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Authors: Jennah Scott

Tags: #Young Adult

Fight for Love (6 page)

BOOK: Fight for Love
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I decided to go to the basement and work out some before bedtime. I made my way down the first flight of stairs to the kitchen. I grabbed a bottle of water out of the fridge and gave Mom a quick kiss on the cheek before going through the living room to the set of stairs that led to the basement.

The stench of sweat and musk drifted up to meet me at the top of the stairwell. The room was dark with the exception of one light in the middle of the ceiling-just enough light to see, but not blinding. In all honesty I enjoyed sparring when it wasn’t with Dave. When Dave sparred he was out for blood. On the good nights, the nights he didn’t want to go for a few rounds, we worked side by side doing calisthenics or cardio. If we had more nights like that maybe I wouldn’t hate him so much. Sometimes I wish we had more good nights, and that Dave and I got along. I knew he’d never replace my dad, but when I didn’t end up bruised and broken, I thought maybe, just maybe, we could be a normal family. Then again those nights were few and far between. More than likely my hopes were just pipe dreams.
 

As I came closer to the last step I heard Dave shuffling across the mat that ran the length of the room. It was one of those black mats you might find in a dojo. I saw Dave’s shoeless feet first.
 

Oh fanfuckingtastic.

Kickboxing seemed to be his choice for the night. Since Dave’s legs were stronger than his arms, it took longer for him to wear down while we sparred. It meant I ended up in more pain and with more bruises than usual.
 

Dave went to college on a full ride wrestling scholarship. When he lost it his sophomore year he ventured into mixed martial arts. After school he continued to practice and learn new styles. Dave kept up the training for stamina, or so he said. I wasn’t convinced. How much stamina did you need to run a construction company anyway? Based on the bruises I kept getting, Dave used it more as a discipline tool than stamina. Discipline wasn’t a problem for me until we moved to Texas. Now I couldn’t stay out of trouble. Mom and Dad used to take things away from me when I screwed up, not once in the seventeen years before moving to Texas had I ever been hit. In the last year I’d been hit as a form of discipline more times than I could count. They say karma’s a bitch, but I’m not sure where my karma went bad or what I did to deserve the treatment I got from Dave. If she’s really a bitch I can’t wait for the time when all the shit Dave’s done comes back to bite him in the ass.
 

“If you want to work out with me you better move a little quicker. Your mother and I have plans for the evening.” He actually winked at me when he said that.

I cringed at the hint of what their plans for the evening included. It was a subject no one should have to talk about with their parents, or stepparents.
 

It wasn’t that I wanted to work out with him, but he didn’t give me much of a choice. “I’m here. Let’s get this over with.” I glanced at Dave’s feet. “I guess we’re kickboxing?”

Jumping from foot to foot with his hands in a fighting stance Dave gave me a quick nod, then launched with a right hook to my face. Months of practice saved me from a black eye right out of the gate, but it didn’t keep me from landing on my ass.
 

With a huff I stood and landed a kick to Dave’s ribs. “You won’t win tonight,” I hissed.
 

Dave let out a low gurgle I thought was supposed to be a growl. With a quick succession of punches and blocks Dave set up the rest of the round. It followed the same pattern…kick, dodge, punch, block, and ass to the mat. I had a tendency to spend more time on the mat than Dave, but tonight it was the opposite. The day’s events pulled my anger from the depths of my soul, filling my muscles with energy.
I’m done taking his shit. This ends tonight.

I gathered my strength and faced Dave, determined to leave with him on the floor rather than the other way around. The fight lasted longer than any other night, stopping forty-five minutes later, once again with my head buried in the mat. My ribs ached, it hurt to breathe, and I knew I’d have a nice ring around my eye in the morning. Fuck, fuck, fuck. He did it again.
I will stop him, if I have to kill him I will.
 
I slammed my fist into the mat before standing and retreating up the stairs.
 

Neither mom nor Dave was around. My shoulders slumped in relief, not wanting to hear my mother’s pity for me and lack of anger at Dave. She knew what he did to me, but never tried to stop it. I knew she didn’t have the strength to do anything, but she was the one that married him. She was the one that brought us to the hellhole of Texas. It was her, and for that there were times I hated her.

