“Clandestine love affair?” Kit had laughed. “Careful, or people will start to think you’re a writer or something.” At his chuckle, she’d hugged him again. “You’re a good man.”
“Yes, I am.” A kiss on the cheek as they drew apart. “I can also be an amazing boyfriend.”
Yes, Kit thought, Terrence would be a great boyfriend. He was intelligent with a warm personality, and beautifully creative. Over dinner, they’d talked not only about the industry, but about the deep history of storytelling as well as about travel and how it changed a person. Terrence was also as passionate an advocate of Kit’s talent as an actress as she was of his as a writer.
They were perfect for one another. If only she could forget Noah.
She shoved off the comforter after an hour of tossing and turning, then padded into the kitchen and made herself a cup of herbal tea. She didn’t particularly like the taste, but oddly enough, it did usually put her to sleep. Not tonight.
Going out into the cool but comfortable air of the garden with the half-finished drink in her hands, she took a seat on one of the picnic-table benches and thought about how Noah’s eyes had a way of becoming a silvered gray when he truly laughed. One of her favorite memories of him was from this garden: he’d been lying on his back on a blanket, all lazy and relaxed as they played Worst Rumor while she tidied up the area, tugging out a weed here, clearing up leaf detritus there.
It was a game he’d made up. They had to one-up each other with false celebrity rumors. Of course, half the time they ended up debating whether something was false or not.
Okay, I have a good one, his voice said in her head. G&V is reporting that Bleu Flavell killed and ate his pet pig Pigiligi during a drug-fueled rampage and is now in therapy to get over the trauma.
Lies. Kit remembered rolling her eyes at the ridiculous claim. That pig has its own room in Bleu’s house, complete with a bed and a personal groomer and chef. No way Bleu’s touching a hair on its body.
Yeah? So why hasn’t Pigiligi Flavell been spotted for the past week, huh? And Bleu did have that blowout party last weekend.
Eyes burning at the memory of their ensuing hilarious attempts to uncover the truth, she stared at the spot where he’d lain. “Stop haunting me.” It was a whisper.
Music sounded, soft and gentle.
She’d brought her cell phone outside with her, had been debating whether to text Molly or Becca on the off chance they’d be awake and available to talk. But the name displayed on the screen wasn’t of either of her two closest women friends. It was of the man she’d come out here to forget.
She knew she should ignore the call. It would be the sensible, the healthy thing to do. But then she thought of the way he’d asked her to be his friend, of how he’d exposed his need when he never allowed anyone to see his vulnerability, and felt her resolve break. “It’s two a.m.,” she said into the receiver.
“I was passing by your place, figured I’d try my luck.”
Noah had no cause to pass by her place. “Go home.”
“I tried.” A quiet pause. “Molly made me a bed at her and Fox’s place. I snuck out.”
He was fine, Kit thought. He wasn’t drunk or in trouble. He was just… “Go home,” she said again. “There’s nothing for you here.”
“How about my friend?” It was a rough question.
Kit pressed a hand over her heart, pushing into the ache within. “She’s sitting here thinking about the shopping she has to do tomorrow for her mother’s annual luncheon.” Adreina organized a group mother-and-daughter luncheon for her and her friends every year, and no matter what, Kit would never hurt her by refusing to attend.
Unfortunately, it meant a new outfit head to toe. Her mother insisted. “Make an effort, Kathleen,” she’d say in a throaty voice that still carried faint hints of a Venezuelan accent. “If you don’t wear the latest styles, people will think your career’s sliding and you’re pinching pennies.”
The worst thing was that she was right. With Kit’s career on the rise, the media, the industry, the audience, they were all watching her like hawks. She might worry about her mortgage, but everyone else was interested only in whether she gave the impression of a financially secure A-list actress.
“That come around again already?” Noah’s voice sank into her bones, into her blood, into every part of her.
She wanted to scream at him to get out, to leave her be, but he kept on haunting her, kept on becoming part of her. “Yep,” she said and rose to her feet. “I better go to bed so I’ll be bright and shiny for the shopping trip tomorrow.”