Carey sighed as she watched the minutes tick by as she sat on the sofa, glass of red in hand. She ran her short manicured nails through her wavy hair and sighed again. Yet another night waiting up for her husband to come home. She tried to tell herself not to worry yet a little voice in the back of her mind argued with her. He finished work at 5pm, the same as any other normal person. Yet even six hours later there wasn’t so much as a simple text to say he wouldn’t be home. This was a common occurrence recently. Jeff wasn’t coming home, always saying he had a work meeting or there was files to be sent yet when he eventually did come home, the whisky lingering on his breath told a completely different story. Carey took another sip and sighed.
Carey had met Jeff in university. He was training to be a financial consultant whilst she was working towards her nursing degree. She was a party girl, with plans to travel before settling into her dream job. Never did she dream of forgetting those dreams and settling down with a boyfriend before she had even graduated. Jeff was more than sweet, buying her flowers after her hectic practical class she had every Thursday and taking her out for treats every weekend. When he asked her to live with him it not only seemed excited but the right thing to do. When she fell pregnant only seven months into her first nursing job, she could admit she was a little bit gutted. Jeff was over the moon excited and yet again when he proposed, she assumed it was the right thing to do considering they lived together and she was now carrying his child.
Losing the baby was hard for both of them. Carey had grown to accept the fact and she was going to be a mother. They had disagreed over the fact of her being a stay at home mother or a working mom. It was enough to force Carey onto more permanent birth control, only further angering Jeff. After a few weeks apart, they were reunited and everything went back to normal. Jeff was cheery again and Carey had her spark back. She finally felt as though all her decisions in life were actually positive ones.
Carey received a promotion three years into their marriage, forcing her hours up and her determination to succeed even further. Jeff was struggling to gain more clients, the stock market was bad and that was how the drinking began. Before, Carey spent her rare free days at the beach or visiting her mother with her husband, now she spent them cleaning up vomit or changing the bed sheets to get rid of the smell of alcohol. She felt trapped by the fact he couldn’t be left alone. He still tried and somewhere in the back of her mind, she knew that he loved her.
Carey often wondered how their baby might had avoided this rough patch they were going through. Then she reminded herself she certainly wouldn’t be sitting with a bottle of red wine, almost empty, on a Wednesday night. She vaguely watched a show in the background, the sound echoing round their living room, the characters voices acting as her company for another night. The loud echo only made her sigh again. She loved their marble floors and vintage leather sofas but sometimes she wished for her home to feel more like a home.
The blonde had just finished the bottle when she heard a car door slam. She ran her tongue over her teeth, internally smug about the irony of her polishing off the bottle. Carey rolled her eyes at the thought of the nosy neighbours rushing to their window again to see who was going about at this time of night. They had started commenting on her husband coming home late and poor Carey could do nothing but smile and defend her husband.
‘Baby!’ Jeff roared as he stumbled through the front door. The briefcase getting thrown on the floor, along with his loafers he was in the midst of kicking off. She hauled herself off the sofa, empty bottle tucked under her arm. She rounded the corner to be hit with the stench of liquor.
’Don’t baby me. It’s almost midnight! I’m working at five tomorrow morning and I’ve been worried sick!” She was angry but didn’t raise her voice. Nosy neighbours you see.
“Did you make me some supper?” He asked, a childlike expression on his face. She knew he didn’t care and the fact he was asking her for food was making the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. It was like caring for a child.
“Yes. But it’s cold now.” She folded her arms, scowl planted firmly on her face as he walked past her and kissed her cheek, sloppily that is.
“See, I know you’re not annoyed at me.” He smirked and smacked her ass on his way past, singing a rendition of Bay City Rollers on his way to the kitchen. Another sigh made its way past Carey’s lips. She was angry but at least he was home. She rubbed her tired eyes and left him to it. At least if she went to bed and fell asleep now, she wouldn’t have to deal with him trying to get his way when he finally came to bed.
“Fer Fucks sakes!” Dean roared as he jogged over to Tommy who was slumped onto the corner of the ring. His opponent standing tall with a smirk on his face. Defeating a Sinclair was a rarity. Something not a lot of people can accomplish and something they took immense pride in. Tommy reared his head and looked at Dean. He spat blood out his mouth as he struggled to open his eyes.
“The bastard cheated!” He slurred his words as he spoke, stopping to spit more blood out of his mouth, the metallic taste making him feel sick. Dean shook his head and waved the other man over. He patted him on the back, something Dean didn’t do a lot. The state of Tommy after a fight was never a negative one like this. Usually he walked out the ring himself, leaving his opponent bleeding at least. One of the conditions on a fight with a Sinclair was that you agreed to fight fairly, lose gracefully and take your injuries like a man.
