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"When was this?" Noah laughed. Hector was always embellishing about his accomplishments.
"What do you mean? You were there!" Hector said. "The day after Thanksgiving." Then he stopped and smirked. "Oh wait I forgot. That's when Rita took you for a ride. Or I should say you gave her a good hard ride."
He laughed just as two napkins hit his head on either side. One from Abel and the other from Gio. "That's my cousin, ass!" Gio threw another balled up napkin at him. "Don't be making up shit like that."
"Yeah," Abel gave him a hard look. "That's how rumors get started, stupid."
"Rumors?" He turned back to Gio. "Your sister is the one that told me." Hector shook his head incredibly not taking the hint. "Besides everybody knows Noah takes care of business whenever Rita's in town. That's no secret, huh Noah?" He bounced his eyebrows. "Christmas is just a week away. Ho ho ho!" He laughed but stopped laughing when no one else did. "What?"
Roni reached for another slice of pizza and Abel made the most of her momentary distraction to slap Hector on the back of the head and mouthed the words, Shut the f**k up!
He did and not a moment too soon because if he'd said even more word about him and Rita, Noah was getting ready to jump across the table and strangle him.
None of them knew what the extent of his relationship with Roni was but they all got that something was up between them. Noah liked it that way. He knew it didn't matter if they were just roommates with benefits or in an actual relationship. All that mattered is they knew the most important thing-Roni was his. Unfortunately, everyone but dickhead Hector got that it also meant any talk of Noah with other girls around Roni was unacceptable.
Abel changed the subject and went back to talking about the next fight he had lined up for Noah in February. Noah glanced at Roni. She nodded her head listening to Abel with interest. It almost bothered him that she seemed so unfazed by Hector's comments. Of course, he hadn't dared look at her when Hector was still talking about it. So he couldn't know for sure what her initial reaction was to it but if she'd been bothered at all, the way he knew he would've been had the tables been turned, she'd gotten over it damned quick.
She knew now. Knew that just a few weeks ago, the very day after they'd spent their special Thanksgiving together he'd gone out and gotten laid. What was worse is that Rita would be back in a week and now Roni knew that, too. Did she even care? He tried not to be too obvious as he watched her listening to Abel and Jack talk strategy on how Noah should best handle this next fighter.
She sipped her beer without a care in the world. For a moment, the girl that sat down next to Gio distracted her. Roni looked her up and down unaware that Noah observed her every move. Her eyebrow arched ever so slightly and her lips pursed. Now she seemed troubled?
Noah took his eyes off her just long enough to see the girl-one of the ones who'd been waiting outside the shower doors at the gym-stroke Gio's leg. Gio had always been the pretty boy of their bunch. Even with all the fights he'd been in, his face still remained intact. In high school, he'd been quite the heartthrob. Noah's looks were rugged compared to Gio's naturally arched brows, girlie lashes and green eyes.
Abel had made fun of Gio plenty of times accusing him of not trying hard enough when they were sparring because he teased that Gio was counting on a career in modeling if boxing didn't work out for him.
Not once in all the years he'd known Gio had Noah ever felt any sort of resentment for him being so damn good looking but right now he thought he could hate his best friend. Could that really be it? Was Roni into Gio? She'd only been around him a few times and Noah wracked his brain trying to remember if she'd ever acted strangely around him before. If this was true then his theory about her wanting to remain strictly friends because of the age difference just flew out the door. She'd stared long enough at them and Noah couldn't take it anymore.
"What's wrong?"
She flinched, startled by his voice and her brows pinched. "Nothing. Why?"
He glanced at Gio then back at her. "You looked upset there for a minute. Something bothering you?"
"No!" Her eyes widened as if her own tone surprised her.
She was upset. "Relax, I was just asking."
"Well, I'm not." There was something else in her eyes now. Something even more alarming-she was more than upset. She turned away, her eyes going right back to Gio and the girl. "Can we leave?"
Really? That bad? "Are you sure you're okay?"
She wouldn't even tear her eyes away from Gio now and it drove Noah nuts.
"I'm fine. I'm just tired."
Noah stood, wanting nothing more than to get the f**k out of there. Get Roni away from Gio. "Let's go."
Her expression now softened a bit. "Or if you think you can get a ride from one of your friends I can go alone. You don't have to leave on account of me."
It wasn't so easy for Noah to hide what he was feeling. "Nah, I'm tired, too." He turned to Abel who was already looking at him questioningly. "We're out."
"Yeah, it's been long day but I'll be in early tomorrow. Thanks for the pizza and beer."
They said their goodbyes and walked out. Noah thought he could wait until the drive home but it was killing him. Friend or not-there was no way. No f**king way he'd be able to deal with anything happening between her and Gio. "You wanna tell me what upset you in there now?"

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