Travis Joins the FBI: Beautiful Redemption Chapter 20

Travis shows up at Liis and Thomas’ room after receiving a note from the front desk to meet them early in the morning. This won’t raise Abby’s suspicions at all, because it’s very normal for your husband to disappear at 6 a.m. after your wedding re-do.

Liis leads into the whole FBI thing in a way that I can only describe as confounding:

“I sat down on the corner of the bed, keeping my shoulders relaxed and trying to seem generally nonthreatening. “Travis, we need to talk to you about your involvement in the March nineteenth ESU fire.”

Travis furrowed his brow, and then he laughed once without humor. “What?”

I continued, “The FBI has been investigating the case, and Thomas has been able to strike a deal in your favor.”

“Travis clasped his hands together. “The FBI? But he’s an ad exec.”

Maybe lead with the fact that Thomas and Liis are in the FBI. To orient the target audience and all.

He gestured to his brother. “Tell her, Tommy.”

Thomas then turns to Liis and explains that this has been a huge misunderstanding and he’s been a confused ad exec all along! “Wait, this was the FBI? I thought this was Sterling Cooper Draper Maddox.”

You have to earn it, Maddox!

Thomas finally convinces Travis he’s really in the FBI, and then he breaks the news that Abby married Travis to give him an alibi. This still makes no sense to me. Lots of people saw them at the fight/during the fire…also why did they have to get married for an alibi? Would it make more sense if she’d married him so she’d never have to testify against him because of spousal privelage? I could maybe buy that, but they just keep saying it was an alibi.

Also if it was just an alibi, why couldn’t they have just gone to Vegas and used that as the alibi? Why did marriage have to play into it?

“She was nineteen, Travis. She didn’t want to get married until you were at risk for going to prison for organizing the fight.”

Travis took a swing at Thomas, but he ducked. They scuffled, and then Thomas got the upper hand, pinning his younger brother to the wall with his forearm.

“Knock it off! Goddamn it! She loves you! She loves you so much that she did something she had no intention of doing for years down the line just so she could save your stupid ass!”

Travis was breathing hard, and he held up his hands in surrender.

I obviously think Travis is reacting in the stupidest, most childish way possible as per his character, but why is Thomas approaching the conversation this way? He has known this whole time that Travis has no idea that Abby did this for him and that the news will crush him, and yet to lead into it he was like, “Abby’s plan didn’t work.” As though Travis was aware of what said plan was! Context, people, context!

Travis punches Thomas in the face because A MADDOX BRO NEVER ACTUALL SURRENDERS. And he’s like “That’s for lying to dad.” So I guess the lesson from this book is that even if your dying mother tells you not to go into a specific line of work, you should be honest about going into that line of work.

The mood immediately gets light because not only does a Maddox love forever when he falls in love (but what happens when he falls in love with you later??!?!?), but he becomes very jolly after landing a punch. These are the Maddox ways, you see.

Travis is like, “Wow you’re really FBI! I don’t hit girls, so I won’t hit you too. LOL!” Good one, Trav.

Thomas also points out that their credit card statements clearly show they went to Vegas after the fire, which, if Abby is supposed to be this fucking genius, how did she not realize that was a very easy way to disprove their unconvincing alibi?

Liis and Thomas tell Travis he won’t have to go to prison if he agrees to help them. This is good because Travis doesn’t really care about doing prison time, just being away from Abby. Very romantic.

Question: Does anyone remember how involved/responsible Travis actually was for the fire? I get that the issue is that the guys who organized put it together in a dangerous location and all that, but none of these people were forced to attend, and I doubt they were under any illusions that this was a Super Safe Underground Fightclub Event. And Travis was mainly just one of the fighters who showed up where he was told to show up, right? I hate to say it but, I’m not entirely sure I think Travis should go to jail?

Travis freaks out again, saying he can’t lie to Abby, and that no matter what he’s putting her and the rest of the family in danger. He is furious with Thomas because their dad very specifically told them they couldn’t go into law enforcement because their mom said not to.

