“She got out,” I said, touching his thigh.
“I promised Travis I would take care of her. When it came down to a life-or-death situation, I pussed out.”
I grabbed his chin and turned him to face me. “You didn’t puss out. You have strong instincts, and your mom is on the other side watching after you. What happened to that group you passed?”
“I broke a window and I lifted the guy up, and then lifted the girls so they could climb out.”
“You saved their lives. No way could that guy have done it on his own. Your mom helped Travis find his way to Abby, and she helped you save more lives. That’s not pussing out. That’s stepping up.”
Trenton’s mouth turned up slightly, and he leaned toward me, kissing my lips. “I was so scared I was never going to see you again.”
My lip began to quiver again, and I pressed my forehead against his, shaking my head. “I kept thinking about that bad feeling we both had earlier. And then when you left, how I felt like it was good-bye. I have never been that afraid in my life, and that’s saying something. My dad can be pretty terrifying.”
Trenton’s phone chirped. He picked it up, reading a text message. “It’s from Brad at Sig Tau. We’ve lost three so far.”
Trenton frowned at his phone, pressed a button, and held the receiver to his ear. He looked at me. “I had a voicemail from that number. It never sent an alert.”
A female voice said, Ugh, and nothing else. Trenton frowned, and then hit a button. I could hear it ringing several times, and then the same female voice answered.
Trenton seemed confused and surprised at the same time. “Abby? Is everything okay?”
“I’ve been sitting with Cami. She’s pretty upset about the fire. She lost some of her regulars.”
I lay down on his lap again, and all I could hear of Abby’s voice was high-pitched chatter.
“Yeah,” Trenton said. “It’s like a war zone down there. What is that noise? Are you in an arcade?” he snapped at her.
“What?” he said, even more perturbed. Surely not. They wouldn’t. “Okay, with what?” he asked. “Abby, stop playin’. Just f**king tell me.” We were both exhausted, and whatever game she was playing, Trenton wasn’t having it. I leaned in closer to the phone. Trenton held it away from his ear a bit, so I could hear.
“There were a lot of people at the fight last night. A lot of people died. Someone has got to go to prison for it.”
I leaned back, and Trenton and I traded glances. She was right. Travis could be in serious trouble.
“You thinkin’ it’s gonna be Travis?” Trenton said, his voice low and serious. She had his total attention, now. “What are we gonna do?”
“Uh . . .” Trenton said, he looked to me again. My eyebrows shot up halfway to my hairline. “Okay, how in the hell is that going to help him?”
I leaned back to see Trenton’s reaction. He was the one with elevated eyebrows, now, and several deep lines running across his forehead.
“Abby.” He sighed. She spoke some more, her voice even higher, sounding more desperate. They were going to get married, hoping it was just crazy enough that the investigators would believe that Travis was in Vegas instead of at Keaton Hall. My heart broke for them. As upset as I was about the man I loved nearly losing his life, they had the same fears, in addition to the fear of dying themselves. And now they faced the possibility of losing each other again.
“I’m sorry,” Trenton said. “He wouldn’t want you to do this, either. He would want you to marry him because you want to. If he ever found out, it’d break his heart.”
“Don’t be sorry, Trent. It’s going to work. At least it will give him a chance. It’s a chance, right? Better odds than he had.”
“Congratulations!” I said, desperate to feel something other than depressed.
Abby said something, and Trenton nodded. “Will do . . . and it’s really f**king weird that our baby brother is the first to get married.”
Abby laughed, but she sounded tired. “Get over it.”
“Fuck off,” Trenton said. “And, I love ya.” He hung up, and tossed the phone to the end of the bed. After staring at my broken closet doors for a while, he laughed once. “I need to fix those.”
“Travis is getting married before me. I don’t know how to feel about that.”
“You wish them well. They could be married forever and have ten kids, or they could get divorced next year. And that’s all if Travis doesn’t end up . . .”
Trenton looked down at me.
“Me, too,” he said. He leaned his head back against the headboard, and closed his eyes. “I’m going to marry you someday.”
He shrugged. “I can put a pig on a plane. No problem.”
“Okay, when you dance around in a thong to Britney Spears in front of your dad. That’s when we’ll get married.”
He took in a long, deep breath, and then blew it out. “Challenge accepted.”
IT FELT STRANGE TO RETURN TO CAMPUS MONDAY MORNING. Trees were tied with black ribbons, and Keaton Hall was quartered off with yellow police tape. Murmuring could be heard in every hallway, elevator, and stairwell. People were discussing the fire, who died, who lived, and who was to blame. They were also gossiping about the rings on Travis and Abby, and speculation about a pregnancy began to circulate.
I just let them talk. It was nice to hear something other than theories and conspiracies surrounding the fire. The police had already been by Jim’s and spoken to Trenton, so I wasn’t letting on that I knew a damn thing.
After classes, I trudged through the muddy lawn to the Smurf and froze when I saw T.J. leaning against the side of the bed of the Jeep, tapping on his phone. He stood up straight when he noticed me standing twenty feet away. I continued to walk, albeit slowly.
“I wondered if you would come back,” I said.
He shook his head. “It’s both of them.”
He laughed once without humor, clearly surprised at my anger. “It’s not me, Camille.”
“If you’re not here for work, then why are you here?”
“I can’t tell you the specifics, Camille, you know that. But I’m here, now, to see you.”
I shook my head. “T.J., we’ve talked about this. Your random drop-ins are making things a lot harder than they have to be. So unless you’re ready to come clean . . .”
He shook his head. “I can’t do that right now.”