Better Together by Kate
After her fiancé dumps her, Violet Littleton wants nothing to do with love and the entire ridiculous concept of it. But then, she meets his eyes from across the bar. It was only supposed to be a one night stand though. Supposed to be anyway.
Chapter One – From the Edge
"It's official. You've gone over the edge."
Violet Littleton shot her best friend, Olivia Grange, what she hoped was a threatening look before lowering her eyes to continue with the task at hand.
"I'm not over any edge," Violet stated matter-of-factly. "For the first time in months, I have never been more sure of anything."
Olivia sighed but remained silent. Instead, she flopped down on the couch in the small apartment and occupied herself by staring up at the ceiling. She refused to help Violet with her newest way of getting over her ex-fiancé. Two months had passed since Mike Winthrop dumped Violet on the eve of their wedding and Violet had done everything from throwing his possessions out the window, crashing every bit onto the street below, to burning his clothes in a trash bin.
Now, on a dreary and overcast Sunday afternoon, Olivia watched as her friend dealt with her secret heartbreak the only way she knew how. She would devoid herself of any emotion except anger and would never let anyone see her resembling anything weak. Not even her closest friends.
So when Violet had called and told her that she was doing a shredding ceremony on every single picture she had of Mike, Olivia couldn't very well tell her 'no'. Instead, she came armed with plenty of Chinese take-out food and a twelve-pack of beer and prepared herself to spend the afternoon watching her best friend silently fall a little bit sadder with each photograph she looked at before sending it through the industrial strength paper shredder she had bought for herself earlier that morning.
Violet sat on the floor of her miniscule living room in front of the coffee table currently covered with photo albums and shoeboxes that contained every single memory captured of her with Mike. There were some photographs that were harder to part with than others. The photo of Mike and her standing with her dad four months before he died in a car accident was the hardest to shred.
Perhaps she could just cut Mike out of that particular picture. But the idea was quickly nixed. She had made a pledge to herself to get rid of every picture and that included photographs that made tears sting her eyes and her heart twist at the thought of disposing of. She hoped Olivia didn't notice it.
With a sigh, and after almost two hours of, once again, removing Mike from her life, she fell back onto the soft carpet. He had always been so stubborn. Even now, when they weren't together, he still refused to get out of her mind and continued to thoroughly torture her. Violet blinked quickly to stop more tears from forming. She was so sick of crying over Mike. She hated Mike with such a fiery passion, it was definitely beyond just simple hate now. It was far into loathing.
"Are you done?" Olivia asked, sitting up to grab the container of sesame chicken.
Violet shook her head. "No," she said quietly and she didn't have to turn her head to know that Olivia was looking at her.
At least she still had Olivia but it didn't surprise her that she was there. Olivia was always there and Violet had no doubt in her mind that she always would be. She had no idea how she would have survived the past few months without her best friend.
But even though the two knew everything about one another, Violet still would not show any more of her pain in front of Olivia. She had done enough of that the first two weeks. Instead of staying with her mom, Violet had crashed with Olivia and let her mother and older brother handle the cancellation of the wedding and informing all of the guests. Olivia fulfilled her maid of honor duties by stuffing Violet with ice cream until she thought she would burst and cried hysterically as usually prim and proper Olivia cursed Mike using every imaginable distasteful word under the sun.
"I've been thinking," Olivia spoke suddenly, still chewing on a hearty piece of chicken.
"Uh-oh," Violet said, her eyes closed and a faint smile across her lips. She laughed when Olivia threw a packet of soy sauce at her.
"Maybe we could call Harry and Toby and tell them to meet us at Humpy's tonight," Olivia suggested and was secretly jumping for joy when Violet didn't immediately shoot the idea down.
Humpy's had been the four's bar since their college days and still had the habit of going at least once a week. Violet hadn't been there though for at least a month.
There was silence and Olivia was almost holding her breath, awaiting any sort of answer.
There was a soft sigh from the floor then a groan. "Fine."
"Yes!" Olivia exclaimed, pumping her fists into the air. "Wonderful!" She clapped her hands and bounced up and down on the couch excitedly.
Violet sat up with another sigh. "I suppose I should take a shower," she said since she honestly couldn't remember the last one she had taken.
