“It’s just one day. It’s not like you need the second job, anyway.”
“I like to work, and it doesn’t matter if I need it or not, you crossed the line. That’s my money, Trenton. Not cool,” I said, standing up. His head fell to the cushions, and then he followed me to the bedroom.
“Okay, then. I’ll call Cal and tell him you’re coming in.”
“No, I’ll call Cal. Since when do you need to talk to my boss for me?” I said, pulling on my jeans and a shirt.
Trenton’s shoulders sagged. “Don’t leave, baby, c’mon. I was looking forward to spending the day with you. I’m sorry.”
I slipped on my shoes and coat, and after tracking down my cell phone, keys, and purse, I headed for the front door.
Trenton pressed his palm against the door. “Don’t leave mad.”
“I’m not mad. I’m f**king furious. This is exactly why I don’t want to move in with you, Trenton. You don’t get to run my life.”
“I’m not trying to run your life! I was trying to do something nice!”
“Okay, but do you understand why I think you crossed the line?”
“Trenton, please move your hand. I want to go home.”
He winced. “Home. This is your home. You’ve been here all week. You’ve loved it! I don’t know why you’re being so goddamn stubborn about it. You were thinking about moving to Califuckingfornia with the douche canoe in less time than we’ve been together!”
“T.J. lived in his apartment for two years! He was a little more stable!”
Trenton’s mouth fell open, looking like I’d shot him. “Damn, babe. Don’t hold back.”
I cringed. “I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry.”
He took a step toward me, and I flinched. As bad as the comparison to T.J. wounded him, my tiny reflex hurt him even worse.
He spoke low and slow. “I would never hit you.”
“I know. It was just out of habit . . . I . . .”
He walked away from me, went into the bedroom, and slammed the door. My shoulders jerked up to my ears, and I closed my eyes.
After a few quiet seconds, a loud noise came from behind his door, like he had pushed the dresser over, but I couldn’t tell for sure. I didn’t stick around to find out. I ran out the door and down the stairs and hopped into the Jeep.
With the college kids on break, the shop was dead. As the hours dragged on with no customers, guilt consumed me. Trenton knew we would be bored out of our minds at work, so it made sense to take the day off. Still, I couldn’t apologize for how I felt. I’d worked hard to stand on my own, and there was nothing wrong with wanting to hold onto my independence for as long as I could.
I was sitting on the counter, my legs swinging back and forth. Hazel sat on the couch next to the front doors, filing her nails into claws.
“You were going to move in with T.J. Why not Trent? He’s as stable as anyone.”
“Don’t make me feel worse than I already do. I was just mad.”
“Maybe he feels guilty, too. Maybe he’s mortified that you flinched.”
“He knows. Deep down, he knows. I think you just threw him for a loop. He’s mentioned before that he feels it’s his purpose to protect you, right?”
“Still. I can see why he’d take that hard. Calvin!” she yelled, making me jump.
“Let’s close this shit hole! No one’s been in all day, and Cami’s leaving for the Red, anyway.”
Calvin walked to the front, all emotion absent from his face. “Did you just call the shop a shit hole?”
Hazel nodded. “Yeah, but he got a text fifteen minutes ago. There’s a fight tonight.”
“What?” I said, standing up. “Is that where he went?”
“So Trent’s going to be there tonight. He’s betting big money, and he’s supposed to watch Abby for Travis. I guess some guy attacked her last time.”
“We can close, if you take back what you said about the shop, and if we can drink at the Red,” Calvin said, looking to me, “for free.”
I shook my head. “I’ll buy your first round, but giving away drinks is grounds for termination, so that’s a no.”
“I take it back,” Hazel said. “This is the prettiest, most wonderful shop ever, and I never want to leave. Except for right now.”
Hazel clapped. “I have the best! Job! Ever!” She stood up and rushed back to her room to gather her things.
I closed out the register and the computer, and Calvin shut down the lights from the back.
I walked out to the Jeep, pausing when I noticed Trenton pulling up in the Intrepid. He parked quickly and jumped out. He pulled my keys out of my hand, opened the driver’s side of the Jeep, started it, and then got out. “It’s fight night. Keaton Hall. I gotta go, I’m already late, but I just wanted to see you.” He kissed my cheek.
A weird panic came over me, like he was saying good-bye. I gripped his shirt, stopping him from walking away. “Are we okay?” I asked.
He looked relieved. “No, but we will be.” He flashed a sad half-smile, his dimple sinking into his cheek.
“It means I’m a f**kup, but I’m going to get it figured out. I swear. Just . . . don’t give up on me, okay?”
“I have to go, baby.” He kissed my forehead, and then jogged to his car.
“Call me when you’re done. I have a weird feeling.”
He winked at me. “Me, too. That means I’m going to win a shit ton of money tonight.”
He backed out of the driveway, and I hopped into the Jeep. It was warm, and I hugged my steering wheel, overcome with affection for the man who always took such good care of me. Hazel honked the horn of her black Eagle Talon, and I followed her straight to the Red.
EVERYONE IS GONE. IT’S A GODDAMN TRADGEDY,” RAEGAN said. “Those damn fights. Those damn fights!”
“So dramatic,” I said, watching her angrily toss a quarter into her empty tip jar. “Do you remember last time you cursed the Circle? They all came in after, we worked our asses off, and they all got kicked out before they could even order a drink.”
“I remember,” Raegan said, smashing her cheek upward with the heel of her hand. She blew a strawberry, and her bangs blew upward.
“Don’t look so sad, babe!” Kody called from across the room.
A girl ran in, making Kody jerk for half a second in reaction. She spoke quickly to one of five guys at the pool tables, pulled on his arm, and they both ran out at full speed.