Chapter 3: Violet
State your name.
I would like to keep that piece of information private.
Just to remind you, I'm only recording this so I can have reference when we're done on this case with the three of you. There's nothing to worry about. Everything that we talk about here will remain in this room.
I know. But I would still like to keep that information to the three of us.
Okay, then, Violet. How old are you?
Can you tell me more about yourself?
Honestly, I hate it whenever I get asked that. Like what do you want me to say? That I'm not like everybody else? That I have a lot of insecurities? Or that I'm an over confident bitch? It's rather pointless.
Well then, can you kindly tell me about the other two?
How do I start... okay, the one who always seem like someone's stepping on his foot, his name's Roman... and he owns the house where we all live at the moment and then...
H-How did you meet Roman?
... we umm, it was the 15th of February, a few weeks after I dropped out of school. I know... I know it was kind of a rushed decision considering a few months from that time I would have graduated but you know, I just never felt like school is for me. From the moment I stepped on that ground, I just knew that it wasn't for me so it was just like that. One day I woke up and told myself, no, I'm not going back there. Why do I have to endure a few more months of worthless crap when it doesn't really mean anything to me? So yeah, I just... packed my bags, left home with a note I tucked under the pillow of my bed and took the farthest drop point of the bus ride.
I needed change. I just want to be somewhere where no one knows who I am so I can start over and while I'm at it, figure out what I want to do with my life. It's really hard to try and figure out what you want when there's all these voices around, telling you that you should put this first, you shouldn't do this and that. It's just tiring to listen to all these people telling you what you should be doing or not. People are such hypocrites you know, I mean, how can you go and tell me what I should do when you're the one who's filled with so much "I wish I did this and that", it just doesn't make any sense.
So there, when I got down from the bus it was really refreshing to step on a place I've never been before. The feeling was just unreal. Not knowing where you're going to stay, how you're going to fend for yourself and what you're going to do with the little money you have left in your pocket. It wasn't as scary as a lot of people had thought it would be. I think, the idea that I'm looking forward to a better life in a new place drove me not to fear what is going to happen to me the next minute. It's just that comforting feeling that I know something better is waiting for me in this place.
First thing I did was walk around town just carrying a satchel with a good amount of clothes that would last for two days. I was hoping that I would be able to find a place to stay in an instant and you know, probably have enough money left to buy myself some new clothes but I never knew it would be that difficult. The weather at that time wasn't really helping me out, it was gloomy as if it was about to rain yet not even a drizzle went. That time I kind of understood how important it was to check that weather forecast application everyday, it was never a habit of mine. I didn't know if I should hurry or not until I checked the time on my phone and it was already 4pm, I still haven't found at least a room I can stay in.
The people around town were definitely much nicer than the one I had back at that stinking hellhole. A lot of them pointed me to places I can go to but karma was probably against me that time, every house I went to were either full, reserved, or someone else just got the spot before I did minutes earlier. So I had to change my plan, not that I have one in the first place but you know it was kind of a desperate move that I just went in this coffeeshop at the far end of town. J. Brady's, that was what the unlit neon lights spelled out across the roof of the shop.
The place was empty. It was perfect. I thought of maybe getting a job in there so that I can sneak in and sleep in the place while you know, having a day job. Kind of like hitting two birds with one stone. But again it was empty at that time not even the owner or a barista could be seen at the counter, I had to check the door again which said "Welcome" just to make sure I wasn't breaking in. I mean, I don't want to spend my first night in jail.
So I decided to just sit down right before the counter and wait. The room was pretty cozy, it had lamps in corners. Every table lined up on the side is next to a small horizontal window which let the faint white light from the outside in.
"Business is brewing here, I suppose." I voiced out loud. It's almost deafening that I can hear myself clearly from the silence.
A man came out of a dim room over the counter carrying a fresh pack of square tissues, "Well, we had a little break and I just changed the sign from 'We're Closed' to 'Welcome' and I had to put up that ad I worked my butt off building outside on that post and... we're not hiring." He was wearing a plain black apron.
I haven't even asked him yet. But no, I was tired, and I needed a place to stay fast.
"Okay, I'm really sorry mister, but I have to be honest with you... the place looks like it still needs a lot of work." I gave him a loud whisper.
"Oh, I'm sure it does but I know your type so, I'm really sorry honey, we're really not hiring anymore". He placed the fresh pack of tissues in the rack on the counter just beside my left elbow.
