“Thanks, man.” Cody rubbed his face. “I’m gonna call my sweetheart for a ride.” He leaned into Kit’s tight hug. “Aw, don’t look so pissed, Kit. It’s only tires—gotta remember that and not let this gutless weenie ruin our night.”
“Gutless weenie?” she said on a surprised laugh.
“Yep. No guts and a tiny dick.”
Kit and Casey stayed with her fellow actor until his boyfriend arrived. As the two men were happy to wait together for the tow truck, Kit and Casey got into their respective cars to head out of the lot. Kit hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol at the party. She needed her head on straight tonight.
Taking a deep breath, she turned in the direction of Noah’s home.
She was halfway there when it struck her: she’d never actually been to Noah’s house. Back when they’d been close, it hadn’t been a big deal. Noah had said he liked the feel of her place, first at the town house, then at her current home. It had made her happy at the time, but now…
Her fingers gripped the steering wheel so tight that her bones pushed up white against her skin. “No way am I inviting myself to his house if he doesn’t want me there.” And since this was one conversation she didn’t want to have in public, she turned the car around. Behind her, Casey was probably wondering if she was lost.
Sending Noah a message at a red light, she didn’t check for a response until she was home.
On my way. –Noah
He always did that, always signed his messages. As if she might forget who he was, despite the fact he’d been one of her most frequent contacts at one time. When she’d ribbed him about it, he’d shrugged and given her that crooked smile she could never resist.
Not back then.
Heart aching at the sweet poignancy of the memory, she put her keys and phone on the kitchen counter, then hunted in her freezer until she found a couple of gourmet pizzas. Even she couldn’t mess up pizza. She turned the oven dial to the correct temperature and, while waiting for it to heat up, went into the bedroom to change into black yoga pants and a fitted dark blue T-shirt.
Hair mostly dry at this point, she combed it into a loose ponytail, her eyes on the mirror and on a face the tabloids had called “fugly” when Kit had been at the awkward adolescent stage. As in, how could two people as genetically blessed as Parker and Adreina Ordaz-Castille sire such a fugly child?
Those same tabloids now called Kit “a mix between Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren.” She snorted. Yeah, no matter how much smoke the media blew up her ass, she wasn’t about to get a big head. Neither was she about to forget that Noah would rather sleep with random groupies than with her.
A jagged breath.
Heading back into the kitchen, she slid the pizzas into the oven and began to make a green salad. She went to grab a bottle of wine halfway through, froze. No, she wouldn’t give Noah alcohol. Not until she knew if the other night had been a one-off or if he had a drinking problem.
She decided to make iced tea instead, heavy on the honey. Noah had a liking for the stuff, though she didn’t know where he’d picked up the taste.
The kitchen was redolent with the smell of bubbling cheese when Butch called to say Noah was heading up to the house.
It was time.
Throat dry, Kit waited for Noah to knock before she padded to the front door. Pride wouldn’t allow her to stand there waiting for him. Never again would she wait for Noah St. John.
The impact of him hit her all over again the instant she opened the door. He was wearing another pair of faded blue jeans and his favorite scuffed boots with the metal rivets, but his short-sleeved shirt was crisp black with a black-and-red design on one side. His hair was damp, his jaw freshly shaven. She knew if she leaned in close, he’d smell of the sea breeze of his aftershave and of the raw masculine heat that was Noah.
Hand tightening on the door, she stepped back and called on all her theatrical training to sound normal, unruffled. “Come in. I made pizza.”
“I picked up dessert.”
It was only then that she realized he was holding an insulated bag from her favorite ice cream place.
“Peanut butter fudge.” That heartbreaking smile, the song lyrics tattooed on the inside of his right wrist catching her eye as he lifted the bag. “No more superhero body paint, right?”
Kit’s calm facade nearly cracked. Noah had talked her into dessert more times than she could count during their earlier… whatever it had been. “Thanks.”
Taking the bag, she carried it into the kitchen and put the tub of ice cream in the freezer. She was putting the insulated bag on one side of the counter and trying not to be hyperconscious of Noah’s presence when the oven timer went off.