By the time Violet made it home from work, it was already half past five. She'd have to hurry if she wanted to eat and change before heading to the club to meet her imminent horror of a "date" if that even was what this thing was supposed to be called. She didn't really know– just wanted to get it over with so she could come home and probably puke her guts out just because while watching reruns of Golden Girls and eating too much ice-cream.
Sighing, she shucked off her work apron by the front door, stashing it in her back pack for her early shift the next morning. Working as a cashier at K-mart wasn't really a life goal of hers, but it was enough to be able to afford for Danny's ravenous appetite and ever-growing shoe size.
Her jeans were definitely a no-go for clubbing, and she figured Albany would tell her that she needed to wear a dress, something that showed off her legs. Bad idea about that though. Razor tracks probably weren't the most attractive of qualities. Violet frowned, walking into the kitchen and grabbing an apple out of the fridge. The room wasn't disturbed. Cleanliness meant that her mother hadn't gotten up during the day to feed herself. Cringing, Violet realized that she would have to feed her before she left, and put the apple away.
It wasn't that Violet didn't still love her mother anymore, because she did very much; no, it was more so she didn't know her mother anymore. What was once a woman that didn't take bullshit at PTA meetings and used to tuck Violet into bed at night singing lullabies of heroic maidens and cowardly knights, was now a very lost and confused heap of a human being. Violet had once thought her mother beautiful, with honey curls and laugh crinkles around her mouth from years of marital happiness. Now, those curls were matted and the laugh lines were nothing but age, and dead eyes looking at Violet every time she saw her.
It hurt, to realize that you were so minimal to the person that was supposed to love you most, but then again Violet almost understood. If there was such a thing as soul mates, her mother and father had been the epitome of the term. And her mother had tried to keep going, in the beginning, but the loss had affected her more and more throughout the years until she gave up altogether. To Danny, their mother was Mommy; to Violet, she was Stranger I Used to Know.
Violet shook her head, grabbed a can of soup from the cupboards and poured it into a bowl, heating it in the microwave. She got a glass of orange juice and made some toast too, putting the meal on a tray when she was done. Her mother's room was at the end of the hall on the top floor, eerie quiet when Violet opened the door with a small hi Mom even though it didn't feel very genuine.
The woman lying limply on the bed in the middle of the room said nothing in response to Violet, staring vacantly at the wall. Silence ensued as Violet set the tray on the nightstand, reaching out to brush her mother's matted hair from her face. The woman didn't even look at her. And so Violet was leaving quietly as always, when suddenly the woman shot up from the bed, calling Violet's name urgently.
"Mom?" Violet asked, walking back toward her slowly, as if approaching a deranged animal. The woman's pale eyes were wild; she was sitting straight up, no longer limp, her mussed hair like a crow's nest around her head.
"Not safe!" the woman said, pointing directly at Violet.
Violet opened her mouth to ask what she meant by the comment, but her mother was carrying on, flailing in the sheets. "Not. Safe! Coming! They're coming!"
"Mom," Violet said, trying to reach out and calm her. The woman jerked away violently, screeching.
"No!" screamed her mother. "Coming! Not safe! Out! Out!"
Petrified, Violet could do nothing but stand there and watch as her mother wailed, throwing herself around in the bed. What was she supposed to do? Call the hospital? That'd just get her mother thrown into a psych unit, as had been suggested many times by psychiatrists overseeing her mother's depression. And Violet couldn't do that to Danny– not when he still loved their mother so much.
Tears stung at the back of her eyes, threatening to spill when suddenly her mother gave one last shout of, "Not safe!" and stilled. The room fell silent once more, her mother gazing lazily into space. For a moment, Violet could do nothing but stare at the woman that had taught her how to play soccer in a party dress, and had tried to teach Danny ballet while he was wearing nothing but his underwear and a Superman cape.
Shaking, she moved back to the door, knowing of nothing else to do. She watched as her mother grabbed the comforter from the other side of the bed and curled up with it, whispering nonsense to herself, before shutting the door quietly as she left.
