The Probability of Violet & Luke, Page 9Jessica Sorensen
He answers after four rings, obviously just waking up because I can hear the exhaustion in his voice. “What’s up?” he says with a yawn.
“I need you to take over my shifts at the diner for the next week,” I say, grabbing a bag of Cheetos from the shelf.
“Why? What’s up?”
I pick up a bag of M&Ms as well and then head for the soda section. “Nothing really. I just need a week off.”
He hesitates then says firmly, “No, I’m not going to.”
I’m opening the door to get a Dr. Pepper, but freeze. Greyson’s usually not rude like this to me. That’s more Seth’s thing and even he’s toned it down since we first met so I’m a little thrown off. “Why not?”
“Because you won’t tell me the real reason why.”
“There’s no real reason.” I grab two sodas then let the door shut as I head toward the cash register. “I just need a break. I already told you this.”
“I can tell when you’re lying, Violet,” he says and it makes me cringe. I’ve never been one for letting people get to know me enough to read me, but apparently Greyson can. “Now, if you want to tell me the real reason why, then I’d be more than happy to fill in for you. But if not, then I guess I’ll see you tonight at the diner.”
“Fine.” I grimace. “I can’t make it to work because I’m on a little bit of a road trip.”
“Oh my fucking hell.” I drop the food and sodas on the countertop, ignoring the dirty look the fifty-year-old cashier lady gives me for my language. “I’m on the road with Luke okay… heading to Vegas.”
“What?” He’s shocked and I don’t blame him. During one of our little after-work-drinking-sessions we’ve been having, I’d accidentally let it slip out what happened between Luke and me, well some of it anyway. I’m usually good at keeping secrets to myself, but apparently having friends meant turning into a babbling girl who can’t keep her mouth shut or her problems to herself. “How the hell did that end up happening?”
“A freak accident, caused by destiny once again,” I say as I lay a ten-dollar bill down on the counter. “Look, I really don’t want to give anymore details because they’re really not mine to give. But you can call up Luke and see if he feels like telling you what’s going on.” The cashier lady gives me my change and the bag with my stuff as I put the money into my pocket.
“Fine.” Greyson sighs. “I’ll fill in for you, but you’ll eventually give me the details of how this happened and what happens while you’re on the road.”
“Alright, it’s a deal.” I push out the door and head for the truck, noting that Luke’s not there. He must be inside in the bathroom or something.
“If you need anything, you can call me whenever, okay?” Greyson says. “In fact, promise me you’ll check in.”
I have my hand on the door handle of the truck about to climb in when he says it, but I pause. I’ve never had anyone say that to me. Never had anyone worry about me enough to say it, well besides Luke. Not since my parents died. It makes me feel uneasy, out of my element, exposed, and I’m on the verge of tearing up like some kind of sap. God, what is happening to me? I used to be so tough.
I clear my throat several times before I speak again. “Okay, I will.”
“Good. And be careful... And try to stay out of trouble.”
“You sound like a parent.” I roll my eyes as I toss the bag of food into the truck and hop inside.
“That’s because I worry about you,” he says as I shut the door. “And care.”
I’m not sure how to respond and start choking up again, so I avoid saying anything. “I’ll call you later, okay.” I hurry and say then hang up, my hands slightly shaking as I put my phone into my pocket. Then I roll the window down, letting in some fresh air, and rest my head back, trying to figure out when Greyson and I became friends. I still haven’t told him a lot about me, like the stuff that’s been going on with Preston, my drug dealing, my adrenaline addiction, but apparently we’ve crossed some sort of line where he worries about me and where I agree to try and ease that worry by checking in. “That’s a new one,” I mutter.
Moments later my phone vibrates from my pocket. I think it’s probably Greyson again, wanting to know what times and days I work since I forgot to tell him. But when I take the phone out and see the message is from an unknown number, a chill goes up my spine and all the feel-goods I had in me, vanish.
Unknown: So I’m guessing by your silence that u don’t want to know who did it.
I want to respond that I already know, but I also don’t trust the person on the other line. It has to be another bored reporter, trying to get a story.
Unknown: Tell me Violet, how disgusting does it make u feel, knowing you’ve slept with her son.
My heart stops—dies inside my chest. I forget to breathe. They have to be talking about Luke in reference to being Mira’s son. But how do they know about him? No one does outside of the police, Greyson, and myself. And the police don’t know that I’ve slept with Mira’s son, just that I know him, nor do they fully believe that she’s guilty yet, so why would they text me something like this—why would anyone text me like this?
My heart starts thudding inside my chest, blood howling in my ears.
There was someone else there.
There was someone else there.
There was someone else there.
My breath falters as I text back.
Me: Who the fuck are you?
Unknown: You haven’t figured that out yet? I guess I’m not surprised, considering who your parents were. It always took them a while to figure out things too.
