Exploring the impossibilities
A kiss is just a kiss. Perhaps imaginative, even. Kate seems reluctant to face the truth. Ben has his means to make her see.
Nope, still not mine.
Rating T for language and romantic scenes, no smut.
xoxoxoxoxoxoxo xoxoxoxoxoxoxo xoxoxoxoxoxoxo xoxoxoxoxoxoxo xoxoxoxoxoxoxo xoxoxoxoxoxoxo xoxoxoxoxoxoxo
A/N: So, here we go on another chapter. Thank you for the encouragements! Happy to see this story is worth reading.
Hope you like this one.
Chapter 3 – Surfacing truths
"So, what do we do about this tension?"
They were seated in a tasteful, cute French restaurant that just had opened a few weeks earlier, and was already beginning to earn some reputation. Kate had been pleasantly surprised when Ben had driven them here. 'A promising start for this evening', she had thought.
At her question, Ben raised his eyebrows, cocked his head, and smiled sweetly at her.
Kate caught his eye and knew instantly what he was thinking. "Oh no! No no no no no way are we going to give in to it! No way!" She denied with all her might and tried to conceal the shiver this notion sent through her body, right down to her toes.
"Why not Katie? We're both single, we both want it – and don't try to deny you don't. Our encounters today proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that you're in this too, weather you admit to it or not."
When Kate didn't agree immediately, Ben made to stand up and walk around the table to her. "We can repeat the experiment right now, if you like. I'd be more than happy to refresh your memory, if you insist."
"OK, OK, I admit it, we're good at kissing. Sit down, for heavens' sake!" Kate hissed, gesturing him to get back to his seat.
Ben took his seat again, a smug smile on his face. He remained quite unperturbed, as if he had been suggesting a simple business deal, and not heavy tonsil hockey, right in the middle of an exquisite restaurant.
Kate was desperately searching for a way out.
"Yes, the kisses were … uh…. good, I give you that-"
"Only 'good'?" Ben interrupted. "Woman, get your scales recalibrated. The word you are searching for is 'mind-blowing'. Don't insult our chemistry with the wrong adjectives."
Kate bit her tongue lest she commented on grammar being a bad choice for their conversation, thereby reminding him of who was the dyslexic here. So far, she held the cruel side of her in check. For now. She knew that if she was furious enough, this side would very well be showing its ugly head.
Right now, she tried to dissuade Ben of this foolish idea of the two of them together.
"Adjective – adverb - whatever. That's not the point. What I'm saying is, that …it would not make things better, as you very well know. It would not take away the tension, but only make it even harder - uhhh, bad word choice. Um, make that… erm… this would make it more difficult to ignore!"
"Why would we want to ignore it?" Ben shot back. "Pursue it, I say. If that fickle bitch called fate wants us to be together, who are we to thwart her? Do you want to defy the universe, Kate?"
Kate looked at him, flabbergasted, and open mouthed. "Are you insane? We, hooked up together, that would be… like adding a mint candy to a coke bottle! WHOOOOSH … Chaos, sticky, ugly mess all over! No thanks."
"Glad to hear that you compare us – though hypothetically, of course - to a white, sticky fountain, erupting from a bottle shaped container…" Ben grinned at Kate's horrified expression, and his salacious interpretation of her words.
"Ben, we don't know each other at all. We would screw this up BIG time, before I even could say "told you so"!".
"Or," he interjected, "we could be even better than our highest expectations. Why is that out of the question?" Kate started to say something, but Ben continued, not letting her give voice to her fears.
"We could also take it slow, making tiny baby steps – " at her startled expression upon his mentioning of babies, however innocent, he quickly corrected himself, "making small steps, I mean, and adjust our relationship while we're going. Getting used to each other and such."
"Ben." Kate tried to remain calm. Not that easy, though, with that infuriating man positively smirking at her. She didn't know if was earnest or if he was messing with her. Dammit, how could he be so quirky about a serious topic such as this?
"When we screw this up - as I'm sure we will, so I don't bother saying 'If we screw this up' -
you can just walk away, but I'm putting not only my heart in line here, but also the firm. For when we split up, you'll want to leave not only me, but also the firm. You'll want to have your money back. We can't afford that, as you very well know." Kate's voice had dropped to a whisper now, not wanting anyone to overhear the financial situation of Reed & Reed.
