SACRIFICE (Book Two: The London Crime King)

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Chapter 7

Liam

Regime begins at daybreak when the morning sun soars, and a subtle, sweet, floral scent hangs in the spring air. Painstaking jogs progressively became welcoming head-space, private moments, with only my thoughts or ear-plugged vocalists, to contend with. Muscle-gain evolved into a powerful obsession, and habitual, impetus fitness was purposeful. At present, I do fifty press-ups and sit-ups, usually, before the lads bombard through the gym doors. Such cycles are progressive yet inadequate, so I reduplicated protein intake, doubled-up on the weights bench and added scheduled late-night runs.

The future belongs to me, and I damn well had plans for it.

"Warren." Rex's harsh, ferocious tone of voice had my eyes tossing heavenward. "Ye ain't scrubbed the bog."

Yes, I did. Twice. Before cleaning liabilities and all-day training, I tackle that sordid bathroom. It's the worst, eye-watering, stomach-churning job—best to get the unpleasantness out of the way, right?

"Take the Plunger to it," he blathered, pipe stem precariously balanced between his lips. "It's bastard bumpin' in there."

"I am not unclogging your shit," I said, unwavering and resolute. I don't know what the old man eats, but his rotten, putrid bowel movements repeatedly scar me for life. "Pay for a plumber."

"I pay ye to clean." He sits onto the spectator bench, sipping strong tea. "Aye, ye make a mean cuppa, Warren."

"Firstly, you've yet to pay for my services," I remind him, cocking my head to the side. "Secondly, I spat in that tea."

His willpower caved, eyes briefly skimming the mug. "Are ye serious, lad?"

I gave him a lopsided smirk, throwing a mishmash into the punch bag. Sweat mists my body, trickling down my spine. I love fitness, but there's something oddly satisfying about laying into shit.

Rex overlooks my humourless jest, finishing his beverage. "I organised a fight for Friday. Well, it's in four weeks, but the event takes place on a Friday."

What's new? Rex holds boxing tournaments most Friday nights. His main contesters earn serious coinage in that ring, especially if they win. Rex also profits from cashing bets at the main door. According to hearsay in the locker room, Rex has a severe gambling addiction, and those late-night brawls feed his wagering. I am unknowledgeable to both fighting events and my employer's secret way of life. I'd rather keep my nose out from where it doesn't belong, work hard, train harder, stick to the game.

"I put ye name down," he said, and I toppled into the bag in shock. "I think ye ready."

I bored into him with hopeful eyes. "Don't fuck with me, Rex."

"I ain't fuckin' with ye, lad." Grinning knowingly, he stood, set his empty cup onto the bench. "I placed big money on ye, Warren, so don't let me down."

I ripped the tape from my knuckles. "No chance."

"Good," he sighed, lifting his flat cap, scratching his receding hairline. "I got a meetin' with an old friend. Can I trust ye to lock up?"

"Sure, Rex." Picking up my discarded T-shirt from the floor, I dabbed sweat from my face.

Rex left the building and rode a tube south. In his absence, I finalised chores, showered, changed into a clean tracksuit and locked the gym door.

Bag strap over my chest, I plugged earphones into my ears and selected a song on the Walkman. It might be dark, but the streetlights outlined a figure across the street. I glanced with minimal interest, almost walked ahead, until comprehending Bronagh beside a signpost. "What the fuck are you doing out so late?"

Tucking wayward curls behind her ears, she double-checked the road, in case of oncoming cars, and then jogged in my direction. "I came to see my granddad."

My eyebrows met. "Rex's visiting a friend or something."

"Oh," she whispered, her mouth forming a circle.

Not quite believing her reasoning, I flicked my gaze to my wristwatch. "It's one o'clock in the morning, B." Her red dusted cheeks belatedly elaborated the obvious. "You weren't really visiting Rex, huh?"

She tugged her jumper sleeve. "I ain't seen ye since we kissed," she mutters in a hollow voice. "And I know Rex scares ye and stuff."

I don't correct her ludicrousness. "So, you thought cornering me on the sly was the best approach?"

"Well, when ye put it like that..." Her eyes widened, noticing my teasing smile. "Liam, I thought ye were mad at me!"

Goosebumps sprouted across her flushed chest. "Shit." Flinging my bag on the floor, I slipped out of my hoodie, forcing her to wear it. "You're freezing."

"Thank you," she said, the material burying her frame. "I stood around for over an hour."