She took a lock of hair and twirled it around her finger. She had been contemplating cutting her hair but only because she had promised Mike long ago that she never would. He had always loved her hair. It tumbled down her back in soft pale waves that he said reminded him of gold. She had never realized how pretty her hair was until Mike walked up to her that first night and complimented her on it.
All it took was one stupid compliment and he was in. God, she was pathetic and clearly had no self-respect when it came to men.
After tucking a loose strand behind her ear, he had then proceeded to compliment her about her violet eyes. She had always felt weird having purple-colored eyes but her father had insisted on them being her namesake and boasted that his daughter had the prettiest eyes in all of Chicago. Mike had whole-heartedly agreed.
Thinking back, Violet couldn't believe that she had fallen for him just because he had thrown a few nice words at her.
Olivia shook her from her thoughts and Violet shook her head slightly to bring herself back to earth.
Olivia gave her a soft smile. "He's an asshole."
That was all it took. Violet smiled at her and felt, suddenly, one hundred times better. After another few minutes of Olivia belittling the ex love of her life, Violet finally got up and disappeared into the bathroom, stripping off her clothes and turning the water on in the bathtub. She did not get in immediately however.
Instead, she stood and stared at her reflection distantly in the mirror above the sink. She hated how she looked. She looked like a stranger and she gave Mike a quick swear underneath her breath. Her cheeks seemed hollow and her eyes looked sunken. Circles were underneath her eyes that she wondered whether or not they would ever disappear.
She couldn't remember the last time she had gotten a good night's sleep. She had also lost more weight than she cared to.
Why was it that he had such an effect on her? She covered her eyes with her hands. Why wouldn't he? She had loved him more than anyone in the world and he had ripped her heart apart in his hands.
"Come on, Violet," she urged herself.
Taking a shaky breath, she stepped into the shower and immediately tried to drown herself underneath the stream of hot water. If only it was that easy. If only she could just stay forever within her apartment and live out her life.
But that wasn't Violet's way. She wouldn't let Mike win by turning herself into a hermit. No. She was going to go out with Olivia, Toby, and Harry and proceed to get as drunk as possible. Maybe, just maybe, she would get drunk enough to make a bad decision that resulted in sex with a complete stranger that she would never see again. Strangers couldn't break her heart. The only thing they could do for her was make her feel damn good for the first time in weeks.
Maybe after she moved back into the land of city night living, she'd be able to sleep again, too.
* * *
Jamie Cross collapsed on the steps leading into the alley behind the bar and lit a cigarette. So much for quitting.
Whenever he bought the nicotine gum or those damn patches, and vowed to himself to never smoke another cigarette, she decided to show up in his life again.
Damn it, he swore to himself.
It was just like her. No matter how many promises she made to him that she would leave him alone, she was always just lying to him. And like the jackass that he was, he wound up falling for it and believing her bullshit every time.
He was such an idiot. Of course she wouldn't leave him alone. Jen was insane and had the craziest notion that Jamie was her soul mate. Apparently, she didn't understand the meaning of a "casual relationship" because that was exactly what Jamie had told her that he wanted. He didn't want some huge commitment, mixing laundry and spending the nights together at one another's places. No. Jamie was strictly a one-night stand kind of guy and Jen just wasn't the girl that could change him and his set in stone ways.
He wasn't a complete cynic when it came to love and relationships. His parents had been married for thirty-five years so Jamie knew that finding a girl to spend the rest of his life with was possible. He even believed in the whole business of soul mates.
But he was twenty-six years old. There was no way that he was anywhere near to finding the love of his life. He gave it at least another ten years before he even began the search. As of right now, he was enjoying his life just fine.
Except the fact that Jen had showed up that night at Humpy's, knowing damn well that it was his bar and that on a Sunday night, it was guaranteed that he would be there with his other friends. When at first she began showing up, his best friend, Ben Norfolk, had joked about getting a restraining order. Now, though, Jamie was beginning to consider it.
Finishing the cigarette, not enjoying it as much as he usually did, Jamie flicked it to the ground then stood up and stretched his arms above his head. It was quiet night at the bar so avoiding Jen was nowhere near going to be an easy task. He could just go home now but he wasn't going to let her win. He always went to Humpy's and she would not chase him away. He would not be afraid of going out just because the odds of her finding him were unsettling and frightfully high.
