 6pm.
“Alright, kitty cats,” I stand up and crouch by the cages, sticking my hands through the bars so they run in and try to attack my soft, defenceless fingers. Mr. Fox never stuck his claws out on me, but Puddy Caita is far more rough and lethal, so I make quick retreats before he tears me to shreds, “Oh, I love you both, so much,” once they are in, I close the doors, strategically quick, “It’s time to go to a cat-heaven playground, like a cat Disney land. You ready, boys?”
I pick up both cages – or I try to and I nearly drop Puddy.
“Mr. Fatty,” I whisper as I slowly place the cage back down. Perhaps it was good they’d both have a chance to exercise, “One at a time then.”
I park my Ford in the drive way of Theo’s mansion and I’m thankful there is no surprise party this time around. I was done with his surprise parties. Clearly, tonight was simply for the four of us.
Theo, Mr. Fox, Puddy Caita and I.
When I get out of my car, Theo is already opening the front door to the mansion. This is the first time I’ve seen him face to face since the morning I woke up sober and instantly regretted forgiving him.
Yet here I was again… and his ring was still on my finger. I even notice that’s the first place his eyes travel to, checking I hadn’t taken it off.
“Let me,” he comes forward as I lug out one cage. Puddy. He takes him and Puddy maows fearfully. I grab Mr. Fox and close the car door behind me. I follow Theo in. I hadn’t smiled or said hello yet.
I fully wanted him to make an effort and impress me this time.
“I see you wore your pyjamas,” Theo calls out without looking over his shoulder at me as he walks through the hall towards the huge party room.
“I don’t have to dress up for my fiancé,” I reply quietly back, almost in a growl. I had worn my nighty gown and some pink floral PJ pants. Theo was in a suit.
Theo eventually rests down the cage in the dining room next to a freshly packed kitty litter box and two food bowls, including two water bowls.
As I set Mr. Fox’s cage down and open the door, I can’t help but smile at the effort Theo has put in.
“Come on… maow, out you get,” I lean down and coax Mr. Fox to exit.
Puddy Caita is the first to spring forth as Theo opens the cage door, watching me inquisitively.
“You’re different,” Theo murmurs as he stands tall, straightening his blazer nervously. I stand too, slowly turning to face him with a raised brow.
“So are you,” I nod towards his nervous twitching hand and he quickly regains control.
“I’m glad you came… I’m glad you wore my ring, too,” he nods towards my hand and I raise it and look at it with faked disinterest.
“Dinner?” I ask, watching him unblinkingly.
My inner-self conscious wondered how long I could keep up the tough n’ cool act. I wasn’t too sure.
Just to make sure I don’t lose my sanity too soon, I waltz around him to spy the dinner table set up in the middle of the room. Candles, plates, cutlery and a roast completely laid out.
“Impressive,” I come over and I’m about to take my seat at one far end of the table. He has placed the seats on the far ends so we have safe distance. Perhaps he thought it’d help me relax. He was probably right.
“No, sweet cheeks,” he intercepts me with a hand over mine which is on the back of my chair before I pull it out. His palm lies over my ring and I quickly jerk my hand back to my side. I forget how to breathe for a moment, lick my lips as he pulls out the chair for me and waits for me to sit down.
I come forward and do so, allowing him to push it in before my ass hits the wood.
My stomach nearly hits the table’s mahogany. Of course, he pushed me in nice and tight.
He is even smirking as he stalks to his side of the table. Nervous-Theo was gone… so was Tough-Wren. Although, I didn’t want to make that apparent too soon.
“We need to talk about us,” I speak first, surprisingly calm as he takes his seat and instantly rests his clasps hands underneath his chin. He watches me, unblinking.
“Business before pleasure,” he states, boldly, “We will talk about it before we eat.”
I nod and sneak a glance over my shoulder to make sure the cats are okay. They are gaining confidence off each other, exploring slowly and apprehensively… but I know that won’t last long once they got their bearings and worked out underneath the couches was a safe place to hide in times of uncertainty.