"I'll walk you home—"

"No." Fisting my T-shirt, she looked up at me. "Ma's on a date tonight. She doesn't check on me after drinkin'."

Am I supposed to read between the lines?

"A sleepover?" she hints, biting her lower lip. "Maybe I can spend the night?"

I left dirty dishes in the sink, beer bottles on the table and wrinkled bed sheets. "I don't know..."

"Please." She fluttered her eyelashes.

Smoothing my tongue across my upper teeth, I snagged my holdall from the ground. "One night, B. I am not letting Rex chew my ear off about this."

She smiled with a conquering twinkle in her eyes. "He'll never know."

On the short journey to my place, Bronagh talked minus interruption or coming up for air. While she theatrically described a movie she'd watched earlier, I struggled with the idea of a girl in my private space.

I reached my tenanted-building, opened the unsteady garden gate, unzipped my bag and left Hattie's groceries by her front door, ready for the morning. It's a morning obligation, purchasing her necessities. I keep the good in my bag, drop them off before bed, knowing how confused yet grateful she'll be when finding her favourite seeded jam.

"What's that?" Bronagh wondered, peering over my shoulder to snoop. "Do you buy the neighbour shoppin', Liam?"

Milk, bread, tinned fruit, newspaper—an endless list. "Aye," I half-mocked, and she pulled a face. "She is a stellar woman. I like helping her out."

"A woman?" Her jealous tone hadn't gone amiss. "How old is she?"

I unlocked my front door, waited for her to enter. "Twenty-three," I lied, chucking my bag onto the sofa. "Smoking hot, too."

Bronagh flung me a despairing look. "Do you think she's pretty, Liam?"

Back in the day, Hattie had mile-long legs, blonde pinup curls and a killer rack. Now, though, she's old, frail, grey-haired and those breasts swing low. The amount of times Hattie's accidentally flashed a nipple is no one's business. "Yeah," I said, recalling the photo album my neighbour showed me. "She's beautiful."

"I might visit more." Her eyes filtered around the room, inventorying furniture. "Stake my claim."

Hattie's obviously not a problem, and I should tell Bronagh as much. I quite like her possessiveness, though.

"I like this place, Liam." Her hand fell to the turntable, fingertips outlining the scraped exterior. "It's a bit old-fashioned."

It's my favourite purchase. "It does the job." I nearly sat on the sofa, deemed the chair safer. I am nervous, inexperienced and sweating. Generating space between us seemed reasonable. "Are you going to stand there all night or take a seat?"

Giggling, she pulled the untidy duvet into place and sat cross-legged on the bed. "It's mega comfortable."

I should hope so. I spent extortionate money on that mattress.

"It's so cool," she said, awe-inspired by my shambolic residence. "I wish I had my own place."

"Why?" I found myself asking. "It's overrated. At home, you have a loving family and stuff—should be grateful."

She splayed her fingers on the black coverlets. "It's peaceful."

It's lonely, I thought, standing to grab a beer from the fridge. "How old are you?"

"Sixteen," she confirms, eliminating my hoodie. "Ye?"

"Fifteen." Cracking open a can, I guzzled buck courage. "What's the face for?"

Panic dilated her eyes. "I thought ye were older."

"Calm down," I quipped, joining her on the bed. "It's my birthday in three weeks."

"Does granddad know ye age?" she asked, and I merely blinked. "Isn't it illegal for a minor to rent a property, though?"

Christ, she better not be an issue. "I'm not hurting anyone, B," I snapped, propping my back to the wall. "Drop it."

"Sorry." Her lips flattened. "I never meant to pry or anythin'; just a little concerned for ye." She eyed my beer. "Can I have some?"

"Don't be getting shit faced on me," I joked, passing her the can.

"I have tasted beer before, Liam." She swigged, licked effervesces from her lips. "Shite." Eyes pinching tight, she blindly set the can onto the windowsill, repositioned onto her knees in front of me. "I've been tryin' to think of ways to kiss ye, Liam. And, well, I am so freakin' nerv—"

I pressed my mouth onto her soft lips, hand curling around her neck, holding her in place. Her palm smoothed up my chest, and my muscles automatically bunched-up under her innocuous touch. I might be amateurish, but I've read and watched enough adult material to avail.

She wraps her arms around my neck, tongue sweeping through my parted lips, deepening our kiss. "Liam," she breathes, her husky, Irish twang shuddered me with goose pimples. "Are you a virgin?"

