Chapter 20: Fears Faced
I am in the gym. That’s where I am all the time. I have to be ready, I need to be ready. Vik has proved the best trainer I’ve ever had and managed to make his beloved martial art mine too. When all this shit is done, I will ask him to teach me more. Aha! my subconscious is always up for a good fight. Guess it’s part of me, after all. I have repeated a thousand times that after this I am gone, and a thousand more, Vik was there to make me rethink this.
I try to convince myself that’s it’s the sex. Not that it’s not reason enough. It is. God, it is. He is everything my body wants and yearns. Tough and rough when needed, slow and sweet at the same time. He can go all night and he always makes sure I am fully sated before taking me in his arms to sleep. He has yet to disappoint. But it’s not just the sex.
I can see it, feel it in the way he is around me. He wants me to stay. He is like a wild animal circling his territory, claiming me, luring me to him. He barely leaves my side, watching me with those damn eyes of him. He even gave up his place in the porn studio and handed it to Runner. When Tor teased him that he was so under my thumb that he did that for me, he shrugged and said “I don’t need to be around pussy all day when I can have her.” . I know it shouldn’t be considering sweet having your boyfriend give up running a porn studio for you, but it is. Boyfriend? Interesting, I need to seriously punch myself right now.
I kick the bag not knowing what to do with all that shit. I wasn’t planning on this. I wasn’t planning of liking Daniel, of appreciating the club and finding people I can actually stand for more than two seconds. And I certainly wasn’t planning on falling for a man like Vik.
“Princess,” Vik comes in the gym. “A package for you. Stig and Bjorn cleared it to make sure it’s safe.”
Stig comes in after him carrying his laptop. He hands me a cellphone and sits on a bench. Jack! I know instantly. He always pulled shit like that, the expensive phone being a way to impress the fighters and keep them hungry for more. I glance up to Vik and his face is rigid but nods to me encouragingly.
“I am set. I will trace that motherfucker,” Stig nods to me.
I unlock the phone and go straight to the contacts. One. J. I press dial and I take one deep breath. Moments after Jack answers. I put him on speaker.
“Jack,” I keep my voice even.
“I hope you are doing well.”
“And the weather is pleasant. Now, stop this bullshit and talk.”
“The tournament is in three days.”
“I want to talk to Daniel first.”
“You don’t trust me, Lysandra?”
“If I don’t hear Daniel’s voice in three seconds, you’ll see firsthand how I feel about you.”
“Lysa?” Daniel’s voice resonates through the speakers.
“Daniel,” I try to keep my voice even but it breaks. “Are you good?”
“Good,” he is calm. “Don’t do this, girl.”
My heart tightens. His voice is even, not an ounce of fear in it and he talks clearly which means that they haven’t hit him, at least not in the face or head. But it’s the sentiment in those few words that has me. Laden with worry, not for him but for me. He is worried about me.
“That’s enough,” Jack interrupts. “An SUV with my men will pick you up on Friday at 6, at the abandoned hotel at Point Richmond. You come alone, Lysandra. If I see a Harley or even a hint of leather, I will send you your father’s heart.”
“Understood. I’ll be alone,” I pin Vik.
Vik moves closer and glares at me with an angry look. We have talked about it. The tournament allows trainers to tag along. The rich assholes pay for a private experience of a real MMA tournament, only theirs can go as far as death. Still trainers are part of the deal. Hell, all the fighters, we had our walk-out songs and shit. Walk-out to our own death under a goddamn song. And Vik wants in, to be by me. I shake my head and Vik grabs my wrist pleading me to go according to plan.
“My trainer will come,” I say finally.
“Let me guess,” Jack chuckles, “a certain Rider with a sword tattoo.”
“Exactly,” I don’t bother hiding shit.
“Only him. Unarmed.”
I smile mischievously. Vik is more dangerous unarmed. But I am guessing Jack doesn’t know that and still holds onto the idea of a gun-crazed biker in his mind.
“And tell that whiz kid that even if he manages to trace the call – which I am sure he can - I’ll ditch that phone and leave this place soon after our call is over. You’ll never get here fast enough.”
I glance upon Stig and he is dead focused on his lap top. His thick eyebrows are knit and he bites his lip ring. A triumphant look spreads on his face.
“Glad to see that you had to hide deep to keep away from us,” Stig says, “but it won’t do you any good.”