CHAPTER SEVEN

“Damn, dude. What the hell happened to you?” Mike asked when I walked to my locker the next morning.
 

“Nothing.”
 

“That aint’ nothing. Someone beat the shit out of you.”

“Observant one, aren’t we? Why the hell are you talking to me? I figured with you and Brandt hanging out all the time you’d be pissed off.” I yanked my first period books off the top shelf and shoved them into my bag. The added weight put pressure on the shoulder Dave used as a speed bag, making me wince.
 

“Dude, he shouldn’t have pushed about your mom. I’m sorry.” I raised an eyebrow at Mike. My mom, huh. Well I guess that made sense
.
 

“Good.” I shrugged my bag back up to my shoulder and slammed the door, leaving Mike in the hall with wide eyes and his mouth hanging open.
 

The buzz in the room died when I walked in. All eyes turned and followed me while I slid past people and desks on my way to the back of the room. The seat in the farthest of the room remained open, my chosen spot. No one expected me to participate in class, not even the teachers. I wasn’t just the shunned kid. I was the problem kid with an attitude. It worked well for me. People left me alone, and since I seemed to fight with anyone I knew, the fewer the better.
 

I knew the talk of the class was my fight the day before. A trip to the office and visit with the principal, threat of expulsion, and call to my psychiatrist would complete the routine. Even though Dr. Greenberg and I met after leaving the station I was eager to get back to her office.
 

As expected, two-thirds of the way through first period an office aide interrupted class with a note for me. The yellow piece of paper burned my hand as I walked the halls. My boots thumped on the floor, echoing through the emptiness. I wasn’t sure how the meeting would go this time.
 

Last week Mr. Scott, the principal, gave me a rundown of the school rules and reminded me that another fight would result in expulsion. Then he tried to get me to open up about my home, and how I really felt about moving from Florida to Texas. He said he knew how I felt, and thought it would be good for me to open up. Blah, blah, blah. When I told him about Dr. Greenberg, Mr. Scott rested his chin on top of his clasped hands and remained silent.
 

I stood in front of his door and tapped on the frosted glass.
 

“Come in Mr. Pierce.”
 

“That’s not my name damn it,” I muttered.
 

I clenched my fists and took a deep breath. I had to figure out some way to quit losing it when people called me Pierce. The day before I’d put Stacey in danger because of her slip, and she was one of the most careful people I knew. If only Dr. Greenberg knew what was wrong with me.
 

The door swung open at the same time I wrapped my fingers around the doorknob. Mr. Scott stood inches from me with his glasses pushed to the tip of his nose. He peered over the rims. “Are you going to stand out here all day, or come in and have a chat with me?”

Mr. Scott was in the National Guard. On the first day of school he spent most of the introduction speech telling me about his days in Iraq with Operation Desert Storm. He was a young principal, but already set in his ways. The dominance he tried to pull annoyed me more than angered me.
 

“Here’s the deal. I’m supposed to expel you, but I’m not convinced you have full control over your outbursts. That being said, we still have a no fighting policy and you must take responsibility for your actions.”

I let my head roll forward and fall back. I was stressed and tired. Not a good combination for dealing with Mr. Scott. The nonchalance I showed earned a snort from the principal.
 

“No argument?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “Nope. Not in the mood. What’s my punishment?”

“It’s simple really.”

“Good. What is it?” I laced my fingers together and put them behind my head. As I rested against my hands my eyes closed.
 

Mr. Scott’s breathing sped up and papers shuffled around on the desk. One of his tells of getting mad. “You will begin meeting with me once a week to talk about what’s going on.”

My eyes shot open and I leaned forward. “I’m not talking to you. I already talk to Dr. Greenberg. Why should I talk to you? You don’t care about me.”

Mr. Scott rubbed his hand down his face. When he reached his chin he stopped for a minute. I shifted in my seat and began cracking my knuckles.
 

“I care about all of my students Mr. Pierce.”

“Quit calling me that. I’m not a fucking Pierce.” I gritted.

