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 (3 page)

BOOK: The Coincidence 04 The Probability of Violet and Luke
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“No, not since that night I called you about a week ago… why?”

“Just wondering if you were still in trouble,” I say flatly, grabbing onto a fence when I get a killer head rush and the world starts to spin. “Or if you finally admitted what you did.”

“I was never in trouble. They told me they had the wrong person and that it was all over and that the person that called was never going to call again.” She pauses. “Lukey, please come home. I’m lonely. Remember how Amy left me—left us. I need you. Don’t be like her—don’t leave me.”

“I’m not coming home ever.” When I reach the end of the alley, I jog across the street to the campus yard, filled with trees, green grass, and people going to and from the parking lot.

“You have to,” she whines. “I can’t take this empty house anymore… being alone… it makes me think about doing bad things.”

I pause on the sidewalk right before I step onto the lawn, fear and anger blasting through me that she’s doing this again. “Knock that shit off, mother.”

“You need to come home before something bad happens.”

I hate her even more. I didn’t think it was possible, but apparently it is, feeling the anger simmering inside me, possessing me. “I’m never coming home. That’s where all the bad shit happens!”

“Yes, you are! You are!” She starts to sob hysterically and with each sob my hatred for her expands and I grow even angrier until I’m drowning in it, struggling to get above the red blinding me. Finally I can’t take it anymore and hang up on her. But the anger still burns under my skin, simmering, festering, killing me.

I take a deep breath then another and finally reach for my bag to take out the Vodka. I chug the remainder of it, knowing I’m going to push my body to the brim of being able to function, but I need the numbness more than I need air. I need to erase this hatred stirring inside me.

After I finish it off, I discard the empty bottle into a nearby garbage can and cut across the grass of the campus yard, bumping people out of my way, sometimes accidentally and sometimes intentionally, but none of them utter a word to me. By the time I arrive at the main entrance of the campus, the trees and brick buildings are starting to become blurry and all I can see is red. Anger. Red. Hatred. More anger. I seriously almost turn around and walk back home, deciding I’ve overdid it and it’d probably be best to just go back and let myself pass out. Then I see something that stops me dead in my tracks. A beat up grey Cadillac pulling up at the curb just in front of the main building.

Violet.

It’d be okay—in fact I’d welcome it—except for the fact that Preston the fucking asshole is dropping her off. The guy’s a creepy old pervert, who sells drugs and also has Violet sell drugs for him. Not to mention he’s hit her before. I still can’t believe she went back to him when she took off. Just thinking of them under the same roof makes my skin crawl like it’s full of infected wounds. I tried to get a hold of her when I found out she’d moved back in with him, but she would never answer her phone or return my messages. When I finally did see her again on my first day of school, she pretended like I didn’t exist and it’s been that way every damn day.

I stop near the trees and watch her as she climbs out of the car. She’s wearing tight black pants, a vest, and a purple shirt that’s just short enough that I can see a speck of her side that I know is covered with a tattoo, patterns of curves and flowers inking up her ribcage. Her black and red hair is down and I can’t help but remember the few times where I ran my fingers through it and pulled on it and she moaned in response.

God, the way she moaned was incredible. What I’d give to hear it again. Touch her again… my fingers ache just thinking about it. But instead I’m stuck at a distance, watching her as she shuts the car door and turns for the entrance of the school. Then Preston gets out for some reason and when he says something to her, she pauses, halting near the edge of the sidewalk. She doesn’t turn around, just staring straight ahead at the brick building as he winds around the back of the car and toward her. If I didn’t know any better I’d think they were a couple, by the way he moves up behind her, puts his hands on her hips, and leans over her shoulder, getting close to her and pressing his body against hers.

