Mastering Wren

By C. Swallow All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Humor

Chapter 8

I’m lying on my couch, staring at the ceiling, hungry as anything. I hadn’t eaten much all day, which was rare for me. But I had been nervously debating in my mind how the date would go. Then I would proceed to overthink why the bloody hell I kept referring to it as a date in my head?

I look around my clean apartment, at least the living area and kitchen is clean... and Mr. Fox is looking at me from the opposite couch. He blinks slowly at me as he falls asleep. How easy life would be, if it was just eating, sleeping and more eating.

“You’re so lucky,” I mutter, glancing again at my phone for the thousandth time. Ten minutes to seven o’clock. So close and something told me Theo would be promptly on time.

I had spent the last two hours trying on outfits until I settled on the first one I had initially tried on. A simple black dress with a brown leather belt. It was fancy enough to get me into a dressy restaurant if he took me to one. It was also casual enough in case we went to something more mundane.

I glance at my Fifty Shades books I’ve piled on my coffee table while I had been cleaning. I eye them suspiciously as I once again compare Theo to Christian. Were they alike? Sort of. I suddenly have a shiver of disgust as I think of Christians past problems with his mother, and how that influenced him to have brunette Submissives... blergh. I didn’t like that part, I thought it was gross. Hopefully Theo didn’t have some messed up family past–

Why do you even care, Wren?

There is a knock at my door and I quickly sit up in a whirl, clasping my hands in my lap. He was a little bit early... interesting. I gulp as I watch the door swing open, he is in a glorious black suit, the white shirt underneath had a couple of open buttons at the top... it looked good.

“Christian,” I blurt out.

Theo pauses in the doorway, as if he can’t quite believe his ears.

I can guarantee I can’t believe my own either.

“I mean, Theo, sorry, I was just thinking about Christian from the books...” I stand up, looking at my feet as I straighten out my dress, “My mind wanders... haha!” my laughter is nervous as I glance up again.

Theo is trying not to smile, he has a hand behind his back.

My eyes slowly widen as he shows me what he is hiding. I see a plastic box... with a coded lock inside.

“Don’t be angry, ‘Ana’,” Theo smirks and then comes inside, “I thought I’d help you out.”

“What?” it takes my brain a full three seconds to work out he called me the protagonist from the Fifty Shades stories.

Fantastic Wren, you blurted out the name Christian when he opened the door and now you’re both already falling into a role play as a Dom and Sub. Just what you flippin’ need.

“Fuck,” I mutter, it comes out before I can contain it.

“Are you okay?” Theo comes in and puts the lock on the kitchen counter, “You look increasingly terrified, Wren... what are you thinking?”

“I’m thinking... is there a difference between being a control freak... and being a Dominant. Like, in that type of relationship, uh, yeah...”

Why.

The.

Fuck.

Are you prolonging this conversation with him?

I smile nervously, practically gritting my teeth while my eyes crinkle as I wait for his response.

“Well, a Dominant isn’t concerned about absolute control, rather the safety and protection of what he considers his own. Satisfying the Submissive is the goal, fulfilling her life, in turn fulfils his own,” Theo answers this so smoothly, his explanation is completely natural, “Does that answer your question, sweet cheeks?”

“Yeah... interesting. I guess books, exaggerate – you get me. Um, let’s go, I’m starving, I haven’t eaten anything all day. I feel a little dizzy to be honest... thanks for the lock... I think...” I walk over to Mr. Fox to pat him goodbye, fully aware of Theo’s resounding silence at my words.

All the while my mind wanders about his explanation to my question.

“Can you not take care of yourself properly, Wren?” Theo asks me after an enormous pause, he speaks slowly, clearly, meaningfully. He was seriously concerned but also annoyed at me again.

And then...

...it’s like a sudden impact when the realisation hits me.

I put some pieces together. Little things; they suddenly make sense.

Theo was a Dominant.

Legitimately.