Mr. Scott pulled up in his chair and sat his clasped hands in front of him. With his chin turned down and eyes narrowed he began the scolding, “You will not talk to me like that. I’ve already told you that you’ll show me the respect I deserve. I won’t force us to talk, but you’ll meet with Dr. Greenberg three times a week.” I opened my mouth to protest, but Mr. Scott held up his hand. “I’m not done. You will meet with her three times a week,
and
you’ll meet with me once a week. We don’t have to talk about what’s going on at your home or with Dr. Greenberg, but we
will
talk.
 

“I do care about you. If I didn’t, you wouldn’t be sitting in that chair right now. You’d be packing your bag and be expelled. Also, you’re suspended for five days effective Monday.”

I dropped my head to my chest. “Fine,” I whispered, and pushed myself out of the chair.

“Would you like to tell me where the black eye came from? You didn’t get it yesterday.”

“No.” A short, terse answer was all he got before I walked out the door.
 

Mr. Scott’s office was nestled inside the larger main office. The receptionist’s desk took up most of the room, and as I passed I looked up to see three student assistants laughing at an unheard joke. Ready to get back to class, I managed to avoid eye contact with them while I waited for my pass. A small hand reached out with the pink hall pass. My eyes narrowed at the pinky ring she wore. It wasn’t anything special, but the small silver music note caught my attention. I looked up right into Chelsea’s misty gray eyes.
 

“You,” I breathed. A thin smile spread across her lips, and she gave me a quick nod. “Why? What did you say to Officer Belmont?”
 

She shook her head. “Not right now. Find me after school.”

She was so tiny. There was strength in her eyes. As I stood there, a desk between us, a sense of ease washed over me. She didn’t look at me like I was crazy. She didn’t ask about my bruises. Chelsea accepted me. I wasn’t sure why, but I had to find out…after school.

The rest of the day was a blur. No one paid attention to me. Mike tried to talk to me a couple of times, but I wasn’t in the mood to answer questions. He was a good guy, and I appreciated his concern, but the problems between Dave and me were no one else’s business.
 

When the final bell of the day rang, I gathered my books and made my way through the crowd of people fighting to leave. Anxious to meet with Chelsea, I didn’t stop by my locker; my books would be there later. She didn’t tell me where to go, so I went to the area everyone hung out at during lunch and between classes. I crossed the basketball courts at the back of the school to the open square of grass cordoned off with picnic tables. Upper classmen had first dibs on the tables, but with it being the end of the day they’d all gone home or to whatever sports practice they had. Now they were filled with underclassmen waiting on parents or the bus.
 

If I had more than a couple of friends, it wouldn’t have mattered if the upper classmen were gone or not since I’d be one of them. But as it stood, I was an outcast.
 

I found an open spot at one of the tables and tossed my bag on the grass below. The air was warm and lacked the usual humidity common for Texas. I leaned back on my elbows and tilted my head back. My muscles relaxed for the first time that day while the sun warmed my skin. My eyelids became heavy and drifted closed. I inhaled deeply remembering the night before. Dave bested me again, but I’d lasted longer this time. It was only a matter of time before I’d take him to the mat. Then it was on. I wouldn’t stand being beat up over and over any longer.
 

“Luke.” Her voice chimed and pulled my attention to her.
 

“Hey.”

“How are you today?” I nodded to the seat next to me for Chelsea to sit. She reached up to touch a spot just under my eye and I pulled back. “I’m sorry, did this happen yesterday?”

“Yeah.” I glanced down at the grass.

Chelsea placed her hand on my shoulder, but I shrugged her off. “When? You didn’t look this bad at the station.”

“Did you not just hear me? It happened y e s t e r d a y.”

“Then it was after school. Which means someone else hit you. Who was it?” She folded her arms.

So much for her not asking questions. I was wrong. She didn’t like me for me. Just like everyone else, Chelsea wanted to fix me.

“No one.” I looked away from Chelsea.
 

She tugged on the hair at the bottom of my neck and I turned back to face her. “Why are you afraid of me?” she asked.

BOOK: Fight for Love
7.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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