This story takes place after the season 2 finale. Mostly Jeddie-centric with a little bit of the Knight's Brigade thrown in.
Janet ran crying from the room. As soon as she was out of sight, Eddie couldn't hold back the tears and the rage bubbling to the surface. How the hell had this happened? He had grossly overestimated Janet's character. He never thought she could be capable of such a thing. And to go so far and not stop herself? He had stopped; his love for her had made him stop. His need to be with Janet had made him stop. He knew Rory wasn't for him, and that Janet was. But he had been wrong about that too. He thought he was in love with Janet but how can that be if she did this? Eddie was glad he never told her how he felt. It would have made this all much worse. He would have ended up looking more like a fool than he already was. He laid his head back and pressed the call button on the side of his bed.
"Yes Mr. Latekka, are you alright?"
Eddie quickly wiped the tears from his face before the nurse came into the room, "I'm in pain. Can you give me something, anything? Maybe even something that will make me sleep? Please?"
"I'll have to check with the doctor, but I'll be back as soon as I can. Just hold on. Is there anything else I can get you?"
"No, I just want to be able to stop feeling this way and sleep for a while. If you can help me with that, I'll be fine. Thanks,"
"Be back shortly then." She bustled out of the room and Eddie laid his head back down on the pillow. Just then he heard a beeping noise coming from the computer. Opening up the laptop, he saw Phil's face smiling at him.
"Hey man! You won't believe…." Phil's voice trailed off as he realized something was very wrong with his friend. "Eddie, are you alright? You don't look so good man."
"It's nothing Phys, the meds must be wearing off and I'm feeling a little sick from the pain. That's all." Eddie was proud of himself that he could lie so smoothly.
"Are you sure? Hey, did you work things out with Janet? Did she come by yet since she left after finding out about Rory?"
"Uh..no, she hasn't. I'm sure it will be fine. Don't worry. So, what did you want anyway?"
"Oh, the band is back together and I thought you might want to listen to us jam…" Phil continued to talk and Eddie smiled occasionally, pretending to listen. Once they started performing he even threw in a couple of "dorks" to make it believable. But his mind was on Janet and what she had done to them, to him!
Janet danced to the music at Hannah and Ray's party. If anyone had asked her what song was playing at that very moment, she wouldn't have been able to tell them. She was a master at hiding her feelings. Her performance was nothing short of Oscar-worthy. She danced and laughed and chatted and joked. No one knew that she was in pain. No one knew what a huge mistake she had just made. But by tomorrow, everyone would know that she had screwed up the best thing that had ever happened to her. She realized this now. There was no way Eddie would take her back after this betrayal. She was angry with Rooster, but in all honesty, knew she didn't have the right to be. Sure what he had done was slimy, but she was the one committed to Eddie, she was the one who had something to lose by crossing that line. And even though she thought Eddie had done the same thing, he was right. She should have asked him, confronted him and then made a decision based on that. Who the hell was she? How had she become this person? What had she become that she would cheat on someone she was in a relationship with? Maybe being with Eddie had just made all her insecurities worse. The anxiety of being with him was just too much for her.. He had been good to her ever since they were officially together and she should have at least given him some benefit of the doubt. Instead she felt sorry for herself and made a life altering mistake. She realized now that she had some real issues to work through and that her insecurities were no excuse for what she had done. She realized all of this now. Too bad it was too late.
Leslie and Robert were dancing the night away enjoying the evening. He took her arms about to twirl her in front of him when his periphery vision caught site of Aubrey and Ronnie. "Oh hell!!"
"Robert! What's wrong? Are you okay?" Calming himself down and trying not to draw attention to Ronnie and Aubrey, he quickly glanced at Leslie and smiled.
"I think I forgot to put the mayo back in the fridge is all." Leslie looked at him a little harder and then glanced in the direction he was looking in previously. She saw Ronnie and Aubrey and what looked like a much-too-comfortable-with each-other gaze.
"Robert, what were they doing when you looked at them? Did they…?"
"They were kissing." He whispered only loud enough for her to hear. "I was so afraid of this. Ronnie wears his heart in his sleeve, but I never thought he would actually act on this. I mean for God's sake, she's his brother's girlfriend?"
"We talked about this. I think his feelings were pretty obvious to everyone involved, including Nick. Aubrey might have been the only one who didn't know."
"What if it makes Nicky leave?" Robert had tears in his eyes. Facing cancer without his oldest by his side just might kill him. He was so hurt when Nick almost left. And when Nick decided to stay, the relief he felt was beyond description.
