Disclaimer: This is the fourth part of a mini-series. If you enjoyed check my profile for the first parts and follow for more. Thank you for reading.

Chapter 4 : The Reason

Stumbling through darkness after a long day of bullshit makes coming home to a trash apartment on a bad street in a bad town seem almost comforting in comparison. A large factory across the street only yards away keeps those cocooned here nocturnal with thundering sounds of wave after wave of endless hours of pumping off fumes to fill hopeless lungs with poison, probably in hopes to purge the low income roaches of this city. Flickering golden lights buzz with the attraction of insects and pests alike. Home sweet home. Even the rain couldn’t cleanse the molded and rusty hallways of an almost abandoned broken down sorry excuse of a home. Still… it was home nonetheless.

His apartment was the closest to the right edge. There were no ceilings connecting in this awkwardly placed housing, just open hallways and stairwells. Through the broken window he could see dim lighting and movement. In a hurry to see the ruckus he fumbled for keys to find he had forgotten them entirely. Lucky enough under the dusty dirty old mat in front of the rickety door, there was a spare for such occasion. In a rush he still found he needed a moment to prepare himself, he took a breath through on a smile and entered.

A wash of warmth flown over him along with a bit of smoke. A young girl with locks of gold and eyes of emerald turned excitedly with a gentle voice, “Jay!? You’re home!”, before he could answer a flame burst from the stove in front of her. Standing on a footstool, mittens and utensils in hand she quickly tried to quell the fire. He rushed to her side and picked her up so fast to safety she didn’t even notice until he already finshed putting out the heated mess. Without him even saying a word she had already known he was about to scold her so she desperately put on the most powerful puppy dog face she has ever done.

With teary eyes her lipped quivered, “I was just trying to make you something nice, I knew you were working hard since you took so long to come home and-and..I’m sorry Jay..”, damn. He didn’t stand a chance against her like that, “It-it’s fine…Julie..”, the food reeked of burnt flakes and smoke. Still, she was only thinking of him after all. He bent down to match her small size and rest a hand on her head,”Dummy you don’t need to do things like this, that’s my job.”, trying hard to put a convincing smile on wasn’t enough. Her tiny delicate hand softly grasped his injured face. She didn’t need to say anything, he could see she was worried. Her eyes asked the question, are you alright? He could only smile in response.

On the verge of tears she muttered, “You had another rough day, I wanna do stuff for you sometimes.”, it’s like she’s trying to kill me with this cute kind shit, please never change Julie! Inspired he ran to the kitchen and started whipping something up. “Don’t you worry jewels! I’ll make something super awesome just you wait!”, the small room filled with sounds of clanking and clutter. Yet for some reason…”Hot noodle soup!?”, she was way too excited. How come this is all I know how to make!? Still.. She seemed happy enough, “See? Told ya’ it’d be awesome.” He set a table for two, a very slanted and wobbly table but still technically a table.

Sometimes it easy to forget. All that deep dark abyss out there can seem so shallow at times like this. Giving up is always tempting but this right here, her laughter is what makes it all worth it. Sitting at a table and eating together, to him it’s what makes his world go around. Still, darkness can loom in the brightest corner. Julie happy with a messy face looks expectantly at Jay with a question, “Can dad eat too?”, the light hearted moment became heavy with silence.

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