When he got to the end of the harbor, the rocky terrain cut him off. He could go for a hike straight up the rock bluffs, or he could go for a swim in the choppy water.
Or he could head back.
It took him a good long time to decide, but he was pissed off, not suicidal. So he headed back. All too quickly he was staring up at the dock. At their boat. At the two guys sitting at the top of the stairs from the beach to the dock waiting for him.
Suddenly Cole was glad it was so damn cold. He hoped they’d frozen their balls off. Taking every other stair, he walked past them without a word.
“Ah, come on,” Tanner said to his back. “You’re the level-headed one. You know why we didn’t tell you.”
“Because you’re assholes?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Sam said. “I know that’s how it looks, but— Christ, will you stop walking?”
No. No, he wouldn’t. And when he heard their footsteps signaling they were following him, he spun around.
And nearly fell over.
Note to self: Getting too old for a bottle of Jameson.
“We need to talk,” Sam said.
“That time came and went.” Cole held their gazes hard, and he knew his message was received when they both took on a frustrated expression.
Not giving a shit, Cole turned—more carefully this time—and hightailed it out of there.
He had no idea where he was going, of course. None. Used to be when he was a train wreck, he’d go to Sam and Tanner.
The cold night coupled with the alcohol had his chest tightening painfully. Or maybe that was because the numbness had worn off. He wanted oblivion. He wanted warmth.
He wanted…to be wanted.
And suddenly he knew exactly where he was going.
Olivia was locked in a dream, one she hadn’t had in a very long time. She was sitting on the set of Not Again, Hailey!, her hair being brushed by a grumpy hairdresser, listening to the director and producer argue over her clothing.
“She’s getting fat,” the producer whispered, except that the people in China could’ve heard him. “Someone needs to cut her off from the craft services.”
“Shh!” the director hissed. “Don’t let anyone hear you say that; we’ll get sued. Jesus. Just dress her in layers or something, and I’ll work the lighting and angles.”
I’m not fat! Olivia tried to yell this, but her mouth wouldn’t open. She looked down at herself. She was what, turning sixteen? She’d just gotten boobs and okay, so her belly wasn’t concave any longer and she’d developed hips. It was hard for her to deal with it; she didn’t need it spelled out.
It’d been bad enough when she’d gotten her period that last summer. Everyone on the entire set had been privy to the information, all of them panicked because now that she wasn’t a petite little girl anymore, the show would change.
How was she to possibly have avoided puberty?
The director knocked on the producer’s forehead. “Hello? You in there?”
“Hey,” Olivia said, and…sat up.
She’d been dreaming.
She knew why, too. It was because she needed to face Cole and be honest. She looked at the clock on her nightstand. One a.m.
The knock came again, and she realized that someone was really at her door. She slipped out of bed, bent low to grab the baseball bat she kept under her mattress, and padded to the door. One look out the peephole had her sucking in a breath and undoing the chain, dead bolt, and lock to pull open the door.
Cole was arms up, hands flat on the doorjamb above him. He didn’t speak, didn’t move except to lift his head and look at her.
His eyes were hollow, his mouth grim.
“Are you…okay?” she asked.
He gave one slow shake of his head, put a hand low on her belly, and nudged her backward so that he could take a step inside.
Then he shut and relocked the door.
Guess he was staying.
He turned back to her and took in her appearance, the corners of his mouth tipping up very slightly. Maybe it was her hair, which probably resembled a squirrel’s tail. But it could’ve just as easily been the baseball bat or her Superman PJs—a blue tank top with a red-and-yellow S on the chest and red boxers. She’d seen them at Target and knew she had to have them.
“Supergirl,” he said, but there was something off in his voice.
She cupped his rough jaw, frowning at the expression on his face.
Or the utter lack thereof. He was blank, like he was feeling too much to let it out. Her heart cracked for him, this man she hadn’t meant to care for but did.
So very much. “What’s wrong, Cole?”
Reaching out, he took the bat from her and tossed it aside. Then he put his hands on her hips and backed her up again, until she bumped into the couch.
And then fell onto it.
“Feeling frisky?” she asked breathlessly.
He dropped to his knees, spread her legs, and pulled her flush to him.
Well, he was feeling something. “Cole—”
He shook his head, his body tension-filled, hard as rock.
He was also warm, almost too hot. And then there was the scent of alcohol. “Are you…drunk?” she asked.
“Not as much as I’d like to be.”
Planting his hands on either side of her hips, caging her in, he leaned close and covered her mouth with his.