Kit was still floating in a dream world midmorning the next day. She’d always known she’d enjoy getting physical with Noah, but she’d never imagined that. It hadn’t just been the orgasms. Those were incredible, her body yet buzzed from them. No, what she’d loved the most had been all the unexpected “romantic bullshit” afterward.
Just lying tangled up with Noah while they kissed and laughed and talked.
They’d done that after the second time too, and she’d fallen asleep to the feel of his kiss against her shoulder as he spooned her.
The fact he’d slept the night through was the cherry on top of the entire thing. “Careful, Kit,” she murmured to herself. “One night doesn’t fix everything.” What had happened to Noah couldn’t be so easily overcome. It was a scar on his soul, and the two of them would have to learn to deal with it day by day. But—she smiled—it looked like there were going to be a lot of good days mixed in with the bad.
Startled from her happy thoughts by the sound of the intercom, she answered it to find Butch on the other end. “What is it, Butch?” If she had a visitor other than a friend, she’d have to change quickly out of the old cutoffs she was wearing with a sleeveless amber-colored top.
“Your friend, the makeup artist with the blue hair, is here. I figured you’d want her sent up, right?”
“Yes, thanks.” Hanging up, she finished putting her hair in a ponytail and went to the front door to open it. She waved to Becca when the other woman stepped out of a red sports car of the same model as Kit’s black one.
“I didn’t expect to see you today,” Kit said, happy for the company. Noah had gone out to pick up a purchase, and she wasn’t meeting Harper and Thea till this afternoon. “Aren’t you at a shoot today?”
“I’m on break. I had to bring you something!” Becca ran over on high-heeled black boots. She’d paired the boots with a short and tight black skirt, her top a fitted white tee over which she’d thrown a fake fur vest in black with sparkles. On her head was a jaunty hat also in black.
Reaching Kit, she opened her hand.
Gold glinted in the sunlight.
“My necklace!” Kit picked it up. “Oh my God, where did you find it?” A rare, thoughtful gift from her father, Kit had cherished the fine necklace with its diamond pendant in the shape of the comedy and tragedy masks that symbolized the dramatic arts. She’d lost it after forgetting to leave it at home one day, had believed it stolen.
It was the necklace for which her stalker had sent her a “replacement.”
“It was in a corner of the makeup trailer I’m in for this movie—same trailer as with the superhero flick,” Becca said. “I realized that’s where I always put my makeup kit after I worked on you in your trailer between takes. My best guess is that the necklace fell into it and then fell out when I opened the kit.”
“I’m just glad you found it.” Hugging the other woman, she invited her in.
Kit smiled. Clearly the Noah-Becca relationship would require more work. “Yes. Noah’s gone to pick up a guitar he just bought.” He had an ever-expanding collection—a large part of which was now housed in one of her formerly spare rooms, and the thing was, he used them all.
“These were made to create music,” he’d said to her once. “Not to be hung up in a museum or a rich man’s showroom.”
“Let me grab my purse and phone.” Becca zipped back to the car before coming into the house.
Leading her to the kitchen, Kit set the coffee to brewing, then used the shining brushed steel of the fridge as a mirror to put on the necklace. As she did, she thought back to the day it had gone missing and remembered that she’d been extra careful. Not wanting to lose it, she’d put it in a little toiletries bag, which she’d then placed in a cupboard built into the wall.
It didn’t have a lock, but since the cupboard otherwise held light snacks, she hadn’t thought anyone would bother to search there, even if they got into the trailer.
“Hmm,” she said to Becca. “I don’t think this fell into your makeup kit.”
Her friend froze in the act of eating a cookie she’d grabbed out of the jar on the counter. “You don’t think I took it?”
“No, oh my God. Of course not!” Kit was horrified Becca would believe that even for a second. “I was thinking that whoever stole it might have stashed it in the makeup trailer since there’s always so much traffic there and, for some reason, couldn’t come back.”
“Yeah, could be. We did have a lot of new people on that movie.” Becca smiled. “So how’s the whole stalker deal? Still creepy?”
“It sounds so old-fashioned, but having Noah here really helps.” Kit felt her heart just grow big and hot inside her chest at the touch of his name on her lips. “He makes me feel safe. I know the stalker won’t try anything while Noah’s around.”
“Wow, lot of faith in a guitar player.”
“He’s far more than that,” Kit said, walking over to check on the coffee. “Just give him a chance.”
A shrug. “Sorry. I’m always going to think you deserve better.”
Kit didn’t want to have this conversation again, and this time she decided to be honest with her friend. “Don’t do that, Becca. Don’t put him down.” She knew Noah would never allow anyone to bad-mouth her in front of him, and she hated hearing Becca do that to him. “I love him, and he’s going to be a part of my life.”
“So I should get with the program or get out?” The other woman put down the cookie and got off the breakfast stool. “I expected better from you than that you’d be one of those women who ditches her friends once she has a new cock.”
“Becca.” Shocked by the vitriol, Kit came around the counter. “Why would you even say that? We’ve been hanging out just as much as always. You know I cherish my friends.”
The other woman folded her arms. “I know you used to talk to me about the stalker and your contracts and how much this house was sucking your income and all that real stuff. I was the one who helped you when the stalker first appeared. I was the one who held your hand when you made the first police report.” Becca’s cheeks were red, her breath quick and harsh. “Now you tell Noah everything and treat me like nothing.”
