Chapter 23 - The One Rule
When Taylor had said that she was moving in with him, Kate assumed that he lived in a house on top of a hill, surrounded by old dried up trees with crows keeping him company.
But of course that was only her using her imagination to get him the perfect house to match his personality.
Now, as she stood in smothering doubt trying get to digest his bachelor’s cave, she really couldn’t decide if Taylor was really that predictable. She hadn’t dared move. Ben had let her in and had gone back for her bags. But from where she was standing, she could tell that it had plenty of space but it was dark and depressing and the atmosphere could scarcely be called inviting.
Oh my god! She thought, smacking her palms against her forehead, shaking her head in disbelief.
It’s like walking into purgatory.
Ben walked past her with two of her suitcases and frowned when he noticed that she hadn’t moved further inside. He lifted his hand up to the side if the wall, a few inches from the door and switched on the lights.
Kate’s mouth dropped in awe refusing to close as she now gazed upon his penthouse.
Well obviously everything looked better with the lights on. And better, in this case was just an understatement.
The guy obviously had the finest taste in life. From the furnitures to the decor and from the floor to the ceiling. Everything seemed to be brands of highest quality. She couldn’t suppress the small wow of appreciation that escape her mouth as she made her way inside.
When her eyes finally landed on Ben, he gave her a short smile then tapped under his chin, signaling her to close her mouth. Embarrassed, Kate quickly brought her lips together, grateful that Taylor had gone back to work and wasn’t here to witness this.
Following suit behind Ben as he led her up the stairs and into a vacant guest room. He placed Kate’s bag by the foot of her bed and turned to leave. Kate pulled out a hand and stopped him in his track.
“You aren’t leaving are you?” She asked with a sudden feeling of anxiety.
Ben frowned, gazing around her room.“I’m not sure how Mr. Price would feel about me lingering my stay anymore than necessary.” He replied.
Kate immediately blushed.
She didn’t mean here, in her room.
“Uh- No! I didn’t mean --”
“Relax,” he interjected with a smile, “I was just messing with you.”
“Oh!” She mumbled, clearing her throat in discomfort. But it still didn’t she her from blushing at the thought.
“Well, what I meant was that I hope that you’re not leaving here in his penthouse all alone. Are you?”
Her eyebrows rose unevenly at him.
Ben grinned,” I am but I’ll only be gonna for an hour.”
“But what am I supposed to do in the mean time?” She asked.
“Well, Mr.Price did say to settle in, so you might want to start with unpacking.” He suggested.
Ben resumed on making his departure but Kate stopped him once more.
“And once I’m done?” She quiered.
Ben sighed, “Why do I get the feeling that you are trying to keep me from leaving?”
“Uh- I’m not. It’s just, am I allowed to touched anything? Like the remote?”
He frowned, “I don’t see why not. But I would strongly advise you not to go wandering into his office. Mr.Price is very strict about that.”
“I wasn’t..” she blushed, averting his eyes, “I just wanted to know my limits.”
“I’m sure, but now you’re going to have to excuse me. I really must go.”
“Right. I’ll see you later Ben. Won’t I? ”
“Of course.” He replied.
He had no idea how reassuring and comforting it was to Kate.
A feeling of relief washed over her. She didn’t know what to expect when Taylor comes home later on. So, she at the very least wanted somebody else around. Just in case. She liked Ben. Even if he sometimes acted as though he had no human emotion, he was at least nice enough to her.
Then the door closed shut, leaving Kate, all alone in the lions den. She scanned over the large white room and absorded her new surroundings, exhaling through her already parted lips.
She silently made up way up the stairs, running her over the stainless steel rail, absorbing the coolness of the metal.
If she was to stay here then she needed to ask him about the ground rules. She already knew that his office was off limits but that was one rule she was going to have to break. Just not now.
Then it hit her.
She needed to text Carl.
She took hurried steps to the previous room that Ben had led her to and quickly grabbed her handbag.
Kate: I’m in.
She typed then pressed send.
It was as if Carl had been waiting on her text. Her phone quickly beeped.
Carl: You won’t regret it. We’ll keep in touch.
Kate: I hope so. See you.
Carl: Take care Kate.
It was the right thing to do, she told herself.
But there was a small voice at the back of her head telling her otherwise.
“Alright. Out with it already.” Brandon said leaning against his chair.
Taylor jutted a brow at his brother.” Out with what?” He asked getting up from the comfort of his leather chair.
Brandon sighed, he obviously needed to drag it out of him. “We’ve been sitting here for over thirty minutes and you have the same scowl plastered on your face. You’ve had it three times already and I think I have a good idea who put it there.”
Taylor scoffed, “You’re sense of humour is getting over bearing by the minute, Brandon.”
“Oh really?” Brandon smirked, “Well let’s see if I’m right shall we?”
Taylor merely shrugged with disinterest as he opened his bottle of Scotch.
“My guess is that it has something to do with Kate.”
The sound of her name of as it rolled off of his brothers tongue made his eyes jerk up to met his eyes in seconds.
“And pray do tell why she would have anything to do with the imaginary scowl on my face?”
Brandon laughed. “It’s not imaginary and I see that I am right. I haven’t seen you this worked up in a while and it only six o’clock. I’ve never seen you drink this early.” He got up and walked over to where Taylor stood.
Taylor let out an exaggerated grunt as he poured himself a drink.
“What did she do this time?” Brandon asked grabbing himself an empty glass.
“Well, let’s just say..” he gulped down his Scotch in just one shot, “I now have myself a roommate.”
Brandon’s eyes widened in shock. “Kate?”
“When did this happen?” Brandon asked. He was too shocked to tease him.
Taylor stared at him, then poured himself another glass.
“I don’t want to talk about it now. But I know that something is off about her. ”
“Taylor,” Brandon began as he now poured himself a glass, “They’re not all the same. Not every reporter is out to get you, you know. Kate might be different. Just give her a chance.”
“It’s not that Brandon. There’s just something about her, I can’t put my fingers on and it’s bloody irritating me. I know that I am right and it’s not if but when I do find out what she’s up to..”
“Taylor, come on man.” Brandon said not allowing him to finish. He knew just how scary his brother could be when people double crosses him. But with Kate, he was certain that she wouldn’t. She was different, Brandon could feel it.
“Just give her a month. If she does anything suspicious during that time then I won’t stop you from doing whatever you see fit.”
Taylor raised a defying brow at his brother and laughed,“Why are you acting as thought I need your approval, Brandon?”
“Don’t you?” Brandon challenged him as the rim of his glass touched his lips.
“In business yes, but when it concerns me, personally, I don’t see how I would need to consult you.”
“Well you did the last time.” Brandon replied and Taylor knew exactly who he was talking about.