Jasper:Caged Hearts MMA(8)By: Heather West
He was covered in sweat and blood, breathing hard as he sat down on a small stool and was handed a bottle of water from someone just beyond the cage. He drank from it hungrily as text appeared on the screen stating his name and current stats for the fight. The stats meant nothing to Kait, but the name certainly did.
She’d known it was him just from looking at it, but the name confirmed what she was feeling. Jasper was on the television, currently partaking in a live cage fight. It explained his impressive physique and ability to take out the men who had attacked her. Kait blinked repeatedly at Jasper’s image. Though his face was bloodied, he was still impossibly handsome. His dark eyes were locked on the mat of the cage as he contemplated the next round.
“What can I get you?” A barman called out for Kait’s attention, pulling her gaze away from the television.
“Oh, um,” she suddenly struggled to remember why she was even standing there. All she wanted to do was keep watching the fight, to keep watching Jasper.
“Two cosmopolitans,” she found her voice and remembered her order. The barman nodded and briefly disappeared.
Kait looked back up at the screen as the next round was about to commence. Jasper was standing up now, bouncing on the spot, his eyes narrowed like a predator.
“You took your sweet time,” Anna exclaimed as Kait returned brandishing fresh drinks. “Did you get chatting to some hot guy at the bar?” she asked with a cheeky grin.
“No,” Kait placed the drinks down and slid back inside the booth. “It is crazy packed down there though. Lots of muscly men watching some cage fight on television.”
“Ooh, cage fighting.” Anna’s eyes widened in appreciation.
“You know much about it?” Kait tried to remain casual about the topic.
“A bit,” Anna shrugged. “I dated a guy in college who was in to it. It’s a proper brutal sport, definitely separates the men from the boys. Hence why the guy I was seeing couldn’t hack it.”
“What makes it so brutal?” Kait thought of the blood she’d seen on Jasper’s face. He’d taken a beating, but he was apparently ahead in the fight, getting more crucial kicks in. If he was in a bad way, how did the other guy look?
“It’s sort of like a more feral form of boxing,” Anna explained as she took a delicate sip of her drink. “You can kick and throw more aggressive punches. Guys can seriously injure themselves cage fighting; it really isn’t for the faint hearted.”
Kait tightly clutched the stem of her glass. Jasper was already wounded thanks to her. He had a deep cut across his chest, and now he risked someone kicking him and making it worse. Why would he put himself through that? Why would he even attack those guys in the parking lot when he knew he had a fight coming up? A fight that must be pretty important if it was being televised.
“You okay?” Anna asked with concern. “Oh no, did seeing the guys fighting on the television bring back memories of what happened in the parking lot?”
Kait shook her head. It had stirred up memories of that night, but not what happened in the parking lot; it was what had come after.
“Stick to your cricketers,” Anna smiled at her friend. “Guys who play cricket are a far safer choice than any cage fighters.”
Kait grimaced at the fact that her past three boyfriends had all played cricket and had all enjoyed a private education. They were the sort of men her mother would have considered perfect husband material. And they were. They were courteous, polite with decent, stable jobs. But they didn’t make Kait’s heart race or her blood boil. With them, everything was plain sailing, and that was great, but it was also so unbearably dull.
“Why did you and the cage fighter break up in college?” Kait asked.
“Don’t you remember?” Anna arched a perfectly shaped eyebrow at her friend. Kait looked blankly at her. Her friend had dated so many guys over the years that it was hard to recall them all.
“It was Ashton, remember him? Scrawny with too much hair.”