V: Please save me. Drew is singing Britney Spears. This is the longest, most torturous ride home ever.
I smile as I type out a response.
T: Well, I’m a SLAVE FOR YOU, baby, even though you’re TOXIC, I was BORN TO MAKE YOU HAPPY.
V: YOU DRIVE ME CRAZY!
T: I’M NOT A GIRL, NOT YET A WOMAN!
V: That actually makes a lot more sense now.
T: Don’t get cocky.
I chuckle at our Britney Spears references and glance back up when Mom pulls into the driveway, and I reach over and give her a hug.
“Tell Drew and Viola I said hello.”
“Take care of that girl, Travis.”
“Huh?” I’m confused.
“Viola. I know you two are seeing each other.”
I give her a look. There’s no way she could know this. Or could she?
“Mother’s intuition. Mothers always know.”
I smile, not denying it, and get out of the car. I stand in the driveway with my arms across my chest, and as she backs out of the driveway, I wave. Mom thinks she’s sly, but someone she knows must have seen us together when we had lunch. I try to think back to that moment, but all I can remember is Viola’s face.
I plop down on the couch, trying to focus. My father has cancer. It’s a lot to take in, and so unexpected. Guilt sweeps over me for reacting the way I did, and I try not to get wrapped up in the thought of it. Next week, I’ll call Mom and ask more questions. I’ll be there for her. I have to.
Once the afternoon lag kicks in, I make some coffee and sit on the couch and mindlessly flip through channels. I lean back and prop up my feet. Before I fall asleep, my phone vibrates in my pocket. I pull it out and swipe it open.
It’s a text message from…Mia.
M: Travis? Is this still your number?
I’m half tempted not to reply or say no. But a simple confirmation from Drew would ruin that.
T: What’s up?
I’m not interested in what she has to say, and I’m a little pissed that she has the audacity to text me.
M: Please don’t tell Drew what happened.
I read the text over and over again and don’t realize I’m clenching my jaw until I hear my teeth grinding against each other.
T: Nothing happened.
M: Good. I’m glad we’re on the same page then.
Her text catches me off guard. Same page? No, we’re fucking not. We’re not even reading out of the same book.
T: What are you playing at? This isn’t a fucking game, Mia.
She instantly texts back.
I’m half-tempted to throw my phone across the room, but the only person that would affect is me. My anger is seeping out, just like my father’s had so many times over the years. Control. I need to find it—fast.
Instead of texting her back and saying exactly what I think about her, I take the higher road and ignore it. She’s being a bitch. She’s acting out. And as soon as I find the right time to speak to Drew, I’m going to tell him exactly what happened the night of the accident, whether he wants to hear it or not, because he deserves to know.
There was no legit reason for Drew and me to visit Mom this weekend. She just wanted to see her kids and mentioned the possibility of moving closer to the beach. There was no emergency, no death, no wedding, or birth announcement. It was Mom being quirky, like always. I swear if Phoebe on Friends were an actual person, she would be my mother. On the way over, Drew and I made up so many different scenarios that we began taking bets on why we were summoned. Needless to say, I won ten dollars that I will gladly be cashing in.
Sunday morning, I laid in bed for a long time before going into the living room. I could hear Larry and Drew talking about football, and I’d rather not. As soon as I woke, it’s like Travis knew and texted me.
T: I need you to hurry home.
V: Got an itch that needs scratching? I laugh, thinking about where we were and where we’re at now.
T: Something like that. And we need to talk.
I don’t type for a while. What does that mean, exactly?
V: Well, mister, that sounds pretty serious.
T: By talk, I mean, balls deep inside you.
V: Well don’t hold back AT ALL.
T: Did you expect anything less? ;)
V: Actually, no.
Every day I’m awake, I feel like I’m living a dream. At breakfast on Sunday, I couldn’t stop smiling.
“I love seeing my children so happy,” Mom mentions after we eat. Once we help clean up, she hugs us both goodbye. “You both must be in love,” she jokes.
My cheeks go pink, and I hurry to grab my bag before she notices, but I’m not quick enough. I make eye contact with her, and my deepest, darkest secrets are written across my face. She glances over at Drew, then back at me, before her smile widens. Being the man he is, he’s completely oblivious to the fact that Mom just called me out.