“We made a bet tonight. If I didn’t get hit, she had to move in for a month.”

“That was your idea?” I asked. Damn. He was already in love with this girl and didn’t even know it.

“Yeah. I thought I was a f**king genius up until an hour ago.” He tilted the glass. “Another.”

“Nope. Drink your damn beer,” I said, pushing it toward him.

“I know I don’t deserve her. She’s”—his eyes lost focus—“incredible. There’s something in her eyes that’s familiar. Something I can relate to, ya know?”

I nodded. I knew exactly what he meant. I felt that way about a pair of eyes that looked a lot like his.

“So maybe you should talk to her about it,” I said. “Don’t have one of those stupid misunderstandings.”

My nose wrinkled. “Parker Hayes? Haven’t you warned her about him?”

“She wouldn’t believe me. She’d just think I was saying that because I’m jealous.”

He was swaying in his chair. I was going to have to call him a cab.

Travis tilted his beer bottle and took a big swig. His eyelids were heavy. He wasn’t pacing himself at all.

“Not tonight, Cami. I just want to get drunk.”

I nodded. “Looks like you’ve accomplished that. Want me to call a cab?”

“Fine, but find a ride home.” He tried to take another swig of his beer, but I held onto the neck of the bottle until he made eye contact. “I mean it.”

I let go, and then watched him finish off the bottle.

“Trent was talking about you the other day,” he said.

“I’m going to get her a puppy,” Travis said. At least he was too drunk to stay on the subject of Trenton. “Think Trent will keep him for me?”

“Aren’t you guys attached at the hip these days?”

Travis’s face compressed. “This is awful,” he said, his words melding together. “Who f**king wants to feel like this? Who would purposefully do this to themselves?”

He raised both eyebrows. “You ain’t f**kin’ kiddin’.” After a short pause, his face fell. “What do I do, Cami? Tell me what to do, because I don’t f**kin’ know.”

I shook my head. “You’re sure she doesn’t want you?”

Travis looked up at me with sad eyes. “That’s what she said.”

I shrugged. “Then you try to forget about her.”

Travis looked down at his empty bottle. The two girls from State who Trenton had left behind the night before began buying Travis drinks, and before long, he could barely stay on his stool. For the next hour and a half, he’d fully committed to finding the bottom of every bottle he could get his hands on.

The Southern State sisters took a stool on each side of Travis. I walked away, tending to my regulars for a while. I wouldn’t be surprised if they thought he was Trenton. The youngest four Maddox boys looked so much alike, and Travis was wearing a white T-shirt that looked a lot like what Trenton had been wearing.

From the corner of my eye, I saw one of the girls drape her leg over Travis’s thigh. The other turned his face, and then they were sucking face in a way that made me feel like a pervert for watching.

He stood up and threw a one-hundred-dollar bill on the bar. He held his finger up to his lips, and then winked. “This is me. Forgetting.”

The girls walked on each side of him, and he leaned on them, barely able to walk.

“Travis! They better be your ride home!” I yelled.

Raegan laughed. “Oh, Travis,” she said. “He’s certainly entertaining.”

I crossed my arms across my stomach. “I hope they get a hotel room.”

“Because the girl he’s in love with is at his apartment. And if those State girls go home with him, he is going to wake up in the morning and hate himself.”

“He’ll figure a way out of it. He always does.”

“Yeah, but this time it’s different. He was pretty desperate. If he loses that girl, I don’t know what he’ll do.”

“He’ll get drunk, and then get laid. That’s what all the Maddox boys do.” I craned my neck at her, and she offered an apologetic smile. “I warned you a long time ago not to get mixed up with them. You have yet to listen to any of my advice.”

“You should talk,” I said, reaching up and pulling the horn for last call.


Trenton stretched out on my couch, covering his eyes with his arm. “It’s just for a couple more days. Travis is throwing Abby a surprise party on Sunday, and he’s going to give it to her then. The puppy’s actually kind of cute. I’m going to miss him.”

“No,” Trenton said, making a face. “Okay, I kind of named him. But Abby’s going to name him, so it’s not permanent. I explained that to him.”

I chuckled. “Are you going to tell me?”

“No, because it’s not his name.”

Trenton smiled, his arm still covering his eyes. “Crook.”

“He steals my dad’s socks and hides them. He’s a little criminal.”

“I like it,” I said. “Raegan’s birthday is coming up, too. I need to get her something. She’s so hard to shop for.”

“Get her one of those GPS stickers for her keys.”

“That’s not a bad idea. When is your birthday?”

“I haven’t heard that one before,” he deadpanned.

“Aren’t you going to ask when mine is?”

“Chamomile. I’ve known since, like, the fourth grade.”

“Your grandparents sent you balloons every year on the same day until you graduated.”

My eyes wandered as my mind did. “One balloon for every year. I had to stuff eighteen balloons into the Smurf my senior year. I miss them.” I snapped out of it. “Wait a minute . . . you are bullshitting me. Isn’t Travis’s birthday April Fool’s Day?”

“And yours is on Independence Day?”

“Yeah, and Thomas’s is on St. Patrick’s Day, and the twins were born January first.”

“You are such a liar! Taylor and Tyler’s birthday is in March! They came in to celebrate at the Red last year!”