Chapter 33 - Temporary Truce
“How long have you been living with your grandmother?” Taylor asked as they now sat at the dinning room table. He obsevered her tentatively, as she licked her lips before letting out a small moan of satisfaction. His hands tightened around the stem of his glass as he fought off the desire to storm over to her, rip her out that chair and claim her mouth.
He could still remember just how sweet and soft it was. He gave himself a mental slap in the face. Hadn’t they just had this talk? Where he wouldn’t kiss her again?
Kate placed her fork back on to her plate and push it aside. She was stuffed. Taylor, no matter how much of a dick he was - was a great cook. She had never had seared scallops with infused brown butter before. If she were to die now, it would be without any regrets.
She grabbed her glass of water and smiled, “Long enough. It’s always been me and her since my parents died. But we both know that you already knew that, right?” She jutted a brow at him.
He gazed at her from under his lids, “Do you blame me?” He exclaimed, “I’ve opened my home and business to you. Practically gave you the key to my life when God knows that I shouldn’t have. In my line of work, you’re not allowed to take any sort of risks. It always has to be calculated, pre-plan and it often involves alot of background check.”
Well that certainly explained alot.
The lines of questioning by Brandon, the non disclosure agreement and him ; keeping close tabs on her. Suddenly her boring life didn’t seem so bad.
“I get it.” She assured him, “But I mean, if it’s not too much to ask, I’d like to know you just as well. I - am - living with a stranger after all.”
“I think you know enough, Kate.” He said, eyeing her over his glass as he took yet another sip.
“Really?” She scoffed, biting back the need to laugh. If by that he meant knowing about his company and his large appetite for women then yes, she did know enough, just not about him -- personally.
“You’ve cooked dinner for me and didn’t even ask if I had any allergies, which by the way, I don’t. But I think I’m allowed to know if it’s the same for you, just in case I get charged with attempts of murder.”
He sighed deeply. “I don’t have any allergies. Not that I would trust you to cook anything for me.”
He smirked at her and her insides melted into a puddle of warm sensation. He was definitely being weird tonight.
Her cheeks flushed, she placed her glass back on the table averting his warm blue eyes. They were telling her things, things that she knew could only be imaginary.
“Great,” she clipped, “crisis averted.” Throwing him one of her sweetest smile.
There was brief moment of silence.
Taylor cleared his throat, placing his glass on the table.
“What made you move here?”
She froze for a moment and glanced up at him. So this is what an awkward conversation sounded like and he seemed determined to stay in control, but when wasn’t he?
“Daily House was the first publishing house that accepted me and with nana sick and all, I couldn’t afford to wait until something better came along.” She replied with a shrug.
But it was the truth.
“And how is she?”
“Nana? Why?” She gaze at him suspiciously.
“Just -- polite conversation, I guess.”
Kate frowned, “She’s doing alright, according to her but the nurse and I beg to differ.”
“We could have dinner there some nights, if you want.”
Kate was flabbergasted. “What? No. I mean, why would you want to do that? You have an empire to run remember?” She rambled trying to make sense of why, he, Taylor, would want to have dinner with her grandmother.
Her hand quickly found her glass of wine and she gulped down half the content in one go.
“Well, I am the boyfriend.” He announced, throwing her a sceptical look. “Wouldn’t she think me rude if I don’t, uh -- I don’t know, want to visit my girlfriends only relative?”
Okay, this was way past him being weird.
“Uh, I suppose. But she knows that you’re busy, so it’s fine. Plus, we don’t want to complicate this, right?”
“Right.” He nodded, hiding the faint disappointed sound in his voice with a quick smile.
What the hell was he thinking? Then he glanced at her startled face, once more.
Why was she making him say things without thinking?
“Its fine. I just thought I’d do my part. I was the one who told them that we were...together.”
Kate smiled.“Yes, you did and she won’t stop talking about you. I’m jealous at how fast she’s replacing me with you. ”
“You talk about me?” He asked, uncertainty filled his voice and Kate couldn’t help but smile at his flushed skin.
Jesus! She shifted in her seat, he was really messing with her head tonight. Her skin felt hot and her brain was sending her mixed signals. What was going on?
“Yeah, mostly cause she asks alot of questions about you.”
″I see. Then maybe next time I should go with you.” He told her.
Of course he would want to tag along, probably just to keep an eye on her.
“Right, to ensure that I’m not revealing anything.” She let out deep sighed, pushing back against her chair.
And just when she thought that they were bonding.
“Must you always take me the wrong way? If the idea of me going upsets you, then just say so.”
“It’s fine. I’m sorry. I just..” she sighed once more, “one never really knows with you.”
Taylor muttered something under his breath, then got up. “Is it alright if I come with you?”
He was asking? Wait, was he asking? He never asks, always demanded or ordered her to do something but him asking had caught her by surprise. Made her lost with words.
Kate blinked. “I - uh, yeah.”
“Good. If you’re done, I’ll go grab the dessert.”
“Okay, so no visitors.” Kate repeated his words back to him and Taylor nodded in response.
“And as you already know, my office and kitchen are off limits.”
She grinned. So he was no kidding when he told her that he would cook for her.
“Alright. What else?”
He sighed inwardly, don’t make me regret this.
“I suggest that we have a temporary truce.”
“Temporary?” She frowned at the word.
“Yes. Until proven otherwise, it’ll remain just that-- temporary.”
It was a start, Kate thought to herself. If it meant he wouldn’t all Taylor all the time, then she could definitely live with that.
“Okay.” She smiled and got up, walking over to him. “Truce.” She said, holding out a hand to him. Taylor hesitated at first, still somewhat conflicted by the idea. But they were living under the same roof, they needed to have some sort of common grounds ; so he placed his hand in hers and they shook on it.
“Thanks for dinner, Taylor. ” Kate said, and leant forward without so much as a thought - placing a kiss on his cheek.
His body tensed at the touch of her lips on his skin and her sweet perfume filled his nose.
“You’re welcome.” He heard himself say. Wondering how he had managed that when he was still half dazed by her action.
“It’s getting later. I thinking we should head to bed.” She said, then horror struck her and realisation sinked in at what she had said.
She quickly stammered to rectify her words. “I mean individually, in - uh separate bedrooms. You in yours and Me, in, uh - mine.” She could feel her face burning with colours.
Kate stood and watched in awe. He was laughing. Well he was laughing at her but still, he was laughing. His lips were slightly pulled apart over his perfect white teeth and the sound of his laugh was beautiful. Was that even a thing? To call a grown man’s laugh, beautiful? She didn’t care because it was, to her.
She smiled profoundly, biting her lips at the sight before her. He looked younger when he did. It made him less off a jerk and even more attractive.
Shit. Her face fell and her heart skipped a beat. She was actually starting to like Taylor.
“I think you might be right. We should head to bed --individually.” He smiled, mimicking her.
“Goodnight Kate.” He said in gentle, smoldering voice that made her breathless.
“Goodnight.” She whispered back.
He watched as she made her way up the stairs.
She had no idea how appealing the idea of them heading to bed together sounded to him.