We started toward the point. I kept my eyes on the ground, watching out for anything I might trip over and for anything Cece might like. Even if taking her on walks and stuff wasn’t my job, I decided I should do it once in a while anyway. She loved going outside, and it would give both of us a break from the routine.
Except that she needed the routine so she didn’t flip out, so maybe that wasn’t such a great idea.
“What did you fight about?” Noah asked again.
“You don’t give up, do you?” I snapped. “It was about my sister, if you must know.”
“You’re good with her.” He didn’t seem to mind my being angry, if he’d even noticed.
“Yeah, well, my dad doesn’t seem to think so.” I shut up. Noah didn’t need to hear the whole story, and I didn’t want to tell him anyway.
“Did he say that?”
“Get a clue, would you?” I said. “I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about anything to do with my family. I came out here to get away from my dad and Cece, and now you’re walking with me asking all these stupid questions. Why can’t you just stop talking for a while?”
“Sorry,” he said quietly. “Sometimes talking helps, that’s all. I’ll leave you alone.”
I didn’t know whether he meant he’d drop the subject or whether he intended to leave me alone. Even though he’d gotten on my nerves, I didn’t want him to go away. Having someone with me, someone I liked, calmed me down a little.
“Stick around,” I said. “I didn’t mean to yell at you. It’s just been a crappy morning.”
We kept walking, and neither of us said anything. His hand brushed against mine. It happened a couple more times before I realized he was trying to hold hands. I’d never held hands with the guys I’d gone out with, because we were always worried about someone else seeing us. Here, on a beach near a point where half the homes were seasonal and the people who lived there year-round were probably getting ready for work or school, it didn’t seem likely that anyone would notice Noah and me.
I took his hand.
He grinned. “I like this. It’s nice being with you.”
“Yeah, same here.” I just hoped he wouldn’t get all sappy about it.
“How many boyfriends have you had before?”
Just when I thought the guy was going to act normal, he had to start a new line of interrogation. It made me not want to talk to him at all. “Don’t ask me things like that,” I said. “Does it matter?”
“I guess not. I was just curious.” He paused. “You get ticked when I ask you things.”
“Yeah, and when I ask you things, half the time you don’t answer,” I countered. “If you want to find out more about me, you should try talking more about yourself. I know we only met a week ago, but by now I should know more about you than I do.”
“What do you want to know? Ask anything.”
Of course, as soon as he said that I couldn’t think of a single question. We walked for a few more minutes before I came up with something. “Why do you and your parents move around so much?”
“I told you, it’s for my dad’s work. He has meetings and stuff in all these places.” It sounded like an answer he’d rehearsed, and it wasn’t what he’d told me before. At least, I didn’t remember that explanation. He’d just told me that they owned a lot of houses.
“What does he do for work?”
“Computers. I told you that too.” He stopped and let go of my hand. “Did you think I’d lied to you or something?”
“No, I just didn’t remember that you’d told me those things,” I replied. I still didn’t remember him telling me.
“Why should I tell you anything now if you’re going to forget?” He grinned. “Yeah, I know, my life isn’t interesting enough to remember. Ask me something else if you want to.”
This time, I decided to go with a question he probably wouldn’t answer. I wanted to see if he’d say anything at all or just brush me off. “Why does your dad seem so against the idea of you having a friend here?”
He sat down on the sand. “That’s going to take a while to answer. Have a seat.”
If the sand was anywhere near as cold as it had felt through my socks, I didn’t want to sit on it. But the possibility of getting some actual information out of Noah motivated me to plop down beside him. The sand was just as cold as I’d figured it would be.
“Thanks,” he said. “I was kind of tired of walking anyway.”
“So tell me what your dad’s problem is,” I said. “Is it just me, or does he act this way any time you have a friend?”
“I haven’t ever had friends,” he replied. “Not because of Dad. Mostly just because of the moving. I mean, we’re going to the same places every time; we’re just not usually there long enough to meet people. Mom and Dad have some friends, but they don’t have kids my age.”
That didn’t really answer my question, which didn’t surprise me. Noah had avoided my other questions about his father too. Which made me wonder even more what was going on there.