Something had changed for her. He had been watching her closely and he could see she was altered. He did not know what had caused this, what had inspired her to shift away from the guarded person she had been, but there was no denying it. Violet was different.
Bolder. That is what he noticed, she had grown bold. No longer was she maneuvering through the school at a distance. She walked the halls with the others, getting bumped and jostled like everyone else. She frequented the library and computer lab during normal hours. But what shocked him most was discovering her eating lunch with others. Well, no so much with them, but in their presence. She was skirting the edges of a particular group. She sat at their table, inching her way in, like an ape seeking acceptance in a new tribe.
He found this amazing. This was a lesser group in his opinion. These students were below her. She, this girl of power had chosen to associate with students whose lives would be little changed after graduation, if any of them made it that far. Yet she chose them anyway. She went to them for inclusion.
The situation was incomprehensible and, though it was dangerous, he could not stop himself from investigating further. He left his class, shirked his duties, and followed her. She too left, skipping classes to wander in the dark corners of the school ground. He found her loitering under the bleachers with a group of stoners. Another day she trailed the same losers into the small woods that bordered the parking lot. He risked more and moved in closer to find out what she was at. Surely she wasn’t falling into that life? Surely not her?
He caught her hiding in the trees with a boy, a skinny, dirty boy whom he instantly disliked. She was close to him, very close, almost nose to nose. He could not understand it. Was this a youthful romance? Did this incredible girl have feelings for a cockroach?
He saw her take the boys hands in hers and slowly draw them up to her face. The sickly boy was smiling and the man wanted to punch him. He turned his focus on Violet and saw that her expression was something else. Not love. Not even lust. No, he had misjudged the situation, that was clear. Whatever she wanted him for it was not romantic.
He continued to watch as she lifted the boys hands and placed them on her shoulders. She said something to the teen and he nodded. She continued talking, encouraging him to put his hands on her neck, then her jaw. His grubby fingers moved with her chin as she guided him.
His hands went further then stopped, palms over her ears, fingers curled to the back.
The old man gasped. All at once he knew what was in Violet’s mind.
The second the boy had hold of Violet’s head his spine stiffened. His eye went wide, thrilled with this new sensation. He began to speak and what rolled off his tongue seemed to amaze, even shock him. But he did not falter. The cockroach, such an obvious addict that the old man knew it even before the boy confessed, was enjoying himself. He reveled in what was happening to him.
Violet, however, did not. In her eyes the old man saw fear. The experience scared her. Still she did not push her victim away.
The old man, caught off guard, was unable to stop panic from consuming him. Violet was testing her skills, discovering what she could do. Violet was learning.
His heart began to beat fast and hard for he knew that if Violet continued, if she practiced on others she would get stronger.
Time and position were no longer on his side. His window was closing. For the first time he though he might take her, right then and there, grab her and flee.
But what then? As his prisoner she would be useless. No he needed a better plan. He needed to force the game back into his favor.
He left the scene, lumbered back to his class and students, with his mind working. He knew what to do. Violet must be shown the precariousness of her existence, the danger around her. Violet must be made to fear.
Then he could show her that, of all those around her, he was the only one she could trust.