Chapter 34 -The Merge And The Smile
Taylor silently reflected on the past few days, which subsequently, if he was being honest with himself, had been not as bad as he had thought would be.
He really did enjoy cooking, it was the only skill that he had gotten for his mother when she was still alive. Being in the kitchen with her was one of the most treasured memories he had. But he hadn’t anticipated for one second that he would be looking forward every night to cook for Kate. To watch her as she swallowed down every bite with subtle bliss. Did she even know how torturous yet satisfying it was to hear her sweet pleasurable moans?
He highly doubted it.
Their conversation was more amicable and insightful. Despite his reluctance to fully open up to her, he would offer her a tight smile and wave her questions off instead of speaking his mind. She seemed more open and comfortable in his presence and for some odd reason he rather enjoyed seeing this side of her. Then there was her smile, whenever he would walk through the door after a hard day at work and he would find her in his living room either watching television or simply reading a book ; her face would light up and he would be graced with one of her warm smile. He was growing fond of seeing it and loved that it was meant for him, only him.
Thought of her being there tonight brought a smile on his face. Brandon had been right. There was something about Kate that made it hard not to like her, there was never a dull moment. It was either her mouth, her clumsiness or her open persona. He finally understood how Ben and Brandon had been easily drawn in.
“Mr.Price,” Maria peeved her head halfway through his office door.
Taylor immediately shook all thoughts of Kate away and lifted his head in Maria’ direction.
“Mr.Brandlock is here,” She announced.
Right. Tony Brandlock. He was one persistant man.
After months of rescheduling, he was still determined to meet with Taylor and finally negotiate on a possible merge between his iron and steel company and Taylor’s.
Taylor couldn’t lie, the idea itself was worthwhile. It meant less competition and more capital and between his multiple vineyards in Italy and Spain ; this could actually take some pressure off and give him more time to personally inspect his investments.
“Let him in.” He replied.
His father would probably roll on the ground, wherever he was; at the mere thought of a merger. He had made it abundantly clear in the past that a family business should stay just that, a family business. But then again it explained why he lived most of his life alone, he had been so engrossed in work that even while growing up Taylor had barely even spend time with him and Taylor would be damned if his life would turn out like his.
Empty, isolated and bitter.
Kate gave another vented sigh as she turned over a new folder. Brandon hadn’t stopped eyeing her and all of her attempts to ignore him was slowly fading. For three days straight now, it has been the same routine. She would come in, exchange greetings, get his coffee and then, the staring would start.
It was really starting to bother her. Whenever she would look up he would quickly look away and pretend as though nothing was a mist.
She snapped the thick brown folder shut. It wasn’t like she could get any work done anyways. Not with him sitting at his desk staring down at her.
“Alright. Out with it.” She exclaimed, eyeing him over the thickly stacked folders on her table.
A faint smile spread across his lips but he made attempts to acknowledge her. Instead Brandon grabbed his mouse and started to click away.
Kate huffed, pushed her chair back and got up.
“Don’t pretend like you didn’t hear me! Im standing now, so you might as well get a good look.” She said, placing both hands on her hips.
Brandon took his time drawing his eyes from the screen. His brows lifted at her, “Something the matter, Kate?” He asked, struggling to hold a strong face.
“Yes.” She replied curtly, “You have been staring at me non stop and I want to know why?”
He placed his elbows on his desk and rested his chin against the palm of his hands. “Took you long enough.” He stated with a smirk.
Kate was frazzled, she walked over to the vacant chair infront of his table and sat. “Long enough to what?” She asked, raising a brow at him, ” To notice that you are being a creep?”
Brandon chuckled,“I’ve never been called a creep before. You shatter my ego, Ms.Dawson.”
She knew that his statement was meant as a scold but she seriously found it hard to take him seriously, not when he was doing it with that damn smirk on his face.
“I aim to please, Powells.” She returned just as evenly, ” Now are you going to spill it out or do I have to drag it out of you?”
“I don’t know. I was kind of hoping that you would tell me.” He grinned, pushing back against his chair once he took in the confused state on Kate’s face.
“My cup is empty and your face is stuck in what appears to be a permanent smile. It’s been three days Kate. What gives?”
“That’s it? Wait...wasn’t that the purpose of the cup? So that I would stop swearing as much? ”
It was true, now that she thinks about it. She hadn’t been swearing as much, out loud. But playing nice with Taylor didn’t really give her a reason to cuss. Instead, she found herself looking forward to their dinner dates? Could she really call it that?
It wasn’t a date date but they did eat together and had learned quite alot about him. Well, somethings. He was still controlling and selective to what information he wanted to reveal about himself and for now it was of no importance. She only wanted him to trust her.
