Noah would celebrate Fox’s joy, would never let his friend know how much it hurt him to see Fox have the one thing that was forever out of Noah’s reach. At least one of them had made it. “Get a room,” he ordered. “After you feed me.”
Laughing, Molly pushed Fox away. “Go sit with Noah. This breakfast is on me.” A glance at Noah. “He’s earned it—he stopped at every single antique shop along the way.”
“You have no idea how many there are.” Coming around with two steaming mugs of coffee, the lead singer passed one to Noah, then grabbed a stool beside him at the counter. “And I swear the staff and customers have their own secret language. They say things like provenance and patina and upcycle like they’re words actual people use.”
Grinning as Molly stuck out her tongue at Fox, Noah said, “So when are you two doing the wedding deal?”
“We were thinking six to eight weeks.” Molly mixed up the pancake batter with quick, competent hands. “I want to do it at home, so we don’t have to worry about finding a venue, and everything else we can organize on short notice.”
“What about the dress?” Noah asked. “Isn’t that like a big deal?”
“What the fuck do you know about wedding dresses?” Fox scowled. “You have a secret addiction to reality TV I don’t know about?”
“Yeah, I’m all ‘say yes to the dress already, lady.’”
Molly snorted with laughter at Noah’s deadpan response.
“My cousin got married last year,” he said after taking a sip of his coffee. “You know, Keira.”
“Yeah, she lived up to her name. Serious bridezilla, and apparently she was psycho about the dress. Emily told me Keira threw a full-on tantrum in the bridal salon because the pearls on her dress were a size too small or something.” His smart, sweet, funny sister had considered recording the incident for Noah but had been scared off by the wrath of the bridezilla.
Fox looked at Molly, his expression softening in a way it only ever did when he looked at the woman he adored. “You planning to go nuts on me, baby?”
“Maybe a little.” Molly winked. “But not about the dress. Once Charlie arrives from New Zealand, she and Thea and I are doing a girls’ trip to that vintage wedding-dress shop I saw.”
Charlie, Noah remembered, was Molly’s best friend, Charlotte. As for Thea, she wasn’t only the band’s publicist, but Molly’s sister through their shared father, a hypocrite of a man who’d died while Molly was a teen. In Thea’s case, the paternal relationship had been merely biological—she considered her stepdad to be her true father.
“I’m going to ask Kit too if she’s not on location,” Molly added.
“We all still heading to Bali for David and Thea’s wedding?” Noah asked as the simple sound of Kit’s name made his entire body ache with a need that wasn’t ever going to go away.
“Yes!” Molly beamed. “It’ll take longer to put together though—her parents and David’s parents both want a big ceremony.” She flicked on the cooktop. “Food coming up pronto.”
It was over an hour and a half later, after a breakfast from the heavens, that Noah and Fox walked out to take seats around the metal table beside the infinity pool. Molly was inside, on the phone with Charlotte; her laughter occasionally drifted outside.
“You’re a lucky man,” Noah said to Fox, his hands hanging between his knees as he leaned forward with his forearms braced on his thighs, staring out over the clear blue waters of the pool to Santa Monica Bay in the distance.
“I know.” Fox strummed the acoustic guitar he’d picked up on their way outside. “What do you think of this?”
Noah listened, made a suggestion, the music easing the scars on his soul as it always did. Didn’t matter what kind. As long as it was music. Listening to Fox’s strumming, he watched the sunshine glitter on the water and tried to let his mind drift, go empty.
It proved impossible.
He kept seeing snapshots of the past twenty-four… no, it was closer to twenty-nine, thirty hours: Kit’s scared face as she asked him what was in the syringe, waking up on soft white sheets with tiny blue flowers, watching Kit drive off with a scowl on her face.
“You going to tell me what happened?” Fox said about ten minutes later. “And don’t bullshit me, Noah. I’ve known you too long.”
The fact was Fox knew more about Noah’s demons than anyone else in the world. They’d been assigned as roommates at boarding school, both only seven years old at the time. Fox had heard him scream at night, had found him huddled, shivering in the corner, more than once, a stolen kitchen knife in hand.