"I don't think you have to worry about that Robert. Sure he will be angry with Ronnie, but I think it will work out for the best. Besides, we all know it's always been about Hannah."
Robert took Leslie in his arms again as a slow ballad started playing. "I hope you're right honey. I hope you're right."
She looked up from his embrace and laughed, "Have I EVER been wrong?"
The next day, Eddie gets a visit in his hospital room from a police officer. He asks him if he wants to press charges. Eddie says in no uncertain terms that he does. He is trying to stay cool and not be a hothead. His first inclination was to get well so he could beat the snot out of Matt Lausch, but in reality, he knew that could only land him in trouble too. Better to go by the letter of the law and see where it gets him.
He explained to the officer about his earlier confrontation with Matt. He embarrassingly admitted it was his love for Janet that made him punch Matt in the first place. He even admitted to understanding Matt being sore about it and wanting to take a swing at Eddie down the road. But to go this far? It was unforgivable. The officer listened and took notes, nodding on occasion.
"There might be some trouble for you with that punch you threw at him. But as long as you're willing to go on record to say why you did it, then I think it will carry more weight than his three on one attack." Eddie hesitated at this. Janet never knew the real reason he got into a fight with Matt in the first place. If he told her it would have hurt her badly. Taking a sick pleasure in the possibility of hurting her even just a little bit, he said, "Yeah, I'm willing to go on record."
The officer excused himself, wishing Eddie well and promising to be in touch regarding a possible hearing. Once he left, Eddie tried to get out of bed to walk to the bathroom. He had been holding it for almost four hours now, hoping he could wait until that male nurse Bill was back on duty. Bill being nowhere in site, he decided to try to go by himself. He didn't want the women nurses helping him to the bathroom like some kind of helpless creature. He still had some pride left. Getting out of bed slowly, he walked took a few steps and almost collapsed to the floor. The ribs on his left side were stabbing at him and his head felt light. Before he could even catch his breath, he threw up and lost any pride and dignity he had left. Grabbing the nightstand he reached for the call button and pressed it several times. The pain was all too much and getting unbearable by the minute.
As the nurse came rushing to his side, Eddie groaned in discomfort.
"Come on Mr. Latekka; up you go! You just need to ask for help, as embarrassed as you may be by it."
"Aw Jeez, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry about the floor, if there was anyway humanly possible I'd clean it up myself. I'm so sorry…"
"That's' okay…it's okay. Don't worry about it. You know, everything is going to be okay, right?"
Eddie thought about Janet and what had been lost, "I find that so hard to believe right now."
"Janet, wake up." Hannah was shaking her friend, surprised that she had celebrated so hard as to pass out from drinking from the party. Hannah had Ray help her take Janet to the guest room for the night. It was already 10 am and Hannah was sure Janet had work today.
"Leave me alone. I want to die." Hannah laughed.
"That's what happens when you have one too many glasses of champagne. You were hitting it pretty hard yesterday. Celebrating that all is good with you and Eddie?"
Janet slowly sat up. It took a few minutes for the room to stop spinning. She looked Hannah straight in the eye and said "I have no reason to celebrate, I did a terrible thing. Eddie was rightly pissed. He broke up with me yesterday."
"Wait, but you said…" Hannah looked so confused, Janet told her everything was great between them.
"I know what I said Hannah, I just didn't want to take away from your special day. So I dealt with it the best I could. Then I started throwing back the drinks to dull the senses, you know? I just couldn't take it anymore. It's over between me and Eddie. I did that. Sure he wasn't an innocent in all this, but what I did crossed a line that is unforgivable. I don't….." Janet started to cry. It was a soul-deep, gut wrenching cry. She was shaking from head to toe and uncontrollably wailing. Hannah held her and wiped her face and soothed her and whispered comforting things in her ear. She told her that she would be okay one day. Janet continued to cry for what seemed like a half an hour until finally she had fallen asleep and Hannah's lap, exhausted from her own grief.
Hannah picked up the phone and dialed Sully's. She had a feeling Janet wouldn't be making it to work today.
"What the hell is the matter with these women? Can't they learn to speak the hell up if something is bothering them? Why the hell do they ALWAYS turn to someone else with these LAME –ASS excuses?????? What the HELL WAS SHE THINKING???????? I mean….." Owen continued to rant, pacing Eddie's hospital room waving his arms and venting his frustrations with the situation. Eddie had called the guys, asking them to all come at the same time so he could tell them. Phil was patched in via the laptop with his mouth dropped open in shock. Nicky was sitting in a chair in the corner shaking his head in disbelief and Ikey was very quiet. At that moment, Eddie decided that he was glad he wasn't alone in this. Glad he had friends to support him through this.
