Read The Coincidence 04 The Probability of Violet and Luke Online

Authors: Jessica Sorensen

Tags: #Mystery, #Romance, #las vegas, #love, #New adult, #Contemporary

The Coincidence 04 The Probability of Violet and Luke (15 page)

BOOK: The Coincidence 04 The Probability of Violet and Luke
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Unknown: Been thinking about u a lot and how badly I want to hurt you.

Unknown: U think ignoring me is going to make me stop. Think again.

Unknown: This shit is getting old u little cunt.

Unknown: U disgust me, being with the son of the woman who took your parents life.

Unknown: U fucking whore. Text me back.

Unknown: Fuck u.

Unknown: If u don’t text me back right now, something bad is going to happen.

Unknown: I know you’re in Vegas. Hope u have fun. I’ll be waiting for u when u get back.

They end, just like that. It’s not an ending for me, though, but a beginning of a panic attack if I don’t find a way to calm down. Because he knows where I am but the question is how? How did he find out, when hardly no one knows I’m here. The only people who know I’m here are the ones with me… and Greyson.

“Shit.” I jump from the chair, cutting Ryler off. He looks up at me worriedly, mouthing
what’s wrong.
But I don’t answer, dialing Greyson’s phone number. It rings four times and then goes straight to his voicemail, so I leave him a rushed message about calling me immediately. He could be just at work, but what if he’s not. What if something happened to him… what if
unknown
is with him. God, I don’t want to flip out, but I’m about to. Pins. Needles. Pins. Needles. They’re poking madly underneath my skin.

“Can you excuse me for a second?” I ask Ryler and when he nods, I dash up to the guest room, unsure of what I’m going to do. At first I’m only thinking about myself and about the many ways I could hurt myself, but then all my thoughts go to Greyson. I’m worried about him. Me. Violet Hayes. Worried about someone else besides herself. Actually, I’m worried about a lot of people at the moment.

So I dial Greyson’s number again, squeezing my eyes shut, and holding my breath, crossing my fingers he’ll answer. “Please, please Greyson, pick up.”

He doesn’t though, so I end up dialing him ten times, over and over again, becoming like a stalker myself. Finally he picks up, though, but is very, very grumpy about it. But I’m relieved to hear his voice.

“What the hell, Violet,” he hisses in the phone. “I’m at work, filling in for you. Remember?”

“Shit. Sorry, but it’s really important.” I sit down on the bed and lie down on my back. “Did you tell anyone that I was coming to Vegas with Luke?”

There’s some clanking and banging of dishes in the background. “Yeah, Seth. But that’s it.”

“Did he tell anyone?”

“Probably. He tells everyone everything.” He pauses and I can hear the manager of the diner hollering something in the background. “Wait? Was I not supposed to say anything to anyone?”

“No, it’s fine, but…” I waver, wondering if I should tell him what’s really going on. I hate telling my problems to people but it doesn’t seem like I have a choice anymore. “It’s not really a big deal or anything, I’ve just been getting these weird texts and they know I’m in Vegas with Luke, which is strange since no one really knows except you and I guess Seth.”

“Texts from that reporter again?”

“I don’t think so. I mean, it could be a reporter, but I don’t know.” I let out a loud exhale. “Could you do me a favor and call Seth and see who he told, just so I can maybe get an idea of who’s being a douche?”

“Of course,” he says, not pressing any further. “Give me ten minutes and I’ll take a break and go call him. Then call you right back.”

“Thank you,” I say, feeling the slightest bit lighter, the pins and needles not so potent and sharp. So this is what asking for help is like? I should really do it more often, but then again, getting to the point of asking feels like pulling teeth.

“You’re welcome,” he says, meaning it. “Talk to you in just a minute.”

We hang up and I try to relax the best that I can, watching the minutes tick by, but I only breathe freely again when Greyson calls back. “So it wasn’t Seth,” he says as soon as I pick up. “While I was talking to Seth on the phone, Benny overheard me talking about it and said that some guy called the diner the other day, asking where you were.”

My mouth droops to a frown. “You told Benny where I was?”

“Well, only because I was filling in for you. But Benny doesn’t know you’re with Luke, so I’m not sure how they found that out. But Seth promises he hasn’t said a word and he may be a gossiper but he’s sure as hell’s not a liar. He’s actually the opposite sometimes—too truthful.”