I see a bright flash of red. Feel the fire in my chest ignite and burn through every part of my body. I want to walk over there and slam my fist into his face repeatedly, see how badly I can hurt him, especially when he whispers something in her ear. Then he adds fuel to the fire scorching violently inside me when he takes his hand and stuffs it into Violet’s back pocket, either touching her or putting something in there. Either way, it’s annoying and the compulsion to go over there and tell him she’s mine nearly consumes me. Still, I’m too drunk and am losing control of my thoughts and actions. I take a step toward them and another, stepping out of the shadows of the trees—God knows what I’m going to do—but then I come to a cold stop as Violet turns around and lets Preston lean in and kiss her.

The redness in my vision dissipates. Everything around me goes out of focus and nothing makes sense anymore. I feel cold inside and I wonder if I’ve died as I painfully realize that over the last month, while I’ve been hung up on Violet and what we had, she’s moved on. Moved forward. While I’ve been stuck in the past, unable to escape it no matter what I do.

Violet

I can’t believe what just happened. Preston kissed me in public. Of all the places he could have done it. It’s one thing for him to do it in the house, where I can shut my eyes and fall into myself, but out in the open, in front of people, it feels so real. So warped and wrong. Makes me feel so disgusting.

I wanted to jerk back, but when he put enough weed into my pocket that if I get caught I’m probably going to be screwed, then proceeded to tell me that I needed to sell it by the end of the day or else I’m out of the house, I remembered everything I’d lose. I know it’s not much, but it’s all I have at the moment.

After he drives away, I stand there, weak and pathetic, hating myself for it. By the time I reach the door of my first class of the day, I’m stewing in all sorts of emotions and have the most overpowering urge to turn away from the classroom door, bail out on class, and instead go find something reckless to do. The problem is I never miss class. It’s my one goal in life—my only accomplishment.

As I’m heading into the classroom, I’m a little distracted, and react slowly as someone enters the doorway at the same time. Our shoulders collide and I step back, angry Violet rising and ready to take it out on someone.

“Where’d you learn how to walk?” I say coldly. The second I say it though I catch the scent of Vodka, cigarettes, and cologne; a scent that I’m very familiar with. I glance up and am greeted by a pair of intense brown eyes, an unshaven jawline, scraggily brown hair, and a pained expression that I’m sure matches mine. “Luke.” I don’t mean to say it aloud but it slips out. He looks terrible up close, a bruised cheek, and dark circles under his eyes, exhausted, and a gnawing feeling forms in my gut as I wonder if it’s my fault he looks this way. I want to ask him what happened, but emotions slam through me, filled with invisible razors, needles and fire, so potent and painful I can barely breathe. I want to touch him so badly. Kiss him. Feel his tongue slip into mine. I desperately want everything we had a couple of months ago. The smiles. The rainbows. The sunshine and even the ridiculous cheesiness of dates and flirting even though normally I couldn’t stand it. But with Luke things were different. I’d more than welcome it all right now if it meant it could get rid of how I’ve been feeling.

But it can’t—nothing can erase the past and despite my want for him, just being near him reminds me of my parents. And how I ran from him because that and what I did with Preston. I should move away from him, yet I can’t bring myself to do so, finally feeling alive for the first time in two months. I hate to admit it, but it’s true. I’ve been a walking zombie, a hollow shell, like I was for so many years, but not at this moment. And apparently neither can he. So we end up standing there, staring at each other, stuck somewhere between reality and the make believe land we wished existed; the one where monsters never showed up at night at my house and his mother wasn’t one of them. The one where we could touch each other and not have to think. The one were we could be together and not hurt. The one we had before we found out the truth.

It’s the first time we’ve been this close since the truth was discovered and it’s more powerful and potent than I ever imagined. We don’t speak, move, breathe, even when people file in and out of the classroom doorway between us. Our eyes are locked, our breaths ragged. The longer we stare at each other, the more confused he looks and the more lost I feel because I’m not moving away. Instead I feel like I’m being pulled toward him, or maybe it’s more that I’m falling. I’m not sure. And I don’t want to be sure. What I want is for time to stand still, right at this moment, so we never have to move forward again.

