The next few days were dreadful. The news of Tara’s death were all over the news. The TV stations were camped outside Violet’s house. Her parents wouldn’t let her leave the house and if she had to talk to the police or a lawyer, it was done at home. Violet didn’t go to school; she felt ashamed and she felt guilty.
Why had she done what she did?
Her phone was also ringing all the time. Finally, Jack, her old almost boyfriend called her.
‘Violet,’ he said. ‘Did you do it? Did you murder Tara?’
He had always been an idiot, Violet thought, now he was an even bigger idiot. She didn’t need him in her life. In a brave move, she deleted his number.
Her old friends called her. They hadn’t called her once since she’d moved away, but now they called her all the time. ‘Violet, what happened. Tell us all the details. Did you want her boyfriend, is that what this is about? Did you kill Tara so you could have Damien?’
Violet deleted them from her phone too. Sure, she had made a terrible mistake. But these friends had never really been friends at all. Now, they weren’t being supportive, they just wanted the juicy gossip.
The people who did support Violet were her mom and stepdad. They were both incredible. Ellen made her all of her favourite foods, and Andrew spoke to her wisely.
‘What you did Violet was a really silly thing. But it was a mistake. Any young girl could’ve done what you did. You were vulnerable and lonely. I blame myself a little for not realising how lonely you were and how hard this move was for you. I am so sorry.’
Violet hugged him. She had never felt close to Andrew before but suddenly she felt incredibly grateful to him. Parents, even stepparents, are always amazing.
The person she missed the most was Damien. She had betrayed him, from the very beginning. They had struck up such a good friendship and something so special via the phone and, as bizarre as it seems, they had had a really good connection. That had ended, abruptly.
She felt desperate to see him and to explain everything to him.
She really wanted his forgiveness, but she also understood why he was so angry with her.
It appeared that Tara’s death had been an accident. The police had done an intensive investigation and an autopsy. She hadn’t been murdered. Something had happened in the forest. Tara had got lost and had fallen off one of the higher paths. Where the girls had found her body was where she had fallen. It was an immediate death.
You know that thing about not going into the forest alone? Now Violet understood it completely.
When it was announced on the news that Tara had died accidentally, Violet felt a huge sense of relief. She felt huge sadness too, of course, for a young girl, her age, and her family. But it was good to know that she was no longer a suspect. The only thing she had to bear now was her humiliation. She had done a terrible thing and now she had to pay the price.
It was almost time to go back to school. Everyone at school knew the story. She was going to have to hold her head up high, or hang it in shame, but either way she had to go back to school.
She missed Damien.
She wished he didn’t hate her so much.
That night Violet had a bath, packed her school bag for the next day, and then went to lie on her bed. The nail polish that she and her friends had been using on that fateful day was still next to her bed. How quickly things had changed, she thought, putting the polish in the drawer. But it was time to move on.
She heard her mom calling from downstairs.
‘Violet, honey, you still awake? There’s a young man at the door, he’s here to see you. I think you’ll be happy to see him.’
Jack? Could it be Jack? She certainly wouldn’t be happy to see him.
‘Tell him to go away,’ she called out. ‘He’s a useless friend and I don’t want to see him.’
‘It’s not Jack, honey. Come on down, you’ll see.’
Not Jack? Who could it be. Violet didn’t have any other male friends.
Was it possible it was Damien?
Violet leapt out of her pyjamas and threw on her jeans. And then she literally flew down the stairs.
It was Damien. And he looked grim. This was not good.
‘Violet. We need to talk.’
Ellen interjected. You two can have the lounge. Andrew and I will be in our room if you need us.
Mothers are always really good at giving space when they need to.
Violet was at a loss for words. She wanted to apologise and she really need to explain herself. Since she had told Damien that she was ‘Violet’ and not ‘Tara’ she hadn’t spoken to him. She had not been able to tell him what had happened or why.
This was her chance.
But before she could say anything, Damien suggested she sit down. And then he did all the talking.
‘Violet. The police explained to me what happened. I know you had nothing to do with Tara’s death. I am completely devastated about her death, but I am so relieved to know that it wasn’t a murder. I am not sure how I would have death with that.’
Violet tried to interrupt him.
‘Damien. I am so so…’
‘Wait,’ he said. ‘I have a lot to say. Let me say it.’
Violet waited, her heart beating like crazy.
‘I was Tara’s good friend. But, I didn’t really know enough. I didn’t even know she was moving out of the house. I was a good friend but I was also a terrible friend. I blame myself for not realising that Tara’s life was changing too. If I had been on top of things, a better friend, I would have realised that you weren’t Tara. I would’ve noticed the change in conversation, the change in tone, everything…’
Violet again tried to interrupt.
‘You cannot blame yourself, Damien. At all. I was the one who did the wrong thing, I was the one who…’
‘Yes. I’m getting to that. What you did was shocking. I mean, how could you?’
Wait. Was that a glimpse of a smile?
‘The truth is, I miss you. I loved our conversations . We became good friends, great friends, even though you were putting up a sham. But I understand why you did it. Yes, you deceived me, but oddly, I miss you so much. I think we became more than good friends. You were my girlfriend. I mean, this might sound strange, but - I still want you to be my girlfriend. Except I want to call you Violet now. And maybe use your own phone. and your own pic…’
Finally Damien let Violet talk.
‘Oh Damien, Damien. I am so so sorry for what I did. But yes, I miss you so much too. I’ve been dying to get hold of you, I just didn’t know how. And yes, yes, I am sorry, terribly sorry, but I want to be your girl. I want you to be my guy.
She leaned in to hug him.
Instead of hugging, their lips touched. Their first kiss. It was rather beautiful.