“But you don’t know when it is or even if it’s going to happen. Travis is all about Abby, now. What if he quits? What if the other guy backs out?”
Trenton smiled and pulled me into his arms. “You let me worry about it. I can buy a few groceries once in a while. I got some for my dad, too.”
I hugged him, and then pulled the last cigarette out of my pack. “You didn’t happen to pick up more cigarettes, did you?” I asked.
Trenton seemed disappointed. “No. Are you out? I can run back and pick up some.”
I pulled the cigarette from my mouth and set it on the counter. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t patwonize me. You should quit. Twent should quit, too.”
Trenton watched Olive for a moment, and then looked to me.
Trenton pulled his pack from his coat pocket and crushed them with one hand, and then I picked up my last one, and broke it in half. Trenton tossed his in the trash, and so did I.
Olive stood in the middle of my kitchen, happier than I’d ever seen her, and then her beautiful green eyes began to leak.
“Aw! Ew! Don’t cry!” Trenton said, sweeping her up into his arms. She hugged him, and her little body began to shake.
She sat up, faced me, and wiped one of her wet eyes. “I’m just so bwessed!” she said, sniffling.
I hugged Trenton, sandwiching her in between us. Trenton’s eyebrows shot up, both amused and touched by her reaction.
“Gosh, Ew, if I’d known it was that important to you, I would have thrown them away a long time ago.”
She pressed her palms against his cheeks, making his lips pooch out. “Mommy says that she is more proud of quitting smoking than almost anything. Except me.”
Trenton’s eyes softened, and he hugged her to him.
Olive watched cartoons on the love seat until Trenton had to go home to get ready for work. I beat him to Skin Deep and decided to dust and vacuum because Calvin had already opened the shop, turning on all the lights and the computer, which is what I usually did when I arrived.
Hazel burst through the front door, nearly hidden behind her big orange coat and thick scarf. “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!” she said, rushing to her room.
I followed her in, curious.
She sprayed the chair with MadaCide, and then disinfected everything else. She was rummaging through her drawers, setting out various packages, and then turned around to face me. “I’m going to wash my hands, glove up, and then I’ll be ready!”
I frowned. “Ready for what? You don’t have an appointment this morning.”
A mischievous grin swept across her face. “Oh, but I do!”
She left for about five minutes and then returned, putting her gloves on. “Well?” she said, looking at me expectantly.
“I’m not getting gauges, Hazel. I’ve told you that. Multiple times.”
She jutted out her bottom lip. “But I’m gloved! I’m ready! Did you see the new leopard gauges we got in last week? They’re f**king hot!”
“You don’t have to size up. We can just start with a sixteen gauge. That’s teeny! Just, like . . .” She curved her thumb and index finger to form a tiny hole in the center.
I shook my head. “No, sweets. I did the nose. I love it. I’m good.”
“You love mine!” she said, becoming more deflated by the second.
“Yes. Yours. I don’t want that for my ears.”
Hazel ripped off her gloves and tossed them in the trash, and then she cursed, a lot, in Tagalog.
“Trent will be here any minute,” I said. “Get a new tat. Blow off some steam.”
“That works for you. I need to stab things. That’s what brings me peace.”
“Weird,” I said, walking back to the front.
Trenton blew in, his keys dangling from his finger. He was clearly in a good mood. “Baby,” he said, rushing to stand next to me. He gripped my arms. “The car’s running. I need you to come with me for a second.”
“I’m taking Cami to see it! We’ll be back in less than an hour!”
Trenton looked at me, eyes bright. “C’mon!” he said, pulling me by the hand.
“You’ll see,” he said, leading me to the Intrepid. He opened the door for me, and I sat inside. He ran around the back, and then slid into the driver’s seat.
He drove fast to wherever we were headed, playing the radio a little louder than usual, as he tapped the steering wheel to the beat. We pulled up to Highland Ridge, one of the nicer apartment complexes in town, and parked in front of the office. A woman about my age was standing outside in a pants suit and heels.
“Good morning, Mr. Maddox. You must be Camille,” she said, holding out her hand. “I’m Libby. I’ve been looking forward to today.” I shook her hand, unsure about what was going on.
Trenton took my hand as we followed her to a building on the backside of the property. We climbed the stairs, and Libby pulled out a thick set of keys, using one to open the door.
“So, this is the two-bedroom.” She held out one arm and twirled slowly in a half circle. She reminded me of one of those women on The Price Is Right. “Two bathrooms, seven hundred square feet, washer and dryer hookup, refrigerator, garbage disposal, dishwasher, fireplace, carpet throughout, and up to two pets allowed with pet deposit. Eight eighty a month, eight eighty deposit.” She smiled. “That’s without pets, and that includes water and trash. Trash pickup is on Tuesdays. Pool is open May through September, clubhouse year-round, fitness center twenty-four/seven, and of course designated, covered parking.”
“What’s not to love? This blows my place out of the water.”
“Uh . . . Trenton, can we . . . ?” I pulled him into a bedroom and shut the door.
“What, baby? This place isn’t going to have vacancies for long.”
“I thought you wouldn’t have the money until after Travis’s fight?”
Trenton laughed and wrapped his arms around me. “I was saving up for a year’s worth of rent and bills, including my half of dad’s. I can afford to move us in now.”
“Wait, wait, wait . . . did you just say us?”
“What’d I say?” Trent asked, confused. “You just said you loved it and it was better than your place.”
“But I didn’t say I was going to move in, too! I said the opposite last night!”
Trenton stood there with his mouth open. It snapped shut, and he rubbed the back of his neck. “Okay, so . . . I have a key to your place, you have a key to mine. See how it goes. No pressure.”
“I don’t have to have a key to your apartment right now.”