Chapter 3! Written by Maddie ( Shmadders14)
"Where is he? I told him eight," Taylor Swift asked no one in particular as she drummed her freshly manicured nails against the table at the Strip House.
Alex reached across and grabbed her jittering hand. "It's Nick. You know he's always late," he reassured his girlfriend.
Taylor intertwined their fingers, holding on tight. "I know…"
"So Tay…" Alex leaned back, breaking their touch and putting his hands behind his head. "How'd you pick this place?" His eyes traveled around, looking at the photos of strippers all over the place.
"You said you wanted steak and we've never been here before."
"We should start coming here more often."
That remark earned him a nice smack. "You're a pig."
"Love you too." Taylor didn't say anything back to him. She just stared at him disapprovingly, taking a sip of her cosmo. Alex just smiled, chuckling slightly. "I'm about to leave for a week and this is how you're going to treat me?"
"Yes." A lull of silence fell over the couple and Taylor took it as an opportune moment to gulp down more of her drink. "You know I wrote a song today."
"No, it's about a bisexual panda," she stated sarcastically. "Of course it's about you."
"What about me?" Alex asked leaning in.
Taylor avoided direct eye contact, spinning one of the multiple rings around her finger. "Like how I'm gonna miss you and…" she trailed off. "I'll just play it for you later."
"If we have time later." Alex smirked at her, raising his eyebrows suggestively.
"Please tell me I didn't just walk in on some perverted conversation," Nick's loud voice interrupted them as he slid into the empty seat at the table.
"What the hell Nick?" Taylor scolded, going through with her second act of violence of the day by whacking Nick upside the head. "I told you eight and it's like…" she pressed the home button on her iPhone to see the time. "It's almost nine you idiot."
"I had coffee with Delta, calm down blondie," Nick defended, keeping a hand over where she hit him to protect his 'precious' head from further beating.
"Who has coffee at night?"
Nick gave her a look, a cocky smile breaking out on his face. "We didn't just have coffee."
The realization hit Taylor quickly and she gasped. "You had sex with Delta?" she yell-whispered. It was so typical of Nick. He had brought home some random chick and screwed his ex-girlfriend the next day. It was a miracle he hadn't picked up herpes or anything yet.
Nick brushed her comment off. "It's not a big deal Tay. It's not like we're going to start dating again." He turned to a passing waiter. "Excuse me, could I get a scotch on the rocks?"
Taylor was still annoyed. She couldn't believe that the sweet boy who she had met when he was dating Selena had turned into such a man whore. "Nick, girls have feelings you know. I can't believe you'd take advantage of people like that. Are you really that desperate?"
"Tay…" Nick's voice was calm. "Are we really going to get into this on Alex's last night here?" He placed emphasis on the 'last' which immediately made Taylor feel guilty.
"I'm sorry." She reached across the table and grabbed Alex's hand again. "Did you get your schedule yet?"
"Yeah, I got it this morning. We have a beach shoot the first day so I get to show off my abs to the Italian babes." He winked at Taylor. "But don't worry; they won't be getting any of this."
"How many models from your agency are going?" Nick asked, taking a sip of the scotch their waiter had just delivered.
"It's just me and Ariana… Do you know her?"
"Um, remind me."
As Nick tried remembering Taylor wracked through her memory as well. In all honesty she was hoping it was the one chick Alex thought had gross freckles and oddly shaped eyebrows.
"She's Italian, thick accent, doesn't know a ton of English…" Nick still looked lost so Alex added, "She kinda looks like that stripper." He pointed to a picture across from their table.
Nick studied the photo intently. "Ohhh… Ariana. She's got the same hips as her."
"Yeah, and boobs," Alex supplied, staring at the picture as well.
Nick leaned back, nodding. "I remember her now. She's smoking hot."
"Cheers to that," Alex clinked his Rusty Nail with Nick's scotch.
Jealousy brewed in Taylor's stomach and she looked down at her empty appetizer plate. She knew Alex's job required him to be around beautiful people all the time and it wasn't necessarily his fault, but things like that really took a blow to her self-esteem. In no way did Taylor think herself to be ugly but the Ariana situation really got under her skin.
