I don't know why I'm so nervous around Kate all of a sudden. I've never been nervous around women before. But then she's not just some woman. She's Kate. My wife. And sitting beside her, holding her hand and looking into her eyes, all I want to do is kiss her. But I'm nervous. I'm actually nervous. This isn't a game anymore. This isn't trying to get her to submit to being my wife for the sake of my company. This is wanting her to be my wife so I can spend the rest of my life with her. And if she doesn't want that... I can't even think what I would do. It was so much easier before I admitted to myself that I had feelings for her. In moments like this, staring into her baby blue eyes, I'd just grab her and kiss her. But I'm not actually sure how she feels about me. I know she's attracted to me, of that there is no doubt, but is it more for her like it is for me? One thing is for sure, love has made me a whiny little bitch.
I finally get the courage to move in and kiss her. I inch closer to her, trying to gauge if she's likely to slap me or not. Hopefully not, I don't want a repeat of that. She doesn't pull away, and when I see her glance down at my lips then lick her own, I know she wants me to. I lean in closer, our lips just about to touch…And the doorbell buzzes.
I close my eyes and pull back, trying to refrain from cursing out loud. Kate stifles a giggle at my obvious frustration and moves from her stool.
“I'll get the door.” She says. I watch as she walks to the door, still dressed in her clothes from yesterday. I grab our plates and take them to the sink, clean up the kitchen then walk towards the living room in search of Kate and our unwanted guest.
“I'm just glad you're ok, it must have been terrifying.” Verity’s voice rings out as I get to the door, I lean against the frame and cross my arms.
“Shouldn't you be at work?” I grumble. Verity raises her brow as she turns to look at me.
“Mark let me check if I could grab Kate's things from the cafe and come and see her.” She tells me, crossing her arms over her body in defence.
“Wait... shouldn't YOU be at work?” Kate says as she eyes me curiously. I shrug my shoulders in nonchalance.
“Took the day off, dad is covering for me.” I say.
“Two days in less than a week?” Kate says, looking shocked. I shrug again and shoot Verity a warning glare when she goes to open her mouth.
“It's a quiet week.” I lie. It's actually probably the biggest week at work since I've been there due to the Harbinger deal. But it can wait. I walk over and sit next to Kate on the couch.
“I can go grab my things later today if they let me.” Kate says, turning the subject back to the topic at hand. Verity shakes her head.
“Not a good idea, it was like running the gauntlet just to get into this building with all the press downstairs.” Verity tells her. Kate frowns. I place my arm across the back of the couch behind her and squeeze her shoulder.
“It's that bad?” she asks. Verity shrugs her shoulders.
“I don't have to put up with camera flashes going off in my face or microphones getting in my way, no one wants a photo of the help, but I still get a million questions as if I'm going to give them the scoop.” Verity explains. Kate looks forlorn, I run my hand up and down her arm in hopes to comfort her. “The good thing is that they still don't know who you are. They were asking me for your name, how you two met, all that stuff, but it won't be long until they figure it out, especially with the latest story to come out.” Verity continues.
“Latest story?” Kate's body tenses beside me.
“Yeah...” Verity grabs her phone to look it up and I roll my eyes.
“Don't read anything they write, it's pointless.” I say. Verity doesn't look up from her phone.
“Normally I would agree, but this one is actually pretty good, despite the gold digger name they've given you.” Verity replies. Kate's body slumps and I pull her closer to me, she leans her back against my shoulder. I wrap my arm around her waist and place a kiss on her temple. I can't help the smile forming at the close contact with Kate. It's the way it should be. Verity raises a brow at our position but doesn't say anything. “So, the headline is "gold digger wife saves toddler in cafe shooting"” While I don't usually react to the tabloid stories this one has me intrigued. Verity continues reading.
“Witnesses claim seeing the mystery gold digger wife swooping in and saving a toddler who was stuck in the middle of the cafe. She carried the boy to safety and held him until police arrived.” Verity reads. I squeeze Kate tighter to me, looking down upon her.
“Is that true?” I ask, in awe of my wife. She simply shrugs her shoulders.
“I don't know, it's all a blur... I remember seeing the little boy out in the open and the next thing he's in my arms, but I'm not sure what happened in between.” She says nonchalantly. I bury my nose in her hair and kiss her head, my lips forming a smile. My little hero.
“Well at least it puts you in a good light. But it's only a matter of time until it comes out that you were working there, and then they will have your name.” Verity says.
“So I won't be able to go anywhere without them harassing me?” Kate says, her voice sounding strained.
“It'll calm down eventually... they won't follow you constantly, more get photos when the opportunity arises unless there's a story playing out.” I tell her. Kate nods with a sigh and I hold her closer.
“Anyway, I better get back to work, I'm so glad you're ok.” Verity says with a sweet smile towards Kate. Kate moves from my arms and stands, I miss her warmth immediately. Verity pulls her into a hug. “Call me if you need anything.” She tells her. Kate chuckles dryly.
“I don't have a phone remember.” Kate replies.