What the fuck?

Is it that obvious? I mean, I am just shy of sixteen. Am I supposed to be a sex fiend? "Are you?" I flipped the question, evading response.

Her lips peppered along my jawline, teasing my earlobe. "Aye."

I breathed out a relieved sigh. "Is there a proposal here or something?" I joke, crawling over her body, hips nestling between her parted thighs.

"Maybe." Linking our fingers together, she laid a chaste kiss to my chest. "It's no rush, like, I just thought..." I waited for her to finish. "Ye know. We can do it. If ye want."

"Why don't we see if we like each other first?" I half-tease, biting her neck, sucking passion marks in my wake. "Fuck. What about Rex?"

"He doesn't need to know," she stated firmly, hand clinging to the back of my head. "It'll be our little secret."

"Yeah?" I grinned against her lips. "You're a glutton for punishment."

Bronagh impacted my life with no mental exertion. The first night she spent in my bed, we kissed until sunrise, laughed at pointless topics and exchanged mobile numbers before I walked her home. Thenceforth, I obsessed over the forbidden girl with luscious red hair. Initially, days elapsed sans encounters, but after a few weeks of sneaking around, we were inseparable.

I fall onto my bed, dragging Bronagh with me. I barely had time to unlock my door before her mouth claimed mine. Tonight, she wears a taunting chequered mini-skirt, and my naughty hands invade those ass cheeks all too often. "Fuck," I growled, fingers tousling in her hair. "Stop grinding, B."

Her hips rolled, warm pussy rubbing against my arousal. "Are ye big, Liam?"

Fuck knows. I'm not small. What's the average size, anyway?"

"Where's your mother?" I asked between kisses, removing the tight-fitted T-shirt from her body. "Is she expecting you home?"

"No," she assures, hands creeping under my hoodies, fingernails outlining my abs. "Do ye want me to stay?"

Dazed, I nodded, tongue dancing with hers.

Sex was off the table. In fact, intercourse seldom breached out conversations. Kissing, hugging and pillow talk sufficed, or so I thought, until Bronagh's hand crept into my jogging pants, cupping my hard shaft. My girl stroked me, whispering how horny she was in my ear. Yeah, I pretty much blew my load in seconds.

"Warren," Rex yelled, chucking a wet sponge at me. "Ye ain't cleaned the bastard floors."

"I ran the mop around earlier," I exclaimed, lunging the sponge back. He ducked in time for it to splatter against the office window. "It's not my fault your filthy trainees' drag muck everywhere. Get them to take their shoes off at the door."

"Don't be tellin' me how to run shit," he said angrily, storming back in his office. "And make me a cuppa tea. Ye worthless piece of shite."

The next morning, a delivery man delivered unassembled storage, perfect compartments for stacking shoes.

Bronagh had great breasts. Her pale complexion and taut, pink nipples felt good in my rough palms. I barely kept those greedy hands to myself. I couldn't stop touching them. "Fucking hell," I groaned, thumbs tweaking her stiff peaks. "I'm not going to last."

Her skilled hand stroked, tightened, worked my shaft.

I dipped my fingers under her lace underwear, stroked her soaking pussy. "Christ."

Oral play and repeated orgasms found its way into our sleepovers. The night of my sixteenth birthday, though, Bronagh had different ideas. "Can we sleep naked tonight, Liam?"

I nod. This girl can have anything she wants.

Naked and slicked in sweat, I rolled above her, kissed the column of her neck. Sexual restrain is beyond challenging. I mean, I have a naked chick withering beneath me, and my aching manhood demands attention.

"I want ye," she whispered, the moons light outlining her pretty face. "Don't ye feel the same, Liam?" Her finger tapped the tip of my nose. "We can take it slow."

Swallowing the wedged knot in my throat, I dipped my head, ravishing her lips with my mouth. "I don't have a condom."

"It's only one time." Her arms enveloped around my neck. "I'll grab some contraceptives tomorrow."

Positioning my hands astride her head, I eased the tip of my shaft inside her, watching as I sank deeper.

Her fingernails pinched my neck. "Shite," she whimpered, legs slackening for my invasion. "Aye, ye too big, Liam."

That certainly stroked my ego. "Slow."

"Slow," she agreed, smiling against my lips.

Our first time together, unhurried and short-lived, but a memory I'd never forget. Sex dominated our relationship. I practically lived inside the girl for three weeks, learning what she liked, exploring multiple positions—I think I kinda like Bronagh, more than I care to admit.

