Here is the third chapter of Dirty Mess. As of next week, I’ll be posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you missed any chapters, check out the archive here.
Please note that this story is copyrighted and no part of Dirty Mess may be copied without my permission.
Here’s Chapter Three!
“What are you playing at?” Tate asked, eyeing Rip with that knowing gaze. Rip hated that look.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Rip shrugged, his eyes scanning over the beautiful handwriting on the paper. It was cursive and flowy and so much nicer than his own handwriting. That’s why he preferred to type his letters on the computer.
“Taylor Burnham.” Tate leaned back in his chair, resting the heels of his shoes on the desk in front of him, and crossed his arms.
“What about him?” Rip glanced at his name on the contract. Taylor Michael Johnathan Burnham. That was his full, legal name. It was a mouthful, but it suited him.
“Why are you so interested in him?”
Rip shrugged. “He’s fucking hot.”
“So are a lot of the other guys, but none have caught your attention like Taylor. From the moment you saw the picture he sent me on my phone, you’ve wanted him.”
“Like I said, he’s hot.”
His cousin sighed in exasperation. “Ripley.”
“Tate.” Rip smirked at him.
“Stop fucking with me.” Tate pointed a finger at him. “I’m in charge of this company.”
“And you should remember who put you there.” It wasn’t a threat, but a teasing taunt.
Tate groaned and rubbed his forehead with the pads of his fingers. He always did that when Rip frustrated him. “Fine. If you’re not going to tell me, then don’t.”
Rip threw Taylor’s contract on the desk and fell back against the chair. “There isn’t anything to tell you other than what I’ve already told you. He’s hot. He’s my type and I’d fuck him in an instant.”
Tate cocked his head, staring. “I think it’s more than that. There are other guys that look like Taylor. Like Penn.”
“Penn’s an idiot.” He rested his hands behind his head and leaned back further in the chair.
“He also looks like Taylor. That’s the point I’m making here, because you said you were interested in Taylor because he’s hot.” Tate frowned at him.
“Let’s just drop the topic, all right? When is the newbie coming in for his first shoot?”
Taylor Burnham was more than hot. He was gorgeous, in an innocent sort of way. Rip suspected he was anything but innocent, but his soft facial features and pretty eyes did little to help Rip’s view on him. He wasn’t pretty in a feminine way, because there was so much masculine about him, like his strong shoulders, straight nose, and his muscular arms. The skin on his palms was course, like a man who’d done hard labor rather than a rich boy that Isaac said he was. He may have been rich, but Rip doubted there was anything spoiled about him, and that interested him.
“Tomorrow.” Tate eyed him again. “Is this going to be a problem, Rip? Because the last thing this company needs—”
“Come on, Tate. Are we going there?” Rip sat up straighter and raised his eyebrows. “Are you going to give me a lecture about sexual relationships between co-workers?”
“I want this company to be safe,” Tate argued, but the tips of his ears grew red.
“Really?” His eyebrows rose higher.
“What?” Tate asked, but there was no denying that he knew what Rip was referring to.
“If you want this company to be safe, you shouldn’t be fucking Hayden.”
Tate glared at him. “That’s different. Hayden isn’t a model.”
“No, but he’s our co-worker.” Rip smirked at him. “Do as you say, but not as you do?”
“Ripley…” Tate stood abruptly and made his way around the desk. He sat on the edge of it, right in front of Rip. “I just want you to be careful. Taylor is only in it because his dad refuses to pay his tuition. What’s a better way of making money than suing the owner of a company for sexual harassment?”
Rip snorted and fell back against the chair. “Sexual harassment? If Taylor and I fuck, Tate, he’ll be a willing participant.”
His cousin rolled his eyes. “People can lie.”
Rip glowered. He barely knew Taylor, but he felt compelled to protect him against Tate’s words. “Do you believe Taylor is the type of guy to do that?”
Tate stared at him, but there wasn’t any challenge in his eyes. He sighed after a second. “No, I don’t think he is. He seems like a nice guy who’s down on his luck.”
“And Isaac recommended him. The guy has been sleeping in the same room as Taylor for a year. We trust Isaac, don’t we?”
Tate groaned. “Fine, you’ve made your point.”
Rip stood, the chair squeaking from his movement. They really needed new furniture in this office, but Tate loved them like they were his children or something. Just the conversation of new furniture sent him into anxiety mode.
“I don’t plan on fucking Taylor, Tate.”
Tate’s shoulders relaxed at his words and he smiled tenderly.
