From where he was sitting, on the balcony of his hotel room in a small Canadian town near the border, all he could hear was the sound of owls and crickets and maybe the faint flow of water from Niagara Falls. Jack found himself liking the quiet. He normally thrived on the company of others, on the excitement that came from being around large groups of people, but all he wanted now was solitude. Harper was gone, likely never coming back, and there was absolutely nothing he could do about it.
Only one person knew the truth of why she had really left, and it wasn't remotely close to the story he was spinning to appease his friends. Everyone thought she had cruelly broken up with him, done the same thing he had done to her all those years ago as an act of revenge, but it wasn't true. No, it was either leave or be arrested for the murder of her stepfather. Jack knew she had done it, she had told him that, but he also knew it had been an act of self-defense. If being away from her meant she was safe, it was something he would do – because he loved her that much.
It didn't make coping with it any easier. Aside from sobering up for the drive to Canada, he had been in a constant state of drunkenness since the middle of the previous week when he had returned from the cruise that was to be their ruse for getting her away before the authorities could bring her in. A lot had happened in the span of their last three days together. Admissions of love, promises of marriage, and it had all only served to make her departure all the more painful. The only advantage, if he would even call it such, was that his broken state backed the lie all of his friends seemed to have bought, hook, line and sinker. Even his present company had no idea of the truth or that he had come to Canada to feel closer to Harper, though he had no idea just how close he was. It was safer if he didn't know specifics. Plausible deniability on the off chance he was questioned, and, since he was now the owner of her two German Shepards, that was inevitable.
He could avoid that for a few days more thanks to the kindness of his traveling companion. They had both been looking for an excuse to escape for entirely different reasons. He figured having the entirety of Boston see you as a deceased loved one might trump his heartbreak, but that was just another reason to hide away and stick to drinking. As much as he wanted to see the beauty that was Niagara Falls, the bottom of the bottle was the only sight he cared to investigate that particular day.
Except the alcohol wasn't having the desired effect or any effect at all. Waking up that morning without a hangover should have clued him in to something being wrong, but he was too disoriented to notice. He had been drinking since noon, not paying much attention to the amount of liquor that he threw into his system. At about four, he had given up on using a glass entirely, choosing to drink the liquid straight from its bottle. It wasn't until nightfall, when his stash ran dry, that he was able to survey the damage done. Five bottles of vodka, and a few bottles of beer, sat before him.
All had been full when he started. He remembered buying them the night before. Jack was suddenly scared. That much alcohol should have knocked him out, probably even killed him. So, why wasn't he on his way to have his stomach pumped?
Maybe this was his cue to stop drinking. Maybe he probably would. What was the good in it if he felt nothing as a result? So, he cleaned up the bottles, threw them all away, and took a seat on his bed. What the hell was he supposed to do with himself now?