Chapter 50 - You betrayed me?
Taylor reached for his phone before the last ring and answered it.
Taylor frowned, “Ben?”
It was late and he would never call unless it was important, Taylor thought wryly.
In his car, Ben narrowed his gaze at the two familiar figures standing infront of Dales Bistro, gracing each other with a smile before they shook hands and parted ways.
“I’m sorry for calling so late but I saw something I think that you might want to know.” Ben said.
Taylor drew in a deep breath. He was right. Judging by the sound of Ben’s voice, it was important.
His eyes snapped to the half opened door of his bedroom and he crossed the floors to it.
“Hold on a second.” Taylor clipped, giving the door a light push and watched it close. Once he was sure that his conversation wouldn’t be overheard, he walked over to his window and released a breath. “Go ahead Ben. I’m listening.”
“I’m outside Dales Bistro and you’ll never guess who I saw talking to Ms. Dawson’s reporter friend.”
“Carl?” Taylor’s frown hardened, unable to shake off this funny feeling that waved off him.
Ben voiced a small yes through the receiver causing Taylor’s lips formed a thin line. “Who was he with?”
“Ms. Carla Gray.” Ben replied, “I think they were having dinner together, just saw them come out then shook hands before leaving separately.”
Taylor’s jaw clenched, flexing at the sides at Carl’s intent of being a nuisance . He should have dealt with him sooner rather than wait to see whether he could potentially be a threat. And Carla, she had just burned her last bridge.
“Thanks for the heads up Ben. I’ll handle it.” Taylor said, then paused, his mouth twitching at the side, “What are you doing there anyways?”
Ben let out a nervous laugh over the phone, he turned and caught a pair of browns eyes glaring back at him. “I was, uh - actually on my way to Dales for dinner with Jenna.”
At his reponse, Jenna opened the door on her side and stormed out.
A low smile formed on Taylor’s lips. If there was one thing he knew over the years of dating is that you never - ever leave a woman waiting after the hours spent of her getting herself ready.
“Right.” Taylor said, “Go back to your date Ben, before she leaves you hanging in the car.”
Ben scratched the back of his head, regarding his girlfriend under heavy lids as she stood on the sidewalks infront of the Bistro with her arms crossed over her chest and her mouth pouted in annoyance.
“I think it might already be too late for that, sir.” Ben gave out a nervous laugh, “Goodnight Mr.Price.”
Taylor chortle a laugh. “Goodluck Ben.”
Taylor hung up with a heavy sigh. His gaze lingered out into the night, over the flickering lights of cars driving off in a distant view. The sky was black and the stars sparkled with delight at its embrace. He leaned his head against the coolness of the window, closing his eyes - allowing himself to savour this one peaceful moment before going back to Kate.
Kate, he thought, unable to shake the gut feeling that somehow all this had something to do with what she wanted to tell him.
Dear Lord let him be wrong, he begged, his hand clenched into a ball at his side. For his own sanity he prayed that she had nothing to do with this, with Carl and Carla and the reason why they met up.
He was already in too deep with her - missed her when she wasn’t around, couldn’t get enough of her when she was with him.
“Fuck!” He hissed, raking a rough hand through his hair.
This couldn’t be happening all over again. Not again. He promised himself that he would let another woman blind him so he couldn’t see past all the warning signs. But Kate?
“She’s different” He could hear Brandon’s words reverberating inside his head.
She was, Taylor agreed. She was breath of fresh air and he couldn’t help but smile just at the mere thought of her, sitting on his laps with her red hair hanging loosely over her shoulders and then she’d smile, her dimples deepening as he would murmur
sweet promises of seduction in her ears with every intent of keeping them.
Would she really do that? His head shook, ridding himself of those thoughts.
He would at least give her the benefit of a doubt.
He needed to calm down and not allow himself to overthink this, not tonight. Another fight wasn’t what he wanted with her. Not after witnessing the kiss that she had shared with Tony and how her eyes had widened at him with an abundance of curiosity before blinking up at him - as though trying to shake whatever effects it had on her.
He never once thought that control would be so hard to retain but at that moment it took everything in him to not break them apart and punch Tony right in the face. He had been right the first time when he watched Tony wrapped his arms around her in the conference room. He did want her, and Kate was foolish to think that he just still thought of her as a friend.
But Kate was his. His rarity. And nobody else would have her.
A warm smile spread across his lips as he shook his head at his own lie. Oh, they will have her but just not the way that he did. She was hard no to like, not to love.
His entire body froze halfway through the hallway as he made his way back to his bedroom.
Did he just admit to himself that he was inlove with Kate?
Kate hit the reject button on her phone for the second time. Carl was being very persistent tonight. Her fingers grabbed a hand full of the bath robe that she had pulled on, clutching at its front while she waited for Taylor to come back. She needed to talking to him now more than ever.
Her phone rang again.
An exasperating breath blew past her lips when she saw that it was him again.
Just answer it and be done with him already, a small voice screamed at the back of her head. Her fingers shook, sparing a glance past her door before finally answering it.
“What?” She hissed, rising to her feet.
She had already told him that she was done. And after all those disgusting names he had called her, she couldn’t understand why he still insisted on calling her. No means no, and he wasn’t going to change her mind.
“Kate,” Carl sighed with relief, “Please don’t hang up. I just wanted to tell you that I was right.”
Kate squeezed her eyes shut,holding on to her breath at the painful thud of her heard drumming against her chest.
Oh, God! She was afraid of something like this happening.
“Listen Carl, I’m only going to say this once, so listen carefully. You have to stop this. What you’re doing, it’s not right.” She said, moving over to her window.
