Page 15 of Make You Mine

Font Size:  

Noah: you should come to Savannah. Sea air will do you good.

Noah: I’m kidding, you don’t need to show here. You’d be mobbed.

Adriano: if it mean seeing u, would b worth it.

He set his phone aside, then opened up his maps and tracked the journey from Santa Monica to Savannah. His eyes widened when he saw three damn days without any real stops—an impossible drive but an easy flight. But he didn’t think he’d go unnoticed at the airport, and a part of him thrummed with the possibility of a road trip.

He could make it if he pushed himself. With food stops, bathroom breaks, and walking Jude, it would be almost thirty-five hours, but it wasn’t like he hadn’t done it before. He’d road tripped with friends and slept in back seats and eaten shitty roadside diner burgers. Once upon a time, his routine didn’t depend on protein shakes and hours on the treadmill.

He didn’t realize the decision was made until Jude licked his face. “Road trip,” he said aloud to the pup.

Jude licked his nose again, and Adriano smiled.

Easing the dog to the side, Adriano rolled off the bed and began packing without thought. After all, he had nowhere to be. Anthony would take weeks to sort out the issue with Xander, and chances were high Xander would win. So why stick around for nothing? Why subject himself to the constant fear that Eric might come looking for him.

No, he needed this. Even if Noah was just being polite and didn’t want to see him at all, it would be worth it. He zipped up his case, then grabbed Jude’s travel crate, his leash, and his supplies. It took him three trips to fill up the car, but an hour after his decision was made, he was behind the wheel.

Noah: flattery will get you nowhere.

Adriano: lol I guess we’ll c.

He sent a smiley face, then a heart, then threw his phone onto the seat next to Jude and turned the car on. It rumbled to life beneath him, his foot hit the gas, and then—without another thought—he was on his way.

* * *

Adriano had never been soexhausted in his life by the time he pulled up to the Airbnb closest to the bakery. Most of the hotels in the downtown area were fully booked since tourist season was in full swing, but the historic house with the two apartments for rent had offered him not just a room but a discount.

He knew he looked a mess as he stepped out onto the pavement and stretched his back. He’d caught a few hours of sleep at truck stops, then he’d pushed it all the way to the coast.

He thought he was going to fall asleep at the wheel, but as he twisted and turned through the dawn-lit roads that wound around the tall trees, he found he had a second wind. Savannah itself had a timeless, historic feel to it. Adriano had traveled enough that he could easily compare it to little Dutch cities that were forgotten in time, and he liked it.

In spite of the old-world buildings, it was modern enough, and he passed by a couple of parked food trucks and a fire station. There were school zone crossings, which were just starting to flash when the clock hit seven thirty, and a couple of gas stations along the way.

He tucked Jude into his carrier before grabbing his suitcases, knowing the poor dog needed some time to exercise after being stuck in the car. But everything hurt, and he wanted to sleep for a year. The other half of him, though, wanted to comb the town for Noah, but he found himself wanting to make a good impression. It was bad enough he’d rolled into town with no notice like some kind of stalker, and he damn well knew celebrity status didn’t give him that right.

A shower would help, and actual food. He just had to pray he didn’t have to deal with any assholes who balked at using his phone app. He had his standard reply waiting for him that he never erased—do you speak ASL. For every two dozen people who said no, one said yes, so it was always worth it.

He didn’t have a lot of hope for a small town like this, though. He already felt like an outsider with his sports car, small dog, and designer shades and the fact that he probably looked like some reality TV star coming off a coke binge. Places like this boasted little old ladies knitting in rocking chairs. They boasted adorable, freckle-faced Jewish bakers that he could fluster with a single text.

Letting Jude down, Adriano glanced around at the little space. It was a two-story building with a narrow staircase that barely fit his shoulders, but it was warm. The ad had warned him about how the street was loud, and he placed his palm on the frame next to the front door, and sure enough, he felt the rumble of a car passing by.

Deaf gain, he thought to himself as he grabbed his case and began the climb up the stairs. He looked behind him to make sure Jude was following, then he tossed everything into the bedroom. It was cozy and small, but the bed was big enough for two, and he tried not to think about the implications of what that could mean.

He didn’t want to hope anything about Noah, despite the fact that he swore his heart was beating out the rhythm of the man’s name whenever he thought about him. Adriano had definitely touched himself more than once after getting off a long texting session with Noah. He’d watch the video he sent—those long fingers and perfunctory signs like he’d learned them all in a classroom.

He’d stare at Noah’s face and try desperately to remember where he knew him from, but in the end, it didn’t matter.

He was there now. He was across the damn country as far away from his piece of shit ex as he could get without leaving the States. He knew it wouldn’t solve his problems, but it brought him closer to something resembling peace, and that would have to be enough.

Staring at the bed, he turned back to Jude. ‘Up,’ he signed.

The dog obeyed and quickly got comfortable against one of the pillows. A short nap would have to do, then he could take a quick walk just a block down and see if maybe—just maybe—he really had made the right decision.


Noah stareddown at the flyer, then back up at the man standing at the counter, and he knew instantly he wasn’t going to be able to tell Fitz’s soft doe eyes and pouting mouth no. He knew Fitz was turning on the charm. That’s what he did. Noah had known Fitz for as long as he’d been in Savannah. During his brief stint in the Scouts, Fitz and his best friend, Ronan, had ruled the roost. They weren’t mean, just loud and a little too boisterous about trying to include Noah in their activities.

They were some of the few who hadn’t mocked Noah about his accent or his very apparent anxiety, but they never quite made him feel welcome either. Bubbe had let him quit, though, long before a fire almost killed Fitz on a camping trip. Noah hadn’t seen him for months after that, and when he finally got back to school, he was quieter.