Jack’s okay. He swears he is - hell, even better. One less lover to worry about, to buy things for, to take out to dinner and parties and - nonono don’t think about the party, it’s going to make you think about that night and…
He’s okay, yeah, but at the same time, maybe he’s not really.
Because seriously, who the fuck doesn’t notice your favourite hook-up has fallen in love with you? Who? Handsome freaking Jack, that’s who.
He’s not sure if he hates himself more for hurting the kid - and isn’t that a weird idea, that he cares - or Rhys himself, for making him feel dumb.
Handsome Jack isn’t dumb. Handsome Jack’s a genius, he has both the books and the streets smarts and he really should have seen it coming. But maybe he’s not so smart, because he was so sure the kid wouldn’t love him (who would, aside from others fucked up folks like Nisha and Moxxi?). Angel hadn’t loved him - not anymore - because he has done so much wrong to her and Rhys - Rhys is like Angel. He’s a gift, a treasure like one of those in the Vaults and like those, Jack had lost him.
Because he was too blind to see the obvious. He groans in his glass, watches the whiskey shine with the lowlights of the bar, and downs it without a thought. The bartender doesn’t even need him to make a sign before she’s at his side, bringing another glass. She’s no Moxxi but her hips sway and usually, he’d let his eyes roam on her body, maybe even asks her if she wants to be - but no. No, today he’s just here to get drunk, because work has been a pain in the ass ever more than usual, and he hasn’t seen Rhys since that night, that fucking night where everything went wrong.
“You fucked up Jack, admit it.” Nisha nurses her drink with a small smile, and he wants to smash her head against the counter of the bar - he isn’t going to, but only because she’s a great sheriff and he needs her (and maybe because she’s the only person capable of really understanding him).
“Shut up or go away,” he grumbles, because he’s here to get pissed, not to chat. She laughs, a booming sound that makes heads turn. The bartender from earlier looks at her with something like awe in her eyes, and Jack frowns.
“Yeah, right. You want a toast to your failures? Maybe I should start listing them. One, trying to not be in open relationships even though we both know you’re happier in an exclusive one. This is why we broke up you know?”
“No, that was because I wanted to dom you and you said no. That and you missed boobs, and Aurelia was available. How do you even dom her?”
“A good magician never reveals her secrets, Jackie. Or, in this case, a good mistress. The second failure,” she goes on like he never interrupted her, “is getting too deep with a casual hook-up. Gifts, really? Expensive restaurants? I know you’re a romantic, but even I could see how deep you got it. I mean, I think the only people who didn’t see it were… You two.”
“Yeah, okay, I admit it I liked him and I didn’t want to commit and I fucked everything. You happy?” He snaps, and gulps down the drink (hoping it’ll stop his stomach from clenching with something too close to regret).
“Oh dammit Jack!” This time, she’s the one snarling, reaching her hand to get his glass away from him, slamming it on the counter with too much strength. “Stop moping! Are you for real? That’s your third failure: you’re here drinking your sorrows like you’re not the most powerful man on this space station and beyond. The kid’s completely head over heels for you and if you stopped being sorry about yourself for one second and got your head out of your ass, you’d see that. Everyone can see he wants you - even now. So get over yourself, go buy some, ugh, chocolate or flowers, or something and get. Him. Back.”
He stares at her, eyes wide and mouth open. The bar is silent now, people watching, waiting because who would dare say that to Handsome Jack? Nisha, that’s who. He stands, and catches her hand when it goes to her whip - gets real close to her ear to whispers furiously:
“Okay Kadam. I’m gonna try and get the kid back. But, if he doesn’t want anything with me anymore - if you’re wrong, then I’m gonna feed your corpse to a pack of alpha skags.”
Her frown turns into a smirk - she’s really sure of her intel then, someone must have been telling her stuff - and she frees her hand without much effort. She’s probably stronger than him even on her worst day.
“Alright hot stuff. Go get your boy toy back.” She cocks her hip, juuuust the right way and then tilts her hat in a salut. He grumbles a half-hearted ‘don’t call him that’ which earns him another smirk because, yes, he has it bad, shut up. It’s not like it’s hard to be into the kid - best ass he’s ever seen since, well, ever.
(He doesn’t say that to Nisha, because well, girl’s got her pride)
He goes, directly, before he loses whatever courage the booze gave him. Almost runs - but not really of course, he has an image to maintain as a badass CEO who doesn’t fall all over himself to go woo an ex booty call. Rhys works in data mining - he remembers because he once went himself to give him chocolate right after he learns that they were a natural aphrodisiac.
They’d laughed a lot that day.
“Son of a taint, I’m really an idiot, aren’t I,” he mutters to himself, quickly sidestepping all the workers in his path. They look at him like he’s lost it which - rude - but well, he can’t blame them. Much.
He’ll space some of them later, when he’s sure Rhys is still very much in love and ready to give a try to that monogamy thing.
