Trashed / Page 52

Page 52


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“It’s a short-term rental. Just while I’m here filming.”

I decide to bite the bullet. I take a seat in the corner of the couch, curling my legs under me. Adam sits on the opposite corner, facing me. “Adam? Why are you here? Why am I here? How did you find me?”

He takes a moment to think before answering, which is a quality I admire in him. “I’m filming a movie here. I’ll be in Detroit for two months.”

“So how did you find me?”

“Were you hiding?” he asks. I start to answer, and he holds up a hand to forestall me. “It was totally accidental. I thought you were in New York. Ruth told me you moved there to be a model. Anyway, we were cutting a scene, and I needed to get out for a walk. I just ended up at Wayne State. I don’t know how. I was just watching the students leave after a class and…thinking about you, honestly, and there you were.”

“Adam, I—”

“Why didn’t you call?”

I don’t know how to answer. “I just…couldn’t. What would I say? Would you have come to New York? Yeah, you probably would have. But for what? For how long?”

He stares at me for a moment, his eyes narrow in thought, and then he looks away. He puts a palm to his ribs and massages gently, wincing. Finally, he looks back at me. “Why do you seem so dead-set on insisting this couldn’t work?”

“What couldn’t work, Adam?”

He waves between him and me. “There’s something here, Des. Between us. There is, and I know you know there is. You’re just scared. Of what, I’m not sure.”

“Of what? Of everything.”

“Why?”

I let out a breath. “Because that’s what life has taught me.” I close my eyes briefly. “I don’t trust anyone. I don’t know how. My capacity for trust got broken a long fucking time ago.”

Adam’s face softens, and he just looks at me in silence for several moments. And then he gets up, goes into the kitchen, and pulls two bottles of beer out of the fridge and a bag of pretzels from a cabinet. He twists the caps off the beers and returns to the couch, setting the pretzels on the coffee table between us. He takes a long drink of his beer, chews some pretzels, and drinks again. I do the same, and then Adam is somehow closer to me, his thigh brushing the foot I’ve got tucked under my butt.

He looks at me, and I can see him sorting out his thoughts, his words. “Des, I almost don’t even know where to go with that.” Another swig. “I know I promised you last time that I wouldn’t ask any questions. Well, I’m breaking that promise. Here’s what it is, Des: I like you. I’ve missed you. God, we spent less than forty-eight hours together, and I just can’t forget you. I’ve tried. I mean, fuck, it’s been what, six months? And I can’t get you out of my head. I can’t get that night out of my head. Two days out of a hundred and eighty, and I can’t stop thinking about it. About you. And just so you know now, there’s been no one else since then.

“I’m going to give you a choice. If you have any sort of feelings for me at all, then you’ll take a chance. On me. On us. On whatever this is, whatever it can be. That means telling me shit about yourself. Answering questions. Volunteering information. I mean, it’s not like I’m expecting your whole life story in one sitting, or all your deepest, darkest secrets right here right now. But something. Take a chance, Des.” He pauses, drinks, sets the bottle down. “Or if you can’t do that, or won’t, then tell me. I’ll have Oliver take you home, and you’ll never see me again.”

Everything inside me clenches. My flight reflex is burning at me. Don’t trust him, part of me screams. You can’t. He’ll hurt you. He’ll betray you. Everyone else has and everyone else will, and you know it.

But the other part of me argues back. No, not everyone. Ruth hasn’t. Adam may not.

Adam takes my silence as hesitation. He takes my beer from me and sets it down. Grabs my hands and sits angled toward me, as close as he can get. “You can’t go your whole life alone, Des. You have to trust someone, sometime. Start with me.” He leans even closer, whispering. “You can trust me.”

Fight-or-flight wars with my loneliness, my desire for Adam. I blink hard. “Why do you want this?”

“Because I’ve never met anyone like you. And to be totally honest, I’m not sure I can even quantify exactly what it is about you. I mean, I don’t know anything about you. But I’m drawn to you, intensely attracted to you, and I want to know more. Find out more.” He pauses again, and then squeezes my hand. “How about this: ask me anything. I’ll answer any question you ask me.”

“What happened between you and Emma Hayes?” I ask.

He winces. “Wow. Straight for the jugular. In that case, I’m going to need another beer.” He gets up, grabs two more, and I use the opportunity to straighten my legs out and prop them on the coffee table. He sits beside me, grabs my ankles, and pivots me so my legs lay across his thighs. “So, me and Emma. We met filming Blood Alchemy. We had a kiss scene in that movie, one of only two or three I’d ever done. Typically not my thing. But it was in that movie, and we just…clicked. The kiss was good, I guess. I mean, when you do a scene like that, there’s usually like at least six or eight takes, sometimes more. The director wants a variety of angles and different elements, whatever. So it wasn’t just one kiss, bam, done. We were on set, kissing in front of dozens of people, cameras rolling, Mike Helms yelling instructions at us and telling us to ‘feel it more’. And like I said, we just…clicked. So after we wrapped, we went out on a few dates. That turned into a month, two, three. We got along. Similar interests, I guess. She grew up with brothers, so she could talk football, and we’d both gotten into acting from an odd direction, you know? She was a makeup artist at first. Then an extra got sick and they didn’t have time to do an extras casting call, so they put her in. She could do the makeup on herself, and since the role needed heavy makeup effects, that was helpful. Turns out she could actually act, so the director tapped her for a supporting role in his next project. Grew from there. Whatever.”

He takes a moment to gather his thoughts, then continues. “I’d had a few casual relationships here and there, right? Girls in high school, some brief flings in college and when I played ball. Nothing serious. Not till Emma. I was always so focused on football and then acting, and I just…never cared about anyone very seriously. It was all just fun. But Emma was different, to me. I thought I loved her, okay? I really did. She was gorgeous and talented and a lot of fun. We dated for a year and a half. We visited each other on set, went on a couple short vacations together.


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