“Let me take off your gloves for ya laddie” Dean roared gleefully. He knew there was something up. Nobody could walk in off the streets and defeat Tommy like that. Never. The opponent shook his head, standing back, his gum shield making it impossible to speak. Dean grabbed his gloves, slowly unwrapping the tape himself, the look of anger slowly making its up his face. The boxer shut his eyes, awaiting his beating.
The punch came quick and the supposed winner fell even faster.
“Cheating bastard” Dean spat, throwing the brass knuckles on top of the body on the floor. He heaved and groaned as they hit his chest and his eyes rolled into the back of his head. The man, only known by the name Ian, lay motionless on the mat. Tommy still sat in the corner, his head rolling side to side trying to keep conscious. Dean stood him up, calling for one of the trainers to help him out the ring. Once they were out of sight, he gave his orders.
“Show the club what we do with cheating arseholes.” Tommy groaned. The older brother nodded in the other man’s direction, placing Tommy on the cold wooden bench before cracking his knuckles and heading back to the ring, not before slipping the brass knuckles onto his own fists. Tommy was more than embarrassed. He hadn’t lost a fight in his life. He’d been close but something always made him push through. To lose a practice fight was beyond embarrassing. He was paid big bucks to lay fully grown, professionally trained men out in the ring.
“Wouldn’t worry about it Tom, we can get you fixed up no problem.” Dean spoke with a harsh tone as he came jogging back, his face covered in sweat and his hands crimson. Even though the other guy was a dirty fighter, Dean saw it as something Tommy should have noticed and worked with. He pulled out his kit and threaded a needle. They had no time or patience for an emergency room. People asked to many questions and trying to get a nurse to keep an underground fight club a secret was almost beyond possible. Plus they all fluttered over Tommy before actually helping him.
“What you gonna tell the missus?” Tommy just blinked. Fell off a ladder at work? Tripped over a paintbrush? He would figure something out. He always did and Babs never questioned him. His wife thought he was a decorator by trade. The only decorator in Ireland to spend hours upon hours a day in the gym and forever coming home with cuts and bruises and the newest one - a split eyebrow. She never thought to take him up about the fact he hired his own decorator when they bought their house.
Babs was a gorgeous woman. Tall and slender with a face that would make any man buy her a drink and fall to his knees. One of the particular reasons her and Tommy never went anywhere together. He was a jealous man and he knew his wife was gorgeous. She spent his money on dresses that made her figure stand out, her hips making the dresses sit beautifully. She knew she was a beautiful woman and she used it to her advantage. They had married after just a few short months together. Tommy's grandmother was the apple of his eye and at that time she didn’t have long left and her dying wish was to see her favourite grandson make his girlfriend an honest woman. With them both being in the honeymoon phase, he thought nothing of it when she suggested the idea. He bought her the most beautiful gown, didn’t fight for a month before hand and made it the day his grandmother dreamed of.
Only problem being his grandmother made the most miraculous recovery and suddenly their wedding was all planned and carried out in vain. Tommy had never been one to settle down and was known for being a round the town sort of guy but he was good to Babs. He had no option but to be. He was honest and loving and whatever she wanted, she was given. Until the day she asked for a baby.
“Babs still after a baby?” Dean asked as he placed the final stitch, asking as if he could hear his thoughts. Tommy grunted. His sister had had a baby not that long ago and Tommy just held it at arms length, unsure of what to do with the tiny human staring at him. His hands were made for hurting men and pleasing women, not holding babies and changing nappies. He wanted to give her what she wanted but he knew it was unfair to bring a kid into the world on those black clouded thoughts. Plus his job wasn’t exactly child friendly. He couldn’t imagine picking his child up, blood pouring down his face, from a nursery. Somehow he couldn’t see that happening anytime in the future. Yet he knew of nothing else. All he knew was fighting.
Tommy wasn’t a good kid. He was arrested for armed robbery at 14, only for it to turn out that he held up the ice cream shop with a water pistol painted black with his mothers nail varnish. His record was cleaned at 18. He was cheeky, never at school and just one of those boys that never did as he was told. He got into boxing after he was lifted by the police. His older brother Dean was there to keep him in check and he found that it did. Between fighting and women, he seemed to find the right balance to keep him happy.
After he got changed he grabbed his phone and bid goodbye to his brother. His locker slammed shut and he twisted the lock into place. He always kept a good stash of money in his locker, for emergencies and wouldn’t dare leave it unlocked. Money left in the joint back account never really did last long. He grinned as he saw a text from his wife.
Tea on the table. Dessert in bed ;)
She really was good to him, it just made the walk home feel so much longer.