“Are we going straight to the club?” I ask as we are driving back with the windows down, the cold air nipping at my face.
“I’m driving you back to the house and then I’m going to the club,” Ace says, his hands tightening a little around the steering wheel.
I can’t help but feel a little upset that he doesn’t want me at his fight even though everyone else is going. I twist the ends of my hair and stare out the window. Today was a good day and I’m glad that I saw a different side to Ace, but I wonder if we’re taking one step forward and then two steps back.
The rest of the drive is quiet, and I can feel my mind overthinking. I’m worried that Ace will return to his usual charming self and push me away. I hope I’m wrong. He pulls up into the driveway, cutting the engine and hands me my keys. I take them and head inside the house.
“Calla, wait,” he says catching up to me and taking my hand between his fingers gently.
I slowly turn around and face him.
“You can come if you want,” he tells me, his eyes softening when they meet mine.
“I don’t want to come if you don’t want me there.”
“I do... it’s just I can’t protect you when I’m in the ring and-”
“I don’t need protection, Ace,” I tell him not even sure what he means by that. What would I need protection from? Ace shakes his head.
“I’m going to change, I’ll be back,” he says, heading towards his room.
I decide to change into jeans and a hoodie, tying my caramel hair up into a ponytail. We take my car to the club and everyone is already waiting for us there, including Lexi. She’s wearing a short skirt with a long-sleeved crop top. She scowls at me when Ace opens the door for me and takes my hand in his.
I don’t want to be rude to her, it’s not her fault the poor girl is in love with a guy that can’t return her feelings. I smile at her, but I guess that wasn’t the right thing to do because she scoffs and marches inside ahead of the rest of us.
“She’ll come around,” Liv tells me but I doubt that.
Liv wiggles her eyebrows at me and looks down at my hand that’s intertwined with Ace’s. She gives me a look that says we’re definitely talking about this later and I can’t help but smile.
There’s a much bigger crowd inside than last time. Everyone is shouting over each other and there’s barely any space left to breathe. It smells like cigarettes, alcohol and sweat mixed with blood.
Ace leads us to the back corner where no one is allowed except for the fighters. I spot Dean, the school chancellor, talking to someone and it doesn’t look friendly. To be honest, it looks like Dean is about to start throwing punches himself.
“I have to go,” Ace tells me, squeezing my hand in reassurance.
“Make sure nothing happens to Calla,” Ace says to Theo and I roll my eyes. I don’t need a babysitter but I don’t say anything.
“Of course man,” Theo tells him, throwing his arm over my shoulder. Ace narrows his eyes before walking towards Dean.
I didn’t expect Logan to be here again and most importantly I didn’t take him for a fighter, even though he’s got the build for it. However, I guess there was a reason to why he was lurking around last time. It’s strange to see the way he moves in the ring. He’s not quick but he lands every punch with everything that he’s got.
“What’s the go with Ace and Logan?” I ask Theo when we are waiting for Ace’s fight to start. He scratches the back of his head as if considering if he should tell me or not.
“You wouldn’t believe this, but they’re used to be close,” Theo begins, “A couple of years ago something happened between them, no one knows what, but it was odd... one minute they were best buddies and then next they hated each other. Ace says they had a falling out but that’s all we could get out of him.”
I open my mouth to ask another question, but the crowd erupts into cheers and I look up to see Ace in the ring. I don’t think I could ever get used to how unbelievably sexy he is. Who thought that watching him fight could turn me on this much. The way his body glistens with sweat and tenses with every move, showing every single carved muscle is ungodly and puts dirty thoughts into my mind.
This time, Ace’s opponent is quick on his feet and strategic. He manages to get a few hits on Ace, and I flinch every time he does. However, Ace doesn’t seem bothered by them and that makes me think he allowed them to happen. I mean he probably did otherwise no one would bother betting on any of Ace’s opponents if he was going to overthrow them instantly.
It’s not long before Ace’s opponent gets fatigued and clumsier with his feet. The perfect time to take him out and that’s exactly what Ace does, with one clean punch followed by another and another until his opponent is on the ground. The crowd cheers with excitement and there are drinks being spilled over each other. I’m glad we’re not in the middle of all that chaos.
Ace walks over to me grinning and without thinking I wrap my hands around his neck bringing my lips to his. I feel him smile against my mouth and he places his hands on my hips pulling me closer into him.
“That was hot,” I whisper in between soft kisses and I can taste the blood from his busted lip.