He scratched his fingers through his dark brown hair, once shaved close to his head but now was growing out to be quite shaggy in its natural curls. He would cut it again. His mom was a hair stylist and showered her only son with plenty of free haircuts. But he wouldn't shave. It was immature but he knew that Jen liked him clean-shaven. He preferred to be scruffy.
He took a deep breath as if preparing himself then turned and went back into the bar.
The smells of spilled beer and smoke immediately wafted into his nose and he sucked the scents greedily into his lungs. He loved Humpy's and had been coming there since college. He was not going to let some one-hundred pound psycho brunette keep him from going.
At the thought of her, he scanned the bar and spotted her talking to Ben. Thank God for Ben. He stood there, keeping her occupied and allowing her to talk his ear off. Jamie made a mental note to himself to do something nice for his best friend. Dealing with Jen was not an easy task.
But all thoughts of Jen vanished from his mind when his eyes met hers from across the bar. It felt as if the air was knocked out of him.
Whoa. Who was she? She was definitely worth getting to know better. That much was for sure. He had never seen her there before because if he had, he would definitely had remembered her.
She gave him a slight smile and Jamie immediately felt his head whirl. What an effect her smile had on him. He wondered what other sort of effects she would have on him. The blue jeans he wore were already beginning to tighten just from her smile. She was dressed in a white prairie mini-skirt and a black turtleneck sweater. Jamie wished that he hadn't worn his usual uniform of blue jeans and a hooded sweatshirt. He was no where near her and he already felt unworthy to be anywhere near her.
But he had to be near her. He willed himself to take the steps towards her but he couldn't move. Her eyes were captivating him. Jesus. Under the lights of the bar, her eyes almost looked to be purple. He had never met anyone with purple eyes before. And for some reason, still looking at the mystery girl, he realized that he could get very used to staring into them.
No one was allowed to have such beautiful brown eyes, Violet decided as the man from across the bar kept his power over her. He was staring at her and she couldn't look away. Who was he? She had to find out. There was something about him.
There was quite the distance between them at the moment but Violet still felt something, almost like a pull towards him. He had looked stress and distracted when she had seen him come in from the door that led into the back alley but now, as he stared at her, he looked intense and completely focused. On her. His eyes were so blazed with a look that could be not mistaken for anything but lust. It actually sent a shiver down her spine. Mike had never looked at her like that in all of their months together. This man looked as if he wanted to actually devour her.
Who was this guy? She had to find out.
"Please, Toby," Olivia was pleading, grasping one of Toby Reese's hands in between both of hers and trying to tug him towards the dance floor. "Please dance with me."
Whatever You Like by T.I. was heavily thumping from the jukebox, almost playing out at a deafening decibel.
"No way," Toby adamantly refused, shaking his head and nursing his beer slowly, savoring the taste, letting the slightly bitter liquid flow over his tongue and down his throat. His grandfather and father both had worked at the Miller Brewery up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and had taught him to savor the taste of beer. He never rushed drinking any type of beer. "I have two left feet, Liv."
"I know!" Olivia was still pulling on his hand. "But dancing with you will make me look really good and maybe someone will cut in."
It was, of course, not true. Olivia just wanted an excuse to dance with Toby, the object of her pining for almost three years. Toby though, naturally, still only ever looked at her like a friend and it drove her mad.
Toby sighed and shook his head again. "So, you're using me to pick up other guys? No, thanks. I'll just stay here."
She dropped his hand like it burned her. "Fine," she clipped then turned and stalked away in the directions of the bathroom.
Toby watched her then took a quick swig of his beer, as if preparing himself for the apology he was going to give, before going after her.
Violet didn't pay any attention to her friends though. The man with the hypnotizing eyes was finally walking towards her. She took a deep breath and gave him another faint smile which almost floored him. He paused ever so slightly but then, taking his own deep breath, came to the table.
She couldn't look at anything but him. "Hi," she said.
"Hi," he said in response. Everything around them seemed to slow down or stop entirely. Neither moved for what felt to be the longest time. He then stuck his hand out. "I'm Jamie."
She smiled again. "I'm Violet." Their hands remained connected. "It's nice to meet you."