Over the past five years of their relationship, Taylor and Alex kept a loose hold on each other. They lived together and said they loved each other but always considered themselves to be non-exclusive. Drunken mistakes were common and much to Taylor's dismay; Ariana had been one of Alex's makeouts. When she didn't think about what Alex did without her she was fine. But when she let the mental images crawl into her brain it made her want to cut a bitch.
"Hey," Alex squeezed the hand still connecting them and broke Taylor out of her thoughts. "Are you ready to order?"
She nodded, squeezing his hand right back. Underneath the table she reached her foot over and began rubbing his leg slowly. His blue eyes locked with hers and he further tangled their legs, lightly caressing her bare ankle with the smooth leather of his new Ralph Lauren shoes.
"You know," Nick started, giving the menu one last scan through. "You guys aren't exactly hiding your little foot sex under there. If you're that eager to jump each other's bones we can cut this short."
"Why? Gonna hook up with Becca again?" Alex stopped his foot play with Taylor and undoubtedly started nudging Nick tauntingly instead.
"Dude, her name was Becca?" Nick laughed, actually sounding surprised. Taylor couldn't tell if he was being serious or not, although this wouldn't have been the first time Nick didn't really remember the name one of his lady friends.
Taylor let them talk and became better acquainted with the bright Cosmo in front of her. She knew she'd have Alex to herself later that night. After some casual conversations with Nick and a few drinks later she and Alex were snuggled up in the back of a cab on their way home. Taylor sat comfortably in his lap, her long legs splayed out on the remaining seating. She cuddled into his chest, breathing in the spicy scent of his cologne.
Alex wrapped his toned arms around her. "Thanks for dinner Tay. It was great."
She looked up at him sleepily. "It was no problem." She wasn't drunk, but felt perfectly buzzed and extremely content.
Smoothing her hair back, he leaned down and planted a soft kiss on her lips. "You're beautiful, you know that?" Warm fuzzies filled Taylor's insides and she knew it wasn't just from the alcohol. Alex began trailing sweet kisses down her neck, placing his hand on her upper thigh.
The cab halted. "Here we are," the driver called out, sticking an open hand out towards. 'Twenty. And you might wanna throw in extra for the PDA I had to encounter."
Taylor giggled, scooting off of Alex's lap and out the door. She readjusted her bra strap that had fallen down minutes before. She didn't know why she even bothered though; there was a 99.9 percent chance her bra would be coming off as soon as they got upstairs.
A pair of arms bear-hugged her from behind, lifting her high-heeled feet a bit above the pavement. "Ready to go upstairs?" Alex whispered in her ear.
Taylor twirled around, latching onto his bicep. "I thought you'd never ask."
The unpleasant blaring of the alarm filled Taylor's ears. She burrowed further under the covers in attempts to escape the sound. A weight lifted from the bed as Alex got up and stopped the alarm. He bustled around the room, most likely getting his bags together. She gasped as his cool hand came in contact with her bare back.
"Tay, are you still going with me to the airport?"
Groaning slightly she sat up, letting the sheet fall and exposing her top half. Alex stood in front of her with just khaki pants on, his Calvin Klein boxer briefs peeping out the top. "Of course I am." She rubbed her eyes. "Let me get dressed quick."
Alex hopped over the end of the bed, straddling Taylor's blanketed legs. "You don't have to get dressed quick."
Wrapping her arms around his neck she planted a quick kiss on his lips before falling back onto the pillows. "Can you grab me my underwear please?"
"Tease…" Alex climbed off, walking over to her dresser. "What do you want?" he asked, picking through her panty drawer.
"Beige granny panties," she giggled.
"What about these?" Alex pulled on the elastic of a hot pink thong, let go and watched them fly straight into Taylor's face.
Still laughing, Taylor slid on the thong and grabbed her discarded La Perla bra from the night before. "When does your flight leave?"
