I watched him for a while, and then pulled them both another beer. “Here. These are on me.”
“You okay?” Trenton asked when I walked back to my station.
I nodded. “They said Dad’s still pissed about Coby. I guess Dad and Coby have been fighting a lot. Dad’s been threatening to come over and set me straight.”
I shrugged. “When my brothers fall out of line, it somehow always falls back on me.”
“How does that play out? When he comes over pissed off?”
“He’s never come to my apartment before. But, I suppose if he’s mad enough, one of these days he will.”
Trenton didn’t respond, but he shifted in his chair, seeming very unsettled.
Blia came over and showed me the display on her cell phone. “Just got a text from Laney. She said the fight is over and most of them are headed this way.”
“Woo!” Raegan said as she walked behind the bar. She pulled out her empty tip jar—a hurricane glass—and set it on top of the bar. Marty immediately pulled out a twenty and dropped it in.
Raegan winked at him and smiled.
Trenton patted the bar a few times. “I’d better head out. Don’t want to be here when the dumb f**ks from the fight get here and I end up almost killing someone. Again.”
“Text me later. I wanna hang out tomorrow,” he said, walking away.
“Again?” Raegan asked, her eyebrows floating near her hairline.
“Shut up,” I said, not wanting to even hear her opinion.
The postfight crowd trickled in at first, and then the Red was standing room only. The DJ was playing upbeat music, but it didn’t matter: the men were drunk and they all thought they were as invincible as Travis Maddox.
Within half an hour, Kody, Gruber, and Hank were all breaking up fights. At one point, most of the bar was in one massive clash, and Hank was throwing dozens out at a time. Police cruisers were parked outside, helping with the masses, and arresting some of the rowdier guys for public intoxication before they could get into their vehicles.
Before long, the bar was a ghost town again. The club music returned to classic rock and Top Forty, and Raegan was counting her tips, grumbling, and once in a while shouting a single curse word.
“Between you helping your brother and these shitty tips, we’ll be lucky to make bills this month. I need to start saving for a party dress sometime.”
“So bet on Travis,” I said. “That’s an easy fifty.”
“I have to have money to bet on Travis, first,” she snapped.
Someone sat down, hard, onto one of the barstools in front of me. “Whiskey,” he said. “And keep ’em coming.”
“Were your ears burning, Trav?” I asked, handing him a beer. “Doesn’t seem like a whiskey night to me.”
“You wouldn’t be the only females talking shit about me.” He tilted back his head and let the amber liquid slide down his throat, nearly in one gulp. The glass bottle crashed to the bar, and I popped the second top, setting the bottle before Travis.
“Someone’s talking shit on you? Not very smart of them,” I said, watching Travis light a cigarette.
“The pigeon,” he said, crossing his arms over the top of the bar. He leaned, hunched over, looking lost. I watched him for a moment, unsure if he was talking code or already drunk.
“Did you get hit harder than usual tonight?” I asked, genuinely concerned.
Another large group walked in, probably stragglers from the fight. They were happier and seemed to all get along, at least. Travis and I had to pause our conversation. For the next twenty minutes or so, I was too busy to chat, but when the last of the postfight crowd pushed through the red door to head home, I sat a glass of Jim Beam in front of Travis, and then topped it off. He still looked depressed. Maybe even more than before.
I shook my head. “The girl.” That was the only explanation for Travis Maddox having that look on his face. I’d never seen it before, so that could only mean one thing.
I rolled my eyes. “What girl. Seriously? Who do you think you’re talking to?”
“All right, all right,” he said, looking around. He leaned in. “It’s Pigeon.”
Travis managed a small laugh. “Abby. She’s a pigeon. A demonic pigeon that f**ks with my head so bad I can’t think straight. Nothing makes sense anymore, Cam. Every rule I’ve ever made’s getting broken one by one. I’m a pu**y. No . . . worse. I’m Shep.”
I poured him another drink, and he slammed it back.
“Be nice to yourself, too,” I said as I wiped off the counter. “Falling for someone isn’t a sin, Trav. Jesus.”
Travis’s eyes bounced from side to side. “I’m confused. You talking to me, or Jesus?”
“I’m serious,” I said. “So you have feelings for her, so what?”
“No, I heard her tonight. By accident. She thinks I’m a scumbag.”
I poured him another drink. He tossed it down his throat before I could pull another beer from the cooler. I set the beer on the bar, and then held out my hands, palms up. “Based on your past behavior, do you disagree? My point is . . . maybe for her, you could be a better man.”
I poured him another shot. He immediately tilted back his head, opened his throat, and let it all wash down.
“You’re right. I’ve been a scumbag. Could I change? I don’t f**kin’ know. Probably not enough to deserve her.”
Travis’s eyes were already glassing over, so I set the bottle of Jim Beam back in its home, and then turned to my friend. He lit another cigarette. “Toss me another beer.”
“Trav, I think you’ve had enough already,” I said. He was too drunk to realize that he already had one.
I grabbed the glass bottle not six inches away, and placed it directly in his line of sight.
“Yeah. Like I said. You’ve had plenty to drink in the short time you’ve been here.”
“There’s not enough liquor in the world that could make me forget what she said tonight.” His words were slurring. Shit.
“What exactly did she say?” I asked.
“She said I wasn’t good enough. I mean . . . in a roundabout way, but that’s what she f**king meant. She thinks I’m a piece of shit, and I . . . I think I’m falling for her. I don’t know. I can’t think straight anymore. But when I got her home after the fight, and I knew she was there for a month”—he rubbed the back of his neck—“I think that’s the happiest I’ve ever been, Cami.”
My brows pulled together. I’d never seen him so distraught. “She’s staying with you for a month?”