Chapter 52 - It Rains Again
The evening sky had darkened and a strong cold wind blew in - Taylor observed as he rolled up the window of his car. Great. Just great, he thought to himself. It was going to rain.
As he reached the half way point to ‘El Ángel de los Diablos’ club, he shook his head when the a few dozen drops splattered against his windshield. And as the rain began to fall harder, he turned on his wipers and let out a small groan of displeasure. Is there still an umbrella in the trunk? He wondered. Probably not. It has been a while since he had taken this car out for a ride.
All of his good sense was telling him to pull over and make a u-turn and go back home but he couldn’t. Not yet. He had to go and see Dante, one of his old friend that he never thought he would have to visit again. His knuckles turned white at his clutched fingers around the steering wheel as his mind floated back down memory lane to eight years ago when he was only 26 of age.
Desperate. He couldn’t remembered being ever so desperate when he found himself seated on that bar stool in ‘El Ángel de los Diablos’, drinking himself halfway through a bottle of Scotch. Dante was heaven sent, only he wasn’t an angel at all. Taylor didn’t know it at first, that the old man who was sitting next to him, listening to him as he poured out his heart with a glass held to his lips. It was only a few weeks later after Dante had called, announcing that his little “problem” was solved that Taylor did a very thorough background check on him.
A fucking ex-gang leader. That’s who he had drunkenly planned the abduction of ...
A car honk sounded as a pissed of driver drove past his car - snapping him out of his daze. The rain pounded on his car, beating it’s random beat on the roof and smashing like crazy onto the windshield. It was like driving blind. Hard work.
Taylor immediately backed off the gas pedal slightly, to avoid plowing into the car infront of him - hoping that the next idiot behind him could see his break lights and do the same. Taylor took his eyes off the road for a breif moment and gauged to his left. This was his turn. He could still remember the small abandoned gas station with the road that led up to nowhere. The perfect place to let loose and stay hidden, away from paparazzi and the critical eyes of the world.
He made a turn and drove up the road. His eyes squinted to the new unfamiliar buildings on the left side of the road. “It really has been a long time,” he muttered then pulled over when club came to full view a few blocks from where he sat in his car with the seat belt securely strapped around him.
He let out a heavy breath and leaned his head against the head rest. This is it. Even though he had promised himself to never come here again, there he was, only a drive from seeing Dante again.
“Dammit.” He growled, pulling his phone out of the glove compartment, hit the speed dial button and waited.
Brandon picked up on the first ring. “Baby,” he said gruffly, “listen, I love you so --”
Taylor frowned, obviously Brandin wasn’t expecting him to be the one calling this late but still, this was one rare moment that he couldn’t let go to waste.
Taylor laughed. “I love you too, precious,” he said in a high falsetto, “But my fiancé is starting to get suspicious.”
“Taylor? Is that you?” Brandon frowned, punching the pillow behind him and sat back on his bed.
“Who else?” Taylor replied lazily, “look at your screen next time.”
Brandon sighed over the phone, raking a smooth hand through his hair, “Taylor don’t play around man. Kayla just stormed out of my apartment over smudged lipstick on my cheek.”
Taylor remained quiet. Brandon wasn’t the cheating type and he loved Kayla but still...
Taylor cleared his throat. “You didn’t cheat on her did you?” He quiered. It wasn’t like he didn’t have faith in his brother in not being a cheater but he had to ask.
“What? Hell no. You know I’m better than that Taylor. Kayla is my life. The lipstick was just a kiss of gratitude from my client, Mrs. Hills. We won her case - her husband was planning on divorcing her and leaving her without a dime to her name.” He explained.
“Well, did you tell her that?” Taylor asked.
“It’s kinda hard to talk when a bottle of Merlot is being thrown at your head, don’t you think?”
Taylor chuckled at the sense of familiarity with the image of Kate throwing the bag of food at him. When a woman got a damn fool idea in her head, a man was doomed no matter what he said or did.
“She didn’t take off her ring.” Brandon muttered absently into the receiver.
“What?” Taylor asked, his eyes staring at head of the road and spot two of Dante’s men eyeing his car.
“I know I’m not making any sense but we’ve never had a fight this big before and I don’t know whether I should let her cool off or chase after her. This is all so confusing. ” Brandon said.