Ben contemplated her last argument for a moment. Kate had a point here. Though he was willing to bet anything that they would make it last, he knew he couldn't bluntly tell Kate. She already felt trapped by him, and he deemed it unwise to push her even further, or scare her with "until death to us part" notions – these still scared him enough, as it was.
Instead, he chose to let the pressure off entirely. "You know what? Why don't we quit arguing for a second and start enjoying our meal. I'm told the Hors d'Œuvres are delicious. What are you gonna have?" Thus he spoke, and poked his head into the menu.
Kate was confused. One minute adamant about starting… - - … something with her, the next he dropped the subject completely, leaving her arguments unchallenged, and most of all, unanswered. How on earth was she ever considered to read this man?
"So, you want to continue our debate about 'us' elsewhere?" Ben finally asked, when the dessert, rich chocolate cream with raspberries and pistachios, was served, and Kate had had her first bite.
'It should be illegal to serve chocolate to some people', Ben thought helplessly, watching Kate savoring her dessert with as much devotion and genuine pleasure as when he'd held her in his arms today.
She looked at him like the spitting image of a deer in a headlight. So he didn't want to abandon the topic after all, did he?
Kate swallowed the delicious concoction that had been invading her senses for the last half-minute. 'Shit, can't he even let me savor the moment a second longer?', she silently cursed Ben for being that insistent.
"You're a nuisance, you know that?"
"Why, just because I'm not letting you enjoy your chocolate in peace?" Ben deadpanned.
"Well Katie, the sounds that you make while eating this amazing dessert remind me strongly of the ones you let out when we were kissing. So, in fact, it's you who brought the topic back on the table – quite literally, I might add. No pun intended."
Kate sighed in exasperation, making sure with a quick peek at Ben if this also was a sound which reminded him of the kissing incidents.
"Well, Ben, I think it's enough said. You can walk away whenever you please, but I don't have that luxury. Plus, we're co-workers, so it's – "
"Oh please." Ben scoffed. "Don't bring that old argument, will you? 'Co-workers don't date – what are we, trapped in an episode of 'The Mentalist'? Come on Kate, you can do better than that. And besides, remind me again why the firm is called 'Reed & Reed' – isn't it because your father and Lauren were the name partners? And what was their relationship, anyway?" Ben made a show of thinking hard, with an epiphany striking suddenly, causing him to snip his fingers. "Oh, yes, they were married! Now that's a co-worker relationship that should have been banned, no?" Ben looked at her, challenging her to come up with a better reason for brush aside their chance of being together.
Kate's temper had reached a new height. Who the hell did he think he was? "It was because my father and ME were name partners, as you put it, BEFORE Lauren waltzed in and took the name from him, all the while declaring it was her who'd led the firm for the past years! She claimed it was her who did all the work the past years, and that my father had lost his edge. And that's ridiculous, because I'm his daughter, and I would have known! He would have told me! He was never this close with my mother, and now, this skinny blonde has all his confidence? No, no way he'd held that back from me. No way in hell. They were co-workers, all right, she had him stringing along by his-"
Kate stopped, changing her intended words at the last second.
"- hair, and she made sure that she got all of him, and the firm on top. No, Ben, my experience with co-workers dating isn't all that much good. Wrong example you mentioned there."
Kate was out of breath after her speech. Some of the points of views she had just uttered hadn't been clear to her before, it just dawned on her how much betrayed she felt by her father. Lauren had said these things right after Kate returned to the firm, and she had buried her thoughts and feelings ever since. She felt tears well up in her eyes, but refused to let them fall. Not in front of Ben.
"And now, you're angry at your father, because you can't yell at him for not telling you." Ben softly said, hitting the nail on the head.
"You miss him."
"I do." Kate whispered, tears still in check.
Ben called for the check. "Let's go. There's a story behind this, which should not be discussed in public, but which should be accompanied by a good wine. I just know the place."
A/N2: Well, here we are. Where will Ben take her (where to, I mean.)? Let's see, shall we? J