Begin Again

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Six: Central Park

“You’re a mess, Tommy.” Mason says to me when he finally talks to me at work on Monday.

He’s not wrong. But I’m never going to agree with him just for the sake of my own pride. He has every right to throw his opinion at me, though.

“Grant sent me photos that almost got leaked to the media of you passed out on a sidewalk over the weekend,” When he says this, I know exactly what he was speaking of. What I didn’t know, however, is that people were taking photos.

I don’t necessarily care what photos get printed of me, I am who I am. What makes the photos bad for me is how damaging it could be for the company.

“Uh yeah... Bad night,” I attempted to excuse my behavior but there’s no excuse that could possibly defend my actions over the weekend. I spiraled, it was that simple.

Mason raises a brow at me, “You don’t say.”

“How’s Jen?” I reluctantly ask him, “Does she hate me? Do you hate me?”

I’m relieved when Mason shakes his head no, I was expecting the opposite but this is Mason, he’s a much better man than I. “You know I couldn’t hate you. You were heated and I have no doubts about my relationship so it isn’t like you actually hurt my feelings or anything.”

“I was an ass either way.”

“I do want to warn you, though. I spoke with Jenna about Violet an--”

“Fuck. That’s all I need is her breathing down my neck,” I groan, “We’re friends. I took her to dinner and learned about who she is. It wasn’t about Jade, Mase. It was Violet.”

Mason remains silent and I can tell that he is biting his tongue. He can do just that because I don’t give a fuck about his negative opinions towards my friendship with Violet.

A call comes through my office phone and I wave Mason off, “I’ll talk to you later, bro.”

I’m aware of how we left the conversation unfinished but I really didn’t need to get into another argument with my brother today. I was lucky that he forgave me the last time.

My day passes by slowly and I fight the urge to text Violet. Desperate - something I did not need to come off as. But just because I enjoy her company doesn’t make me desperate. Is being desperate for happiness pathetic or just downright sad?

As I scroll through files on my computer a Facebook chat pops up under Violet’s name, ”Hey, stranger. How do you feel about Michael Myers in Central Park at night? I’ll bring the snacks and you bring the alcohol?”

I chuckle to myself as I read her message, I know exactly what she’s asking about. It’s movie night in the park, the city plays a movie of choice on a big screen in the park and it’s free to enjoy. I just didn’t happen to be the biggest fan of Horror movies.

"Sounds fun," I type back before adding a second message to the chat, “And so you know, I’m very comforting when women get scared ;)”

She replies quickly and I can almost hear her laugh, ”I don’t scare easily, Reid. Nice try, though."

I smile to myself, leaning back in my chair and turning to look out the large window behind me. This feeling is weird to me, being happy and making plans with someone other than Mason and Jenna. Anyone who thought that Violet was bad for me is mistaken, since I met her I’ve felt a huge weight lifted off of my chest.

It wouldn’t hurt to leave a little early - it would give me the opportunity to get some flowers or something for Violet, because that’s the kind of man I am. A true gentleman.

“Knock knock,” I hear Jenna’s voice say as she opens my office door.

I freeze, I hadn’t spoken to her since the night I was a drunken fuck up. The night I could have ruined the relationship I worked so hard on with Mason. Jenna is a tough girl, if she decided to walk up to me this very moment and punch me in the face, I wouldn’t be surprised nor would I blame her.

“Hey...” I respond softly.

When Jenna smiles at me, relief floods my body, “Mind if we talk for a minute?”

“Of course. Come on in...” I waved her into my office and cleared my throat before sitting up straight, “I’m glad you came by. I was beginning to think that you would hate me forever.”

Jenna laughs softly before taking a seat in the chair in front of my desk, “Really, Thomas? After everything, you really think I would give up on you for being an asshole one night. The way I see it, if Mason can forgive you that’s all I need to put this past us.”

When did Jenna get her shit together? At one time, she was more fucked up than me; Mason was good for her. He did for Jenna what Jade had done for me, her gave her a purpose and brought genuine happiness into her life.

“I guess you knew I was an asshole before last week,” I joked with her. As I walked towards my office door I stopped beside Jenna, “Hate to cut this short but I need to head out. I have plans to get ready for.”

She seems confused and doesn’t hesitate to ask me, “What plans?”

“Not that it’s any of your business, but I’m hanging out with Violet, who I’m sure Mason told you about.”

I could see the expression on her face; the judgement, which was completely unnecessary and none of her business. “You’re fucking Jade’s cousin?”

“I’m not fucking anyone!” I quickly defend myself, but I’m quick to correct my argument, “Well, that’s not true... But I’m not fucking Violet, okay? We’re friends and the fact that you and Mason are so against it pisses me the fuck off.”