“Isn’t that what love does?” Taylor’s voice roughened, “Makes a man lose all of his good sense and turns him into a blind gibbering jackass.”
“Are you --” Brandon blew out a breath, “Is this about Kate? Is that why you called?”
Taylor dragged his eyes away from the two man. “Why would this have anything to do with Kate?”
Brandon chuckled, “Is this how you’re going to play this? After I set you two up and now I don’t get an invite to the wedding?”
“What the hell are you talking about Brandon?” Taylor bit out instantly, being in love with her was one thing and he was still adjusting to the idea but marriage?
“I’m hurt brother. Kayla told me that you and your girlfriend were having a little lovers tiff.”
Oh Fuck! Taylor cringed inwardly. He did say that when Kate wasn’t talking to him while he was abroad and Brandon knowing about it was going to be pure hell.
“Listen Brandon,” he said serious tone of voice, “I want you to tear up that contract - the one that Kate signed.”
“Right, because you’re smooching her now?” Brandon teased.
If only it was because of only that, he sighed, staring out the window. Raindrops glided down the glass like tears cleaning the emotional dirt out of the gutters - the same tears that he had seeing on Kate’s face.
He squeezed his eyes shut trying to erase the image in his head. He shouldn’t have left her like that , but he had too. He was prone to do idiotic things when he was upset but with her - he didn’t want to ran the risk of doing that with her, to say things or do things that he would later on regret.
A knock came from the passengers side of the window. Taylor jutted his head up and held a finger up at one of the man he saw standing by the club earlier.
“It’s not. I’ll explain later Brandon, just get it done as soon as possible. I have to go now.”
He briefly ended the call and rolled down the window. A big Hispanic man hovered at the window, his face held in a firm grin as his bearded mouth moved, “Mr. Price, El Dante is waiting for you in his office and he hates waiting.”
Of course, Taylor’s mouth pulled up at the corner, the old man was ever so vigilant.
He got out and followed suit behind the man as he laid the way to the club. It was just as he remembered it. The bar was still a few good feet from the door, followed by the Dj booth at the far end of the room. The laser lights danced as it flashed and swung over the crowd.The only new addition he could tell was the stripper pole in the center of the dance floor.
They moved through half filled crowd and stop when they reached Dante’s door. The man gave a brief knock before opening it and signaling Taylor to go in.
The doors were closed as soon as he was inside. The smell of cigar stained the room, Taylor smiled, remembering smoking his first cigar with Dante. He choked on the first smoke, he could still remember barely being able to breath as the strong smoke burned it’s way down his throat.
“You don’t inhale it all inside boy,” he recalled Dante telling him, “you let it settle in your mouth and taste the flavour.”
“Are you going to stand there all night and smile like a dumbstruck idiot or are you going to come over and say hello to this old fool.”
Taylor smiled broadened when he saw him emerge out of private bathroom. “Dante,” He acknowledged walking over and eased into his opened arms. The old man patted Taylor on the back. It was a hug that every father gave to their son and eventhough he wasn’t his father - he sure as hell felt like he was the closest thing to one.
When the men finally broke apart, Taylor stared down at him, smiling again. The years have certainly been kind to him, apart for the few lines of ageing on his face, he still looked about as fit as a bull.
“Sit.” Dante said, rolling up the sleeves of his white dress shirt. He then followed suit, sitting down behind his desk and finally stared back at Taylor.
“If I remember correctly, last time you were here you said that we’d never see each other again.” He said gruffly.
He did. But last time he didn’t know if he would be in this particular situation.
“I did.” Taylor replied, giving his head a light nod, ” But I have a situation.”
Dante raised one of his partially white stained brow at him. “Situation?” He quiered.
“Yes. A certain reporter who’s digging around in my past.” Taylor said, then added, “Our should I say, our past.”
Taylor watched as the old man leaned back against his chair, settled his elbow on the wooden armchair and rested his cheek against his index finger - securing his chin on his thumb.
“I see.” Dante said in deep yet menacing tone, his grey pair of eyes narrowing back at Taylor. “Are the conditions the same as last time?”