I start to shake with rage and chuck the phone without thinking. It ends up going out the window and when it hits the ground, the back pops off and the battery goes flying into a puddle.
“Dammit.” I shove the door open and hop out of the truck. Then I pick up my phone and stare at the battery in the puddle. It’s useless now. And so is my phone for the moment.
“Is everything okay?” Luke asks as he walks up behind me.
I shake my head. “Not really.” Part of me is relieved that they can’t get a hold of me anymore but the other part is frustrated, worried they actually know something and now I’ve ruined my way of finding out. I need to call Detective Stephner and at least tell him, but his phone number is saved in my contacts.
Sighing, I turn around and face Luke to show him my phone, then point at the battery on the ground behind me. “I think it’s broken… I’m going to have to find a way to get a new one as soon as we get to Vegas.” I flip the phone over in my hand, trying to figure out if it’ll still work with a new battery. There’s a scratch or two, but that’s it. “Maybe just a new battery though.”
“That’s fine, but…” He frowns. “What happened? Did you drop it?”
I shake my head. “No, I threw it out the window.”
He struggles not to ask why, crossing his arms, an energy drink clutched in his hand. “Can I ask why?”
So polite. “Because I got a text message that made me angry.”
He wants to drill me with questions—I can see it on his face. But he doesn’t. “Should we hit the road? We still have a couple more hours to go and I’d like to get there before lunch time.”
He’s changed his t-shirt, but still has the same pair of jeans on. There are bags under his eyes, his lips look chapped, his skin pale, and he’s kind of hunching to the left, probably because it hurts where the guy hit him. “Do you want me to drive?” I offer. “You look tired. And sore.”
He shakes his head and raises the energy drink. “No, I’m good. I just need to drink this and… check my blood sugar… I might need a shot… then I’m good to go.” Even his voice sounds weary.
I stick out my han
d. “Let me drive, so you can get some rest.”
He hesitates, then stuffs his hand into his pocket and gets out his keys. As he hands them to me, his knuckles graze my palm and I find myself shivering even though I’m not the slightest bit cold. It’s obvious to him by the look he gives me, but he doesn’t say anything about it as I get in the truck and he grabs something out of his bag. When he climbs into the truck, he has this small leather case in his hand. He takes out the pen-shaped object that checks his blood sugar and pricks his skin, reminding me of the night when I found him in the bar and had to do it for him. He checks the screen then shakes his head, clearly annoyed as he retrieves another object out of the bag that has a needle at the end. He takes the cap off, lifts his shirt, but then hesitates, glancing over at me with a mount of wariness in his eyes. I half expect him to tell me to look away. I almost want to too, but I can’t seem to break eye contact, our gazes somehow welded together.
He ends up squeezing his eyes shut like a scared child afraid of needles. His hands quiver as he puts the needle into his abdomen and injects himself. There’s something strangely intimate about the moment; I can’t even explain it. Like no one has ever seen him do this to himself and he’s afraid to let me see it, but also afraid to be alone. I remember how he told me his mother made him inject her with heroin. Doing this has to be hard for him, painful, aching, and not just physically.
This bubble starts to form around us. Reality slips away. I find myself drifting toward him, wanting to hold his hand, wanting to comfort him, but then suddenly he’s done and just like that the bubble pops and reality comes rushing back to me and weighs me down once again.
“The names of the buildings are amusing,” Violet remarks, gazing down at a map I had in my bag of the Las Vegas strip. We’re parked at a gas station just on the outskirts of the busy city, trying to figure out where to go. It’s mid day, stifling hot, and my truck has no air conditioning so we’re practically melting. “Oh, I want to stay in Caesar’s Palace,” she says bouncing up and down in the driver’s seat like a little kid in a candy store. She glances up at me and the excitement in her eyes makes me smile just a little, despite how tired I am. “That’s the one from the movie The Hangover, right?”
I nod, glancing over at the strip in the distance. “But we can’t stay there.”
She pouts. Actually sticks out her lip and pouts. She’s never done that before and honestly I’m kind of glad because it’s like a secret weapon that makes it really hard to say no to her. “How come?”
I slide over in the seat toward her, making sure I don’t crowd her space too much. “See all these awesome buildings right here?” I ask, tracing a line up the strip area on the map. “Those are Casino’s and you have to be twenty-one to stay in them.”
“You have a fake ID though,” she says. “Why don’t you use that?”
“Too risky,” I tell her, breathing in her sweet scent and hoping I’m doing it discretely. “We have to be careful. And besides, I’d like to save as much money as possible.”
She’s still pouting as she folds up the map and gives it back to me. “Then where are we going to stay?”
