"What are you doing here?" I ask with a frown, staring straight at him in confusion.
"New bartender," he answers casually, wiping where I messed.
I shrug and begin downing my drink again. "You're replacing Jay?" I ask, interested, giving into the dizzy feeling consuming my mind.
Grey chuckles humorlessly before scoffing in disbelief. "As if he could ever be replaced."
I hide my grin by taking another sip of my drink. "Missing your best bud by any chance?"
He narrows his eyes at me. "What do you think, idiot?" He snaps. "Obviously!"
I wasn't expecting him to admit to it so easily. "It's that bad then?"
He notices my drink and changes topics. "At it again?"
I give a half shrug in return, having no explanation. There's no justifying this. There's no justifying getting drunk at ten in the morning. Then again, it's an achievement in itself that I even got out of bed this morning.
He frowns, having figured out that something's up. "What's with you?"
"The usual," I reply shakily, accidentally messing again when I pathetically slam my drink down on the table, "failing at life."
"Could you stop spilling your drink everywhere?" He glares at me, refusing to pry further into my personal life, as he cleans up after me yet again.
Meh...we were never that close anyway.
"Sorry," I mumble, defeated.
He looks at me for a second before staring down at the counter in deep thought, as if fighting an internal battle with himself. He sighs loudly before reluctantly meeting my gaze again. "I think everyone, at least once in their life, feels like they're failing at some point or another."
"Are you actually being civil?" I ask, failing to mask my shock.
"This is exactly why I don't try help people," he grumbles angrily, now irritated.
I open my mouth to reply when a voice speaks over me:
"Why so grumpy on such a beautiful morning, Grey?"
"Beautiful alright," Grey agrees, a grin now on his face – a weird sight to see.
Nancy shyly toys with her braid before she hesitantly returns his smile, unsure.
Grey's smile fades when Nancy's new boy helps himself to a seat beside her, too busy on his phone to notice just how pretty his girl looks and just how every guy in here, even Grey, is taking notice of her.
I roll my eyes at the sight. How stupid. Throwing your life away for a relationship. Been there, done that. Bought the T-shirt. No thank you. Someone should give Grey a heads-up for what's installed for him.
I get up, more than ready to leave, but accidentally bump into someone on my way out.
I make an attempt to push past him, but Oliver's never been the type to let things go.
"Wait, dude," he urges, taking a hold of my arm, forcing me to a stop.
My fury and hurt from years ago begins to boil over once again. Some wounds don't heal.
"Listen," he pleads, "let's drink...it's been years."
I want him dead. What sucks is that Oliver would, no doubt, kick my ass. I don't stand a chance against a giant like him. I don't need broken bones first to know it.
I shrug his hold off. "I'd rather drink pig's urine with a fat, pregnant, divorced man than drink with you." The words roll off my lips before I have time to make sense of what I'm saying.
Oliver frowns, puzzled, his green eyes blazing in amusement instead of regret. "I bet you want to take that one back, Ben."
"Do you want to take back that night with Bex?" I ask outright.
He falls silent and licks his lips, feeling something close to guilt. "Listen, that was nothing."
It wasn't nothing to me.
"That's what I thought," I cut him off and leave the bar before I stupidly attack him and end up getting the beating of my life
He follows after me. I ignore him. I let out a breath of relief when his footsteps fade. Once I'm out, I turn back around to see which girl distracted him this time.
I clench my hands into fists when I see that it's AJ.
She obviously came looking for me. It's the only reason as to why she'd enter the filthy bar full of sleaze bags.
It's me who should be apologizing to her.
Still, I don't have it within me to take her up on the whole relationship thing.
It's all Oliver and Bex's fault! And now here he is...taking, possibly, the next best thing away from me. Worst of all, he won't regret it. He's incapable of feeling remorse.
AJ, unsurprisingly falls for his charm just like every other girl, and laughs when he whispers something flirty into her ear.
I find myself unable tear my gaze away. Frozen, my heart pounding in my chest, I watch on from the other side of the window, infuriated when he tugs on her hand and brushes a lock of her hair out of her face.
It's happening all over again.
All the vivid memories of Bex and Oliver suddenly come back, wave after wave, until I'm left reeling in despair.
Fortunately, someone shoves me out of their way, breaking me from the spell.
I glance sideways to see that it's Landon Kitler – just another person I haven't seen in a while. Clearly, life hasn't been too good to him either. He's mumbling curses beneath his breath, as usual, as he slams open the door of the bar with an aggression that is petrifying.
He fails to notice me, as well as the other eyes he's attracted, fearfully watching him. He somehow misses all the people jumping out of the way for him. It's like he's unaware of the power he holds. People are terrified of him.
And here I thought he was beating the whole 'I'm angry all the time and I want everyone dead' thing.
"Watch where you're going, moron," Oliver says cockily when Landon absentmindedly shoves him out of his way. He turns back to AJ in arrogance, failing to see the rage of fire burning in Lan's eyes, as he points back at Kitler. "Get a load of this lunatic."
I grin from ear-to-ear, predicting the future. Oliver's just fueled a fire that he won't be able to put out. Tough break for him 'cause that lunatic is already in a bad mood.
Just as Oliver turns back to insult Landon some more, Landon's fist greets his face halfway.
Oliver goes down like a lightweight.
I stifle my laughter when Landon jumps on top of him, sending blow after blow until Oliver's face is covered in blood.
It's something I've been wanting to see for a long time. AJ, on the other hand, not so much. She gasps at the sight, afraid of the temperamental hero before her.
It's only when everyone falls silent that Grey and Greg finally realize what's going on. They're both quick to yank Lan off Oliver before he can do any real damage.
It takes four of them to keep Landon back from Oliver.
I smirk, satisfied.
Landon may have a crooked soul with twisted morals but, what can I say, the guy's got my respect.