“Use the assholes, I'm sure he won't mind.” Verity says with a roll of her eyes. I flip Verity off, earning a smirk before she leaves. Kate closes the door behind her then walks back to the couch sinking down on it.
“You ok?” I ask, watching her closely. She nods unconvincingly.
“Yeah... I guess. I'm just not one for the spotlight. It'll take some getting used to.” She says. I nod and slide closer, taking her hand in mine.
“It'll be fine. They are mostly going crazy because they don't know who you are. Once the stories out, they will have their fun then leave us alone.” I tell her.
“But I'll still never be able to do normal things without them somewhere in the background.” She says with a frown. I nod, trying to gauge Kate's mood. She sighs and stands from the couch, letting go of my hand. “I'm going to have a shower. Try and clear my head.” She says. I nod and watch her leave, trying not to focus of the images forming in my brain of a wet and soapy Kate. I can only hope that the threat of the constant press doesn't send her back to Australia.
Kate groans again as she flicks through my phone reading the latest from the tabloids. I reach over and yank it from her hand.
“Stop reading them Kate.” I scold her.
“They're now saying you're forcing me to work a menial job.” She says, annoyed. I roll my eyes.
“And we both know that's not true. Nothing they write is the truth, there's no point in reading it.” I tell her. She sits up on the couch and rests an arm on the back.
“So you never read them?” she asks. I shake my head.
“Not anymore. I have people that scan them for possible defamation, but otherwise I let them write whatever they want. They will anyway.” I tell her with a shrug of my shoulders. Kate groans and places her head in her hands.
“I'm not going to be able to go back to work Chase, or even get another job without them constantly being there.” She says. I move closer and take her hands from her face.
“You don't need to work Kate. We have more money than we need.” I say. She rolls her eyes and takes her hands from mine.
“That's your money Chase, not mine.” She says.
“We're married. So it's our money.” I remind her. If 6 week ago Chase had heard me say that, he would have a coronary. But right now Chase would hand it all over to Kate if that's what she wanted.
“I'm not staying at home, spending your money Chase.” Kate says with finality. I'm relieved when she doesn't bring up an annulment or the fact we were drunk when we got married. In fact she hasn't said anything today to indicate we shouldn't still be married.
“Do you want to be a waitress Kate?” I ask. I don't really like the thought of her working a job with no future, but I won't stop her if it's what she wants to do. She shrugs her shoulders.
“It's a job.” She says.
“Ok, so what do you really want to do?” I ask her. She looks down at her hands, fidgeting slightly, and I can't help but wonder if her dreams have constantly been kept from her. She sighs and looks up again.
“I've got a qualification in interior design... I always wanted to do something with that.” She tells me, a slight blush staining her cheeks. I can't help but look around our various shades of pink, glittery penthouse. I don't hide my reaction well as the look on my face makes Kate laugh.
“This…” she says as she waves her arm around the apartment. “Is an example of what not to do.” She tells me. I can't help but chuckle.
“Thank god.” I say, smiling at her. “So do interior design if that's what you enjoy.” I tell her. She sighs and shakes her head.
“It's not that easy. Jobs were hard to come by in Perth, I don't have a portfolio, I have no experience... and I can't exactly use this.” She says as she picks up a flamingo shaped cushion and tosses it at me. I catch it and laugh.
“No you definitely can't.” I say. I smile at Kate and inch closer to her. “We're building a new hotel in Dallas, why don't you design the interior.” I offer. Kate rolls her eyes and shakes her head.
“You can't just give me a job Chase.” She says.
“Well, I own half the company, so technically I can.” I tell her with a smirk.
“It doesn't work like that.” Kate sighs. I move closer to her, wanting nothing more than to have her in my arms again.
“It does in my world.” I say. She shakes her head vigorously.
“I wouldn't have earned it.” She tells me. I sigh. She can be so damn stubborn. But I can't help but admire her need to actually work for things, instead of just accepting hand outs
“Alright...” I concede. I reach out and grab her waist, pulling her into my lap so she's straddling me.
“Chase!” she scolds. Her hands push against my chest, trying to move away but I hold her tight.
“How about this.... I give you the information on the hotel, you create a design and I'll submit it to the board with our other designs.... we always leave them anonymous so that there's no favouritism.” I offer. She purses her lips in thought. I lean forward and run my nose along her neck, inhaling her soft floral sent. Goosebumps form where I'm touching and I smile, loving how she reacts to me. “It's not a handout Kate, it's just an opportunity.” I whisper in her ear and feel her body shudder slightly.
“And you won't do anything to ensure I get the job? It'll be completely based on merit?” she asks quietly. I nod my head in agreement.
“I promise. I won't interfere.” I say. I press my lips against the soft skin of her neck, happy that she doesn't try to pull away. Slowly I move my lips lightly across her jaw, he neck tilting allowing me access. I can feel her breathing shallow and her body relax in my arms. Moving my lips closer to hers, I place a soft kiss on the corner of her mouth. I move to brush my lips over hers… When the doorbell buzzes. Again.