I put the map in the glovebox. “With my uncle.” I reach for the door handle, internally cringing. I never mentioned to my uncle that Violet was coming with me, because I honestly thought there was no way in hell it’d ever happen. So now I’m getting nervous about bringing her with me, not just because my uncle might not be too thrilled, but because of the environment. What the fuck was I thinking, bringing her here? I was thinking selfishly, that’s what I was doing.
“Why do you look nervous?” she wonders as she rolls her window down the rest of the way.
I shrug. “Because of what we’re doing… gambling… being here with my dad’s brother….” Almost unaware, I stretch my arm across the seat behind her as my chest clenches up. “And because of the environment we’re going to be in.”
She gives me a look of sympathy, because she knows about my rocky relationship with my dad—she even walked in while I was freaking out during a phone conversation with him. “And I’m guessing by the wary look on your face that you’re going to be playing at places like Geraldson’s?” she asks.
“More or less.” I dither. “And the place I’m staying at is kind of like Geraldson’s too, at least it was a couple of years ago.”
“That seems kind of dangerous.” A strange look crosses her face as if realizing this makes her interested in something, as if the idea of it being dangerous is almost… turning her on or exciting her. Dammit. It’s like we’re back on the ledge again and I’m starting to wonder just how much she does this, puts herself in these kinds of situations on purpose and why I never noticed it before. Or maybe she didn’t do it when we were first together.
“It’s not that dangerous at his house,” I assure her, but it feels like a lie. A gambler, my uncle Cole cheats his way through life. But desperate times call for desperate measures or whatever and he seemed nice enough the last time I visited here.
“Here, let me drive,” I tell Violet, giving her a gentle nudge in the side. “It’s easier than giving you directions.”
We change spots, her climbing over my lap and sending my body into a mad frenzy of need and desire and giving my cock a hard on. But I keep it together and drive down the road, first to the store so she can get a battery for her phone. Then we head to my uncle’s house that’s on the outskirts of town, not so much in the chaos of the city filled with tourists, flashing neon lights, half-dressed people. The windows of the truck are down, hot air swirling through the cab. Eventually Violet takes her beanie off and fans her face with her hand.
“Holy hell, it’s hot here,” she remarks, reaching to get her sunglasses out of her purse.
“It gets way worse in the summer,” I tell her as I turn off the road onto a side road lined with stucco houses that look the same, yards flourishing with green grass, neighbors outside chatting and smiling, the perfect neighborhood.
“I’m so confused,” Violet says as she slips on her sunglasses and takes in the surroundings. “Why are we in the burbs?”
“My uncle lives here,” I explain, pulling in front of the two-story house at the end of the street of the cul-de-sac. I put the truck in park, then push the brake on before turning off the engine and putting the keys into my pocket.
“This is so weird,” Violet says with a pucker at her brow. “And not what I was expecting.”
I open the door to get out. “This is his normal side of life, well kind of. I’m guessing it won’t be that way when we get inside.”
Hesitantly, she gets out of the truck and follows me up the driveway, glancing around at the flowerbed beside the pathway, the polished landscaping, all covering up what’s behind the front door.
“Welcome home?” She looks even more puzzled as she reads the mat in front of the door. She lifts her sunglasses slightly and gives me a suspicious look. “You know, I’m starting to not buy into this—”
The door swings open and someone lets out a quick chuckle. “Holy shit,” my Uncle Cole says from in the doorway. He’s wearing a t-shirt, black cargo shorts, and no shoes. He looks similar to my dad only he’s in his thirties, ten years younger than my dad, and he’s more rougher with tattoos, gauges in his ears and shaggy hair. “I thought you’d get here a hell of a lot later when you called to say you were on the road.”
“We were already halfway here,” I explain apologetically. “Sorry I forgot to mention that.”
“You don’t need to apologize,” he says, his gaze flickering in Violet’s direction. “I never did like how little we saw of you anyway, thanks to that crazy ass mother of yours keeping you away.”
A ripple of anger shoots up my back, not toward him, but toward the mention of my mother. But Violet winces too, so I shove the feeling down and rush to sidetrack the conversation.
“This is Violet by the way,” I say nodding my head at her
. “Violet, this is my Uncle Cole.”
“Is this your girlfriend?” he questions with an arch of his brows as he slants against the doorframe with his arms folded across his cheat. The last time he met me, I’d made it pretty clear how I felt about women and that I’d never actually had one as a girlfriend, only fucked them. So showing up with Violet is confusing him. Plus, he’s not the most trusting person to strangers, considering what he does for a living.
“Just a friend,” Violet tells him, being very blasé about the whole thing. That stings, even though I already knew it was true. “And his partner in crime.”
He seems amused by her, which I don’t blame him for—she can be very charming when she wants to be. With a faint smile, Cole stands up straight and sticks out his fist. “Well, it’s a pleasure Violet, aka Luke’s partner in crime.”