“Blackwell,” a voice interrupts us. I look over to Logan standing beside us, still in his boxing shorts.
“I haven’t seen you so fascinated by a girl before, usually you get bored with them after a few days... well, apart from....,” he pauses for a moment and tilts his head a little to one side. His eyes flicker from Ace to me and then back to Ace, “No...” he says in disbelief, his mouth forming a sardonic smirk.
“Logan,” Ace warns, his hands clenching into fists by his side.
“It is, isn’t it?” Logan asks.
“No,” Ace says in a low voice.
“You’re fucked up,” Logan tells him with amusement in his tone.
Ace takes a step closer to Logan and clenches his jaw, anger radiating off him, “Shut the fuck up before you say something you’ll regret.”
Two medium sized guys that I didn’t realise were with Logan take a step closer as if waiting for a fight to break out, however, they don’t say anything.
“You want to take your anger out?” he shoves Ace, barely moving him. “How about we fight? It will be one hell of a fight, give the audience what they want.”
Ace shakes his head in a way that implies Logan is an idiot – which I have no doubt that he is but I have a bad feeling about them fighting. Especially since they have history. Fighting with a stranger for money is one thing, fighting for personal reasons is a whole other story.
Logan steps closer to Ace and gets in his face, provoking him, “You either agree to fight me or...” he trails off, his smile gets wider and more malicious. By the looks of it, Ace knows exactly what Logan is implying. I look at Theo and Josh, they seem to be as clueless as I am. So do Liv, Zach and Lexi.
“Two weeks,” Ace says with anger in his tone and places his arm around my waist, turning away.
“Aren’t we going to discuss the prize?” Logan asks with a glimmer in his eye and Ace pauses turning back to look at him, “I’ve already fucked one of your girls,” his eyes travel to Lexi and we all look at her, Ace doesn’t look bothered, however, Lexi’s face is red with embarrassment. “How about the other?” His head goes to me.
Before anyone has the time to react, Ace’s fist collides with Logan’s smug face. Everything after that happens too quickly. The two guys that are with Logan, step forward but so do Theo and Josh.
Logan holds up a hand to them, motioning them to back off. “Two weeks, Ace...” he says with a smirk, wiping the blood off his face.
“What the hell was that about?” Josh asks Ace when we get outside, the cool breeze hitting us and I wrap my hands around myself. Ace notices this and tightens his hold on me.
“Nothing, Logan is just looking for trouble.”
Ace and I walk to my car and the rest of the group goes in the opposite direction – they couldn’t get a park next to us.
“What happens when you’re in the passenger seat at night?” Ace asks me as we get closer towards the car. I hesitate for a moment unsure of what he means by that and how to answer his question.
“You haven’t even tried to get in the passenger seat?” Ace raises his eyebrows.
“You sound like you’re trying to say it’s all in my head,” I say.
“It is,” he tells me, and I narrow my eyes at him. I know he’s right but I just can’t seem to get over it. Something about it terrifies me and not even therapy seemed to work.
He opens the passenger side and waits for me to get in. My heart pounds in my chest and I shake my head, “No, I can’t.”
“Just sit inside, we won’t drive.”
I hesitate and slowly walk towards the car, trying to calm my breathing. It’s just sitting, I tell myself. However, images of the accident begin to fill my head. Ace takes my hand in his and everything disappears. It’s unexplainable how I instantly feel calm with just his touch and I slide into the seat.
“Okay?” Ace asks when he gets in the driver’s side and I nod slowly.
“What was Logan talking about?” I ask him, trying to get my mind off the car situation and his whole body tenses.
“It sounded like something.”
“It was nothing.”
“Can you just drop it? Fuck! It has nothing to do with you.” He rubs his forehead and then runs his hand through his hair in frustration. I guess that’s the end of that conversation. I don’t want to press him further, I’m afraid he will shut me out completely.
We sit in silence for a while before I can’t take it anymore. Usually, our silence is soothing but not this time, “Okay, I’m done sitting,” I snap, climbing out of the passenger seat and going around to the driver’s side. Ace sighs in frustration before getting out of the car.
“I’m sorry,” he tells me and pulls me in for a hug, softly brushing his lips against the top of my head.
When we get to the house Ace says he has to go somewhere and walks off in the opposite direction. I’m left standing in front of the house confused by the whole situation. Liv and Zach still aren’t back so I decide to go up to my room.
I walk upstairs to find a pink sticky note stuck to the middle of my door.
‘Meet me at our spot. There’s a meteor shower tonight.’