Please note that this story is constantly shifting, and once I get to a good stopping point, it will be rewritten so everything aligns. Reasons are always moving around and character alignments are always on the move. I want to make a good story, but this isn’t a professional story. I hope you bear that in mind.
Current changes to the story:
Jax is 19, and Cyril is 17. A two-year difference. I math bad so for all intents and purposes, this will be the set ages.
Cyril is 9 when the incident happens.
Brought into the VR world at 11.
Cyril dies at 17.
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?”
The man slammed the bottle on the bar top so hard, Jax could have sworn it could have broken. Edward’s grip was white and he could see he gripped it fiercely. He was mad, grieving over his girls, and he lost his way.
“We loved you boy,” Edward whined as more tears came. Maddin and me. We always hoped you would have been our son-in-law, but you had to go and kill her.
Jax had no defense. He had been stupid and young. Despite that being no excuse for his sins, it was all he had.
“You can hit me in your want,” Jax said as he looked the crying man in the eyes.
“That isn’t going to fix anything,” Edward turned back to his whiskey, but Jax saw the desire to rip into him. “I’m too old for that, and Cyril will be mad with me if I do. She’s had her heart broken once too many. My little star trusts me, and unlike you, I cherish that.”
“I know. I didn’t deserve her.” Jax agreed wholeheartedly.
He had fallen for an angel but dishonored her by sleeping with the snake. And it had bitten him in his ass. He had been so lonely, never able to touch the one he loved. He just wanted someone to hold in his darkest moment. Yet, that weakness had cost him dearly. He was less than a man. Less than an insect. He had no more worth than the dirt upon the earth.
“You know,” Edward began. “All that money I give you, that’s all Cyril and Maddin’s.”
“What?” Jax turned to Edward. “Wait, wasn’t–“
“The trust fund was Maddin and Cyril’s last wish,” Edward said. “That you’d be taken care of after my little girl was gone. Despite being hospitalized, and my daughter, I did pay her for what she did. Even against her, and those fucking board members’ wishes. Even bought her that house in Malibu for you guys… Maddin… I don’t know her reason.”
“Wait…” Jax stiffened. He was aware of where the money came from; however, he was not aware that of a house in Malibu. “I never heard of this house before.”
“Of course you didn’t.” Edward rolled his jaw as his merry-go-round of emotions swirled to its new target. “I had to sell it before one of those fucking board members tried to steal it! The stuff they’re doing, the things they’ve done, I’m just learning about. I’m thinking of fixing that soon, though.
“W-What are you going to do…?” Jax felt a little fear. If you’d known Edward for a week while Cyril was alive – You’d know how fiercely he’d protect her. He was domineering, petty, and was not above underhanded tricks. Jax had an inkling of how Edward used to be. He’d heard rumors. By his late wife’s words, the man now had calmed dramatically down when Cyril had been born.
“First order of business is liquidating the company,” Edward admitted with a smile. “Sell cheap, hand out the money as bonuses. Don’t worry about your money, though, that’s separate from the company. I’m going to nuke it, mainly, nuking all the assets those assholes have been embezzling. They thought they were smart, but what they didn’t plan on was me having friends in higher places.”
“So,” Jax paused to contemplate his words. “Criminal proceedings, or just an all our war.
“Neither,” Edward’s old smile turned sinister. “It’s going to a massacre.
The rear passenger door of the SUV opened, and a black umbrella fanned. It’s inky plastic collected the rain that fell from the grey night sky. Out stepped Edward, his suit slightly disheveled from a small fight he and Jax got into. Despite what that boy had done to his little girl, he couldn’t… fully hate him. He too had been an idiotic child. Ruined love for temporary pleasures. Despite what he said to him, he couldn’t fault it. Edward wasn’t a perfect man, but Cyril…
Cyril had been the star that guided him in the night. Maddin had been the moon that lit his path onward. All that he had done, all that he was. His family didn’t get filthy rich by being clean all the time. He’d done things. Those girls had set him straight. Given him a purpose. Given him a reason to make amends, and a purpose. Now that both of them were gone, he threw it all to the wind.
“Everything is ready, Mr. Bailey.” A man dressed in black tactical overalls appeared in front of him. He had been more occupied with seeing the night sky that his surroundings. He appraised the man for a second, noted his rifle slung across his chest. There was a pistol on his leg too.
“Good.” Edward nodded.
