He stayed with me through the rest of the night.
While what remained of the party fizzled out and drifted home, he picked me up and carried me up the curving staircase. He stayed to make sure Theo and his henchmen left me alone. He stayed because nothing could wake me, and he was afraid I might need medical attention.
Later, he told me that mostly he stayed because he wanted to. No one had ever done that before. Either they wanted something from me, or my father had paid them to look after me. But not him.
Not Noah. I woke up with my head in his lap. He was sitting cross-legged on my bed. The morning sun filtered through the branches of the spreading oak tree just outside my window. The air stirred the gauzy white curtains over my windows. This strange boy slumped motionless against my headboard, his eyelids twitching as if he were dreaming. I could see bruises darkening from red to purple along his cheekbone. It looked as if he might have a blackened eye, but since they were closed and he was sleeping, I couldn’t tell for sure. The barest hint of stubble darkened his jaw.