If he was, it made so much sense right? His smooth description of what a Dominant truly is and everything he did was accurate to his explanation.

He was bossy, but he cared about my safety, he bought me a lock without even asking me... mentioning promoting me at work... this dinner date.

Ahem, ‘date’. Wren, your thoughts are getting carried away. Focus. Reality, kick back in. Focus. He’s your boss, nothing more, even if he was a Dominant, it doesn’t change the fact you work with this gorgeous beast of a man. You need to keep your job, not lose it from losing the ability to interact around him.

“I’m fine,” I blurt out, looking up to Theo. I open my mouth again, perhaps I should be upset he accused me of not being able to look after myself. For some reason, I was just extremely curious about my conspiracy theory about him being a Dominant.

Because that is all it is, a theory.

“You need to eat,” he reaches out a hand and just the gesture makes my heart skip a beat, “I’ll put the lock on when we get back. I don’t want you fainting on me.”

“Oh, don’t be ridiculous,” I respond in a sing-song tone as I step forward and I consider grabbing his outstretched hand that looks so easy to grab, but my half raised hand quickly drops to my side. I try to make the movement look natural as I stand by him, feeling pretty small now that I chose to wear ballet flats.

I watch as Theo’s hand reaches out, I expect him to grab my hand from the movement but suddenly he narrows his eyes and clasps my elbow instead, running his hand gently down my arm.

“Goosebumps, Wren? You’re cold,” he glances up at me, a knowing look in his eye.

“A coat!” I squeak out, turning to go get one, but after I take a step away from him and his grasp, I halt and spin back around, “... I don’t need one,” I quickly change my mind, opting for independence.

Theo blinks slowly at me, his gaze is unruffled as he devours my freakin’ soul with that intensity.

“Go get one, sweet cheeks,” he nods towards my bedroom, unfazed by my little show of defiance.

Before my brain can comprehend my movements, I find myself skipping my way into my room for a coat.

Fuck.

It was hard to ignore that tone he used with me.

Why was my tummy feeling tingly and warm? Argh!

I find a red coat and chuck it on while I blush, by the time I turn around, Theo is standing in my bedroom doorway.

My eyes widen as his eyes lazily scan my bedroom... which consisted of an unmade bed and clothes littering the floor.

“I can be a real girly-girl sometimes,” I smile again, trying to make it believable, hoping he doesn’t jump to the conclusion I went ape-shit crazy trying to find the right outfit to go out with him.

Theo looks confused why I’ve just said what I have, so he blatantly chooses to ignore it. Instead, he eyes my coat with appreciation.

“...good girl,” he mutters, watching me button up the coat. My fingers pause before I continue to do up the last button.

He called you good girl, Wren, isn’t that a popular term among Dominants?

Shut up, conscious!

“My name is Wren,” I give him a pursed lip smile, trying to maintain dignity.

“Wren? What a lovely name,” Theo grins, amused as he notices my discomfort at his teasing, “You ready, sweet cheeks? Let’s go.”

“Okay, ready!” I walk up next to him and he actually does grab my hand this time, “Are you trying to help me walk, too?” I ask slyly, glancing up at him.

“I know you can walk,” Theo shakes his head and smiles, looking ahead as we exit my room, “I’m just warming your hand because I’ve never felt such cold hands in my life... and I know you won’t mind.”

“I don’t really... mind, I guess,” I shrug, when really I want to say, I really, really like you holding my hand, thank you for being so sweet!

No one had ever held my hand like this before. That silly thought makes butterflies come back to my stomach instantly.

We walk the rest of the way to the restaurant in silence, but I don’t mind.

I knew he was saving the rest of the conversation for the dinner.

****

Date!

“Wow, this is fancy,” I look around in awe at the beautiful out lay of this simple Italian restaurant. We were in a leather booth for four people, but we both got a side each. When I glance at the menu my eyes pop out of my head, “Okay, no, you can’t be serious. You don’t owe me this much money. You can’t –”

“You think I care? I’m paying,” Theo only glances up from his menu to glance at me, becoming all bossy when I try to complain about the prices.

