I own none of the characters of October Road
Eddie Latekka's alarm clock wasn't relenting. He continued to hit the snooze button but it continued to buzz every nine minutes so Eddie finally gave up, turned his alarm off, rolled over and placed his hand on the side of the bed that Janet had spent many nights in. It was cold and empty, like his life had become over the past month.
Everyday at one point during his morning routine his mind always drifted back to that fateful day, a month ago when his whole world crashed down around him, maybe it was because he spent his nights dreaming about his and Janet's relationship when it was still good. Since he woke up, he hadn't been able to stop thinking about her; probably since today was the sentencing hearing for Matt Lausch and his cronies for the beating he took. The whole time he was brushing his teeth, he couldn't take his eyes off of a perfume bottle she had left. After spitting out his mouthwash he picked up the perfume, inhaled deeply and his cruel words "The captain of the football team IS rejecting you," ran through his mind. No matter how hard he tried, he always went back to the cruel, hateful words he spoke to her and they haunted him.
Janet Meadows sat nervously in her jeep watching the dashboard clock. Knights Ridge was a small town and even though she and Eddie hadn't spoken one single word to each other she had heard through the grapevine that today was Matt Laush. David Gibbions and Mark Shipley's sentencing hearing for the assault and battery of Eddie and she wanted to be there, to see those men get what they deserved and she wanted to support Eddie, even from a silent distance. She was waiting until right before the hearing started before she went in so she could slip in the back, unseen by Eddie. She didn't want to risk upsetting him on an already upsetting day.
Since that fateful day when she was honest and told him how she betrayed him and he kicked her out of his hospital speaking those hateful words, the words that she deserved; "The captain of the football time IS rejecting you," she hadn't tried to contact him at all. She betrayed him and she deserved losing the best thing that had ever happened to her but there wasn't a day that went by that she didn't miss or ache for him. She assumed that the pain and ache would dull over time but so far it hadn't. In fact it seemed that every day that went by, it just got worse.
After two days of crying Janet pulled herself out of bed and returned to work. The second that she walked into Sully's she realized that she didn't want to work there anymore; first of all, Rooster wouldn't leave her alone. Every time she looked at him she was reminded of her betrayal and because no matter where she was in that bar, there was a memory of their relationship and she couldn't take both Rooster and her memories on a daily basis so if she had any hope of moving on, she had to make a change and two days later she took the first step in making that change. She gave Sully a two week notice so she could begin her new job a The Johnson Inn. She didn't give him a reason, she didn't tell him where she going. She didn't tell anyone where she was going. She simply wanted to start over without questions. After Allison Rowan's birthday barbeque fiasco when she was angry at him and basically didn't want him coming in to Sully's he told her that it was his bar and if she didn't like it, she could go work at The Johnson Inn and that's just what she did. She had hurt Eddie and one way she felt that she could make things better for him was by giving him his bar without her in it.
Two minutes before ten Janet slipped into courtroom and found a seat in the very back. From where she was sitting she had the perfect view of Eddie's back. She could tell just from his posture that he was tense and angry. She wished, more than anything that she could be next to him, holding his hand but now that was impossible. At ten o'clock exactly, the judge walked in and fifteen minutes later all three men were sentenced to one year in jail with five years probation thereafter with the main restriction being that they were not allowed near Eddie when they got out. Janet had hoped to slip out of the courtroom before Eddie could see her but he surprised her by leaving before the judge finished reprimanding the prisoners. By the time that she realized that he was leaving, there was no place that she could go. Right when he made it to the back of the courtroom their eyes met. Eddie's normally warm brown eyes were filled with anger and quite possibly hate as he glared at her. She rose to her feet, hoping for the chance to say something, anything, to him but he stormed past her and out of the courtroom. Obviously, Eddie was still furious with her, and in Janet's mind he had every right to be, but his unspoken hatred still stung and it took every ounce of will power that she had not to cry.
"Man, if looks could kill, Janet would be a goner right now." Nick commented once he and Eddie stepped out into the sunshine.
"Don't start Nicky." Eddie snapped.
"I'm sensing a major reason, other than the "it just didn't work out" line of crap that you fed us."
