She sat down on the corner of the bed, the springs making a soft ‘squeak’ as she began rolling up her stockings. ‘I have my bags packed and waiting for me in the car outside — everything I could fit into two suitcases.’
Theon walked around the side of the bed, leaning down to pick up his trousers where they lay among a pile of hastily discarded clothing. ‘You can’t leave,’ he said incredulously, as he began to pull them on. ‘What about your job, your life? You’re just going to give it all up for an unlikely chance at success in a city you barely know? There are a million girls like you out there. You’ll never make it.’
Ros turned to look at him, ‘Oh, and what would happen to me if I stay here? Would I become Mrs. Greyjoy?’ She let out hollow laugh. ‘It’s bad enough that you’re sleeping with your father’s secretary, how well do you think he’d take it if you wanted to marry her into the family?’
‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ Theon replied quickly, letting out an unconvincing scoff as he bent down to look for his shirt.
A smirk played on Ros’s lips as she turned away from him and began to fasten her stockings. She paused, rubbing one of the hourglass clips between her fingers. ‘Anyways,’ she began innocently, ‘Why should I marry you when it seems there’s already someone out there willing to do the job for me?’
Theon’s jaw clenched. ‘Sansa Stark,’ he sneered. ‘While undeniably a beauty, I’m afraid she doesn’t have the personality to match. Besides,’ he said, walking up behind Ros, ‘It’s a business alliance being pushed on us by our fathers. It would be a marriage of convenience, nothing more.’
Theon put his hands on Ros’s waist, leaning down so his lips brushed her ear. Ros curved into his touch until her back brushed his chest and turned her face to his, meeting his eyes. ‘She is nothing compared to you,’ he whispered, bringing his face closer to hers until their lips were centimeters apart. Theon inhaled, parting his lips and bringing his hand up to Ros’s face…
Ros pulled away abruptly, sliding out from under him and off the bed. She stood up, grabbing her dress off the floor and slipping it on; leaving Theon standing by the edge of the bed, shirt in hand – a bemused expression on his face.
She looked at him straight in the eyes. ‘No doubt you’ll be resigned to a life of duty with a dull woman, but that’s not an outcome I’m able to prevent. I don’t want to be a secretary anymore, nor do I want to be a wife or a mistress.’ She pulled on her coat and slipped on her heels that lay strewn by the door. ‘I’m flying to New York and I’m going to make something of myself, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop me. There’s nothing left for me here.’
She picked up her purse and made her way to the door, looking back at Theon and studying his expression. If she didn’t know any better she might think he cared. But this was a Greyjoy she was dealing with, and Greyjoys were known for their hard hearts — some brave folk called them ‘ironborn’ behind their backs. So why did she feel so guilty?
‘What was this, then?’ Theon asked, looking at Ros in a way she had never seen before. The atmosphere of their earlier banter was gone, and neither of them could quite name what had taken its place.
‘This was goodbye,’ she said finally. With one last look, she turned the knob.
Theon watched as Ros walked out of his bedroom for the last time. I’ve known her for years and of all the girls I’ve been with, she’s the only one who ever surprised me, he found himself thinking. I’ll never find another girl like her. Whether or not that was a good thing, he couldn’t be sure.
Ros walked towards the car, listening to the clicking of her heels on the pavement in the silent morning air as she pulled a cigarette out of her pocket. Her flight left in an hour; she would have to hurry if she wanted to make it on time.
‘I’m going to miss you.’
Ros turned around, hand on the car door, and saw Theon standing in the doorway, shirt half-tucked and his trademark smile on his face. She couldn’t help but match it.