But then his lips part, and everything around me unfreezes. I have no idea what’s going to come out of his mouth. If I’ll hate it. Like it. Want it—maybe. And maybe I’ll take it.

I never get to find out, though, because the Professor walks between us and breaks the moment like glass, the sharp pieces exploding and scattering around us. We’re both abruptly reminded that make believe is just that and doesn’t really exists unless you live in a fairytale.

Chapter 3

Luke

I’m bailing out on school. I can’t take it today, walking around in the same building, seeing her, wanting to touch her, kiss her, fuck her, do whatever I want with her. We were so close and all that desire and need was ripping through me, even though I’d just seen her kiss another guy five minutes ago. I wanted her more than anything. Right there in the hallway, in front of everyone. And I was drunk enough to try it. But then the professor walked by and broke our little moment. And I swear to God, it broke me as well.

I sit in the back row and watch her take notes the entire length of class and it’s pure torture. Finally, I decide that I need to get the hell out of here, so instead of heading to my next class, I leave the campus. I think about calling my best friend, Kayden Owens, and seeing what he’s up to, but I don’t really feel like having company. I feel like doing something that will distract me. Something reckless. Dangerous. Something that comes with risks, chances for trouble, fighting.

I go back to my apartment and grab my stash of cash, which I keep in my sock drawer. I’m up to three thousand bucks and start counting out half of it, but then take the whole damn thing with me. I stuff the stash into my pocket and then head out the door, but pause when I see that I forgot to put the copy of Amy’s journal away. It’s opened up to the page I was reading, before I had to put it down; the one where she starts to get depressed, right after Caleb raped her. If only we would have found this sooner, then maybe she could have gotten some help.

I can’t live like this anymore. I can’t feel this way. I just want to feel like a normal person again, not so sick and wrong on the inside. I want to feel like Amy again.

I shut the notebook and tuck it under the pillow, the thought haunting my mind as I stagger drunkenly out of the apartment and toward the condos on 5
th
and Grove, knowing that despite the warm and welcoming appearance of the area, I’m going to a very dangerous place. I’ve heard stories about where I’m going, the things the guys are involved in, the consequences that come with screwing them over. But I don’t have the will to give a shit.

As I’m heading for the entrance door, my phone starts ringing inside my pocket and Kayden’s name flashes across the screen. I know if I answer it, he’s going to ask me why I missed class and if I’m coming to workout. When I say no, he’s going to start questioning me and I had enough questions from Seth this morning. So I send him to voicemail and finish the journey to the door. Before I enter into the lobby, I give Toverson—my connection—the guy who invited me to a game here a couple of weeks ago, a shout on the phone,

He answers after four rings. “What’s up?”

“Hey, it’s Luke.” I shield my eyes from the sun with my hand as I lean against the glass entrance door. “I think I want to take you up on your offer and sit in on a game.”

“Where you at?” he asks. I can hear voices in the background, sounds of poker chips clinking together, loud music. I crave to be there, crave the solitude it’ll give me like fucking women used to do before I met Violet.

“I’m actually downstairs, just outside the lobby.” I glance through the door at the security person sitting behind the desk, watching me like a hawk.

“You know about the high buy in, right?” he asks, the noise in the background fading. “It’s more than just the hundred like it is at Denny’s.”

“Yeah, I know. I brought three thousand with me.”

He pauses and seconds later I hear a door shut. The background noises go completely quiet. “No offense, but where’d you get that sort of cash?”

“I’ve been saving up.” I don’t bother telling him it’s all I have, since it’s none of his business.

“All right then, I’ll buzz you up,” he says but then pauses. “But just a little bit of warning. These guys up here don’t mess around like they do at Denny’s so be careful. You get caught doing anything they don’t like and they won’t just let you off with a slap on the hand.”

“I got it,” I say. He’s subtly warning me—don’t cheat or else you’re fucked.

