Dare to Love(2)

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

Kurt shook his head. Apparently he wasn’t the smartest. He should have taken a trip away, too. But then he’d worry about Mercedes. It wasn’t even really because she was in danger or needed the protection. It was the fact that he liked protecting her. He liked being close to her and smelling her perfume or that delicious shampoo that was all Mercedes.

Fuck me.

He tried to force the thoughts from his head and looked around at the crowd of people. He was pretty damn good at reading people, watching them and determining what their next moves were. His gut instincts were his greatest survival tool over the years. He never second-guessed it.

He watched several people, finding them not quite suspicious but perhaps up to no good. One particular guy, about six feet tall and stocky, kept looking around the room, as if he were making sure security weren’t nearby. Sure enough, the son of a bitch pulled out a baggie with drugs and exchanged it with some woman as she passed by, pretended to bump into him, and hand over the money. It was quick, but it was sloppy. Kurt looked at the one bouncer who was nearby and sure enough he hadn’t seen a thing. That was what Jack and Danny were going to need here. Security that could break up fights, control crowds, and escort drunks from the building and into cabs. They needed men who were trained for this kind of stuff. Trained to stop drugs from destroying an establishment.

As he continued to look around he caught sight of a guy lifting his cell phone and appeared to be taking pictures but he couldn’t be sure. Kurt saw what the guy took a picture of. Harmless? Three young women, early twenties, all dolled up, wearing short, tight dresses and waving at a group of older men nearby. He glanced back toward the guy who’d been taking the pictures and he was gone. That was quick, he thought and then heard his name and felt the hand on his shoulder.

“There you are. I was looking for you,” Taylor said as he took a seat by the bar. The bartender immediately placed down a Bud Light and Taylor took a long guzzle.

“Bad day at work?” Kurt asked and took a sip from the new bottle of beer that the bartender placed down in front of him, too.

His brother gave him that look as if he automatically knew what Taylor meant. Then it hit him. Mercedes.

He held Taylor’s gaze as he took a sip of beer. Taylor looked around them and then leaned over the bar a little. He wondered why today upset his brother. Had some guy asked her out? Had she accepted? Was she feeling okay? He felt sick. This was getting worse. He put on an expressionless face and took a sip from his beer and waited for his brother to update him.

“I heard her on the phone today. That sweet, sexy voice of hers being so nice to everyone. Then when I walked up to her desk to see if she had some forms ready for me she was direct and short. ‘Deputy Dawn, I will put them in your mailbox the moment I complete them. I’m on the last page now,’ she said and then went right back to typing. Her phone rang and don’t you know, she answered it all sweet and calm,” Taylor said, sounding frustrated as he took another long slug of beer.

Kurt wanted to laugh but he knew Taylor was having a hard time not staking a claim on Mercedes. They needed to get to know her and she needed to get to know them, but every time Taylor tried to persuade her to go for coffee together she would decline. She was shy and she was resistant to all of them.

“Maybe I could have been a bit more calm and understanding months ago when Marlena was in trouble. I mean I yelled at her and told Mercedes that she had to listen to me or else. I was so upset. The things I saw Tony do in Marlena’s bedroom and then when he abducted her. I was scared and worried about Mercedes,” Taylor admitted.

Kurt understood. He was very angry at the time and worried about Mercedes, but he also knew he was resistant to letting down his guard and getting to know her. He rarely dated. Never found a woman to be of more interest than for sex and to ease his ache after traveling abroad and risking his life. He felt indispensable, unstoppable, inhuman at times, and then he saw Mercedes, met her, hung out with her and her friends, and things started changing. He started, too, and apparently so did his brothers.

“She understood that, Taylor. She had to understand the intensity of the situation. If not at that moment then afterwards as she heard what was left at Marlena’s cottage and then what happened in the cabin. I’m glad the guy is dead.”

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