It wasn’t. Last time there were no violence include, just a clean slate disappearance. “No. At this point I’m not a hundred percent convinced that he has anything. I have still yet to talk to his recent source, and once I’m done, I’ll confirm the extent of his situation.”
“We?” The old man asked, his eyes widening in surprise. “You want to get involved in this?”
Was it even a question?
Not only did that bastards persistence in making a payday out of him but the texts he saw on Kate’s phone - insults that made his blood boil, was reason enough to go in for the ride. So yes, he was going to take pleasure in seeing this one through - personally.
“He’s made this personal.” Taylor said, his jaw flexing at the sides.
Dante nodded, “I disapprove of this Taylor but if you want to get your hands dirty, then so be it my boy. Only one things changed though.” He said getting up and crossed the floor over to his mini bar.
Taylor frowned, observing him as he poured two glass of brandy. “You mean payment?” He scoffed then drew a short laugh, ” You no longer want the one dollar every month?”
Dante’s face pulled into a smug, “As a matter of fact,” he said, walking over to Taylor and handed him a glass. “My daughter Romella, remember her?”
Taylor’s body tensed when he nodded at back his answer. Of course he remembered her, she was seventeen the last time that he saw her. She had the fullest pair of breasts that he had ever seen on a seventeen year old and that pair of skinny jeans that she had on hugged her ass so fiercely, enough to make a man lose his mind.
Romella was a vision of beauty. Her long raven hair and her black cat like eyes was still engraved in Taylor’s head. He caught a whiff of the blended flavor of the brandy as he brought the glass to his lips and swallowed down the whole of its content. Something in him told him that that he wasn’t going to like where this was going.
“Good.” Dante smiled, “She’s twenty five now and still tasting the waters.”
“You don’t like the idea of her being single?” Taylor noted.
“No.” Dante shook, sitting back down in his chair. “I don’t like the idea of her allowing men to make a fool out of her.”
Taylor’s brows furrowed in confusion, “I understand that but how does Romella fit into our little arrangement?”
A pair of grey eyes stared at back him over the glass that he held to his lips. “You know that I think of you as a son, right?”
Taylor did, well he had to or else why would El Dante charge him a whole miserly dollar every month for a job that could secure them both a place in prison for a very long time.
He could still remember when Dante told him how much he reminded him of his dead son. “Gone too soon.” He had said.
Maybe that’s why he was so soft with him, lenient even. He had seen just how cruel and ruthless Dante could really be. But never with him.
“You’ve said that before Dante and now hearing you say this again has me worried. Should I be worried?”
“I guess it depends on how you take me wanting you to marry my daughter.”
A cough broke through his throat and Taylor nearly choked on his own saliva. He had no wish to marry Romella. She was a sweet kid, beautiful even but he already had a girlfriend. One who was probably waiting for him at home wide awake.
“Dante,” He blew out a breath, “as much as I respect our relationship and in no way do I mean to disrespect you but, ” he shook his head, “I can’t. I can’t marrying your daughter. I’m already seeing someone else.” He explained.
He had been right. He hated being right but his gut feeling had told him that change in terms wouldn’t be something as forthright as last time.
“A girlfriend?” The old man quiered in dissapoitment.
“Yes.” Taylor replied firmly.
“Then end it. Girlfriends come and go, I’m asking you to take my daughters hand in marriage. Something that that will last you longer.”
End it. End things with Kate? His heart clenched.
“I hear you Dante, I really do, but I can’t - I can’t just let her go not when I’ve only recently realised that I love her.”
The words were said, and Taylor wanted to punch himself in the face. Love? Who sits infront of an ex gang lord and say that they can’t marry his daughter because he was already inlove with someone else?
He sounded like a love whipped pussy. That’s exactly what Kate had turned him into.
“Love?” Dante snorted, placing his now empty glass on the table infront of him.
“How about we do this instead.” He said leaning back against the cool leather. “Romella is up in VIP, go, have a seat and talk to her. And if by sunrise you can look at me in the eyes and say that there isn’t the slightest bit of attraction there then I’ll consider going back to our original terms.”
Taylor rose to his feet and held out a hand to Dante. There was no way in hell that he was going to marry Romella and if proof was what Dante was after, then he would gladly give it to him.
Dante’s hand grabbed to his into a firm shake.
“You’ve got yourself a deal, old man.”