Chapter 6 - Manchild Or Flirt
Brandon was different.
Different being not as stuck up as the rest of the other guests.
Even the expensive suit he wore couldn’t hide the casual, laid back charisma he had hidden underneath it all. It was in the way he stood, the way he spoke and how he looked at her. Kate could tell that he was just as out of place as she was. The only difference was that he was an official guest, while she on the other hand was not.
She stared at him for a minute before following his gaze to where Taylor stood with a group of dark tailored suits gentlemen, engaged in what seemed to be a gruesome conversation.
If there was one thing that Kate knew and knew all too well, it was that they were all the same.
‘Arrogant, ruthless bunch of male chauvinists,’ Kate scoffed to herself.
She hated... no, despised that she had to continuously beg for their time. It was her job. She loved her job, just not when it came to interacting with them - those egotistical snobs.
“Is he always like this?” Kate was the first to speak as she dragged her attention back to Brandon, who was already staring at her.
He smiled at her before reaching over for his glass.
“Who? Taylor?” He asked.
There it was again - the oddness.
Most people addressed Taylor by his last name, and the way he said his name, with such familiarity was enough to spike Kate’s curiosity.
It wasn’t only the fact that she had never seen him before but something else.
“Yeah. Why does he hate reporters so much? I mean, I get that we pry into things too much, but it’s our job to...”
“Be nosey?” He interjected.
She rolled her eyes at him when he smiled once more.
Apparently for some reason he found her entertaining.... and she wasn’t even trying to be.
“If by nosey you mean investigative, then yes.”
“Well,” Brandon said, taking a sip of his brown liquor and throwing her a hard stare.
“... are you trying to use me to investigate him now?” He asked raising a brow at her.
Her heart stopped.
Kate, your mouth! Your damn mouth!
She could feel it as the colour in her face drain.
“What?” She asked, horrified that he might take her for some story-starved leech. “No! I would never. I was just...”
She stopped when he started to laugh, his right hand gently pressed against the left side of his chest.
He was laughing... at her.
“You’re such an asshole.” She hissed, shoving him at the chest, “God, I almost had a panic attack, I thought.... You asshole!” She shoved him once more and stopped when he raised his hands in attempt to surrender.
“Sorry, darling, but this conversation was starting to get a little too close to home. Plus, I was missing feisty Kate - but, I’ve got to say, terrified Kate is sexy as hell.”
Kate shook her her head in disbelief. This guy was a freaking man child. Either she was a really good entertainer or he was flirting with her.
“No, wait.” He said grabbing hold of her hand. “I thought we were having an interesting off the record conversation?”
She looked down at his hand on hers.
She didn’t have time for social interaction. She was here for work and, up until now, she hadn’t even made any progress. He was simply wasting her time.
With her mind made up, Kate gently tugged her hand away from his; but as she reached for her purse on the bar she heard him murmured.
“I can help with your little Taylor situation.”
She stood still, biting the corner of her bottom lip. Her eyes slowly wandered up to his face and she stared into his brown eyes. He had on a lazy smile, as if baiting her, as he stood eagerly awaiting to answer.
“Is this another one of your so-called jokes?” She asked, folding her arms over her chest.
“No,” he shook his head. “You have my word.”
“And why do you want to help?” She asked, deciding to humour him.
“Look, I already told you. For some odd reason I happen to like you, and I really want to see how this plays out.”
“What?” She frowned, wondering what he had meant by that.
“Never mind. So do you want to know whether Taylor hates reporters?
“Well, he doesn’t have a problem with them. He practically adopted one. She’s living in one of his penthouse as we speak.” His eyes wandered into the crowd and he gave a small nod of acknowledgement to somebody he knew.
Kate lifted a brow at him and said nothing.
“I see you don’t believe me,” he said gazing back at her, “I can give you the address and you can check it out for yourself.”
“Okay, let’s say I believe you. Then that either means that he only hates me or they have a thing going on.”
She heard him chuckle before taking a sip of his drink.
“Well, I happen to know for a fact that Taylor is allergic to relationships.”
“But that doesn’t mean that they are not sleeping together.”
“No, it doesn’t, but I know that they’re not.”
“How can you be so sure? I mean, unless you are tied at his hips at all times.”
Her eyes widened at him when he laughed. She didn’t know what to makes of this.
Why does he keep laughing at her? Like there’s some hidden joke and she is the only one who doesn’t get it?
“Ahh....” he finally said once his laughter seized. “Reporters! Kate, I know he isn’t, because I’m sleeping with her.”
“Then you and Taylor must be pretty close.” She smirked.
“And how did you draw that conclusion?”
“Because, you said that she’s living in his penthouse. I find it quite odd for a man to be comfortable with the idea that his lover - or whatever label you’re using - is living in another man’s property.”
“Humph. ... beauty and brains. But since you’re so smart, why don’t I let you figure that one out for yourself. Enjoy whatever’s left of your evening Ms. Dawson and don’t leave just yet because I’m a man of my word.”
“Hey,” she yelped, “I don’t recall exchanging last names.”
“No, we didn’t. See you around.”
Taylor had had better days - or better yet, he had experienced better nights, and tonight sure as hell wasn’t one of those nights.
He was on his fourth glass of Scotch and was about ready for his fifth as he swirled down the last of what was left of his drink before giving the packed room another quick glance.
Two things had gone wrong tonight; one his so called right-hand-man was nowhere to be found and two, painful number two, was Ms. Kate Dawson. He had a feeling that he would be seeing a lot more of her before the night ends.
Meeting her in person was not quite what he had hoped for. He would be lying to himself if he said that she wasn’t beautiful. He had been with women, lots of women but never had he seen hair as bloody red as hers, and she evidently had the temper to match.
If was almost entertaining to see her struggling to keep her cool and, quite frankly, he didn’t know what to make of it. Most reporters would know to keep out of his way and take only what he was offering. But her - she seemed different. As if she had a death wish of some sort.
He excused himself from the group of gentlemen and turned his attention to the bar. She was nowhere to be found.
“It figures,” he scoffed to himself. “Perhaps she came to her senses.”
Taylor signaled the bartender, placing his empty glass on the counter.
“Taylor.” He heard a soft feminine voice call from behind him.
His shoulders tensed and his fingers curled into a ball. He didn’t need to turn around to know who it was, and he sure as hell wasn’t in the mood to do this again.