Someone next to her cleared their throat and the spell was broken. Violet dropped her hand and Jamie had to fight the urge to grab it again. Her skin had been as soft as silk and he didn't want to stop touching her.
Violet looked at her one other best friend that concluded their usual quartet that had remained at the table. He was currently grinning at her and she rolled her eyes at him with a heavy sigh. She looked back at Jamie, wanting to grab hold of his hand again. She wondered what he would do if she was to take his hand again. Would he pull away? Or would he pull her away with him?
"This is one of my best friends," Violet said then began to grin widely. "Harry Potter."
"Oh, shut up, Violet!" Harry snapped which only made her burst out laughing at her obvious jesting tone.
Jamie looked at the guy. "Seriously? Your name is Harry Potter?"
"That book was written way after I was born," Harry said, growing more agitated. "It's not my fault that I share the same name as some prepubescent FICTIONAL wizard."
Violet stifled a laugh and Jamie couldn't help but smile a little.
"It's like Michael Bolton in 'Office Space'," Jamie suggested.
Harry pointed at him. "That's exactly what it is." He downed the rest of his beer. "I need something stronger."
And with that, he stalked off in the direction of the bar to pout as he usually did whenever he was introduced to someone new and his cursed name was discussed, leaving Violet and Jamie alone.
She offered him a smile and motioned for him to sit down. Jamie slid into the seat across from her and once again, their eyes couldn't leave the warmth of the other.
Her eyes in a word were simply amazing. He couldn't stop staring into them. It was as if they were pulling him in and Jamie had no desire to get out. She was gorgeous, too. How did a girl like her manage to sit alone in a bar? Apparently, every guy there was blind or dead.
Jamie, fortunately, was neither and nothing in the world could pull him out of that booth. He wasn't going to leave until he knew everything about her. Or at least got her phone number. S
he shifted ever so slightly under his intense stare but even though he noticed, he wouldn't apologize or stop for that matter.
"So, what do you do, Jamie?" Violet asked, praying that her attention would be focused on something other than imagining the things she would like to do to him.
Jamie smiled, quite aware of what she was trying to do. He wondered if she was used to someone staring at her so intently. "I'm a literary researcher at the University of Chicago," he said casually before taking a sip of his beer.
Violet blinked at him. "Well. That sounds… impressive." She turned it over in her head a few times and he smiled as she did so. "What is that exactly?"
He grinned. "Okay. Um, here's an example. I can write an entire thesis paper on soap operas and connecting them to folktales and the endlessly repeated variations on common themes."
She stared at him for a few moments. "Wow," she finally said. "Are you… brilliant?"
He laughed then shook his head. "No. I just like to read a lot. I also write essays on authors and poets. And when some crazy old guy calls my department and says that he has the original of some hidden work of Charles Dickens, I have to go and investigate."
Violet smiled. "And did he? Did he have some hidden work?"
"Yeah. Apparently, his great-great-Uncle named Charles Wickham was a struggling writer but no one told this guy. So, he was convinced it was Charles Dickens." Jamie shrugged. "I don't even want to know why he thought an English author had stashed one of his writings in an attic on the north side of a Chicago apartment."
She laughed and Jamie smiled. Her entire face lit up when she laughed and she seemed to be even more beautiful. She had to be an illusion, he decided. No one could be real and look like her. She was something out of a dream. A very wet dream.
"What do you do, Violet?" He asked her.
"I don't want to tell you now."
"Oh, come on," he urged, leaning forward.
She watched, holding her breath as he took her hand resting on the table and intertwined their fingers. She normally would have pulled away if some stranger had taken hold of her hand but with Jamie, she couldn't. She didn't want to. She had just melted inside and the growing ache between her legs intensified.
"Okay. What do you do to pass the time until you do what you really love?"
"I love my job," Violet said, watching as his fingers played with hers. It was so natural. It should have scared her but once again, it should have but it didn't. "It just now seems completely stupid next to yours."
She sighed. "I'm a dietitian."
"That's not stupid," Jamie said with a shake of his head. "Aren't we the fattest country in the world?" He asked and she laughed. "I am guilty of loving White Castle."
"I love White Castle, too," she said softly, staring at him in what appeared to be both amazement and awe.
