July 3, 2010


This story was written by IO and myself on the train.  Inspired by a real person's name but not by real events.

Violette sat on the train. Her hat was purple, her shoes were red, and her cardigan was snowy and soft as goosedown.  The man behind her thought she smelled like gardenias (he was wrong, it was freesias).

She stood up to stretch for a few minutes before her stop when a cramp behind her knee collpased her back into her seat. She fanned her brow, where a thin sweat had broken out in response to the pain.

The man sitting behind her peered over the top of his Russian novel with an interested eyebrow. He was wearing a fedora flat on his head, but this did not detract from his devilish attractiveness. He did not have a goatee, but rather a pleasantly scruffy five o'clock shadow.

Violette gripped the seat and forced herself to stand again. She reached overhead for her pink giraffe-print suitcase but it slid just beyond er fingertips.

Ted cocked his eyebrow higher and put down the Dostoyevsky. He rose with a pewter, panther-like grace. Quickly he extended his arm and looped two fingers through the handle. He pulled it toward him and gently eased it over the luggage rack railing, setting it beside Violette.

Flustered, she raised her eyes to his face with it's sharp, masculine lines and strong features. She murmured a "thank you" and looked away shyly, like her namesake. Ted smiled faintly and sat down, his eyes never leaving her as she left the train.

One stop later, he too got up to leave, pulling his fedora low over his eyes. Hands in his pockets, he set off into the tarnishing gold of the evening with a spring in his step.
Violette ran her hand through her hair. It was the color most often referred to as mouse-brown, subtly imparting a meek, scurrying nature to it's owner. When she thought about it at all, which was rare, she told herself it was latte-colored, which sounded sophisticated and delicious. She shrugged out of her cardigan and draped it over a chair, pulling a bottle of Pinot grigio from the fridge and grabbing a glass before heading upstairs. While the bathtub filled, she uncorked the wine and let it flow nearly to the brim beforeshe tilted the bottle back to vertical.

She sank into the tub and felt the warmth seep into her muscles. The wine and the bath put her gently into a meditative calm that deepened into the breathing patterns of sleep.

The steam curled into the air and condensed against the October-cooled window. Ted cursed silently. He could only barely make out the piled-up hair on top of Violette's head, it's loose tendrils snaking down against her nape. He pushed against the brick toe-hold and inched higher, focusing completely on the bathing woman's motionless form.

Ted's fingers gripped the ledge as he lowered himself to the ground, only the barest twitch of sound hinting that his feet had settled onto the mulch of the planting bed. He drew in a breath and counted to twelve, then exhaled to twenty-four. His terapist had recommended breathing exercises to calm the voices in his head, after all the generic and name-brand and even experimental medicines had proven ineffective.

Ted blinked. He saw before him Violette's back door, a flimsy screen and sliding affair that was easily pried open. He saw himself from above as he slipped through the kitchen and living room and eased noiselessly up the stairs.

On the fourth stair from the top, the wood step moaned, a baritone giving way to a creak with his weight. He paused. There was not a single sound in the house above the distant throb of the refrigerator down below.

Violette's eyes flew open. She was still in the tub. She closed them again and relaxed her neck against the back of the tub.

A rough hand covered her mouth. Her eyes burst open and she saw a man who looked faintly familiar standing over her. She pushed at his arm but he was strong as his hands forced her shoulders down into the steamy water, covering her head so that when she blinked wildly she looked like a fish. She thrashed for a few minutes but her movements stopped as her eyes closed, defeated. She did not see the tears drip off of Ted's chin onto the surface of the bath, his mouth moving in an "I'm sorry" as he held her there.

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