I always cheat though and I have no plans of stopping now. It takes the thrill out of it and I need the thrill. Still, I pause for a moment, the alcohol in my system settling just enough for me to see through the haze and I almost chicken out, deciding that I might be getting in over my head when I see a guy three times my size open the door and greet me. But then the booze starts scorching through my veins again and I follow him inside and up to the second floor. When he opens the door and lets me in, I feel so much better. Tables, black, red, white, and blue chips. The smoke. The booze. Women everywhere. Danger. Risks. Suddenly I feel very content inside. All of my distractions—my addictions— are right in front of me and I want them all.

Violet

School drags by slower than usual. Maybe that’s because of my encounter with Luke. Or maybe it’s just because I know I’m going fishing when it’s over; fishing for a guy, who knows a lot of guys, who like to get high. I’d been upset at first when Preston asked me to do this on a Monday, but I decided after my spazz out with Luke, that maybe I needed a break from the reality of being stuck in my own head. Maybe I needed to be that girl again who dressed up, played the part, and didn’t give a shit about anyone or anything.

After my last class, I find the bathroom and slip into the outfit I keep in my bag for occasions like these. A short black dress that shows off my legs and top it off with red lipstick and glittery high heels. I look like a prostitute but that’s kind of the point. Seduction. I’m going to go through with it. I’m going to be
that
girl again.

I can do this,” I mutter to my reflection as I look in the mirror. But the girl in the mirror looks unconvinced. Taking a quick break, I turn away and lean against the sink to make a phone call I try to make at least once a week.

“Hello, Detective Stephner speaking,” he answers after two rings.

“This is Violet,” I say, shutting my eyes and crossing my fingers that maybe this will be the time he gives me good news. “Violet Hayes. I was just… checking in.”

As soon as he sighs, I know nothing has changed. “Violet, I know you want to know—and trust me we do to—but these things take time.”

“It’s been almost two months.”

“I know. We’re still working on getting the search warrant approved.”

“Can’t you move any faster?” I say more harshly than I planned. “Sorry, it’s just that it’s driving me crazy.”

“I know,” he replies. “And trust me, I’m not resting until it’s solved either. But I also need you to let me call you when something happens, instead of checking in.”

“Sorry for bugging you,” I mutter, opening my eyes.

“You’re not bugging me at all. I just want you to stop stressing about this and try to live a normal life,” he says. “And while we’re on the phone. How’s the texting from that reporter? Did he stop?”

“Yeah, he did,” I say, standing up straight and collecting my bag from the floor. “Thanks for getting that restraining order put on him.”

“Anytime.” There’s another pause and I know what’s coming before he says it. “What about Mira Price’s son? Have you talked to him at all since I brought him in for questioning?”

“Not really.” My chest starts to tighten, my lungs constricting and sucking away the air.
Stop it. Turn it off.

“I think that’s for the better,” he says. “At least for now.”

I get what he’s saying, but it feels so wrong. For the better? If this is for the better, then why does it hurt so badly? “I have to go,” I say. “It’s time for my next class.”

“Okay,” he says. “And remember, call me if you need anything.”

But clearly he means call me only if you need something that doesn’t have to do with checking in.

After I hang up, I pull myself together and walk out of the bathroom confidently, ready to move on from the conversation and go fishing—
a distraction
. But the moment I step into the pond, I feel deflated, thinking about how much I’d rather be trying to drown myself instead of standing out in the campus yard, looking for a sucker. The longer I search the crowd, the more I just want to bail and deal with whatever punishment Preston’s going to give me. I’m not feeling it and I’m about to give up when my phone buzzes from inside my pocket.

I take it out and unlock the screen. A text from an unknown number. Not surprising. It happens all the time anymore.

Unknown: I know what happened to your parents.

And let the games begin. I shake my head, thinking of Stan, and some of the other calls and texts I’ve gotten since the news went public. I consider what I should text back.

Me: Yeah, I think everyone does anymore u moron. They were murdered. Thanks for reminding me though. That was super-duper nice of you.

