Good Girl Page 59

“Finn,” she says, understanding immediately.

I nod.

“What about at the prep school? Did you have friends there?”

I blow out a breath, debating whether it’s better to tell her sort of the truth or avoid the topic altogether. I go with the first option.

“I was lucky enough to find another friend there. The lifelong kind.”

I watch her face as understanding settles in. “Ohhhhh. That’s how you got connected with the Walcotts.”

Noah, you fucking ass. Tell her.

But I can’t. Not when she’s looking at me all trusting and pretty, not when I’m so close to being happy, truly happy, for the first time in so long.

I let myself be selfish.

One more night, I promise myself.

She’ll be gone in a week anyway. I’ve been trying for days not to think of it. Not when we wake up and have coffee in bed together, not when I listen to the soft hum of her voice while I work all day, not when we cook together, or laugh together, or sleep together.

But the thought’s lodged in my head now, and I have to know.

“Are you still going to that movie premiere?” I blurt out.

She pauses in the process of ripping a piece of bread in half before slowly placing it back on her plate. To her credit, Jenny looks me right in the eye when she tells me. “Yes.”

I manage to withhold my wince, but there’s nothing to stop the sharp falling feeling in my stomach. I’m not surprised. I don’t blame her. It’s just a very real reminder of what I’ve known all along:

We’re from two different worlds.

The world Jenny lives in is exactly the one I walked away from Yvonne to avoid. Pretense and black tie and posing for cameras.

No, it’s that tenfold.

Jenny’s music is good. It’s exceptional. She’s going to be nominated for Grammy and CMA Awards for a long time to come. Hell, who knows, she could become one of those Hollywood crossovers, and this premiere could be far from her last.

“Okay,” she says, rubbing her palms together nervously. “I want to ask you something. I mean, I was going to get you drunk first, but then I remembered you’re driving. Anyway, there’s no time like the present. But you have to promise not to freak out, and I swear I won’t hold it against you, and—”

“Princess. Spit it out.”

She takes a deep breath. “I want you to come to the movie premiere with me.”

I freeze with the wineglass at my lips. I put the glass down clumsily, the base of it catching on the bread plate; I barely manage to right it in time. “Sorry?”

“It wouldn’t cost you a penny,” she rushes to say. “I could pay for everything. Your plane ticket. Your transportation to the airport. Your transportation from the airport, your tux, your food, everything.”

I can only stare at her. “You can’t be fucking serious.”

Her eyes cloud at my sharp tone. “I know it’s sudden, and weird.”

“Weird doesn’t begin to explain it. I’ve known you for two fucking months.”

She blinks. “Yes, but—”

“No but,” I snap. “Jenny, where exactly did we cross wires? I’ve been telling you since the very beginning that we can’t be a thing.”

“Yes, but that was before—”

My shock is making me mean, but the brief moment of temptation I felt when she asked makes me meaner. I can’t afford to be led by my cock down a path I don’t want. Not again.

“Before what?” I say, leaning forward. “I haven’t even kissed you. Not really.”

Her shoulders jerk a little at that, and I see her swallow. “I know that. Trust me. I know that.”

You’re an ass. You’re a fucking ass.

“Then what did you think? That I’d want to get on a plane, fly across the country, and be your dress-up doll for the evening?”

“Noah, stop. You can just say no—you don’t have to make it ugly.”

She’s right. She’s absolutely right.

But come on, what the hell is she thinking? I’ve worked so damn hard to keep us on the same page, to make sure neither of us gets attached to something that’s not going to last, and—

She’s crying, and the truth is right there all over her gorgeous, heartbroken face.

I failed. She’s already attached. Jenny Dawson doesn’t just want me as a plaything for this movie premiere. She wants me as her boyfriend for all the premieres.

I take a gulp of wine as I try to figure out how I feel about that.

I can’t figure it out. My chest is tight, my throat is tight, I want to—


I freeze.

Holy. Shit.

I turn around slowly, willing the voice to belong to someone else. Anyone else.

Anyone other than my ex-fiancée.

Who’s staring—no, glaring—at Jenny.

“What is this?” Yvonne asks. “Preston, who is this?”

“Preston?” Jenny asks, giving me a bewildered look. There’s no accusation there, which makes me realize she thinks Yvonne is the one who’s mistaken. I feel my heart crack in two at her blind trust.

Trust I don’t deserve.

“I’m Jen,” Jenny says with a little smile, clearly wanting to smooth things over with a riled-looking Yvonne. She starts to lift a hand to her wig before catching herself and extending it to Yvonne. “And you are…?”

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