Fox hadn’t told on him then, and in all these years, he’d never once betrayed Noah’s secret. Not even to Molly. Noah had worried about that when the two first became serious, but Fox had been blunt: It’s not mine to tell, and Molly understands that—just like I understand there are things she can’t tell me about Charlie.

Certain in his trust in Fox, Noah said, “I hit rock bottom.” He had to admit it, had to get the pathetic, dangerous nature of his actions burned into his brain cells. “Ended up in a no-tell motel with a fifty-dollar hooker and a vial full of poison to pump into my veins. I thought it would make the noise in my head go quiet.”

Fox stopped strumming the guitar. “Fuck.” His voice was like gravel, his hand fisted on the polished wood of the guitar. “Why didn’t you call me?”

“I called Kit.”

A long silence. “And?”

“And she came, saw me at my worst again.” He gave a harsh laugh. “I’m such a prince I dragged her out of her house at half-past-who-the-fuck-knows o’clock in the morning.”

Starting the music again, Fox didn’t speak for another five minutes. “I know you don’t want to hear this, but I’m going to say it anyway—you need to talk to someone. It’s getting worse, not better.”

Noah clenched his jaw, his teeth grinding against one another. “I can’t talk about it. Not to a stranger.” He had enough trouble talking about it to Fox, and they never actually talked about what lay at the root of all his problems. He’d told Fox when he’d been a child, alone and scared, but that boy was long gone. “Fuck man, I don’t even want to think about it.”

“But you are thinking about it. Every night,” Fox pointed out. “If you’re serious about Kit—”

“No.” Noah sliced out a hand. “No, Fox. I want her in my life, but I won’t pull her into the hellhole that’s my messed up head. She doesn’t need to know.” He held his friend’s eyes. “She never needs to know.” He couldn’t bear it.

“You know I won’t say a word.” The other man thrust a hand through the dark brown of his hair. “But it’s eating you up from the inside. You sleep even less now than you did when you were a kid, and you’re drinking so much it’s worse than with Abe.”

Noah couldn’t dispute either charge. He might not have ended up in a near-coma like Abe, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. “I poured all the liquor at my place down the drain.” He’d done it in the middle of fixing the blinds.

“You know it’s not that easy.”

“Then I’ll do it hard.” Because no way was he ever checking into rehab or any other place where they could fuck with his head.

“Damn, you’re a stubborn asshole.” Fox passed him the guitar. “Play something while I get us more coffee.”

Losing himself in the music, Noah stayed at Fox and Molly’s until almost five in the afternoon. At which point he got in his car and drove not to his own home but to the studio lot where he knew Kit was filming the superhero flick. Thanks to Noah’s own contacts, he had no problem getting past security or finding his way to a park outside the right sound stage.

He waited for an hour by her car before he saw her walk out with Casey. Kit sometimes rode with the slender black bodyguard and driver, but she generally preferred to live her life as normally as possible. And in a stalker-free world, Kit wasn’t the kind of woman to have guards and chauffeurs.

She froze for a second when she saw him.

Shaking off her surprise as Casey nodded to him and peeled off to get into his own car, she walked over, her glorious hair damp and plaited into a loose braid. “What’re you doing here?” No expression on her face.

It wasn’t Kit standing in front of him, he realized, but cool, sophisticated Kathleen Devigny.

His gut clenched. “I was hoping I could take you out to dinner to say thanks.”

Opening the car door, she dumped in her purse. “I’m exhausted. I need to get to bed.”

Gripping the top of her door as she got into the driver’s seat, he drew in the fresh scent of her. “Tomorrow?”

“Wrap party’s right after we shoot the final scene. Will probably go late.”

Noah knew he shouldn’t keep pushing when she was giving him a large, flashing “go away” signal, but he couldn’t make himself leave. “What about the day after?” he said. “We’ll go someplace where you don’t have to think about green superheroes or four-a.m. makeup calls.”

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