“Yeah, I know.” I sigh tiredly, wondering if the
unknown
is the one who called the diner. And why it matters to the guy enough to track me down?
Who could he be? The other person there that night? Could it be fucking possible?
The idea makes my hairs stand on end. “Thanks for finding that out.”

“No problem.” He hesitates then asks, “Everything going okay?”

“Yeah, I guess so.” I force myself to knock down that wall again, the one I always try to first put up when people want to talk to me. “I got super trashed last night though.”

“That doesn’t sound like you.”

“I know. It was an impulsive decision that led to me crying myself to sleep while Luke coddled me…. I feel like a crazy asshole. Seriously. I used to be so tough and badass and now I’m a hot mess.”

“Everyone can be a hot mess sometimes. Trust me.”

“Yeah, I know, but I hate making people
have
to take care of me.”

“I’m sure Luke didn’t mind, Violet,” Greyson assures me. “In fact, he probably kind of enjoyed it, seeing as how he’s in love with you.”

“We’ve had this conversation way too many times,” I remind him. “Luke’s not in love with me. We just have… well, I don’t know what we have but it sure as hell isn’t love.”

“You sure about that?” he questions cynically. “Because I think you just don’t want to admit that he is, because you’re afraid—afraid of letting someone feel that way about you.”

“Yeah, I’m sure Mr. Therapist,” I utter quietly. “Besides, I don’t even know what love is.”

Silence stretches between us, the awkward kind. We’ve talked a lot but I’m usually pretty closed off so I think my openness about my emotions shocked him. “Violet, I—”

I cut him off. “Hey, can I call you back? Luke just walked in.” A lie, but I’m not ready to have this conversation with Greyson yet and probably never will be.

“Yeah, sure.” He seems hurt like he knows I’m bullshitting him, which shows how much he knows me. “Call me back, though, okay? I worry about you.”

“Yeah, absolutely,” I say and then quickly hang up, my heart racing inside my chest as I fight to catch my breath. “I don’t even know what love is? Really Violet? I need to start keeping my damn mouth shut,” I mumble to myself, sitting down on the edge of the bed and letting my head fall into my hands. For a brief instant, I try to remember what it felt like to be loved by my parents, what it felt like to be hugged, cared for, feel warm on the inside instead of hollow and cold. Surprisingly, my thoughts drift to Luke and when he calmed me down last night, right in the middle of a panic attack. No one has ever gotten me to do that before, or better yet has even tried to calm me down.

As I’m lying there, trying to sort through my emotions without wanting to fling myself out the damn window, my phone vibrates from inside my pocket. At first I think it’s my stalker texter but then I realize the phone is actually ringing this time. When I see Detective Stephner’s name flash across the screen, relief washes over me as I answer it.

“It’s about damn time,” I say to him as I put the phone up to my ear. “I was beginning to think you were intentionally avoiding my calls.”

“I’ve been busy.” Something in his voice throws me off a little. It’s not that he’s being rude so much as he sounds anxious.

I sit up straighter. “Busy with what exactly?” I ask curiously.

“I can’t tell you yet, not until we know for sure,” he tells me with a hint of remorse. “But as soon as I can, I will.”

My heart hammers deafeningly and I’m seriously starting to worry it’s going to leap straight out of my chest. “Is it about my parents? Did they find evidence against Mira? Or did they find the other person who did it?” My words are rushing out of my lips a hundred miles a minute as the possibilities stream through my head.
Is this it? The moment I’ve been waiting for? Is justice finally going to happen after all these years?

“Violet, calm down,” he says like it’s something so easy to do. “I can’t officially discuss anything yet, but like I said, as soon as I can, I’ll call you.”

“That’s not fair,” I gripe. “You shouldn’t have called me until you could talk to me.”

He sighs tiredly. “I called because you called me, remember? You left a message about getting some texts again.”

“Oh yeah.” The adrenaline surging through me makes my voice uneven. “At first I thought it was another reporter, but they know stuff about me that a reporter wouldn’t unless they were stalking me.”

“Give me the details,” he says and I start yammering off what’s been going on and even read him all the texts.

“Can you forward those to me?” he asks when I’m finished yammering. “I’d like to have a copy.”

“Of course,” I reply, already on it. “You’ll get them in just a second.”

“I want to put a trace on your phone too,” he says as I put the phone on speaker so I can still hear him, but work the message section. “See if we can track the number the texts are coming from.”

“It comes up as unknown, though.”

