His words hung there, in the darkness between our voices. I sometimes found comfort in that space, but in three months, I’d only found unrest. That space became more like a convenient place to hide. Not for me, for him. My fingers ached, so I allowed them to relax, not realizing how hard I’d been gripping my cell phone.
My roommate, Raegan, was sitting next to my open suitcase on the bed, her legs crisscrossed. Whatever look was on my face prompted her to take my hand. T.J.? she mouthed.
“Will you please say something?” T.J. asked.
“What do you want me to say? I’m packed. I took vacation time. Hank has already given Jorie my shifts.”
“I feel like a huge asshole. I wish I didn’t have to go, but I warned you. When I have an ongoing project, I can be called out at any time. If you need help with rent or anything . . .”
“I don’t want your money,” I said, rubbing my eyes.
“I thought this would be a good weekend. I swear to God I did.”
“I thought I’d be getting on a plane tomorrow morning, and instead you’re calling me to say I can’t come. Again.”
“I know this seems like a dick move. I swear to you I told them I had important plans. But when things come up, Cami . . . I have to do my job.”
I wiped a tear from my cheek, but I refused to let him hear me cry. I kept the trembling from my voice. “Are you coming home for Thanksgiving, then?”
He sighed. “I want to. But I don’t know if I can. It depends on if this is wrapped up. I do miss you. A lot. I don’t like this, either.”
“Will your schedule ever get better?” I asked. It took him longer than it should to answer.
“What if I said probably not?”
I lifted my eyebrows. I expected that answer but didn’t expect him to be so . . . truthful.
“I’m sorry,” he said. I imagined him cringing. “I just pulled into the airport. I have to go.”
“Yeah, okay. Talk to you later.” I forced my voice to stay level. I didn’t want to sound upset. I didn’t want him to think I was weak or emotional. He was strong, and self-reliant, and did what had to be done without complaint. I tried to be that for him. Whining about something out of his control wouldn’t help anything.
He sighed again. “I know you don’t believe me, but I do love you.”
“I believe you,” I said, and I meant it.
I pressed the red button on the screen and let my phone fall to the bed.
Raegan was already in damage control mode. “He was called into work?”
“Okay, well, maybe you guys will just have to be more spontaneous. Maybe you can just show up, and if he’s called out while you’re there, you wait on him. When he gets back, you pick up where you left off.”
She squeezed my hand. “Or maybe he’s a tool who should stop choosing his job over you?”
I shook my head. “He’s worked really hard for this position.”
“You don’t even know what position it is.”
“I told you. He’s utilizing his degree. He specializes in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration, whatever that "The author's pen flows with ease and fans of romance and NA will adore the raw emotion...Trenton's story will steal readers' hearts."