We walked back to the truck, and then froze when we saw Raegan sitting on the curb next to Kody’s back tire.
She stood up and turned around, holding up her phone. “It died,” she cried.
Kody scooped her up into his huge arms, and she hugged him, crying. He climbed up into his truck with her still in his arms, and then Trenton and I walked around. Oddly, Raegan didn’t want to discuss her fight with Brazil. Instead, Travis was the topic of conversion.
“And then he said, ‘and to the absolute f**king horror of losing your best friend, because you were stupid enough to fall in love with her,’ or something like that.” She put her palm on Kody’s chest. “I died.”
I looked to Trenton, but instead of the amused expression I expected, he was lost in thought.
“That hit a little too close to home,” he said.
“Let’s go to the store,” Kody said. “Pick up some groceries. I’ll cook.”
“Oh, I have groceries,” I said. “I’m stocked for a while.”
“Yes,” Raegan and I said in unison.
“Butter?” Kody asked. We nodded. “Flour? Southwest seasoning?” I looked to Trenton, who nodded. “Milk? Jack cheese?” I shook my head no.
Kody jerked the wheel to the right, and we drove to his apartment. He was inside for less than a minute, and then we were on our way, with a box of bread crumbs.
“I’m starving,” I said. “What are you making?”
“A gourmet Valentine’s Day meal,” Kody said, rather over-dramatically. “Southwestern Mac and Cheese.”
We all laughed, but my stomach growled. It sounded amazing.
Trenton whispered into my ear, “I’m sorry I didn’t take you to dinner.”
I hugged his arm. “This is much better than what we had planned.”
He kissed my cheek and squeezed me against his side. “I agree.”
EVEN FOR JUST A FEW CLASSES, MIDTERMS WERE KICKING my ass. Kody, Raegan, Gruber, Blia, and I were all studying at the Red before it got busy or when it was slow, and Trenton was helping me study at Skin Deep. Spring break was quickly approaching, and I was eager for the time off and the extra money I would make from working extra hours, but I had to get through exams first.
The first week of March was a blur, and the week of midterms was even worse, but even though it took me the entire allotted time, I finished my tests and felt good enough about them to enjoy break.
Sunday night after work, instead of driving to my apartment, I drove to Trenton’s. If Kody wasn’t spending the night at our apartment, Raegan was at his. After the first few days of are we or aren’t we? they picked up where they’d left off, and I’d never seen Raegan so happy. Their honeymoon period was beginning to make me uncomfortable, though, even if I was getting to enjoy Kody’s breakfasts again. As much as I loved seeing her smile, sleeping at Trenton’s was a relief, for several reasons.
Monday morning, I rolled over, and slowly began to wake up. Trenton’s entire body wrapped mine. Alternating between big spoon and little spoon as we turned from one side to the other had become a nightly ritual. I was more comfortable sleeping on my right side, and Trenton was more comfortable on his left, so we tossed and turned a lot.
I yawned, and out of habit, Trenton pulled me closer. His white walls were broken up by old bronze framed family pictures, portraits of his mother, and many snapshots of us: at the Red Door, at Skin Deep, and the ridiculous shot of us celebrating the completion of my sixth tattoo, an intricate peacock with deep yellows, blues, greens, reds, and purples, spanning from my hip to midrib. Trenton said it was the best he’d ever done, and he traced it tenderly at night before he fell asleep.
My body was becoming a walking piece of art, and that was just fine with me. Trenton had asked me a few times why I continued to work at the shop, even after Coby finished his program and was back on his feet, and I teased that it was for the free tattoos. But, truthfully, Trenton would have done them for free, anyway—a perk of being the artist’s girlfriend.
Between appointments Trenton doodled and sketched at my desk, and when I fell in love with one, I would have him draw it on my skin. I had the originals framed and hung them in my bedroom, and Trenton had the re-creations in his bed.
I climbed out of bed and trudged to the bathroom. The sunlight hitting the bright white walls made my eyes squint. I stubbed my toe on the towel rack I’d helped him pick out, and then I opened the medicine cabinet to grab the toothbrush I kept there. It was all very domestic, and even though I thought I couldn’t do this, I did . . . and I cherished every moment.
I sat on the bright orange couch and rubbed my eyes. At that time of the morning, if the blinds were open, the sun would hit the mosaic of broken glass and mirrors that hung above the couch just right and spray a million rainbows on the opposite wall. I loved to sit there with a cup of coffee and enjoy the view. I only drank coffee at Trenton’s. Raegan and I didn’t have a coffeemaker, and here I could make one cup at a time.
Trenton stumbled out of the bedroom and rubbed his face. “I’m f**kin’ tired for some reason,” he said, his voice deep and raspy. He sat next to me and then rested his head on my lap. We had buzzed his hair the night before, so it was particularly prickly when I ran my fingers over it.
“I know. Travis’s fight could be at any time, and you have to go the moment he calls to keep an eye on Abby.”
“I hope that scumbag who attacked her last time shows his face. He’ll wish it was Travis beating on him instead.”
“If you beat him any worse than Travis did, you’ll kill him. So let’s hope he doesn’t show.”
“You can have my apartment while I’m in jail.”
I rolled my eyes. “How about you just not go to jail? I’m kind of liking the way things are.”
He looked up at me. “You are?”
“I’ve got a key with your name on it.”
He sat up. “One of these days I’m going to quit asking, and you’ll miss it.”
“You doubt that I’ll quit asking, or that you’ll miss it.”
I looked at my watch. “We’ve got work in a couple of hours.”
“Okay, then. I have work in a couple of hours.”
“I asked off for both of us.”
“Because I’m on call for Trav, and I thought maybe you’d like to come.”
“You can’t take my hours and not ask me, Trenton. And Cal shouldn’t let you pull that shit, either.”