Liis and Thomas are really happy the next morning, glad they’ve finally decided to pursue a relationship. Thomas says that he thinks their previous relationships didn’t work out because they weren’t invested enough in them, but that this time is different.
There are even amusing moments:
“When he finally released me, he only pulled away a few centimeters, brushing his lips against mine. “I’ve always been a morning person, but I have no idea how I’m going to get out of this bed with you in it.”
“Tommy!” Jim yelled from downstairs. “Get your ass down here and make your mom’s omelets!”
Thomas blinked. “The idea just came to me.”
While cooking breakfast, Jim and Thomas reminisce about some past Maddox beatings:
“Do you remember Trav’s first day? You all beat the stuffing out of Johnny Bankonich for making Shepley cry?”
Thomas puffed out a laugh. “I remember. Too many kids got their first black eyes from one of the Maddox brothers.”
Jim wore a proud smile. “Because you boys protected each other.”
Also because they are violent morons.
“Together, there wasn’t anything you couldn’t figure out,” Jim said. “You’d beat the tar outta one of your brothers, and then you’d beat the tar outta someone else for laughing about you kicking your brother’s ass. There’s nothing none of you can do that would change how much you mean to each other. Just remember that, son.”
Is this supposed to be inspirational? “You beat the shit out of each other and (innocent?) bystanders. THAT IS LOVE!”
“Thomas looked at his father for a long time and then cleared his throat. “Thanks, Dad.”
“You got a pretty girl there, and I think she’s smarter than you. Don’t forget that either.”
Well, if the man who raised five Maddox bros says so, we can rest assured this is the sagest of wisdom.
But fuck this shit, it’s time for Liis and Thomas to awkwardly work Camille into a conversation again:
“You want one?” Thomas asked.
“I think I’ll just get coffee at the airport,” I said.
Thomas smirked. “Are you sure? I make a mean omelet. Don’t you like eggs?”
“I do. It’s just too early to eat.”
“Good. That means I’ll get to make you one of these sometime. Camille hated eggs…” He trailed off, instantly regretting his words. “I don’t know why the fuck I just said that.”
“Because you were thinking about her?”
“It just popped into my head.” He looked around. “Being here does weird things to me. I feel like I’m two people. Do you feel different when you’re at your parents’ house?”
I shook my head. “I’m the same everywhere I go.”
I actually remember Beautiful Oblivion making a point of telling us how much Camille hated eggs. This book makes a big deal about Liis not liking milk…does that mean in Beautiful Turds from Outer Space there will be a conversation referencing Liis’ hatred of milk?
Liis doesn’t make a big deal about this, luckily. So I guess that’s the last we’ll discuss Camille for –
“I’m leaving later, sis. I’m catching a ride with Trent and Cami. Tyler is, too. We’re on the same flight.”
Cami. I wondered why Thomas didn’t call her that.
~Liis Lindy, solving lots of mysteries! Liis Lindy, cracking the codes. Liis Lindy! Wonderin’ bout her new boyfriend!~ This week, on Liis Lindy’s Adventures in FBI and Romance Liis tries to understand why her boyfriend doesn’t call his ex-girlfriend by a nickname that other people do…Will she be able to use her FBI skills to solve a romantic mystery? Find out!
In the car, on the way to the airport, Tyler frets about whether Falyn will show up and whether he should tell her that while they were broken up he slept with someone else. This somehow leads back to Thomas/Liis and makes things awkward.
“Thomas shook his head. “When are you dumbasses going to learn that you can’t go off and sleep with someone the second you’re rejected? It’s not going to make you feel better. Nothing will make you feel better but time.”
“Is that what made you feel better?” Taylor asked.
My breath caught.
Thomas craned his neck and glanced back at me. “Maybe now isn’t the best time, Taylor.”
I get that the Maddox boys are not known for their tactful nature, but why the fuck would Tyler say this?
He then awkwardly works into the conversation a question to Liis about how you can get over someone in case Falyn breaks up with him again. This is just a way for Liis to tell everyone she’s never had her heart broken. I don’t understand. Jackson is such an appealing guy.
This time is different, though:
“I’m invested,” I said.
Taylor and Thomas traded glances.
Then, Thomas turned to me. “If it makes you feel better, I’ve run the numbers. I’m not going to break your heart.”
“Oh,” Taylor said, “intellectual foreplay. I don’t know what the fuck y’all are talking about, but I’m feeling a little uncomfortable right now.”
I really don’t know if I can handle a book about Taylor if what Thomas just said was too confusing for him to understand. Who am I kidding? Of course I can handle it.
Later, at the hotel, Thomas and Liis muse about how beautiful everything is, and he suggests that one day they can retire there. For some reason, he can’t fathom that Liis is a little taken aback that they’ve just gotten together, and he is talking about where they might retire.
“Don’t say it,” Thomas said, scrubbing his hair.
“What you’re about to say. You’re overanalyzing.”
I frowned. “That’s part of who I am. That’s why I’m good at my job.”
“And I accept that. What I won’t accept is you using it to push me away. I know what you’re doing.”
Anger, humiliation, and devastation hit me at once. “And I accept that you’re gifted at seeing people for who they really are but not when you point it in my direction and avoid using that talent on yourself.”
So now somehow it becomes about whether or not he’s using her to get over Cami? I thought they had already addressed all of this and were on the same page that they were more invested in this relationship than they’d been in previous ones.
“You can’t just stop loving someone. I don’t know how to explain it to you if you’ve never been in love.”
“Who said I’ve never been in love?”
“You did—when you said you’ve never had your heart broken.”
“A lot of people on this earth have been in love and haven’t had their hearts broken.”
“But you’re not one of them.”
I winced. “Are you over her?”
He hesitated. “It’s hard to explain.”
I genuinely feel like Thomas has moved on from Cami and is fully invested in Liis, so why is he making his life so difficult? He’s already told Liis he’s not using her, already told her he’s never felt this way about anyone (including Cami), so why is this conversation such a struggle?
“He wiped his face and opened the door. “Baby, for the tenth time…I don’t want to be with her. I want you.”
“Would you still be with her if Trent hadn’t come along?”
He puffed out a frustrated sigh. “Probably. I don’t know. It depends on if she would have moved out to California like we’d talked about.”
I do get where Liis is coming from here, but if you go down that path with anyone about past relationships, you could probably find moments where you’re like, “But if x had or hadn’t happened would you have still been together?” Trent did come along, and apparently Cami/Thomas weren’t strong enough to survive that, so who knows what would have happened if Trent had never had feelings for Cami.
They agree that this will be an ongoing conversation (ugggggg), but that it’s time for the ceremony. BUT FIRST:
“There was a knock on the door. I looked around, not sure if we had even told anyone which room we were in. I crept over to the door and used the peephole. My blood ran cold and boiled at the same time.
Oh. My. God.
So obviously Cami is at the door, right?