"In an hour. I'm gonna go make a pot of tea. Your cute butt better be dressed and joining me in five minutes because as much as I'd like to stay, I can't miss my plane."
Taylor groaned again as Alex walked out the door. The retro alarm clock that sat on the bedside table read… she stared intently at the analog clock… it read 5:40 am. It was way too early to be actually thinking about reading a clock or doing anything productive. After pulling on some dark wash jeans and a white cami, she grabbed a cardigan and made her way to the kitchen.
"Cab's downstairs," Alex said, pushing a warm travel cup of tea into Taylor's hands.
She lifted up his arm and placed it around her as they walked to the elevator. "Do you really have to go?"
"Yes, it's fashion week Tay. It's huge for my career. Plus it'll be good for you to spend time with Kevin and Danielle." He kissed the side of her head and they rode down the elevator in silence.
Paparazzi were waiting for them outside their building. Their cameras flashed obnoxiously until the doors of the cab were closed and they had pulled away from the curb. Taylor remained nestled close to Alex during the ride. She wasn't upset that he was going because she was afraid to be alone or that she'd miss him too much; they'd spent longer periods of time apart. It was more that she feared what he would do when not under her watchful eye. Milan had no boundaries, no supervision, and was going to be chockfull of models and from all over the world.
It was every man's dream and every woman's nightmare.
As luck would have it, Ariana was getting out of the cab in front of them as they arrived at JFK airport. She looked like a total slut in thigh-high, black, heeled boots and a barely-there, floral dress with a plunging neckline. She was clearly dressed for travel.
Taylor stood on the curb while Alex took his bags from the trunk. She shivered as a cool breeze blew through.
Taylor turned to see Ariana trying to keep her dress from flying up as the wind continued to blow. She pivoted back to Alex who was thankfully oblivious to the situation. "C'mere Tay!" he exclaimed, dropping his recently acquired suitcase on the sidewalk and opening his arms.
She gladly accepted the hug, throwing her arms around him. "I love you."
"I love you too Tay." Alex leaned in, capturing her lips in a kiss. Butterflies erupted in her stomach, the spark she'd felt ever since their first kiss still there. Taylor one, Ariana zero.
"Alex!" A thickly accented voice interrupted them. "Andiamo! No more kissy-kissy! We're late!"
"God, can you believe I have to spend an entire week with her?" Alex griped, keeping Taylor close.
Another passionate kiss in front of Ariana later and Alex was off with the whore and Taylor was left all by her lonesome.
The apartment seemed empty when she let herself back in. It hadn't seemed so bare the previous night in the dark; but with the majority of furniture in storage for renovations it didn't seem home-y at all. She stripped off her outfit and crawled back in bed again wearing one of Alex's t-shirts. A good hour and a half later she still couldn't fall asleep; her damn brain wouldn't shut up.
Alex could possibly be joining the mile high club with Ariana. He said she was annoying but champagne was served in first class and shit could happen. Alex had an infatuation with boobs whenever he got tipsy and Ariana had like, quadruple D's.
Sleeping was out of the question and she stood up groggily. She didn't want to sulk and worry, she really didn't, but it was something she just couldn't get out of her mind. Things like that didn't used to bother her, but for some reason they did now.
Taylor occupied herself like she normally did; with her music. Nothing came out of it thoughhe'she wasn't good at being alone. She wandered aimlessly around the house with her guitar waiting for the construction workers to come at ten.
A knock at the door drew her from her thoughts and she quickly jumped up, eager for a distraction. She opened the door to a grinning man who looked like her couldn't have been much more than twenty. He looked her up and down, the grin staying plastered on his face. "Hi."
Taylor suddenly grew fully aware that she was still in Alex's shirt which hung off one shoulder and stopped at the top of her thighs. She pulled the seam down self-consciously. "Are you here for the renovations?"
The man nodded, not taking his eyes off her legs. "Yeah, is this a bad time Miss Swift?"
