“I’ll do it,” Noah snarled. “I won’t have Kit exposed to the fucking vipers.”
“You have to be sure, Noah,” Thea said. “You have to be dead certain you can stay faithful to her for the entire time you’re together. At least three and a half weeks to a month—Redemption might be cast earlier, but whatever happens, you have to keep it going long enough that it looks real.”
She took a breath before continuing. “At that point, I can extricate you both with a little fancy footwork. You and Kit will decide you were more suited to being friends after all, and as long as you keep everything friendly and you both start dating new people around the same time, it’ll all blow over.”
“Yes, I’m sure.” If he had to, he’d take the sleeping pills he hated. Given the bile-inducing side effect, he’d long ago decided he’d rather anaesthetize himself with random fucks since he got about the same amount of sleep either way. But if it would protect Kit, he’d take the pills.
“All right, I’ll talk to her,” Thea said at last.
“No.” Noah knew Kit, knew this had to come from him. “I’m going to drive over to her place. We’ll call you once we’ve sorted things out between ourselves.”
Noah drove to Kit’s in his Mustang, the top down. The gleaming black convertible had two silver stripes front to back and was even more distinctive a vehicle than Fox’s Aventador.
He saw the TV vans and photographers milling around her gate the instant he hit her street. Kit clearly hadn’t emerged yet because the media had that bored air to them that shouted disappointment. All that changed the instant a blond paparazzo spotted his car.
A lightning strike of camera flashes.
Taking a deep breath, he slowed down instead of blasting through the paps with his horn blaring. They actually allowed him to turn so that his car was in front of Kit’s gate, likely because that gave them a shot of him heading to see her, but then they swarmed.
He braced his arm on the door, a lazy grin on his face that he’d perfected long ago. People didn’t look too deep when they saw that grin, figuring that was who he was. “Lovely morning isn’t it?” he drawled into the microphones thrust at him.
Grins all around.
“Noah!” shouted one TV reporter. “Is it true? You and Kathleen are a couple?”
Smile deepening, he slipped off his sunglasses. “You want to get me in trouble this early in the day, Jessa?” he asked, playing the reporter like a fish on a hook.
“Come on, Noah, give us something.”
“No comment.” He laughed to take the sting out of it, slipped his sunglasses back on. “I might have one after I talk to a certain gorgeous woman, but you have to let me through first.”
They drew back, sensing juicier news to come if they gave him what he wanted. Hoping that news wouldn’t be a black eye, he roared down the drive after Butch opened the gate, the bodyguard’s flinty gaze ensuring no one dared attempt to sneak in behind Noah.
Kit threw open her front door as he brought the convertible to a stop in front of the house. Around the corner and distant from the gate, they had absolute privacy.
Stalking out to meet him as he vaulted out of the car, she put both hands on his chest and shoved. “What the hell did you think you were doing?” Her eyes sparked fire at him. “I saw you on the security cameras! You just turned this ridiculous rumor into an unkillable monster!”
“It had to be done,” he said, standing his ground. “Thea says if we—”
“Thea called you?” She gritted her teeth. “I’m going to fire her. I don’t care if she’s my friend.”
“No, you won’t. Because she’s the best in the business and she’s right.”
Ignoring his words, she stormed back into the house, her jeans-clad legs eating up the ground.
He followed, knowing where she was heading even before she used the kitchen entrance to step out into her garden. Deciding to let her stew in private, he found the green tea he knew she kept in an upper cupboard, brewed it up for her in the little ceramic pot with a metal handle. He was probably fucking it up, but it was the thought that counted right?
Putting the pot and the tiny Japanese-style handleless teacups on a tray, he grabbed a bunch of cookies from her stash and took the tray out to her. She was weeding with bare hands, her jewel-green nails bright against the weeds and her gray T-shirt as old and soft as his black one.
He put the tray on the wooden picnic table and poured her a cup. Taking it to her, he hunkered down by her side and held it out.