Page 18 of Make You Mine

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“No. These were either going to get eaten by my brother and his friends or tossed. So take them.”

Isaac hesitated.

Noah set the box down firmly in front of the worried man and looked him in the eye. “I know you love those two, and they love you. Liam will forgive you without cupcakes, but chocolate never hurts.”

Isaac swallowed thickly. “You’re nice, but I feel guilty.”

At that, Noah couldn’t help his laugh. “Most people wouldn’t agree with you about the nice thing. But I like you guys, and I’m happy to help. I wasn’t going to sell these anyway. There’s not enough of them, and Adam is too busy this week to bake more.”

Isaac worried his bottom lip between his teeth. “If you’re sure…”

Noah gave him a firm nod. “Of course I am. Will’s been hanging out here a lot, so I’d prefer him in a good mood.”

Isaac calmed down considerably, and though it took effort to get him out of the shop, eventually Noah was able to lock back up, set his closed sign, and turn the lights out. He was going to have to get up long before dawn to make up for the morning prep he was missing for this dinner, but the man waiting upstairs for him—he was pretty sure—was totally worth it.

* * *

Noah trudgedup the steps one at a time in order to delay having to face that Adriano Moretti was in his apartment, and his brain flitted between trying to scrape together his mediocre cooking skills and calling for delivery. The last thing in the world he wanted to do was offer the man pizza, but the thought of showing off his subpar omelet skills made him feel like the floor was falling under his feet.

“Get it together, Noah,” he hissed at himself as he reached for the door handle.

Inside, the apartment was almost totally silent save for some sort of low murmur in the back room. Adriano was nowhere to be found, but his small dog—Jude—was sitting on the floor at the foot of the sofa while Marshmallow perched on the top, staring unamused at the interloper.

“Be nice,” Noah warned the cat before he set his keys and phone down, then went in search of his guest. As he slipped down the short hall, the sound got a little louder, and it only took a second for him to recognize what it was.

In all fairness, Noah hadn’t expected the star of the fucking movie to be in his home, and he also hadn’t expected that stranger to make himself comfortable in his bedroom with his porn. All the same, Noah blushed so hard he felt dizzy, and his hands shook as he threw his bedroom door open and found Adriano standing over his laptop, arms crossed over his large chest.

Adriano didn’t notice Noah had come in right away, and Noah had no idea how to alert him without fainting out of sheer mortification. The laptop’s screen was small but not small enough to conceal the image of Adriano as Sylent, holding a man in bondage as he pounded his ass.

“Fuck. Fuck mylife,” Noah hissed. He took another step in, and the vibrations must have been enough because Adriano looked over his shoulder, his mouth spread in acat who ate the canarysort of grin. “Um,” Noah said.

‘You’re a fan,’ Adriano signed.

Noah swallowed heavily, and he knew his humiliation was written all over his face. ‘Ididtweet your pseudonym account.’ He was on the cusp of defensive, and he knew when he got defensive, he got mean, and that was the last thing he wanted with Adriano.

After a beat, Adriano’s long arm stretched out, and he flipped the computer shut. Noah’s breath of relief was short lived because only a second later, Adriano had closed the distance between them. Noah took involuntary steps backward, hitting the wall, but Adriano didn’t seem to mind.

‘You like my work?’

A thousand responses flitted through Noah’s head from a simple, ‘B’ezrat Hashem, yes,’ to a lie like, ‘I find porn disgusting, and I was praying for you.’

None of that came out. He just let out a single whimper and a nod.

Adriano’s smile turned a little dark. ‘I like you.’

Noah laughed. He didn’t mean to. He didn’t even really think it was funny. Just the idea that someone like Adriano Moretti—Sylent, the adult-film star, who could have literally any man he wanted—thought he was worth anything had to be a joke. His stomach twisted because what if it was?

He didn’t think Adriano was cruel, but…

His thoughts fled as Adriano’s large hand touched his face, and when Noah found the courage to look up, Adriano’s eyes had gone soft. “I’m sorry,” Adriano said aloud, and Noah jolted from the sound. “I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”

Noah swallowed past the lump in his throat, then shook his head. He wanted to sign, but Adriano had crowded in so close it wasn’t possible. “I didn’t want you to see that. I feel like a freak.”

“A freak?” Adriano clarified, and Noah nodded. Adriano’s brows flew up toward his hairline. “You think making porn means I’m a freak?”

“No!” Noah burst out, then turned his face away for a second to gather his breath. “No,” he said again when he turned back. “I mean me.” He patted his chest for emphasis.

Adriano took a step back to give himself signing space. ‘You’re not a freak because you like to orgasm.’