“Okay... thank you,” I choose to be polite, for now. I still had to remember he was going to try and convince me to accept a promotion.

After we order our choices, I’m clasping my hands on the table, mostly to stop them trembling.

“First off,” I decide to start the conversation, hoping this way I can keep the discussion on my terms. Like you have any chance of out-witting him, Wren, give up already, “I know you want to discuss giving me a better job, but I love my job. Also, just out of curiosity, you said Cynthia and you started the charity together? Is she still a part of it anymore?”

“She was my partner and supported me in starting it up, however she had no hold in it, what so ever. Quite frankly, she is the last person on my mind right now,” Theo doesn’t blink as he looks directly into my eyes. I try to maintain a professional smile and I nod. As I do, my clasped hands bob forward and knock the empty wine glass over.

Theo catches it before it rolls off the table and he straightens it back up. I watch him raise his eyebrows to himself – I don’t think he could quite believe how randomly clumsy I was sometimes. It wasn’t that I was... I was just... nervous, like always, around him.

“Uh, sorry,” I watch him as he thinks deeply about something, smirking.

“Don’t worry, Wren. I’ll knock it out of you soon enough,” Theo speaks so confidently but I’m instantly confused.

“What are you talking about?” I ask, looking at him with astonishment. Why did I feel the next words out of his mouth were not going to impress me?

“Your nerves that you always have, around me,” Theo bluntly points it out, but when he does the smile drops off my face.

“Sorry,” I mutter it, annoyed as I pick up my fork, fiddling with it so I don’t have to lock eyes with his judgemental ones.

“I won’t change you, Wren. I’ll make you more confident. This is why you should consider my offer. I want you to run the charity side by side with me. You’ll be fantastic for it, you already know the ins and outs of everything. You’re perfect for the role,” okay, so now we were getting down to business.

“I think I’m happy with where I am,” I try not to snap it at him, but he catches onto my impatience.

“Why are you happy?” Theo asks me and such a simple question forces a million reasons to suddenly pop up in my head. Reasons I couldn’t articulate without me stuffing it up.

I liked a simple job, administration could still be challenging but it was mostly very straight forward. When you got higher up, promoting, managing, talking to strangers to market your idea... that was a path I didn’t want to go down. I liked Theo being the boss, I wanted to just help out. That satisfied me.

“I like to be... certain about what I do. I come into work smiling already, confident in my job. I have a great boss and you can deal with all the nitty-gritty conversations with partners to the charity... while I do the easy stuff,” I try to wink, to be casual about my response.

Theo spins my words around to his own interpretation.

“You don’t want to lead, you like to do as you’re told, no hassle, no fuss, not for you. You want me to take all the big challenges on while you support me, I understand now,” it clicks with him, and he seems satisfied. But I can’t help but connect his words to my theory about him being bossy because he was most likely a Dominant, “Why are you blushing, Wren?”

“I’m not,” I lie, “I’m not at all.”

“Right,” Theo just stares at me and I know he doesn’t believe me, “Can I ask you something personal, Wren?”

“Sure,” I blurt out before I reason I should probably have said ‘No’ and then taken the opportunity to remind him of our professional relationship.

Too late now, isn’t it, Wren?

“Why have you never been in a relationship before?” he asks it and the blood drains from my face.

The question I hated the most, which lots of people ask me.

I never knew how to answer it.

Probably because there were so many reasons and I didn’t know where to begin.

“Lots of reasons,” I start off, “I’ve been studying, no one has really asked me out much, most people hook up by going clubbing but I don’t even drink alcohol. I don’t think I’d find satisfaction in going out to get drunk and sleep with a stranger, even if it meant I ended up getting into a relationship. I’d rather have a classic... I don’t know... the classic ideal man. But that’s hard to find. Then I read Fifty Shades, and... well, that’s irrelevant.”

