Four days. It had been four days since Theodore left, and it was safe to say that these past four days had been nothing short of emotional torture. I’ve cried nearly everyday, my heart craving the presence of its owner like a vampire craved blood. My mind kept coming up with one horrible scenario after another. Images of Theodore with another woman kept flashing in my mind; his heart being owned by another was something that nearly shattered me whenever I thought about it.
My phone which I checked every half hour stayed painfully silent. No demanding text messages or calls cemented that belief that I was just a plaything to Theodore all this time.
The door to my room was thrown open and Amanda entered wearing a determined expression on her beautiful face. Oh no. Determined Amanda was not a safe Amanda. With a black top and black jeans she looked badass. Oh no, Theodore’s favorite color was black. Seeing Amanda wearing black brought unwanted tears in my eyes.
“Get up, Hailey.” She ordered, and the use of my full name meant she was dead serious.
“No! Why?!” I whined, making sure not to let my tears fall.
“Get up now, we’re going shopping.” She stated and threw my blanket off me.
“No, we went shopping two days ago, I’m not going again.” I told her, crossing my arms like a five year old.
“Hailey Jane Pritchett, get your scrawny butt off this bed and go clean yourself up, we’re going to go shopping. Now, I’m going to go and wait for you in my car and you have five minutes to get your filthy self clean and in my car within 15 minutes, and if you’re not there then I’m going to come and drag you out by your hair and I don’t care if the whole of New York city watches you.” She said all that without taking a breath, then stormed out of my room, leaving me to do exactly as she had said, because I was sure Amanda would follow through with her threat if I wasn’t in the car in 15 minutes.
I dragged myself in the bathroom and took a cold shower. I would’ve gone for a warm one but that would definitely take me more than 15 minutes, and I did not want New York city to see me naked.
After taking the quickest shower of my life in five minutes, I emerged from the bathroom and hurriedly put on a peach flowy top and white jeans. I hurriedly slipped on my white sandles, grabbed my bag and rushed out of the apartment and into the car where Mandi was already in with the engine running.
The car ride was silent which I was not at all grateful for, because the silence resulted in my mind slipping back into the time when Theodore kissed me into submission. When he wrapped his arms around me and made me believe that I was the only girl that would have those arms around her. That smile that made me give into his ridiculous demands; those eyes that sparkled with a myraid of emotions whenever I was around; that intoxicating scent that had my mouth watering for just a small taste of him, were all those things that drove me to the brink of insanity.
Even though the car ride was excruciatingly silent, thankfully it was short. In just under 20 minutes we arrived at a mall that was famous for its expensive couture dresses. I had no idea why Amanda brought us here, when she knew that the prices of the stunningly beautiful couture dresses were way out of my range, but I shrugged internally, as long as walking in this glamorous mall got Theodore out of my mind I was willing to spend the whole day here. He could be out of your mind temporarily, but he would never be out of your heart, my inner voice stated smugly, making me want to smack Theodore for taking over my heart.
“Why did you bring me here, Amanda?” I inquired, irritated that she brought us shopping for the fourth time in four days.
“Because you need a distraction from boss man until he comes back, and what perfect way to do it than shopping for awesome couture dresses?” Amanda asked rhetorically, making me want to slap her.
“Woman, I’m out of money, thanks to you making me spend it all on dresses that I would probably never wear.” I snapped at her causing her to grin like a lunatic.
“Ugh, quit whining and let’s go inside, I can’t wait to drool over all those couture dresses.” Amanda grabbed my bicep and dragged me inside the mall.
After half an hour of going from shop to shop, trying on dress after dress, I wanted to just go home and throw myself in bed and sleep for the rest of my life. But no, my darling little best friend had the worst agenda on her evil little mind today: to visit every single goddamn shop that existed in this mall; and yes, I wanted to stuff her in one of the changing rooms and leave her all alone but I loved her too much to do something like that, so I was forced to suck it up and trudge along, while Amanda was whizzing from shop to shop.
“Amanda, I’ve had enough, let’s go home.” I whined but she pretended not to hear me.