He smiled at her. "So what do you do as a dietitian?"
"The official definition is I plan diets for people and also educate them about eating healthy foods. I can even supervise food preparation and service. I had this one client in Water Tower who I actually lived with for a couple weeks because she wanted to lose a certain amount of weight so I had to oversee everything she ate."
"Do you like food?" Jamie asked curiously and she nodded her head eagerly.
"Definitely. Lord only knows how I would look if I didn't know a thing or two about nutrition."
"So, you never just sit down and pig out?"
"Of course I do," Violet said. "I just don't do it as often as many people in this country do every day. Sixty million are obese and nine million are severely obese."
Jamie smiled at that. "If I wanted to take you to White Castle right now, how many sliders would you eat?"
"It would amaze you to see how many sliders I could pack away," she smiled and he laughed. She took a sip from her beer, almost having forgotten about it. It was now warm. "Are you going to ask me to go to White Castle with you?"
"You will learn, Violet, that I am all about timing," Jamie explained. She laughed. "I'm serious," he grinned. "For instance, I was hiding in that alley until I was certain that I would get you alone."
"You were not," she argued good-naturedly. "I saw you when I came in. You were getting away from that girl."
"Ah. That girl," he said, having completely forgotten about Jen. "She's a little obsessed with me."
"I swear to God!" He exclaimed, still smiling. "I've actually been considering getting a restraining order against her."
"She's not your girlfriend?"
"Yes, because when I have a girlfriend, I slide into booths with other girls and hold their hands, refusing to let go," Jamie said seriously and she stared at him, her stomach clenching.
She didn't know him and he already had such an effect on her. Even when she first met Mike, he had never really given her such a case of butterflies.
"Jen is just a very poor choice in the one-night stand department that has taken a turn for Glenn Close."
Violet nodded her head. "Jamie, if I go to White Castle with you, will I come home to find a rabbit boiling in a pot on my stove?"
Jamie stared at her in wonderment. "You've seen 'Fatal Attraction'?"
She leaned over the table closer to him as if getting ready to tell him of a top-secret mission she had partaken in. "For Halloween last year, I dressed up as Alex. I teased my hair so it was this crazy wild bush and wore a white dress with ketchup over my heart for the gun shot wound."
"God, I love you already," he breathed and she smiled, biting her lower lip and blushing.
"Jamie!" Someone shouted across the bar and Jamie immediately turned. "James!"
"Oh shit," Jamie whispered, grasping Violet's hand tightly.
He was not about to end this conversation. But it looked as if he had to. Ben was waving his arms wildly about at the bar and Jen was making her way towards the booth, a furious look in her eyes. Jamie looked at Violet desperately.
"Your stalker's coming," she said softly.
She looked as disappointed as he felt. His heart lightened at seeing that.
"Run with me," he said suddenly.
"What?" Violet asked, her brow furrowing with confusion.
"Come on. Let's make a run for it," he said, already standing up but his hand remained holding hers. "I owe you at least six sliders and I want to see you pack them away."
She laughed, staring up at him. "Seriously? You want to run away from her?"
"Like a scared, scared little girl," he confirmed with a firm nod of his head.
Violet looked past him and saw Jen still making her way over though Jamie's friend tried to stop her, placing his body continually in front of her. She wasn't to be stopped though. She reminded her of a very petite version of the Terminator. She looked up at Jamie. She was not ready to see him go yet.
"I'll see your six and raise you one."
Jamie grinned then yanked on her hand, pulling her out of the booth and to her feet. "At least running will build up our appetites."
It was a cool, damp night and it smelled like rain in the air. A slight breeze was blowing in from the lake, rustling the leaves of the small trees planted alongside the curbs of the sidewalk. It was still relatively early out but it was a Sunday night and most people were already at their homes, preparing themselves for another start to the work week.
"You okay?" Jamie gasped, dropping her hand and bending over, resting his hands on his thighs and trying to catch his breath.
Violet fanned herself, leaning against a nearby wall. "Oh, yeah. Nothing says 'okay' like sprinting ten blocks in high heels."
