And now she had Molly too. She could already tell that friendship would last.
“Hey.” Noah’s voice, a curious smile. “Where did you go?”
“Just thinking about a coffee date I have with Molly.” They planned to go to a little place Thea had recommended.
“Anyway,” she said, “my folks both earned their wealth.” Parker’s parents had ensured that he had the best tennis coaches and could attend the most elite training camps, but he was the one who’d put in the court time; he was the one who’d begged off from nights out and vacations away.
Kit was pretty sure her father had never gone on a spring break blowout, gotten drunk and partied. He’d been too driven, too dedicated to his goal of achieving a Grand Slam—which he’d done not once, but twice. As for Adreina, she’d been born dirt-poor, clawed her way out through sheer grit and determination. It was partly why she lived so flamboyantly now.
“I want to stand on my own feet too,” Kit said, remembering the pleasure of her first paycheck, of how good it had felt to know she’d earned it through her own hard work. “I bet you’ve never taken money from your mother or father either.”
Noah’s expression turned grim. “I have a trust fund that’s been gathering interest and dust for decades. I should donate it or something, but…” He shook his head, his golden hair catching the sunlight and making him appear a young god. “Let’s not talk about my nonrelationship with my folks—I heard your dad’s going to be organizing one of the big tennis tournaments, right?”
“Yes.” Despite his pleasure-seeking lifestyle, her father had never lost his interest in, and passion for, the game. “Mom’s really excited and already making plans for the parties she’ll throw the players and their teams post-match.”
Noah shot her a dark look before returning his attention to the road. “It kind of weirds me out that your parents actually still like each other. Like, for real.”
Kit laughed, unsurprised. Celebrity marriages did not, as a rule, last, especially when you were talking two giant egos. “It occasionally surprises me too.” Her mother could appear so shallow, her father so self-involved, but while they were flaky parents, they were devoted lovers.
“The thing is,” she said to Noah, “Mom and Dad always back each other. They argue in private like the two passionate personalities they are, but in public, say a single bad thing about one to the other, and you’re persona non grata.” Kit loved that aspect of her parents’ marriage.
“And though it makes me squirm to even think about it, my parents continue to find each other hot.” She shuddered. “While I was still in high school, I once walked into the conservatory at our family home to find my naked mother straddling my clothed father.” She scrubbed the heels of her hands over her eyes as Noah’s laughter, deep and unrestrained, filled the car. “I’m pretty sure she was undoing his belt at the time.”
Cheeks creased in a huge grin, Noah said, “What did they do?”
“Mom looked over and said, ‘Kit, dear, not now. Your father and I are discussing something.’”
Shoving at his arm when he snorted with laughter again, she giggled. “Well, I guess they might’ve been, but I just backed out and shut the door. Then I went and found a sock and put it on the door to warn the staff and my grandparents, who’d just arrived. It was Christmas—which might explain the red ribbon tied into a big bow below my mom’s breasts.” She shuddered again. “Mom was holding another ribbon. I do not want to imagine where that was intended to go.”
“Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas to Parker.”
She was the one who snorted this time. “Shut up.”
Noah was still grinning when he pulled into a parking garage off Rodeo Drive, the open, unshadowed pleasure on his face threatening to undo all her resolve.
Careful, Kit. He’s not for you.
She had to repeat that until it sank in, until she could look at Noah and not feel that hole inside her tear open all over again.
Walking out of the garage, they made their way to the street. A skinny, black-haired photographer with an improbable handlebar moustache popped out from seemingly nowhere seconds later and began to click away. “Come on, Kathleen! Give us a smile, love!”
Kit complied because it was the easiest way to get rid of this particular pest. “Enough, Basil,” she said when he continued to back down the sidewalk, camera pointed at her and Noah. “There’re only so many places that want photos of me dressed down in jeans and a white T-shirt.” She was well put together, her hair brushed back in a sleek tail and her face lightly made up, heels on her feet and the T-shirt fitted, but it was hardly tabloid gold.