Jack almost laughs as he finally arrives where he wanted to go - the cafeteria of the Data Mining Department, where Rhys always spends his breaks (usually bitching to Jack via chat about how his coworkers were tools). He’s not there yet, probably still working. Jack checks his watch and - yeah, that’s it, Rhys is still on the clock.
He feels giddy almost, and fucking terrified because he doesn’t really have a good track record on relationship.
First wife died, second took off wherever, then there was Moxxi and her fucking betrayal, the little bitch.
He’s getting angry, and that’s not good, not good at all. You don’t get angry on a first date, Jack. You get emotional, horny, whatever, not angry.
Gods he hopes Rhys takes him back.
He’s not used to hope - hope isn’t something that makes money, and anything remotely spiritual hasn’t really helped him in life. Not against his grandmother, not against Zarpedon and her dogs, not to find the Vault, or to get rid of that fucking mark.
He thinks he might let Rhys see the scar, and isn’t that terrifying?
He stops the thought process, tries to just, stay in the moment. Rhys gets here, Jack approaches him, finds them a quiet spot and explains - look babe, it’s not you it’s me. I fuck up every relationship, romantic or otherwise. I didn’t want to get burned, and jokes on me, because I’m on fire now, I can’t stop seeing your face, awake or asleep, I wanna kiss it and see you in the morning or at night, I want to cover you in stupid gifts and flowers.
He wants, wants so much, but he’s also not really sure he deserves.
Jack finally sees Rhys, recognizes his legs and the arm, that stupid tie that he tucks in his pants. Rhys is followed closely by a coworker - Jack can’t remember his name, but he thinks he has seen him somewhere before. Maybe he spat on him once? Or punched him?
In any case, the dick is obviously annoying Rhys, so Jack walks closer, determined to get his boyfriend (this sounds so sappy, gosh he’s regretting it already but not really).
“- ust wanna say Rhysie, you must be really bad at sucking dick if Handsome Jack left you and didn’t even give you a promotion for your efforts.”
Jack stops. Everyone stops, really, because of course when someone says Handsome Jack, and he’s in the same room, well, people wants to see what happens, who gets shot and what not.
But he also stops because Wallethead - yesssss that’s it, that’s the idiot, and he’s dead, he’s fucking dead - turns when he realizes no one is laughing, and whoops, see? Jack is right behind you you fucking prick.
Rhys sees him too, blushes, and turns away, his expression close to humiliation. He wants to choke the guy on one of his gun and then shoot off his face. He’s going to, too, because no one gives Rhys this face.
“Oh, Jack, sir, uhm, I didn’t mean -” the idiot starts babbling excuses, trying to stall, to avoid dying, and Jack would have been in the mood for a slow death if only Rhys wasn’t right behind, trying to escape.
“Shut the fuck up or I’m killing you right here, right now,” he says, absently. Wallethead isn’t off the hook, far from it, but now isn’t the time for that, so Jack cuts off all the thanks, grabs Rhys’ wrist (who squeals, adorably) and walks off like he didn’t just kidnap one of his employee in front of everyone.
The employee who was also the one known for sucking his dick apparently.
“Jack - Jack, look, I’m - I’m sorry,” Rhys babbles too, but he’s far cuter, even if Jack only listens with one ear, determined to get to his office as quickly as possible so he can get the awkward talk behind them and gets to boning the kid again, and maybe, just maybe, apologizes because he made Rhys cry.
That won’t do.
“Jack, come on - are you even listening?”
“Nope! Now shush kiddo, we’re almost there” He answers as cheerfully as he can, because he knows the kid hates it, which makes it funny as hell.
They get to the elevator - the whole hall is looking at them, probably wondering what Rhys did to get himself killed personally. Jack would make them all pay for thinking that way about his kiddo, but well, if he did, he’d have no one left to work for him. So he swallows his anger, and slams the button. His office will, of course, be empty, and yet he finds that he can’t wait.
“You would have been.” He says, voice breaking just a little. (It’s not like I can say I’m your date after all.)
“What? Jack, what the fuck is going on?” Rhys steps back, and his eyes dart left and right, looking for an exit, an escape. Jack hates it.
“My date,” he clarifies, tries to. His usual eloquence is gone, like a goddamn brat in front of his crush - close but not quite. It’s more than that, somehow, and how the fuck did he even manage to miss that. Damn, Nisha was right about his emotional issues, wasn’t she? He owes her something - maybe a new whip.
Rhys stares. Doesn’t get it.
“Look, pumpkin,” Jack starts, swallows. “Do you - Are you,” he stops, sigh because this is becoming very annoying, “I love you just as much, okay?”
Rhys doesn’t answer. But his lips quirk up, his eyes shine, with what may be some actual tears, and he gains some colours back on his cheeks. He bites his lips, and that of course means Jack has to kiss them, because come on, who could resist?
“I just - I thought you wanted to get rid of me,” Rhys whispers, right against Jack’s mouth.
“If I did, I wouldn’t be here, princess.” Jack answers, truthfully.
And yeah, maybe it took getting drunk and Nisha but he sure as hell ain’t going anywhere now that he finally has what he wants right where he wants it.