"Ye distracted, lad." Rex shoved me in the back. "What's wrong with ye?"

"Sorry, Rex." I am unfocused. Training commenced two hours ago, yet I cannot get my head out of my ass. "I had a late night." I had the best night. Stood in the shower, Bronagh on her knees, torturing me into a frenzied state.

Fuming, Rex hurled the training pads across the ring and stormed to his office. "Move it, Warren."

Fucking hell. He's bastard demented. I shadowed him into the office, slumped on the tattered chair opposite his desk. Rex revels in my impatient frustration. He procrastinates, humming radio tunes, pretending to thumb filing cabinets.

I take out my phone, send a text message.

Me: What r u up 2?

B: I was just thinking about u.

I grinned like a Cheshire cat.

Me: Can I see u 2nite?

B: Can't—plans with the family. I can try and sneak off later, tho?

I didn't want to cause any arguments for Bronagh and her mother.

Me: It's cool. Tomorrow?

B: Yes! I'll wear a skirt.

Me: Don't play games, B. U know how much I love those damn skirts.

B: Could have fooled me! They're on your bedroom floor within seconds!

Shit. She's right. I like her naked in my arms.

Me: Keep it on. I plan to bend u over that table with my hands tight on your skirt.

B: Liam. Holy. Shit.

Me: I'm craving more...

B: What do u mean?

Me: I mean, u haven't let me go down on u yet.

B: I'm scared.

B: What if u don't like it?

Me: I'm sure I'll love it.

My shaft is hard just thinking about it.

B: What else r u craving?

I typed before second-guessing.

Me: I want to start telling people that you're my girlfriend.

"What the fuck are ye smilin' about?" Rex slapped the back of my head, and I flinched, dropping the phone on my lap. "Who are ye textin'? Must be a lass." His assured eyes flickered to my semi-hard bulge. "Keep that shite out of my office."

I had never been so embarrassed. "Have a fucking day off."

Rex grinned. I swear he secretly loves me. "I got ye a gift." He unclipped a garment cover from the closed door. "Here. Try it on."

"What is it?" I asked, standing, accepting the protected clothing. "I got plenty of tracksuits, Rex. I don't want you spending money on me."

"Nonsense." He waved a flippant hand. "I bet ye ain't got one of those."

I unzipped it over the desk, parted the enclosure, studied the pristine, navy three-piece suit with sincere admiration. "Shit," I whispered, tracing the white, silk shirt. "I've never worn a suit before." I re-zipped it. "Why did you get me a suit, though?"

"My nephew tied the knot this afternoon—told him I couldn't do the service, but I'd show face, for the after-party."

He had no reason to skip family celebrations.

"I thought ye could be my plus-one," he continues, lighting his pipe. "What do ye say?"

"You're asking me to escort you to a family function." I snorted. "Yeah, no thanks."

"Ye fuckin' attendin', lad."

Human rights clearly didn't work on Rex. "What's in it for me?" I'm playing with him. Bronagh will be there, so it'll give me a reason to see her. "I'm not one for festivities."

"Ye gained a nice suit for starters." Kicking his feet onto the desk, he puffed smoke around his head. "What more could ye possibly want? Honestly, Warren. Ye opportunism is unattractive."

"Fine." I feigned reluctance, exiting his office. "I'll hold your hand to a gathering."

Showered and tailored in my new attire, I exited the male changing rooms, adjusting silver cufflinks to my suit sleeves. Rex waist near the door, suited in a black tuxedo, slicked, grey hair, combed to the side. "Aye, well, don't ye scrub up." Genuine pride blazed in his eyes. "Lookin' good, lad."

I opened the door, gestured for him to go first. "It's a shame I can't say the same about you."

He chortled, adjusting his bowtie. "Quit talkin' so much. It doesn't suit ye."

We journey to the venue by taxi. Since Rex covered clothing costs, I insisted on paying the fare and tonight's alcohol binge. Rex strongly disapproved, but I sweet-talked him into agreeing.

Brown furnishings, cheap white table cloths and a cold buffet offered scarce meagerness for Rex's nephew's wedding reception.

My new leather shoes stuck to the stained floor while walking to the bar. I waited in the queue, assured they'd require identification. Luckily, the barman accepted my order—one Guinness and a beer—without fuss.

I find Rex seated by a round table with family. I didn't want to impose, so I handed him the pint and stalked the room to find Bronagh. Party guests, dressed glamorously, occupied the dance floor, the disco lights adding to the party ambience.

