42. CAN’T FEEL ANYTHING
“Where’s Calla?” Theo asks as we wait for me to go into the ring.
This is the last place I want to be right now. I haven’t slept in days but that’s not a big deal. Not when I haven’t slept properly in years.
“She’s not coming,” I say through gritted teeth.
He looks at me for an explanation, but I don’t give him one. I can see Liv giving me a side glance, but I ignore it. If one more person says her fucking name, I’m going to lose everything that I have been trying to keep in.
“Where is she? I didn’t see her at the house,” Theo persists, and I glare at him. Theo is like a brother to me, but he’s not the brightest crayon in the box. He was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was two, but he isn’t dumb, far from it. I would say he knows more than he leads on and sometimes I even wonder if he just puts on an act.
“Drop it, Theo,” Josh grumbles beside him and those two get into an argument. They are always arguing about something. Sometimes, I get the feeling that they can barely stand each other. How can someone argue about pointless shit for two hours? But Josh and Theo’s relationship is undetermined.
I’m not the one to judge though, they have been through the worst together. Theo and Josh have never given up on me. They always stuck by me even when I pushed everyone else away.
But maybe they will, after they find out the secret that I have desperately been trying to bury.
Lexi is here and she looks at me, she knows somethings wrong. She’s trying to figure it out and I give her a nod to confirm everything, everything that she already knew would happen.
No one understands mine and Lexi’s relationship. To be completely honest, neither do I. We grew up together, Lexi, Logan and me.
For a while, Lexi was my best friend, in ways she still is. There are things that I know about her that no one else does. Like the fact that her stepfather abused her in more ways than one and even though she begged for me not to do anything about it, I did. He’s not in the picture anymore but I doubt it has anything to do with me and more to do with him being in prison for being the biggest drug lord in the fucking town.
Everyone gets what’s coming to them. No matter how hard you try to run from it.
It wasn’t until high school that I realised Lexi had feelings for me that I didn’t return, and I made it clear from day dot that it was never going to be like that with us. It’s not that she isn’t attractive, she is. The thing is, she isn’t the one for me, we’re different in many ways. But I could see the hurt in her eyes and when she leaned in to kiss me one day, I let her.
I tried to feel for her in the way she wanted me to, I really did, but when you’re not meant to be with someone nothing is ever going to feel right.
I started sleeping with other people just to see if I can get that feeling – any feeling – with someone else. But nothing. Nothing until I saw her. It’s like the universe had already planned the path for me – the person for me – and nobody else was going to fill that void.
But the way fate had manipulated me and put me in the path of destruction was worse than not feeling anything at all.
Dean signals me, and I step into the ring. All I can see is Logan grinning. His head tilts to one side and then the other like a fucking animal looking at his prey. His eyes are wild but filled with emptiness.
And maybe that’s how he did it all these years, the guilt never ate him up inside because there was nothing to eat up. He felt nothing for anyone and maybe that is the safest way. The sanest way... because if you feel nothing, nothing can destroy you.
This is his zone. He always liked to fight when we were younger, he was good. He is good. Quick on his feet and he can pack a solid punch. But I am quicker, and I am known for my knockouts.
The only advantage Logan had on me is the fact that he could take the pain. No matter how many times I would hit him in the garage when we were practicing, he wouldn’t go down. He said he trained his mind to not feel the pain.
And now, here I am. I can’t feel fucking anything.
But I’m not here to fight. No.
I want to feel the pain.
I pretend like I’m trying because if I didn’t, they would stop the fight. This isn’t meant to a deathmatch, people paid to see me fight and lots of money will be lost. But I don’t give a shit about the money.
I know Logan is going to move to the right and strike me when I go for his left. But that’s exactly what I do, I go for his left. I know his every move. His every intention.
His fist collides with my lip and I can’t feel anything. It didn’t hurt because my body is numb, so I do it again. I take a shot but purposefully miss, giving Logan the perfect opportunity to punch me straight in the jaw.
I can feel the impact, the way my body jolts backward and my head recoils. But I still can’t feel any pain. So, I do it again. And again.
Each time Logan hits me, I smile at him because he too was like me. He had the anger built up in him right from the very start. You see, Logan and I aren’t that different at all. His father was a cheating, abusive fuckhead.
I don’t know why there were so many deadbeat fathers in the town I grew up in. Maybe because they were all rich lawyers or CEOs, or fucking drug dealers and their egos were pouring out of their assholes. Or maybe because you attract similar people like you into your life.
But here’s where we are different. Logan is still trying to suck up to his father even though nothing he’ll ever do will be good enough and I’ll never be able to sympathise with that.
I keep going at Logan and take every blow, every impact until my body gives up.
I can’t feel it, I can’t move it either. I just lay there, fucked in my own thoughts. Smiling like a fucking psychopath because I got the shit beat out of me and I want more.
Josh and Theo obscure my vision of the chipped ceiling when they stand above me.
“What was that?” Josh asks me.
I don’t say anything, just continue to lay on the filthy ground that’s covered in blood and sweat. My blood. Logan’s sweat.
“Have you gone insane? I know you, and I know that wasn’t a fight, it was a suicide mission,” Josh tells me frustrated.
I stand up and head outside towards my bike without saying a word.
I sit in the shower for what feels like an eternity, letting the scalding hot water run down my back, I know it’s burning through all the cuts on my face. Pelting onto the bruises that were forming. Still, I don’t feel anything except for the pain in my chest. In my head.
I’m no stranger to this feeling, I’ve lived with it for two years. I learned to come to terms with it. Every time I look in the mirror, I see a monster. A killer. A fucking murderer.
I’m not a good person because a good person would have never done what I did and be able to live with it. I tried to make up for it, I watched her from a distance. Made sure she was okay. For two fucking years.
I even sent her and her dad anonymous checks when I thought they were financially struggling. The illegal fighting pays a lot and most of it goes to Ellie, to make up for the things she would have had if our dad wasn’t such a piece of shit.
But there’s only so much that can be done with money. Money can’t bring back the dead. Money can’t rewind time. Money can’t make you forget.
I don’t hear her come in and it’s not until she’s in the shower with me, kneeling next to my fucked-up self that I lift my head up slightly to meet her hazel eyes.
Freckles, light, and faint sprinkled on her nose and cheeks. She looks at me and it’s not filled with hatred. It’s worse.
I am fucked up. I destroyed her. I’m a bad person. However, I tried to be good for her because she believed that I was. Nothing matters anymore.
“Ace,” she says my name, and her voice sparks a very faint light in me.
But we both know I fucked up.
And there’s no coming back from something like this.