ENGAGING JAYDEN

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KNOX


“You fucker!” I hadn’t taken my eyes off the flat screen as I watched my Call of Duty character collapse from being shot in the head. Spencer laughed and I wanted to punch him for it. Childish I know. But I didn’t like losing. I’m pretty sure we were neck to neck in points (until he got that shot). I popped another chip in my mouth and waited for my guy to respawned, hoping it was in the backyard of the—

Fuuuuccckkkk!

I hated respawning here.

Gripping the controller, I ran my guy towards the house and once I stepped foot on the deck my guy dropped cold.

Spencer started laughing as I watched his guy step over mine.

I looked at him, saying, “I’m going to fucking hit you.”

Luckily I respawned in another spot and started hunting my best friend down. With Jayden and Gage gone it was just Spencer and I at the house since Gage’s coaches decided to visit their families for a short break. All in all, it was quiet. Jayden’s stalker hadn’t stepped foot on the property from what we could tell. Jamie had placed a deputy out front around the clock even though Jayden wasn’t here. I was rather glad Gage decided to take her away. She needed it. I hoped she was having a kickass weekend even though it made me cringe knowing what they were most likely doing the whole time.

Because let’s be honest...I’d be doing the same damn thing.

The front door opened and I figured it’d be the deputy since Gage’s coaches wouldn’t arrive for another hour.

Hearing the clicking of heels confirmed it wasn’t.

“In here.” I yelled letting Jayden know we were in the living room though she probably already knew from all the shooting erupting from the surround sound.

The quickened steps entered the room and before I knew it I heard, “Hey, honey.”

Stunned, Spencer whipped around. I on the other hand froze gripping my controller until it crossed my mind it might break. My chest grew tight and my heart hammered against it.

What the fuck!?

I took a deep breath and let it out.

And what did the bitch mean by ‘Hey, honey’?

I hadn’t seen her for over a year.

I tossed the controller on the coffee table and stood, turning around facing my soon to be ex-wife.

“What the fuck are are doing here?”

Without a word Spencer left the house.

I had everything planned out in my head on all the things I was going to say to her when I ever saw her again. It pissed me off when that clearly all went out the window as I stood before her tongue tied.

And it wasn’t because she looked amazing as she always did— In a stripper sort of way. Though, what could I expect when that’s where I met her in the first place. She was stripping in one of the clubs in Vegas. A one night stand turned into two. Two turned into dating and before I knew it I was before alter like a stupid fuck who had thought with his dick instead of the other head.

Her smile fell and she shifted from one foot to the other. She looked to the ground and bit her lower lip. Something I used to find hot as hell. But not anymore. She locked her pale green eyes with mine and flipped her blond curls over her shoulder. “I’m back.”

A half chuckle, half scoff escaped me and I shook my head looking away for a moment. “The fuck you are.” I pointed in the direction where the trash bins were. “There’s nothing for you here— I tossed the rest of your shit you left behind long ago.”

Her eyes grew large. “Why? A lot of those were sentimental, Knox. That’s why I left them here. I didn’t want them to get lost.”

“I don’t give a fuck.” I said. And I didn’t. She should have taken them with her if they meant that much. Who was I kidding...Meaning something would consist of her having a heart. And she didn’t. I didn’t understand why she had skipped out like she had until Spencer explained to me she was a survivalist. And he was right. When things weren’t riding high in the fast lane for her and life kicked in she had to move on to find the next exhilarating thing. Whatever it was. Frankly, I hadn’t cared. Still didn’t. “You skipped out on me and took half my shit including my fucking bank account’s.”

“I had to.” She shrugged, looking defeated. As much as I wanted to say she was playing the part, I knew she wasn’t. I may have only dated her for a year before we got married but I knew when she was really in pain and when she was truly happy. As much as I don’t want to admit it, she was happy for the most part. Which was why I was confused when I discovered she had left me.

“Knox— I,” Nervously she chewed her bottom lip, “I left you because—”

“I don’t want to fucking know!” I shouted. Which surprised even me. It wasn’t often I lost my cool. But this...This was too much. It was nearly a year of pent up anger. “I don’t fucking care, Candy. All I want from you is to sign the divorce papers and get the fuck out.” I left the room and before I went upstairs to my room to retrieve the papers I opened the front door and spotted Spencer sitting on the porch drinking a beer. “Make sure she doesn’t leave.” I slammed the door and went up the stairs to my bedroom. I had told Spencer that because I didn’t trust the bitch to skip out. She had already done it once before, who’s to say she wouldn’t do it again.

I grabbed the manila envelope from my desk and when I turned I found Candy standing a few feet from me. I wanted to fucking strangle her. My hands itched to the point it even surprised me. I took out the papers from the envelope and tossed them on my desk near the pen. “Sign them.”

“I don’t want a divorce, Knox.” Her voice shook.