“You are good, kid,” Jack’s voice breaks. “It has costed me a lot to keep you from finding me. You are good, I’ll give you that. But not that good. And I’ll make that money back. After all, the Cold Bitch is back in the game and everyone wants to see that.”
He hangs up and I fist the phone letting out a frustrated scream. Vik comes to me and takes me in his arms to keep me calm.
“Where is he, brother?” he asks Stig.
“FuckLand,” Stig closes his laptop. “He is hiding in no man’s land, in an abandoned warehouse in Cisco. No cameras, no traffic. Nothing. We can try it but the fucker is smart. Whoever does his security is pro.”
“No need to track him down,” I say still in Vik’s arms. “We know where he’ll be in three days.”
Stig lifts his chin and walks out. Vik wraps me even closer and kisses the top of my head. It’s amazing that the same man can make me feel so many things when he touches me. Hot when his fingers go to my most hidden places, safe when his arms are around me, happy when he kisses me ever so lightly.
“It’s going to be fine, princess. We’ll get Daniel out and show that Jack asshole what it means to fuck with the Riders.”
“I know. I’ll crush everyone he puts in my way,” my chest heaves in anger. “He wanted the Cold Bitch back? He will sure as Hell get her back.”
“Shit, Lys, remind never to be on your bad side.” Vik chuckles.
“You’d better not,” I look up to him.
“Hey, haven’t I been a good boy?” his voice deepens. “Haven’t I licked you good every night? Haven’t I made you come, princess? Made you shiver under my touch?”
Yes! Yes! And yes! I scream in my head. He has done this and more and I don’t ever want to be touched by anyone else. There’ll be no other man like him in my life, all will pale in comparison. He broke me, ruined me for anybody else. I am trapped, snared by him. And damn me, I fucking like it. I leave a kiss on his lips.
“I got to train. Three days. I need to be ready.”
“Let’s put that to the test, Lys. Last sparring session.”
After Runner and Ironhand I have been in the ring with Vince – a purebred boxer – and Wood – ex-SEAL, Krav Maga expert. Vince knew how to take a punch and most importantly how to avoid one but my kicks got to him bad. Wood was a tougher target with swift moves and ruthless attacks. I dropped my Muay Thai with him right away and practiced my newly found BJJ skills. He seemed surprised to be with his back on the mat. I am curious to see who Vik has set me up with today.
No, no, no. I glance over Vik’s back and Rage is standing there. Not him. I was expecting Bjorn if I were honest. Not the Hellhound of the Riders. They all say that he is more calm and mellower ever since Iris walked in his life but I can’t even start to imagine how the fucker was before that. His look is always vigilant, alert, crazy. His body is ripped, every inch worked to make him lethal, each move of his body deadly. He is the one in the gym more than the others, somedays more than me. I am afraid of him. Clear as that. I have never been scared of a fight but I am scared of a sparring session with Rage.
Vik walks up to Rage that keeps his blue eyes trained on me. Knee-shuttering is his piercing look. Someone has set a wild animal loose. A hungry, pissed off animal and I am its next meal. Each of the Riders was a challenge, a way to know that no matter what is thrown my way, I’ll make it. But him...I can’t beat a beast like him. He’ll break me and I won’t be able to fight in three days.
“Brother,” Vik demands Rage’s attention and has it, “this is sparring, not fighting. You got me?”
Rage nods but I am still not relieved.
“This is my woman, Rage. Reel yourself in or I’ll kill you.”
Another nod. I gulp.
“Rage,” Vik’s voice is dead serious, “she is to me what Iris is to you.”
That makes the Hound relax his shoulders. The look in his eyes turns calmer, less crazy and I know he has heard Vik. The mention of Iris alone is enough to make him look like an actual human being. He loves Iris, I can see us much. And Vik said he feels the same for me. All the fear I felt by the thought of facing Rage is nothing to the dread that spreads in my heart. Love. I can’t tackle that, can’t bob my way out of this hit coming at me.
“Lys?” I haven’t even noticed Vik is standing before me “Ready?”
“You sure about this?” I ask not knowing to what I am referring to.
“There is nothing worse out there than Rage. Face him, simply step against that psycho and you will have conquered all your fears.”
Suddenly the animal warming up in the ring seems like a walk in the park before my conflicted feelings. I am falling too deep, too fast, too brutally. Rage can break my spine in half but it’s Vik I am afraid of. Vik can kill me and he doesn’t have to touch me. I frown, rein my panic in and walk in the ring.
“Fight,” Vik orders.
The biggest fight of my life.