Finding Perseverance(20)

By: T. E. Black


I stare at Angie with wide eyes. She’s crazy if she thinks I’m leaving this room without getting to meet my biggest fan.

I do have other things on my schedule today but they can all wait.

“I’m not leaving. I’ll wait until he wakes up,” I say, settling back into the chair.

My rapid breathing calms into slow and steady. I open my eyes and blink, bringing the world back into focus.

“There he is,” Luke smiles. “You good, dude?”

Glancing to Luke who now sits at my side supportively, I nod. “I’m all right,” I say, but the words burn my dry throat. I begin coughing, and Luke leans over and grabs a bottle of water from the table.

“Take a drink.”

I do as he suggests, and the drink burns worse than I thought it would. Another cough rips from my chest, and as it fades, I feel better.

Wiping my mouth with the back of my hand, I look toward Luke. “Thank you.”

He pats me on the shoulder, shaking his head. “No need for that shit, man. That’s what I’m here for. You’re good.”





Chapter Seven





Ryleigh





“Shut up, assholes! It’s starting!” I growl from behind the bar.

Cranking up the volume on every one of the televisions, I let the sportscasters’ voices travel through the surround sound and drown out the noise from the bar. The crowd roars as a million different angles of the cage flash across the screen. The number of people in the stands is enough to make me nervous for Rook. Although, it has to be one crazy rush.

The televisions cut back to the pre-fight interviews with both Rook and his opponent, and I can’t help but smile. Rook looks as if he were born to fight. It’s as if he knows exactly what to do and say to drive his fans wild with excitement. The confidence he possesses isn’t something rehearsed. It’s something that comes naturally.

“I can’t believe my brother didn’t come see us before the fight,” Trent growls from his seat.

“Give him a break, man. The guy has to fight for his title. Let him focus on one thing at a time,” Mac chimes in.

“Yeah. Calm down, bro. No need to get your panties in a twist,” Evan says, slapping Trent lightly on the back of his head.

Mac and Evan are the two other idiots I’ve been taking care of over the years. Evan doesn’t manage to screw things up as often as Trent and Mac do, but he’s come into my bar on more than one occasion and drank his face off after he had done something stupid.

I’ve known Evan for a long time now. He’s the only one of the guys who hasn’t made me want to pull my hair out on a regular basis. He’s a simple man for the most part. He goes to work at a gym where he does personal training and then goes home to his fiancée, Sierra, and their son. Normally, people have nothing but complaints when it comes to work and family, but Evan is different. His family is everything to him. Hell, he’s never had one complaint about being a father.

These three idiots and their women are my group, the ban of stupids I’d do anything for. We all have flaws, but as a group, we’re perfect.

“Still, the dick could’ve stopped by the bar to see us,” Trent grumbles.

Trent got lucky when he met his fiancée Shay. She forced him to grow up, and take responsibility for his actions. Whereas Mac is pussy whipped by his pregnant fiancée, Callie, who also happens to be one of my best friends and the sweetest girl I’ve ever met. She’s a strong woman with demons of her own, but she’s a damn survivor. She has weathered suffocating parents who doesn’t approve of anything she does, a horrible relationship she doesn’t ever really speak of, and the worst case of depression I’ve ever heard of.

After Rook left for California, it was Trent, Mac, Sierra, Evan, and me in the group. Then, slowly but surely, the guys each found their happily ever after. I never minded being the best friend who made a mean cocktail, but after the fiasco with Trent and Shay a few months back, I started to think about my life. I started to realize I didn’t want to be alone forever.

I want to be valued in the same way each of the guys valued their girl.

I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life, and I fear it might happen if I keep on with this selfless side of me. It’s already ruined two relationships of mine. First, when I sent Rook away and then when I chose my friendship with Trent over my relationship with Susan.