In Violet Haze, we follow Caleb’s path to emotional self-awareness during the time period surrounding the Mechatronic rights movement. The events begin thirty years prior to the start of the series, and will follow Caleb all the way to his reawakening by Jenadri and Trip in Book 3, Tracing The Stars. His struggles to understand Organic emotions and the fight for equal recognition among Organics collide as he falls in love with Violet and learns of her connection to an underground Mechatronic movement.
The street outside Franklin’s shop was vacant, the marketplace a block over nearly just as empty. Eyes followed them as they boarded the bus in silence. One expression held judgmental anger, but most held unexpected compassion. It was clear, from the whispers Organics forgot Mecha were quite capable of hearing, that the citizens of Easton were both appalled and unhappy with the rioters’ actions.
In a daring move, Caleb met one woman’s eyes as he openly took Violet’s hand in his. The woman’s gaze darted to the hands then back up to Caleb’s face as he let the expected wall of indifference fade. His bold statement was awarded by the woman’s smile. The whispers he heard as he left the bus, hand-in-hand with Violet, uplifted his hope that things would improve, despite the horrible actions of a few.
“Caleb,” Violet looked down at their joined hands as they walked. “People are staring.”
“Let them stare.” Caleb no longer cared. “Let them see, Violet. Let them know that it wasn’t just machinesthat were destroyed last night, but living beings with consciousness, emotions and people who cared about them. Let them not forget that it was murder.”
Violet took in a sharp breath, coming to a halt. He stopped with her, afraid he’d gone too far. Her grip tightened around his fingers as her other hand raised to his face. With a swift, graceful movement, she elevated to her tiptoes and kissed his cheek.
As her heels touched pavement again, Caleb felt his feet leave the ground. It was the most incredible sensation he’d experienced so far – beyond the strong heat of anger or the deep well of sorrow. This was something unimaginable. Indescribable. Wonderful.
“I-I…” Violet stammered, her fingers touching her lips. “I don’t know why I did that. It was an automatic response to the pride I felt at the words you spoke, and the way you hold my hand so openly. Is… Is thisaffection?”
Pulling their joined hands to his lips in a gesture he’d seen before, he kissed her fingertips with a smile. “I believe so, yes.”
His gaze dropped to her mouth as her thumb traced his bottom lip. The peck on the cheek wasn’t enough. He wanted more.
Pinning her hand against his chest, he slipped his arm around her back and lifted her upwards. The brilliant purple within her irises glistened in wide-eyed shock, her electronic pupils dilating as he held her close. With a sighing release of air from her core and the most elegant tilt of her head, she offered those lips to him freely, and he took them without a thought concerning the crowd who had gathered to stop and stare as two machines became more than the sum of their parts.
There was nothing mechanical in the nature of that kiss. No script written by the hands of Organics could so eloquently form such a perfect symphony. And, there was music. It filled Caleb’s every process, firing across his synapses in an electrical storm that seemed without end.
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