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Probability of violet &.., p.1
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       The Probability of Violet & Luke, p.1

         Part #4 of The Coincidence series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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The Probability of Violet & Luke


  The Probability of Violet and Luke

  Jessica Sorensen

  Prologue

  Luke

  Who knew a fucking phone call could be so complicated. It should have been a piece of cake for me. All these years spent hating my mother—this is what I’ve been waiting for. Finally, I’d get some form of revenge for all the years of torment, drug injections, the fucking mind games she loved to play with me, and all the other shittiness that made up my childhood. To this day, I still haven’t even begun to fully accept or admit all the stuff she did to me. This should be the moment when I let it all go. Move on. Start over. Except I feel guilty, like I’m a child doing something wrong.

  I feel sick to my stomach.

  All twisted inside.

  And I know it’s because of her. Everything she engrained into my head is surfacing, all the stuff she said to me when I was a child that kept my lips shut. The shame. The embarrassment, not just because she’s my mother, but for myself—because of what she turned me into.

  “You always need to listen to me Lukey,” my mother used to say. “I know what’s best for you, more than anyone else does. You always need to do what I say, otherwise you won’t survive this life. And you can’t tell anyone what we do in our house. It’s no one else’s business.” She’d pause and pet my head like I was her dog. “Besides, if they found out the things you’ve done, you’d be in a lot of trouble too.”

  I was about eight years old the first time she said this to me and even then it didn’t feel right. The things she made me do… the way she would hold me for hours, murmuring high, incoherent song lines and fucked up ballads, smoothing her hand over my head, kissing my cheek, begging me to shoot her up again. Wrong. It all felt wrong and disgusting. But the more she said it was my fault, the more it seemed like maybe it was true. How could it not be? She was my mother after all and mothers aren’t supposed to lie to their children.

  So I listened to her. Day in and day out, I kept my lips sealed. Sometimes I would try to run away from the house, because I couldn’t take it anymore. But she’d always find me and I started wondering if it was her I needed to survive against. Eventually, I found a way to cope. Drinking and sex, they helped me forget and let me get the control I craved over my life.

  I sigh with the phone clutched in my hand, thinking, thinking, thinking. Yeah, I know that my mother’s insane, that she ruined my childhood, fucked up my head. So turning her into the police should be easier than this and I’m angry with myself that it’s not.

  But still, in the end, I picture Violet, beautiful green eyes, full lips, long waves of red and black hair, a sexy tattooed body, a diamond stud in her nose, and the sadness and pain in her expression the last time I held her in my arms. That’s what helps me dial the police station.

  “Hello, Albany County Police Department,” the secretary answers. When I hesitate she adds, “Is anyone there?”

  I clear my throat again and again, my throat constricting, but I force myself to be strong and fight through my nerves, each one connected to something that happened to me when I was younger. “Yeah, I’d like to report some information about the Hayes’ murder.” As soon as the words leave my lips, I feel twenty times better, the guilt becoming lighter. I just wish doing this could erase the past, but nothing will do that. Nothing will ever get me Violet back. What’s done is done and I can’t ever change it.

  Violet

  Life. I hate it. More than ever. And destiny, it can go to hell. I fucking hate destiny.

  As his calloused hands are on me, feeling my skin, making me internally cringe, I wish I’d never met the bastard known as destiny. Then maybe I’d never gotten a taste of the other side of life, the good side. Then maybe this wouldn’t be so hard.

  As much as I’m panicking on the inside, on the outside I am the calm, collected Violet. The one that can fake smile at the drop of a hat. The one that can charm anyone. Even when the pain comes, when my legs bump into side of the bed as I’m forced down onto my knees, I don’t so much as flinch. I’m dead on the outside, stone cold, while on the inside my heart is racing so fast, I feel light headed and woozy. Everything’s moving so quickly, so blurry, I can’t sort through my emotions. Which is a good thing. It makes it impossible to tell what I’m feeling and makes this moment bearable, less painful, less shameful.

  Still, as hands continue to wander over me, whispers of owing for messing up, this is the cost, I’m all you got fills my ears and kills my soul, bit by bit, piece by piece. As my head is forced downward, I find myself wishing there was a pause button where I could freeze time, step out of this place and erase what’s about to happen to me.

  Yes, there are a shitload of moments in my life that I wish I could do over. That time I didn’t study for my Calculus test, because Preston needed me to deal for him for the first time. The time I went downstairs in the middle of the night and my parents were murdered, while I survived. The night I ran from Luke. This one.

  Each has had consequences, some more severe than others. And unfortunately I painfully understand that do-overs don’t exist, at least one’s where you can erase the past and start over. And for the most part, excluding my parent’s death, I’ve never put too much thought into do-overs, placing most of the blame for the shit fest known as my life onto destiny.