He seemed to age a few years with those words as he moved. His once confident stride, now no more than a Death Row Inmate’s last shuffle to the chair. His aim? His mansion. The mansion he had raised his daughter in. The mansion where he had wed his wife. The mansion that was supposed to be passed to his only child. It was the very same mansion where tens of men began to spread out. Their figures slowly melting away into shadows as they prepared.
He found himself frozen on top of the covered landing by the front door. His eyes wandered to the floor. There, by his feet, was the last physical thing his daughter had left. A misshapen yellow chalk drawing of a parrot.
“Daddy!” Cyril’s voice echoed in his ear. Her ghostly child figure was there, still drawing it. “Will you buy me a parrot too?! I want one just like the one we saw today!”
“Daddy will.” Edward’s voice roared in his ear. “James, have Katalin look up information on parrots. Have her also print out photos of ones for sale, and we’ll let her Cyril pick out which one she wants.”
The ghostly scene had wafted away by the cold wind. Or, had it been the passage of time? It had been the day of the incident. It had been one of the few times he sat, and played, with her. Actually played with her. It had been a beautiful day they had shared at the zoo, then they drew this picture together before they left. He had needed it; the stress had been eating him alive.
And after almost nine years, this single last drawing had been preserved. Held from the elements with science. It was held under a thick layer of clear coat.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” One of his guards asked him. “You’d be–“
“I know,” Edward sighed. He looked not the lion he had been before; just a withered old man. “But I want too. They’re useless to me, and I’ve always been known for being over the top.”
With that said, he pushed open the front double doors. The foyer was dimly lit and visibly decrepit. It wasn’t run down, but it hadn’t been cleaned in months by the dust. The living room was visible from where they stood. Every piece of furniture had been covered with thick cloths. However, this was a backdrop to all the men in black who carried thick military cases around.
Thick cables ran through the hallway, half of them ran off to the servers important company. Fiance, logistics, and other highly sensitive information he had long moved into his home. The business world was violent and unforgiving for those who reached his heights. It wasn’t unusual to deal with corporate spies who’d seek to steal Cyril’s code or schematics for her medical pod. It was his way of protecting the companies profits. In turn, kept Cyril alive with her multi-million dollar medical bill…
A bill he’d gladly take on if… If she could come back to him…
“Sir?” His personal guard was beside him now.
“Yes?” Edward cleared his throat. “Was I doing it again?”
The guard nodded, and Edward continued on.
They passed by the several men, all of which stood at attention as they passed by. They turned a corner and entered Edward’s study. It was a windowless room with a hologram picture on the wall. It was a picture of Cyril and Maddin enjoying a nice summer day. It was one of Edward’s favorites. He pulled a chair behind his large real wood mahogany desk, then brushed his fingers through his thinning hair.
None of the two men sat in the seats across from him.
“Are you sure this isn’t overkill, Sir?” The man in black asked.
“No,” Edward replied weakly. “Nothing can survive. Not a single server must survive.”
“Would could wipe the servers,” His guard said. “Just to be safe.”
“No!” Edward looked up. His anger at the notion gave him the strength to challenge it. “My daughter is in those servers!”
“Sir, not to be disrespectful, but the Yo–” He was cut off by Edward’s glare.
“Died?” He huffed. His scowl, once a fierce thing, not looked forced under his withered appearance. “I’m aware that she is dead. But her avatar is just as much my daughter as her real body had been as well. Those servers are her grave as much as the one under her tree!”
“I’m sorry,” The guard bowed slightly. “I misspoke.”
Silence filled the room for a moment.
“Its fine…” Edward sighed afterward. The anger was still apparent on his flexing jaw. A jaw that was soon covered by a hand. “What am I doing…” He asked himself. By his tone, both the men knew it wasn’t meant to be answered.
“This is crazy…” Edward said as he rubbed his eyes. Despite the guard noting his bad complexion, he seemed to have aged more in the span of a few minutes.
“It is,” The man in black commented. “But you weren’t known to do things sanely.”
The old man chuckled at that.
“I would agree,” The personal guard chimed in. “Look at what he did for the Young Mistress? Crazy, yes, but it’s the Bailey way if there was one.”
Edward looked up and nodded with a smile. A genuine one.
“Well,” Edward began to chuckle. “I got one more in me. I’m going to let them remember why I use to be called the Black Dragon of America. They want my treasure? Well, they can have it. Along with fire and brimstone.”
Edward’s eyes glinted with cold malice.
Mr. Harrison stepped out of the Chevy Suburban. His umbrella in his left, and a small Subway sandwich in his right. Front and center, his potbelly slightly jiggled as he planted both his feet on the driveway. His eyes looked over Chairmen Bailey’s home. He felt mortified, but curious, both equally wrapped up in one large fat package. Mr. Harrison never forgot who he worked for.