Her limbs felt like jelly as she moved down the hall to the bathroom, turning on the sink and splashing cold water on her face. When she looked up into the mirror, her eyes glittered, smudged mascara and unshed tears. She quickly fixed it, adding some light shadow and blush, with lip gloss for extra. It felt outlandish, but she knew she wasn't naturally pretty enough to continue being seductive once Jason thought he had his claws in her. Her hair was left in the braid Albany had put it into that morning, and she walked to her bedroom mutely, ignoring the hollow ache in her chest that called for blood.
It was sickening that her first instinct to resolve conflict was to turn to that, but it was as good as drugs to put her mind in a stupor and make the anxiety from her encounter with her mother go away. But no, she had somewhere to be, a favor to return. There wasn't any time for messes, no matter if they would be as sweet as pomegranate seeds.
Fumbling, she quickly changed from her plain jacket, jeans and t-shirt into some frilly tunic Albany had gotten her for Christmas last year. It was all soft and floral, hugging tightly to her plush skin. She slipped on a pair of leggings and a myriad of bracelets where the three-quarter sleeves of the tunic didn't cover her arms. Stuck a flowered clip in her hair for good measure and dug through her closet for a pair of sparkling flats she hadn't worn since her last job interview eight months ago.
After smoothing out the wrinkles in the outfit, she just stood there a minute, feeling out of place and, well, stupid. She didn't want to do this. She hated flirting. She pretty much hated men. Yes, she was attracted to them, but in a different way than Albany's sexualized manner. Violet hadn't had much male contact besides a few kisses on the playground when she was younger. There was something that innately frightened her about them– she didn't know what. She just didn't…like it. A hidden matronly voice in the back of her mind didn't like it.
Sometimes she wondered if she was destined to be a lesbian, or maybe a woman that lived alone with her seventy-two cats approximately.
Frowning, she looked to the clock and realized she was running a tad behind. She quickly went to inspect her flowerbox. The little blooms had bent under the heat, and Violet's heart sank. She reached out, running fingertips along them. It seemed to be enough that they healed up a little. At least there was one highlight to coming home…
Before leaving, she checked on her mother again, finding the woman staring at the wall and singing to herself. Violet bit her bottom lip, closing the door once more and leaving. Galanthias was at the bottom of the steps mrowing at her, making Violet stumble. She cursed, grabbing the carton of milk out of the fridge and pouring some in a bowl. "Damned cat," she said, but pet Galanthias on the head affectionately as she gave her the bowl before grabbing her back pack and slipping out the door.
The bus ride to the club was about thirty minutes, time taken for Violet to call Danny and see what was going on. "Hey, it's me," she said when he answered.
"How's everything at Lou's?"
"Okay," Danny said, muffled laughter in the background as well as the sound of shooting. "We're playing Call of Duty."
"The one with the zombies?"
"Nazi zombies," Danny said. "I'm pretty sure I passed my Chem test, by the way. Knew everything except the organic shit."
"Thank you," Violet said, digging through her back pack until she found a half-drank bottle of water and took a swig from it. "So, guess who I have to interact with tonight?"
"Oh, that tool?"
She laughed. "Yeah."
"How'd you get stuck with that?" Danny asked, through what sounded like a mouthful of food. Knowing the kid's ravenous appetite, it more than likely was.
Fiddling tensely with her braid, she said, "It's a long story…"
By the time she made it to the club, it was packed. She found this strange considering it was only seven at night on a Thursday, but the social aspects of today often confused Violet anyways, so she didn't question it.
