Friday, July 28, 2017

Jack & Crush Chapter 4

Never argue with stupid people;
They will drag you down
To their level
And then beat you
With experience.


~Mark Twain


EPOV


As the month wore on, it would be safe to say I was going through the stages of something. Grief, maybe. Shock had come first, standing in that room and not being sure what the hell was going on. Then denial, where I insisted Jane had done nothing wrong when speaking to my parents. Anger with my friends and family when they persistently asked what happened, how it happened, and how I handled it. I knew they were concerned for me, but I argued with them still.

Bargaining was shameful in the way that I went about it. I tried to talk to Jane after a few weeks, tried to pretend that we could work past this. I told her I would forgive her if I could be sure she'd never do it again. The saddest part of all is that she didn't even care. She was tired of hiding her relationship with Felix, she said. It was time to go public, to break off our engagement and let her live her life. She just wanted a chance at happiness.


Apparently, it didn't matter what would make me happy. Serving our country, helping to keep her safe on a daily basis, was secondary to her need to have fun, to go out, and to have sex on that same daily basis.


There was a crushing guilt over the fact that I wasn't able to keep her happy. I knew, in some part of me, that it was illogical, considering that she knew what she signed up for a long time ago. She knew I would eventually have to go over to the Middle East, possibly for months at a time. She knew that if she wanted to live in Forks, I'd only see her on the weekends.


Then, my anger was finally turned onto the person where it belonged. How dare she date another man behind my back, going out with him in another town each time so nobody would know. Jane knew my family would tell her to her face what they thought if she was seen, would write me and tell me if they'd caught her. She had no right to treat me like that, when I was faithful and respectful of her, even in another country.


Somewhere in the middle of the anger, I got the idea to get drunk. I didn't put too much thought into it, just grabbed a bottle of Jack from the local liquor store, walking back out to my car. Getting drunk and passing out in bed seemed like a good way to spend a Saturday night.

Then, something happened. Or should I say, someone.


Just as I shut the passenger side door, I was pushed up against the car roughly. Without thinking, I jabbed my elbow back hard, then turned and swung at the guy, my fist connecting with a jaw that was as hard as concrete. Shaking my hand to clear away the pain, I looked at the person who'd shoved me.


"I know you think you're tough shit, but that's my girl you're messing with!" the other guy spat, rubbing his jaw. He turned and ran off before I could ask him what the hell he was referring to. Surely Jane didn't have more than one boyfriend.


Then again, I didn't really know her, did I?


Stunned, I stood there for a few seconds gathering my bearings. Like there was a neodymium magnet pulling me, I walked across the street to the bar instead. The sign was in red-painted wooden letters, spelling out 'Charlie's'. Holding my breath, I opened the doors and went in.


BPOV


I was in the back room pulling more stock when Rosie came to help. Silently, I handed her what I'd already collected, then grabbed several more bottles myself.


"Busy out there," she observed. I raised my eyebrow, basically saying 'no shit'.


"It's Saturday, so yeah."


She cleared her throat, hovering in the doorway, blocking it.


"What the fuck, Ro. Just spit it out."


"Jake came in, okay? I wanted to sic Emmett on him, but thought I'd get the go-ahead first." Her dark brown eyes were worried.


Mine had to be flashing with my anger. "No, I'll take care of him."


Heading back up to the front, I dropped off the stuff I'd picked up from the backstock, then grabbed my bat from under the bar. Swinging it above my head, I brought it down in an arc and thwacked it hard on an empty section of the bar.


Just as predicted, the loud crack stopped the bar patrons in their tracks. The only sound to be heard was the radio blaring, which some smart soul decided to turn off right about then. Keeping the handle of the bat at hip level, I swung it back and forth by my ankles as I stalked my prey.


"Someone in this bar has been banned," my voice rang out in the silence. "Someone was told to stay away, or there would be consequences." I stopped swinging, banging the business end of my stick on the wood floor. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted Alice holding an ice pack over a familiar person's knuckles.


Returning my full attention to the weasel in front of me, I lifted the bat, resting it on my shoulder and taking a batter's stance. "Do you, or do you not, recall me telling you a few weeks ago to stay the fuck away."


Standing at his full six feet seven inches, I knew I wasn't physically any match for him. However, I also knew every single person in that bar would have my back if me and my Slugger were to fail. He straightened his spine, but being the coward he is, he didn't speak.


"You need to leave. You are officially banned from my businesses, in front of witnesses, in case you forget again." Rocking my hips a little, I swung the bat in small circles over my shoulder.


"I didn't forget," he finally spoke. "I just didn't think you were seriously going to turn away my money."


The blood in my veins boiled harder at his words. "Are you implying something, Black?"


"Just that I'm a paying customer. Last I checked, you don't give anything away for free." He smirked, thinking he had me where it hurt. He knew I struggled to meet all of my responsibilities.


So I played it up. I let my eyes water a little, and my lip quivered as I dropped the bat to my side, relaxing my stance. He leaned closer to me. "But-but-but…" Striking like a snake while his guard was down, I grabbed him by the gonads, twisting my wrist ruthlessly. "I don't need your fucking money!"


The crowd that had mostly been silent up until then erupted. Some men groaned, most people cheered, and Emmett made his very tall presence known behind a crying Jake. I nodded, and he grabbed him by his neck, shoving his bent over body out the front door.

When I turned back to the bar, there were a handful of cheers, and I did a curtsy as the music came back up. Replacing the bat under the bartop, I caught the eye of my one night stand before he moved to sit back down.

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