“Not right? Hell Kate, I know I said a few nasty things to you the last time we spoke but I just had dinner with Carla. She confirmed my suspicious. Taylor is hiding something but she wouldn’t tell me what. She said that if I didn’t have a death wish then I should just forget about Taylor.”
Her fingers shook around the phone.
“Then you better take her advice as well as mine and end this now.” She hissed.
The door creaked and she gasped, startled. A breath of relief left her when she saw that there was nobody there.
Carl scoffed, “Would you stop if somebody handed you a treasure map and you knew that you were only a sail away from finding it?”
Her mouth twitched but she held her tongue between her teeth. He was really starting to aggravate her. What the hell was wrong with him?
“That’s not the fucking point Carl!” Kate hissed, her chest heaved as she fought to keep her anger at bay and her voice low, “God! What is your obsession with Taylor?”
His bitter scoff lingered over the line, “You mean other than ripping all the benefits that comes after unmasking him? Nothing. But I think I know yours. Right?” He sneered, his voice slick with malice. “The rumours must be true then. He really must be a fucking good lay after all.”
Kate winced. That was it. The last straw. For the sake of whatever was left of their friend she had tolerated his insults, his outbursts but no more. Her endurance was stretched beyond its limit.
“You know what? I’m done. I’ve already told you that I want no part in this and yet you still insist on calling me.” She sighed, there was no going around this. It pained her to think of losing him as a friend but right now - he wasn’t acting like one.
“We’re done Carl. I don’t want anything to do with you - ever again. Not as a friend, not even as an acquaintance.” She drew in a deep breath and shook her head at how ridiculous this whole situation was. If only he could just let this whole thing go.
“Right. You’re just like the rest you know.” He said, “He’ll use you and when his done, he’ll toss you to the side.”
Kate winced, his cruel words felt like sharp nails clawing it’s way to her heart - squeezing painfully at it until it bled. He wasn’t wrong. They did agree to being with each other until this attraction ran it’s course but she loved him. She didn’t think that she would grow so attached to him. And after tonight, after she was done confessing - maybe he really would kick her to the curb. But wasn’t this what she really deserved?
“Fuck you.” She whispered through her tears, “Don’t call me ever again.”
The phone slipped from the side of her face and her feet buckled underneath her - and the mattress bounced under her weight. This wasn’t a problem that she could just wish it away, but she wished that she could. That she hadn’t agreed to Carl’s plan. That she hadn’t fallen in love with Taylor. That she had her old life back.
The door slammed shut, jerking her body upright from the bed. Her breath caught her throat as her glistening eyes land on Taylor. He stood tensely by the door, his once soft blue eyes were now cold as they narrowed her way. His chiseled jaw twitching at the side and still he said nothing, made no move to come closer towards her.
Kate swallowed on her now dried throat as she slowly got up from the bed. He held up a finger when she opened her mouth, silencing all thoughts of protest.
Her inside shook and her eyes clouded with freshly formed tears.
Every fiber of her being screamed - He knew and she was going to lose him.
“Taylor -” she choked when he frowned back at her and for a moment she thought she had seen his eyes glisten.
“Don’t,” he bit out and Kate swallowed the rest of her words.
The room went quiet, still and her heart drummed against her chest at the conflicted expression on his face. He looked pained and angry and betrayed - and disbelief held a firm grip in his eyes. Tears rolled down her cheeks at the sight. She had done that. She was the cause of his pain.
Taylor couldn’t move, couldn’t wrap his mind over what he had just heard. It wasn’t his intention to eavesdrop on her conversation and did make a move to give her privacy, but when he’d heard her say Carl’s name - he stayed.
He was right. Had been right the first time around, he thought as he stared back at her. It felt just like all those years ago when he had caught Carla in his office printing out the emails that he had exchanged with Frederick, his home caretaker on Fregate at that time.
“Did you know about tonight? About them meeting up?” He asked, his voices was firm and cold.
Her lips quivered at his cold demeanour.
“No,” Kate whipered, struggling to keep her voice from shaking, but failed. Her eyes held his, silently begging him to belive her. To believe that she had nothing to do with this.
And when he shook his head at her and turned around with every intention of leaving the room - something broke inside of her. She couldn’t feel him slipping away and she wasn’t even sure just how much of her conversation he had heard or even what he had heard.
Her feet took long strides towards and her hands shot out, grabbing hold of his arm, preventing him from taking another step.
“Taylor please,” she cried, her fingers digging into his flesh. “I’ve just found out about it now. I only knew that Carl was secretly investigating you, that’s what I’ve been wanting to talk to you about.”
Silence. Kate waited and he still said nothing.
“He asked me to help him do it.” She continued, cringing when his muscles jerked underneath her palm.
But she couldn’t stop. Not yet. Not until she tells him everything.
With a shaky breath, she summoned what was left of her strength and said, “I was angry at you when he asked. You had gotten me fired, forbidden me from speaking to people I knew and even demanded, ordered me to move in with you.” She lifted her eyes and slowly levelled it to his. Hot tears blinded her as she allowed the remaining words to fall out.
“So I said yes. I told him that I would do it.”
It was if she had slapped him in the face. Taylor drew in a sharp breath, his eyes darkened and his upper lip pulled into a sneer.
“Did you -” he snapped then stopped at the croaking sound of his own voice. He just realised that he loved her and he wasn’t sure if he could restrain himself if he asked her the inevitable question that was piercing holes at his heart. Because once he says it and she answers him back, there won’t be any going back from it.
But he needed to know. He deserved to know if she was just like all of them. His eyes trailed from her tear-streaked face to her fingers tightly wrapped around his arms.
“Did you do it?” He finally said once he was sure that he could speak again,” At any moment during our time together, did you betray me?”