Page 63 of Make You Mine

Font Size:  

Adam grinned. “Love.” He winked, then turned on his heel and walked off.

Noah stood there like a fool for far too long before remembering he had to close up shop. He checked his phone and found a text from Adriano saying the lines were impossibly long, but he really wanted pizzas from Enzo’s truck, so he was going to wait. Noah shot back a thumbs-up emoji, then began to pack everything up.

He was lost in his thoughts when he heard someone knock on the table, and Noah lifted his head, his eyes going wide in surprise because he most definitely recognized the man standing in front of him. He’d followed him online for years, enjoyed his videos for years.

He’d even hoped for the best when the guy swore he was madly in love with Adriano.

“Hi,” he offered. Eric was as pretty as ever and smaller in person than he seemed in his selfies with Adriano. He was lithe and thin but well defined in his tight designer shirt and jeans. He had sunglasses on his head, pushing his hair back, and his smile was straight, and white, and perfect. “You’re not sold out, are you?”

Noah licked his lips. “Um. Yes, actually. Sorry. My brother has a truck down the road, though, if you…”

“The latke place?” he asked. “I saw it, but everyone was talking about your doughnut thingies.”

Noah’s guts were twisting in on themselves. “Ah. Sorry…”

“You don’t need to be shy,” Eric said. He splayed long fingers over the table and leaned forward. “You can’t hook Adriano by playing coy. That’s not his thing.”

Fear and confusion rippled up his spine. “Are you looking for him? Does he even know you’re here?”

Eric’s smile went wider. “So youdoknow who I am.”

Noah shrugged. “I guess so.”

Eric gave him a calculating look, then lifted his hands and began to sign so swiftly Noah had no hope of following. He caught a few words here and there—week…not pretty…last night…mine. But nothing else. When it was obvious Noah couldn’t follow, Eric sighed and shook his head, his face full of pity. “So that’s a no on Deaf speed?”

Noah felt like collapsing in on himself. Adriano had never once made him feel like his signing wasn’t good enough or fluent enough, even if he knew it wasn’t perfect. He never felt like there was a barrier, but now…

“I mean, of course he doesn’t care with his flavor of the week. It’s not important since this isn’t long-term,” Eric said with a laugh. Noah’s eyes went wide, and Eric shot him a look of pity again. “You know that’s what this is, right? He does this every fucking time we break up. God, he took this little twink model who didn’t know his ABCs to the Caribbean a couple years ago when I threatened to move out. Spent a month making that boy’s dreams come true before he came home. He’ssucha diva.”

And, well…that wasn’t a lie. Noah had known that about Adriano since before they met. He’d seen the pictures on Twitter, had watched a couple of videos. But Adriano hadn’t looked at that guy the way he looked at Noah. He needed to believe that, even if his resolve was slowly cracking. “I’m not going to speak on his behalf, but it seems weird that you’re here a few days after posting your engagement on Twitter. To his agent.”

Eric drew his bottom lip between his teeth. “Adriano and I are both impulsive, and we can both get a little mean. He knows it’s not serious.”

“Does he?” Noah asked.

At that, Eric laughed. “When he got home from his little island getaway, he bought me a Porsche, sweetie. Then he sucked my dick until I cried, told me I was the most beautiful man he had ever seen, andbeggedme never to leave him again. It’s just…our thing. It’s not personal. You seem really nice, and this whole thing is so unfair. He shouldn’t dick you around like this.”

Maybe if Noah was a better person—or less anxious, or if he had managed to start therapy sooner—none of what Eric was saying would have mattered. But the guy was smart, and maybe…God, maybe he wasright. Maybe this was all some sort of game for Adriano to make himself feel better until Eric apologized.

It’s not like Noah had anything on the guy. It was obvious that between them, Eric was Swarovski crystal, and Noah was a dandelion growing between spaces in the sidewalk. Eric was rich, and beautiful, and he understood the world Adriano lived in. And he spoke his language better than Noah could hope to. He felt like such an idiot.

“Adriano’s getting pizza,” he heard himself say, startled that it wasn’t obvious in his tone that this man had taken an atom bomb to is entire life. “If you really think he’s interested in hearing your apology, you can go find him.”

Eric lifted a brow. “He can’t hear it. He’s Deaf.”

Noah snorted before grabbing his keys and backing up. “If you think ears are the only thing used to hear what people are saying, you have a lot to learn. It was nice to meet you, Eric. I hope you enjoy the market.”

He didn’t text Adriano after that, he didn’t look up, he didn’t run, he didn’t stop. He just walked. He walked until he reached his car, and then he drove. He made his way into his apartment, and locked the door, and managed to reach the sofa as Marshmallow found him and curled up in his arms.

He didn’t cry, despite the way it felt like he’d been flayed open. If he closed his eyes, he knew he’d picture Eric approaching Adriano—the fight, their hands flying, the passion simmering between them.

And Adriano would hold Eric the way he’d held Noah, wouldn’t he? And he’d kiss him the same. He’d forgive him. He’d go home.


His phone buzzed, so he turned it off.

He didn’t really know what Adriano was going to do, but at the moment, he wasn’t brave enough to ask. It was easier to close his eyes, hold his cat tight, and wait for the world to pass him by.