“You fucked us all! You son of a bitch!” Travis screamed, punching at the air.

This might be my favourite and most confusing visual of all time. Is he just having a temper tantrum at the air? He’s just completely given up on punching actual people, he’s just resorting to punching the air now.

“Please don’t make me do this, Tommy.” His bottom lip quivered. “You’re my brother.”

Thomas stared him in the eyes, speechless.

I shifted to my other leg, keeping a confident stare. “Then, maybe you shouldn’t have engaged in an illegal activity that caused the deaths of a hundred and thirty-two college kids.”

Right, but like wasn’t mostly everyone there engaging in illegal activity? It pains me to do this, but why is Travis more culpable than people placing illegal bets on the illegal fight that was illegaly arranged while they all trespassed somewhere they shouldn’t have been?

Also, harsh words, Liis. But effective. He doesn’t punch Liis, and he agrees to think about it. That’s all one can ask of a Maddox bro. After Travis leaves, Thomas collapses on the floor, crying, and Liis comforts him.

The next scene jumps ahead to Liis and Thomas drinking at their local bar, back in California! I’m shocked we didn’t have to sit through an awkard goodbye scene with Cami where she again talks about a united front against the Maddox bros. Also, Travis agrees to join the FBI off-screen.

Val is also at the bar, and Liis confronts her about still being married to and living with Sawyer. Val doesn’t want to lose the condo, so she won’t move out! Or will she because Liis offers to let her move in with her:

“Really?” she asked, her eyes softening. “You would do that for me?”

“Yes. What a nightmare. And besides, it would be nice to share the bills. I could buy a car, and until then, ride with you to work.”

“I appreciate that,” Val said, tilting her head to the side. “I really do, but I’m not losing the condo. It’s mine, and his ass is moving, not me.”

But really this conversation isn’t about Liis and Val, it’s just a way for Thomas to drunkely cut in, asking why Liis won’t ride to work with him anymore.

It was the first time he’d spoken in hours, and the sound of his voice surprised me as if he’d just shown up.

“I do,” I said. “I just meant that if Val moved in, it would be a good trade.”

His shirtsleeves were rolled almost to his elbows, and his tie was loose and hanging haphazardly from his neck. He’d had so much to drink that his eyes were half closed.
“What’s wrong with riding with me?”

This. You. Awful Maddox bro!

Liis tries to continue talking to Val, but Thomas keeps interrupting to berate Liis about this carpool thing and thinking she’s too good for carpool/everything related to Thomas. I forgot all Maddoxes are contractually obligated to get wasted and beligerant at some point in their stories.


He basically just makes a fool of himself and guilts Liis into taking him home so he can cry/fall asleep with her.








  1. bookbaron Reply

    I didn’t realize the FBI was so short staffed that they needed to blackmail criminals into joining. Isn’t this like illegal? I could understand if they wanted him to help with a case but they are basically saying join the FBI or we charge you with murder!

    Also what hell was 125 people doing at an illegal fight ring? And that’s just the 125 people who didn’t get out in time. You mean more than 125 people were watching a secret fight? How secret was it if half the school was there?

    I have to imagine the Maddox brothers never hugged as kids. They expressed all their love through their fists.

    Travis: Merry Christmas!
    Thomas: oh! A sweater! Just what I wanted- (punched in the face)
    Travis: you’re fucking welcome!
    Thomas: (punches back) I fucking love it! (Roundhouse kick) thank you!
    Dad: I love how you kids always get along. (Pile drives both boys) also your dying mother just wants me to remind you boys not to join any dangerous professions.
    Trenton: (sumersault kick) why the duck do all our names start with T!

  2. wordswithhannah Reply

    I just…how can you have conversed with another human being at some point in your life and still be this bad at writing believable interaction? Why is this fight over Val moving in even a fight? Why am I getting this blinding pain right behind my eye?


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