"What exactly happened Eddie?" Phil interrupted Owen's diatribe. Ikey was inching towards the door. Owen was getting pretty worked up and he had no desire to end up in the bed next to Eddie.
"Well, she said…" Eddie was cut off by Owen's shouting.
"Where the hell do you think you're going? You want back in? You're going to have to learn to take the heat buddy boy. I may have forgiven you but I haven't forgotten. SIT DOWN IKEY! You can't run from this."
Ikey stopped where he was and looked at Owen with tears in is eyes, "I'm so sorry man. I…it was a horrible…" Ikey blew out a breath and just shook his head. "It was a horrible unforgivable thing. I know that. I'm so sorry and I just didn't want you to be upset anymore so I thought leaving was for the best…"
"I'm mad at the situation, I'm mad for Eddie and hell yeah I'm still mad at you. But you're my brother man. I could no more get rid of you than I could cut off my own leg. Just stay Ikey. I'm calm now." Owen visibly fought for control. "Sorry Eddie, you were saying?"
Eddie proceeded to relay the circumstances; the Rory situation and the fallout from it as far as what Janet did. The guys interrupted every now and then to ask him questions and make a comment, but overall, it just felt good to talk about it, and get it off his chest.
A week later all the guys, sans Phil, met at the hospital at the same time again, but this time it was to bring Eddie home. As if by some unspoken agreement, no one mentioned Janet or what had happened. Despite being so angry at times he wished she'd burn in hell with gasoline clothes on, he couldn't help but wonder how she was doing. Was she as miserable as he was? Why hadn't she tried to contact him again. Of course he would have to turn he away, but it made him more miserable to think that she might be with Rooster now. Eddie held his stomach and groaned. Every time he through about the two of them together he needed an antacid. Rooting around in his jeans pocket he found the small roll of Rolaids and popped two in his mouth, chewing angrily while he stewed in silence. Nicky was pushing his wheelchair (damn hospital policies) and Owen and Ikey flanked him on either side chatting about nothing in particular. Finally, not being able to take it anymore, Eddie broached the subject carefully. Taking his time with his wording, he brought the subject up in a round about way.
"So, what have you goons been up to since I was 'away'?"
"Oh, you know, the usual, hanging out at Sully's or your place, working, drinking beer…" Owen laughed.
"So, I guess everyone pretty much know's about what happened, eh?" Eddie hedged.
"As sure as this is Knight's Ridge my friend." Nicky piped in from behind. Ikey spoke softly, placing his hand on Eddie's shoulder.
"She looks terrible. Like she's lost weight; the bad way. She missed work that first day after you and her broke up and she's been a mess ever since. She is messing up orders at work and people in general are giving her a hard time. If it's any consolation, I think she is almost as much of an outcast as I was. And her and Rooster have nothing to do with each other. They aren't speaking as far as I can tell. Apparently, she was so drunk off her ass that night and he wasn't, that she feels a little taken advantage of. Rooster's words, not hers. She's been taking all of the punishment and hasn't once tried to excuse her behavior or defend it. She's punishing herself far more than you ever could Eddie." Ikey said it all so quick and quietly, the other guys almost missed it. Eddie looked at his friend and nodded once as if to say thank you. Eddie thought he would feel better. Felt like he should feel better, but all he has felt since him and Janet ended was bad.
Janet fumbled with her keys. Her hands were shaking and she couldn't seem to get them in the lock. Successful at last, she opened the door to her empty house and let the tears that she has been holding in all day fall. Putting on lights as she walked through the house, she touched all the things that reminded her of Eddie. The little tray he kept his keys in on the side table in the living room, the beer in the fridge that he favored, the socks that were sitting on the floor next to the hamper that he had neglected to pick up and the bedroom… everything in there reminded her of Eddie. Unfortunately, it reminded her of the worst night of her life with Rooster too. She went to the shower and made quick work of cleaning up. Drying off, she went to "Eddie's" drawer and put on one of his t-shirts. Crying in earnest now, she left her bedroom and closed the door behind her, making her way to the guest room across the hall as had beome her habit this past week. She laid in the bed and fell into a fitful sleep. A week had passed and it still hadn't gotten an easier.