"It's really none of your business. Whatever happened between me and Janet is between us, not the entire town of Knights Ridge."
"What in the hell did she do? I haven't seen you this pissed off since you found out about Ikey…Oh my God." Nick thought he figured out what happened.
"Don't even go there." Even though he was furious and disgusted by what Janet had done, he still wanted to protect her. He didn't want anyone knowing what she did. He didn't want that hanging over her head.
"Shut up Nick." Eddie started to walk away.
"All right Eddie. I won't say another word." Nick told his friend's back.
"I'll meet you at the office."
"I drove you here."
"Eddie I'm sorry." Nick shouted.
"It's all good." Eddie responded, lifting his hand and kind of waving Nick off.
Over the past month he had healed physically. His black eye was back to its normal color, the swelling had gone down, the stitches had come out and his ribs were better. They still hurt, especially if he moved too fast but his heart on the other hand it was far from healed. The first week after learning what she did to him, he was miserable. He alternated between extreme sadness and overwhelming anger but everyday those feelings lessened but not by much. He was now at the point where he only thought of Janet once, twice, three, sometimes four times a day and that was a vast improvement over the constant thoughts that invaded his mind. It had been a month since he had seen Janet and he thought that when they did see each other again it wouldn't hurt but he was wrong, very wrong. When he saw her sitting in the back of the courtroom his heart hurt all over again and he was angry.
Sometimes he knew that he shouldn't be as angry at her as he was and it wasn't like he and Janet were the only couple to ever go through infidelity. It seemed like everyday he was hearing about a famous person stepping out on their spouse; Owen's wife had an affair; Ikey had an affair with Owen's wife and now he had been on both sides of infidelity three times. The first time was with Rory. They agreed to a long-distance relationship when Rory went to college. He decided to surprise her one weekend and he showed up at her dorm unexpectedly but he was the one surprised when he walked in on her and Jake engaging in the horizontal mambo. He returned home broken hearted and ran into Hannah. For some reason, he has never been clear, Hannah was distraught, more so than normal, over Nick's departure. Together they drowned their sorrows with alcohol, one innocent touch led to a hug, to a kiss and finally they were having drunken sex in the back of Eddie's truck. In one day Eddie had been cheated on and slept with his best friend's girl, something he never forgave himself for. He really wanted to come clean with Nick, when he came back in town but Hannah begged him not to so he continued to carry around that guilt which may account for some of his anger her felt towards Janet , he was still angry at himself and he was taking that out on her.
He thought that it hurt when he found Rory with Jake but what he felt ten years ago was nothing compared to what he felt when Janet told him that she slept with Rooster. When he heard those words come out of Janet's mouth he felt like his heart was being cruelly ripped out of his chest. He had never felt such emotional pain before. He really cared for Janet, so much that it surprised him. He never cared for a woman like that before and now, when he reflected on their relationship he thought that he may have been in love with her but he never told her. Maybe if he had told her then none of this would have happened. He could now admit that maybe he played a small part, a very small part in what went down between him and Janet. He wasn't entirely honest with her that day. That didn't happen until the next day but it still in no way excuses what she did.
Eddie was concentrating so much on his thoughts that he wasn't paying attention to where he was going or who was walking around him because the next thing he knew he walked right into someone and that someone was Rooster, the last person he wanted to see.
"Hey Eddie." Rooster began nervously. "I'm sorry about what happened to you."
"Sorry that I got jumped or sorry that you slept with my girlfriend?" Eddie seethed.
"I'm sorry that you got jumped but now that you mention it, I am not sorry that I slept with Janet." Eddie clenched his fist, took a deep breath and then slowly relaxed his fist but not before he shoved Rooster against a wall.
"You are a real piece of shit Rooster. Do you know that?" Eddie's face was contorted in anger and Rooster shrank back from him, as far as he could considering that he was against a wall. "You're lucky as hell that I just came from a sentencing hearing for the assholes that jumped me. It's still pretty fresh in my mind what it's like to get the hell beat out of you and I have no desire to join Matt Lausch and his toadies in jail." Eddie slowly released Rooster. "Get out of my sight Rooster before I change my mind."
