Take Two (Page 29)

Take Two (Lights, Camera #1)(29)
Author: Laurelin Paige

“When? When you f**ked with my focuses?”

Even though she didn’t look directly at him, he felt the daggers in her eyes. She had been mad last night too, but then they had kissed and so much more—didn’t that mean anything?

“Did you really think that groping me against your trailer changed that you pretty nearly lost me my job?”

Shit, did she just read his mind? Truth was he’d hoped that kiss changed everything. Obviously not. He had to come clean. “Okay.” He spoke in short sentences, the only way he could speak as they climbed the mountain. “I missed my mark.”

“On purpose?”

He didn’t do it on purpose, at first. It was dark and he was distracted, as usual, by Maddie, who was ignoring him. So missing it was a natural mistake. But after that… He lowered his eyes. “Yes. I missed it on purpose.” There. He’d confessed. Why was that so hard? She already knew. “I’m sorry.”

She stopped running, her ponytail hitting her in the face as she spun on him. “You’re sorry?” She stepped toward him, hands balled at her hips. “That’s all you have to say?”

He raised his brows. “I’m very sorry?”

She whipped away from him and started walking up the mountain road. “You’re such an ass. You ask me to respect your career but you can’t respect mine?”

Man, she was hot when she was angry. Hotter than anyone had a right to look.

He followed her, grateful for the easier pace. “I know, I know. It was shitty.”

She didn’t speak and he felt helpless in her silence. He wished to God he could take back his actions, wished he could go back to—to what? Avoiding her? Ignoring her? Chasing her?

He’d been a shit to her all around. He removed his glasses and hung them on his shirt. “I’m really very sorry,” he said softly.

She glared at him sideways. “Why?”

He creased his brow. “Why am I sorry?”

“Why did you do it?” She swallowed and he suspected she was choking back a sob. “That was one of the absolute meanest things anyone’s ever done to me.”

His heart dove into his stomach. He could deal with her anger, but her pain tore him to pieces. “I know. God, Maddie, I know.” He ran his hand through his hair, trying to divert the frustration at himself into the action. He had hurt her. Fuck! Hurt her bad.

He hadn’t given her a reason and she was waiting. “I don’t know why.”

Actually he did know why. He saw how his mistake affected her. How an easy little change in his blocking got her up in arms and made her pay attention to him. He knew she was getting heat for it, that he was messing with her in a way that was not only unprofessional, but also seriously shitty. But he couldn’t help himself. He craved her attention, and he’d take it any way he could. “I guess I wanted you to notice me.”

She glared at him full on. “Notice you? You narcissistic little f**ker.” She turned her attention back to the road in front of her. After several steps she said, “Like I’m not completely one hundred percent aware of your presence at any given moment?”

He grinned. “You are?”

“Don’t,” she snapped. “Don’t be cute.”

He tried to erase the glee from his face and took a deep breath. “Look, you’d been ignoring me all week. And after the night with your movie, I thought maybe things would be different since, you know, we’d talked and…”

“And for once you didn’t try to get down my pants?”

Well… “Yes.”

“Wow, you deserve some sort of award for that. Were you pissed that I didn’t acknowledge your accomplishment?”

“No, Maddie, I’m pissed that I can’t be with you.” He stopped walking, stunned at his honesty. She stilled too, but didn’t face him, which was for the best. It was easier to say what he needed to without the anger shooting from her gaze.

“Maddie, I want you more than anything. I am so…” What? He searched for the words. “Turned on by you. All of you, your mind, your art.” He moved his eyes down her form. “Your body. It’s killing me that you won’t give me the time of day.”

She rolled her eyes. “I bet it’s a first for you.”

“Yes.”

She shook her head and resumed running.

He followed, thinking about what he’d just said. “I mean…” He wasn’t used to women saying no to him, but that wasn’t why he liked her. “I’m not attracted to you,” he panted, “because you keep turning me down.” He panted again, the increasing incline making it hard to carry a conversation. “If that’s what you’re insinuating.” A stitch dug in his side. He put his hand on his waist to ease the ache. “Hey, can we just…walk?”

Maddie knit her brow. “What’s the matter with you?”

“I’m…” God, this was embarrassing. “I’m not a great runner.”

“What do you mean? You’re totally in shape. See? I notice you.”

He bit back a smile. “I strength train. And I run on a treadmill. A treadmill that’s totally flat.”

“That’s lame.” She sighed, slowing her pace. “I guess walking is fine. Though I enjoyed seeing you struggle.” Her lips curved slightly.

“I deserve that.” Her candor made him hopeful. He continued in her path of truthfulness. “But trust me, I’m always struggling around you.”

The smile that had hinted before now settled on her face.

Good. They were making progress. Though they still had miles to go. “I feel horrible about last night. I’m buried under the weight of regret, Maddie, and I don’t know how to come up for air.” He paused, uncomfortable with how exposed he felt. “I was an ass**le. I can’t bear that it might mean I never have another chance with you. What can I do, baby?” The endearment was a slip but he didn’t regret it when he saw the pleased glimmer in her eye.

“Tell Beaumont,” she said without hesitation.

“Of course. I’ll tell him tonight.”

“He isn’t on set tonight. He’s out for some Beaumont-y thing. Joe’s running the shoot.”

“Then I’ll tell Joe.”

She pinned him with her stare. “No, it has to be Beaumont.”

“Then I’ll tell him first thing the next time I see him. I swear to God.”