Thirty minutes in, Raegan was grumbling under her breath as she wiped down the bar for the third time. “Is there an underground fight thing tonight?”
I shook my head. “The Circle? It’s never held this early.”
“Oh, look. Something to do,” Raegan said, pulling down the Jim Beam.
Travis Maddox was trudging to his usual barstool, looking pitiful. Raegan put a double in front of him, and he sucked it down in one gulp, letting the glass crash to the wood.
“Uh-oh,” I said, taking the bottle Raegan handed me. “There’s only two things that could be that bad. Is everyone in the family okay?” I asked, bristling in anticipation of his answer.
“I don’t believe it,” I said, stunned. “Who is she?”
Travis’s shoulders fell. “She’s a freshman. And don’t ask me what it is about her. I don’t know, yet. But, when I was bagging this other chick today, I felt like I was doing something wrong, and then this girl’s face popped into my head.”
“Yeah! What the f**k, Cami? This has never happened to me before!”
Raegan and I traded glances. “Well,” I said. “It’s not the end of the world. You like her. So what?”
“I don’t like girls like this. That’s what.”
He took another shot, and then held his hands over his head, moving them around in circles. “She’s all in my head.”
“You’re such a pu**y for a guy that doesn’t lose!” Raegan said, teasing.
“Tell me what to do, Cami. You know about girls. You’re kind of one.”
“Okay, first of all,” I said, leaning toward him, “suck my dick.”
I continued, “Second of all, you’re Travis f**king Maddox. You can have any girl you want.”
“Almost,” Raegan said from the sink, five feet away.
Travis’s nose wrinkled. “You were Brazil’s girl. I’ve never even tried.”
Raegan narrowed her eyes at the youngest Maddox brother. “Did you just say that to me?”
“Well,” he said. “It’s the truth.”
“Still would have never happened.”
“We’ll never know,” he said, raising his third shot before letting it wash down his throat.
“I know,” I said lifting the bottle. “But it gets your attention. Here’s your plan. Number one, stop being a little bitch. Number two, remember who the hell you are, and work your magic. She’s no different from any other—”
I sighed and looked at Raegan. “He’s got it bad.”
“Shut up and help me,” Travis said, frustrated.
“There are three tricks to landing a hard-to-get: patience, having other options, and being aloof. You are not the BFF. You’re sex on a stick, flirting just out of reach. In other words, Travis Maddox.”
“I knew it. You’ve always wanted me,” he said, smug.
I stood up. “Uh . . . no. Not at all. Not even in high school.”
“Liar,” he said, standing. “I never tried with you, either. My brother has always been in love with you.”
I froze. What the hell was that supposed to mean? Did he know something?
I nodded. “If you guys end up married, you owe me a hundred bucks.”
“Married?” Travis said, his face screwing into disgust. “What the f**k, Cami? I’m nineteen! Nobody gets married at nineteen.”
I looked around, checking to see if anyone heard him admit to being underage. “Say that a little louder.”
He snorted. “Me getting married at all is unlikely? Anytime soon? Never gonna happen.”
“Travis Maddox doesn’t walk into a bar upset over a girl, either. You never know.”
“Shame on you for wishing that on me,” he said, winking. “I better see you at my next fight, Camille! Be a good friend, would ya?”
“You know I have to work.”
Travis turned to walk away, and I stood, stunned. Was he talking about Trenton before? So, Trenton was talking about me. Who else had he told? As Travis walked out through the thick, red door, a large group walked in, and then the crowd continued to trickle in after that. I was grateful that I didn’t have time to worry about whether or not there were rumors circulating, or if those rumors would get back to T.J.
Late the next morning, I walked into Skin Deep, already in a bad mood. T.J. hadn’t called or texted me back, which only fueled my paranoia about possible fallout from Trenton’s big mouth.
“Cami’s here!” Hazel said with a smile. She pushed black, thick-rimmed glasses up her nose.
I forced a smile. Hazel pouted her red-stained lips. “Why so sad? Did the Alpha Gamma party put you out of business last night?”
“Was that it? You went?”
She winked. “Gotta love sorority chicks. So what’s up with you?”
“Heads up. Calvin is going to ask you to start working Sundays.”
“Are you serious?” I said, a little whinier than I’d intended. Today was not a good day to ask me to up my hours. By the time I rounded the counter, Trenton walked in.
“Chamomile!” he said. He was holding a bowl full of plastic fruit.
“Oh, please don’t. It wasn’t funny in middle school, and it’s definitely not funny now.”
“You didn’t even know who I was in middle school.”
I made a show of looking around. “You didn’t speak to me until I grew tits.”
Hazel cackled. “Work has been so much more entertaining since she was hired!”
“Doesn’t mean I didn’t know who you were,” Trenton said, unamused.
Hazel pointed to the bowl in Trenton’s arms. “What’s with the fruit?”
“It was my mom’s,” he said, unfazed. “I decided I needed something of hers at work. Puts me in a good mood.” He walked down the hall and disappeared into his room.
“So,” Hazel said, leaning her elbows on the counter. Her thin, penciled eyebrow shot up. “The sexual tension around here is getting ridiculous.”
I raised an eyebrow. “I didn’t know you liked Calvin.”
“I heard that!” Calvin called from down the hall.
“Good!” Hazel yelled back. “So, you’re really not interested in Trent?”
“I have a boyfriend, and he makes me very happy,” I said, licking my thumb and counting forms.