"Really now, so what's my type like?" I just gave him a smile. A smile that I always use on people. Our eyes met and I could read from his that he was quite challenged with my query.
After one heavy sigh he replied, "You're out of school and you're looking for a job. You'll try and trick people into giving you one by charming your way into their innocent hearts. You're gonna get the job. You'll come in at your best for a few days. On the third day, some psychotic boyfriend or a father you ran away from will storm in, break stuff and take you away promising to sue everyone in the shop including the guy who just got a tea instead of his daily order of smooth, sweet, and creamy cup of espresso. And then what happens, you get the pay, I lose an employee, a significant amount of customers would dwindle then I get an incurable disease and die."
There was a strange moment of silence in the air.
"There are other...versions of the story but you get the point. I'm not hiring you." the man thought he already set the ultimatum.
"Okay. Mister..." I forgot I didn't ask for his name yet and he didn't have his name tag on.
"Brady. Jeff Brady."
"Okay, Mr. Jeff...Brady, for a guy whose name sounds like a pornstar for leather fetishism, you sure seem to know how to take notes on cliche porn set up and pass them off as a stereotypical way of viewing life and the future of a girl like me. What I'm saying is that, I'm not the one who's missing out on something if I don't get hired." It was getting rather difficult for this guy to just say yes to me, but I was intent, I wasn't giving up myself.
"Shame I wouldn't know what I'm missing out on. I'm full on servers." He was basically shooing me away.
"Fire one of them."
He suddenly got his eyes locked on me. Finally, I got his full attention. His eyes had that look like it had unbelief in what he just heard but he's probably sensing the urgency and seriousness of the kind of pokerface I had up.
"What do you have in you that's so important I would be so willing to fire one of my men?"
"Well Mr. Brady, I may be out of school and I'm looking for a job, but I'm not dumb enough to have a psychotic boyfriend on my belt. Neither do I have a screaming bitch as a father, my parents are divorced so you are sure that a different story will be added into your list of versions and if there is one thing that I can assure you is that I'm gonna work really hard so that you won't get an incurable disease in the end and you won't have to die... miserably at least."
The door swung open and a tan-skinned man wearing the same black apron struggled to balance the crate he was holding in both his arms.
"Billy, you're fired!" Mr. Brady pointed at the man by the door
"Hey! What did I do?" He put down the crate and closed the door behind him.
"I'm kidding. Get back in here and wipe up those tables on the right"
"Oh, you better be, I mean c'mon man, we need more help in here." Billy wiped both his hands on his apron while he proceeded to tell me the recent history of their shop, "You know, Jean left us for her boyfriend who probably just got out of the asylum or wherever, it was really all crazy and dramatic and then that other girl...what was her name? Lisa? She left us because her father-slash-pastor finally found her after weeks of search, it was only that time we knew that she actually ran away from home. I'm telling you, my job in here? It's like watching a daytime soap."
Mr. Brady looked obviously pissed at him. "Thanks, Billy, you just got yourself replaced". The other guy just shrugged it off and went back to the stock room.
"Sounds like you had an interesting set of past servers" I told him.
"More like a disaster, you mean. I don't even know how I'm actually gonna fire that guy someday without him thinking I'm just dicking around"
"You can start by letting me work here" I cocked my head to the side and tried to capture his eyes with a smile.
"Nice try, honey, but before that happens I might as well..." He stopped mid-sentence when he saw lights from outside flickering at the window, "..what the f-"
A crunched noise came from outside. I don't know what it was but it sounded like a crash. Mr. Brady rushed out at once only to find the ad which stood on a post by the street was now answered by the bumper of a classy blue Bentley. Lucky for him the car didn't run over the post. It was kind of weird though cause the ad post-crash looked as if it was just nudged back by a tiny margin. The driver of the car must have been able to hit the brake probably like 10 seconds before collision. It was definitely moving slow that's for sure with that kind of damage. A small dent on the left side of the bumper, a visible scratch along the side and some smeared paint, not really that big of a deal if it was mine but it wasn't. I've seen a lot of guys who'll be in a rage just by a single scratch on their car.
Brady had his hands over his head, "No, no, no, no! C'mon man! I worked on this for hours!". It was an ad for wanting servers that would work full time. Prick. I'll never understand why he wouldn't just give me the job right away. Well the crash has ripped away the word "servers" off so I guess fate got me employed then?
