Lissie Adams. Just hearing the other girl’s name made Violet bristle enviously, causing her to shiver. She rubbed her arms protectively and hoped that Jay didn’t notice.
“What makes you think I was feeling anything?” she asked him suspiciously, as if he’d somehow read her mind. If she had been the kind of girl who kept a diary, she would have sworn that he’d picked the lock and read it word for word.
He grinned at her. “Because you did,” he stated matter-of-factly. “I know, because I did, and there was just no way that you didn’t feel it too.”
She didn’t bother denying it and instead asked, “So you used Lissie to make me jealous?” She tried to sound indignant, but it was difficult when what she really wanted to do was dance around her room triumphantly. She wondered what Lissie would think if she could see them now, together on Violet’s bed.
“No, I tried to use Lissie. But apparently you’re more pigheaded than I gave you credit for. I thought for sure that would do it. Instead, it backfired on me, and you agreed to go to the dance with…someone else.” He gritted his teeth, probably without even realizing it, as he choked out the words, unable to actually say Grady’s name. “And when I realized you were going with him, I figured the only way I was going to get to see you that night was to ask Lissie to go with me. I figured I could sneak in at least one dance with you.”
Violet couldn’t help it—she giggled. Just a little. It was just too much. The whole thing. Jay trying to trick her into revealing her feelings for him. Grady trying to kiss her last night. And then this…now…she and Jay cuddled up together on her bed…making out. It was crazy.
“You think that’s funny, huh?” He seemed a little bent that she was laughing at him.
“Joke’s on me, I guess,” she said, serious now. “I get to sit at home, while you and Lissie Adams go to Homecoming.” She tried to sound like it was no big deal, but the truth was that it stung more than she wanted it to.
Jay reached up and wrapped his hand around the back of her neck. He pulled her toward him, staring her in the eye as they closed the distance between them. Violet felt an agonizing thrill at just being so near him again. “I called her last night to cancel after I dropped you off.” His voice was thick and husky, giving her chills. “I told her I was going to the dance with you instead.”
Violet thought her heart was going to burst. It was exactly what she’d wanted to hear for weeks, maybe even for months. But she wasn’t about to let him off the hook that easily for his devious little game. “Sorry,” she offered with mock sincerity. “I have a date already. Besides, I don’t remember you asking me.”
He narrowed his eyes at her, as if daring her to argue the point. “I’m your date. Grady can go to hell, for all I care. Maybe Lissie’ll go with him and he can paw on her all night.”
They were nose to nose, and mouth to mouth. Violet was intrigued by this side of him…the confident, no-nonsense side, refusing to take no for an answer. She leaned forward and sighed as her lips barely brushed against his. “Fine,” she exhaled in sham defeat. “I’ll go to the dance with you…on one condition.”
His lips moved into a smile right against hers. “Anything.”
She gazed into his eyes as she licked her lips, purposely touching his lower lip with her tongue. That simple contact released a million nervous butterflies within the pit of her stomach. “Tell me what you and my dad were talking about.”
Jay jerked away from her as if she’d just slapped him. And Violet realized that she might as well have. He sat up quickly, as if his mind had suddenly cleared from the sensuous haze, and abruptly the teasing grin was wiped clean from his face.
“Never mind,” she blurted, trying to backpedal. “Forget I said anything.” She wanted to go back to where they just were. But it was too late. The determined set of his jaw told her that.
“No,” he said harshly. “I think we should talk about this, Violet.” Even the way he said her name was suddenly hard and angry. “Your dad told me what happened today…out in the woods. He told me that you tracked down the guy who’s been killing all the girls around here…that you put yourself in danger.” Violet couldn’t tell if he was angry or annoyed…or both. He ran his hand through his messy hair in an agitated gesture that indicated he was getting all worked up. “And it’s not like it was the first time you’ve done that. Trouble seems to follow you wherever you go, and you’re the only person I know who doesn’t seem to care. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened to you if I hadn’t shown up last night while Grady was…assaulting you.” He paused as if it really was too much to think about, and then he continued to rail at her. “You can’t even go to the mall safely. I made a promise to your parents, and you just wandered off without even telling me where you were going.” His voice was suddenly too abrasive, and it felt to Violet like he was scratching his nails across a chalkboard.
She bristled against the accusation in his tone, and suddenly he wasn’t the only one who was upset. “And you didn’t speak to me for a week!” she lashed back at him. “What was that all about? I spent the entire week waiting for you to stop ignoring me. And all because I didn’t bother to check in with you? You don’t get to tell me what to do! You’re not my father, you know.”