Chapter 5 - Daily Life
The truth was, he had been too afraid to ask, but he assumed that Nike must be Leonard's lover. Seeing her at the finish line on the last straight, he had found himself not wanting to embarrass Leonard in front of her, causing him to subconsciously hold back.
In addition, Jack hated being the focus of Leonard's attention. King had always favored Jack, seeing more potential within him than his other student--a fact that had filled Leonard with envy and resentment.
Sensing this, Jack had begun to hold back whenever he was forced to compete against Leonard...a tactic that infuriated Leonard to no end. To him, Jack's behavior was nothing less than arrogance.
Leonard clenched his teeth in anger, biting back further commentary on the race.
Three days passed since the race. Jack and Halle were both back in the bar, wiling away the time the same way as always. In Halle's case, this meant working hard taking orders and carrying drinks. In Jack's, it meant sleeping in his room behind the bar well into the day.
Contrary to his appearance and indolent schedule, Jack was actually a man of many talents. Thanks to that and the kindness of the bar's owner, he had effectively ended up becoming its live-in gambler, something Jack was actually quite proud of.
He was also charismatic enough to keep the more rowdy clientele in check, although how much they actually liked him was a question only they knew the answer to.
The situation had changed somewhat since Halle's arrival, however. While Jack was still the bar's resident grifter, and his position relative to its other customers the same as ever, Halle was clearly on a level above Jack, carefully manipulating him into doing whatever she wanted him to. It was an endeavor she had the support of the punks who hung out there in doing, too.
In other words, Halle was now the one in charge.
'Jack,' she called. 'The owner needs you to go and buy some ingredients for him.'
She got a yawn in response, then a muzzy, 'Huh? Why do I gotta...?'
'Those who don't work don't get to eat. That's the way of the world! So go on. Time for you to do some work, too.'
'Ugh...' he grumbled, emerging from the room. 'Just you wait...' Nonetheless, he obeyed the instructions of the girl fifteen years his junior.
Despite his protests, he wasn't entirely opposed to doing what she asked. What he WAS opposed to was the smart-ass grin on the face of one of the punks following the exchange.
He glared at the punk as he passed. 'What're you lookin' at?'
'Fine, fine...' he groused, and resigned to the inevitable, set off.
The battered door of the bar gave its familiar shriek as he passed through it. No sooner had he left, however, than the door let out another shriek (one could only assume either the owner didn't have the money to get a new one fitted, or he had decided it was actually quite convenient as a doorbell of sorts), heralding the arrival of a new customer. This particular caller couldn't possibly have been more out of place.
It was none other than Nike, the actress.
Continue Reading Gambler Jack II
|⇐ Chapter 4: The Race||Chapter 6: Women ⇒|