Finding Perseverance(103)

By: T. E. Black

“My money’s on Reaper,” one of the guys declares.

“No way. He can’t stay undefeated. It’s impossible! Put my money on the other guy,” his friend chimes in. I smirk and go back to staring at my phone.

The buzz flowing around Max’s tonight is out of control. I’ve been having what Rook deemed “fight night” since he won his first match back in the cage with a three-second knockout. He’s stayed undefeated for four fights now, and I’m hoping Vegas is another win.

About two weeks after Rook told me he wasn’t leaving, we began talking about his career and our future. I wanted him to continue fighting for a living, but I didn’t want to leave my life here in Boston. So, we came up with a compromise, and a damn good one that should have been obvious.

Rook would train in Boston, and only leave when he had a fight out of state. In the beginning, I wasn’t so sure Rook would convince Luke to pick up his life and move here. I wasn’t even sure if Luke would train Rook. Rook went into his negotiation with Luke with a solid plan—don’t negotiate.

Ten years ago, Rook wasn’t in a place to give demands. Now, he’s worth a million dollars, if not more. He’s put his time in. He’s fought hard—sweated, bled and cried for his career. He built an empire, and the only person besides Rook who was there was Luke.

Rook said it was simple. He wouldn’t leave Boston because of me. And, he wouldn’t fight anymore without Luke. I’m just thankful Luke agreed to pack his shit and train Rook here. Had he not, I would have been devastated if he stopped fighting.

The first two weeks were the hardest on Rook and Luke. On top of training, they were trying to swoon the pants off his old sponsors who dropped him because of the investigation. He was even trying to obtain some new ones, but no one would touch him or let him represent their name. During the third week, the district attorney’s office put out a statement stating Mark was arrested for the murder of Lauren and Rook wasn’t involved. That’s what did it, and not two days later, sponsors—both old and new—were tossing in offers.

I made Sarah a manager so I could travel and sit ringside at any fight I wanted to go to, even though Rook comes home in between his fights. Every now and then, when I’m starting to miss Rook more than usual, he sends a plane ticket and a car to drive me to the airport.

In the past six months, he’s done it six times, and each time, when I stepped off the plane, it felt like my first time seeing him all over again.

As if summoned by the thoughts, my phone buzzes in my hand and Rook’s picture appears on the screen.

“Hey, sweetheart,” he smiles wide, which I think he does on purpose because he knows what the smile does to me.

“Hey you!”

“Have you gotten more beautiful since I last talked to you?”

He’s such a smooth talker.

“Have I gotten more beautiful since I woke up?” I chuckle. “I sure hope so. I showered and shaved today.” I wink, flirting.

He lets out a hearty laugh, staring at me through the camera. “God. I miss you, Leigh. I can’t wait to see you.”

Knowing he needs to focus on his fight in less than five minutes, I give him what he needs to step into the cage—reassurance.

“I miss you, too, Rook. But, you’ll be home tomorrow. Win your fight, and maybe I’ll have a sexy surprise for you when you get home.”

“You should have come with me.” He gives me a fake pout before continuing, “Sarah could have held the fort down while I whisked you away to Vegas for a day or two.”

“If I didn’t have workers coming to redo my office, I would’ve.”

He chuckles. “You know, we could have had a romantic night in Vegas.”

I know what a “romantic night” is code for, and let’s just say they’re wouldn’t be candles anywhere but the ones I was using to drip hot wax on my man’s six-pack.

“Rook!” Trent calls in the background. “They need you in the tunnel, man.”

I watch as Trent pops up in the background of our video chat. “Hey, Ry!”

“Hi, Trent!”

Trent and Rook have also come to a compromise. Trent goes to every fight that I can’t make it to. Hell, sometimes he, Shay, and Abby come when I’m there.