“Doesn’t matter. It could still be traceable.”

“How long will something like that take?”

“It all depends, but I’ll get working on it as soon as we hang up. And if you get any more texts call me immediately.” He gives a reluctant pause. “Violet, I have to ask about Luke. Are you really with him right now like the texts are saying?”

“Yeah… it kind of just happened.” I suddenly feel guilty about it, especially with the way he says it, like he’s disappointed. “There was some stuff going on and… Look, I know who his mother is and everything but he’s not a bad person.”

“I never said he was,” he states. “I was just wondering where he was in case we need to get ahold of him for some reason.”

“Oh.” I give another long pause, knowing there’s no point in asking, but I can’t help it. “Can’t I have like a tiny detail about what’s going on?”

“I’ll try to call you in the morning,” he says, disregarding my question. “And make sure you’re with someone at all times. I don’t want you wandering around by yourself until we figure out where these texts are coming from.”

“Okay, I will,” I tell him, frustrated that he still won’t spill the beans about whatever’s going on, even though deep down I know he can’t without getting into some serious trouble.

“Good.” He hesitates then adds, “And Violet, just try to relax. I have a feeling some good things are going to be happening soon.”

I think it’s his way of giving me a hint, that whatever’s going on is a good thing. At least that’s the way I’m choosing to take it. And by the time I hang up with him, I feel a little lighter, like maybe soon I’ll be able to breathe again without the weight of life pushing down on me, for the very first time in almost fourteen years.

Chapter 13

Luke

Things were going good. So, so good. Violet and I were finally talking and I felt like she was really opening up to me. But I should have known it wouldn’t last. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson after all this time, but I guess I’m a slow learner. Shortcuts. There’s always risk when it comes to them.

The good day had been plummeting to begin with the more the hours went on. It started out when I was reading more of Amy’s journal and found something so fucked up, I couldn’t even process it. The reason Caleb raped her. And reading about it nearly tore me to shreds.

I was never supposed to find out about it,
My sister Amy had wrote across the lined paper, the black ink smeared as if she’d been crying and the tears had dripped down to the pages.
The rape was supposed to be part of the deal. My mother owed a debt to him for drugs and had offered me to Caleb against my will and Caleb had more than gladly took up the offer, but only if he could have sex with me without my consent
.
Just like that, my mother sold her daughter, like a pimp sells a prostitute
.
I was at a party when it happened. I remember Caleb had his eyes on me the entire time, everywhere I went that night and it bothered me enough that I left the party early and went home. I knew his reputation that he liked to be rough with girls, get them drunk and take advantage of them. He also sold drugs to my mother—I remember thinking that a lot that night and how sad it was because he was so young to be in so deep. My mother, well she hadn’t always been that way, not until my father took off and then she kind of went off the deep end, getting high all the time, her mind slipping further and further away from her. I think she might have had an underlying mental disorder to begin with and all the crack and heroin just made it worse. Maybe that’s what Caleb’s problem was, because why would someone ever want to do that to another person? Why would he want to follow me down the hallway and grab me from behind… when I tried to scream, he covered my mouth with his hand. All the lights were off in the house and Luke’s door was shut, so he couldn’t hear my muffled cries as he dragged me toward my room. But my mom could—she could see me when she walked out of her room, the light blinding behind her as she peered into the hallway right before Caleb got me inside my room. She’d been wearing her robe and had this weird look on her face, relief maybe.

“Be quiet,” she’d told Caleb as she’d tied up her robe. “I don’t want you waking up her brother.” Then she’d turned back into her room, closed the door, and let Caleb drag me into my bedroom, gag me and tie me up, then rape me over and over again until every part of me died inside.

My soul died that night and I’m hoping that my body will soon follow because being here is just too hard… too painful.

I was about in tears when I’d finished reading it, but Violet had woken up and I forced myself to pull it together. But I noticed the date n the entry of the corner when I was shutting the notebook. Two days before Amy took her own life because she couldn’t deal with the idea of living anymore in the darkness that had taken over her mind.

It made me want to throw up. How could my mother do that to her own daughter? But the real fucked up thing was that I wasn’t even as surprised as one might think and it makes me worry just how many ‘surprises’ are in store for me in the future.

Thankfully, through all of this, I managed to keep my shit together long enough to get me out of the house and away from Violet. I’d left the house, thinking things couldn’t possibly get worse, until my uncle Cole up and decided that he wanted to cheat too and without warning me. The bosses of The Warehouse caught on to what we were doing and I guess it wasn’t the first time it happened with Cole.