I watched the commotion a few feet away, it was only a matter of seconds before this suddenly turns into a bloodbath of male ego. At this time of the day when it was between light and dark, it was awfully quiet and there weren't a lot of people walking around. Strange town, I thought. The car door opened as slow as suspense went.
"Roman?" Brady seemed to know the person behind the wheel. I watched the guy stagger down to ground while Brady helped him up. "Roman, what do you think you're doing?". Quickly, he browsed his surroundings with eyes of visible fear, I have no clue why but I felt as if I was about to find out anyway.
"H-hey...Bra-dy" the guy chuckled in muffled words as he struggled to keep his feet up.
"You are lucky it was my property you crashed at, you idiot! What is wrong with you? Have you been drinking?". With Brady's tone and choice of words, they seem to know each other very well. He shoved the guy back into the car, this time on the other side. After fastening the seatbelt on him, Brady turned to me and whispered, "Hey, you. Do you have a license? Can you drive him home?"
Excuse me? I didn't come to this town just to sneak a drunken mess back to his abode. I don't know why I answered, "Yeah... sure, I just don't know where..."
"I got it, give me your hand." There was a bit of panic with his hand gestures as he browsed his pockets for something. "Okay, here's where he lives, he's a friend of mine and this is going to be the second time he's gonna get himself a DUI if the patrol arrives soon. A lot of people might come any minute so I have to clean up this mess first. I'm trusting on you to get him back home safe, okay?" He sounded like a parent with his instructions while he wrote the address on my palm. The tip of the pen felt funny on my palm. I tried to read what he was writing even if it was flipped on my view, something along the lines of a Spanish name, the number 12, Everglade, and the abbreviation of the word 'street'.
"You have to say, I got the job first" I winked at him.
A squint is what I got in return, "...yeah..no...okay fine, you win. Just hurry up. Please." he said.
Before I left the crash site, Brady knocked on the window, "Few more things, just drop him off, lock the doors and leave. Just leave him, he'll be fine. Go home to wherever you came from. Whatever you do... don't try and make a conversation with him."
I don't know what he meant by any of that but it only made me feel a little queasy and nervous being behind the wheel with a drunk stranger by my side. That was the only time I felt the danger of not knowing anyone around me. There was no one to call if I needed any help. At that point, it was as if all my senses were heightened, a slight movement from my peripheral and I flinch like an old dog. This is not good, I thought. It was dark and only flashes of light from the streetlamps outside gave illumination to our faces which quickly faded into darkness as the car passed through each post in a cycle.
Keeping the silence in the air, I tried as hard as I can to minimize the sound of my breathing. Asleep or just eyes closed, it was really hard to tell the current state of the guy. What I do know is that this drive is taking longer than I expected.
"So... who are you this time?" he asked.
Oh my god. He talked. My hands clasped on the wheel tighter. He still had his eyes closed and his head leaned on perfectly on the headrest. It was then that I actually took more than 5 seconds to glance and see what this guy looked like.
So what did you think of him at that time?
He was... beautiful. Sleek dark brown hair brushed up, brows well defined, nose with definite character, lips thin and nicely shaped, skin pretty fair and he had a bit of scruff around his almost perfect jawline. I could see his chest expand in his buttoned down black polo as he kept on taking in heavy breaths. And that voice, that distinct voice. I have to say it was probably the sexiest voice I've ever heard in my life. It's probably just the drunkenness doing all the trick but I think it was quite impossible for him to look like a mess even when drunk being as pretty as he is.
Good thing the road just went straight ahead and there wasn't any car before me, I would've brought us both to our end. "I'm just doing someone a favor and...I'm bringing you home". I tried to keep my words to a minimum as Brady's advice kept repeating on my head. Don't try and make a conversation with him.
"You could've... just let me die" he whispered.
Okay. First of all if you wanted to die, you could've chosen a better crashpoint like ramming yourself up a tree or something, not a cardboard coffeeshop ad by the street. Second of all, your looks don't seem eligible for that type of phrases. But I just kept quiet, for all I know, he must be having a really, really big problem on his own, he had to resort to drowning himself with alcohol.
I almost missed the turn but I was able to locate Everglade Street in time. A few blocks and I finally stopped before a really huge house. Probably a pad or something. It had a large frontyard from what I can see in the dark. Moving into the drive way, I parked exactly near the front porch.