I exited the venue for a smoke, sat on a low-cobbled wall, lit a cigarette. Blowing out a stream of smoke, I listened to muffled music, resounding from the pub, catching a glimpse of two silhouettes stumbling around the corner. I'd recognise Her laughter anywhere.

Soaring to my full height, I flatten a hand over my head, tidying my image.

Outside lights illuminated Bronagh's gorgeous body. Modelling three-inch heels and a figure-hugging silver dress with that red hair pinned back, she holds the material of her dress in fisted hands, giggling alongside her friend—another lad.

Okay, don't jump to conclusions. He's a cousin or friend, right? It's not as though they're holding hands or anything.

He interlaced their fingers together, hauled her close and dropped a friendly kiss to her cheek.

Jealousy clambered my insides. I looked away, inhaled a drag on my cigarette.

"Conor," she moaned. "Shite."

Through my peripheral vision, I watch Conor thrust her to the wall, devouring her mouth with heated, wet kisses.

I felt something unknown in my chest—aching disappointment—and the all too familiarised angered, resentment.

"Not here," she playfully scolds, neatening her dishevelled dress. "My family might see us."

"Or guests," I jest, and she sharply turned in my direction. "Don't worry." I hold up my hands, witnessing the colour drain from her face. "Your secret is safe with me."

Conor snorted a laugh. "Nice one, man. Ye know how it is." He unassumingly draped an arm around her Bronagh's shoulders, lips murmuring to her ear. "I love my girl—can't keep my hands off her."

I love my girl, I mentally reaped, tossing the cigarette aside. "How long have you been dating."

Bronagh opened her mouth to respond, but dickhead Conor beat her to it. "Oh, we go way back," he confirms, seeking her assurance. "When was it, Bron? Just before high school, right? Like, five years."

Five. Fucking. Years. "I guess I'll be attending your wedding next."

"I think I know ye," she pipes up, cheeks darkening. "Aren't ye one of granddads boxers?"

"Yeah, I train with Rex." Oh, she thinks I'm playing into her bullshit. "I don't recognise you, though."

Hurt claimed her profile. "Sorry."

I had to leave. "Enjoy your night." Pushing myself away from the wall, I took powerful strides across the car park, unable to breathe. I walked home. My suit jacket tossed over one shoulder, hands hidden in my trouser pockets.

Hattie sat in the window, waving as I approached. "Hello, Liam."

I wasn't in the mood. "Go to sleep, Hattie." I stormed up the path, unlocked the door, coming face-to-face with my old, nosey neighbour. "Don't be opening the door when it's dark, Hattie. Get inside and wait for Chester."

She flinched, snuggling into her pink robe. "Why would you say something so hurtful, Liam? You know Chester died."

"Fuck," I cursed, rubbing a hand over my face. "Sorry, Hattie. I thought..." I never perceive an acceptable approach. I simply wing it based on her mood swings. "Forgive me."

Tears brimmed her eyes. "You can be quite nasty, Liam."

"Shit. I fucking apologised Hattie," I barked, the vein in my neck throbbing. "What do you want me to say? You got dementia, woman. How the fuck am I supposed to know which woman's conversing with me?"

"Don't you shout at me!" she points a finger in my face. "You must respect your elders."

"I don't even know you," I snide, brushing past her. "Go to fucking bed, Hattie. You're giving me a headache." Reaching my front door in one piece, I keyed the lock, slammed it behind me.

On the round bistro, an ornamental lily display emits purity and floral décor. I boot the flimsy table, smashing the grey vase, damaging the delicate flower stems. Rage consumed my body. I ripped the shirt off my body, snatched a metal chair and obliterated my home—wall-mounted paintings, dinnerware, toaster, television. I didn't need superfluous bullshit.

Fucking. Hell.

Surrounded by fragmented carnage, I dodge strewn clothes on the floor, gather Bronagh's belongings and stuff them into a bin liner: dresses, pyjamas, shoes, cosmetics, makeup and fragrances.

I pulled a beer bottle out of the fridge, tossed the cap, downed chilled liquid thirstily and set a disc onto the turntable. Soothing music waved through the squalid bedsit, quite depressing but therapeutic.

My front door handle rattled. "Liam," Bronagh called, and I snarled. "Liam, please. Just hear me out."

I lunged the bottle at the door, shattering green glass. "Fuck off, B. I ain't listening to your fucking lies."