The Club's name was Olympus, posted in the middle of a dangerous neighborhood, with a tattoo parlor on its neighboring side. Violet had gotten three tattoos at the place in the last two years, kind of longing to get another one at the moment. She'd rather face a needle stabbing ink into her skin than Jason– but then, she actually liked the feeling of getting tattoos. The stinging burn was a sensation she felt she knew once long ago, but couldn't place it. Something like a cut, the welling of blood, the fire in her nerves…
She didn't have to wait in the club's surmounting line, instead flashing the bouncer a VIP pass Albany had given her when she'd first started working there. Violet was let in with a bit of complaint from those in line behind her, sweating in short skirts and heels. Ick, Violet thought, feeling kind of bad; that has really got to suck. She wasn't one for heels just as much as she wasn't one for dresses. They weren't comfortable and what was the point of even wearing clothes if you aren't comfortable, she often wondered.
The inside of the club was standard, with a packed dance floor and bar along the northern wall. On the south wall was a varying range of lifted booths, often called the Gods' Thrones, in accompaniment to the club's title. Those booths were already full, the colored lights of the club reflecting off of them at every angle. It made it so that Violet couldn't really see any details of the members in them, but she felt a shiver pass over her spine (was someone looking at her?) when she turned away, headed for the bar.
Albany was already there of course, low-cut shirt and pencil skirt wild and free like her red curls. Violet took a seat at the end of the bar, flinging her back pack onto the counter without a care. The loud plop effectively got Albany's attention, who showed Violet a wide smile.
"Didn't think you'd come," Albany squeaked anxiously, pouring Violet a martini glass of vodka. Carding was a system they'd abandoned years ago– one friend wasn't going to tell on another after all.
"Liar," Violet said, reaching out for the glass once Albany had added a bit of pomegranate juice to dull the heat of the alcohol. She was about to take a sip when another shiver rolled down her spine. Instinctively she turned toward the Gods' Thrones, eyes searching, but the lights still made it so she couldn't see anything.
"I know," Albany laughed, drawing Violet's attention back. She seemed fidgety, deeply nervous. "You always keep a deal."
Violet rolled her eyes, downing half the glass. Alcohol didn't really make her nervous; she was probably going to puke it up later so there was no point in worrying. Besides, if it helped her endure the hells of Jason, then she'd drink the whole goddamn bottle if need be. And plus, it made that creepy-crawly feeling in the back of her skull numb. Her eyes shot to the Gods' Thrones again– still nothing.
"So where's this guy of yours?" Violet asked, drinking the rest of the martini in one go. The music in the background was starting to grate at her nerves. Dubstep in a club named after one of the greatest places in mythological history just really didn't seem fitting. Maybe Pop. Pop would be better– oh God, that alcohol was already going straight to her head.
"Oh, yeah," Albany said, laughing tensely as she took out a rag to wipe the bar down. "He's not coming."
"What?" Well, at least Violet understood why Albany was so on edge now. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"It was last minute," Albany said, holding her hands up defensively. "Happened right before you got here– his wife wanted him home for dinner."
"Albany!" Violet hissed. "Married is not a good route to take."
"They're having problems," Albany said, biting her lower lip and ignoring a customer calling for a barkeep at the other end of the counter.
"Oh Al," Violet said, reaching out to cover her friend's hand with her own. "Sweetie, the last time this happened you got your heart broke." They'd been freshmen in college– Albany had gotten the hots for a guy who worked in the deans' office who'd been on his way to divorce, or so he lied, and it hadn't ended well for the carefree redheaded girl Violet had called her best friend since birth.
"Bah," Albany said. "No one breaks my heart, I break theirs. Besides, it's not like I'm looking for monogamy, just sex." She tried to smirk, but it was more of a grimace.
Violet shared her friend's expression, opening her mouth with hope of comforting words when a loud, brash voice interrupted her. "Hey, Smith, why ain't you tendening to the customers? What do'ya think I pay ya' for, just standing around and looking pretty like some– oh, hey Violet."
Jason was a short guy with a lacking ego to boost. His hair was always messy, eyes always red from too much to drink. He might have been a little attractive, Violet figured, had he not been such a prick.
