Finding Perseverance(104)By: T. E. Black
“All right. I have to head out, babe. See you on the big screen?” he asks with a crooked grin.
“Always.” I blow him a kiss.
“I love you, Leigh.”
I answer without an inch of hesitation. “I love you too, Rook.”
The call ends, and everyone in my group directs their sight toward the big screen hanging in the bar. The sportscasters narrate as the crowd booms with excitement for the match.
Moments before Rook’s about to emerge from the tunnel, the cameras zoom in on the Jumbotrom and a sponsored commercial begins to play.
I grin wide thinking about how this ad is one of Rook’s ways of compromising. He made it part of his new contracts with his sponsors. In order for him to compete, they had to agree to show this specific ad before he walks out of the tunnel.
The ad for my bar ends, and Rook’s introduction music, “Don’t Fear The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult, booms from the speakers in the arena. I wait anxiously, as I do every time, for him to walk out. Each beat of my heart is a little harder than the last, but it’s all right because it means I love him more than I did the day before.
The crowd goes wild when they spot Rook. Most people stand from their seats, holding signs that profess their admiration for him. They range from, “I love you,” to, “Fuck me.”
I thought it would bother me to have beautiful women throwing themselves at my man, but it’s become more of a reassurance if anything. Rook tells me about each and every one of them and how he politely turns them down by saying he already has the love of his life.
I watch in awe as his team follows him to the gate and take up their posts. Rook’s never looked more at home than when they close the gate to the cage behind him. I can see how natural it is to him—the fans, the fame, the life. It’s a part of him. And, as I look around my bar, I see how naturally this comes to me.
Rook and I found a way to have the best of both worlds.
The cameras zoom in on Rook as he stands in the middle of the cage, waiting for the fight to begin. As the picture catches his face, he looks directly into the camera before grinning wide.
I watch in anticipation for his now normal gesture. When he brings two fingers to his full lips and places a kiss on them, I mimic his movements. I move with him as he brings his fingers to his chest and places them against the “L” tattoo over his heart.
If you asked me six months ago if I’d be sitting here watching my boyfriend show his affection for me on national television, I would’ve told you it was impossible. I would’ve told you that he and I wouldn’t have worked out and that I’d end up lonely for the rest of my life.
But, now? I’ve never felt so surrounded by people who love and appreciate me.
I’ve never felt more complete then I do right here, right now.
It wasn’t easy, but I figured everything out—Rook and I figured things out. It just took us more than ten years and a whole shit ton of chaos. We found our way back to each other.
We found perseverance.
I’m amazed I’ve published another book. This feeling of excitement, nerves, and worry never gets old. It’s one rush I’ll never get used to—no matter how many titles I publish.
There’s always so many involved in the publishing process, and I hope I don’t forget to thank any!
My Husband— You are my backbone. You are the person who keeps me hell bent on writing and publishing. I can never thank you enough for your support. xoxo I love you.
Mom— Three books later and you’re still my rock. You never let me give up; even when I want at times. I hope you know how much I appreciate and love you!
Kimberly— The craziest bitch I know; yet somehow we remain best friends and partners in crime. I owe you the world, but the most you get is a constant slew of FaceTime calls every day and lots of laughs from my insane antics! (I know you secretly love them.) I’ll make you a deal, here for the entire world to see; you keep answering my calls and I’ll still making your books pretty. We’ll also keep being friends. ;) haha! Love you bitch!
Melissa— What would I do without you!? To answer that question; I’d be a mess! You are one of my dearest friends, also the kindest person I’ve ever met. Thank you for all you do! Please know how appreciated and loved you are. Always.