Jamie smirked, straightening and stretching his arms. "Sorry, but Jen is like a freaking superhero. She's everywhere. I wouldn't be surprised if she was here right now." He turned around on the deserted sidewalk, looking, and Violet laughed, shaking her head at him, her hand going to her side where she felt the beginnings of a cramp. She was used to jogging, not sprinting. "You still hungry?"
"After I just helped you escape from your psycho girlfriend, you're trying to get out of feeding me?" She asked, throwing him a playfully menacing stare.
He laughed, shaking his head. "Nope. I'm an honorable guy and I believe in feeding girls who participate in short distance running with me."
He watched as she winced ever so slightly in her heels and without a moment's thought, he swung her light body into his arms. She gasped in surprised at the unexpected move and Jamie almost laughed at her.
"Jamie…" She began to say when he began to walk down the sidewalk.
Memories of Mike instantly swarmed her mind: images of him proposing, of him sweeping her into his arms when she had said 'yes'. He had said that he loved her more than anything and that he would spend the rest of their lives showing that to her.
Apparently, to him, the rest of their lives only lasted for four months before he left the wedding Violet had hastily prepared.
She hated him. Was she doomed to always think of him no matter what the situation?
She quickly blinked back tears but she wasn't fast enough for Jamie to not notice as he looked at her. He stopped walking so suddenly, it was as if he had slammed into an invisible wall.
"Violet," he said softly, not sure what he had done to stir such a reaction from her.
He gently deposited her back to her feet but she did not move away from him. Instead, she looked up at him with those large, unbelievably beautiful purple eyes, currently glassed over with unshed tears. He had no idea what he had done to change the mood between them so quickly. He would undo it whatever it was though. The sight of those tears made his stomach clench painfully and he felt ill. Once again, without another thought, he rested his hands on her cheeks and she closed her eyes, covering his hands with hers. Her body relaxed and he almost sighed in relief.
He said the only thought in his mind. "You're too beautiful to cry."
She looked at him as if she couldn't believe that he had said such a thing. Her cheeks burst in a light blush and Jamie wondered if no one had ever told her such a thing. She was beautiful. Actually, she was probably the most beautiful and wondrous thing he had ever seen and yet, she was embarrassed as if she wasn't used to such highly praising compliments. If anyone should be used to receiving flattery, it was Violet. Jamie, in that instance, swore to himself that he would rectify the situation. If he was to see her again, and he was already planning to, he would help her grow accustomed to being sweet talked.
But first things were first.
"Don't worry," he said with a growing smile. "You weren't breaking my arms."
That broke the mood and Violet burst out laughing, shaking her head and playfully pushing him from her. Who was this man? Maybe it was because he was the complete opposite of Mike that made her so comfortable in his presence. He was a stranger and yet, Violet realized with the force of a punch to the face that she wanted him to be more. She hoped that their evening wouldn't end after they were done eating. It seemed as if he would be a perfect candidate for her one-night stand that she had been planning on.
She wondered what he looked like naked. He was strong and had a hard body, sort of like Mike. But Mike had been much larger, not in a weight sense but he had very defined and obvious muscles. Jamie had muscles but they weren't so evident. Violet actually did not like overly-muscular men so it was a mystery as to why she had found Mike attractive in the first place. She wondered if Jamie constantly went to the gym as Mike did every morning but looking at this fascinating stranger in front of her, she doubted that he did. He most likely spent his time amongst shelves and shelves of books, losing days of his life to the stacks in libraries. She normally would have been intimidated by someone who was clearly as brilliant as he must be but she only found herself being unexplainably pulled closer to him.
"Come on," she said, still laughing softly and taking his hand, began pulling him down the sidewalk once again in the direction of the White Castle in the neighborhood.
After they had gotten their food and Jamie had paid, his insistence, they had slid into a booth in front of one of the large windows and Violet smiled as he held up a slider. She complied and held up one of her own before they knocked them together in a mock toast.
"Thanks for dinner," Violet said, her mouth full of the small burger.
Jamie grinned. God, she was proving more and more to him that she was his dream girl. She had ordered seven sliders as promised along with an order of fries and a large Coke and there was a determined look in her eyes that showed him that she would finish it all. He did not like girls that ate daintily and practically had a breakdown at the thought of no longer fitting into their size zero jeans. He liked girls who ate and who weren't afraid to have people see them eat.
