Home > The Destiny of Violet & Luke (The Coincidence #3)(11)

The Destiny of Violet & Luke (The Coincidence #3)(11)
Jessica Sorensen

“You’re ten years my senior,” I argue in a playful tone. “Which does make you old.”

“Eight years your senior,” he corrects. “I’m only twenty-seven… don’t be adding years on me.”

I shoot a conniving grin at him. “When you get that old, does it really even matter anymore if I add a year or two?”

He shakes his head with forced annoyance as he extends his arm over the counter and grabs the ashtray next to my elbow. He puts his cigarette out in it, then his hand moves for the front pocket in his shirt. “So I’m going to have you stick to herb tonight,” he says, taking out a small baggie of weed out of his pocket. He tosses it down on the counter in front of me, getting down to business. “And I heard that the cops were going to be out a little heavier around town, so be careful.”

“How do you know that?” I ask. “Is your friend Glen tipping you off again? He’s such a dirty copper.”

“ ‘Dirty copper’?” He chuckles under his breath. “I think you’ve been watching a little too many cop shows, Violet. No one talks like that.”

“I don’t watch cop shows,” I lie, tracing one of the many cracks on the countertop. “I read that expression in a book.”

“What era does the book take place in? 1930?”

“No, 2012.”

“You’re such a liar,” he says, crossing his arms as he slumps back against the counter. “You seriously are the worst I know and one day it’s going to get you into trouble.”

“I don’t lie all the time.” I pick up the bag of weed. “I just make things colorful when they’re gray.”

“You are the most entertaining girl I know, Violet Ha…” He trails off, probably remembering the one and only time I yelled at him—when he called me by my last name.

I quickly change the subject before it can get to me. “So, are you going to let me crash here for the summer or what?”

A flirtatious smirk curves across his face. “You know you’re always welcome here. I’ll even share my bed with you.”

I roll my eyes. “Thanks, but I think I’ll take my old room.”

“What? I’m not good enough to share a bed with?”

“No, I’m sure you are, but you know I don’t share a bed with anyone.”

He leans over the counter. “I know and I’d really like to know why.”

I give a one-shoulder shrug. “For the same reason I don’t share anything else. Because I don’t like people touching my stuff.” That’s not entirely true. I used to hate sleeping alone—being alone in general.

After I found my parents murdered, I stayed in the house with them for twenty-fours hours, and it was the longest twenty-four hours of my existence. The longer I stayed in the house with the bodies the farther I sank into the loneliness and myself. I kept telling myself to get up, but I knew once I did that it’d be over. That I’d have to say good-bye. Finally the silence broke me down, though, and I had to move.

I didn’t cry right away after the funerals. It’d taken a few days and then I couldn’t stop. It went on forever and I just wanted someone to comfort me. And I hated sleeping alone with the nightmares filled with loneliness. I tried to get someone to hold me, hug me, help me not feel so alone, but in the end, no one wanted the job. And finally I decided not to be so weak. I made myself be strong. Be okay with being alone. Be okay with only having myself.

“Earth to Violet.” Preston waves his hand in front of my face. “You’re spacing off on me.”

“Sorry.” I go to put the bag of weed in my pocket, but realize I forgot my jacket. “Shit, I don’t have any effin pockets in this dress.”

Preston cocks his head to the side and strands of his hair fall into his liquid blue eyes. “Personally I like the dress…” He looks me over and I try not to let his penetrating gaze make me uncomfortable, but it kind of does. “I have an idea.” He rubs his scruffy jawline as he winds around the counter and I turn in the barstool to face him. He sticks his hand out. “Give me the bag.”

I drop it in his hand and he folds his fingers around it and reaches for my chest. I flinch, but don’t say anything, focusing instead on keep my breathing even as his hand brushes the top of the dress.

