Pucked Page 30

The words are slow to filter. I turn to Alex to ascertain whether this can possibly be true. His silence is a foghorn blast of confirmation.

I plaster on a smile. “Oh. Aren’t you special.”

I don’t need Ipecac syrup to save me from the horror show this evening has become. My stomach rolls at this information. I’ve had sex with a super-whore. I push away from the table. I think I might actually be sick.


Violet, who’s pale to begin with—unless we’re having sex, then she’s a crazy, sexy shade of red—is so white she looks like a ghost. She wobbles and grips the back of the chair.

Following her lead, I stand, and grasp her elbow. “Why don’t you let me help you?”

“Don’t touch me!” She smacks my hand away. “I don’t want your help.”

Butterson puts his conversation with the bottle-blonde on hold. He takes in the scene, assessing it the same way he would a play. His eyes home in on my hand hovering near her arm. “Vi? Are you okay?”

I don’t care if he’s suspicious. This is the first time I’ve seen Violet since I stopped by her house last week. Butterson fucked it up for me then like Kirk is doing now. I need to talk to her without an audience. There’s never been a Waters Hat Trick. It’s a farce—an unsubstantiated, overblown rumor—much like the majority of what the media says about me. None of what she’s seen and heard is accurate. Not really. If I don’t clear things up, it’s going to blow my chances with her—if it hasn’t already.

Violet clears her throat and speaks carefully. “I don’t feel well. I may have contracted an airborne venereal disease being this close to Waters.”

Some of the guys at the table laugh. Butterson’s going to kick my ass if he finds out what happened. That’s cool. I’ll take the beating. I did sleep with his stepsister. If I can set the record straight with Violet, it’ll be totally worth it.

“If you’ll excuse me—” Violet shoves her way past me.

Taking opportunity where I can get it, I follow, hoping to explain. Violet is much smaller, and fast, so she slips between people in a way I can’t without bowling them over.

Butterson grabs my arm. “What the hell did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything. Kirk was running his mouth, and all of a sudden Violet said she didn’t feel good.”

“I don’t know what’s going on or why you’re so damn interested in my sister, but you need to leave her the fuck alone.” Butterson goes after her.

Violet’s halfway across the bar, heading for the door. If I’d pulled her aside earlier we could have avoided this whole thing.

Darren hands me my jacket. “I’ll catch a ride with you.”

I’m sure he’s figured it out what happened with Violet, even without me telling him.

We head for the exit. “Do you think he knows?”

“What are you mumbling about?”

It’s too loud in the bar; Darren can’t hear me doing the whisper-out-of-the-side-of-my-mouth thing. Outside the bar, Butterson is on the sidewalk with his phone to his ear. “Don’t puke in the cab. Call me when you get home.”

“Is everything okay?” Darren saves me from asking incriminating questions.

“Fuck no. Everything’s not okay. What was Kirk saying to her, anyway?”

“Spouting his usual crap. Nothing out of the ordinary,” Darren replies.

“She puked on the sidewalk.” He motions to a puddle close to the bushes. “I had to pay the cab triple to take her home.”

“One of us would’ve given her a lift.” I’m annoyed he sent her in a cab, alone.

Butterson’s lip twitches. “I don’t trust you for shit. Don’t think I didn’t see you talking to her again tonight. You show up at her place last week and now this. Something is going on. Vi and I are tight, she talks to me. Don’t think I won’t find out what.”

Hopefully they’re not that tight. “Don’t be such an asshole, Butterson. She’s not well, and you sent her home in a cab when you had other options. She’s puking. It’s not like either one of us is going to hit on her.”

To avoid exacerbating the issue, I walk to my car on the other side of the lot. Darren climbs in the passenger seat and buckles up.

“That was a shitshow.” I start the car.

“I’ll say.”

“Do you think I was too obvious?”

“Do you need to ask? She’s been out with us twice and you’re all over her. Yeah, man, it’s pretty damn obvious. What the hell are you thinking?”

“I don’t know. I’m so screwed.”

“You did it to yourself when you got in her pants.” I turn right instead of left, in the opposite direction of my house. “Where are we going?”

“I want to make sure Violet gets home okay.”

“What are you, her stalker?”

“I’m only going to drive by, not peek in her windows. Look, she won’t talk to me. I’ve never done this.”

“Done what? Stalk a girl you’ve had sex with?”

“I’m not stalking her,” I say under my breath. Any parallels to stalking exist only because I want to explain and she’s not giving me the chance. “I need your help. She won’t listen if I tell her the stories she’s heard are bullshit.”

“How very astute of you.”

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