In his opinion, nothing was sexier than a woman wolfing down a meal on her own instead of ordering a salad and then proceed to eat his fries. It irked him to no end but watching Violet, he knew that that was one pet peeve that he would never face while in her company.
"Thanks for helping me lose Glenn Close," Jamie said and she smiled at him, downing a large gulp of her soda through her straw. "And sorry for thinking you didn't like food."
She laughed, shaking her head. She looked at him for a few long moments and Jamie subconsciously wiped at his mouth with a napkin, checking for ketchup or mustard. She shook her head again, leaning across the table and stilling his hand.
He found himself unable to look away from her. She was looking at him with those purple eyes of her and he felt as if he was entranced, as if she had bewitched him.
"I was engaged."
And with those words, Jamie's entire world crashed down around him.
He didn't know why it bothered him so much but the fact that Violet, this wonderful and perfect woman, was getting married. He didn't know why it bothered him the way it did but oddly, he already felt a connection growing between himself and Violet and now, it would be nothing more than a friendship built upon greasy burgers.
Wait. She said she had been engaged. As in not anymore. As in past tense.
He immediately perked up again and put down his food, giving her his undivided attention. She seemed hesitant to speak of it but she had been the one to bring it up.
"His name was Mike and it's been two months since…" she paused, looking at him.
He was still listening. She was surprised. She had expected most guys to just tune her out and continue eating, only pretending to listen.
"He left the day before our wedding."
"Shit," Jamie murmured more to himself.
Guys actually did that? Especially to someone like Violet?
She nodded her head, pausing to take another sip of her soda. "Tonight's actually the first night that I've really been out since…" she trailed off but Jamie still followed.
"At least you don't suffer from the Miss Havisham syndrome," Jamie said with a shrug.
Violet blinked at him, trying to figure out what he was talking about. She finally shook her head slightly with a small sigh. "I am always going to get headaches around you," she said, a faint smile playing across her lips.
The sight was enough to make Jamie grin widely. "Miss Havisham was a character in 'Great Expectations'. She was this crazy old lady who lived in this dilapidating mansion and wore this old wedding dress."
"Oh," Violet said, finally remembering, having read that book during her freshman year of high school. "She was jilted on her wedding day."
Jamie nodded his head, stuffing a few fries in his mouth. "Glad to see that you haven't turned into her. She used to scare the shit out of me."
She smiled, laughing slightly, upon realizing what he was doing. Everyone in her life had a different way to take care of her. Her mother told her to take as long as she needed, probably supporting a life of Miss Havisham if it was what Violet wanted. Olivia comforted her by trying to get her off of her ass and her brother, Harry and Toby threatened Mike's life constantly.
Jamie, on the other hand, made her laugh about the entire situation. She never thought that it was a chapter in her life that she would look back on and laugh but Jamie had just shown to her that it was possible.
"I returned the wedding dress and gave the ring back," she said softly and Jamie nodded his head in approval. She stared at him for a moment, preparing herself to say the next thing she wanted to. With a deep breath, she spoke. "What's your favorite breakfast food?" She asked quickly.
Jamie stopped in mid-chew of his third slider and stared at her. His face remained blank but something flashed in his eyes and Violet hoped to God that it was need or want. Hell. She prayed it was desire.
"You want to make it for me?" He asked, not sure if where he thought she was going was where she actually was going.
Violet nodded. "I want to make sure I have it at my place."
He tried to keep his body from getting too excited just yet. He had to make sure before he flew into full-blown erection mood. "Are you saying that I'll be at your place for me to get my favorite breakfast?"
She nodded again, not nervous in the least. She was surprised. She should have been from picking up a complete stranger but looking at Jamie in that moment, she felt anything but nervous. Her voice was firm and steady.
"That is exactly what I'm saying." She paused, shifting almost nervously in her seat. "It would be just for tonight though."
He instantly agreed. "Sure. Just for tonight."
He would let her think that if that was what she wanted. There was no way that he was going to just let this be a one-time thing. He wouldn't tell her that though. He would just have to show her one hell of a night now, wouldn't he?
A/N: Just a simple little romance story. More to come. This will be corny and sweet but sometimes, I am just in the mood for that. Thanks for reading.