"She quit working at Sully's you know?" Rooster told Eddie as he walked away. Eddie froze and turned back around.
"Two weeks ago."
"Where is she working now?"
"I don't know. She hasn't talked to me since that night but she wouldn't tell anyone that she still is speaking to where she is working."
"I just have one question for you Vincent. Why would you sleep with another guy's girlfriend?" Sure, he was the pot calling the kettle black but he didn't care.
"She didn't feel like she was the important thing in her boyfriend's life. She felt like everything and everyone was more important then she was so I showed her that she was the most important person in my life." Eddie didn't respond. He just turned and walked away from Rooster.
Janet curled up on her couch with a cup of coffee. She still had a few hours before she had to be a work so she had come home after leaving court. As soon as she saw Eddie's face she knew that she shouldn't have gone to court. He was so angry at her but she wanted to be there. She still felt so guilty that while she was having sex with Rooster Eddie was getting jumped. She can't quit reliving that fateful day when she ruined the best thing that had ever happened to her. Janet wished every day, that she could relive that day, make different choices, confront Eddie when he came to the bar about Rory's visit instead of holding it in and most importantly, she should have stopped when she saw Eddie and Rory kissing instead of driving home and calling Rooster.
Since she started working at The Johnson Inn, Janet has been pulling as many shifts as she could, not because she needed the money but because she hated being in her house. It was full of memories of the wonderful times that she and Eddie shared; the couch where they had sat for hours talking, watching a movie, or making out, the table where they shared meals together or played cards, little things like the dish Eddie kept his wallet and keys in, the coffee cup that he drank his coffee out of and the hardest thing was her bed where they had spent many nights together sleeping in each other's arms and make love in. For a week after she slept with Rooster, she couldn't sleep in that bed and she only returned to it once she bought a new comforter and sheets but even that didn't stop the memories. Every inch of her house had a memory of the wonderful relationship that she and Eddie shared and at times it was overwhelming. During the last four months of their relationship they spent most every night together at one of their houses. They had toothbrushes, razors, shaving cream and shampoo in each other's bathroom. She had gotten used to sleeping next to him, so comfortable and now it was all gone and she had never felt so lonely before.
As Janet sipped her coffee, she was overcome with memories, which is why she chose to work all of the time so she could avoid those memories. Right now, her mind was drifting back to an exceptionally sweet moment that occurred about a month before Rory came to town. Janet's jeep had broken down and was in the shop. Eddie followed her to the shop and then dropped her off for her late shift at Sully's. Eddie had a very early meeting the next day and since a late shift at Sully's usually meant that Janet wouldn't be out of work until 2:30 or 3AM she had every intention of taking a cab home but Eddie insisted on picking her up and she tried to convince him otherwise but he wouldn't have it. Eddie went home, got a few hours of sleep and returned at 1:30. The bar was slow and with Eddie's help they were home by 2:30. After making love they finally feel asleep about 4 and Eddie was up again by 6. He promised her that he would wake her before he left but she didn't waken until her alarm went off at 10. At first she upset that he didn't wake her to say goodbye but when she found the note next to the coffee pot she couldn't possibly be mad at that amazing man.
Good Morning Beautiful.
I hope you slept well last night. I know I did.
I know that I promised you that I would wake you up and say goodbye
But you looked so peaceful that I just didn't have the heart to disturb you.
You didn't even flinch when I kissed your head.
It wasn't the same not hearing your voice this morning and I really, really, really missed my good morning, and my have a nice day at work kiss. My days now just don't seem complete without them.
Call me when you wake up.
Have a wonderful day.
Janet's tears flowed freely when she thought about all that she had lost. Six wonderful months they spent together and now, it was all gone simply because she didn't trust what he felt for her. He did everything he could to let her know that she was the woman he wanted to be with but there was a part of her that didn't believe that. She let her insecurities about her weight and the talk of the legendary Eddie Latekka, the talk that he would never change cloud her judgment and security and in the end, it ruined their relationship. If only she would have trusted his feelings for her. If only… She wondered if she would ever be able to mend Eddie Latekka's broken heart. She just wanted him to be happy again, even if it wasn't with her. He deserved that. She owed him that.