As I open the patio door, I see the bodyguard. But he is pointing a gun at me.
I put my hand up and say, "It's me, Lola." In hopes, he won't shoot.
"Fuck sakes, why are you back here?" He asks as he lowered his gun.
"I need to talk to you, um...?"
"Okay, Leo, I need you to set up a meeting with Mike's dad," I tell him.
"And why's that? You got anything he needs to know I'll tell him. Did Mike do something to you?" He asks.
"No, he didn't do anything, look I want to keep working for you guys, but not for Mike. No offense but he isn't great at running things." I tell him.
"I know, this was a big trail. I was here to watch him. He failed so now he will go home and continue to do hacking for his dad. the boy isn't cut out for this. But as far as meeting with Xiaver I cannot set that up." He says.
"And why is that?"
"It's not my place, he knows about you and how much help you were to his son. It's up to him if he wants to reach out. But it doesn't look like he will. I don't think he wants to keep pushing into Phoenix, there are too many others trying to do the same." He tells me and starts to walk away.
"Wait, can you please tell him I want to work for him. I really need the money. If you do, I'll owe you one." I say with a hopeful smile on my face.
"Fine but I can't promise anything. You have a reputation you know."
"Thanks," I tell him and then go back inside.
I return to Marcus and Mike playing a video game. I watch for a bit and then ask Marcus if he can drive me home.
We stop at his house and pick up Tomás. Then he brings us both to my apartment. As he parks the car Marcus says, "If you need help with money and stuff you two could move in with us. I'm sure Diego could get you some work in the gang."
"Thanks for the offer but your gang won't let women in, plus I don't want to depend on you two supporting me. I'm not yours to take care of." I tell him as I get a sleeping Tomás out of his car seat.
"Well, the offer still stands if you need it in the future." He says.
I take Tomás in and put him to bed. Then my mom and I watch some TV before I go to bed.
The next few days pass with me working at the diner and Tomás starting preschool.
Thursday arrives and I get ready to check out the fighting ring. My mom said she would be good to watch Tomás, I was always worried when she watched him. Sometimes everything would go alright but other times she'd leave him and go get high. I didn't have many childcare options so I had to take the chance that she may screw up.
I still hadn't heard from Xiaver- Mike's dad. So, I may have to fight in order to buy food for my family. Working full time at the diner plus my mom's hairdresser income was only enough to pay rent and bills. If we wanted to eat, I needed a second income.
I wore black skinny jeans, a burgundy crop top, a black leather jacket, and combat boots. I had put my brown hair into a high ponytail and done a smoky eye. A little before 11 pm I went out to the parking lot and had a cigarette while I waited for Marcus and Diego.
As I was finishing my cigarette, I saw Diego's car pull in. I got in the back seat.
"Just so you know we both don't think you should do this," Diego says and he turns onto the road.
"Well, I'm almost out of options here, it's fight or starve. I'm just hoping his dad will reach out, but I can't count on that," I tell them.
"Can't she join us? I know there are rules but there's-" Marcus starts but is interrupted by Diego.
"Absolutely not, you know what will happen to her if she goes to the boss wanting a job? He'll make her a proustite. She'll l ends up being shipped to Europe to some braffle. The guy helps us man but what he does to women is fucked. I'm not letting her get involved with him." Diego replies.
Well, he just confirmed my suspicions. One of my childhood friends got involved with their boss a year or so ago. She went missing 2 months later. Wow, I felt a chill run through me. "So that's what happened to Julietta?" I asked.
"Yeah," Diego grumbled out.
"Can we get her sent back or maybe go get her?" I ask.
"Look I did everything I could, but I didn't have enough power to stop it. It's not just him he's connected to all these men who do the same thing. They groom girls then send them out of the country. Just promise to stay away from them Lola."
"Okay, I will," I let him know.
A while later we pull up to a bar on the outskirts of town. We walk into a normal-looking dive bar, Marcus nods, at the bartender as we walk into a back hall. We go into what is labeled as a janitor's closet and open a hatch to a stairwell. We all go down and then walk through a dark hallway. I can faintly hear cheering that gets louder as we walk. When we get to the end of the hall, we open a door where a bouncer stands, he looks us up and down and then steps aside to let us in.
I look around and see a large crowd. In the middle of the room, there is a big cage where 2 women are fighting. They both look huge; they are full of muscle and extremely in shape. Marcus looks at his phone and then leads us to a sitting area above the crowd. Mike is sitting there with 2 girls around him. "Hey, I'm glad you made it," Mike says when he spots us.
We sit and watch the match. The whole time I get more and more afraid. There is no way I could win against either of them. Sure, Carl taught me how to fight but that will only go so far. how can you beat someone if you can't even knock them over?
Once that match is over 2 more women step into the cage. They are a bit smaller than the last two but still intimate me. In the middle of the fight, Mike gets up and tells me to follow him. We end up in a private room.
"So, here's the situation, I go back to Texas tomorrow so if you want into this gig you need to join tonight. They need me here to vouch for you. I really fucked up and I'm sorry." He says to me.
"Fine I'll do it," I say as he hands me a sports bra and leggings which I take and change into in the bathroom. I start to tape my hands as Mike tells me about my opponent. She is around 160 pounds and has never fought like this before. She has had various MMA training. Her brother was a bouncer here and got her signed up.
Just as I finish taping my hands a man knocks on the door. I guess my fight is up.