Tank is the first to attack, aiming for my injured side with his leg. Smart, but predictable.
I dodge his kick, sending one of my own into his torso. I catch his sternum with my heel, making him stagger back a little. Using the momentum of my turn, I send an uppercut punch to his face, but since he’s so much taller than me, I only manage to catch his jaw, taking him by surprise.
We exchange blow after blow, kick after kick, but we just can’t seem to end it, none of us willing to back down.
In the end I manage to get him on the ground. I jump on him, my knees hitting his torso hard, earning a pained groan from him. I swing my arm before aiming a straight punch into Tank’s face.
My fist stops less than an inch from his nose when I hear him tap out.
“AND TAP OUT!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!! TANK TAPS OUT!!! GHOST CONQUERS THE CAGE ONCE MORE!!! THAT’S OUR QUEEN!” I hear MC’s excited voice as he screams into his mic.
I get up from Tank’s stomach then extend my hand to him. He gives me a surprised look, but takes my hand nonetheless.
“You’re really good, no wonder I couldn’t beat you.” Tank chuckles, massaging his dislocated shoulder.
I step away, giving him a slight bow. He returns the gesture with a small smile on his face. I smile under my mask, and as if he notices it, his grin gets wider. “It’s been an honor to fight with you.” He says as he leaves the cage.
The bodyguards escort me out after I collect my money from the MC. Despite the chaos in the Cage, I manage to catch a glimpse of a familiar face in the crowd. I make sure not to let my gaze linger for too long on their face, so they don’t realize I noticed them.
I adjust the bag across my shoulder and get on my bike. Without as much as a glance back, I leave, heading towards my hideout.
Lia leaves right after the fight, not even acknowledging our presence as she goes through the cheering crowd. She sure is popular.
“Let’s go.” I turn to the guys, getting up from my seat at the booth.
We leave through the back door, where it’s much less crowded before leaving the place. We decided earlier that we’re going to meet up at my house and spend the weekend there. And since my parents have to go to work tomorrow, we will be able to talk freely and have a few drinks.
We reach my house around 1 am, so we go straight to our rooms, trying not to wake up my parents. I leave the front door unlocked so Lia can get in when she arrives.
I take a quick shower, washing off the dye from my hair then take out my lenses and brush my teeth, barely awake. How the hell does Lia do it every time she fights, especially on Sundays, when she has to go to school on Monday. I’m falling asleep standing in my bathroom and I’m not even the one who’s been fighting tonight. I hope she doesn’t get into an accident on her way here.
I lie in my bed, wearing only black briefs as I wait for Lia. I try to stay awake, but after a while a huge yawn escapes my mouth as my eyes close. I shake my head, rubbing my eyes. I will not fall asleep before Lia comes here.
The sound of my bedroom door opening wakes me up from my slumber. Fuck, I fell asleep.
Lia gives me an amused smile. “I woke you up, didn’t I? Sorry.” She chuckles quietly. I send her a sleepy grin and pat the space next to me. “Come here.”
Lia undresses, leaving only her underwear on, then puts on my shirt and gets in the bed with me. I notice a bunch of bruises on her small body and it breaks my heart. They look painful.
I gently wrap my arms around her as we settle into a comfortable position.
“Why did you come so late?” I ask after a glance at my clock, which shows it’s already after 4 am, caressing Lia’s cheek with my knuckles.
“I had to wash up and change. Besides, it takes almost an hour to get here from my secret place.” She sleepily mumbles, rolling on top of me, with her head on my chest and her legs tangled with mine.
I decide not to question any further, just letting the sleep come instead. We can talk after we wake up.
“Wow! Now that’s something I don’t mind looking at.” I hear someone say. Opening my eyes, I see that few guys have entered my room and they are audaciously ogling my girl. Lia’s draped over me, with my arm wrapped around her waist under her shirt. The blanket is thrown off, pooling around my feet.
It takes few moments for my mind to register what the guys are talking about. Lia does not have any pants on and they're looking at her ass barely covered by her black panties!!! For fuck’s sake!!!
“GET OUT!!!” I snarl at them, getting only an amused laugh in response.
“Why, I’m enjoying the view. That’s a nice ass.” Damien smirks, leering at my sleeping girl's body.
“I will motherfucking murder you! Eyes off!!! Why the fuck do you always barge into my room?!” I’m getting fucking angry, but I can’t get up because of Lia lying on my chest.
“Stop fucking moving!” Lia grumbles into my neck, tightening her hold on me.
“Shh, baby, go back to sleep.” I softly tell her, rubbing her back under the shirt.
“Aren’t you cute. – Damien mocks, but I see it bothers him to see Lia with me. Fucker really likes her! – Fine, fine. We’re leaving. Happy now?” He grunts, leaving my room.
We stay in bed for about an hour more. Lia finally gets up, with a pained groan, making me worried. She sits up, straddling me, then she yawns cutely as she stretches. She looks down at me with sleepy eyes before giving me a small smile.
“Do you even realize what are you sitting on?” I decide to tease her a little.
“Hm?” She gives me a confused look and looks down to where she’s sitting. I half-expect her to blush, but she just looks back to my face, wiggling her butt. “Does it bother you?” She smiles teasingly.