“Oh hush, and try this on.” Amanda said throwing a deep purple dress at me which I caught before it fell. I groaned, clearly letting Amanda know exactly how agitated I was, but went into the changing room to try on the dress.
The dress took me a couple of minutes to get into, simply because it had a corset top which nearly robbed me off of oxygen. Not to mention the corset had ties that I had to call an assistant for, other than that the dress was beautiful and I really wanted to buy it but I did not have enough money.
“The dress looks amazing on you, Ma’am, you should definitely buy it.” The sales lady in her early twenties told me sincerely with a smile. I smiled at her in response, even though I really wanted to buy the dress, I knew I couldn’t afford it, if the soft material was anything to go by.
“I’ll think about it.” I told the sales lady to get her off my back.
Once the sales lady left, I hurriedly grabbed the price tag to check the price and my heart nearly stopped at seeing the five digit number printed on the white tag. 68000 dollars was way too much for this gown; then again, I believed it was worth it. Shaking my head at my obvious misfortune of not being rich enough to purchase this marvellous dress, I took it off with a reluctant heart, being extremely careful as not to mess up this exquisite creation.
I emerged from the try room only to find Amanda absent from the store. I asked the sales lady where my friend was and she told me she had gone to the shoe shop which was right next to this one and would be back shortly. I nodded and nearly cried while handing the purple dress back to the lady.
Since I had nothing to do, I decided to browse the other racks, maybe I could find a dress that was within my range.
After five minutes of being stuck on one rack I grew frustrated. There was not a single dress that was below 20000 dollars, and that had me fuming and cursing Amanda for taking me out shopping and making me spend my money on clothes that weren’t even worth the high prices they were being sold for.
“Brown is not your color, honey.” A deep accented voice said next to me. I whipped my head to the side and saw a man in his mid-twenties standing there. He was about 6′1, a few inches shorter than Theodore with blonde hair and light blue eyes. His straight nose gave him an air of pride, and his lips which were curved in a soft smile made him look very handsome.
“Uh no, I—I was just browsing.” I told the stranger quickly, full intending to get out of the store and find Amanda, but this stranger seemed to have no intention of letting me go.
“I would suggest you go for lighter colors.” He stated casually, as if he and I were long lost friends.
“Lighter colors?” I asked confused. I usually went for dark colors, because I just loved bright colors.
“Yeah, light colors, they would suit your skin perfectly.” He commented and begun rifling through the rack next to the one I was standing in front of.
“My skin?” This man was giving off weird vibes. He seemed to be looking at me like a predator looked at its next prey. He was looking at me like Theodore looked at me—like I was his prey, but in Theodore’s gaze I felt protected, safe; that if Theodore caught me he would take care of me and love me; but with this man, I felt like if he caught me, he would surely eat me alive.
“Yes, your perfect skin, so soft and flawless.” He smiled and took out a silver dress from the rack.
“You mean to say that I’m pale?” I tried to use a snarky tone with the man so he could back off, but I guess he was oblivious to the change in tone.
“No not pale, honey, fair. Your skin is fair and perfect.” He complimented and held out the dress next to me. “Perfect. This color is for you.” He stated and immediately handed the dress over the sales lady.
“Pack this dress for the lady here.” He ordered and the woman was only too happy to oblige. Just as she was about to leave, I stopped her and told her how I was not buying the dress, which caused her smile to fall.
“But why, Miss? The dress is perfect for you, and I believe it was made just for you.” She tried to put it on a little thick for me, but I didn’t budge. Even though I didn’t want to say it out loud—but I guess now I had no choice—I swallowed my pride and said the one thing I absolutely did not want to.
“I only came hear to browse, I didn’t even bring any money with me.” I glanced at the man and the sales lady, gauging their reactions.
“No worries, honey, the dress is on me, pack it Melinda, and charge it on my account.” The man told the lady who happily rushed off to the counter.
“You have an account here?” I asked, perplexed at this man’s actions.
“Yeah, after all I own the store.” He answered with a hint of arrogance.
“But still, sir, I can’t take the dress. It’s too much, and I don’t even know you.” I tried to reason with him and cursing the fact that Amanda wasn’t here to help me out.
“My name is Ian, and what’s yours?”