“I think that means it is relevant,” Theo guesses correctly, “Did those books change your thinking?”

“Not really,” I shrug, not smiling anymore and feeling uncomfortable, “Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t want to talk about it.”

“I can see that. I’m sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable,” Theo blinks slowly, deciding not to grill me further on relationships. I feel relieved at his kind words, until I see him pick up his wine and he eyes me with amusement. He tries to hide his smirk behind his wine glass as he drinks.

He thought this was funny.

“You know, I’m tired, I think I’ll go to bed early tonight... can we eat and just... go?” I try not to be too blunt but Theo finally stops pushing me and sits back in his chair, nodding at me instead.

“No worries, Wren. Thank you for putting on a coat today, you should stay warm. It’s okay to be guided sometimes. We’re all social creatures, we need support and love to survive in this world. Please don’t feel you have to be excluded from that just because you’re afraid of someone looking out for you,” I narrow my eyes at him because he is implying I’m afraid of him trying to make sure I was okay.

“You’re a great boss,” I smile, emphasizing the word, ‘boss’.

I see a glint of frustration now in Theo’s eyes and then the food arrives. Heheh, success! I irked him back. Honestly, I didn’t want him just picking me apart. If he wanted to do that, I would just annoy him as much as possible in return.

Plus, I didn’t like him figuring out my vulnerable side so easily.

It scared me.

When we’re done eating, Theo has gone very quiet as he goes up to pay and then motions me over because we’re going to leave.

As I walk with him back to my place, I feel annoyed he has decided to focus on my non-existent past of relationships. Why did he care? Talking about it to him, someone who had been engaged, made me feel incompetent.

“Sweet cheeks, are you angry at me?” Theo randomly asks me as we walk along the pavement. I look up and see him eyeing my hands which I’ve stuffed into my coat pockets.

“No way, why would I be?” I ask.

“You seem keen to get rid of me,” Theo is far too amused, “I’m not leaving you until I fix your lock.”

“Cool,” I try to lighten up as we finally reach my building and go up the elevator, “I can’t wait to get out of this dress...” I mutter, thinking of how the bra I’m wearing is too tight. It was new and I hadn’t adjusted it properly.

Theo gives me a sly look and I quickly realise how my words could be interpreted.

“I didn’t mean that,” I snap, “I swear I’m not some desperate virgin looking to undress in front of anyone... it’s just my bra, it’s too tight, I think it’s caught on something on the dress, and I just... yeah, I can’t wait to take it off.”

“Mmmmm... interesting...” Theo is barely holding back his laughter and I just look away and hope the elevator cord snaps, the carriage crashes and then I can die and have some peace.

...yeah, I can’t wait to take it off.

Did I really say that to him?

All I know is I’m way too embarrassed to look at him now.

When we finally do get to my apartment, I’m now overthinking that Theo liked to prolong silences after my nervous rambling. Perhaps he thought the mental torture was funny?

Once inside, I pass Theo some scissors to take the lock out of its packaging and I head for my bedroom.

I close the door, glad for some space. I pull the belt out from around my waist. I grab the bottom of my dress and shove it up, over my head –

My luck improves.

I’m stuck.

I yank it, but nothing frees. I try to fiddle around with it, but I literally trip on a pair of boots scattered on the ground and I go tumbling onto the side of the bed. There is a very loud thump as my side hits the floor.

“Wren?” I hear Theo call out from the other room and I desperately jump back up to my feet, my dress and arms still above me, my bra caught onto the back of the dress.

“I’m okay!” I yell out, hoping to god he doesn’t decide to walk right in, “Ow!” I can’t help but cry out as I yank it as hard as I can. Something pinches my skin and I’m literally dying, gasping out whispered, “Ow... ow... ow... fuck...”

I try to keep my pain quiet as I slowly sink to my knees on the floor and try to unhitch whatever was caught on my skin.

I was desperate now, I needed help. I couldn’t fix it –

I hear my door open behind me.

“Don’t laugh!” I yell out, panicked.