“They’re fine, Wren,” he persuades me to face him, “You start.”
“I still have my ring on because I want us to work,” I exhale, trying not to blurt out all my thoughts and feelings at once, “… but I’m terrified you’ll turn on us again. I’m not sure how you can repair it. I know I miss you. I know I want to be with you. But… I’m scared. My heart… still feels broken whenever I think about you storming out on me – telling me to pawn my ring – believing I stole fifty thousand dollars from you –”
Theo raises a hand, his cheek twitching in frustration. He didn’t like being reminded of his actions, considering how perfect he always was compared to how imperfect he was that night.
“I asked you to bring your cats here because your apartment is too small,” he starts off, casually but also properly and firmly. I know he won’t allow me to interrupt until he is finished, “This week I’ve moved the business upstairs into this mansion, I only had a lease on that office below your apartment. I sacrificed the bond to get out of the lease and to move the charity here. In my house. We’ll save money from the loses we made this week. We’ve lost some business partners once they heard how all the money was stolen and nearly lost forever. Yes, Wren, I’m asking you to move in. I understand you think we’re shaky, I really do. I’m not asking you to move in for us – yet – but, I’m asking you to move in as a house mate. I’ve moved out of my apartment this week. It’s Kyros’ sole place now. If you move in, you can work and live here. No car expenses. No rent needed to be paid. As long as you clean your fair share and cook your fair share, you can stay,” he winks at this and I gawk.
“Just… a house mate?” I ask, raising a brow.
I’m surprised I haven’t stuttered yet. So is he. But I’m strategic. This time I don’t say too much. I keep my responses short.
“Why do I get the feeling you are more nervous than ever, sweet cheeks?” he asks, guessing I am barely containing my true emotions.
I purse my lips and before I know it, Puddy Caita has jumped onto the table, his head right over the roast chicken.
“No!” I try to jump out of my chair, but because Theo has pushed it in too far… I have to shuffle it backwards more abruptly with little repetitive juts. It still isn’t out that far when my foot gets snagged behind one leg of the chair and I tumble down onto my hands and knees.
Nothing too hurtful, but it’s a shock.
I look to see Theo has gracefully stood, removed Puddy Caita from the table and takes two more steps to approach my defeated form.
He squats and I quickly lean back on my knees, wincing at the slight pain in my legs.
“I’m… I’m not really hungry,” I admit, “I ate like a beast for a late lunch. I stress-eat. Like a full tub of Sarah Lee chocolate ice cream, half a packet of tim-tams and three cups of overly sweetened coffee. I kid you not. I’ve missed you and I want to be with you but I don’t want you to hurt me and I’m so confused,” I let it all out now as he is eye level with me.
“Shhh,” he speaks gently as he reaches a hand and slowly pushes my hair behind my back, gripping it at the base of my neck, “I’m not really hungry either. Perhaps the cats would like our dinner?” he asks, raising a brow, “I don’t mind.”
“I thought we were talking, Theo,” I murmur, “What else would we do?”
He smirks at this and I blush, embarrassed by his clear thoughts flashing through his amused eyes.
“You told me everything I need to know,” he murmurs in response, “I still love you, Wren. I want you to say yes. I think I need to give you a reason to move in with me… and to keep that ring on your finger.”
I don’t know what takes over me, but we are so close and his words are so genuine… I can’t resist.
I’ve waited an extra week.
And I missed him punishing me.
I lean in and kiss him, softly, while closing my eyes. He jerks a bit, surprised by my brave move. He then leans back, eyes critically assessing me as his hand curls in my hair and stops me leaning forward to kiss him again.
“No,” he shakes his head, “I’ve already taken your first kiss. We’re past that. I still haven’t taken your innocence. And I don’t want to leave you wanting any longer… Sub… Wren,” he tests out the title and slowly stands, grabbing my hand to help me up.
