Her nipples tightened.
Shoving the towel at him, she turned away. “Dry off. I’m going to grab a change of clothes for you.” She barely resisted the urge to wrap her arms protectively around herself.
Kathleen Devigny did not hide.
It took her only a couple of minutes to find him some clothes, the closet was so small. After putting them outside the bedroom, she shut the door and got changed herself. She’d intended to wear a dress, but with the rain, she hesitated. In the end, she decided to hope for the best and pulled on the summery yellow strapless sundress that had a cute blue print. She’d pair it with her ankle boots and a hip-length leather jacket she left on the bed for now.
A deep breath, the mask firmly back on, she opened the bedroom door.
Noah was at the kitchenette, damp hair roughly finger-combed and body clad in the old blue jeans and black T-shirt with a faded silver print on the back that she’d found in the closet. Looking up, he smiled. “You want some cereal?”
God, that smile. “Yes,” she said as her stomach dipped despite all her admonitions to the contrary.
Picking up a large box, he poured a multicolored waterfall of sugary rings into a bowl.
“Really?” She raised an eyebrow. “Why don’t you just give me a candy bar and be done with it?”
A wink. “That’s for me.” He put a smaller, unopened box on the counter. “This is for you.”
It was her favorite kind.
Gripping the butterflies in a tight fist lest they escape and forget all the painful lessons she’d already learned at Noah’s hands, she opened the box and poured the flakes into a bowl. He poured milk over it, and the two of them ate in silence. Pretending there wasn’t this great pulsing thing between them, this unfinished promise that hurt so much. Pretending they were normal.
“What time did you go for your run?”
A shrug. “Around five maybe.”
“It must’ve still been dark.”
“Best time to run. Everything’s quiet and most of the vultures are asleep.”
Fox’s warning vivid in her mind, Kit said, “How much sleep did you get?”
“A few hours.” Nonchalant words.
She put down her bowl. “Now you’re lying to me?”
His jaw got that hard line that never augured anything good. “Leave it, Kit. I told you I have bad nights sometimes.”
“Leave it? Noah—”
Noah had never yelled at Kit. Never. He still hadn’t. But the cold whip of his voice made her flinch. She’d heard him use a similar tone against people he didn’t like or those who were getting in his face, but he’d never used it on her.
At first she was hurt—and then she got mad.
Coming around the counter, she stood half a foot from him, arms folded. “You think you can do that to me?” she asked, her fury as hot as his was cold. “Just freeze me out with the famous Noah St. John temper?” So angry it felt as if her skin glowed red-hot, she shook her head. “It doesn’t work that way. Friends care. I care.” He knew that; what use was hiding it? “You’re running on a razor-thin edge.”
His eyes glittered, unrelenting stone and icy mists. “What’re you going to do? Hug me and make it better? Wave a magic wand to make the insomnia disappear?”
Kit gritted her teeth, but she couldn’t quite control the scream that wanted to erupt from her throat. “I sure as hell don’t intend for you to give yourself a heart attack from sleep deprivation or endless running just so I can get a part!”
She slashed out a hand. “We’re done. We’ll break up in a big dramatic deal, and you can pick up one of those women who allow you to get some sleep.” Yes, that hurt, that fucking hurt, but this was Noah’s life they were talking about.
“No.” He grabbed her upper arms, hauled her close. “I promised you I would do this.”
Shoving at his chest, Kit tried to pull away, but all she succeeded in doing was taunting herself with the muscled heat of him under her palms. “I’m releasing you from the promise.”
Noah wanted to shake her, but he’d never chance hurting Kit. “I won’t release myself. I need to do this.”
“This isn’t your redemption, Noah,” she said, her eyes so passionate with emotion that they seemed to glow. “You don’t need to do this to save our friendship. I’m being your friend now.”
“If you’re my friend, then you let me do this.” Even if I can’t give you anything else, I can give you this. “You damn well let me do this, Kit.”