“Wren? Stay still,” Theo rushes over and I’m a little surprised at how concerned he sounds. I was almost certain he’d just laugh at me. I do as he says and stay still for him.

He drops down behind me and one of his hands steadies me by resting on my hip.

“Don’t move,” he reassures me and once I’m still his strong, firm hand leaves my hip. He then uses both hands to unhitch my bra from my dress and my skin. When the pressure is released I feel as if I die of relief. My arms can’t get through fast enough as I shove off the dress. I feel loose straps at my back and I realise he unhooked the back of my bra to fix the problem.

I look over my shoulder, still on my knees as Theo looks at me with irritation in his gaze.

“What?” I ask, truly perplexed by his expression.

“Go slowly, Wren, I don’t want you to hurt yourself,” Theo is genuine and I briefly consider how I’m pretty much coincidentally...

“Hey! I’m... in a submissive pose... aren’t I? Like Ana... I read this!” I acknowledge this fun-fact in an excited whisper.

Then I realise of course Theo heard me.

Blood instantly rushes to my cheeks. Of course I had to randomly say that.

I glance back at him, nervously as Theo’s eyes take the opportunity to run over my almost naked body and when his eyes flitter back up, I’m still waiting for his response.

“...spread your knees a bit more and you’ll do just fine,” Theo murmurs quietly, while getting back to his feet, “...slow yourself down, sweet cheeks, I don’t want you tripping over. It’s a mess in here. I’ll fix that lock, okay?”

“Thanks, I swear I’m not this clumsy, or this messy!” I blurt, watching him leave to fix the lock.

“I doubt that!” he responds without looking back to me. I notice with narrowed eyes that he doesn’t shut my bedroom door. Was he trying to cheat extra glances of me as I got changed into my pyjamas?

I get to my feet and look for something to wear. Not my old ‘sleepy’ nighty. Not until he left at least.

I decide to put on a longish t-shirt that barely covered my ass but would do for now. I fling off my bra and can’t find any comfy pants anywhere. My trackydacks were in the wash – figures.

I guess this shirt was long enough.

I walk out and find Mr. Fox. I decide to sit next to him on the couch. I was going to sit crossed legged but I decide to just kneel, since that wouldn’t expose too much...

“How’s it going?” I ask, looking over to see Theo looking at the lock and the current broken one with irritation.

“I can’t do it,” he says, glancing over at me, “I forgot to bring the proper tools. I can’t get this one off tonight.”

“Oh well, maybe tomorrow,” I smile as he glances over at me, he looks pissed off he can’t fix it now, “What’s the matter, boss?”

“I wanted to leave you safe. If I leave now and someone breaks in and hurts you, I’ll never forgive myself. I’ll stay tonight, sweet cheeks,” he seems already content with his decision.

I’m about to refuse but I’m too tired to argue with him.

“That’s sweet of you. Um, you can have my bed,” I agree, reluctantly, “Since you had the couch last time... I’ll sleep out here with Mr. Fox. I’m sorry I don’t have a spare bedroom.”

“I could drive us back to mine?” Theo suggests, glancing at me to see my reaction.

Okay, no.

“But we’re above the office here, we may as well just sleep here,” I mention, annoyed he is so damn certain he won’t leave me.

“That’s true. Go to sleep, Wren, I’ll take the couch.”

I eye him closely and can’t help but feel how uncomfortable the couch will be for someone as tall as him.

I sigh, not wanting to say this next part but knowing I won’t chill out until I just offer and get it out there.

"If you don’t try anything funny, you can sleep in my bed next to me... I don’t want to deprive you of a bed. I won’t be able to sleep if you stay on the couch. I’ll feel too guilty because you’re staying to protect me. My bed is a queen size anyway. Not as big as yours, but big enough. I swear I’m not trying to randomly seduce you; I’m just trying to be kind.”

Despite how awkward that could have sounded, I manage to articulate it quite well and with an air of confidence.