“I’m sure you can feel what it does, and bother is not a word I would use.” I put my hands on her hips, keeping her in place. “It just makes it hard for me.” I almost laugh as she cringes at the pun then jumps off me and dashes to the bathroom.
“Ew, ew, ew!” I hear her grumble as she slams the bathroom door, making me laugh.
After we’re both done with our morning routine, we go downstairs to get something to eat. It’s already lunch time, since we slept in.
“Your parents already left and there’s nothing to eat.” Ty groans dramatically when we enter the kitchen.
“Lia! Lia! Lia!!!” The rest of the guys look expectantly at my girl, chanting her name.
I just chortle at the annoyed look on my girl’s face. “Don’t even think about it. I am not going to cook for all of you. Order some take out.”
“Oh come on! Pretty please?” Nathan whines.
“You’re not pretty.” Lia rebukes grumpily.
I barely stop myself from laughing out loud at them.
The guys sit at the table, impatiently waiting for their food. I can hear Nathan and Tyler’s knees bouncing, while Lia starts getting the food ready. She mumbles angrily as she whips the pancake batter, making me smile. She’s so cute when annoyed.
I make my way to her, wrapping my arms around her waist from behind, leaning my chin on her shoulder. “Blake.” Lia warns, but I can tell she’s not serious. She loves it when I do that.
“Do you need any help?”
“Yeah, make them some cereal.” Everyone laughs at her mocking tone.
“I have to tell you, my cooking skills have improved lately.” She scoffs at that.
“Oh yeah? Let me guess, you can fry an egg now.” And here it is, sarcasm. She always uses it when annoyed.
“My cute kitten.” I chuckle, kissing her cheek.
She puts the first pancake on the plate, but I steal it and take a bite, earning a dirty look from the guys. “Fuck off, it’s only right that I get the first one.” I tell them smugly, obnoxiously stuffing the rest of the pancake into my mouth.
My angry girl makes us all pancakes and omelets with bacon, sausage and stir-fried vegetables. It’s both breakfast and lunch, so Lia prepare a lot, much to our pleasure.
“You sure eat a lot.” Nathan jokes, as Lia fills her plate to the brim.
“I’m hungry after the fight.” She answers casually.
“Speaking of fighting. You were AWESOME yesterday! That fucker was, like, 3 times your size and you still beat him!” Tyler exclaims with wide eyes.
“Don’t call him that. His name is Tank, not that fucker. Show some respect.” Lia admonishes seriously. Why is she so serious about it?
“Sorry.” Ty apologizes meekly.
“But why are you defending him? He hurt you.” Nathan asks, slightly surprised. I turn to Lia, waiting for her response. I want to know, too.
“He’s a fighter, he deserves some respect.” Lia shrugs, but it only raises more questions.
“What do you mean by that?” I implore with a curious look.
Lia just sighs heavily, thinking about something.
“A real fighter has PHD and Tank showed me yesterday that he does.” Lia starts, but the guys’ sudden outburst interrupts her.
“PhD?? And where do you get that? A university of fighting??” Ty laughs.
“I'm not talking about the academic degree. PHD stands for Pride, Honor and Dignity. If you lack even one of those traits, you’re simply a thug, who fights, not a fighter. – everyone listens closely as she talks – Just fighting does not make you a fighter. There is much more to it than people think. Being strong physically is not everything, you ought to have proper mindset about it. Take pride in what you do, be honorable and place your dignity over your greed. I highly believe that it’s not only the fight itself that creates your reputation, but what happens after.” She finishes, leaning back in her chair.
“That’s why you helped Tank?” Damien asks.
“Basically. He was a good opponent. He fought fair and square, relying solely on his own skills. He didn’t beat me because those skills were not enough to achieve it, but he didn’t resort to dirty tricks in order to win, unlike Ace. Tank earned my respect by doing so, therefore I helped him. Ace, however, threw away his honor and dignity by resorting to using a knife. He’s not a fighter. He’s a thug and that’s why he didn’t deserve an ounce of respect during the fight.” I’m fucking stunned. I had no idea that she takes this so seriously.
“And the bow? You know, after the fight? You bowed down to Tank, we all saw it.” Nathan inquires.
“I’m not denying it. I did bow to Tank. It was a sign of my respect to him as a fellow fighter. I didn’t, however, bow to Ace, if you haven’t noticed. Like I said, he didn’t deserve that.”
“Can I ask you something else? It’s been on my mind for a while now.” Josh asks.
“Why ‘Ghost’?” I see Lia is surprised by the sudden change of topic.
“I think it’s self-explanatory. I don’t exist. No one knows my face, name or age. If someone was trying to find me, they wouldn’t know who to look for. That’s why my whole appearance as Ghost is made up. I wear a mask, contact lenses, dye my hair. I don’t change at my house and ride a bike instead of my car when I go to the Cage. I’m unrecognizable, untraceable. It makes things easier for me when I relocate. I cannot be chased after, I don’t ‘sign up’ with any of the clubs I fight at. I’m the only person who decides when and who I fight. Everything is up to me. My anonymity is my shield. It prevents anyone from tying me down or forcing me to do things for them.
And I can leave whenever I want.”