“Shit.” Having collapsed back on the bed, he forced himself to get up, winced again. He smelled like a fucking distillery.
“Christ.” Stumbling into the bathroom, he threw some water on his face, then used one of Kit’s fluffy white towels to dry off. Not only did he smell like he’d bathed in whiskey, he looked like he’d been on a three-day bender. “Impressive, Noah.” He’d achieved that result in a single night. And Kit had seen him like this. Great. Just fucking great.
Leaving the bathroom, he walked out of the bedroom. “Kit?” he called out, gritting his teeth as his head pounded in time with his heartbeat.
All he heard was silence. The door to her bedroom—just down from his—was open. Looking in carefully, he saw her bed neatly made and piled with a ridiculous number of pillows. He’d once asked her what the point was when she only needed one for her head and she’d rolled her eyes. “Only a man would ask that question.”
He fucking missed her voice, her smile, her. That’s why he’d called her. It was coming back to him, flashes of what he’d done. He knew it would all eventually appear. That was his special curse: he could drink himself to oblivion, something he usually only ever did while alone inside his house, but he remembered everything. Sometimes it took a day before it all came back, but it always did.
He was already getting grainy, blurry images of Kit picking up a hypodermic, shock and horror on her face.
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
Walking into her sunny kitchen, he saw no sign of her. What he did see was a note propped up next to a large bottle of aspirin. He ignored the pills and picked up the note.
You’re probably still over the limit to drive, and in case you’re idiotic enough to think you’re not, I’m taking all the keys. Call my car service when you get up and they’ll take you home. I’m at the studio.
At the bottom was the phone number for the car company. He flipped it over in the hope she’d written something else, but that was all. A stabbing in his heart, he crushed the paper in his hand. He had to get the fuck out since it was clear Kit didn’t want him here. Not that he could blame her.
Having shoved the piece of paper in his pocket because he was pathetic and wanted something of hers, even if it was only a terse note, he thrust a hand through his hair and winced again at the smell of alcohol. He couldn’t go anywhere like this unless he wanted to attract attention, and that was the last thing he needed today.
Back when he and Kit had been friends, he’d left a few things in the closet in the spare bedroom. Wondering if there was a chance she hadn’t thrown it all out, he went back to the room and opened the closet.
It was empty.
There went that idea, he thought, about to close the closet door when he noticed a box up on the shelf. Pulling it down, he found his stuff. It had been thrown in there in a mess, but he had everything he needed.
A long, hot shower made him feel a little more human. Afterward, he chucked his dirty clothes into the large garbage can beside Kit’s garage—thanks to her stalker, she paid a company to come in and personally pick up and dispose of her garbage, so no one would be digging through it and discovering his clothes. He did not want to remember the night he’d almost done the one thing he’d sworn never to do, no matter how bad the hell inside his head.
Returning to the house, he began to pull on his boots over bare feet.
He couldn’t call Kit’s car service without linking his name to hers. Everyone knew Kit was friendly with the band, but if he was picked up alone from her house, even at three in the afternoon—Jesus, he’d been out of it—it would fuel all kinds of rumors. The only reason they’d escaped that during their friendship was because he’d been very careful not to put her in the line of fire.
He could call the service the band used when they wanted to party and didn’t want to drive, but the driver they usually used was out with a broken leg and Noah didn’t know the new guy well enough to trust he’d keep his mouth shut. He’d walk out except that no one walked in neighborhoods like this—he’d probably get picked up by private security before he got a hundred feet.
He knew Kit’s own security guys were professionals who never blabbed about clients; he’d ask one to run him up the road, then grab a cab once he was far enough away that his name wouldn’t be connected to Kit’s. She deserved that much at least from him. No way was he messing up her life with a tabloid feeding frenzy.
He was on his way out to see if he could touch base with one of the security team when Kit’s home phone rang. He half smiled at the stodgy male voice that came on asking the caller to leave a message. The recording had come with the machine, and Kit used it so random callers wouldn’t realize whose house they’d reached. He had his hand on the front doorknob when Kit’s voice filled the air.