“Calm down, Thomas. Don’t be a child for two seconds and listen to how crazy this sounds...” Jenna holds her hand up, motioning for me to shut up, “This girl messages you online and you don’t even hesitate to met her? Think! This all just seems a little odd.”

I walk past Jenna, not bothering to listen to her bullshit today, “You’re more than welcome to stay, but I’m done hearing you bad mouth my life. You do your thing, I’ll do mine.”

“Thomas...”

I could hear her voice as I walked away but I don’t stop, I’m too exhausted to argue about my life choices to people who can’t even understand, people who don’t have the same problems as I do. Mason and Jenna are happy, they have each other, I just always assumed that they would want me to be happy, too.

The negativity I’ve been receiving did anything but keep me from Central Park. It seems that lately being around Violet was even better than being around the only two people I had around me.

On the way home from work I stopped to an expensive flower shop near the financial district and purchased a bouquet of Daffodils. Daffodils are known to represent new beginnings which I think is a perfect gift for Violet. There’s something about women that make me overthink the little details, I had only overthought things with Jade so knowing that Violet was doing the same for me made all of this even more necessary for me.

After taking a shower and changing into a plain white tshirt and black jeans, I sprayed my favorite Hugo Boss cologne over me and checked myself out in the mirror. I look good, as I always do. I never had self-esteem issues, I probably never will. I’ve been blessed with good looks which I suppose I can give 50% of the credit to my father, but I’d like to think that my good qualities is something that I get from my mom. Unfortunately, I know that I look like my dad, as much as it kills me to admit it.

My phone rings and I bring it to my ear after answering the call, “Yeah?”

“Hey, it’s Violet.”

A weird feeling comes over me and I suddenly become more aware of the phone call, “Hey, Violet. Not bailing on me, are you?”

I hear her giggle before she responds, “Of course not. I want to see you... I just called to let you know that I’m in the area so you don’t need to pick me up. My boss wanted me to check out some vintage books someone contacted him about so I had to come to Manhattan. Did you want me to go ahead and get us a spot in the park?”

“Yeah, that’s fine,” I tell her. I was truly looking forward to picking her up but at least this way we were saving time by meeting each other there, “You good with wine or are you more of a beer kind of girl?”

“I’m not picky.”

“Alright then. I’ll see you soon,” I tell her before we say goodbye and hang up.

I already have plenty of beer at my place, so I fill two large water bottles with beer so we wouldn’t get caught drinking in public. The last thing I need was another reason to be put online due to public indecency.

***

I reach Central Park around 7:00pm, the movie was scheduled to start at 7:30 so I had some time to spare. As I reach the area where the movie will be played, I look around for Violet. Once I spot her burning red hair, I smile to myself and take in her features. She’s wearing a black tank top and matching black shorts that have artificial spikes on the sides and that buttons up past her belly button.

I’m quite observant when it comes to things that I’m interested in, to say that I’m not the slightest bit interested in Violet would be a lie. She’s a different kind of person, someone fiery and raw. She’s honest and not always in a nice way but she tells me how she’s feeling whether it’s rude or not.

It’s her brutally honest personality that draws me to her, alone with her red hair and her perfectly shaped body. Until this moment I wouldn’t admit it to myself, not even in my head but I know deep down that I’m attracted to Violet but I didn’t know if a part of that was due to her relationship with Jade.

“Thomas!” I hear Violet call my name and I realize that I’m just staring at her. She laughs and motions for me to come sit but her on the blanket she has set up, “Do you plan on joining me or are you just going to stand there and stare?”

There’s that honesty I enjoy so much.

I chuckle and walk over to her, noticing that she has a couple bags of chips and a container of gummy bears, “Nice snack choices.”

She laughs and shrugs her shoulders, “Gummy bears are my favorite.”

“Yeah, they’re okay...” I sit next to her and extends the flowers towards her, “I got these for you. I’m sure Daffodils don’t compare to roses but they represent new beginnings and as cheesy as it sounds I feel like you’re giving me a chance at starting over.”

She stares at me then her eyes look at the flowers, “Wow... Thomas, I don’t know what to say. They’re beautiful, really.”

“I don’t want you to feel weird about this or anything, I just wanted to show you my appreciation in some way...” I tell her, “In just a few days you’ve helped me a lot and I hope you continue to stick around.”

The last thing I want is for Violet to think that I’m a creep and already over stepping this friendship we were beginning to build and the longer she took to reply, the harder it was to keep my cool.

Violet takes the flowers from my hands and a smile appears on her lips, “I’m not going anywhere, Thomas. As long as you promise me the same.”

“I can do that,” I answer, giving her a smile and reaching towards her and moving her hair from her face. She’s beautiful, like Jade. But other than the red hair, her and Jade look completely different.

Mason is wrong for saying that I like being around Violet because they’re completely different. Violet is her own person and if Mason gave her a chance, he would see that too.

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