"No, it's fine." She could feel her cheeks turning pink. "Let me just grab my stuff and I'll be out of your hair." Leaving the door open she practically sprinted back to her bedroom and pulled on a pair of black leggings. She shoved her feet in her Ugg boots and wrapped a circle scarf around her neck before grabbing her bag and going out to the workers.
More men had arrived by then and the perv from the door came back up to her. "Alright, so today we're going to start mapping everything out and getting everything prepped. Then for the next week or so we'll be working here from eight to five. Does that sound good?"
Taylor nodded, almost feeling violated as he stared at specific parts of her. "Um, yeah. My boyfriend and I just want it done before he gets back from Milan next weekend. And I'll probably stop in a couple times to check on the progress and all that."
"Okay, I think we're all set then except we'll need an emergency number to contact if anything happens."
The stupid grin returned to his face and Taylor rolled her eyes as she unwillingly gave him her cell phone number. She was going to have to change it as soon as the project was over.
The man took her hand, giving it a firm shake. "Thanks Miss Swift, you have a good day now."
"You too." She gave him a tight-lipped smile and got the hell out of the apartment. Usually she was pretty accepting with people but that guy had just given her the creeps. Once outside she pulled out her iPhone, checking her schedule for the day. Since award season was long over and her next album wasn't due to drop until fall, it was pretty much bare. She had studio time reserved for ten-thirty but she really didn't feel like going. There was nothing for her to record except the song she'd written about Alex the day before. The concept behind it now seemed a little pathetic and if her brain piped down, a nap sounded way better to her. Instead of heading to the studio she instructed her cab driver to take her to Kevin and Danielle's house on the Upper East Side. Danielle had told her she could come whenever she wanted because the nanny was home with the kids. Taylor wasn't expecting to hang out with the old, most likely foreign nanny and the drooling Jonas babies, but it would be nice to not be alone anymore.
Much to Taylor's surprise, it wasn't the stereotypical nanny she had imagined who opened the door. Instead a petite young woman dressed casually in jeans and a white v-neck greeted her with a smile on her face and Mia on her hip. "Hey, you must be Taylor. I'm Demi." She shifted Mia to her other side and stuck out a hand.
Taylor shook it and stepped in the house. "Yeah, sorry I'm kind of early. I didn't really feel like going to work today."
"No worries." Demi shut the door and started walking towards the kitchen. "Danielle said you'd be coming sometime today and I could use the company. Babies do not provide meaningful conversations."
Taylor followed her and took a seat at the island. "That kind of sucks."
"But they're so cute so it's worth it." Demi tickled Mia's stomach, causing her to giggle.
"So how old are you?" Taylor asked. "I thought you were going to be old or like, not speak English or something."
"I'm twenty-three," Demi responded, getting Mia's bottle from the stainless steel refrigerator. "And I'm only doing it for a couple years so I can start my own restaurant. It's not my life aspiration to be a nanny. That would just be sad." She cradled Mia and stuck the bottle in her mouth.
Taylor stared at the infant; she had grown since the last time she'd seen her. She wasn't bald anymore, which made her a lot cuter. She was so relaxed in Demi's arms, quite the opposite from when Taylor ever held her; something that always would result a complete meltdown from the baby. "I don't think I could ever be a nanny, kids hate me." She shook her head. "I have no idea why Danielle made me her godmother."
"You're her godmother?"
Taylor nodded. "Yeah, and my boyfriend Alex is the godfather. It's so dumb because we're probably the most unfit people to be parents besides Justin and Selena."
Demi laughed. "Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez?" Taylor nodded and she laughed again. "Danielle talks about them all the time. I wouldn't trust them with anything."
"Neither would I."
"Aren't you friends with her?" Demi asked, obviously not afraid to ask questions.
"Kind of." Taylor paused; it was a bit of an awkward subject to bring up. "We were closer a while ago, like when she was dating Kevin's little brother Nick. But when she met Justin and I met Alex, we grew apart. I mean we hang out still but she went a little crazy."
"I know, I have seen the magazines." Demi leaned back against the counter, still feeding Mia. "So, your boyfriend, Alex, where is he?"
"Milan, doing fashion week."