“I don’t give a fuck. You should have thought about that before you fucking skipped out. What else were you expecting, Candy? Did you really think you could come back here and everything would go back to normal between us when you fucking decided to show?” Those were hypothetical questions and I hoped she read into them. I didn’t want to know the answers. I was done talking.

“Sign them.”

“You need to understand—”

“Sign the fucking papers.” I shouted. I wanted to throw something but when I looked around there wasn’t anything within reach.

Fuck!

Her hand shook as she pushed her bangs back. “I was pregnant, Knox.”

I felt like I was just cracked over the head by a two by four.

Pregnant?

Well, this just keeps fucking getting better.

And then it hit me...

She said ‘Was’.

I wanted to ask when she lost it.

I may have a hatred for her, but she had carried my child. A child that I would have loved to have known about back then.

I took a deep breath, hating that it slightly quivered when I exhaled.

“I had an abortion. I couldn’t settle down as a mother. I knew you’d eventually find out and would be angry and—”

I pointed to the papers. “Sign.” I pushed away the thought of what might have been.

“Knox— Please—”

I walked up to her, causing her back to come flush with the wall. She touched my face and I wanted so desperately to rip her hand away but I didn’t. I didn’t trust myself. I knew that if I grabbed her wrist I wouldn’t be able to hold back my anger. I’d leave marks on her. I had never raised a hand to a woman. I wasn’t about to start now. I kept my face just inches from hers when I seethed, “Sign the fucking papers and get out.”

She didn’t move. I was beginning to wonder if she was as paralyzed from the emotional roller coaster as I was.

A moment later Spencer entered the room. “Knox— Give us a minute.” He stepped aside, giving me room to leave.

I stepped back from Candy, her hand that I once loved caressing my cheek now was nothing but repulsive.

“Knox—” I didn’t turn around as Candy cried out.

I was half way down the hall when I heard her try to reason with Spencer, “Spencer, please talk to him—”

“Shut your fucking mouth.” His words came cold. “Here’s how this is going to go, because unlike Knox, Candy, I’m not so nice. Not after all the shit you put him through. Get over here and sign the damn divorce papers and then your going to get the fuck out. If you don’t I’m going to drag your sorry ass over here, by your fucking hair if I have to, and make you.”

Hopefully for her sake she listened to him. Spencer had never laid an ill hand on a woman. But, he also had never made an idol threat that he hadn’t followed through with either. Unable to stick around, I headed straight for the gym.

I needed to punch something.

My fist connected with the bag for the tenth time when I saw the front door open and Candy scurrying to her car. Nice to know that I bought her an Audi TTS.

Had she only come back because I’d just had a fight knowing that funds would be deposited into my account? Even though I lost, I still had a good pay day. I just missed out on the bonus and perks that came along with winning.

No matter.

There was always the next fight.

I’d get my head on straight and concentrate on the fight and not dwell on Jayden. I knew in order for that to happen I couldn’t schedule a fight until that sick bastard was caught. I alone had lost the fight. No one else. My coaches did their job. I just hadn’t done mine.

I threw another combo at the bag and heard the Audi roar. As Candy’s wheels carried her out of the driveway Spencer stepped on the porch with papers in hand.

He had managed to get her to sign.

I wasn’t surprised.

He did something I wasn’t able to. I barely had my anger under control. I was hanging on by a thread and she knew it. Still, she refused to sign because deep down she knew that I would never lay a hand on her. Spencer...He didn’t have an emotional tie to her like I had so who’s to say he would or wouldn’t. And Candy knew it.

I punched the bag a few times and winced. My knuckles were bloody from not wearing gloves. Purposely I hadn’t put them on. I needed to feel pain. I needed something to focus on other than the blonde haired bitch who decided to walk through my door after a year.

Fatherhood wasn’t something I had planned. Not until I was thirty at least. I wanted to be selfish and spend my time doing what the fuck I wanted to. But, had I known I was going to be a father I would have accepted it. I would have kicked my ass in line and did what my father did for me and Jayden— And even Spencer. I would have embraced being a father.

I closed my eyes and clenched my jaw until it hurt. “That fucking bitch.”

By the time I opened my eyes I saw Spencer sitting on the weigh bench with a beer in one hand and my divorce papers in the other. I hadn’t heard him enter.

He said nothing but gave me a sad half of a grin. I nodded letting him know that I appreciated what he did for me. After a few minutes passed I finally spoke. “She left because she found out she was pregnant.”

Spencer stilled. He may not have said anything but the expression’s that crossed his face showed all the questions that were running through his head. Questions like: Where’s the kid? You’re a dad? Fuck, I’m an uncle? Do I have a niece or nephew?

“She had an abortion.”

Spencer set the beer and papers down and removing his hat he rubbed his hand across his buzz cut before settling it back in place. He shook his head and swore under breath. He stood on the other side of the bag. “I’ll hold it for ya.”

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