Violet sat perched on the front porch steps, her heels gleaming in the sunlight. She pulled a piece of hair out of her face as she watched the shapely figure of the woman in red disappear down the block. Violet slipped her tongue over her teeth trying to wipe away the early morning taste of nicotine. Corky still thought she was tucked away in bed, soothed by the constant hum of the ceiling fan. She heard the screen door slam close. The kid dropped down beside her.
“Don't worry about her.” Faith slung her arms over her thighs and squinted into the light.
“I don't worry.” Violet pushed her head back to expose the pale expanse of her neck to the sun. What were the benefits of a tan? She shrugged hiding her face behind her shoulder. Her eyes narrowed on Faith's face. “You like blondes?”
Faith bit her lip. “Why do you ask?”
“I see the way you look at Buffy.” Violet smiled when Faith's eyebrows shot up. “Do you like blondes?”
“Are you worried?” Faith shot back, her hands digging into the fabric at her knees.
“Do I sound worried?”
Faith shook her head. “Do I sound love sick?”
“Well we're at a stand sill.”
“I see the way you look at Corky.” Faith jumped to her feet. “If what I see is real, don't worry.”
“Now if you could only tell Corky that.” Violet pulled her shawl higher up on her shoulders. “I've seen Buffy's roots. You have more in common with Corky than you think.”
Faith ducked back inside but not before she could hide her smile. She stood at the screen as if she were standing guard over Violet. “Keep an eye on Delilah.”
Violet nodded, then pulled herself up by the handrail. She wrapped the shawl tighter before taking the long way around to the garage. As she set down the stone pathway she say a black Cadillac float by. Her heart jumped. She whipped her face away from the street and quickened her steps. She found Corky sitting against the closed garage door. The other woman stood and caught Violet by the shoulders.
“What's wrong?” Corky pulled Violet into strong arms. “It'll be okay. Once I get in good with Faith we'll have a life worth living.”
“Don't get them involved in this Corky.” Violet pushed Corky away. “You have to tell them to leave.”
Corky frowned. Her brown eyes seemed darker under furrowed brows. “I don't want them dealing with the shit we were in before. I want to go clean. I want the family Faith and me always talked about, you thought I wanted Faith to touch that...that...stuff?”
Violet wiped her eyes with the corner of her shawl. She shook her head. “I know you wouldn't let her get involved, but she's already involved just by meaning something to you.”
“I can't push her away. Not now. I'll lose her forever.”
“I was afraid you'd say that.” Violet closed her eyes. “We need a plan. We need insurance.”
“I'll come up with something.”
“We have to tell them.”
The engine of a car revved, and the women saw the black Cadillac speed away. Corky reached the street first, but the car swerved out of the division. A curse escaped Corky's lips. Violet laid a hand on her left arm. She squeezed gently. The thought running through her mind must have been the same one on Corky's.
The clock's ticking.