Nothing works. The dress zipper wouldn’t stay closed; the hair’s a frizzy nimbus around your head; you poked your eye putting mascara on – twice; and blisters on your feet from yesterday don’t let you put any of the fancy shoes. Thea’s somewhere out, and doesn’t pick up her phone. And you just want to scream.
You’re sprawled on the bed and stare at the ceiling. Right, you will just put on some jeans, a jumper, and ballet shoes, and wash off that cursed black thing from your eyes. It’s properly eating through your eyeballs. You’re still not going to look like a sophisticated grown-up woman, even if you wear this lovely dress that Thea made you buy the other week. You’ll still look like a slaggish teenager in her mom’s clothes. Why are you even trying?
You growl and roll on your stomach. You try to bury your face in a pillow, but it makes it worse. Now your eyes really need washing. You tread to the washroom. Bugger, bugger, bugger. And now they’ll be red from the makeup remover. Maybe you should text him that you accidentally died and unfortunately cannot attend?
The phone beeps. Thea, Thea, please tell me it’s Thea. Bugger. Dress casually. J.T. What the fuck?! That’s a hell of an authoritative tone. And can he be more stuffy? Initials, really? And also, praise the Lord! You peel off the treacherous dress and pull on your jeans.
The door lock clicks. Ah, now she shows up.
“Wren, my dear, I feel so great!” She dances into the room. “Every muscle in my body was attended to, and it’s a bliss!”
Ew, TMI, no details, please!
“Wren!” Her voice is suddenly low and intimidating. “Tell me you are not getting ready to go out with Dr. Sexy!”
“What? You were encouraging me…”
“In that, Wren!” She’s pointing at the apparently offensive pair of jeans. “Tell me you are not going out with Dr. ‘Delectable Backside and Effortless Charm in Whatever I Wear’ in this!”
“He said to dress casually!”
“And the underwear, Wren! Are you bonkers? This is what you’re wearing? It doesn’t even deserve to be called bloody lingerie! It’s undies and boob holders!” She continues raging.
“He is not going to see them!” My poor babies. Don’t listen to her, you are gorgeous. And let’s face it, comfy. “I’m not sleeping with him today.” She cocks a brow at you.
“Look back at your record, Wren, and reconsider your previous statement.”
“Even better! If I know that my perfectly fine underwear is, according to you, not up for some standard propagated by misogynistic media objectifying women, I will have more reasons to keep it concealed.” You try to sound haughty.
Whom are you kidding, just a few hours ago on a lab table… Go away, the thought of his massive erection pressing into you – which from now on shall be called The Thought! Scram!
Thea sighs. “I’ll leave you to your illusions, Wrennie, but you’re changing the denim. And what are you wearing on top?” You feel a sheepish desire to kick the jumper you chose under the bed.
“I haven’t decided yet.”
She puffs in indignation and starts rummaging through your suitcase. She pulls out one of your favourite jumpers.
“Really? I can wear this?”
“No, Wren I’m holding it in front of your face meaning to say ‘Seriously?!'” She stuffs it back and goes to her side of the room.
“On, no Thea, nothing of yours will fit me. And I already feel inadequate near him, like I’m a chavvy teenage girl, the age, the status…” You are mumbling, and then stop. She’s holding one of her most favourite striped cashmere tops. “Oh Thea, it will never look good on this…” You gesture around your chest area. She theatrically sighs again. “And I can’t, Thea. It’s your favourite. What is I ruin it?”
“Shut up and take it. It’s a special day for you, and I’m a brill friend.” Yes, she is. “And if it gets torn into shreds by the large and impatient hands of Dr. Sexy, be it.”
Didn’t really need this image, thank you very much.
You take it and pull it on. She clasps a thin red belt around you and turns you to look in the mirror. You look incredible. You are all cute, sexy, and Twiggy-ish. The low cut shows your collarbone, the neck looks long and delicate.
“You need a French braid.”
You are never arguing clothes choices with Thea again. She braids your hair and smiles.
“Now you are ready!”
“I’m keeping the jeans though.”
“Whatever, but you’re so yummy right now that I’d reconsider the underwear.”
No, you are growing as a person. You can do it. The Thought comes back, and you bite your lip. Oh, poop.
He’s leaning on the column in the lobby. Fuck, look at this legs and torso ratio! The legs just go on forever, the shoulders are wide, and the waist… Stop bloody ogling him, Wren. You’re building meaningful relationships here, it’s not about sex. Well… No! You’ve been there before. You need to learn to talk to each other for a change.
“You look lovely, Wren.” You loop your arm through his.
“Thank you. So, where are we going?”
“There’s a very nice pub not far from here. If you don’t mind, I would love to just spend a quiet evening together. Nothing pretentious, great food, talking…”
Oh, it sounds way too good to be true. Why do you feel that it might be an even more elaborate trick than inviting a girl to a fancy restaurant and showing up with a dozen of red roses?
“Lovely, I think it’s a perfect idea.”
“So you really don’t drink?” He pops a battered crayfish in his mouth.
“No, I can survive one glass of wine but after that it’s like food poisoning.”
“It’s the hair, isn’t it?” You hum in agreement.
Random appetizers, fish and chips, he is having a lager, you stick with lemon water.
“Nope, makes me sick.”
“How do you fix your teeth then? I assume it goes for the meds as well.” You chuckle.
“As rarely as I can. I was luckily blessed with little problems in this area.”
“That’s tough life, kiddo.” He shakes his head and takes a sip from his glass.
“I’m managing.” You laugh. “You? Any allergies?”
“None that I know of.” He’s smiling to you.
God, he’s good-looking. The curled up corners of his lips, the lush lashes, the long nose…
“Anything else you want to ask about?” he asks.
“No, thank you. I’ve had enough new information for one day.” Fuck. Why can you never keep your mouth shut? He leans back on the booth seat.
“From Thrandon’s boy, I presume.” The tone’s cold. You shift on the seat uncomfortably and look into your plate.
“It’s none of my business. Just wasn’t a nice story.”
“None of my past stories are nice, Wren.”
You look at him. His face is cold and reserved.
“We all do things we regret.”
“I hate to break it to you, Wren, but I do not particularly regret anything that I’ve done in my life. Especially when it comes to women. I never forced anyone into anything.” The muscles on his jaw are tense.
Right, manipulating them into doing something they didn’t want, though…
“Right.” You pick up a chip and bite a piece. “And how is it going for you? How are you enjoying your plenteous, meaningful life, full of satisfying relationships, and warm, significant moments?”
You’re staring at each other, and he is the first to lower his eyes. You chew and wait for him to speak. He lifts his eyes and smiles.
“It’s shite.” Yep. “But it’s not so bad right now.”
Tacky bastard. You take a sip of your water, and ignore the butterflies in your stomach.