Some sort of Mafia, or gang, or something… Maybe the Yakuza. He didn’t know. What he did know was his boss was some sort of terrifying man. Said to crush a man with his bare hands. Mr. Harrison wasn’t a man to believe in petty rumors. He had seen a glimpse of the underbelly of the company; that was enough to kill even the mere thought of taking advantage of him.
Mr. Harrison was a man who loved dogs, food and traveling. Moreso when he could take his pets to travel to sample the cuisines of the world. To do such, Mr. Harrison had developed a keener eye for details. Such details had made him quite the board member.
All these small details also led to one thing… Why was he called to Owner Bailey’s home? Did he figure out that he had been secretly hiding snacks in the company vehicle? Or did he find out that he had charged his company card to cover a meal the other day? He meant to put the money back, he only 3had just forgotten his card at home. The money should have already been put back in fact.
He cycled through all the possible scenarios in his head. Even the mundane ones. He had too. He’d seen plenty of crime dramas, and usually, one didn’t get summoned to the boss’s home unless they were about to be killed; or praised…? He hadn’t done something to earn Chair–
Mr. Harrison froze as he turned slowly to his right. A few feet away stood a man in all black and held a rifle. Pointed at him.
“Mr. Bailey has requested your presence in his office.” The man said calmly.
Mr. Harrison slowly turned to where his guards were in the SUV. Only, he found that they all were surrounded by six armed men as well. All of which outgunned, and outnumbered the two suited guards.
“Y-Yes!” Mr. Harrison squeaked. “B-But could you not kill them…?”
“We had no intention to do so. As long as they behave, that is.” The man said.
With that, he was lead – along with his guards – up the walkway. Any thought of escaping was smothered in its crib. The closer he got, the more of Owner Baliey’s guards could be picked out among the garden. Most of their eyes and guns trained on them. Nothing unsettled him more than what he saw next.
Bodies and blood. Lots of blood. The insignias of his three colleagues on their suits. They were their personal guards. Nearly twenty bodies were neatly lined up, off to the side and out of the way. Despite the amount of blood on the floor, the landing was pristine. There wasn’t a single pockmark from a bullet anywhere. The sheer brutal precision scared Mr. Harrison as he skirted the scared puddles of blood.
“You’re men are going to wait out here.” One of the masked men by the door said.
Mr. Harrison stiffened at the words, but the guard was quick to soothe his fears.
“Mr. Bailey has ordered you and your men safe,” He said. “The others did not have that protection.”
Even with that, Mr. Harrison felt he was walking on thin ice now. Leaving his protection at the front door, he was lead through the neglected home. He could see that beauty it once held, many years ago, through all the dust. As he looked up, he nearly tripped over a thick cable. He was caught mid-fall by the guard.
“Watch your step, sir.” The guard warned. “Plenty of trip hazards.”
“Right, right!” Mr. Harrison nodded vigorously as he regained his balance.
He no longer paid attention to his surroundings, but to his feet instead. Having to step over, or around snaking cables, he began to feel the home was more of a tech jungle. Maybe it was just his mind trying to bury the bodies in his memory. It took him a few minutes to make his way down the long corridor, and through the living room to the office. That was when he came face to face with his pale-faced colleagues, as they seat in three of the four seats in front of a desk.
“Hello, Harrison.” A dreadful voice sounded out. “Take a seat.”
“G-Good evening, Owner Bailey!” Mr. Harrison squeaked as his body quickly gravitated to the empty seat closest to him. His eyes settled on the old man across from them. The man’s eyes had a sharpness that could flay them if it wanted too, and he felt it.
“Good evening.” Edward nodded. “Now that we’re all here. Let’s get into the thick of it. Starting with why you are all here.”
The board looked at each other with a mix of fear and uncertainty. On a normal day, no doubt they’d stomp right up to him and demand answers. Now, after having lost their protection, they meekly kept their egos to themselves.
“O,” Edward gestured with his left hand to a dark corner of the office. “I forgot to introduce you to a very important guest.”
As he said that, one of the guards went forward and pulled a man from the corner. His head was covered in a black cloth, and he wore an orange jumpsuit. He was hauled over front and center, then thrown on the floor at the board members’ feet. The man pained groans were soft, almost like he had no energy to voice them at all. The armed guard then pulled the hood off and revealed a withered elderly man.