  But it’s been two months since I left Luke and the apartment that felt more like a home to me than any other place I ever lived. And even though it still makes me sick thinking about how our pasts are tangled together, long before we even met, part of me wishes I’d done things differently. Two months of pure hell with moments packed with whispered threats and calloused hands where I’ve lost track of Violet Hayes, the version Luke Price brought out. She died the second she chose to come back to Preston’s house, because she was hurting and couldn’t think of anywhere else to go. And I’m not sure if she’ll ever live again.

  This time I can’t blame what’s happening to me on destiny. Only my pride, my wounded heart, and the choice I made that led me to countless bad choices, all of which can never be erased.

  None of this can.

  Chapter 1

  Violet

  I’m on the brink of losing consciousness, fading in and out as two months of bad decisions weigh me down and push me further into the water. My entire body is drenched, my lungs about to combust, yet I don’t come up for air. I freely accept the lack of life inside me and allow myself to stay there, going further and further, until I feel light and weightless. A second or two longer. That’s all I need. I can do it. Feel the comfort for just one more moment before I have to return to the painful reality of my life and what I am.

  Just one more second.

  Hold your breath.

  Keep it in.

  Trap the pain.

  Drown it out.

  Don’t think.

  Breathe.

  Don’t live.

  Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I took it one step too far. Stayed under the water one breath too long. Inched a step too close to the edge. Drove just a little too fast down the road. Death. Would it hurt? Or would it be weightless? Liberating? Would it be better than life? Would I finally, at the very end, be able to breathe freely again? The only way I’ll ever know is to go through with it—fall off that edge. Go too fast. Sink to the bottom and never come up for air. I’m so close to finding out, yet I’m not ready to fully seal my fate just yet.

  So gripping onto the edge of the bathtub, I drag myself up out of the water, gasping for air, my lungs gratefully aching. I sit up, half in, half out of the water, inhaling, exhaling, blood pumping through my veins and mixing with the adrenaline. My emotions are still numb and I focus on getting tha
t next breath of air. But the longer I breathe, the easier it becomes, and the more my mind starts to awaken again. Feelings and thoughts of my parent’s death arise, stabbing at my heart. Their murders. And the thing that nearly kills me every time I think about it. Every minute. Every second. Every damn day—it consumes me.

  Luke Price. The one guy—the only person—I’ve ever let in. The only person I’ve ever felt safe with. And now that’s all gone—he’s gone. Taken away—stolen—by destiny’s sick and warped humor. Letting us meet for the first time, then allowing us to discover that we’ve been connected with each other long before we first met. Revealing that his mother was one of the people responsible for my parent’s murders. That all along, we could have never ended up together. Even though destiny let us think that it was meant to be from the moment I fell out that window and kicked him in the face.

  And now I’m left feeling worse than I’ve ever have in my entire life. Before Luke, I didn’t know what it was like to have someone care about me and to understand how it felt to care about someone else and I’m learning really quickly that it’s difficult turning my emotions off when I know how amazing things can feel.

  But I keep trying to push through, if for nothing else than to see this through the end. See someone finally pay for my parent’s deaths. But it might be impossible since there’s still another person involved—another person that is still unknown. I hate not knowing yet at the same time I loathe knowing who one of them is, especially since there hasn’t been any justice yet. Hate that it ruined my shot at happiness and I despise myself for thinking about it that way. It feels selfish. My parents are dead and I should only be thinking about justice for them, yet I can’t stop thinking about how Luke made me feel. Content and happy, something I hadn’t had since I was five years old. I want it back, almost as much as I want justice for my parents. And that feels wrong, makes me feel like my parents would hate me if they were still around. And maybe they do. Maybe they’re hating me from the graves I’ve never yet even paid a visit to, simply because I can’t bring myself to go there.

  “Violet, what the hell are you doing in there!” Preston, the last foster father I had from the ages of fifteen until I became eighteen and an adult, bangs on the door. He’s eight years older than me, but doesn’t mind the age difference, and uses it to his advantage all the time. He didn’t use to be so interested in me, well not to this extreme. But then his wife left him and now all he seems to see is me. It makes me sick to my stomach, just hearing the sound of his voice because it reminds me of everything that’s happened the last two months I’ve been living here. Rent doesn’t come free and Preston won’t accept money. So I deal to pay rent and then my body pays him for any mistakes I make along the way.

  I hate myself, for letting despair kill me enough that I allow stuff to happen.

  “I’m taking a bath,” I reply, brushing my hands over my wet hair and letting my head fall back against the rim of the tub as vomit burns at the back of my throat as I remember the night… his callous hands...

  “Well, it you don’t get out soon, I’m going to have to pick the lock and come in and make you get out,” he says through the door with amusement in his tone. And desire. Lust. Need. .

  I hate him.

  I need him.

  I wish I was somewhere else.