“I plan on seducing him first.” He winked at his cousin and left the office, laughing when he heard Tate cursing him. He loved his cousin, but sometimes he worried too much.
He strode down the hallway and smirked at Hayden, who tried to walk past him as though Rip didn’t know where he was heading. Hayden and Tate thought they were being sneaky, but they were anything but inconspicuous. Rip would’ve been surprised if someone in the company didn’t know those two were fucking.
Rip rolled his eyes and strode over to the makeup chair, where his artist was already waiting. They mostly did touch-ups on the models, himself included, unless there was an artistic scene that required more.
Georgey walked up behind him, his reflection staring at Rip through the mirror with raised, gray eyebrows. “Hayden is visiting your cousin again.”
Rip smirked. “I saw that.”
His make-up artist, Trisha, rolled her eyes and snickered. “They’re obvious to everyone.”
Rip held a finger to his lips. “Shh, don’t tell them that.”
They all laughed.
“Who’s your scene with today?” Georgey asked. He glanced around the makeup room, but Rip was the only one in there.
“A solo today. Tomorrow, I work with the newbie.”
The director crossed his arms, eyes narrowed. “I hate newbies, Ripley. They don’t take initiative.”
Rip snorted. “You have no patience.”
“Do you blame me? I want the best quality. I’m up for an award for the direction of these videos.” Georgey shrugged.
“Taylor will be fine. I’ll teach him everything I know.” Rip winked for good measure.
Georgey glanced at Trisha with trepidation.
“What?” Rip raised his eyebrows at them through the mirror.
Trisha’s brush smoothed over his cheeks as she clucked her tongue at him. “You’re as obvious as your cousin.”
“I am not.” Shit. He was. How in the hell did one picture of Taylor Burnham captivate him? He had to find out why this man had his stomach in knots and he had to find out quickly.
The next day came too quickly and Rip was doing things he hadn’t done in years, like making mistakes. It was his job to schedule scenes and he doubled booked on that morning, which left both Georgey and Hayden in a bad mood. It also made Tate far too smug for Rip’s liking.
“What’s going through your head, boy?” Georgey snapped.
“The problem is that we’re talking about the wrong head,” Hayden replied. It earned him a sharp glare from Rip, which shut up him.
In the end, Rip left Tate to deal with the directors and the mishap while he went for a nice, cold shower in his apartment above the studio, where he may have jerked off to the thought of Taylor on his knees, which left him in an even worse mood. He couldn’t get the man out of his head and he’d only met him in person once. What was it about Taylor that had his body in a mess?
Rip growled at himself in the mirror and got dressed. By the time he was done convincing himself that it was just because Taylor was hot, he heard the other man’s voice coming from downstairs. It wasn’t that Taylor was loud, but the walls and floors were thin in the building and Rip could hear everything from his apartment.
He steeled himself, taking a deep, confident breath, and went back downstairs.
Taylor was talking to Tate, his head bobbing at whatever Rip’s cousin was saying to him, and he didn’t noticed Rip until he stood beside him. Taylor jerked at his sudden appearance, then smiled, his whole face lighting up.
“Hey,” Taylor greeted softly.
Rip forced himself to smirk, but it came out like a lopsided smile. “Hi. How are you feeling about today?”
Taylor rubbing his hands against his jeans and Rip noticed the movement as a nervous gesture. He’d seen a few of the guys do it before. “I’m good. I’m ready.”
Rip meant to pat him on the back, but instead, he rested a hand in the middle of Taylor’s shoulders and left it there. “You’ll be fine. I have you.”
Taylor swallowed, his Adam’s apple bobbing. It’s what drew Rip’s stare to his long neck. “Thanks.”
Tate cleared his throat and glared at Rip. “We have a few hours before we’re ready. There was a mistake made this morning with the scenes.” He made a point of raising an eyebrow at Rip, and all Rip could do was shrug in apology. “Will you be all right to wait around, Taylor?”
“Hm?” Taylor’s gaze broke from his stare in Rip’s eyes to glance at Tate. “Oh yeah, that’s okay. Where should I wait in the meantime?”
“I have an apartment upstairs. Maybe we could go watch some football? I recorded the game from last night.”
Rip ignored the wide-eyed look Tate sent him. He was glad Taylor was focused on him, because he didn’t want the other man to start questioning what was going on.
“Yeah, sounds good. Is that the game between the Cowboys and the Chiefs?”
“Sure is. Come on.” Rip added a bit of pressure to Taylor’s shoulders, where his hand still rested, and guided him toward the entrance of his apartment. They received a few raised eyebrows, including a knowing stare from Georgey, but Rip pretended he didn’t see it as he led Taylor up the stairs.