I move to put my phone away but it buzzes in my hand. Sighing, I open the incoming message.

Unknown: But I know who did it.

I stop breathing as I read it over and over and for a brief, very gullible moment on my part I actually wonder if this person might know something, like maybe about Mira or the other person that was there that night. But at the end of my analysis, I decide that it’s probably just some god damn asshole, like Stan the reporter, and a few other one’s I’ve sporadically met during my few trips to the police station. I even received one phone call with someone bribing me with their information in exchange for a few gory details of what I saw that night. I wasn’t stupid enough to believe that a reporter new more than the police and I do, so I told him where he could go fuck himself.

I’m about to text back and call the person out on when I hear someone say, “Are you Violet?”

There’s a guy standing in front of me and my entire body tenses as a million different thoughts race through my mind of who he could be. A reporter. The police. The other person who was there that night my parent’s where killed, although he looks too young for the latter.

He’s wearing a fancy pinstripe shirt with the sleeves rolled up, along with a pair of name brand jeans, and shoes shinier than my lip-gloss. “You are Violet, right?”

Despite my alarm, I don’t miss a beat, even though my heart does. “Why? What’s it to you?”

His lips spread to a slow smile as he sticks out his hand for me to shake. “I’m Roy. Preston told me I could probably find you down here and that you could hook me and some of my colleagues up.”

“He did, huh?” I say, relaxing. Preston knows my routine a little too well, I guess. Still I don’t appreciate the unannounced ambush. “Yeah, I’m her.”

His smile broadens, but his brows furrow when I won’t shake his hand. “Good, come with me.”

I don’t budge from my spot underneath the tree. “Yeah, I’m going to need to check with Preston before I go anywhere with some random dude who looks like he could be a lawyer and who could be setting me up.”

His smile falters, but then he relaxes and bobs his head up and down. “Yeah. Totally. I understand.”

“Give me a second.” I walk away from him, dialing Preston’s number when I reach out-of-hearing range.

“Hey beautiful.” Preston sounds like he might be high and having a party with all the background noise. “I was expecting your call.”

“Why? Because you sent some rich douche down here without telling me?” I say, glancing back at Roy who has his attention focused on a girl in a skirt bending over to pick up a paper she dropped and who’s totally flashing the entire campus yard.

“I was testing you,” he says simply. “I want to make sure we don’t have anymore screw ups in our future.”

I roll my eyes. “So did I pass or fail?”

“You passed,” he says and I can hear the grin in his voice. “Which means only good punishments for you tonight.”

My heart withers a little more—soon there won’t be anything left of it. “If it’s okay with you, and you’re test is over, I’ll get back to fishing.”

“No, Violet, you need to go with Roy,” he says, talking loudly over the music.

I press my finger to my ear so I can hear better. “Why? I thought it was a test?”

“A test yeah, but Roy has a connection to this underground poker game place in one of the more upper ends of Laramie and if we can impress him he might just make us his permanent dealers. Which is a good thing. Trust me. We’re getting in with the big timers.”

I try not to freeze up at the mention of underground poker, because I know Luke likes to hangout at those kinds of places and big timers are a lot different than dumbass college guys who think with their dicks. “I’m not sure I want to do this deal.”

“Violet, don’t fuck this up for me,” he says, his anger rising through his voice. “This is a great opportunity and if you’ll just act like your normal self, I know you can dazzle the shit out of them. Just make sure to give them
whatever
they want.”

“I’m not a whore,” I say, getting pissed. “I’m not going to fuck anyone.”

“I never said you had to, but I think you have it in you, if you had to,” he says. I’m about to yell at him, right in front of Roy when he adds, “Look, I’m sure no one expects you to fuck them or give them a blow job or anything. Just smile and show them your cleavage and I’m sure my product will seal the deal. You can save the fucking and blow jobs for me later. In fact, I’d kind of prefer it if you did.”

BOOK: The Coincidence 04 The Probability of Violet and Luke
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