Everything felt wrong. He had broken into a cold sweat five minutes ago, yet he continued to pace in front of the entrance to the apartment he shared with Harper. His hands were clamped together as he tried to push the nausea away. Six months living together, more than that in the happiest relationship of his life. The moment he stepped inside that door, he knew that would all be gone. Earlier that day, he had found out Harper had been lying to him, that she was selling prescription medication on the side. It was not only illegal but it was unethical, and it went against everything he stood for. Jack was a police officer with a promising future ahead of him.

Could he really put himself at risk, even if this woman was probably the one? Because it had taken him more than a minute to give himself the answer, he knew he had to confront her. Quit selling or he would leave. After a heated argument about making ends meet on their less-than-mediocre salaries, Jack threw in the towel. What salaries would they have if both of them ended up in jail for drug dealing?

To protect both himself and her, in a roundabout and fucked up way, he ended it. As much as it broke his heart to do so. The look in her eyes as he had said the words had been enough to knock the breath out of him. The hurt in her eyes, the stain of her tears as they began to fall down her face. It absolutely killed him, but they were words he couldn't take back. He could never provide for anyone if he lost his job. Jack didn't have much going for him other than his job. The exception was Harper, his first true love, the woman he could have sworn was it for him. He had been forced to choose, and, as years went by, he wondered if he had chosen poorly. Nothing else, no one else, had ever compared to her, had ever made the room light up like she did. Her smile, her laugh, and the way she could go with the flow in any situation. She made him want to be better and was much of the reason he had lightened up over the years.

Refusing to admit he was wrong in ending the relationship had been the likely cause of his transfer to undercover work. Severing most ties to his former life made it easier. At least, that's what he told himself.

It was just as likely her influence that had pushed him to give up his police job for Scarlett years down the line. He couldn't make the same mistake twice. Sacrifice the potential for happiness over a job that no longer made him happy. In working undercover, he had found his calling in life, and it wasn't police work. Cooking, restaurants, that was what he needed to be doing. It brought a smile to his face. He had to do what was best for him this time.

Naturally, that blew up in his face as well. In trying to do what felt right for him, he had gotten involved with a woman he hardly knew. On the exterior, she was his perfect woman, but deep down, she was far from it. Controlling, insecure, and unwilling to change despite wanting him to change for her. She was stubborn, too stubborn, and it wasn't long before their happiness turned to constant arguing. They got along less than they ever had, and, as much as Jack fought for their relationship, it hadn't been enough. Nothing was enough. At some point, even she realized it wasn't worth it.

This breakup was not one he was conflicted or torn up over. It didn't make it hurt any less, but Jack knew it was for the best. He knew, in the long run, they would both be better for it. Maybe it also helped him realize that his breakup with Harper and everything else that had happened in his life had not been for naught. Each mistake, each good decision had brought him to this point. He knew himself, knew what he wanted, and knew that following his heart instead of trying to think rationally about what he should do was the only way to truly be happy.