Chapter 22: Last Times
“Aah! It is so good to see you in a tournament again, Lysandra.”
Jack is standing before me with a grand smile. His goons take off mine and Vik’s handcuffs and then they rid us of our hoods. To my surprise, Vik is handling it nicely and has yet to threaten anyone with broken necks. When the SUV showed up and we were shoved in it, handcuffed and covered, Vik threw a fit and managed to take one guard down, before the guns were pulled on us.
“Jack,” I simply acknowledge he is there.
“The deal is the usual one. Our guests will be coming in around 9 for the rounds. Fights start at 10.”
“Who’s in?” I ask.
“You’ll find out at the presentation. Like everyone else.”
“No one knows I am back?”
“Just our guests. I said nothing to the fighters,” Jack smiles with fake amusement. “Some might hesitate to face you in the cage. Especially, after the last time.”
I lift my chin but I say nothing. He says this to play me, break me down. He knows well why I gave up the fights and he is using it to shake me. I give him nothing. Not even a punch in the face.
He beckons and a smiley guy comes up to us. He wears a suit and he is shorter than me. Our liaison. I got to give it to Jack, he sure knows how to make this fucking, bloody fights a classy spectacle.
“I am Kenny. I will be your aide,” he smiles to both of us. “Follow me.”
I glance at Vik that looks around, taking the place in but there is nothing to see. It is a typical foyer with an industrial chic style. As per usual, Jack has renovated an abandoned building even if it is just for the night. The fee of admission alone could afford him to buy the whole thing and turn it to a luxurious resort. His cut from the bets is much, much bigger.
Kenny leads us to a narrow corridor that has only one door at its end. I feel Vik behind me tense. And he has seen nothing yet. I haven’t told him much about the drill ’cause there is no way he would let me come. He will find out soon enough.
“These will be your quarters,” Kenny uses a key card and opens the door. “I was asked to let you know that you have nothing to worry about. There will be two men outside your door at all times.”
I smirk and shake my head. Jack is making sure I don’t break out and fuck things up. And being here with a Rider, doesn’t help. I look down at Kenny as he motions me in and I enter the room. I flinch. A year has passed since that night but I am back for good. Same fucking room, same conditions. My jaw tightens but if I know Jack, he has cameras all over the place and I am sure one is zooming on my face right now.
“Tell Jack that if in the next five minutes he doesn’t bring me to see Daniel, he will have a real problem in his hands,” I throw at Kenny and pass him by.
I walk in the room and I glance around coldly. It’s an open space with a toilet, a shower and a bed on one side and a warm-up ground with punchbags, lifts and all I need at the other. There’s a table with food and drinks on a corner. And a medical station to mend me between fights. Right across the door, a wall-to-wall glass door covered on the outside with a heavy velvet curtain. Jack’s fights have a flair of the theatrics after all. Vik walks past me and goes up to the glass. Not that we weren’t checked for guns -along with any kind of transmitters – but I doubt a gun would do quick damage to this glass.
“What the fuck is this place?” Vik comes to my side.
“A cell,” I drop my bag.
Vik goes around the place like a feral being trapped in lockup. I take one deep breath. and I put on my cold mask. I have to do this for Daniel. I must do it. I can do it. I will show the world the Cold Bitch one last time. This time is different. This time I fight for someone that is not me. And this time I have Vik by my side.
“I don’t fucking like this, Lys.”
“There’s nothing to like, Vik,” I take a bottle of water and open it. “I am here to fight with no rules in a cage.”
“How many fights have you fought, Lys?” Vik eyes me from across the room.
I gulp the water and I tense my shoulders. He thinks he knows that I am just a tough nut to crack, a girl with skills. What he is going to see in the fucking ring might scare him.
“64,” I answer.
“How many have you won?” he approaches.
I pin him with my look and my jaw clenches. He shouldn’t be here. It should have been anyone else but him. Those behind that velvet curtain await a wild beast on display, fights to the end. Maybe not to the grave but sometimes close enough. I didn’t survive this far by being just quick and strong.
“Lysa? How many fights have you won?” Vik insists.
“All of them,” my eyes narrow.
He studies me but says nothing. This place, this whole situation has me relapsing to old habits. I was 11 when I went to the gym, looking for a way to keep predators off my back. I was 17 when I fought my first street fight for money. At 20 Jack found me and brought me to his private tournaments. I was conditioned to be this, a cold-blooded fighter for people’s entertainment. I thought that I would live and die in the cage.
“OK,” Vik nods and comes up to me.
I shake my head to stop him. It was already a mistake to have him here. That would give Jack the two most important people for me. He knows there’s something going on between me and Vik but I don’t need him to get ideas in his head about using him against me. I motion him to the bed and we both sit side by side. This will all be over soon. One way or another.