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Season 4

Episode 83

(Brawl at the bar(1)

Derek was driving that afternoon, with Jackson sitting in the back of the car.

"Can you believe it Jackson?! We're finally released!" Derek's tone was light and he smiled as he spoke, peering in the rear view mirror at Jackson.

Jackson had a serene expression as he looked out the window, "Well, it's all a little weird, still, I am not used to the idea of not being part of the army."

Derek nodded, "True, we were in the military for so many years. It'd be a lie to say we didn't miss the good old days."

Jackson went quiet, furrowing his brow. He knew leaving the army didn't mean he would live a life of leisure. On the contrary, he had some enormous tasks ahead of him.

Derek glanced at Jackson in the rear view again and asked, "Jackson, how about hitting a bar for a drink or two? We could relax, unwind a bit and have some fun! It's too early to head home, and go to bed. You know there's nothing to do at home and you'll be bored there."

Jackson listened to Derek's suggestion, and nodded in agreement. He was depressed spending his time thinking about Cherry all the time, her soft touch, and her scent, 'A drink or two at the bar might be just what I need, ' he decided.

"Okay. Let's go," he tried to sound delighted.

When they got to the bar, Jackson sat in a corner, giving up the option to request a private room.

It was afternoon still, so the bar wasn't as crowded as night time, which also meant it wasn't as noisy. Jackson and Derek were relaxing as they drank and chatted on and off.

Movement out the corner caught Derek's attention, and looking over, he noticed a friend waving to him. For the sake of not being rude, he decided he should go over and say hello.

Derek said, "Pardon me, Jackson. I'll be back in a few minutes, enjoy your drink."

Jackson saw the guy waving to Derek and nodded. 'Must be a friend.' Jackson had thought.

Jackson turned his attention to the bass player on the center stage as Derek left, listening to the riff he was playing.

Cherry had left the residential compound today, and Jackson had resigned his commission in the army. He felt more emotional than before, and here he was yearning for Cherry, not wanting to separate from her as he drowned his sorrows at a bar. When Cherry was alone at the villa, would she be afraid and lonely at night without him there? Would she find it difficult to sleep soundly? Worrying about Cherry and Joe preoccupied Jackson's thoughts on this momentous day.

Jackson frowned, wondering if maybe he had been hasty, and sending Cherry away was the wrong choice. In fact, Jackson felt confused about the present, and found himself unable to predict what would happen in future.

"Hello, Mr. Jackson!"

Jackson was snapped out of his thoughts by a voice calling him. He turned around, looked to where the voice came from, and saw a woman heading towards him.

Who was she? Jackson wondered unpleasantly. It hadn't crossed his mind that he might run into an acquaintance at the bar.

Rosa walked up to Jackson with a warm smile on her face, "Mr. Jackson, don't you recognize me? I'm Joe's teacher at school."

Rosa kept smiling, trying to remain calm and graceful. She was nervous standing so near Jackson, who looked more handsome and enigmatic under the neon lighting than he usually did.

Her introduction jogged Jackson's memory, and he recalled meeting Rosa at the school gate, "Hi, Miss Rosa. what a pleasant surprise! Are you having a good time here?"

Jackson was greeting her for politeness sake, and his voice was chilly, after all, he hadn't intended to socialize with anyone, despite Rosa had approached him.

Rosa's smile remained intact, "Yeah! I got here a few minutes ago and happened to notice you sitting here, alone. May I join you?"

Jackson was confused, why did she want to sit with him? Yet, his upbringing told him it would be impolite for him to refuse her a seat, so he said, "Please."

"Thank you!" Rosa was delighted and sat close to Jackson. Joy filled Rosa's heart for in her mind, sitting close to Jackson gave the illusion she might become part of his rich world too.

Jackson didn't pay attention to Rosa sitting there next to him. He kept drinking, looking over at Derek from time to time, who was chatting with his friend still.

"Mr. Jackson, are you here alone?" asked Rosa, as she was leaned closer to Jackson.

"No, I came with a friend. He went to say hello to some old friends, and will be back soon." Jackson was looking in front of him and not Rosa; then he noticed she was trying to close the distance between them.

"Oh? Good!" Rosa's voice remained delighted, "Joe's mother didn't come with you then?"

Her probing surprised Jackson. He turned, and stared at Rosa when she finished speaking.

"What? Why do you want to know that?" asked Jackson instead of answering. He had a slight hint of disgust in his eyes as he watched her.

Jackson's vicious expression frightened Rosa, and she quickly told him, "I meant no offense. It was just small talk."

Jackson looked away, turning his attention to the band on stage, he said in a cold voice, "Madam, would you mind leaving, now?"

Jackson thought she was disgusting. What a slut! How could she feel so confident that she gossip about Cherry to him?

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