My cell phone buzzed. It was Trenton.
He knocked on the door, and I jumped, turning around on the couch. I scampered over to the door and leaned in closer. “Who is it?”
“I told you who it was. Open the freakin’ door!”
I unlocked the chain and bolt lock to see Trenton standing in the doorway, his jacket soaked, and the rain pouring off his scalp and down his face.
“Can I come in?” he said, shivering.
I jogged to the bathroom to get a freshly folded towel, and returned within a few seconds, tossing it to Trenton. He peeled off his jacket, and then his T-shirt, and then patted his face and head with the towel.
Trenton looked down at his jeans. They were soaked, too.
“Kody might have some sweatpants in Ray’s room, hold on,” I said, walking quickly down the hall to my roommate’s room.
I returned with a T-shirt and sweatpants. “The bathroom is right there,” I said, nodding toward the hallway.
“I’m good,” he said, unbuckling his belt, unbuttoning and unzipping his jeans, and then kicking off his boots before letting the denim fall to the floor. He stepped out of them, and then looked at me with his most charming smile. “Think Kody will mind if I go commando under his sweats?”
“Yes, and so will I,” I said.
Trenton feigned disappointment, and then slipped on the sweats. His chest and abs tightened and rolled under his skin, and I tried not to watch while he pulled the T-shirt over his head.
“Thanks,” he said. “I went by the Red and had a few drinks after work. Raegan said you’d be here alone and bored to death, so I thought I’d stop by.”
“It wasn’t because the rain gave you an excuse to get naked?”
Trenton wasn’t fazed. Instead, he jumped over the back of my couch and bounced on the cushions. “Let’s watch a movie!” He reached for the remote.
“I was kind of enjoying my first night alone.”
Trenton turned to me. “You want me to leave?”
I thought about it for a minute. I should have said yes, but that would have been a lie. I walked around the couch and sat as close to the arm as I could. “Where’s Olive?”
“She’s f**king adorable. I’m going to have to kill at least one teenage boy one of these days.”
“Oh, she’s going to be sorry she ever befriended a Maddox,” I said, chuckling.
Trenton pressed the power button, and punched in three numbers. The channel switched, and an NFL football game appeared. “Is this okay?”
I shrugged. “I love the Forty-Niners, but they suck balls this year.” I looked over to Trenton when I realized he was staring at me. “What?”
“I was just thinking now was as good a time as any to acknowledge that you’re perfect and it wouldn’t suck if you fell madly in love with me anytime soon.”
He waved me away. “Speed bump.”
Trent scoffed. “You’ve seen me nearly naked, baby doll. Your long-distance boy doesn’t look anything like this.”
I watched as he flexed his arm. It wasn’t as big as Kody’s but was still impressive. “You’re right. He doesn’t have that many tattoos. Or any.”
Trenton rolled his eyes. “You have a pretty boy for a boyfriend? Disappointing!”
“He’s not a pretty boy. He’s a badass. Just in a different way than you.”
I purposefully kept myself from smiling, but it was hard. His expression was contagious. “Everyone knows about the Maddox brothers.”
“Especially,” Trenton said, standing up on the cushions and putting one foot on one side of me, the other he wedged between me and the arm of the couch, “this Maddox brother!” He began bouncing and, at the same time, flexing his muscles in different poses.
I playfully smacked his calves, giggling. “Knock it off!” I said, bouncing.
Trenton leaned down and grabbed my hands, forcing me to smack myself in the face a few times. It didn’t hurt but, being the big sister of three brothers, this, of course, meant war.
I fought back, and then Trenton grabbed my T-shirt, rolling onto the floor and bringing me with him, and then he began to tickle.
“No! Stop it!” I squealed, laughing. I placed my thumbs under his armpits and dug in, and Trenton instantly jumped back. The same maneuver worked with T.J.
T.J. Oh, God. I was rolling around on the floor with Trenton. This was not okay . . . not even kind of okay.
“Okay!” I said, holding up my hands. “You win.”
Trenton froze. I was flat on my back, and he was on his knees, straddling me. “I win?”
“Yeah. And you have to get off of me. This is not appropriate.”
Trenton laughed, stood, and pulled me up by the hand. “We’re not doing anything wrong.”
“Yeah, it’s kind of wrong. If I was your girlfriend, would you think this is okay?”
“Hell yeah. I’d expect this shit to be a nightly event.”
“No. I mean with someone else.”
“Mmk, then. Let’s watch the Forty-Niners get their asses kicked, and then you can tell Raegan you did your duty.”
“My duty? Raegan didn’t tell me to come over here. She just said you were alone and bored.”
“Isn’t that the same thing?”
“No way, Cami, I’m taking full credit for this one. I don’t need anyone convincing me to hang out with you.”
I smiled, and then turned up the volume.
“So, Cal said that for sure he’s going to need someone at the desk.”
“Oh, yeah?” I said, still watching the television. “Are you going to apply?”
Trenton laughed once. “He said, and I quote, ‘Someone hot, Trent. Someone with nice tits.’ ”
“Every girl’s dream job. Answering phones and handing out waivers while being ordered around by a sexist ass**le.”
“He’s not an ass**le. Sexist, yes, but not an ass**le.”
Just then my phone buzzed. I dug into the space between the arm and the couch cushion to get it. It was Coby.
I got a final notice for my car payment.
I’m a little behind. I was wondering if you could spot me some cash.
My blood ran cold. The last time Coby got behind on his bills, it was because he was sinking his entire paycheck into steroids. Coby was the shortest of my brothers, but he was the thickest, both in body mass and in brains. He was hot tempered, but the way he was behaving at the Red Friday night should have been a red flag.
Are you using again?
Really. Are you using?
Lie to me again, and you can explain to Dad where your car went when it gets repo’d.
It took him several minutes to respond.