I shrug. Does it really matter? She’s getting exactly what she wants because our father is so twisted up over her. “Not sure yet. Rumors are circulating and I’m fairly certain she’s behind them. Daddy’s not denying it, either.”
“So you don’t know for sure yet—”
“Come on,” I interrupt her. “You know he’ll promote her. He’s completely enamored of her. She can do no wrong.”
“Well, she’s always been good at her job,” Violet points out.
“Don’t defend her!” I slap my hand against the edge of the desk, startling Violet so much she practically jumps in her seat. “She doesn’t deserve it. She’s a snake in the grass and you know it. She tried to destroy your relationship with Ryder—more than once, I might add. She helped break you and Zachary up, not that that was a bad thing, but you know what I mean. She’s … hell-bent on getting whatever she wants and she doesn’t care who gets hurt in the process.”
Violet leans back in her chair, her lips a thin line, her fingers nervously turning her diamond earring again and again. “You don’t have to yell at me,” she murmurs.
“And you don’t have to say such nice things about her, either.” I make a face, my tone going snotty. “‘Oh, she’s so wonderful at her job. She’s perfect.’ Barf.” I roll my eyes. Only with Violet can I be so real, so open with my feelings. No way could I act like this with anyone else.
At least my sister has Ryder. He sees the real Violet, just like I do. He probably sees even more of her true self and no matter how much I try to tell myself it’s ridiculous, that little fact makes me jealous.
Stupid but true.
“Tell me how you really feel about her,” Violet says dryly.
“No, you tell me how you really feel about her,” I retort, wanting to know. Needing to know. “And be honest, Violet.”
Sighing, Violet closes her eyes briefly, dropping both of her hands into her lap. “Fine. You’re right. She’s awful. She’ll be sweet to your face and connive behind your back. She’ll do whatever it takes to get what she wants. I hate the connection Ryder has to her, but there’s nothing I can do about it.”
“You don’t think …” My voice trails off and I can hardly get out my next words. My sister has dealt with enough crap in her life. All I want is for her to be happy. “He’s not still interested in her, is he?”
“Oh my God, no. He’s not interested in anyone else but me,” Violet says firmly, that dreamy glow back in her eyes, the one she always gets when she talks about Ryder. “He’s in love with me. I know she can’t stand that, but there’s nothing she can do to change it. We’re engaged. We’re getting married.”
A smile curls my lips despite the unpleasant source of this conversation. “I’m so happy for you, Violet. Seriously. You’re going to get married.”
“I know. To Ryder.” Her smile is dreamy too. It matches the look in her eyes. “I still can’t believe he’s mine. I don’t think Pilar can believe it either, though why she’s worried about him when she’s involved with our father, I’ll never get.”
I wave my hand. “Let’s stop talking about her. I can’t stand it anymore.” My mind races to change the subject, but Violet beats me.
“So what’s going on with you?” she asks quietly. “I feel like there’s more you’re not saying.”
Dipping my head, I stare at my hands as I grip my knees. I don’t know what to tell her. I’m torn. “I’m unhappy at Fleur.”
“Because of Pilar.”
“Because of a lot of things, not just Pilar.” Things I can’t even really name, but my unhappiness is there. A living, breathing thing I can’t avoid. Seeing Pilar’s smug face every day as she walks by my office, hanging on Daddy’s arm, just fuels my misery. I swear she knows it, too, which sucks. She makes me feel young. Stupid. Impotent in my authority at Fleur, if I even have any. My position there is superfluous at best. The only reason I have it is because my last name is Fowler, and Pilar never lets me forget it. I thought after Violet left that could be my moment to break out and shine, but Pilar took over the spotlight instead. “I need a break.”
“Oh, Rose.” I jerk my head up to meet her gaze, seeing the disappointment etched all over her face. “Don’t let her drive you away. Fleur is yours, not hers. It’s ours. Pilar is just jealous that she’s not a Fowler.”
Spot-on as usual. “It would be really easy for her to become a Fowler by marrying Daddy,” I say.
Violet’s eyes widen and she rests her fluttering hand over her chest. “You don’t think he would … he would do that, do you?”
“I don’t know what to think about him anymore.” Or our mother. I still haven’t told Violet what I discovered in the diary. Her last entries were vague, but I read enough to figure out what she was thinking just before she took her own life.
And it’s not good.
“They haven’t been dating long.”
“Long enough for her to be staying the night most of the week at his place.”
Violet scowls. “He won’t marry her.”
“You don’t know that for sure.” I cross my arms in front of my chest, feeling like a spoiled little girl. I swear sometimes I revert back to my childish ways when I’m with Violet. Really it’s just the both of us falling back into our respective roles.