Beautiful Oblivion

Page 4

A disgusted noise came from my throat, and I rolled my eyes. “Just . . . find another table.”

All four boys pulled chairs around Raegan and me. Colin had light-brown hair, but my brothers were all redheads. Colin and Chase had blue eyes. Clark and Coby had green. Some redheaded men aren’t all that great-looking, but my brothers were tall, chiseled, and outgoing. Clark was the only one with freckles, and they still somehow looked good on him. I was the outcast, the only child with mousy brown hair and big, round, light-blue eyes. More than once the boys tried to convince me that I’d been adopted. If I wasn’t the female version of my father, I might have believed them.

I touched my forehead to the table and groaned. “I can’t believe it, but this day just got worse.”

“Aw, c’mon, Camille. You know you love us,” Clark said, nudging me with his shoulder. When I didn’t answer, he leaned in to whisper in my ear. “You sure you’re all right?”

I kept my head down, but nodded. Clark patted my back a couple of times, and then the table grew quiet.

I lifted my head. Everyone was staring behind me, so I turned around. Trenton Maddox was standing there, holding two shot glasses and another glass of something that looked decidedly less sweet.

“This table turned into a party fast,” Trenton said with a surprised but charming smile.

Chase narrowed his eyes at Trenton. “Is that him?” he asked, nodding.

“What?” Trenton asked.

Coby’s knee began to bounce, and he leaned forward in his chair. “That’s him. He f**kin’ canceled on her, and then he showed up here.”

“Wait. Coby, no,” I said, holding up my hands.

Coby stood up. “You jackin’ with our sister?”

“Sister?” Trenton said, his eyes bouncing between me and the volatile gingers sitting on each side of me.

“Oh, God,” I said, closing my eyes. “Colin, tell Coby to stop. It’s not him.”

“Who’s not me?” Trenton said. “We got a problem here?”

Travis appeared at his brother’s side. He wore the same amused expression as Trenton, both flashing their matching left-sided dimples. They could have been their mother’s second set of twins. Only subtle differences set them apart, including the fact that Travis was maybe an inch or two taller than Trenton.

Travis crossed his arms across his chest, making his already large biceps bulge. The only thing that kept me from exploding from my chair was that his shoulders relaxed. He wasn’t ready to fight. Yet.

“Evening,” Travis said.

The Maddoxes could sense trouble. At least it seemed that way, because whenever there was a fight, they had either started it, or finished it. Usually both.

“Coby, sit down,” I commanded through my teeth.

“No, I’m not sittin’ down. This dickhead insulted my sister, I’m not f**kin’ sittin’ down.”

Raegan leaned over to Chase. “That’s Trent and Travis Maddox.”

“Maddox?” Clark asked.

“Yeah. You still got something to say?” Travis said.

Coby shook his head slowly and smiled. “I can talk all night long, motherfu—”

I stood. “Coby! Sit your ass down!” I said, pointing to his chair. He sat. “I said it wasn’t him, and I meant it! Now everybody calm the f**k down! I’ve had a bad day, I’m here to drink, and relax, and have a good goddamn time! Now if that’s a problem for you, back the f**k off my table!” I closed my eyes and screamed the last part, looking completely insane. People around us were staring.

Breathing hard, I glanced at Trenton, who handed me a drink.

One corner of his mouth turned up. “I think I’ll stay.”


MY PHONE CHIRPED FOR THE THIRD TIME. I PICKED IT UP from my nightstand to take a look. It was a text from Trenton.

Get up, lazy. Yeah, I’m talking to u.

“Turn off your phone, ass**le! Some of us have hangovers!” Raegan yelled from her bedroom.

I clicked it over to silent and put it back on the table to charge. Damn it. What was I thinking, giving him my phone number?

Kody lumbered down the hall and peeked in, his eyes still half shut. “What time is it?”

“Not even eight.”

“Who’s blowing up your phone?”

“None of your business,” I said, turning over onto my side. Kody chuckled, and then he began banging around pots and pans in the kitchen, probably getting ready to feed his ginormousness.

“I hate everyone!” Raegan yelled again.

I sat up, letting my legs dangle off the side of the bed. I had the entire weekend off, something that hadn’t happened since the last weekend I took off to see T.J.—and he canceled. Back then, I had cleaned the apartment until my fingers were raw, and then washed, dried, and folded all of my laundry—and Raegan’s.

I wasn’t going to mope around the apartment this time, though. I looked over at the pictures of my brothers and me on my wall, next to a picture of my parents, and a few of the drawings I’d attempted in high school. The black frames were a stark contrast to the white walls throughout the apartment. I’d been working on making it look more lived-in—buying one set of curtains with every paycheck. Raegan’s parents got her a gift card to Pottery Barn for Christmas, so we now had a nice dinnerware set and a rustic, mahogany-stained coffee table. But the apartment still mostly looked like we’d just moved in, even though I’d lived there going on three years, and Raegan more than one. It wasn’t the nicest property in town, but at least the neighborhood had more young families and single professionals than loud, obnoxious college kids, and it was far enough away from the campus that we didn’t have to deal with a lot of game day traffic.

It wasn’t much, but it was home.

My phone buzzed. I rolled my eyes, thinking it was Trenton, and leaned over to check the display. It was T.J.

Miss you. We should be snuggling in my bed instead of what I’m doing right now.

Cami can’t talk right now. She’s hungover. Leave a message at the beep. BEEP.

You went out last night?

You expected me to stay home and cry myself to sleep?

Good. I don’t feel so bad, now.

No, keep feeling bad. It’s really okay.

I want to hear your voice, but I can’t call right now. I’ll try to call tonight.

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