Here comes the hard part. Assisting a drunk man out of the car and into his own house. As I made my way to his side, I couldn't help but notice how the lawn was kept mowed considering how quiet the place is. He probably lives alone but I don't know that yet. The first few steps were the hardest. He had his one arm around my shoulder while we walked forward together, dragging his feet on the ground. I think I've done a whole month of gym time just by carrying half of his weight on my shoulder. It was nothing. All my attention was taken away by his scent. Perfume, cologne or whatever it is, it's really attractive.
We paused for a while by the door. Fuck. Where are the keys? Pockets. Must be in his pockets. Well, this is awkward, I thought to myself. Quickly, I shoved my free hand into one of his back pockets of his jeans. Nope, none. I struggled to free my hand as the jeans were kind of tight on him. Checking on the other, it was paper. Without a second thought, I pushed my hand in his front pockets carefully. A phone and...still no sign of his house keys. Where is it?
"You just groped everything I had." he grunted, "It's under the mat you're stepping on". A snicker is what I heard under his breath.
"Well, if you could have told me that earlier I wouldn't have to". I might have just landed myself a sleazy bastard. Knelt down on the cold floor, I searched under the mat, still there wasn't any.
I looked up to him and said, "You're liking this aren't you?"
"I'm sorry...I'm sorry... it's uh.. it must be under that pot" he flailed his arms trying to point to the small pot with a dying plant of some sort.
There you have it. A shiny silver key. I was getting really tired of it.
Once the door was opened and the light switch flicked on, I was really surprised with what I saw. Everything was so neat and organized, it was as if I was in some celebrity's bachelor pad. Minimalist. Only the shades of gray and brown gave the interior some accent, while most colors are only limited to black and white. I assisted him to the kitchen where I left him sitting on a high stool. He had his elbows rested on the granite countertop, his hands over his head, messing up his sleek do. I came back to him carrying a glass of water. Water. That should sober him up. I just don't know if I would stay long enough to assist him to the bathroom while he pees or vomits.
"Why are you so good to me..." he said after gulping one big drop.
"Why shouldn't I be?" I replied, lifting the glass one more time for him to take another sip. I stood real close to him and for the first time I was really able to see his face clearly under the light. Everything was even better, I felt like I was drawn into his eyes. Bright green eyes. Out of that pretty exterior, it wasn't that hard to see through it and find that he's a troubled young man. He wiped his lips with the long sleeve of his shirt
"No... you shouldn't. A lot of people aren't..."
I know I shouldn't try and keep a conversation with him at this state but it was difficult to see someone as beautiful to be in this fit. In my heart, I felt a beat that told me that I should just leave. But where do I go?
"... you know, I had a penguin once... a cute wobbly little penguin. I don't really...fancy penguins but this..specific penguin got me. I did everything for her. I-I gave her...everything. I don't know what else she wants but...I told her this.. I'll take you wherever, I'll do anything you want of me just...look me in the eye and tell me... that you love me back.. But...but she didn't say anything. Of course, what am I thinking... it's a penguin. A stupid fucking penguin who wanted to go and chase fishies in the ocean and do you...do you know..how hard it is to be left alone? Do you?" he babbled on with rising intensity.
A penguin. Is that how they call it these days? Really? Is he drugged as well? I checked his eyes closer. I don't know with you but I wanna be left alone and sad to say, I'm loving it. This is just my first day of being away from anyone who knows me and I'm doing great. Just great. But then again, where do I go?
"You need sleep" blankly I gave him that answer while I helped him back up to his feet. It would be suicide to take him upstairs so I decided to just take him to the nearest couch I could find. Over there. That area was possibly the living room, there was a large TV on one side and a U-shaped set of white couches on the opposite. Under it was a wide and soft carpet filled with pillows of different sizes. A large clear glass window covered up the whole side while it was concealed in a set of black and white curtains. This house is too big for one man to live in.
After I gently dropped him on the couch, he squirmed himself up to his comfort. Sitting beside him on the edge of the couch, I was able to scan the place for the last time. It's time to go. Remembering what Mr. Brady has instructed, I shouldn't have stayed longer. But before I was able to stand up from my seat, a hand clasped on my wrist.
"Stay with me..." he whispered, "...please"
His hand felt really warm around my wrist yet it was too weak to hold me down. Maybe he's just dreaming or maybe he meant it. I don't know. I brushed his weak hand off and sat down on another couch keeping a distance between us. Maybe I'll stay until he's fine. I don't know how long but right now, I've got nowhere to go.