Choosing Theo: Chapter 20

“I believe your dad thought I wouldn’t like you.” Cebo laid on the bed next to Jade. While she pet his head, she talked to him softly. “Who wouldn’t like you, though? Huh?” Cebo’s tail hit the bed with a thwap, thwap, thwap.

“I still can’t believe you’re here,” she muttered, shaking her head in astonishment.

Already feeling an unnaturally strong attachment that she reserved for dogs rather than people, Jade wondered if there’d be any way to continue to visit Cebo after her marriage was over.

Theo entered the room without warning. He was carrying a smooth black cube in one hand and a thin, black, rectangular object in the other.

“Do you knock?” Jade said, pulling her shirt down over her thighs.

Eyeing her movements, he said, “Not in my house.”

Our house, darling,” Jade said in a sickly sweet tone.

A frown was his only response. He set the cube down in the middle of the room then moved to Jade.

Feeling it was best not to be lying on a bed while he was in her room, she stood.

“You need clothes,” he said simply.

No shit, Sherlock. Annoyed, Jade cocked her hip and gestured to the small cube. “Have you stuffed them in that box?”

He shoved a thin rectangle into her hands. “You can pick out whatever you want with this.” He slid his hand over the top of the device, and it illuminated. Pictures of different types of clothing were displayed on the screen. She touched the picture that resembled a dress, and pictures of a variety of dresses appeared.

“So, it’s like a tablet. And you want me to do some online shopping.” Jade scrolled through the dresses and tapped on a short, flowy dress that looked comfortable.

Suddenly, a woman’s body appeared in the center of the room.

Jade leapt back, and the tablet tumbled out of her hands.

Theo’s hand shot out faster than lightning and caught it before it hit the floor. “Careful.”

“Sorry. I was surprised by the headless body of a woman appearing in the room. Can you blame me?”

As Jade looked closer, she saw that the black box on the floor was projecting an image of a woman. She also saw that the projection was wearing the dress she’d selected. “Oh, cool. So, it shows you what the clothing will be like on a person. That’s clever.”

“It shows what it’ll look like on you,” Theo corrected. “I entered your measurements into the program.”

“You know my measurements?” Jade asked, appalled.

Theo seemed unconcerned. “They were in your file.”

Jade didn’t have a problem with her body. She may be a little curvier than the beauty ideal back home, but she thought she was very well proportioned. For some reason it rankled to know that Theo knew how much she weighed.

Why should she care? He was a lunatic, anyway. Hot one minute and cold the next. It shouldn’t matter to her what he thought about her body.

“On Earth, it isn’t polite to ask people about their weight or measurements. We’re sensitive about that kind of thing,” she explained awkwardly.

“Why?” he asked, unperturbed.

“What do you mean, ‘why’?” She eyed him and clicked her tongue. “You wouldn’t understand. I haven’t seen one overweight person since I’ve gotten here. You all have perfect bodies.”

Theo silently ran his gaze over her body. The intensity in his expression made her stomach flutter.

She didn’t know what else to say so she continued trying to explain. “Everybody looks different on Earth. Some people are fat, some are thin. Some are muscular,” she added, glancing at his arms. “The type of body most people want is thin and fit.”

She pressed her lips together and frowned. “I thought the beauty standards back home were unrealistic, but every person on this planet is perfect, so I guess I was just being lazy.” Giving him a sidelong glance, she admitted, “It just makes me a little uncomfortable knowing that you know how much I weigh and how much weight I need to lose, okay?” she finished with a huff.

Tilting his head, he studied her body. “You shouldn’t lose any weight,” he said matter-of-factly.

“Yeah, right.”

He swung his smoldering gaze on her. Voice gone low, he rumbled, “I’ve only felt the soft curves of your body twice, but it’s been the highlight of my year, and I haven’t even seen all of you yet.” No sooner had he said this than a look of anger crossed his face.

Silence hung between them as they stared at each other.

Did he regret telling her that? Even if he did, she didn’t care. She liked hearing it. The way he’d said it with such conviction. Her breasts had grown heavy and sensitive. She felt heat flood her core.

Theo inhaled deeply, his eyes widening. “You understand how to work that device?” he said hastily.

Before hearing her answer, he started toward the door. “In addition to clothes, you may buy whatever else you desire. Don’t worry about the cost. I don’t have anything for you here.” He turned, not looking her in the eyes. “Come down to the kitchen when you’re finished. Dinner should be ready by then.”

Jade stared at the doorway he’d vanished through long after he left. Speaking to Cebo, she said, “If he keeps that behavior up, I may have to like him.”

* * *

So instead of making sure she felt uncomfortable here, he’d plied her with compliments and gave her leave to buy whatever she wanted? Great.

Theo sat in his room and fumed. Vexing female!

When she’d started talking about herself negatively, he couldn’t keep silent. The way she’d described how the people of Earth judge beauty was ridiculous. Theo couldn’t imagine a male not salivating over her. He certainly had.

In the end, what had caused him to speak up was the look she had in her eyes when she’d talked about herself and compared herself to the Clecanians. For a moment, he’d been sure she actually believed she was substandard in some way. His instincts screamed at him to comfort her and convince her she was mistaken.

Replaying the interaction in his mind, he recognized how preposterous it was for someone who looked like her to think she had to alter part of her appearance. It was obviously an act. An act aimed at appealing to his own insecurities.

There was one other piece of information Theo had learned. The sweet scent that made him lose all reason was her arousal, not her fear.

Last night when he’d truly scared her, he’d identified the smell of her fear. It had been bittersweet, more similar to what he would’ve expected. More troubling than the fact that he’d scared her was the idea that she’d been aroused not only in the kitchen, but also during The Testing.

Just now in her room he’d smelled it again and had needed to leave as quickly as possible. The damn underwear worn by Clecanian females was meant to mask scents so males could control themselves around females who were aroused for whatever reason, but it hadn’t concealed the scent of Jade’s arousal enough for Theo’s liking.

Theo allowed himself to ponder what could’ve aroused her. Me? he thought momentarily. Could she have been attracted to him? Chosen him for that reason?

Theo shook his head miserably. His male ego had been injured one too many times for him to believe that. It still made the most sense to him that she was using him for something and happened to be a phenomenal actress.

What he had planned for tonight would surely rattle her.


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