Demi's mouth dropped. "How are you not with him right now? That sounds amazing."
Taylor shrugged, she probably would have gone but Alex had never asked. "I think it's just mainly for models and stuff. And we needed someone here to oversee our apartment renovations..."she trailed off.
"Can I ask you something?"
"Do you have a boyfriend?" Demi nodded and Taylor continued. "Has he ever cheated on you? Like, not had sex with another girl, but like made out?"'
"No..." Demi laughed a little, seemingly perplexed by the question. "He knows I'd probably kick his ass if he did though. Why?"
Taylor was hesitant in going on. She had no idea why she was spilling her guts to someone she had just met; especially since what she was going to say was something she had never told anyone. "So if your boyfriend kissed someone else, you would break up with him?"
"I mean I guess I'd be more lenient if he was drunk and the girl insinuated it and forced it. Is Alex cheating on you?"
"Well he's kissed other girls but we've always been non-exclusive like that. I mean, he doesn't bring girls home with him or anything like that..."
"That's kind of messed up."
"I know," Taylor admitted. "But we've been together for five years and it's worked. It hasn't really bothered me until now."
Demi set Mia's bottle on the counter and brought her back up to a sitting position in her arms. "Do you want my honest opinion on it?"
"Yes, please." Taylor never got honest answers about it. She never saw her parents because they lived too far away and everyone here had never said a word.
"I don't think you can call it a real relationship if you're not exclusive. To me it sounds like you are roommates and friends with benefits." There was no use in fighting it because Taylor knew that it was exactly what it looked like. "Sorry if that was too much. I don't know you guys so I could be completely wrong."
"No... You're right." Taylor rested her chin on her hands. "I don't want my relationship to be like this, I love Alex and I don't know what I'd do without him. I just wish things were normal. It seemed like a good idea in the beginning. That way anything that happened when he was drunk or out of town or whatever didn't really bother me."
"Does the rule apply to you too? Is he cool with you macking on other dudes?"
"Yeah, I guess. I've never really felt the need to do it though."
"So you've stayed true while he makes out with whoever he wants?"
"It sounds way more messed up when you put it like that." Taylor had known all along that what her and Alex were doing wasn't exactly normal or healthy but to hear someone else explain it out loud without any sugar-coating brought her to the harsh reality of it: it wasn't a real relationship at all. "I just don't know what to do with him anymore." Her voice cracked, a lump forming in her throat. She was seriously about to cry about this in front of someone she just met.
Demi's face softened. "I know it's not my place but if it were me I would break up with him. No one deserves to be treated like that." Taylor looked down at her hands and Demi quickly added, "But you really should talk to him first. He might be thinking the same way you are."
Before Taylor could say anything back Ryan sped in, going as fast as his little toddler legs could take him. "Nanny Demi, I want lunch!"
Shaking her head at the antics of the elder Jonas child, Demi bent down to his level. "It's too early Ry, how 'bout some goldfish?"
Demi sighed, standing back up. "Don't you want to say hi to mommy's friend Taylor?"
"No! I know Aunt Taylor!"
Taylor felt the corners of her mouth turn up as Ryan continued to express his needs. "Um, Demi, do you know what room Danielle wants me in?"
"Yeah, ow." She pulled her hair back from Mia's sticky grasp. "She's got the red guestroom all set up for you; up the stairs, third door on the left."
"Thanks, I'm gonna go unpack. I'll be back down in a little bit," Taylor said, grabbing her bag and happily fleeing the chaotic kitchen where Ryan was still screaming. She liked Demi, she really did, but she could do without the kids.
The guestroom was quiet and she threw herself on the queen-sized bed, staring at the slowly rotating fan above her. Demi's words echoed in her head. She was right, but breaking up wasn't an option at all. Alex was everything to her and he had to feel somewhat similar otherwise they wouldn't have stayed together for so long.
Taylor felt sick as the doubts raced through her mind. What if Alex could never be happy enough with just her? She couldn't fathom being away from him for more than a week. He was her best friend. Without him, she had no one.
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