“It’s not just that, it’s your face. There’s something, I don’t know, I can’t...” he stopped, pursed his lips and try to assess her once more.
Her hands immediately flew to her face. What was wrong with her face? Then her mind flew back to her grandmother and Mrs.Kirby and how they have been teasing her about the lingering smile that she was walking around with. At one point they had even told her that love evidently agreed with her, to which she merely scoffed.
She wasn’t in love with Taylor. They were on good terms and getting to know him without the threats and bitter insults made her see him in a different light. And quite frankly he wasn’t that bad.
“Can’t what?” She blushed, averting his eyes.
“Figure it out.“He finally said.
Kate rolled her eyes at him. “You mean to tell me that I’ve had to suffer through some pretty intense stares because you can’t figure out my face?”
She drew out a lingering breath, “You’re a fucking idiot, Brandon.” She snickered getting up. “Don’t you have more important things to take care of? Like, I don’t know, your recent engagement?” She countered.
“Don’t try to turn this back around on me. Somethings up with you, both of you.”
Kate remained quite. The hell if she knew what he meant by both of them. But she wasn’t about to say something that she couldn’t take back.
“Come on Kate.” Brandon pouted, “We’re friends right?”
Kate drew a brow at him.
“And friends tell each other everything, right?”
The corner of lips curved. Was he really using the friend card? He looked cute and even if she had no tolerance for puppy eyes, she had to admit, it really did work in his favour.
“Fine.” She said, exhaling through her nose, ” You’re brother and I are on a truce.”
Brandon’s eyes almost bulged out of its sockets, “WHAT?”
“Yep” She smirked, ” but it’s only temporary.. and he even cooks for me. So as you can see, I really don’t have anything to complain about.” She said over her shoulders as she made her way back to her chair.
“You didn’t think to let me know about that?” He asked, jumping out of his seat.
Kate shrugged,“Didn’t think it would matter. I mean, atleast now we’re civilised around each other so it makes living there beareable. ”
“Kate, you don’t get it. I could have thrown that in his face for three days now and Taylor, he doesn’t...” he bit his tongue midway and shook his head.
Kate eyed him suspiciously. He looked like somebody who had almost spilled a secret and when he immediately sat back down and pretended to busy himself once more; she was certain of it.
“Taylor doesn’t what, Brandon?” Her eyes closed to slits.
Brandon shook, “Nothing.”
Now she was even more convinced that there was something.
“It’s nothing Kate. Forget it.” He told her. His tone was definate and gone was Brandon she knew.
He didn’t want to talk about it and she understood but it did mean that she was going to just let it go.
“Fine. Message received. Next time I’ll just keep my big mouth shut, friend.” She said picking up the Hansley file.
She snuck a look past him but he was still staring at his computer screen.
“Silly me. And here I thought that we shared everything with each other.”
She let out an exaggerated sigh, “I guess I’ll have to look for another girlfriend.”
His brow creased as he ran a smooth hand through his hair.
“We probably won’t be needed this anymore.” She announced, grabbing the cup that he had placed on her desk.
Brandon’s head snapped up.
“The cup stays, Kate.” He said.
Kate’s face mirrored his , “Only if you finish what you were about to say.”
He gave her a brief glance then his eyes trailed to the cup that was being hovered over her bin. The look of defeat that he had on was enough to let her know that she had won.
A small victorious smile played on her lips.
“If you tell Taylor that I told you this, I’ll deny it to the grave.” He told her.
“I won’t.” She said in a rush, tracing a cross over her heart. “It’s not like we’re besties and trade secrets whilst braiding each others hair.”
His lips twitched, ” Taylor doesn’t cook.”
Kate instantly threw him an ‘are you serious face.’
“What do you mean he doesn’t cook? I’ve seen him with my own eyes.”
“No, I meant he doesn’t cook for other people. He only ever did that with his mother. He’s never even done it for me, we always go out, even when he has me over at his place.”
She couldn’t understand why Brandon was making this out to be a big deal. Taylor had told her, he didn’t want her to burn down his kitchen.
" It’s really not that big of deal Brandon. I mean, it is. Taylor is an amazing cook and you are really missing out but he only cooks because, well... I sorta had a little accident in his kitchen, which involved sauce on the floor and smoke coming out of the oven.”
Brandon laughed, “Which, in other words means that you almost ruined his royal Highness’ sanctuary.”
“I didn’t.” She replied biting back the need to say, ‘not that shit again.’ “You know what? Forget it. I think I liked you better when you weren’t talking.”