He'd come around to her side of the bar, trying to be intimidating toward Albany until he saw Violet there and put on all the charm, which wasn't much. He was already eyeing her up and down like a slice of meat, which made her stomach roll, a worse feeling than the one she'd had when walking in.
If she puked now, all it'd be was alcohol and the minimal parts of lunch she'd let herself have. Not enough to make Jason back off, she figured, but enough to make her feel like shit. Not worth it.
"Hi, Jason," Albany said, while Violet remained mute. "I was just headed there." The redhead looked back to Violet, who was giving her a pleading gaze at the thought of being left alone with Jason. "Vi was just about to leave, actually."
"Oh, really?" Jason's hand moved, dropped onto Violet's shoulder and made her tense to the point it hurt. "Sure I can't convince you to stay, buy you a drink?"
Violet couldn't form an answer. She was kind of busy trying not to have a panic attack as Jason's hand slipped down from her shoulder to her chest, making a steady trail. Just get up and leave, her mind screamed, but her body froze. "She's gotta go," Albany said.
"Tend to the customers, Smith," Jason said sweetly, though the malice in his voice was evident. "Violet's a big girl, she can speak for herself."
Um no, Violet thought to herself meekly. She can't.
And so Albany stared helplessly at Violet, Violet stared helplessly at Albany. Neither girl could say anything, Albany in fear of losing her job, Violet in fear of…well, just in plain fear. Fate help her, the only thing she thought she could manage was a scream at this point, which was uncalled for considering the situation wasn't exactly dire, even if Jason's hand was dangerously close to her breast.
"There a problem here?"
All three people turned toward the sound of the new voice– a tall man standing directly behind Violet and Jason. The latter immediately removed his hand from off of Violet, who let out a sigh in relief. A look of fear settled over Jason, who stammered out an, "Oh, no, Sir. Violet here was just leaving and I was saying goodbye."
"Goodbye then," the man said. His voice was firm and low, but carried an air of authority no soul would try to defy.
Jason nodded, scurrying off.
Violet simply stared after him a moment, then turned to look at the man who had kept her from getting unwillingly felt up. He was tall, as first glance told, with broad shoulders and a dark look about him. His features were sharp, body strong. And his eyes…an even darker black than his hair.
"Thank you," Violet said, feeling a mix of relief and renewed fear. Butterflies were coiling in her stomach, or maybe better yet fire. It felt like she was burning under the man's stare. Like cuts and needles and pomegranates and blood.
"Yeah, thanks," Albany chimed in. "The boss can be a real ass sometimes– hard to call him off when he…" She trailed off, looking between the man and Violet. The two were locked in some kind of internal conversation, neither one of them taking their eyes off each other. Well damn. "I'll just go do my job now."
The moment Albany slipped off, Violet felt a little jolt. She looked after her friend alarmingly, feeling completely alone now with this strange man who looked like he had no irises his eyes were so dark. She felt her heart hammering in her chest (Black eyes an acrid ache whispered anguish spirits hands running down her arms juice dripping from her mouth an eternity in the darkness.) and it was as if she couldn't breathe.
"Are you alright?" the man finally asked, looking at the place where Jason's touch had lingered on her skin.
Violet hugged her arms around herself insecurely, glancing down at the floor as a few strands of hair fell out of her braid and onto her face. A rough hand reached out, long fingers swiping the flyaways behind her ear. She shivered, looking up to find the man staring at her with something akin to ache.
"Are you alright?" he asked again, eyes boring into her.
Little one, we've found you.
Violet balked. "Who– who are you?"
The man smirked, dark eyes and leer. "My name is Logan."
a/n: okay, I know it took 5ever for an update; sorry guys but I'm about useless when in a whiny bitch about life mood. anyway, I'm in the midst of planning out the full plot for this series, so things may feel a bit draggy– hence the abrupt ending in this chapter. I'm going to try and get more interaction and more, well, plot going soon. Promise.
also, made a playlist for the story. you can find it on my profile. Merry February.