Bankruptcy is one of the worst words a person could hear.
It was such an ugly word.
It was when there was nothing left and it was impossible to give any more.
It is seen as the end of the line.
The past few weeks have been filled with challenges. So challenging that even Richard took a step back and retired his shenanigans to give Jensen a break.
Work was normal. Jensen worked all hours of the day and often would go to bed late at night only to wake up to a slew of emails, text messages, and phone calls. It was never-ending.
The main stress in his life was not that of work. But in fact in his personal life. Maybe that is why his wedding band seemed duller than normal. For the past five years, the ring has always been on his left hand, attaching the gold of the band to the blood that flowed to his heart.
Odd to have Jensen Rockefeller care about something so stupid as a bland gold band. But he cared more about it than anything else in his life. At least, he did.
Every month the ring was taken to the jeweler, it was cleaned and polished to make sure the gold always shined. It was supposed to be there yesterday. But right now it was sitting on the nightstand next to Jensen’s bed, dirty from the month of never leaving the man’s finger except to sleep and shower.
During the highest of highs and the lowest of lows the ring always sparkled and was taken care of each month. The ring had been cleaned sixty-two times. Yet skipped its sixty-third time. Why? Well, that was a complicated answer.
Maybe the answer to the question could be found in the fight about business between Jensen and Vinh a few months ago as the two screamed at each other about ethics? Or maybe the answer could be found in the time where Jensen’s scotch glass was shattered when coming in contact with the wall? Or maybe on the night where the two slept in separate beds for the first time since the night before their wedding? Or maybe it was when Vinh went to go live in his own apartment for a little time while they both cleared their heads?
The answer could be found in many events that have occurred over the past few weeks but sifting through to see what the breaking point was for the two of them was deemed nearly impossible.
Jensen picked his head off his pillow as he looked at the ring. He stared at it for a moment. The a slight debate going through his head on whether or not he should put it on.
Would Vinh even be wearing his?
Jensen decided that it would be best to wear it. Maybe it would lead to some good today.
The businessman hauled himself out of bed. It was almost eleven o’clock. So much of the day had already passed for him. But that wasn’t of any importance right now.
The coffee shop was seen as a peaceful place in the eyes of many people in the city, especially those on Wall Street and the rest of the city’s Finance District. It wasn’t odd for the people in the cafe to see Jensen walk in and he was greeted with a smile by the hostess.
Upon arriving at the table, Jensen saw Vinh already sitting there. Jensen sat across from him and the duo fell into a silence, both of them staring at the rings on each other's left ring finger.
How did it come to this?
The duo used to be so close. They knew everything about each other. Everything was going so perfectly. They worked well together. They were opposites yet fit together.
Where did things fall out of balance?
They didn’t speak to each other and soon the waitress came over. “Black please,” Jensen said referring to his coffee. The waitress then turned to Vinh to ask him, but she was met with Jensen speaking again. “Vietnamese iced. Extra caffeine and please bring extra sugar on the side. He likes a lot of it.”
Jensen's voice was dry, almost dead. But he remembered that coffee order. He remembered when he had to order it for the first time after losing a wager and was forced to be Vinh’s butler for the day.
What Jensen didn’t see was the smile on Vinh’s face. He found it sweet that the selfish and asshole of a man that Jensen was on the outside, he had the soft spot for remembering the man’s drink order.
The two, however, didn’t speak again. Falling back into the deadly silence as they waited for their coffees. Vinh had his hands resting on the table as he looked around the cafe. Jensen did the same, except his hands were under the table and he fidgeted with the ring, doing nothing but causing his finger to swell.
Soon their coffee came and the small clinks of the glass cups being placed down caused the two to look at each other again and then their coffees.
Vinh looked at his and then at Jensen’s. He was starting to wonder why the man isn't sending it back. Jensen was actually thinking the same thing. He should send his coffee back. It wasn’t made right. How could someone possibly mess up black coffee?
Maybe he didn’t because he wanted to show Vinh that he wasn’t the asshole he has been these past few weeks? Or maybe it was because he didn’t want to cause a scene? Or maybe it was because he was too exhausted to do it? Much like the rest of his personal life, answers were far and few between. Even for the simplest things like coffee.
“It’s supposed to be black,” Vinh said, stopping the waitress from walking away. “Can you please make him another cup?”
The waitress nodded and apologized before taking the cup and walking away to replace it.
Jensen’s hand now rested on the table and he leaned back in his chair. He just wanted his coffee.
Vinh reached across the table as he took a sip of his drink and rested his hand on top of Jensen’s, gently moving his thumb over the man’s skin and to calm him.
Bankruptcy was such an ugly word to people.
It held such a fearful and negative connotation. It was seen as you have nothing left to give, you’ve run out of options, you are broke, the wretched end of the line.
But as any skilled businessman would know, bankruptcy wasn’t what it was played out to be in the media and on the stock market.
Bankruptcy granted the ability to rebuild only after you’ve learned from your lessons. It served as a reminder that sometimes you have to lay in the rubble of your wreckage before you can rebuild your business.
Love was no different.
This story is written by Emma Woodhead with characters by her and Mai who has given permission to share her character in this story.