Always Together

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Chapter 10

Switching on the lights Alec enters the room and I follow him behind. When Alec was unlocking the door, I utilize this time to take in my surroundings, just to make sure I remember the way out.

When it comes to your safety, remember one thing don’t trust anyone. Even if you are with someone who is trustable, but still, always keep your guards up. Because you never know, when that person also might need your help. If you know how to protect yourself, then you can protect others too.

My eyes roam around the room, which looks like it is someone’s office. One out of four wall is floor to ceiling window overlooking the inside of the Battleground. From here you can clearly watch everything, including the fighting ring. If my guess is right the window is a one-way glass window.

“Here.” Alec comes from behind and hands me... an ice-cream tub?

“Ice-cream?” I look at him, in confusion.

If someone like Alec says, he knows what can help me in calming down my anger, then ice-cream will not be the thing which will come in my mind. Things like breaking stuff or letting your anger out on a punching bag or cursing the shit out of someone, these things make much more sense.

Honestly, that is how I let out my frustration. And I was so ready to let out my anger on him, but I guess we have different ways of calming ourselves.

“Yeah, eat this, it will help in cooling off your anger.” He opens the tub which is half empty and gives me a spoon.

Cooling off my anger? I am annoyed, not going through the breakup that ice-cream will help me.

“Dude, this is not even full.” I take ice-cream from his hand and points my spoon inside.

“Yeah.” He looks down and scratches his neck, “I was eating it before the match.”

I shake my head and place a spoonful of vanilla ice-cream in my mouth. Instantly, I clench my eyes shut, momentary going through brain freeze. After a moment when ice-cream starts to melt, I start feeling better.

“I want to ask you something.” I take another spoon of ice-cream and sit on the floor facing the window.

“Go ahead.” He nods and, following my actions, sits beside me on the floor.

“You could have knocked out that guy easily in the first five to six minutes,” I look at him, “Then why you dragged the whole match for twenty minutes?”

“What makes you think I was dragging the match?” He raises his eyebrow, “Knocking him out was not easy.” He shakes his head in denial.

“You were clearly dragging it.” I state looking at him pointedly, “He may match you in size and built, but in skills, he was not your match.” I shake my head.

“You were just tiring him, I can see that from the start. In no time you have figured his moves, that is why you were easily blocking his every hit.” I turn my gaze back to the window watching another fight which is happening in the ring, “Only in the last five minutes you hit him, otherwise, you were just blocking... playing defensively.” I arch my eyebrow at him, my lips twitched upward in a smile when I notice, slight bewilderment in his eyes

“And why do you think he was not my match?” He asks, instantly recovering from his shock, in a challenging tone.

“Really?” I give him an incredulous look, “Still thinking that I am a fool?”

“So, listen, dodo.” I puff out an air, “His footwork was crap, his punches were uncoordinated, he was not using his brain, just throwing punches in the air in aggression. He just once or twice got lucky and his fist connected with your side. Even you can’t deny that you were dying to finish such a one-sided match.” I roll my eyes.

“So you were actually watching the match.” He slowly nods to himself, sounding impressed.

“So what did you thought I was checking you out?” I scoff.

“I don’t mind, if you did,” he says in a teasingly.

“I don’t have interest in drooling over half-naked sweaty guys. I would only admire my guy.” I put the empty ice-cream tub at the side and lick the spoon clean, “Now, back to the topic, why the drag?”

“You are watching all these people.” He points his finger at the crowd gathered around the ring, “Most of them place bets on the fights. As these matches are not the finals, so most of the bets are placed in the last few minutes of the fight. That’s why sometimes drag is the demand.” He chuckles as he says drag.

“What do you get from these bets?”

“We get sponsors.” He scratches his eyebrow, then rakes his hand through his hair, “The more people come to see matches in our club and place higher bets, the more bigs sponsors take interest in our fighters and the club.”

I slowly nod taking in all the information.