“You’re not wearing a bra.” He bites his lip, his hand lingering on my chest for a moment, then he moves it toward my hip, reaching around to my back where the dress opens up and my bare skin shows. He barely slips his fingers underneath the fabric and then tucks the bag just beneath the waistband of my thong, my skin blazing with heat at the contact of his fingers. It’s not like I’m innocent. Guys have groped me and I let their hands wander wherever they want as long as it’s nothing more than business. It’s easy to ignore everything when they’re just a face, think of something else, like how much laundry I have to do. But if there’s the slightest spark of emotion then I push away.

The idea of connecting with someone emotionally and intimately never has appealed to me. Emotions haven’t in general. They serve no point other than to lead to disappointment when you realize you’re feeling something for someone who doesn’t reciprocate. Preston knows this about me and it makes me sort of question why he would touch me like this. He can joke with me all he wants, but touching is off limits with people I have some sort of relationship with whether it be foster dad or friend, whichever he is to me… it sometimes gets confusing.

I’m battling to get oxygen into my lungs without gasping as my head swirls with confusion and the urge to ram my fist into his jaw.

“Just don’t get too crazy with your dance moves,” he says, withdrawing his hand and winking at me. Then he circles the corner of the kitchen counter. “There’s a party in Fairtown,” he tells me, carrying on the conversation as if nothing happened as he digs through his cupboards for something. “You should hit it up. That town’s full of potheads.”

I swallow the anger down and force my voice to come out as upbeat as a cheerleader on crack. “Okay, sounds good.” With my back turned to him, I squeeze my eyes shut, reminding myself to breathe, reminding myself that he’s all I got and when faced with the choice of being entirely alone or taking this, I choose this.

Chapter 5

Luke

I have a beer in my hand and a few shots in my system, building my safety net for the night. Without them, I’d feel like I was helplessly falling nowhere. I know it’s a dangerous road I’m headed down, especially because I’m a diabetic. There have been a few instances where I pushed my body’s limits and doctors have told me that if I don’t stop, I could end up dead. The problem is that living without alcohol is a life I can’t live.

It’s Saturday night and I’m checking my computer for listing of apartments for rent. As usual, nothing turns up, nothing affordable anyway. It’s the wrong time of year, summer break approaching, and all the college students are looking for places to live so they fill up quickly. If I had more money saved up, it’d be easier, but I don’t. I’m starting to debate whether I can look past my resentment toward my father and ask him if I can come live with him or at least stay at the beach house. But the idea of asking him for help, when I got so little of it growing up, makes me feel weak. I want him to have to work to be my father. I don’t know for sure how much he knows about what went on, but what I do know is that for years there wasn’t enough contact from him for me to even tell him. The only thing I can do is let the memories haunt my head, which they do pretty much every night when I close my eyes, unless I’m drunk. When I’m drunk, nothing is in my head.

I get a text as I’m shutting the computer. I pick my phone up off the desk and swipe my finger over the screen. It’s from Seth, Callie’s best friend. I sometimes hang out with him and his boyfriend Greyson, since they both like to party as much as I do.

Seth: R u going out tonight?

Me: Aren’t I always?

Seth: Where u headed?

Me: Probably to the Red Ink up on 6th street. Why? You got something planned?

Seth. Not yet. Red Ink, huh? You must be looking for a skank tonight.

Me: Tonight? Don’t you mean always?

Seth: You know, rumor has it you’ve been hanging out with the biggest skank on campus.

Luke: What? Who?

Seth: A bitchy roommate with a dragon tattoo on her neck. Goes by the name of Violet.

I scratch at my head, wondering where the hell he heard that from, but then it clicks.

Luke: Did Callie tell you that?

Seth: Well, she didn’t use those words per se since Callie would never use those words, but she said she saw you helping Violet around campus… what’s that about?

Luke: Nothing. I was just being a nice guy.

Seth: Since when r u a nice guy.

He has a point. I’m not usually a nice guy, but for some reason Violet momentarily brought it out of me. I’m not feeling like a nice guy right now though. I feel pissed off about my living situation and all I want to do is get trashed out of my mind and go find a girl to f**k so I can get rid of this feeling, like I’m falling into a bottomless pit.