“Met my brother,” Edward had a smile ear to ear. “I spent quite a lot of effort to… Liberate him from his prison cell. He’s been my guest here for a couple of days. Say hi, John.”
“H… Help… Me…” He pleaded. His face was cut and bruised, and he appeared skeletal.
“Mind his manners,” Edward said. “He’s been in prison for eight and a half years. He was the one who ran my wife and daughter over. So I felt it was only right that’d I include him in tonight’s festivities.”
“And that would be?” One of the board members asked. He was tanned and slightly chubby. He was the youngest and most brazen of the four members at the age of thirty-seven. While he clenched the arms of his leather chair, there was anger in his eyes. Edward only turned his gleeful eyes to the young man.
“A Bailey always remembers its debts,” Edward laughed.
“Debts?” The young man asked.
To the question, Edward offered a response in the form of a hand gesture. At the sight of it, the guard walked over to the desk. It was then that Mr. Harrison noticed there were files on the desk. Thick ones. These were handed out to each of them, though, John Bailey’s folder was just dropped by his face.
“Sorry, Dear brother,” Edward said as he pulled the last remaining file towards himself. “Just use your mouth. It’s not like it has any other use.”
Mr. Harrison’s hands trembled as he took the file from the guard.
“Page one,” Edward narrated. “Mr. Owens has… appropriated fifty-six million dollars since his introduction onto the board three years ago. Also since his introduction, he has been found to have committed about sixty-three crimes in his capacity. Included is the attempted bribery of government officials. Rape of several low-level female employees, and the murder of said employees, and tampering of witnesses. These are the largest issues on the list. I won’t delve into the smaller, but equally damning matters.”
Mr. Harrison read down the list. He felt disgusted at his colleague. He also felt confused about how Owner Bailey had known about all of this, yet had not done anything. However, before he could ask that, he went on. They flipped a few pages over to the next person. His crimes had been even more horrible. Molestation of children. Kidnapping. Drug trafficking…
On and on they went until all three of his colleagues were just as pale as the man on the floor. Each of them looked ready to lunge at the Owner Bailey but were kept in place by the sudden appearance of more guards. Each held pistols in their hands but kept them pointed down behind them. Mr. Harrison began to sweat. He wasn’t a dirtbag like the others, but…
“Mr. Harrison,” Edward smiled, for the first time since he began to read the file, and that made him dread whatever would come next. “Several parking tickets for blocking hydrants, none contested. Several code violations for having unsafe Christmas decorations, and having too many pets at your old home. Took a few company vehicles out without permission, but always returned them cleaned and refueled. Used a company credit card on an unauthorized transaction, but also repaid the funds back.”
Mr. Harrison began to almost feel… Embarrassed. He had a slight doubt that, maybe, just maybe, all these crimes were fact. But Edward had listed all his transgressions down to the T… Did he even deserve to be in this room full of…
“Honestly, Mr. Harrison,” Edward chuckled. “You’ve been the most mediocre member of the board. You haven’t done anything outstanding, but you also haven’t destroyed anything either. I like that. Steady and peaceful. That’s quite the skill in of itself.”
“T-Thank you?” Mr. Harrison’s dread and embarrassment was slowly beginning to be overlayed with confusion. Was that a back-handed compliment…?
“This brings us to the reason we’re all here tonight.” Edward turned his attention to everyone. “To clean house. Starting with Mr. Owens.”
And Mr. Owen slumped over, joining bits of his brain on the floor.
Jax’s apartment was warm and welcoming. A contrast to his torn, drunken heart. His blurred eyes scanned over the still clean living room and kitchen. It had been three days since Maddin’s funeral. Edward and he had spent most of their days drowning themselves in food and booze at the places Edward owned. However, tonight, Edward hadn’t drunk a drop. Instead, he told Jax goodbye. Quite as rudely as it was abruptly.
“You use to be a boy I could see as my son, now you’re just a disgrace.” Edward’s voice echoed in his ear. “I’m not going to be around any longer. Fix yourself, or just end it. This is goodbye, kid.”
The apartment’s lights were slightly blinding as he squinted to see. Anger boiled in his veins as he tossed the whiskey bottle in his hands. It didn’t go far, and by chance, only landed on the never-used couch. He grew hotter as he was not gratified by the sound of glass breaking. He went forward to grab it and smash it by hand, but he smashed into the wooden coffee table.
“Fuck!” He cursed as he faces placed on the floorboards between the couch and table.
“Hey, Jax!” Cyril’s voice chimed out. “Why aren’t you answering my messages?!”
