Gruber nodded and walked toward the kiosk. I cringed, wishing Hank hadn’t reminded Kody and everyone else that Raegan was likely outside, talking to Brazil.
I felt bad for him. He hated the job he once loved, and none of us could blame him. Hank had even given him a good reference for the hardware store where Kody had applied.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I know it’s hard for you.”
Kody turned to look at me, a wounded expression on his face. “You don’t know shit, Cami. If you did, you would have talked some sense into her.”
“Hey,” Trenton said, turning around. “What the f**k, dude? Don’t talk to her like that.”
I motioned for Trenton to stand down, and I crossed my arms, ready for the full force of Kody’s frustration to blow my way. “Ray does what she wants, Kody. You of all people know that.”
His jaws danced under his skin, and he looked down. “I just . . . I don’t get it. We were good. We didn’t fight. Not really. Stupid shit about her dad sometimes, but most of the time we had fun. I loved spending time with her, but I gave her space when she needed it. She loved me. I mean . . . she said she did.”
“She did,” I said. It was hard watching him talk. He was leaning against the bar like it was hard to stand.
I reached across to put my hand on his shoulder. “You’re just going to have to accept that it doesn’t have anything to do with you.”
He shrugged away from me. “He’s just using her. That’s the worst part. I love her more than my life and he doesn’t give a shit about her.”
“Yeah, I do. You don’t think the guys at Sig Tau talk, Cami? You don’t think they’re discussing your drama, too? They’re worse than the Cap Sig girls, sitting around gossiping about who’s f**king who. And then it trickles down to me and I have to hear about all of it.”
Kody pointed at Trenton. “You’re racing toward it at ninety miles an hour. You shouldn’t mess with that, Cami. They’ve been through enough.”
Kody walked away, and I stood, stunned for a few moments.
Trenton made a face. “What the f**k is that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing,” I said. I kept my face smooth, pretending that my heart wasn’t trying to beat through my chest. T.J. and I weren’t exactly a secret, but we didn’t broadcast our relationship. I was the only one from our little town that knew the nature of his job, and it was important to him that we kept it that way. A little bit of knowledge led to questions, and avoiding questions meant keeping secrets. It really hadn’t been that big a deal because we’d never given anyone a reason to talk about us. Until now.
I rolled my eyes and shrugged. “Who f**king knows? He’s just mad.”
Kody turned around and touched his chest. “You don’t know what I’m talking about? You’re not any better than her, and you know it!” He walked away again.
Trenton was completely confused, but instead of sticking around to explain, I pushed up on the hinged piece of the bar, let it slam down behind me, and followed Kody across the room. “Hey. Hey!” I yelled a second time, jogging to catch up to him.
Kody stopped, but he didn’t turn around.
I tugged on his shirt, forcing him to face me. “I’m not Raegan, so stop taking your anger out on me! I have tried to talk to her. I was rooting for you, damn it! But now you’re being a whiny, pouty, intolerable ass**le!”
Kody’s eyes softened, and he began to say something.
I held up my hand, not interested in what was likely going to be an apology. I pointed at his broad chest. “You don’t know dick about my personal life, so don’t ever talk to me like you do. Do we understand each other?”
Kody nodded, and I left him standing in the middle of the room to return to my post.
“Fuckity squared,” Blia said, her eyes wide. “Remind me to never piss you off. Even the bouncer is scared of you.”
“Camille!” a voice said from the other side of the bar.
“Oh, hell,” I said under my breath. Out of habit, I tried to make myself small, tried not to be noticed, but it was too late. Clark and Colin were waiting patiently for me on Blia’s end of the bar. I walked over to them and faked a smile. “Sam Adams?”
“Yes, please,” Clark said. He was the least offensive of my brothers, and most of the time I wished we were closer. But on the average day, being around one meant being around all of them, and that wasn’t an environment I wanted to tolerate anymore.
“Uncle Felix is still pissed at you,” Colin said.
“I just thought you should know,” he said, a smug look on his face.
“He’s always pissed at me,” I said, pulling two bottles out of the cooler and popping the tops. I slid them across the bar.
Clark’s face fell. “No, but Mom’s had to stop him from taking off for your apartment every time he and Coby get into it.”
“It’s been pretty . . . unstable at their house lately.”
“Don’t tell me,” I said, shaking my head. “I can’t listen to it.”
“He’s not,” Colin said, frowning. “My dad said Felix swore he’d never do that again.”
“Not that it would matter if he did,” I grumbled. “She’d still stay.”
I glared at him. “That was my childhood. She’s my mother. It’s my business.”
Clark took a swig of his beer. “He’s mad because you missed family lunch again today.”
“I’m sorry, but I can’t deal with him. I have other things I’d rather do.”
Clark’s brows pulled together. “That’s harsh. We’re still your family. We’d all still take a bullet for you, Camille.”
“What about Mom?” I asked. “Would you take a bullet for her?”
“Damn it, Cami. Can you just let it go?” Colin asked.
I raised an eyebrow. “No, and Chase, Clark, and Coby shouldn’t, either. I have to work,” I said, returning to my side of the bar.
A large hand wrapped around my arm. Trenton stood when he saw Clark grab me, but I shook my head and turned.
Clark sighed. “We’ve never been the type of family to gush about our feelings, but we’re still family. You’re still family. I know he’s a lot to take sometimes, but we still have to keep it together. We have to try.”
“You’re not in his crosshairs, Clark. You don’t know what it’s like.”
Clark’s jaw worked under the skin. “I know you’re the oldest, Cami. But you’ve been gone for three years. If you think I don’t know what it’s like to take the brunt of his anger, you’re wrong.”
“Then why pretend? We’re hanging on by a thread. I’m not even sure what’s keeping us together anymore.”