That’s when they come down and drag him toward the back room. I’m right in the middle of a winning hand and just like that, there’s all this commotion. Cole puts up a fight as two guys grab an arm and pull across the open warehouse. I’m getting to my feet, trying to figure out what to do, whether I should go after him. When a large, over weight guy with a thick neck, dressed head-to-toe in black comes up to me.

“Follow me,” he orders and when I hesitate adds, “It’ll be worse if you don’t.”

Grinding my teeth, I set the cards down on the table and follow the guy as he makes his way past the poker tables toward this back area hidden behind a steel wall. By the time I get there, the two guys that hauled my uncle off are beating the shit out of him, one holding him by the arms while the other rams their fist into his gut, face, arms—everywhere.

“Hey,” I start to protest when I’m shoved face first to the floor by a heavy set of hands and end up bashing my face on the concrete. The taste of blood fills my mouth and my jaw starts to throb as I go to push to my feet, but a foot comes down and holds me in place. They take my wallet out of my pocket, I’m sure to take all the cash I have in there. It’s not everything, but it’s enough that I’m in deep trouble. Not too mention all I won tonight is gone.

“And if you come back here again,” one of the guys says to Cole as he slams his fist right into his face. Blood spurts from his mouth and lands on the floor. “Greford won’t let you walk out of here.”

The foot moves from my back as they let go of my uncle and he falls to the floor, unable to even hold his head up. I push up and start to head to him, when one of the guys comes at me.

I shove him back roughly. “Don’t even fucking think about it. This has nothing to do with me.”

“Oh you think so,” the guy says snidely. He has this gnarly scar going down his eye and this sick look in his eyes as he wipes some of my uncle’s blood off his chin. “You come here with a cheater, you’re declared a cheater. Rules of the game.” Then he cranes his arm back and punches his fist into my jaw, right on the side that hit the concrete.

Instinctually, I react with a ram of my own fist, hitting him right in the side. It shocks him a little and then suddenly I’m being held back and the scar guys sucker punches me three or four more times before he lets me go.

My whole body hurts, but the pain is minimal to the reality of the situation. My uncle unconscious, no money, no way to pay Geraldson back.

“Now get your damn asses out of here,” Scar guy says and then spits on the floor in front of me before leaving with the other guys.

Stumbling to my feet, I stagger my way over to my uncle, bruised, beaten, and broken, ready to give up. When I roll him over, he looks dead—bloody, his face swollen, his nose a purplish blue. But then he opens his eyes and gives a cough. “Well, damn. That sucks.” No apology. No excuses. No nothing.

Annoyed and sore as hell, I help him to his feet and get him to the car. He gives me the keys, unable to drive with one of his eyes swollen shut and I hop in the driver’s seat and drive back toward the house, my mind racing a million miles a minute.
Fuck, I’m fucked.
This is the thought that’s running over and over in my mind as I drive.

“Should I… should I maybe take you to the emergency room?” I finally ask, feeling my own body ache with the need to be treated.

He shakes his head, turning toward the window, mumbling, “There’s a warrant for my arrest and the last thing I want to do is get caught.”

“For what?” I ask, merging onto the freeway.

“That’s none of your business.” He rests his head on the window and stays silent for the rest of the drive.

After we get to the house, I help him inside and can’t help but think of my own future and wonder if this is where I’m headed. Twenty years old and I’ve already had my ass kicked more than I can remember for getting caught cheating. And now I have no money to payback Geraldson. I’m wondering if that’s how Cole was. From what I can remember, even when I was five years old and he would have been twenty, he was gambling, drinking, and fighting, the same way he is now.

By the time we stumble into the foyer it’s late, well past midnight. There’s a lamp on in the living room, but the rest of the house is dark, so I make my way in there, Cole’s arm around my shoulder as I bare most of his weight with my own battered body.

“Easy,” he mutters to me as I maneuver us down the step and through the doorway toward the sofa.

When we enter, Ryler, who’s sitting on the couch watching television, instantly looks over at us. He sets his beer down and doesn’t seem the least bit shocked at the sight of us, only annoyed at the sight of his father and the condition he’s in. Cole looks even worse than earlier. All of the places he was hit are now swollen up twice as bad as when we left The Warehouse. Ryler signs something short and simple, his movements clipped.