He stiffened at the voice and his eyes were wide.
“I’ve been trying to call you,” She continued. “Dad said we have to talk about the new ex–“
The voice faded to the back of his mind as he thrashed about to get up. He knocked over the table in his drunken fit and his old Holo-Machine. It was something the size of an older laptop that projected the face of the caller. It landed right side up and he could see Cyril’s beautiful Avatar leaning there with all her sass… The girl before he broke her… Before.
“Baby!” He pleaded as he crawled across the floor to the device as he tried to answer the call. It was… Not a call.
“Video message paused.” The device said in its synthetic voice.
Jax only stared down at the familiar hologram. It… It was an old message. Dated a few years ago, when she was fifteen. He had forgotten that these messages existed. Only Cyril had his home phone number, aside from her parents, no one ever called or left messages. He felt warm at the memories of her love. The warmth of someone had truly cared about him… Not like that… Woman…
The one who bewitched him. The one who whispered in his ear that he had to think about that after.
Tears fell as rage and sadness swirled in his chest. One half wanted to scream and smash the machine that brought these memories to the surface. The other half was hurt at the thought of how he ruined it all; the one beautiful thing in his life. As odd as it was, Cyril had cared for him. Loved him. While she couldn’t physically hold him, nor he hold her, it had still been true love. Broken because he wanted to fill the real touch of love.
He stared at the old machine, in all its delicate nature, it still held the past.
He barely touched the machine on the side, and the message changed again.
“Hey… Um..–” Cyril’s voice was paused. Her face held a pleasant smile, but it wasn’t her smile. It was one of those pre-programmed faces she used to hide behind. It was the last message on the machine. The–
He rolled over and closed his eyes as he took a few deep breaths.
“Its all gone…” Jax said. “You can’t change the past…”
His words were slightly slurred as he laid there. Alone and broken, with a stupid broken holo-machine. In his stupid fancy apartment, and all his stupid trust fund money. He didn’t deserve any of this, but the pain. Maybe it was just God’s way of punishing him for breaking that poor girl.
He took one final breath before he sat up for a moment. He got his bearings, then got up and trudged to the bathroom. In a slum, he did his business and returned to his bedroom. The room had been deep-cleaned down to even the cracks. The smell of tobacco still lingered, but it was fresher. Not that disgusting smell that could have been a bio-chemical weapon.
He threw himself down onto his bed and contemplated what he had done to himself.
He hadn’t seen that happy side of Cyril in years. It… Was eye-opening to just how much he had done. He brought his cellphone up along with the picture app and set it on selfie mode. He looked at himself, eye to eye. It was something he hadn’t actually done in a while either. He was skin and bones, his face gaunt and just in general, looked like an ugly wreck.
In that moment, he came to a conclusion. This had to end.
Maybe it was the whiskey bottle that had given him courage, but his body roared with courage as he sat up. He hopped into the shower, still undressing as the water rained down on him, and washed thoroughly. Once he was sure he had scrubbed away the smell of booze, he brushed his teeth until the stank of alcohol had mixed with mint. An odd combination, but the much less foul smell.
He dried himself and walked to his closet. There, he skimmed through his small selection of clothes. Most of them weren’t nice at all. Thus, he had to settle on black tee and pants. He regretted not finding something more… fancy. However, this would do nonetheless. So long as it wasn’t dirty or disgusting. In the end, he had trimmed his beard and cut back his hair. While slightly sloppy, he looked into the closet mirror and admired the proper man before him.
Still… He could only see a bad man. One who broke his promises. Who lied. Who cheated. The sudden change in appearances didn’t change the heart, but he’d fix that too.
Once he was satisfied with the look, he walked out of the bedroom and into the living room. He took a look around, admired first once how clean it was. Calm, and still pretty drunk, he took there for a moment. Then, he walked to the glass sliding door and opened it all the way. Winter kissed his freshly washed face. It was a harsh, cold kiss, but it welcomed him nonetheless. He stepped out onto the short balcony and leaned over the rail.
The ground below was scarily far, and everything looked like ants. The street lights illuminated the street below enough for him to see the people and cars go about. He took a whiff of the crisp night air.
“It’s a lovely night, isn’t Cyril?” He looked up to the starless sky.
He turned on his heel and strode back into the apart with drunken confidence. The cold breeze whispered by the apartment afterward. Then hard thuds echoed through the apartment and Jax dove off the balcony. Through the night sky, he tried to fly.
For a moment, all his worries floated away on that breeze.