unexpected whisper of real jealousy shoot through her. Mike’s sister, Megan—not Mike—poked her head out the front door, waving to Jay. She said something that Violet couldn’t hear, but the tone of her voice, which Violet could hear even through the closed windows, was something that Violet would have recognized anywhere.
It was the same voice she’d heard too many times before, from girls who were flirting with Jay. Her good-bye was a little too eager, a little too choreographed, as if she’d planned her moves before Jay had arrived.
Violet noticed too that Mike’s sister was cute, almost at the same time she realized that the other girl had no idea that Violet was sitting there, in the dark, watching them while she waited for Jay.
The girl cocked one foot up behind her. It wasn’t an obvious gesture, but Violet recognized it for what it was meant to be: coy and endearing. And then she saw the girl twirl a strand of hair from her ponytail with her finger as she spoke again, trying to capture Jay’s interest.
Jay was just opening the car door as he turned around to respond to her. That was when the interior light blinked on, and Violet was suddenly aware that she was no longer cloaked by darkness.
Mike’s sister saw too.
Violet bit her lip as she raised her hand and waved innocently at Megan, who was standing motionless, like a statue, her foot kicked up behind her. She almost felt guilty as Megan visibly slumped, her foot dropping back to the unstable-looking floor beneath her. Almost.
Jay smiled at Violet, oblivious to Megan’s flirtations, as he climbed in and closed the door. “See, I told you I wouldn’t be long.”
Violet felt better, realizing that Jay didn’t seem to notice the other girl. Although Jay wasn’t off the hook that easily, she was still mad at him.
Now, not only did he have a new boyfriend, apparently he had a new admirer too.
Just as they reached the mouth of the driveway, Violet felt the sudden stab of a headache coming on. She massaged her fingertips over her temples, and then at the base of her neck, trying to rub away the tension.
A pair of headlights met them at the junction of the road, and just as Jay turned, a beat-up red pickup truck barreled past them into the driveway they’d just pulled out of. It barely gave them enough time to get out of the way.
As they drove in silence, Violet tried to tell herself that she was being a baby. That Jay loved her. And only her. Not Mike, and not Mike’s sister either.
And she believed it. But she was still annoyed that their date had been tarnished by the detour.
She felt the pain in her head subsiding, diminishing a little more with each rotation of the tires, until it was nothing more than an uncomfortable memory.
Jay pulled to a stop in front of her house, and she let him kiss her good-bye. It was a good kiss. And within moments, she was too preoccupied to remember that she was trying to be mad at him, too distracted to care about her grudge, the one he was still annoyingly unaware of.
Dazed by the passionate farewell, she forgot not to wave good-bye to him before closing the door behind her.
She may have even lifted her foot demurely as she did so.
Violet was unlocking her car when the woman in the crisp white suit appeared.
School was just letting out, and students crowded the parking lot and lined up on the sidewalks in front of the bus lanes, eagerly awaiting their chance to escape. Somewhere behind Violet, a stereo with its bass turned way too high was bumping out a country song that shook the windows of the cars around it.
“Violet? Violet Ambrose?” The woman didn’t really seem to be asking the question; she seemed to know exactly who Violet was.
But Violet had no idea who she was; all she knew was that the woman was definitely out of place amid the students of White River High, and she looked even less like she belonged to the faculty. Besides, Violet was certain she would have remembered this