“I’ve had my eye on you for a while,” Sean said, and Taylor giggled as though it was funny.
“And now you’re all mine,” she said, and she laughed.
It was amazing what the promise of luxury did to men. Sean lived in khakis normally, but he brought suits. She spotted a price tag on one, while rooting around in his bag.
She found a camera too, and this she kept.
“I just think we should wait,” she said, gasping for air. She tugged up the strap of her nightgown.
He looked at her with dark eyes, and she almost considered it. He’d brought her right up the edge, and quickly too, but she had one rule. Even a cute one like this wasn’t going to bend her on this.
“Waiting,” he said. “Sounds like the old Taylor.” He fluttered his fingers over her hip, and the delicate lace rubbing over her skin made her flush.
“Is this about the pictures?” There were pictures, of course— a celebrity could hardly avoid that. Just that morning, there’d been a picture of her on TMZ, sneaking out of an apartment in a hoodie. KAYLOR IS ON, the headline screamed.
“I’ve seen you coming home late at night from the British boy wonder’s house,” he said, dropping a kiss on her shoulder. “And the redhead. And the supermodel’s house. Can’t forget her. Never forget her.” He leaned up to kiss her again, and this time his kiss was like ash in her mouth.
He kissed her collarbone again, only this time, she felt nothing. “I mean it, I think about the things you two must do to each other all the time.” She could feel his erection, pulsing through the silk sheets. “I’ve seen the lipstick smudges when you leave her place.”
Taylor dug her nails into her palms, but in her anger, she still lifted the scissors she kept in her dresser drawer.
It floated across the room towards the boy in her arms.
Closer, she thought, and the tip brushed the back of his neck slowly.
“What was that?” he asked, startling out of his lustful haze.
She grabbed his face, forcing him to look at her. “The truth is,” she said, putting on her most innocent look. Pre-pop Taylor. Fifteen Taylor. “That’s all just to tease the paps.”
“You’re telling me I don’t have to fight a leggy blond for your attentions?”
“It’s not just her.”
“I’ve never done that. With anyone. Ever.”
And with that, she knew she had him.
“I didn’t know you painted,” he said.
“Don’t move.” She dabbed more highlight on. The painted version of him was quiet; she liked the painted version of him.
“Will I get to hear you sing later?”
“Oh I’d like to,” she said. “But the acoustics... you know.”
“Obviously,” he said, clearly uncertain what she was talking about.
“I think I love you,” he whispered into her hair.
“Oh do you?” she asked, splashing playfully, squirming out of his grasp.
“I know we’re still getting to know each other, but. You’re perfect to me.”
“You.” He held up his fingers like a picture frame, trying to capture her.
She dipped back under the water.
She gave him a headache, just because she could.
“Is it strange that, the entire time I’ve been here, with you, I’ve never seen a single other person?” She flipped up her eye mask to find him standing in her doorway.
She clapped the lights off again. “I enjoy my solitude.”
He clapped them back on. “You have horses, but no one works in the stables. I know, I’ve checked. Every night you have these lavish spreads, tons of food which you barely eat but no one to cook them or clean up after us.”
She turned the lights off again. “You’re forgetting things. What, do you think I run this entire place alone? Do you think I use— magic powers to keep the hedges trimmed?”
“No, that’s ridiculous.” He flooded the room with light again. “But I swear I haven’t seen—”
“We’ll talk about this in the morning.” She killed the lights, this time unscrewing the bulb.
“Do you ever miss being anonymous?”
“You destroyed the painting of me?” he asked.
“You ruined my phone and shredded my clothes and now you destroy your own painting?”HIs voice quivered just a bit, and she smothered a laugh.
“I did none of those things,” she said.
“You threw my shirts on the lawn!”
“If I did that, where are those shirts now?”
He glanced out the window at the manicured lawn. For the first time, he looked truely afraid. “I saw them. I put them on and realized what you did.”
“Check your closet. It’s full of shirts.”
“And the phone?”
“Is on the charger. You’re so forgetful.”
“And the painting?” he whispered.
“I put it in your bedroom,” she said. “Why don’t you have a nap before dinner? You look so pale.”
He was shaking as he took the grand staircase.
She wasn’t lying. His closet was full of shirts, even if they weren’t his, and there was a phone on the charger, and the painting of him was in the bedroom, the knife she used to slash it struck through the canvas.
He’d never sleep.
She knew, just like he did, the power of a picture.
Destroying his car was her favorite part, but then it always was.
She screamed because she could.
She called Karlie the moment he peeled out of there, his bumper scraping the driveway as he did.
“I’m adding Sean to the list,” Taylor said, clicking her pen.
“I can’t believe you got away with it again,” Karlie said.
Taylor pulled out her list— Scared Paparazzi— and wrote his name.