“Uh, my name is Lee.” I told him, mentally cringing at telling him my half name. I would’ve told him my full name if he was giving me positive vibes, but he wasn’t so I chose to give him my nickname rather than my real one.
“Lee,” he repeated my name as if testing it on his tongue, “are you Asian?” He questioned, and I instantly shook my head.
“No, but my parents were just obsessed with the name Lee. You see, my parents were expecting a boy who they were going to name Lee, but then I was a girl, which apparently wasn’t enough for them to change their minds,” I joked half-heartedly and giving myself a mental pat on the back for coming up with a story about my name on the spot.
“Wow, that’s interesting.” Ian stated then walked over to the cash counter with me.
“You work, Lee?” Ian asked casually.
“Yes, I work at Benson Enterprises.” I told him then slapped myself mentally at giving away private information to a stranger. Stupid stupid Hailey, you never learn.
Ian’s eyebrows suddenly rose at my answer. “Oh really, what position do you hold over there?” He asked with genuine curiosity.
“I’m the assistant to the owner of the company.” I told him, regretting the fact that I came here.
“You mean, you’re Theodore’s assistant?”
“You know Mr. Benson?” I asked, shocked at realizing how small the world was.
“Oh yeah, let’s just say...we’re old friends.” He said cryptically, then grabbed the bag with the dress in it and handed it to me.
“I can’t take this, sir—”
“Call me Ian.”
“Sorry, I can’t take this, Ian, but thanks for buying it.”
“No keep it, I insist.”
“I don’t want to hear any arguments, sugar, keep the dress, think of it as a present from a new friend.” He stated. I got the feeling that he was talking in some secret code.
Finally giving up on arguing, I accepted the dress with a thanks which Ian waved away. Just as I thought he was finally going to go away and leave me alone, he came and stood extremely close to me, invading my personal space. He trailed a finger down my left cheek making my throat go dry.
“Take care, Lee; I have a feeling we’ll see each other again very soon.” What was once a finger was now a full hand cupping my cheek.
A sudden spark of anger lit up deep within me at Ian touching me, taking liberties he had no right to take. And in that small moment of anger, I slapped his hand away, causing his eyes to widen in surprise.
“Don’t ever touch me again.” I stated firmly and stormed out of the couture shop with the bag in hand. Damn it Hailey, why couldn’t you do that 15 minutes ago?!
I found Amanda trying on shoes in one of the shops. It looked like she forgot she came with me, because she was surrounded by at least 50 pairs of shoes, each one more gorgeous than the other.
“Hey, Lee, which one looks better?” Amanda asked showing me her feet which had a different styled red shoe in each foot. I rolled my eyes and pointed at the right peep-toe stilletto that had diamontès on it. Amanda squealed and immediately told the sales-man to pack the peep-toes and hurriedly paid for them.
“Where do you want to go next?” Amanda asked.
“Can we please just go home, now!”
“Okay okay.” And with that Amanda and I left the mall and headed home.
That night as I lay in bed, I couldn’t get the meeting with Ian out of my mind. The guy was bad news and I knew that with every cell in my body. But the question that had my mind spinning like a tornado was how in Mount Olympus did Ian know Theodore? Were they friends? Were they enemies? Did they go to school together? Were they related?
These questions along with the dangerous aura that Ian emitted had me wide awake. Theodore was the most dangerous man I knew, but Ian seemed evil, like he could destroy anyone who he considered to be useless, even if it was a mere flower.
Just as soon as my mind mentioned flower, my thoughts drifted to Theodore and just like the past four days, I began to think about what he was doing? Who he was with? Did he miss me? Would he come back early? Did he feel the same way about me? All this had my mind in a jumbled mess.
I turned on my side and grabbed my phone from where it lay on the side table and turned it on. My heart sank in disappointment when I saw no missed calls or texts from Theodore, which didn’t help at making me feel better. It didn’t help at all.
Not wanting my mind to come up with more crazy and heartbreaking scenarios about Theodore, I closed my eyes and let sleep take me off to dream land. My last thought before I drifted away was one thing that I desperately wanted the answer to.
Theodore, where are you? When will you come back?