“That’s not fair.” Kit waved her hand in a wide gesture, accidentally hitting the small glass bowl in which she kept her keys. It went to the floor, shattered, her keys falling out. She didn’t stop to pick them up. “We spoke so much because we were together on set every day.” First on Primrose Avenue, then later on Last Flight and the superhero movie. “Of course we see less of each other now that we’re working on different projects. That doesn’t mean we’re not friends.”
Becca shrugged off her hand when Kit would’ve put it on her shoulder. “He’s a whore, Kit and you’re a whore for sleeping with him.”
Flinching, Kit stepped back. “That’s enough.” It was far beyond anything a friend should ever say. “I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but I think you should go before you destroy our friendship.”
“Don’t call me the next time the stalker leaves a gift in your car. Personally, I think he’s wasting elegant Florentina Chastain chocolates on a woman who thinks Noah St. John is a good catch.”
Furious, Kit was about to physically throw Becca out when her blood ran cold. No one but Kit, Noah, Butch, and the police detective handling her stalking case knew about the chocolates.
Even if she was misremembering, she knew she wouldn’t have said the name of the chocolatier to anyone—she hadn’t even opened the package at the time. It was only forty-eight hours ago that the detective had mentioned the name in a call to her. He’d been checking if maybe she’d had any contact with that particular store, or if any of the employees were familiar to her.
“How do you know about the chocolates?” she asked Becca, a sick, heavy feeling in her gut.
When Becca’s expression went white, her lips not moving, Kit lifted a hand to her mouth. “Why would you do that?” It came out a shaken whisper. “Why would you help some creep terrorize me?” The two of them had been friends forever, had trusted one another with so many of their secrets and dreams. “Why, Becca?”
Becca didn’t answer, just reached into her purse and pulled out a small, sleek gun. Kit stared at it. Of course the security guards wouldn’t have thought to search her. She was Kit’s good friend, had often come to the house… when she could’ve left a door ajar or a window open for later access. Not here, not with the alarms, but back at the town house, where the stalking had first begun.
“I don’t want to kill you,” Becca said in a voice that held anger and panic both. “I never wanted to hurt you.”
“Then why did you bring the gun?” Kit felt as if she were looking at the world through a freeze-frame, everything hanging in time. “Why are you pointing it at me?”
“The gun’s for him, for that fucking whore who made you so cheap.” Becca’s pitch was high and sharp, but her hands didn’t tremble. “You’re my friend. Mine. He’s got no right to you.”
Kit suddenly remembered how someone had wrecked Schoolboy Choir’s dressing room a couple of years ago when they’d done a set as part of a charity concert. The guys had figured it was a drunk fellow musician, but Becca had been backstage at that concert, acting as makeup artist for a soloist.
Kit put that incident together with Cody’s slashed tires the night of the wrap party, the dog feces that had been thrown at the house of a female director with whom Kit had begun a friendship before the director moved to work on a project in Europe, as well as the way Becca was always busy when Kit invited her to join Kit, Molly, and Thea for coffee or lunch, and knew the police, everyone, they’d been wrong.
The stalking had nothing to do with sex or physical attraction. It had to do with a pathological kind of friendship on Becca’s part. If Kit was right, Becca hadn’t been helping a male partner—this was too personal. That meant the sexual part of the stalking had been window dressing meant to hide Becca’s gender and true aim: to be Kit’s one and only friend.
“Where did you get the semen to smear on my bedspread?” It had been done literally a minute before Kit walked into the house, on dark blue sheets that would’ve made the stain obvious, even if the stalker hadn’t left a card next to it.
Becca had been in the town house the day before, seen the sheets, could’ve easily broken the lock on the window through which the stalker was found to have entered. As for the timing, Becca had been texting with Kit as Kit walked home from the party she’d been at that night—a party which Becca had left earlier on some excuse Kit couldn’t now remember. Kit had told her she’d be home in five minutes if Becca wanted to drop by.
Now the smaller woman shrugged. “Saved the condom from a wannabe actor I fucked who has a thing for you.” A small smile. “He did me because he thought it would get him close to you. I figured he’d make a good fall guy if the DNA was ever traced—the dipshit even has a poster of you on his wall. Smoking gun, right?”
That was when Kit realized just how deep this went, how much planning had been involved. “You must really care about me,” she said, playing to Becca’s pathology though terror threatened to freeze her to the spot. “Not many people care in this industry.”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.” Becca dashed away a tear. “I’m the one who’s always looked after you. I made you beautiful on Primrose Avenue, then made you perfect for Last Flight. You would’ve never gotten that Oscar nod without me, but did I ever crow? No. I was happy for my friend. I wanted the best for you.”
“I know. I understand.” In truth, Kit was the one who’d recommended Becca to the Last Flight crew, and from that credit had flowed other work offers for the makeup artist.
Becca smiled shakily. “Good. I don’t want to lose our friendship over this. Once I get rid of Noah, we can go back to how it was.”
She waved the gun as Kit’s entire soul screamed. “Let’s go sit in the living room and wait for him. We’ll drive out and bury the body in the desert and you can say he got drugged to the eyeballs and ran off with a groupie.” A sudden frown. “Don’t scream or I’ll shoot you. Your bodyguards are too far away anyway.”
Kit decided she would scream, but she’d wait until Noah was back. She would not let Becca hurt the man she loved more than anything.