“I thought you said, sup’, Wren?” I joke and look down at my feet where Puddy curls his way through my ankles, right before pouncing after Mr. Fox who is hiding behind a couch.
“What’s up?” Theo chooses to mimic me to his advantage, “Our bedroom, actually. I wanted to show you a few improvements… to the bed posts. Is that okay?” he can’t help but smirk and then he chooses to add, seriously, “Do I have your consent?”
“You talk too much,” I smile and step back.
I’m not going to lie.
Through my heart ache I had been horny all week too.
I had imagined a thousand ways for Theo to take me. So now I just go with the flow.
I bravely take off my nighty, flinging it to the floor. I start on my pants, knowing Theo is watching in astonishment.
Yep. I bought lingerie.
Red and black lingerie. Probably not exactly my type but… it was the only size left in Bras and Things when they had a sale. Otherwise there was no way I was going to pay 60 plus just for a bra full price.
This set was simple. Lace, see-through panties… more accurately a G-string.
The bra wasn’t a push up, but I didn’t need one.
“I even shaved,” I suggest slyly, raising a brow at him, “Down… just for a change,” I smile as he does.
“My god, Wren, you’re absolutely stunning… I can’t believe what I’m seeing,” he shakes his head, just as I realise something catastrophic.
“Oh, shit,” I bite my bottom lip, “Oh, fuck.”
“What?” Theo asks, looking concerned while also distracted with what I was wearing.
“Do you know how much time it takes to shave down there? You have to be so careful with the… folds… never mind,” I shake my head and go bright red, “I was so focused on it I forgot to shave under my arms.”
There is a slight pause. Strangely not awkward.
“Hairy beast or no,” Theo taunts me with a grand smile as he steps forward, grabs my wrists and forces my arms straight up into the air. It wasn’t bushy… just hardly noticeable dark patches… maybe a tad prickly, “Nothing will stop me fucking the shit out of you, sweet cheeks. Not tonight.”
“Don’t hurt yourself,” I chuckle nervously, “Those hairs are lethal under there.”
“Are you itchy down there?” he whispers, further trying to embarrass, “You know women wax to avoid the quick regrowth…”
“I know… I’m too sacred to wax… and not yet, it’s not prickly or itchy… uh, yet, um, why is this relevant?” I ask, gasping as he leans down and kisses my neck, still holding my wrists above my head.
“It’s not an issue, sweet cheeks,” he laughs and kisses his way up my jaw, towards my ear, “...and who said I was going to fuck you from the front? You’ll be on your hands and knees… while I pound into your tight little sheath from behind.”
“O-Oh…” I tremble as he slowly lowers my arms and I’m grateful, “I’ve always loved that term. Sheath. Such a nice word for it.”
“I like it too,” he leans back and nods, eyes blazing with passion, “It’s suitable for where I’ll be sheathing my weapon.”
“No,” I shake my head, leaning in, I feel far more confident now. After having space and regaining confidence in myself that I could handle him and any ups and downs… now I whisper to him, “It’s not just yours. It’s mine. Whoever owns the sheath, owns the weapon.”
Another pause. This time a little awkward as his eyes slowly widen in shock.
“…did you just try to assert dominance over me?” he asks, tilting his head and furrowing his eyebrows.
Now he looks a little pissed.
“Maybe,” I shrug. It wasn’t like he deserved total submission.
“I forget I haven’t trained you properly yet,” he licks his lips and stands back, watching me without blinking, “Just for that… get down onto your knees and hands. Right now.”
“Why?” I ask.
“Did I say you could question me?” he snaps, “Do it. We’re going up to my bedroom.”
I slowly get back down to my knees, eager to play along – until he says this. And I am curious again but I’m also feeling defiant.
“But, Theo, I’m–”
“Wren. You’re smarter than that. You know exactly what I’m saying. You’re crawling for me. Now, move.”