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Not that Trey’s opinion matters to me in any way, but I’m a little put off that he even made that comment. “You don’t have to worry about it,” I say. “I was fired last night. Not what he was looking for in an employee, I guess.” I fail to tell him the true reason I was fired last night. I’m sure that would upset him even more.

“Good,” he says. “You coming to dinner Sunday night?”

I follow him to the door. “Haven’t missed it yet, have I?”

Trey turns to face me after he opens the door. “Well, you’ve also never missed a phone call, and look what happened last night.”

Touché, Trey.

I hate confrontation, and my attitude is going to start one if I don’t backtrack. The last thing I need is tension with Trey or Lydia. “Sorry,” I mutter. “It was a late night last night with working two jobs yesterday. Thank you for the breakfast. I’ll be nicer next time you show up unannounced.”

He smiles and reaches up to tuck a lock of hair behind my ear. It’s an intimate gesture, and I don’t like that he feels comfortable enough to do it. “It’s fine, Auburn.” He drops his hand and steps out into the hall. “See you Sunday night.”

I close the door and lean against it. I’ve been getting a very different vibe from him lately. When I lived in Portland, I never saw him. However, moving to Texas put me in his presence a lot more, and I’m not sure we’re on the same page when it comes to how we define our friendship.

“I don’t like him,” Emory says. I glance toward the living room and she’s seated on the couch, eating her doughnut while flipping through a magazine.

“You don’t even know him,” I say in Trey’s defense.

“I liked the guy you had over last night much better.” She doesn’t bother looking up from her magazine as she judges me.

“You were here last night?”

She nods and takes a long sip of her soda, again not bothering to give me eye contact. “Yep.”

What? Why does she think this is okay?

“Were you here when I called you about the code word?”

She nods again. “I was in my room. I’m really good at eavesdropping,” she says flatly.

I nod once and make my way back toward my bedroom. “That’s good to know, Emory.”



If I were smarter, I would be at my place right now, getting dressed.

If I were smarter, I’d be mentally preparing to show up at Auburn’s apartment, since that’s what I promised her I would do tonight.

If I were smarter, I wouldn’t be sitting here. Waiting for my father to walk through the door and see my hands cuffed behind my back.

I don’t really know how I should feel right now, but numbness probably isn’t the appropriate response. I just know he’s about to walk through that door any second and the last thing I want to do is look him in the eyes.

The door opens.

I look away.

I hear his footsteps as he slowly enters the room. I shift in my seat, but I can barely move thanks to the metal digging into my wrists. I bite my bottom lip to stop myself from saying something I’ll regret. I bite it so hard I taste blood. I continue to avoid looking at him and choose to focus on the poster hanging on the wall. It’s a photo timeline, depicting the progression of meth use over a ten-year span. I stare at it, aware of the fact that all ten pictures are of the same man, and all of them are mug shots. That means the guy was arrested no fewer than ten times.

He’s got nine arrests on me.

My father sighs from where he’s seated, directly across from me. He sighs so heavily his breath reaches me from across the table. I scoot back a few inches.

I don’t even want to know what’s going through his head right now. I just know what’s going through my head, and that’s nothing but a sea of disappointment. Not as much for my arrest as for the fact that I’ve let Auburn down. She seems to live a life where a lot of people let her down and I hate that I’m about to become one of them.

I hate it.

“Owen,” my father says, requesting my attention.

I don’t give it to him. I wait for him to finish, but he doesn’t say anything beyond my name.

I don’t like that all he said was my name, because I know there are a hell of a lot of other things he wants to say to me right now. There are certainly a lot of things I want to say to him, but Callahan Gentry and his son are not the best communicators.

Not since the night Owen Gentry became Callahan Gentry’s only son.

That’s probably the only day out of my entire life I wouldn’t trade this one for. That day is the reason why I continue to do the shit I do. That day is the reason I’m sitting here, about to have to talk to my father about my options.

Sometimes I wonder if Carey can still see us. I wonder what he would think of what’s become of us.

I look away from the meth poster and stare at my father. We’ve perfected the art of silence over the past few years. “Do you think Carey can see us right now?”

My father’s face remains expressionless. The only thing I see in his eyes is disappointment, and I don’t know if it’s disappointment because he failed at being a father or if it’s disappointment that I’m in this situation or if it’s disappointment that I just brought up Carey.

I never bring up my brother. My father never brings up my brother. I don’t know why I’m doing it now.

I lean forward and I keep my eyes locked with his.

“What do you think he thinks of me, Dad?” I say quietly. So quietly. If my voice were a color, it would be white.

My father’s jaw clenches, so I keep going.

“Do you think he’s disappointed in my inability to just say no?”

My father inhales and looks away, breaking eye contact with me. I’m making him uncomfortable. I can’t lean forward any more than I already am, so I scoot my chair toward him until my chest meets the table between us. I’m as close as I can get now.

“What do you think Carey thinks of you, Dad?”

That sentence would be painted black.

My father’s fist meets the table and his chair falls backward when he stands abruptly. He paces the room, twice, and kicks the chair, causing it to crash against the wall. He continues to pace from one end of the small room to the other, which is only about seven feet or so. He’s so pissed, I feel bad that we’re in such a tiny room. The man needs space to release all of his aggression. They should take these types of situations into consideration when they arrest people and stick them in tiny square rooms to meet with their lawyers. Because you never know when a lawyer is also a father and that father needs space to fit all his anger.