Spoilers: Up to 1x09 promo.
Summary: She has no right to feel like this, and it would feel wrong perhaps if he didn't act so guilty about it and like he wanted it to be untrue just as much as Violet is realising she does.
A/N: Thanks to severuslovesme for betareading, who also provided the prompt used as the first line. Funny how something that starts off a drabble grows. :)
“You have a girlfriend?”
She doesn't like the way her lips curl when she says that word, forming with a little too much surprise and a hint of disappointment; because it’s not as if she has any right to ask the question, let alone accuse him. It's her fault things are so awkward; she should be feeling guilty, not trying to inspire it in him. Somehow she ends up tacking on a slightly nervous smile like she's pleased for him; after all, she should be. At least one of them is getting laid, though he hardly has any trouble, unlike her lately and she quells the anger and frustration that thought spawns, focusing back on him.
Cooper says no, waves his arms emphatically – anything to get the message across. Instead of taking it as the truth or outright questioning this indisputable fact of his relationship status, she listens to him patiently, quiet until he finishes. No matter how adamant he is that he's not that attached to this woman -
“...it's just another fling,” he says as he moves from behind the desk, “entirely fitting for the hijinks of your friendly neighbourhood sex addict. Really. It's nothing.”
By the time he's finished speaking he's standing right in front of her and she wishes she could lean forward, look into his eyes and tell him what she sees. But here she is, oddly silent, with Cooper giving her a look that distinctly points to the fact that for once he doesn't know why she's acting so strange. She'd explain but she doesn't fully understand how they got to this point either, where her best friend won't talk to her about his life, or at least not the meaningful bits, the parts she's come to take for granted he would share.
So here she is, leaning against the door frame, trying desperately to be detached Violet, as if her friend was almost a patient, someone to be dealt with professionally. She doesn't like it.Only it doesn't matter what he says, what he believes because his answer wasn't true, even if it wasn't a lie. Violet lays it out flat to him, straight and simple.
“You've seen her, whoever she is, in the plural. Several times. Call it hookups if you like but face it, you're seeing someone, Coop. Girlfriend is probably the closest word there is unless you want to suggest another, except I'm not sure anything else is appropriate in polite conversation. Not to mention continuing to see the same person usually ends up there eventually. You seem to like her, you haven't mentioned her stealing anything, so why not call her your girlfriend?”
All of it comes out slow, like it doesn’t bother her even though it does and she can’t figure out why. Her words are surprising for her and what’s even more surprising is he doesn't interrupt. Cooper just watches her with an inscrutable look on his face and she gets the feeling they're both equal mysteries to each other right now. Finally his brain pops into action and she gets another answer that doesn't explain, yet another unqualified denial, and one she doesn't care to dwell on right this second.
“I don't have an answer Violet, I can't explain it, but she is not my girlfriend.” he says, a sheepish look on his face as he evades further discussion by turning his back on her, retrieving his empty coffee cup and moving for the kitchen. It's been such a long since he's turned away her advice outright that it feels completely new to have a discussion lacking their usual friendly banter back and forth. It's like a punch in the gut that instead of facing up to what she thinks he'd walked away from her, ignore her.
She slumps against the door as she hears him walk away from this, bag falling off her shoulder as she gives up her pretence of being calm, cool and organised Violet, but she calls out in as normal a voice as she can manage.
“You're seeing someone! Why not just admit it to yourself? It’s healthier that way.”
On the surface it sounds casual and friendly, teasing, only she can't imagine that either of them enjoy the reminder, since he's so afraid to admit it and she, well... As she pulls herself together, resettling the bag on her back, she goes over her advice, whispering it to herself. Settling on the line that troubles her, she finds one word that slots in there, adding everything she withheld but wished she could have said as well: “You're seeing someone else.”