Luke: I thought I’d try something different for a little bit.

Seth. How’s that going for you?

Luke: I think I’m deciding to quit it before it becomes a habit.

Seth: Good for u. U gonna do it cold turkey?

I shake my head. This could go on forever.

Luke: I’m headed out. R u and Greyson down or not?

Seth. Yeah, as long as we can get a cab. Neither one of us wants to be DD tonight and I’m doubting u do either, since u never offer.

Luke: Sounds good. Callie and Kayden coming?

Seth: They went out somewhere… I think up to that rock. They’re becoming obsessed with it and each other, lol.

Luke: Yeah… meet u out in front of my dorm in ten?

Seth: Sounds good :)

I check my insulin levels and grab my glucose tablets, just in case, then put my phone into my pocket and grab my key card and wallet. I toss my empty beer bottle into the trash and get another one out of the mini fridge, ready to get the hell out of here and start drinking even heavier. That’s what I love about spring and summer, when footballs not really going on and I’m free to get trashed as much as I like without having to worry about practice. It makes the noise and memories in my head just a little more bearable. It makes breathing bearable. Life bearable.

I started drinking when I was thirteen. I wasn’t with my friends or anything, just sitting at home after my mom had passed out on the sofa, not from heroin but from booze. She’d made me sit with her as she drank gulp after gulp, forcing me to hold her hand and coddle her like she was a sick person taking medication to numb the pain. As she started to doze off, she’d wrapped her arms around me and held me tightly against her, telling me that I would always be her little boy, and then sang a song to match her words. I hated when she did this, especially because I never felt like her little boy, even when I was seven. At that point in my life I knew our whole relationship was wrong, the things she made me do for her, like crush up her pills and the way she was always touching, but I was too ashamed to say anything and honestly I knew even then that nothing was ever going to change until I was old enough to get out of that damn house.

Finally, after holding me for way too long, she’d passed out into a deep sleep and I was able to slip out of her arms and be free for a moment. She’d left the bottle of whiskey out on the coffee table and I can remember sitting there, wondering what it tasted like, wondering why my mom needed to drink it all the time. So I picked it up and took a swig. The alcohol felt like it singed my throat and when it hit my belly it burned like fire. I was fascinated with the way it felt inside me, how the heat smothered out the wrong inside me, so I kept taking swigs until I passed out completely and for a moment, the wrong in me drifted asleep. After that, I’d always take a few drinks after she passed out and the more I did it, the more the rage and helpless feelings living in me became tolerable. And now I have a hard time functioning without it.

I’m about to head out when I get a call from my dad. I stare at my phone as it rings and rings, deciding whether I want to answer it or just silence his call. Finally, I hit talk and put it up to my ear, attempting to sound in a better mood than I am.

“Yeah,” I say, pressing the phone between my ear and my shoulder so I can unscrew the cap off the beer.

“Hey,” my father replies and there’s music in the background. “You answered.”

“Yeah, but I’m headed out so I can’t talk for long.” I tip my head back and guzzle a mouth full of beer, feeling the slightest bit better as it liquefies my throat.

“Oh, okay.” He sounds disappointed. “I was just calling to check in on you.”

“Why?”

“Because you’re my son and I worry about you.”

“Why? You didn’t when I was a kid. Why start now when I’m an adult?”

He pauses and the noise gradually gets quieter. Then I hear a door shut and silence fills the connection. “Luke, I know I haven’t been a very good father to you, but I’m trying to make that up to you now.”

I grit my teeth. “I’m twenty years old. It’s a little late to decide you want to be my father.”

“I’ve always wanted to be your father,” he says, nervousness creeping into his voice. “I just had a lot of stuff going on and I wasn’t in the right place to be a good father.”

“Well, I wasn’t in the right place to be without a father.” I head for the door, ready to bail out on the conversation because it’s getting a little too heart-to-heart for my taste.

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