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Prince of Food Ep 26: Chicken Pot Pie


Jackson Young



Waking up and feeling like I was secondhand road kill was not something I was expecting but here we are. It took a while before my blurred vision finally lined up and all I could see slightly familiar looking ceiling. One that looked almost strikingly like my own?

"W-what the hell.." My words slurred out of my mouth on a clumsy tongue.

"Oh shit, Jackson you're up finally!!"

I turned my head to see the familiar face of Hayden who looked like he had been through a rather rough night. Wrinkled clothing and slight bags under his eyes. I flinch as I realized it was 100 % my fault.

But what the hell happened?

I go to sit up with Hayden's help (he insisted) and let out a groan as my head feels like I'm floating.

"Wha..what the happened? My head hurts like a bitch." I hissed out.

"You tell me! I got up to the VIP room just as you fell over!" Hayden said, a tired concerned frown on his face.

"..I.. don't really... The door opened.. and then there was this smell..?"

My brain was trying hard to call back the memories. I remember deck that asshole in the face and then the VIP room door opened..? And then there was this awful smell, it made my very stomach crawl. But why was it so famil-.

"Oh, shit..."

A cold sweat came over my body as my eyes went a bit glassy thinking back. I knew that stench.

"Jackson? Jackson?! If you don't answer me-!"

I interrupted Hayden's increasingly worried calls by turning my head and thankfully seeing a wastebasket before ungracefully throwing up. Well, throwing up would be nicer actually, nothing much really came out given that I don't even know what time I last ate.

"Jesus! I'm calling back the doctor!" Hayden said in a rush about to stand up.

I quickly grab his arm, placing the waste basket down with the other hand, and shook my head venomously. He was about to argue when the door suddenly opened. My mom and dad were looking in with equal looks of worry. Taking in my hunched-over frame, the paleness of my face and the clear fact that I obviously just threw up was more than enough reason for it.

"Jackson!" My mom rushes into the room, bringing with her a tray of food, and a washcloth.

My dad follows behind her, fretting just beyond my field of vision but I could tell. Ugh, well this is a bit embarrassing.

"..I-.. I'm fine.." I said with my most convincing smile.

Hayden, my mother, and my father all gave me the same look of disbelief. Clearly, my charms weren't working today, how wonderful.

"Jackson, I'm calling the doctor back. And I don't want to hear anything out of your mouth other than a yes ma'm." My mother said, interrupting me before I even got to change to stop her.

I just nod as I place the waste basket back and then just slowly slump back into bed. Physically I felt okay, a bit sore in a few places but mentally? My head felt like someone was tap dancing on it with master experience. That and every time my mind went back to how I ended up here, it just repeats.

"Jackson..son... can you tell us what happened?" My dad asks gently as he watches my mom pick up her phone and call someone.

I watch her disappear out of the room with a stormy look on her face and knew well that this wasn't something I couldn't just fib my way out of. Looking back at my dad, I let out a sigh and scratched the back of my neck.

"... It's just... there was a smell in the room... back at the club." I explained rather vaguely.

Hayden seemed to follow up on what I said as eyebrows narrowed in thought.

"..Oh yeah, I smelt it too when I got close to you. It was such a strong smell. I.." Hayden trailed off as his face grew a bit tenser I could feel his eyes on me

I couldn't help the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach building as I could see the dots connecting in Hayden's mind. I was hoping and praying he wouldn't recognize it but given that it was Hayden, it was only a matter of time.

"...It was some kind of drug from what I understand the police said." My dad answered, seemingly also catching on to the weird tension building between the two of us. His gaze keeps bouncing between the two of us.

"Oh I see." I replied rather passively,not really knowing what to say.

I didn't have to look at Hayden to see him finally put the pieces together.

"Jackson .. you didn't..-"

Whatever he was going to say was cut off by my mom's return in the room.

"Okay so the Doctor is on his way back, so he'll make sure to check you over and..."

My mom's sentence trails off as she takes in the room and the tension. She looks from me to Hayden then to my dad and then back to me.

"... What's going on?" She said in a manner that demands an answer.

Her heated gaze fell on me and stayed put. I honestly was at a lost and feeling more than a bit scared. Like a little kid who knows he did wrong. I knew that I had to tell her the truth something I didn't tell anyone outside of Hayden and the campus doctor. A mixture of shame and guilt drew up from my stomach and lodged into my heart like a tumor.

"I... I know why I reacted that way." I admit, the words feel like cotton in my mouth.

My mom's gaze seems to change that statement. A look of recognition then acceptance before returning to neutral.

".. What happened Jackson?" She asks in a gentle voice.

I haven't heard her talk so softly since I was a kid. It made what I was going to say a bit easy. It takes time for me to find the best way to explain it. She and the family knew generally the situation of how Jasmine and I went. How she ... used me. Jasmine never met any of them, granted we only dated for 3 years so it was a great deal of time. But looking back now it was obvious how she would always use excuses not to meet them. Saying that she lives so far away and she's the eldest child in the house. She had no problem with taking my gifts or money when she asked for it.

What they didn't know at least not fully is how it ended.

That was something reserved to Hayden alone and for which I am eternally grateful for.

But it's time for the cat to come out of the bag I guess.

"Before Jasmine and I broke up.. I would hang out with her and her friends."

Mom's face narrowed a bit at the mention of Jasmine's name.

