Chapter 32 - Barefoot In the Kitchen
It’s a date.
“What were you thinking?” Kate scolded at herself as she opened the door to Taylor’s penthouse.
Her breath caught her throat at the sight of lit candles on the dinning table. Did he really think that this was going to be a date? She shook. Don’t be ridiculous, Kate. He probably has somebody else coming over.
She dumped her bag on the side table in his living room and she made her way into the kitchen. The savoury aroma filled her nose and her stomach made a grumbling sound. Whatever he was cooking, her stomach apparently approved.
Her footsteps halted at the doorway and her eyes widened at the sight of Taylor stiring what appeared to be dinner in a tapered sauce pan.
He was barefoot. She smiled at how very domesticated he looked. It was the first time that she was seeing him without a suit on and she found herself drooling over the exposed muscles of his arms and admiring how dangerously handsome he looked in those pair of jeans. He really did have a strong sex appeal and it was obvious that he was in his element.
“You know,” she finally said once she was done ogling over him.
Taylor turned, caught by surprise, and spared her a quick glance then returned his attention back to the stove.
“When I said it was a date, I didn’t mean it literally.” She teased, crossing the floor over to the kitchen counter and sat herself on the nearest stool.
Taylor shook his head, “It’s not.” He simply replied.
“Are you having somebody else over for dinner?” She asked, picking an apple from the fruit basket infront of her.
She might have to make herself scarce if he was.
“I’m not.” He told her, throwing her a disapproving glare before dropping the wooden spoon in the pan, then leaning against the counter, grabbing the apple from her hand.
Kate shrugged,“Then what’s with the candles?”
“That,” he began, dropping the fruit back to its original place, “Is for your benefit.”
“Mine?” She asked, bemused.
Why would he light candles for her? It wasn’t a date!
“Yes. It’s Valentines day and your stuck here with me. So it’s the least I can do.”
She watched as he shrugged away his response with his back turned towards her.
She blushed at the idea. Thankful that he couldn’t see. But still, she saw no reason why he would take her feelings into consideration. Didn’t he take pleasure in reminding her how insignificant she was? Then why bother?
“Uh- thanks. I think. But you shouldn’t have. I don’t really celebrate Valentines.”
“You don’t?” His hand halt over the steaming sauce. He sounded surprised.
“No. I don’t really care that much about it.”
Taylor turned around and Kate’s heart fluttered in her chest at the grin that had lost its way and had somehow attached itself to his lips. Did he have any idea how alluring and sexy he was when he smiled?
“I never thought I’d hear those words coming out of woman’s mouth.”
She wasn’t sure if he had meant it as an insult but she chose to let it slide. He was being civilised for once and she quiet like this side of him. Besides, he was making her dinner and the least she could do was play nice.
“So,” she clamped her hands together, ” what do you need me to do chef?”
Taylor turned the oven knob off and looked at her. Her eyes were gleaming with...hope?, he couldn’t tell. He crossed his arms over his chest and replied, “Nothing.”
He watched as her brows creased and her mouth twitched. The sight almost made him lose the hard front that he was putting. She wasn’t that hard to read. He could tell that she was having an internal battle with herself to remain calm ; and he found it.... cute.
She straightened her back and held on to the edge of the counter. “What do you mean nothing? There must be something that I can help you with.”
He drew up one of his brow at her. “Uh, no. I don’t want a repeat of last night. This kitchen is as sacred as my office and I’ll be very cross if you burn it down, Kate.”
A warm feeling spread inside of her. He had only called her by her name a few times now. She didn’t care if he hadn’t noticed but it did something to her.
“I’m not a bad cook Taylor, it was just a little mishap.” She explained.
“Right.” He scoffed, “Until proven otherwise, you can consider yourself banned from using my kitchen.”
She gasped. ” What? So you want me to starve to death? You can’t be that mean?”
“I’m not. I’ll feed you myself if I have to.” He stated, then pushed himself away from counter in search of a bowl.
“And when you’re not around?” She quiered, suppressing the need to laugh. He was really being strange tonight. As if he was silently telling her that they would be dinning together all the time.
“I’ll have Ben bring you something but on Fridays my housekeeper Mrs.Dean will be around, so you can ask her.”
“Fine.” She exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air, “Apparently I’m not worthy of your kitchen but can I at least set the table? You’ve cooked and I feel like I should do my part.”
“The plates are there.” He pointed toward the upper cabinet. Then began to set the green salad in a bowl.
“Dinner is almost ready.” He announced over his shoulders.
Her stomach made yet another grumbling sound. Kate glanced at the top cabinet and pouted. If there ever was a moment that she hated her height it would be now. She tossed a quick glance at Taylor, hating to bother him when she insisted on helping.
“What are we having?” She asked grabbing the previous stool that she was sitting on.
She placing the stool down and rolled her eyes at him. The man was seriously dead set on using only two syllables tonight.
“I hope that’s not all you’re planing on feeding me? I don’t survive on just green leaves, you know.”
Taylor smiled, “I’m a sucker for grand revelation.”
“Oh.” She said, finding her balance as she climbed onto the wooden stool. “You’re not planning on poisoning me, are you?”
He snorted, “Hardly. Your a pain but not overly much to want to kill you.”
He thought that she was a pain?
She should feel insulted but for once she wasn’t because it was such a Taylor thing to say.
She turned to give him another one of her taunting comments, she shifted to the side a little to quick and lost her balance. A small shrieked escaped her as when the furniture beneath her feet began to wobble.
“What the --”
The next thing she could hear was a harsh cuss coming from Taylor and her landing in his arms.
Her heart drumming savagely inside her chest and she couldn’t tell if it was because she had nearly landed a fall or how close and warm and exciting it was being in his arms. Her cheeks coloured and her hands remained still around during his neck.
She had half expected him to scold her but instead his eyes were soft, filled with worries as they held hers.
“I have a feeling that this is going to happen quite often.” He rasped and she shivered underneath his hooded gaze.
“My falling?” She muttered between breaths.
And he smiled, “My saving you.”
She licked her slightly parted lips as her eyes trailed on to his beautiful lips. Damn it, this was going to be hard. She found herself wanting him to lean down and graze her lips with his. And for a moment there she thought that he would.
Taylor could almost feel the heat of her body burning through his skin. Her breasts and thighs were pressed against him as he held her with both arms circled around her. Realisation struck at how much he wanted her. The look in her eyes told him all that he need to know. It was the same burning desire that stained his. Keeping his hands off her was going to require more effort on his part.
She had told him to stop kissing her and yet alll he had to do was lean down and take whatever she was offering...but he couldn’t.
He wouldn’t. That would only complicate things for him. So he did the next best thing.
Kate shuddered when Taylor placed her to her feet, her body felt cold as he step away from her. For the first, she had wanted him to kiss her and he didn’t. He didn’t.
He cleared his throat, “Don’t worry about the plates, I’ll set them. Just go and freshen up. I call you when everything’s ready.”
She blinked, unable to formulate any kind of response.
What the hell had just happened?
As fast as her legs could carry her, she rushed up the steps and found her way to her bedroom.