I check my phone again, still nothing. I call her again. Voicemail. I send another text, nearly begging her to at least let me know she’s okay. Pissed at me or not, she’s always been smart about letting Drew know she was safe.
Quit the shit, Viola. I had a long day and have an even longer one tomorrow. Get your ass home. We need to talk.
I grab another beer from the fridge and debate calling Drew to see if he’s heard from her. After another hour of silence, I break down and call him.
“Hey, man. What’s up?” He sounds genuinely happy, and I hate that I have to bother him. I hope him and Mia have reconciled their differences since the last time we talked.
“Hey, nothing. Have you heard from your sister tonight by chance?” I try to mask my voice, but he knows me too well.
“What’d you do?” is his immediate response.
“Nothing!” I say a little too harshly. “I’ve been at work all night and she wasn’t home when I got here. She’s not answering my texts or calls.”
“Who’s that, baby?” I hear Mia in the background. “Everything okay?”
“Yeah, everything’s fine. Travis pissed Viola off and now he can’t find her,” he responds as if I can’t hear everything he’s saying.
“C’mon man,” I groan. “Just call her for me, okay? I need to know she’s okay before I can pass out.”
“Fine, I’ll call her and let you know.”
I hang up and eagerly wait to hear back from him. By the time he messages me, I’ve already taken my slacks and shirt off, dreading having to put on the same attire again in the morning.
I called and texted her. No response.
Where the hell could she be?!
Chill, man. She’s a big girl. She probably just went out with some girlfriends.
I roll my eyes. He and I both know that’s unlikely. Or she’s getting groped by some douchebag, I send back.
I know it’s dramatic, but this isn’t like Viola at all. On a good day, her hair is pulled up in a messy bun, sporting her black-rimmed glasses and bright-colored leggings with a book or two in her hand.
He replies moments later. Nah, she probably carries mace in her purse right next to her box of condoms.
I hate that he’s not taking this seriously. In high school, if any of his friends came near Viola, he’d—
I stop and message him back right away. Are you fucking with me? Do you know where she is and not telling me?
No. I don’t.
I can’t tell if he’s lying or not, so I don’t push it. I grab a pair of drawstring sweatpants and park my ass on the couch. Exhausted or not, I’m not going to sleep until I know she’s home safe.
After watching a couple Seinfeld re-runs, I can’t keep my eyes open, but every time I close them, visions of Viola being groped by some sleazeball enters my mind. Just as another episode starts, I hear rattling at the door. I practically fly off the couch and rush to the door just as I see Viola stumbling in with a guy wrapped around her from behind. She’s giggling and he has asshole written all over him.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” I growl, my jaw ticking as I clench my fists.
“Travis?” She’s obviously been drinking. “Hey, it’s Travis!” She giggles.
“What the fuck are you doing? Who’s this tool?” I nod my head to the shrimp next to her, wrapping his arms around her waist.
“His name is…” she stumbles again, laughing as I catch her. “Aaron!” She looks to him for approval and he furrows his brows. “I mean…” She snaps her fingers. “Andrew!”
“That’s wonderful. Andrew needs to leave now.”
“Dude, I’m right fucking here.” He snaps his head, glaring at me. “And I’m not going anywhere.”
“You’re in my fucking house, man. I wouldn’t push it.”
“Travis, don’t be an ass.” She lightly smacks her hand against my chest. “We met at The Lounge. I didn’t want to drive myself home and he offered.”
“How nice,” I deadpan, knowing exactly what he was offering. “Well, you’re home now. He can leave.”
“Shouldn’t you be in bed,” she scoffs, pushing through me and walking toward the living room. “Or rather, someone else’s bed.”
“Viola!” I shout, grabbing her attention back toward me. She trips over her own heels and catches herself on the wall before she falls. “Do you have any idea how worried I’ve been? Or the thoughts that were running through my mind? You wouldn’t answer my calls or messages. I thought something happened to you.” The anger boiling under my skin terrifies me, but I don’t have enough strength to stop myself.
I feel a hand on my shoulder. “She was safe with me.” I hear his condescending tone behind me. He squeezes his fingers into my skin with a hard chuckle.