“How do you know all this stuff? Obviously, you don’t just fight here.” I raise my eyebrow questioningly.

“My dad owns this club and I just look after it on his behalf,” he says casually.

I wanted to ask about his parents, then it will eventually lead to him asking about my parents, which I don’t want to discuss, now. So I decided against it.

“Avery, please don’t get me wrong when I say this, okay?” He looks down for a moment, like he is contemplating, then returns his gaze to mine.

“You have to keep our friendship a secret,” he carefully says, trying to figure my reaction, “I don’t want anyone to know that we know each other... that we are friends.” Traces of guilt evident in his voice, as he tears his gaze away from my face.

I will not lie that it did hurt, to hear this from him. Although my lack of friends never really bothered me, however, this is not that. It almost seems like being friends with me is something bad, about which no one should know.

But, I can’t overlook the fact that in this small span of time, I find Alec a genuine person. Nothing about him seemed suspicious, every time we talk I feel a little happier and a little more liberated. Surprisingly, all our talks are random or about general stuff, but still, I look forward to them.

It is like one minute we are talking about how the old cartoon network was better than the new cartoon network and the other minute we are talking about the unsolved mysteries of the universe.

“Don’t worry, no one is going to find out from me that we know each other.” Keeping away all the traces of hurt from my face, I look at him and give him my most convincing and practiced smile.

Whenever I get upset or someone hurts me, I conceal my pain with a smile. Because I don’t want to let others know that they have any kind of power over me.

Smile is my best defense when my fists are not in action.

“But Kris knows that we know each other and we, sometimes, talk. And if she knows, then I am sure Jake also knows.” I avoid using the word friendship. But I think he noticed that because his face slightly hardens.

“It is fine if Kris and Jake know that we are friends, Avery.” He puts stress on friends, confirming my earlier suspicion.

My phone pings in my bag, as I get a message from Pops. He is asking about my whereabouts and wants to know when I will be home. I instantly ask him to pick me up, mentioning that I have got a flat tire. I quietly laugh to myself reading his reply.

I know secluded roads and night is a tempting combo but refrain from giving in to temptation, no matter how much your dark side calls you.

P.s. I will be there in fifteen minutes, top.

“I will not go anywhere and wait for you here only.” I roll my eyes and text him back.

Few minutes pass then I realize that now Pops is coming to pick me up, so I should wait for him near my car. As if he knows I am with Alec, so obviously he will ask questions about him.

“Alec, thank you for the ice-cream.” I stand up, he also mirrors my action, “But it is getting late and I should go home, now.”

“Oh, yeah.” He nods and pats his pockets, “Just wait, I will get my car keys then I will drop you.” He quickly turns around to fetch his keys from the office table.

“No need to bother.” I wave my hand dismissively, “I have asked Pops to pick me up, he is on his way. So, thank you.” I shrug giving him a tight smile.

“I could have dropped you, it was not an issue.” He shakes his head, sounding slightly dejected.

“Alec, it is fine.” I say as I get a message from Pops saying he is going to be here in any moment, “And almost everyone had seen us talking to each other at your party, and if we are seen together again, then everyone will find out that we are still in touch. It is better that we should just limit our talk till texts so that you don’t have to worry about people finding out that you know me.” I shift my weight from foot to the other, as I steadily hold his gaze.

My voice surprisingly sounds so formal, just like his earlier words have vanished all the informality between us.

His jaws are tense as he swallows hard while he silently listens to me.

If he doesn’t want to acknowledge our friendship, then he should not expect that I will take his help. Because this not a conventional friendship where friends help each other, it is more like friendship for the time being.

“I will get going.” I purse my lips and walk past him.

“Can I expect a text from you when you reach home?” He asks impassively, making me halt in my steps.

“Of course, from now, you can only expect a text from me.” I chuckle, even though I don’t find any humor in my own words... just truth, and without looking in his direction I leave.

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