“Hey, you were the one who decided not to go tonight,” Cole gripes as he slowly lowers himself down onto the chair beside the sofa and slips his arm off my shoulder. “You know I do these things when you’re not around—I can’t help myself.”

Ryler glances from me to his father then signs something again and even though I don’t know sign language, the movements of his arms are enough for me to tell he’s said something harsh.

“Hey, Luke asked me to help him,” Cole protests, touching his puffy cheek with his fingertips then wincing. There’s blood splattered all over his torn shirt and I’m fairly certain his nose is broken. “That’s what I was trying to do. If I wouldn’t have got caught, then Luke wouldn’t have had to share his winnings with me and would have had enough to pay his debt.”

“I didn’t ask you to do that,” I tell him, not wanting to be rude, but I don’t want the blame for this, nor did I ever want to lose all my money and be back to square one. “I would have been fine with playing another night or two. Now I have nothing and no game to go to.”

“I’ll find us another place,” Cole promises, reclining back in the chair and putting his feet onto the table. He’s lost his shoes somewhere—who knows where though. “I just need a few days.” He shuts his eyes and lets his head tip back.

“I don’t have a few days.” I rub my hand down my face then wince, forgetting that my cheek is injured. “I’m so fucked.”

“We’ll figure it out. Nothing I haven’t handled before,” Cole mumbles while Ryler shoots a glare at his dad and throws the beer cap at him to get him to open his eyes. When he does, Ryler mouths something, but I can’t catch what. “Hey, I’m good at figuring stuff out under pressure,” Cole tells Ryler then looks up at me. “You think maybe you could ask your dad to spot us some cash so we can get things moving again?”

I shake my head and back out of the room. “I’m not asking my father for anything.”

He frowns. “Luke, it might be our only option.”

I hate the way he says
our
option as if his problem has become my problem. “I have enough problems of my own,” I tell him. “I don’t need anymore.”

“Just think about it,” Cole says while Ryler shakes his head, aggravated, as if his father does this all the time and Ryler is tired of it. “I’m sure he would do it for you if you asked him.”

Even if I wanted to ask him, I’m not so sure he would or if he has access to that kind of money. But I don’t want to go down that road with my father anyway, so it’s not an option. “I’m leaving tomorrow morning,” I tell Cole then leave the room. He calls out my name, almost panicking, but I know it’s not over me. It’s over himself. He’s a gambling addict. Pure and simple. My possible future, if I don’t figure out a way to straighten my act up. What a wake up call. Although, I’m not even sure if it’s what just barely happened, if it had something to do with finding out the truth about what happened to Amy, or if it was Violet opening up to me and making me want to be a better person.

As I tiredly drag my sore ass up the stairs, I try to remember how I got to this point in time, how I messed up my life so badly. Tired. Beat up. Broke. Alone. The last one might not be so true. That’s really up to Violet and whether she’ll ever have me again. Honestly, she’d be better off without me, at least until I clean my act up, but I’m too selfish to walk away from her.

That’s what I’m trying to convince myself not to be—selfish—when I enter the room and see her lying in bed, the covers kicked down, wearing one of my shirts, her long legs stretched out, I realize I need her. Through the insanity of my life, Violet is the one sane thing I have, even if our relationship is insane itself.

She’s left a lamp on, so there’s a soft trail of light in the small room. I tug my shirt off and slip my boots off as I make my way to the bed, pausing when I get beside it to unbutton my jeans and take them off. Her back is to me, her head resting against the pillow, her hair lose and down her back. I reach forward and brush it aside, then trace my fingertips along the two stars on her neck, her skin so soft and familiar, everything I want.

I can barely remember the first time I ever had sex and all the times after are a blur until I met Violet. Sure, it always felt good, for me at least. Not sure about the women since I didn’t care nor did I stick around long enough to ask. There was something about having that kind of control over a person like that—where I could just walk away before they ever used me—that made me feel briefly content. It would always fade though and I’d only get the contentment again when I fucked the next one and so on and so on. I’ve never actually been with anyone more than once, including Violet, but not because I used her and bailed like with the rest of the women I’ve been with. Violet has always been different from anyone else I’ve been with. I knew that the first moment she literally fell into me. At the time, I didn’t know what exactly made her different or why I had the sudden need to be around the same woman for more than an hour. But now I think I know.

BOOK: The Coincidence 04 The Probability of Violet and Luke
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