The bar was empty, aside from the two men who sat at the long counter. A woman had just finished setting the chairs on top of the tables. She mopped away the day's spilled drinks now. She was watched by another man who stood at the entrance to the establishment. His watchful eye trained on the mop.
A TV shimmered with the late-night news. The light reflected off the whiskey bottle in Edward's hand as he took a sip out of it. Jax sat beside him as he nursed his beer bottle. He was not looking to be hungover today. It was a form of self-punishment. So he would not forget what today was. For the rest of his miserable existence, he had to remember.
Neither had spoken to each other for the better part of the night. Edward was now visibly tipsy. His eyes bloodshot, and his gaunt cheeks tear-stained. He drank the whiskey for courage. He had just lost his entire world, his moon, stars, and sun, in a single week. Both buried in a span of six days. He plotted in his head, schemed on what to do from there. Edward had always found a path forward.
Sadly, even with the liquid courage in his veins; the old man could not find a way forward. It angered him. Annoyed him, and for the worst part; it reminded him how powerless he was against nature.
"So are you going to talk to me?" Jax finally spoke up
Edward blew a sigh, then he shifted in his seat. He did not honor that with a reply. He only frowned.
"I see it on your face," Jax said. "You want to chew me out. I know that look."
If this were any other time, the two men would be joking and socializing. Edward was good at that. Now? He wanted to rip heads. Burn towns, and scorch the earth for his woes. Yet, Jax had finally pushed the button for the flood gates to open.
"How could you have done that?" Edward asked. He looked down at the whiskey bottle with a look of repulsion.
"Do what?" Jax asked as he sat his bottle down.
"You know," Edward said with a sneer.
"No," Jax said, a flame growing in him. "I won't know unless you tell me."
"Cheat on my little girl." Edward spat.
The suddenness of that made Jax wince.
"So she told you," Jax mumbled. For the most part, he had hoped this wouldn't see the light of day. In some odd way, it hadn't since it was night.
"No, she didn't," Edward confessed. "Otherwise, I would have kicked your ass then and there."
"Are you going to do it now...?" Jax looked over to Edward's personal guard. The man in question only glared at Jax.
"Heh," Edward huffed. "That girl is as stubborn as I am. If I did that, she would never speak to me for a month. Wasn't worth it." He took a swing of his whiskey. Though, this time, it was to calm his rage.
"So... How did you find out?" Jax asked timidly.
"You think I don't read her messages?" Edward asked. "Two kids 'madly in love' and I'm supposed to leave that unchecked? Your fucking ass I wouldn't. We argued over it for a while, but you're lucky. That girl loved you something fierce."
"Yes..." Jax said sadly. "She did. Of all my regrets, that is the biggest one. I was weak, and... I couldn't stand not being able to hold the one I loved. I know it's a stupid excuse, and I hate myself for it."
"I know, I read that part too," Edward said before he took another swing.
"I guess you did, heh," Jax said as he twiddled with the bottle in front of him.
"But, why?" Edward asked softly. "Why did you have to hurt her? Do you know how much that hurt her? I love you like a son, yet I hate you just as much because of it. You had a good thing, and you fucked it up."
"I'm not going to lie," Edward continued. "I take great pleasure in your self-destructive tendencies now. I like to see it as karma if there was any."
"If you love me, why are you taking pleasure in my suffering?" Jax asked.
"Because you can still hate someone you love," Edward answered. "Love and hate go hand in hand, boy. I learned that long ago. But why I take pleasure in seeing it? Because you broke my girl. If she hadn't loved you, maybe she would have lived longer. Maybe she would have survived. Yet, she loved you, and she's dead now."
"I don't think it's fair to pin all---" Jax was cut off.
"Yes, I think it is," Edward growled. "Or had you never noticed? She only grew worse after you broke her heart. She lost her spark, her will. She lost what made my star a star, and she grew dull until she fizzled out. You little fucking shit, if you loved her, how could you never notice that?"
Jax only felt smaller in his seat. He knew it in his heart. The stress he caused her, the stress of their relationship. It was only after he lost her and matured that he knew his folly. Knew his transgressions must have been the biggest factor in her growing worst.
"No point in crying over the spilled milk now," Edward said. "She only had you to look forward too. All those fucking friends were snakes, and I had hoped you wouldn't be the same. And she's dead now. She just wanted to be normal, have friends, and have you love. Just like a normal teen. Dear God, how could you have ruined all of that?"
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