Hiding in the Shadows

Luke had always admired Violet from afar. She was gorgeous, she was friendly, and she was unique. But, in Luke's eyes, she was unattainable. She was out of reach.

But when Violet opens herself up to Luke, and they start to fall for each other, Luke realizes that Violet is not who he thought she was at all. She's weaker, and more fragile than he ever could have imagined.

But then again, aren't we all?

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1. Just the Beginning

 

She was something completely new and unexpected. Everything about her was different.

 

All the girls at school had shiny straight hair, cut in long flowy layers, but her hair was a massive mess of tangled black curls that fanned around her face in spiraling tendrils. 

 

While most teenage girls opted for high end perfume in delicate bottles, she wore simple deodorant and a plain vanilla body spray in a plastic case. Her eyes were brighter, her skin was lighter, her looks were unique and exotic. Even her name was unheard of in such a common place as they lived. Amongst the seemingly endless Carolines and the Kates and Annas, there was Violet.

 

And Luke fell for her in seconds.

 

He fell for the curve of her ruby lips when she smiled and the way her two front teeth had the tiniest little gap you'd ever seen, but it was still there, like a perfect flaw. He fell for her voice, clear and shimmery, like a brass bell. He fell for the way her shoulder blades poked out from her thin t-shirts like bony wings. He fell for the way she always painted her nails electric yellow, but never remembered to paint the pinky on her right hand. He would tumble head over heels when she batted her impossibly long eyelashes and his heart would plummet when she would cross her ankles and swing her feet from side to side in her canvas sneakers.

 

It was the little things about her that Luke loved. It was the tiniest movements, like tucking a strand of hair behind her ear and watching as it would get caught in her long dangly earrings. He liked the way she didn't try to hard. She wore simple clothes and simple makeup. She was smart but not overly brilliant. She was perfect. She was glorious. 

 

But she was unattainable.  She was seeing someone. Someone who didn't deserve her. He was a jock and he was mean to her and he would always  seem humiliate her in the tiniest ways. For example, the first time Luke saw Violet cry was after school on February 23 of Junior Year. She was sitting in the passenger seat of her boyfriend's truck and he was clearly yelling at her. He reached across the seat and opened the door on the passenger side, basically ordering her to get out. It was cold outside and she wasn't wearing a jacket, but she angrily climbed out of the car, slamming the door and pounding the side as he revved the engine and peeled away.

 

Luke nervously offered her a ride home and she agreed with a smile that said thank you in more than 1000 ways. She directed him to a small yellow house with white trim a few streets over and she dug around in her purse for a tiny key before getting out of the car."Thank you, Luke." She said, before shutting the door and he gaped that she even knew his name.

 

"You deserve better." He had muttered to himself.

 

"No, I don't." She had whispered back before closing the door and shuffling up the steps to her house. Luke watched to make sure she got inside before slowly driving away.

 

The next day everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. Violet was standing outside her locker before her first period class with her boyfriend, and they were clearly not over their fight from the previous day. Her boyfriend, Bobby, was facing her, the close proximity in between their faces dense with tension. His arms were outstretched on either side of her shoulders, trapping her slightly. He was yelling and she was just staring in the distance, ignoring him. 

 

"I have to go." Luke watched her mouth quietly. Bobby said something rude back and Luke saw Violet's eyes fill up with tears. She moved to walk away but Bobby grabbed her wrist, encasing the bony structure in his massive hand.She tugged away from him, panicked but he didn't let go as he dragged her back to the locker. People were beginning to stare now, and a few of Bobby's friends sauntered over. One of them, whose name was Patrick, placed a hand on his shoulder to calm him down, but Bobby was yet to release Violet's arm.

 

Luke's blood pounded in his ears and he subconsciously began to walk towards them. Luke and Bobby were the same size but Luke was quiet and studious and Bobby was the big bad jock."Let go of her." Luke heard himself say, unable to look at them. More people began watching them. "Let go of her." He repeated, more sure of himself this time. 

 

Bobby raised his eyebrows in disbelief before he reluctantly released her wrist and Violet sprang away from him, rubbing at the sore skin. Her eyes were wild with fear as she scurried behind Luke. "Who the hell are you?" Bobby asked as his friends began sizing up Luke.

 

"Bobby. Stop it." Violet pleaded from behind Luke but Bobby held up a hand to quiet her. They were truly saved by the bell as the alarm for first period went off. Luke already knew that Bobby and Violet were in the same class as they headed in the same direction and Bobby coyly tried to place his hand at the small of her back. She smacked it away, annoyed at his persistence and he scowled in anger. 

 

That night, Luke received a phone call. His mother called up the stairs and he went to go retrieve it. No one ever called his home phone, not many people even called his cell phone."Hello?" He answered, tucking the phone into the crook of his neck as he dug around in the fridge for the milk, unscrewing the cap and taking a swig. 

 

"Luke. Hi, its me, Violet." She said quietly and Luke spit his milk out all over the floor with a sloppy raspberry noise.

 

He quickly tried to remain calm as he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand used a towel to mop up the mess with his foot. "Oh, hey there." Hey there, did he really just say hey there? He mentally punched himself.

 

"Listen, this number was in the 2directory and I just wanted to thank you for what you did today. Bobby can get a bit out of hand sometimes." There was a pause. "But I ended it earlier today. I'd had enough."

 

"Oh I'm glad you did. He was pretty awful to you." He remembered the way Bobby squeezed her wrist, grinding the bones together while she squirmed away from him, and his knuckles began to clench in anger.  "I was happy to help though." 

 

"You didn't have to, you know. I've never done anything for you."

 

"It's okay." He mumbled. 

 

"Can I make it up to you?" She asked me softly.

 

"You really don't have to do tha-" Luke began.

 

"I want to." She cut him off. "Meet me for coffee on Saturday at Lula's Cafe on Ivy Street. It's a little hole in the the wall but the coffee's to die for. It'll be my treat." She said, her voice sounding all pretty and friendly.

 

"Yeah, sure. I can do that." He sounded awkward and distant but he could hear the smile in her voice as she said goodbye.

 

"Thanks again Luke." Luke loved the way his name sounded in her voice. The "k" making a soft cluck against her throat and the "oo" sound dragging out dramatically. 

 

"Good bye, Violet." He said quietly before hanging up with a gentle click and practically skipping down the stairs to put the phone on the cradle. 

 

His mother looked up from the kitchen table where she was eating sliced strawberries and pouring over the newspaper. "Who was that?" She asked him with a wink, tucking a strand of her curly blonde hair behind her ear.

 

"Mom!' Luke shouted embarrassed as she let out a gentle laugh.

 

"What's her name?" She asked him finally.

 

"Mom." He tried to end the conversation.

 

"Name." She persisted.

 

He let out an angry sigh. "Violet." 

 

His mother's eyebrows raised. "That's a pretty name." She said with an approving nod before continuing to look at the newspaper in front of her.

Pretty name, pretty girl, Luke thought. 

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