  “I’ll be out in just a few,” I holler back, watching the faucet drip and ripple the water. I put my foot up on the brim of the tub and stare at the yellowish bruises covering my shin and that dot up from my knee to my thigh. But as the images rise of where they came from, I shake my head and put my wall back up. I refuse to think about them. I need to survive no matter what happens, like how I did for most of my life, in and out of foster homes. After all, I’ve had worse.

  “You should get dressed out here,” he tells me, the sound of his voice making the bruises on my flesh sting. “It could be another payback for that eighth you lost last week.”

  I cringe at his reminder. Last week I messed up badly. I was distracted knowing that the semester would be starting in a few days and that Luke and I would have to see each other again in the hallways and probably in class. I ended up giving some guy an eighth without collecting the cash first and he took off without paying and totally screwed me over.

  “I thought I was going to sell for you on Saturday and Sunday for that.” I don’t bother mentioning that I already did something else to make up for it, only because I’m afraid I’ll throw up if I say it aloud. I slump back and stare at the ceiling, willing myself not to be affected by his words, not be affected by the vile sensation manifesting in the pit of my stomach. Vomit burns at the back of my throat, but I refuse to hurl.

  “You’re becoming a real downer, Violet Hayes,” he says. “Life would be so much easier if you’d just relax and do what I tell you.”

  “I do that already,” I reply through gritted teeth. I’ve never been a fan of hearing my last name, or even telling people it. It reminds me too much of my mother and father and how they died. The only person that’s said it where it didn’t bother me was Luke. Usually I’d chew Preston out for using it, but lately I’ve been too emotionally drained to put up a good fight.

  I only breathe freely when I hear Preston walk away from the door. Then I get out of the bathtub and dry off my pruney skin with a towel before putting on a purple tank top, a black vest, and matching pants. I tousle my hair with some gel, put lip-gloss and some kohl liner on, then head out of the bathroom, feeling a little high from the adrenaline rush I got from almost drowning myself in the bathtub.

  I grab a Pop Tart from the cupboard and a bottle of water from the fridge, hoping that Preston will be cooperative when I ask him for a ride to school. Please be cooperative.

  But he’s not in his room, which probably means he’s down under the house in the crawl space, where he keeps his drugs. The entrance is always locked but I wouldn’t go down there anyway. The last thing I want to do is go down into some creepy, small, narrow space below the house, alone with him. So I go into the living room and put my boots on, taking my time as I wait for him to come out.

  The trailer that we live in is fairly clean, although it does smell like cigarette smoke and weed. Still, there’s no garbage lying around and everything is organized and in place. I’ve lived in foster homes where cleanliness was nonexistent and filth, garbage and dust coated everything. It wasn’t ideal.

  “So what are you up to today?” Preston asks as he strolls into the house, slipping on a plaid hooded jacket and then dusting some dirt out of his hair.

  My hand twitches with this aching urge to ball my hand into a fist and punch the casualness off his face. But I bury the urge and zip up my knee-high boot, then get to my feet, reaching for my bag. “I actually need a ride to class, unless you just want to lend me your car for the day.” Please say a simple yes with no strings attached.

  “You know I hate doing that unless it’s for dealing,” he says, leaning against the doorframe and crossing his arms, giving me that look—the one that comes before he asks me to do something for him. “Then I’m just stuck here without a vehicle.”

  I swing the handle of my bag over my shoulder. “Well, can you give me a ride then? That way you’ll still have your car.” School has only been going for a few days and it’s already becoming a pain in the ass to get there. I should have just gotten a dorm room, but I stupidly waited to long, thinking I was going to just live in the apartment with Luke, Seth, and Greyson, but that brilliant plan went to shit.

  Preston ruffles his hair into place as he crosses the room and comes to a stop in front of me, too close and I can smell him—I hate the smell of him. “I hate doing that because then I have to wait around for a couple of hours to pick you up.”

  “Don’t you have anything in town you need to do?” I subtly lean away from him, his scent becoming too nauseating.

  He shakes his head. “Not really.” He reaches for his car keys on the coffee table. “But I do have shit to do
over at Dan’s.”

  My mood plummets. “Dan the pervert?”

  He nonchalantly shrugs, swinging his keychain around his finger. “You say pervert. I say a guy who just likes to have fun.” He winks at me. “Just like me.”

  “He pays women for sex.” I say it like it changes something, when it clearly doesn’t.

  “Money, food, a roof over their head—a lot of people trade stuff for sex.” There’s accusation in his eyes.

  Please someone get me the fuck out of this goddamn place.

  I notice how red his eyes are, which means he’s more than likely stoned and that having any form of argument with him is a lost cause. I sigh, giving up, and back toward the door. “Fine, I’ll just hitchhike a ride.” I both love and hate the idea of doing this. Love it because of the thrill. And hate it because I love doing things like this—love the danger because it’s all I have left anymore. Risks. Well, really they’re not risks anymore because what do I have to lose?

 
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