His studio apartment wasn’t anything amazing. It was just a place to sleep, with a bed, a couch, a television and kitchen appliances. He never needed much, but now he was leading Taylor into it, he wished he had more. More of what, he wasn’t sure, but he knew he needed more of something. He suspected that Taylor would be less than impressed, especially if he grew up in a rich family like Isaac said he did.
Rip gestured to his sofa, searching Taylor’s face while he did so. He didn’t know what he was looking for, maybe disgust, but there was nothing but a flush on his cheeks that gave away any emotions. Not that he would’ve cared. Rip didn’t care what other people thought about him or his home. Except, he did when it came to a guy that he barely knew. What the hell was this?
“Did you want a beer?” Rip asked as Taylor fell into the sofa.
Taylor shook his head with a gentle smile. “No thanks. Not on the job.”
Rip laughed and opened his mouth to joke about having a beer with the boss, before he stopped himself. Not many people knew he was the owner of Dirty Mess and he wanted to keep it that way. Most knew Tate was his cousin, but they didn’t put the two together as more than Rip working for his cousin. They didn’t suspect it could have been the other way around.
“Right. That would be irresponsible.” Rip grabbed a beer anyway and sat beside Taylor. He popped open the lid and took a sip. “Fuck, that’s cold.” He offered the bottle to the other man, but received a shake of his head in response. “You go to college, right?”
Taylor frowned for a moment, then nodded. “Yeah, I’m in my second year.”
“What do you study?”
“So you’re an actor? This job will be perfect for you.” Rip took another sip of the beer and grimaced. He supposed it was too early to start the alcohol, but he needed something to calm him down enough to act cool around Taylor. He was naturally a confident person, but something about this man made him edgy. In a good way. His body took notice of Taylor, and his cock twitched in his pants from being so close to him.
“I don’t usually act in front of cameras.” Taylor chuckled, but it sounded nervous, unsure. “What about you? How did you get into this?”
Rip shrugged. “I fell into it. I was a business major at college and wanted to expand my horizons.”
Taylor’s brows furrowed. “How does acting in erotic scenes expand your horizons?”
It didn’t, unless it was for a business he owned, but that wasn’t something he wanted to share. “I help out with the business side of the Dirty Mess.”
“Did you finish college?”
“Yeah.” He shrugged and took another sip, grimacing. He hated this beer, it was Tate’s from when they watched football with each other last weekend, but it was the only one he had in the fridge. It tasted like shit, but it steeled his nerves.
“So why are you still here? Why don’t you have a career in business?”
It wasn’t said rudely, but Rip took offense to it anyway. Even if Taylor didn’t know he owned Dirty Mess, he didn’t think there was anything wrong working for it either. Dirty Mess was a family, his family, and he was protective of the business he built from scratch.
“Why the hell shouldn’t I work here?” He snapped, his grip tightening around the bottle of beer.
Taylor cringed. “I didn’t mean it like that. I just…I just thought that with a business degree, you might be out there working as a CEO or something, you know?”
Rip immediately regretted how harshly he spoke. He sighed. “I’m happy here. Tate’s my cousin and he takes good care of us.”
“He seems really nice.” Taylor snatched the beer out of his hands and took a swallow. He grimaced, spluttering slightly, as he handed it back to Rip. “That beer tastes like bear shit.”
Rip threw his head back and laughed. “Yeah, it does. It’s Tate’s beer. The only one I have in my fridge.”
“You need to tell him to buy better alcohol.”
Rip’s laughter deepened, and he knew they’d hear it downstairs. Yet, he didn’t care. “I’ll be sure to tell him.”
Taylor grinned, straight white teeth flashing at him teasingly. He was a handsome man, and it wasn’t hard to work out why Rip’s body betrayed him. Taylor was slim with a pair of strong shoulders. He was lean in all the right places, with long legs that went on for days, yet muscular thighs that strained against his tight jeans. He had a gentle face, but high cheekbones that could cut glass, and pretty, blue eyes that begged Rip to own him. His skin was a light bronze, that flushed so easily, and Rip imagined how effortlessly it would be for him to bruise it as he sunk his teeth in Taylor’s neck, to mark him as his own.
Taylor cleared his throat and shifted in the seat. It wasn’t uncomfortableness in his movements, and Rip smirked because he knew desire when he saw it. But he wasn’t going to push Taylor, not today when they had their first scene, because in the end, Dirty Mess came first. It always did.
“How about we watch that football?”
Taylor nodded, his gaze jerking to the TV when Rip flicked it on.