“Are you sure? You are being very kind if you let me do that... because I’m sure as hell not letting you sleep on the couch. You need to sleep well,” Theo seems satisfied with my answer and his own.

“I guess the compromise is my bed then, whatever, all good,” I shrug and figure I must gain false confidence when I’m sleepy.

“Good, if I get stuck taking off my bra, please help me too, Wren,” Theo places the lock on the counter, grinning as he waltzes towards my room.

“Very funny... wait!” I stand up, wanting to respond to his joke but also remembering the state of my room, “Let me clean. I’ll be back.”

I run into my room and slam the door shut, chucking everything into the cupboard and making my bed.

Wren, you do realise you just invited Theo, a Dominant, into your bed? What if he tries something funny? What if, Wren? What will you do?

“Come in!” I squeak out. I’m suddenly nervous again as my thoughts question my very brief spurt of confidence.

The doorknob turns and I clasp my hands in front of me, gritting my teeth in an awkward smile.

“Welcome, this is my new clean room... just promise you won’t tie me up, haha,” I try to joke about my deepest fear as Theo pokes his head into the door he has creaked open.

He eyes the room with appreciation but suddenly looks at me when I blurt out the ‘don’t tie me up’ part.

He narrows his eyes for a moment and then tilts his head, a knowing look in his eye.

“You know,” Theo says, opening the door all the way, he approaches me, looking down at me curiously as I look up at him, “Don’t you?”

“Know what? I know nothing. Nothing at all. I know absolutely nothing,” my brain races as I try to think of a distraction, a way to change the topic.

“Ah – ah, shush,” Theo puts a finger to my lips. My bottom lip freaking trembles and he notices, “To answer what you are clearly wondering about me. The answer is ... Yes I am, as for the question you asked aloud... no, I won’t.”

“That’s good,” I nod frantically, stepping away from his finger, “Goodnight.”

I turn around and walk to my bed, pulling back the covers I get in and pull the blankets over my head.

Please, let me die, right now. This is so bad. You know why this is bad, Wren? Because not only does he know you acknowledge him as a Dominant, he admitted to it, and he is now going to sleep next to you. Who is to say he won’t tie you up?

I’m too nervous thinking about it.

I pull down my covers and it’s just as Theo is unbuttoning his shirt, watching me curiously.

“Are you sure you need to stay?” I ask and he pauses getting undressed.

“I’m not letting you sleep here all by yourself, when anyone can walk in at any time,” Theo is final about it, “Don’t be nervous, Wren... I know you are.”

“Why would I be nervous?” I blurt, accusing him with a tired glare and clenched fists on top of the covers.

“I don’t know, sweet cheeks, maybe because you think I’m going to tie you up?” Theo is clearly mocking me now as he smirks.

“You’re my boss,” I scoff, “I don’t know why you think – that I – think you would tie me up. I was just joking, like, it just came out of my mouth and I regret it. Does that mean, um... Cynthia was your submissive at one point?” Well, that wasn’t muddled at all.

Theo raises an eyebrow at me and his look soon becomes an annoyed glare.

“What do you think, Wren?” he asks me, “Go to sleep. Otherwise you’ll be rambling all night and you’ll ask me things you’re not ready to hear the answers to yet.”

I pause and slowly nod.

“Goodnight,” I turn onto my side and cuddle the blankets to me as I look away so he can get undressed in peace, “Turn off the lights–”

“I will... go to sleep,” Theo interrupts, determined to have me stay quiet so I sleep.

I eventually close my eyes and I do feel sleepy, despite the threat of him about to sleep next to me.

But I can’t help but re-run his words through my head... you’ll ask me things you’re not ready to hear the answers to yet...

I had no idea what he meant by those words.

My bolder subconscious, had an intuition, however.

Questions I wasn’t ready to hear answers to? About him being a Dominant?

Questions were for people who were curious.

Maybe I was wrong but...

Theo was looking to replace his last Submissive...

...and I think I knew who his number one candidate was.

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