"Please," she whimpered, fists hammering against the door. "Liam, open this door. I swear I am not leavin' until ye listen to me!"

I flung the door open, stood at an unconquerable stance. "You're not coming in. Say what you got to say and then fuck off—"

"Don't say that," she cried, endeavouring to slip past me. "Please, Liam! Ye can't leave me out here! Look at me!" She wildly gestured to her creased dress and blotchy cheeks. "I am cold. My feet hurt from runnin' so fast and I don't want ye neighbours to listen."

I slowly shook my head. "We're done, B."

"No!" Dread wept her horror-filled eyes. "Liam, I love ye." Her hand touched my chest. I gripped her wrist, fingers pinching her flesh. "Ye hurtin' me, Liam!"

"I don't want you," I said in a low, calm voice. "Burn me once, B. I'll learn from it. Burn me twice?" I tsk, shoving her away from me. "It's not my style."

"Ye ain't heard me out. Conor," she sobbed, smudging mascara beneath her eyes, "he's my childhood sweetheart. I did love him, Liam. But then I met ye."

"I had the right to choose," I fired back. "You didn't get to decide for me, B. It was on me to make that decision. If you had a boyfriend, and I still wanted you, that was on me."

She snivelled. "Why, do I get the feelin' that knowledge mightn't have mattered."

"Correct. I think more about myself. I don't need some other lads chick," I add, trying to shut the door. "Move your fucking hands, Bronagh."

"We're not leavin' it like this!" she protests, ramming her shoulder into my side. "Let me in, so that we can talk."

I fisted her hair, and she yelped. "One question," I whispered, and she breathed out a hopeful breath. "Lie to me? And that's it."

"Anything," she cried, hands clinging to my wrists.

I brushed the tip of her nose with mine. "Did I take your virginity, B?"

She panicked but quickly masked herself. "Yes—"

"You are such a fucking liar," I spat, hurling her into the hallway. "You had no reason to lie about that, B."

"I didn't want ye to be embarrassed," she whimpered, cupping her wobbly lips. "I knew ye were a virgin and I thought—"

"You thought to lie to me," I said, crossing my arms, "made it easier. No, B. No. That's fucked up and twisted on so many levels. You need to leave. Now." I closed the door, the slam echoing throughout.

Bronagh never left that night. She shrieked, kicked and rattled my letterbox, irritating me with her pathetic excuses.

The following morning, Bronagh gave me space. I didn't leave the safety of my four walls, though. Reservations told me she'd return. And I was right. Bronagh swung by that night, repeating the ludicrous scenario once more. While lying in bed, I contemplated calling the police, filing a restraining order; however, I respected Rex too much and dealing with the law enforcement left a bad taste in my mouth.

I returned to Rex's Gym three days later. I cleaned, worked out, listened to orders and jogged home.

Forking curry, cheese and chips from the local chippy in my mouth, I gait around my street corner. Sporadic blue beacons pivoted alongside sirens. I bricked it. They knew about the drug supply, stashed in the loft, or uncovered my involvement with Ray Warren's murder. No, an ambulance mounts the curbside.

Lowering the music volume, I forced my feet to walk, positioned myself between neighbouring throngs and saw paramedics wheel out a stretcher from the tenanted-building. Behind them, an unacquainted yet recognisable face roused me with sheer terror. "Iris," I called, and she peered at me with sunken, sad eyes. "Hattie?"

Her lips trembled. She trailed behind officers, climbed into the ambulance rear.

Hattie died last night—heart attack.

Fuck if that didn't make me feel like shit.

I jogged for three hours, found a beach, sat on the boulders to admire the water.

My phone vibrated.

B: I miss u so much.

Delete.

B: Please talk 2 me.

Delete.

B: I finished with Conor.

Was that supposed to make me feel better?

Me: More fool u. It changes nothing.

B: Why must u act like this? It's him I cheated on him! Not u!

Delete.

B: I don't even know why I care so much. U r nothing but a lowlife bum, Liam. Fuck u. I am over it.

Delete.

Twelve hours later.

B: I am so sorry, Liam. I never meant anything I said. I am just angry and hurt. Please talk 2 me. I hate this!

I blocked her number.

"Are ye ready for tomorrow, lad?" Rex asked, resting a shoulder to the office door frame. "It's a big fight."

I speared a right fist into the punch bag, the chains groaned, squelched together. "I was fucking born ready."

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