Begin Again

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Seven: Call It What You Will

Two weeks have passed since movie night at Central Park. Violet and I have kept in contact and met up a few times to get a coffee. It was really easy for me to talk to her, she’s one of the few people who know nothing about my past so she doesn’t judge me or look at me in the same way everyone else does.

I’ve avoided having her around Mason or Jenna because I know how judgmental they are of this friendship between Violet and I, the last thing I want is for them to mess this up for me. I had done a great job of keeping Violet out of their sight until today, after working at my desk for three and a half hours I hear a knock and look to see Violet with a take out bag.

“I have McDonalds!” She grins at me before taking a step into my office, “Your secretary let me in. Do you have time to eat?”

“Yeah, of course,” I nod before standing up and walking around my desk to give her a quick hug, “You didn’t have to do this, Vi. But thank you. Sit down and we’ll dine in style together.”

Her laugh echos in my office space as she pulls out the chair in front of my desk and sits down, “Fine dining with Big Macs and salty fries.”

“My favorite.”

Her personality had become enlightening to me. She’s laid back and not high maintenance in the slightest which made it all the more easier to be around her, the smallest thing made her happy whether it be McDonalds or even a two-for-one movie ticket. No matter what I do, she’s thrilled.

I watch as she takes a large bite of her burger, not being an uptight bitch who’s too shy to eat in front of me. I don’t realize that I’m smiling until she quickly covers her mouth, “Oh god... What? Did I get sauce on my face?”

“No! God, no...” I chuckle lightly before tossing some fries in my mouth, “You’re just fun to be around. I really enjoy your company Violet.”

Violet smiles at me before looking down at her lap as a bright pink blush spreads across her cheeks, “I enjoy your company, too.”

The sound of high heels clicking sound from the hallway and it stops outside of my door. I already know who it is but when I lift my head my thoughts are confirmed, Jenna stands in the doorway in a tight pencil skirt and purple blouse.

The look Jenna gives Violet makes me dread whatever was about to unfold, Jenna knows that I don’t want her around Violet due to her negative thoughts but she walks into my office, not giving a shit what I wanted.

“Jen--” I stand up from my chair to stop her from say anything but as I should already know, nothing stop Jenna.

“I’m Jenna,” She interrupts me and extends her hand towards Violet with a clearly forced smile on her face, “You must be Violet.”

Violet seems intimidated by Jenna, causing her to stutter when she responds, “Hi... Yes, I am. It’s nice to meet you. Thomas has told me lots.”

“Good things, I hope.”

As Jenna pulls out the other chair, she sits down and keeps her eyes on Violet who seems no longer interested in her food, “Of course.”

“Jenna, do you mind? Violet and I are having lunch.”

Jenna waves for us to continue, “Please, don’t stop on my account. I just came to say hi while I wait for your brother to finish his meeting.”

“I’m done anyway,” Violet lies as she tosses her food into the empty McDonalds bag, “I should go so you two can talk or whatever.”

I watch Jenna closely as he hand rests on Violet’s arm, “Aw, please don’t go. I’m actually happy that you’re here. After all the amazing things Thomas has told me I finally get to meet the infamous Violet.”

Violet looks towards me with a hesitant look on her face and I send Jenna a warning glare that she doesn’t seem to care about , she only kept her eyes on Violet and I could see the look on her face - she’s prepared to grill Violet whether I like it or not.

“First of all, I’m sorry about your cousin... She was very... sweet,” Jenna paused when trying to think of a word to describe Jade, she and Jade never had any kind of friendship so the struggle for her to compliment Jade was real, “I’m sure Thomas already told you just how much she impacted his life.”

“Uh, yes... He has,” Violet answers her, “I’m not surprised, though. Jade had that impact on people.”

“That she did, Thomas did a complete turn around because of her...”

Jenna is right and I can’t get angry at her for saying what’s true. I’m a completely different person than I was before I met Jade but after her I was slowly falling back into old patterns again.

I clear my throat, deciding to put an end to Jenna’s interrogating, “That’s enough, Jen. Did you ever think that maybe it’s hard for Violet to talk about Jade? Have some respect, she lost her cousin.”

“I’m sorry,” Jenna looks back to Violet and I already know that she doesn’t mean it in the slightest, “I just know how much Thomas enjoys being around you so I just wanted to get to know you better.”

“It’s fine,” Violet says.

Of course she will say that it’s fine, she doesn’t want conflict - especially with Jenna. She has an intimidating demeanor and all throughout high school she was one girl you didn’t want to mess with. I don’t want Jenna using intimidation tactics on Violet, I don’t want her to give Violet a reason to step back from me.

Jenna would ruin this and I know that she wouldn’t hesitate to fuck with my life.

“Jenna, go. Mason should have arrived by now so go annoy the shit out of him instead of me,” I snap at her and she narrows her eyes. When Violet left I would speak with Jenna alone and tell her exactly where to go.

Without a word, Jenna glances at Violet once more and walks out of my office, the sound of her heels clicking as she walked further down the hallway.

Instantly, I look at Violet and sigh softly, “I’m sorry about that... I don’t know why she’s like this but I would never be okay with her talking to you like that.”

Violet forces a little smile, trying to reassure me but no matter what she says I would feel guilty for my friend’s behavior, “It really is okay, Thomas. She’s protective of you and you should be flattered. It’s sweet. I don’t know what it’s like to have people care about me like that, but I can imagine that it’s a good feeling.”

“Not all the time,”

I mutter under my breath before rubbing my hand over my face, “How about I come to your place tonight and bring take out? We could watch a movie or just talk. Your choice. I just need anything to get my out of that loft for a while.”

Violet grins slightly and raises an eyebrow at me, “That sounds like a date, Thomas.”

“Maybe it is... Call it what you wish,” I challenge her without really thinking about what I was saying. Was I actually asking Jade’s cousin on a date? If I am, then maybe I should be classier about it and not stay at her apartment, “Is that something you’re okay with? Because if it is, I can take you out. I’m a gentleman when I try to be...”

She laughs and similar to Jade, her laugh is contagious, “Thomas... I’m okay with calling it, uh, a date. But it really isn’t something we need to make a big deal out of, okay? Just two people, exploring options.”

Options?

This was becoming more serious than I intended. I have only known Violet for a short time, but in that short time I feel happier than I have in a long time, which makes this feel less crazy. In my teen years I would have already planted one on her by now and probably even bedded her. But I’m not a teenager anymore and when someone mentioned exploring options now, I had many mixed feelings.

I have feelings of guilt because I had never even considering exploring options with anyone since Jade. If I ever do date again, my mind would remind me that I’m betraying her in some sense even though my heart knows that Jade would want me to try to be happy with someone.

But how would she feel about me possibly dating her cousin? The fact that I’m even considering it is a big difference than what I’ve said over the past few years. I refused to, but there was something about Violet that made me feel like I could date again.

Not just anyone, but her.

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