Noah gently placed me back beside him, he smirked and shifted slightly. I frowned and folded my arms across my chest.
“I was two seconds away from slapping you.” I lied.
“Yeah, right.” Noah laughed.
I stood up and walked to the door of the living room. “I was.” I huffed. “Or maybe I was about to rock your world… guess we’ll never know.”
I sauntered away, scaling the stairs without looking back. Two could play at this game he’d played. I could tease him just as much as he thought he could tease me. Being a virgin didn’t mean I was a prude.
Once I was back in the bedroom I sat down and instantly remembered why I’d gone downstairs in the first place. Thoughts began flooding in with the silence that surrounded me. I stood up and opened the closet. I was still only in my underwear and Noah’s shirt. I took out a pair of black yoga pants and a white singlet and threw them on. I walked back downstairs and into the living room.
“Back so soon huh.” Noah noted. “Miss me.”
I frowned and sat down on one of the other couches in the room.
“I remembered why I came down here. Everything is on my mind. I can’t call Mom. I can’t do anything.” I bit back on the emotion in my throat. After the shit Noah had just pulled the last thing I wanted was for him to pull me close again. All of this… everything had me thinking and feeling very odd things.
“Come.” Noah whispered standing up, he walked over to me and held out his hand. “We’ll raid the cupboards for comfort food and watch movies.”
I smiled and nodded, placing my hand in his. “Okay.”
Turns out the kitchen was very well stocked. Popcorn, chocolate, ice cream and numerous bottles of wine. We walked back into the living room and dumped everything on the coffee table. Noah disappeared for a few minutes, but returned with a big fluffy blanket.
Once we sat down though, neither one of us picked up the remote to watch anything.
“I shouldn’t have done that before.” Noah whispered. He put the blanket over us both. “It was wrong.”
“Yeah.” I murmured. “But it’s your job right… making people believe you want them, only to jab them with a stealthy needle at the last second.”
Noah smiled and shook his head. “You’ve watched way too many spy movies. Besides, I didn’t jab you with a needle.”
I raised my eyebrow and gazed down toward his crotch. “Didn’t you?”
Noah’s mouth fell open and he bit back a chuckle. “You’re hilarious.”
“Look it’s fine. Like I said. I get it. I was coming for your work and you wanted to show me it’s every bit as cool as ALIAS makes it out to be, but you know… I was just teasing.”
Noah let his head fall back on the sofa, he turned to face me and bit his lip. “So was I. I didn’t think about it. The way your ex was with you. The pressure. It wasn’t cool of me to do the same, joking or not.”
I smiled and mirrored the way he sat. “You’re a very sweet person.” I murmured. “Just for the record, I didn’t think of Josh or the way he was. Not to inflate your ego or anything… but I uh, might’ve enjoyed the proximity.”
I bit my lip and held back a girlish giggle. I knew Noah was begin genuine, that he truly felt bad about what he’d done. I on the other hand planned to win this odd little game we were playing.
“Really?” He whispered, his eyebrows raised and he lifted his head.
I shrugged and licked my lips. “You’ll never know.”
Noah scoffed and turned away. “I was being serious.” He replied his voice low. I held back a huff and sat up. Guilt flitted through me. I’d won the game, but the cost wasn’t worth the reward.
“I know. I’m sorry.” I replied.
“Movie?” Noah replied.
I shook my head. “Noah, will we be separated?” It had been on my mind upstairs earlier and the thought hadn’t really gone away. I didn’t want to be alone, for who knows how long, and Noah was family.
Noah looked back at me, his eyebrows narrowed and his eyes softened. He swallowed hard before looking down at blanket covering us.
“I don’t know.” He replied finally. “If I have to guess…”
Noah shifted on the sofa, closer to me, he pulled me into him again, only this time it was innocent, comforting and I was grateful for it. His arms wrapped around me and he rest his head against the top of mine.
“If I have to guess, then yeah.” He whispered.
“I was afraid you’d say that.” I mumbled.
Noah muttered something inaudible under his breath then placed his hand under my chin and tilted my head up.
“As much as I’d like to say I won’t let them do that I can’t… Truth is you’re safer the further from me you are.”
I tried not to show emotion, but my attempts were poor. Tears lined my eyes and I struggled to keep them from rolling down the apples of my cheeks. Noah shook his head and released me from his embrace.
“Now you’re realizing it.” He exclaimed. “I asked for this life. I accepted loneliness as a byproduct of the job a long time ago… You didn’t. I’ve fucked up your life.”
Noah stood up and paced the floor, he ran his hands through his hair before walking into the kitchen. I sat there, wondering if there was merit to his words, but I couldn’t connect it all. Yes I was sad, mostly about my mother thinking I was dead when I sat here alive and well… but for the first time in forever I felt alive. It had started at paintball the adrenaline, the fire… and it hadn’t gone out.
I stood up and walked into the kitchen, Noah had a big bottle of scotch and a tumbler in front of him. He poured himself a double, lifted it and sculled it back.
“Do you know that I was valedictorian?” I murmured, leaning against the marble top bench opposite to where Noah stood. He nodded and poured another double.
“I know most things about back home. Whether Dad tells me or not.” He replied. “I keep tabs. So yeah, I knew.”
He lifted the drink and downed the second glass. When he placed it back down I pulled the bottle across the bench top along with the tumbler. I poured myself a drink and lifted the glass to my lips. It smelt smoky and almost medicinal. I drank the liquid the way Noah had, it was bitter and malty, it tasted strong and it warmed as it traveled down my chest. I placed the cup down and slid it back across to a surprised Noah.
“In my speech I told my entire graduating class I planned to live my life to the fullest.” I bit back a laugh. “Except I was full of shit. I have no plans, I enrolled in the papers I did at NYU because I thought it was expected of me, not because I want to do them. I’m the smart girl, I’m meant to have a plan… to know where the next step leads me.”
I shrugged and licked my lips. “But none of it made me feel like I was awake. You know that feeling where your toes tingle, where your heart races… when your eyes line with tears out of fear.”
Noah poured himself a drink.
“Yeah.” he murmured. “I know those feelings.”
“I feel them now.” I replied. “I feel awake. I don’t feel like you’ve fucked up my life Noah… I feel like you’ve made it better… in a weird twisted way.”
Noah lifted the glass and drank the drink quickly. He placed the glass down and shook his head. “If I said you could never see your mother again… would you say the same thing?” He exclaimed. “Because the longer this goes on… and the more you know, the more likely that is going to be the outcome.”
Noah walked out of the kitchen and left me standing there alone. My heart thumped hard and fast against my chest. My eyes filled with tears at the thought of never seeing my Mom again. I hadn’t really let that thought permeate for long in my head. In fact, in the almost 48 hours we’d been gone I hadn’t really entertained the idea. It hurt like a motherfucker to think it was a possible outcome, my stomach churned and twisted and I wanted to scream, but I didn’t blame Noah.
I followed him out, expecting to find him in the living room on the sofa. He wasn’t there though. Our blanket and food stash sat untouched in front of me. I walked up the staircase and down the hallway. There were numerous doors and I wasn’t sure which one Noah was behind.
“I’m going to watch a movie.” I called out. “And eat my weight in junk food. If you’re down… well I still don’t want to be alone. Not tonight.”
I turned and walked back down the stairs. Before I reached the bottom a door opened.
“Can we stop talking about work.” Noah asked, his voice low.
“Yeah.” I replied as I stopped and looked behind me. “I think we can do that.”