“Don’t worry, Noah, I get it. You’re just not that into me,” she said, mocking herself.
Noah’s laugh was broken. “Kit, I—” He shook his head. “It doesn’t matter.”
“Say it.” She needed this dream to die a final death.
His head jerked up, dark gray eyes brilliant with fury and with a need so vicious it rocked her. “Why can’t you just be my friend?” he asked, his arms rigid he was holding on so hard to the counter. “I fuck everything female that moves. I don’t want that with you.”
The bruise was so painful by now that it pulsed… but for the first time since he’d told her he didn’t want to sleep with her, she actually heard him. Maybe because she hurt so much she was numb, her mind oddly clear as a result. As his words echoed in her skull, she thought of all those hours when they’d watched old movies together, or sat in a hotel room running lines, or the day they’d gone to a go-cart track after disguising themselves so they wouldn’t be recognized.
They’d raced like maniacs, then eaten burgers that fell apart they were so huge, and Noah had laughed. No sophistication, no edge, pure happiness. He’d grinned the same way the day she’d gotten the part that had launched her career into the big time. Noah was the first one she’d told, his arms like steel around her as he lifted her off her feet and swung her around.
“I knew you’d do it!” he’d said, his confidence in her a buoyant force that had made her believe she could conquer every hurdle.
He’d been her friend, the best friend she’d ever had. He was the reason she’d tried out for the part in Last Flight in the first place. He’d told her not to call herself “just a soap actress,” had driven her to the casting call himself, had held her hand until she’d walked inside; he’d been waiting when she came out—exhilarated, nervous, and relieved that she’d made it through without embarrassing herself.
Noah’s smile had held open pride.
I fuck everything female that moves. I don’t want that with you.
The words flayed her, destroyed her, but there was also something in them that cut through the hurt and made her pause. Noah never spent any non-sex time with the women he slept with—not one ever saw him twice. He didn’t cook for them, didn’t drive them to auditions, certainly didn’t pull out his guitar and ask their opinion on a new piece. The only woman with whom Kit had known him to do all those things was… her.
Kit didn’t know what that meant, didn’t even know if she could handle being Noah’s friend while he added notch after notch to his belt, but she knew she couldn’t shove him out into the cold. The memory of the fear she’d felt on the drive to that motel burned like acid on her bones. No matter what Noah had done, how much he’d hurt her, she couldn’t imagine a world where he didn’t exist.
She’d keep an eye on him at least until the rest of the band returned to LA.
After that… Kit had no answers. All she knew was that Noah was bad for her… and that part of her would always miss him.
Noah sat across from Kit at the little picnic table she did still have at one end of her garden. It was illuminated by beautiful paper lanterns that bathed everything in a soft light that probably flattered most people. It only hid the purity of Kit’s beauty, the mobile curve of her lips, the sparkle in her eye.
Neither was in evidence tonight, he knew that, but he liked to imagine them, liked to imagine her smiling at him as if she couldn’t wait to tell him about her day and to ask about his.
And her laughter when he pointed out something ridiculous; he’d never heard better music. What he wouldn’t do to hear her laugh again.
Yeah, you’ll do anything except stop being an asshole.
He didn’t know what they were doing here tonight. He didn’t know if Kit had understood what he’d said to her. He adored her, and because he did, he would never touch her. The instant he did, he’d ruin her, ruin everything. He didn’t want their relationship tainted by sex—if they even had any kind of a relationship.
Most probably she was just making sure he didn’t end up in another dive about to shoot up. Kit had always had a soft heart, and Noah was bastard enough that he was going to take advantage of that to have her in his life, even if only for a day or two.
“It’s not too bad, right?” he said, having inhaled his own serving of spaghetti. “Probably not in your diet though.” Kit loved food, loved trying new dishes, but she had to maintain a strict dietary regime to stay in shape for her newest role.