Finding Perseverance(9)

By: T. E. Black


I have asked her a million times, and the answer is always the same: “I don’t like him. He uses you.” And while it might have been true at one point, it shouldn't have been a reason for her to isolate herself from him. After all, my friends are my family.

My phone rings again, and I almost throw it at the damn wall. I don't want to deal with her.

It's the same routine every time. She tells me she wants to work things out. I tell her not until she can accept every aspect of my life. She gets pissed. I get pissed. She brings up nonsense that is completely irrelevant to our relationship, like Rook. I roll my eyes, sick of hearing her saying a man is the problem. She bitches some more, and then I hang up.

It has been like that since I told her I am not going to limit myself only to women any longer. She’s been insane. She may say she doesn't want to lose me, but what she's doing—harassing me—isn’t going to keep me around.

I do love and miss Susan, but not this side of her. She's never going to accept Trent or my friends, and that's a deal breaker.

The ringing cuts through my thoughts—again. This time, I answer.

“What?” My tone is lethal as I let all my frustration show in the single word.

“Uh … Is this a bad time?”

Fuck! Not Susan calling.

“Oh. Hey, Rook. I thought you were someone else.”

“I feel pretty bad for the person who you thought was calling.” He laughs. “How’s it going?”

His husky voice slips into my ears, causing my palms to clam up. Although it’s the way he’s always sounded, I can’t help but melt a little. Rook Wallace is the only man alive whose voice I find sexy.

“It’s going. You know how it is. How about you?” I reply.

“Same here. How’s Trent? Is he sober?”

“He’s doing great—still clean. He and Shay have been going to a drug counselor together. Although, I don’t know why you don’t ask him yourself, Rook. I doubt he’s still pissed.” I sigh into the phone.

“Leigh, we haven’t talked since Ma’s funeral. He’ll be pissed.”

“Stop calling me that,” I snap.

“Calling you what?”

“Leigh. That’s not my name anymore. Hasn’t been for a long time.”

Rook is the only one who’s ever called me Leigh, and back then I loved it. Now, I hate it. It makes me feel like the person I used to be, not who I am today. Leigh was weak. She depended on everyone, including Rook, to take care of her instead of just growing a set and taking care of herself.

That was how Rook operated. He was raised to believe the man should provide and the woman shouldn’t have to lift a finger. Hell, he even cooked and cleaned when I didn’t beat him to the punch. He was a true gentleman, but that was ten years ago. I can’t help but wonder if he’s changed at all.

“That’s still your name to me.”

“Was there a point to your call other than asking about Trent?” I clip, aggravated at him for ignoring my demand.

I don’t want to have this conversation today, or any day for that matter. Having a conversation about the dreaded nickname would only lead to talking about our past. I’m not about to open the wound again.

“Why are you always so difficult?”

When I don’t answer, he continues, changing the subject. “I’m coming to Boston.”

“You’re what? Why?” I know why, this whole city knows why. That doesn’t mean I need to admit to him that I’ve been following his career.

Last time he came to Boston, the motherfucker ended up in my bar.

“Damn, Leigh. Do you hate me that much?” He chuckles before adding, “My title fight’s in Boston. Didn’t you see? It’s been plastered on every sports channel and radio station. Kind of hard to miss, you know?”

He’s right, but it doesn’t mean I haven’t tried. Sports channels are sort of a requirement among the customers. I’ve seen every part of Rook’s career broadcast on television.

“I didn’t see it, but that’s great.” I lie.

“Maybe we could grab a drink or something.”

“Maybe.”

“All right. I’ll call you. I have to get to a press conference. See you soon, Leigh.”