Work had never been more interesting. Never in his life had Jackson been more willing to fill out spreadsheets, email and call suppliers, and make up schedules in his entire life. At one point he considered just dropping out of high school and managing full time because this was so much fun. He ignored the security cameras that couldn't be turned off (seriously? just steal the flowers, they were probably going to die before they could sell them anyway), focusing on his work and nothing else.
That is, until he caught a flash of someone walking toward his office on the screen out of the corner of his eye.
At first he thought it was Aura, but no, it was just Nahnie. He breathed a premature sigh of relief before he realized that holy shit, Nahnie Strider was coming to his office. His whole life flashed before his eyes and he looked at the door, wishing to God he had locked it (something he really had not had much luck with today). This felt just like Five Nights at Freddy's. The fear was real and he braced himself for her entrance.
However, instead of just barging in like he expected her to, she banged on the door, a viable second option for Nahnie. But then suddenly, it lightened up, and Jackson wondered if it was some sort of calm before the storm thing. "Uh, come in," he called, voice shaky and not really excited to have this conversation. Knowing Nahnie, she definitely knew what happened and came to tear Jackson a new one for all the same reasons he blamed himself.
Opening the door, he saw Nahnie take a few deep breaths, as if she were trying to remain calm, and Jackson wondered who the fuck this was. Sitting in the seat in front of him, Nahnie clasped her hands together and rested her arms on his desk, and Jackson backed up a bit. It was clear who was the boss in this room at the moment. Jackson tried to keep it cool, but she could smell fear probably.
"Okay, I'm gonna make this pretty clear, in the gentlest way possible." Was this the Nahnie Strider he knew and avoided? "You need to fucking stop being a little bitch, jesus fucking christ-" Nahnie stopped abruptly, taking the bouquet shaped stress ball sitting on Jackson's desk and squeezing it, taking deep breaths. "Sorry. I promised I would be gentle. But anyway." She looked as if she were trying to figure out a way to say what she needed to say without blowing up. "Okay, I get your whole 'avoid problems until they go away' bit. Really I do. I mean, I usually deal with my fucking problems right then and there, but to each their own." Her nostrils were flaring and Jackson was pretty sure she was going to explode.
"Look, I know what you're going to say. Or I mean, I know what this is about, and I really don't care if you say it gently or not. Lay it on me. I deserve it." Jackson shrugged, hoping Aurora wasn't standing outside the door. He didn't want to ruin another part of her life and have her and Nahnie fight or something, but what was another fuck-up on the pile of mistakes Jackson Horowitz has made at other people's expense.
Nahnie let out an exasperated sigh, then promptly threw the bouquet stress ball at Jackson. It his his arm and it hurt, but not really that bad, and he did deserve it. "I don't!!! Fucking!!! Wanna hear your self-pity shit. Oh my god. Your fucking best friend is out there wondering what the fuck she did wrong and you're sitting here pouting and blaming yourself and not doing fucking anything to fix it, God, I just-" She paused for a second, holding out her hand, and Jackson handed her the stress bouquet, which he was pretty sure was going to get torn to shreds and - yep, ripped in half. They had a hole box of them in the back, so he wasn't too worried about it. "Fuck, fucking FUCK. Jackson Horowitz, I get that you're hurting because of your girl, but she is not your girl anymore. Let it the fuck go. Move the fuck on. Stop hurting Aurora because you can't get a grip on your goddamn feelings, fuck."
Jackson just nodded along. He knew all of this already, these were the things he had been screaming at himself when he wasn't distracting himself with work. But, of course, hearing it from someone else felt very different, and he realized he was blinking away tears. "What do I do?" he asked, barely above a whisper.
Nahnie looked guilty for once, and she relaxed, setting the two halves of the stress ball on the desk and reaching forward to pat his shoulder. "Just talk to her, dude, tell her how you feel. She'll understand better than anyone, you know she will. I haven't known her for as long as you have, but I know that much." Nahnie grabbed his chin and forced him to look at her in the eye. "You've made mistakes, it's cool. Everyone does. Nobody's perfect. Cue that fucking Hannah Montana song. You're not a bad guy, but you have to deal with it. You can't just bottle that shit up, dude. Talk to someone about it. And by someone, in this case, I mean Aurora, just so she can understand what the fuck is going on here with you."
Jackson wondered how much Nahnie really knew about their whole situation. It didn't feel like she was talking very long with Aurora, but Nahnie had gathered quite a bit of information. Nodding at her, he stood up, legs a little wobbly, and Nahnie stood up with him to support him. "Pull yourself together, babe." Wow, Jackson felt like he was officially one of Nahnie's Precious Cinnamon Rolls™ with the whole 'babe' thing, which was pretty reassuring that Nahnie wasn't going to kill him, today at least.
"I got this," he said, full of uncertainty, but not letting that stop him.
"Need me to mediate?" she asked, though it was clear that she was not necessarily feeling that based on her tone. It was personal, of course, but it would be nice to have someone there to help him feel less anxious. But maybe... Nahnie wasn't the right person for that position, so he shook his head.
They stepped out of his office, and Nahnie went to go look at some arrangements while Jackson went directly to Aurora, breathing in deep. "Aurora, I-" he gulped, realizing that this was probably not a good place. There were a few customers other than Nahnie in the shop, though they seemed to be just casually looking around, he didn't want to have a discussion right there. "Can I talk to you in my office?" Trying to make it sound like a professional issue, as if.