"She um.. her friends were ... not the best influences as I've been told."

And I have been told this repeatedly by Hayden and Jacob. There were probably more people but at the time I was so lost in love that it didn't seem to matter. Hell, it didn't take much for Jasmine to isolate me from the boys even less to get me wrapped around her finger. It was subtle, one instance became often over time. She always had a way with her words to make me do what she wanted.

It was fun at the time. It was the first time making friends outside of the field of Hayden and Jacob.

And then one day, one of her friends was having a party. A wild and crazy one at that down at some bar that I long forgot the name of.

And then they pulled out some foul-smelling bag.

"I didn't partake in it in the beginning obviously. But over time, as I got more comfortable with them. I eventually did." I admitted with a heavy weight of shame.

I didn't look up at either of my parents, I couldn't. I didn't want to see the looks of disappointment or shame.


My mom's voice sounded softer than I'd ever heard it before. I slowly looked over at her. The wasn't any judgment on her face, but there was a small hint of pity.

".. Just because you make mistakes Jackson, doesn't mean we are disappointed in you."

And is that hitting the nail squarely on the head? I swear sometimes my mom is a mind reader or something. Or maybe that is just a mom trait?

But unfortunately, even with that I wasn't quite done with all the bad.

"....You may want to hold that thought until I finish my story." I said with a bitter smile.

She frowns and gives me a bit of a look but I just shrug at her. I hadn't even gotten to the more uncomfortable bits so I was so sure she wouldn't think that same.

"The first year was fine  I guess. It was still early so I guess she was being more subtle in her manipulation. But after that, she just stop caring."

I couldn't help but feel the gnaw of guilt as I thought back to those days. How stupid and blind I was, following behind her like a lost puppy.

"I was such an idiot. I was so caught up with her and the idea that I made friends outside of my usual. Away from Adriana's watchful and judging eye, away from..." I trailed off as I stop my statement.

"Away from us, you mean..." My dad finished my unspoken statement softly.

I suppress a flinch as he said it. I felt selfish even in the thought process. Even if I didn't say it, it was what I felt at the time. All my life had been decided for me, Adriana being my watchful guard dog. Bouncing away anyone who would dare take advantage of my naivety. Whille my parents were always trying to put me together with Hayden and Jacob. It wasn't that I hated it or regret it.

It was just suffocating at times.


I turn my head toward my mom. She had walked closer to the bed and sat down on it.

"..You can be frustrated if you want."

God, why are they all so understanding?! I hate it. My heart felt like it was being pulled into my stomach.

"Mom, I-"

"No, listen Jackson. All your life, we have decided what is best for you. Your grandmother and I especially never really thought that it bother you cause you never had issues. You always did as you were told. In hindsight, I should have realized a lot sooner considering how mom did it to me growing up." She said with a small smile.

"We smothered you. Made Adriana watch over you like a prison guard. I made it practically impossible for you to have any other friends outside of Hayden and Jacob because we felt safe with them." She said giving Hayden a small smile before turning back to me.

God, I hadn't even looked in Hayden's direction since my last statement. I hate talking about stuff like this and Hayden is one of the few people who had seen me at my worst.

"College is the time for you to spread your own wings. I know you regret getting involved with Jasmine but don't regret the bonds you formed on your own." She said wisely.

"Even if those bonds were with the very people basically everyone keeps telling me to be wary of?" I said with a bitter smile.

"Jackson, let me let you in on something. Manipulators are not people who met someone by chance. They tend to reflect what you want, it's how they get you to open up to them."

"I know that mom! But I should have known better! Hell, Amy just heard a bit of what I said today and looked at me like I was an idiot!" I snapped unconsciously.

I didn't want to be upset but I just couldn't take how understanding she was being. Especially during a period of my life when I felt like I failed my family the most. I act out now sure but what my parents and grandmother don't know is that it was more an act than anything. I don't really get too involved with the girls I met, I keep it strict flirty, and fun.

No strings attached, no relationship.

I don't think I could really handle it if I was to be fully honest.

That was why meeting Jasmine again was such a shaking situation. Even now, as I'm spilling out all the stupid shit I did for her and with her friends. I still don't know how I feel about her.

I don't hate her... but I could never see myself being with her again.

"Go on Jackson." My mother urges gently.

I let out a small sigh and continued on.

"Second year was where she started really showing her true colors. At first, it started with small things. A gift for the anniversary, something a bit more expensive than I thought was needed but she seem like she wanted it. But slowly over time, it went from occasional gifts to buying her stuff on the regular."

"Hmm, I remember, my mother was quite upset about that one." My mom said with a small smile.

"Yeah well, I eventually told her that I couldn't keep getting her more and more stuff. She seemed to take it okay but it was obvious something changed. By the end of the 2nd year, she was acting odd. Really shifty and kind of tense. I kept asking her what was wrong but she didn't want to say."

I let out another sigh. My mother then reaches over to place a hand on my shoulder.

"Take your time."

I give her a small smile but the real reason I was sighing was more due to where I was in my story. From this point onward, things went from bad to worst and I wasn't sure how to really go into this one.

"...Mom, Dad, this next bit isn't going to be pleasant and I'll be the first to admit that I made a lot of stupid choices. So I'm sorry ahead of time."

They both looked at each other before turning back to me. The determination in their eyes was more than enough of an answer. So I gather up my courage and continued onward.

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