Drew followed Trent out to the front porch with a feeling of impending doom. He had to remind himself this was no crisis. It was simply wishing Trent goodbye. He could hardly even gripe about it.
“Well. I guess this is it.” Trent straightened his back and lifted his chin.
“Yeah. I guess so.” Drew fought down the urge to say that Trent could at least have invited him to come along. They both knew that would be counter productive.
“You know you’re always welcome.” Trent gave Drew a sharp look, then extended the invitation to everyone else on the porch with a glance.
“Thank you.” Suzie stepped forward and shook his hand. “We might well take you up on that.”
“Um. Yeah,” Ben’s girlfriend said as Trent shook her hand. She didn’t sound like she believed it.
“You’re not leaving again, are you?” Ben’s eyes were as wide and troubled as they had been when Drew left nearly a year before.
“No. I’m staying.” Drew tried to smile, but he couldn’t help thinking Ben might wish he HAD gone before all was said and done.
Trent gave Drew a hard, back-thumping hug. He talked quietly, for Drew’s ears only.
“If you ever need to vent a little, you know my number. I know you’ve got yourself something good here, but I doubt any of them have been through what you have. If nothing else, I can get Sonoma to work up a new recipe for you when you need it.”
Drew swallowed hard. He’d forgotten that he’d need Sonoma’s special tea to help stabilize his body chemistry when the residue from having been addicted to China Black got the better of him.
“Yeah. Thanks.” His voice came out thick.
“Well. Enough stalling.” Trent shuffled his feet reluctantly. He’d dropped his bag when they first all filed out onto the porch. Now he stooped to pick it up with the speed and obvious pain of an old man.
“Let me get that.” Drew swooped in to scoop up the duffle.
For a minute Drew thought Trent would argue. But the old man stopped himself, then nodded.
“I really am going to miss you. You and everyone else from your house.” Out at the car, Drew leaned into the window.
“I’m sure it won’t be nearly as much as you missed that little lady over there.” Trent grinned with a twinkle in his eye. “It’ll be all right, my boy.” Trent patted his hand. “As for seeing each other again, it’ll happen for sure.”
“Because we’ll make sure of it,” Drew said, half wishing and half fishing.
“Yup. Because Sonoma and I like you, and we don’t mind traveling.”
Drew grinned. “I’ll be waiting.” He stepped back and waved as Trent drove off.
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