“I’m just sad for my mom. This is the first Thanksgiving we won’t see each other. She doesn’t think it’s fair that he gets to be there and I don’t.”
“She’s thinking about it. But she didn’t want to do that to the boys during the holidays. She’s always tried to do what was best for all of us.”
“This is not what’s best for all of you. It’s a no-win situation. She should just kick his ass out and let you spend Thanksgiving with your family.”
My lip trembled. “The boys will blame me, Trent. She knows what she’s doing.”
“They won’t ask where you are?”
“I haven’t been to family lunch in weeks. Mom figures Dad won’t let them ask too many questions.”
“Come to my house, Cami. Please? My brothers are all coming in.”
“Yeah. It’s the first time we’ve all been together since Thomas moved away for that job.”
I pulled a tissue from the box on my nightstand, and wiped my nose. “I already volunteered to work the bar. It’s just Kody and me.”
Trenton sighed, but he didn’t push the issue any further.
When the sun rose, Trenton kissed me good-bye and left for home. I slept in for another hour and then forced myself to get up and around, finding Raegan cooking eggs in the kitchen. For half a second, I expected to see Kody, but it was just her, looking lost.
“Are you spending the night at your parents’ tonight?” I asked.
“It’s Hank and Jorie’s first Thanksgiving at their house, and yes, Felix did freak out.”
“Aw, that’s nice of you,” she said, letting the scrambled chicken fetuses slide off the skillet onto her plate. “Want some?” she asked, already knowing the answer.
“So,” she said, shoveling a forkful into her mouth. “Trenton has practically moved in.”
“What does that even mean?” she asked, looking at me with disgust.
“Felix might have come over last weekend after I got back from the employee meeting. And he might have tried to attack me.”
Raegan’s fork froze halfway between the plate and her mouth, and her expression morphed from confusion, to shock, to anger. “What?”
“Trenton was here. But I’m not really . . . speaking to Dad, or any of my family, really.”
“What?” she said, getting angrier by the second. “Why didn’t you tell me?” she shrieked.
“How exactly am I supposed to react? Felix was in our apartment, attacking you—whatever the f**king f**k that means—and you decide not to tell me? I live here, too!”
I frowned. “You’re right. God, Ray. I’m sorry. I didn’t think about you coming home and him being here.”
She put her palm flat on the counter. “Is Trent staying here tonight?”
I shook my head, and my brows pulled in. “No, he has family coming in.”
“I’m not leaving you here alone.”
“Shut your face! You’re coming to my parents’ house with me.”
“You are, and you’re going to like it, as punishment for not telling me your psycho, wife-beating father barged into our apartment to attack you, and is still at large!”
“Mom has him under control. I don’t know what she did, but he hasn’t been back, and Colin, Chase, and Clark have no clue.”
“I’m pretty sure he broke his nose,” I said, cringing.
“Good!” she yelled. “Pack your shit! We’re leaving in twenty minutes.”
I complied, throwing together an overnight bag. We threw our luggage into Raegan’s trunk, and just as she began backing out of the parking lot, my phone chirped. I lifted it and stared at the display.
“What?” Raegan said, her eyes dancing between me and the road. “Is it Trent?”
I shook my head. “T.J. He was hoping I could drop him off at the airport tomorrow.”
“I can’t,” I said, tapping my answer into the phone. I dropped it into my lap. “So much could go wrong if I did.”
“I can’t believe he’s in town. He was so sure he wouldn’t be able to come home for Thanksgiving.”
My phone chirped again. I looked down.
“ ‘I know what you’re thinking, but I didn’t know until a couple of days ago that I would be home,’ ” I said, reading his text aloud.
Raegan’s eyes narrowed as she watched me tap out a short response. “I’m confused.”
“I don’t know what Eakins has to do with his work, either, but it’s probably the truth.”
“What makes you say that?” she asked.
“Because he wouldn’t be coming here otherwise.”
When we got to Raegan’s, her parents were surprised but happy to see me and welcomed me with open arms. I sat on the navy-blue kitchen counter, listening to Sarah tease Raegan about how hard it was to break her from her blankie, and listening to Raegan tell stories about Bo, her dad. Their home was decorated in red, white, and blue, American flags, and stars. Black-and-white pictures were framed on the walls, telling stories of Bo’s naval career.
Raegan and her parents waved good-bye as I left for my shift. The Red Door’s parking lot was more concrete than cars, and the small crowd didn’t stay long. I was glad I was the only bartender. I barely had enough tips to make the night worth it.
Trenton texted me a half dozen times, still asking me to come over. They were playing dominoes and then watching a movie. I imagined what it would be like to be snuggled on their dad’s couch with Trenton, and was a little jealous of Abby that she got to spend time with the Maddoxes. Part of me wanted to be there more than anything.
When I checked my messages just after close, I saw that Trenton had texted with news that Travis and Abby had called it quits. Just when I didn’t think I could take one more disappointment, my phone rang, and Trenton’s name appeared in the display.
“I feel terrible,” he said, quiet. He sounded terrible, too. “I don’t think I can slip out of here tonight. Travis is in pretty bad shape.”
I swallowed back the lump forming in my throat. “It’s okay.”
“No. It’s a lot of things, but it’s definitely not okay.”
I tried to smile, hoping it would carry over into my voice. “You can make it up to me tomorrow.”
“I’m so sorry, Cami. I don’t know what to say.”
After we locked up, Kody walked me to my car. Our breath glowed white under the security lights.