Finding Perseverance(99)

By: T. E. Black

She’s not saving me.

She’s ruining me.

I’ll never be able to look at another blonde woman and not see her. Every time I hear someone with a Boston accent, my mind will switch back to the way she sounds. Every bar I see with a red, neon light hanging off it, I’ll think of Max’s Bar, which will have me thinking about her again. If I stay in Boston where I’m not wanted, it will be more of a slap in the face than leaving the city. My staying here would mean that neither of us would have an ounce of closure.

“Flights booked,” Luke cheers from the couch.

I don’t answer. Instead, I give him a nod, acknowledging that I heard what he said.

“Man. It’s going to be great to get back to normal. This bullshit with Mark threw everything off. After working for you for ten years, I got used to our routine,” he jokes.

“It will be nice to get back in a gym.” I lie.

“Yeah. You’re looking a little less ripped than usual.” He chuckles. “So, first things first when we get back to Cali, we have to find out some new sponsors since the old ones wouldn’t touch you with a ten-foot pole. Then, we have to get some fights lined up and show that you’ve shaken off all the bullshit rumors.”

“How bad are they?” I ask as if I care.

He gives me a hesitant look before answering. “Pretty bad. Look on the bright side! You got a mini vacation with your former lover and family.”

“You’re a dick.”

He throws his hands up in surrender, nodding in agreement. “Sorry. Old habits are a bitch to kick. I won’t bring her up again. I swear.”

“When’s the flight?”

“Tomorrow morning. Bright and early at six sharp.”

“Gotcha. You picking me up here or sending a car?”

“I’ll pick you up. I have to make sure you don’t get cold feet or accosted by some damn reporter.”

“I'll see you in the morning. My brother’s stopping by for a bit and then I'll tap out for the night.” It’s dismissive, and even though Luke is a dick, he’s not stupid. He knows I want him to leave.

When I’m finally alone, I feel a sense of relief. I like Luke and all, but he pushes my buttons too much. He’s so single minded that his whole world seems to revolve around one thing—money. He’s all about it.

My cell rings and I fish it out of my pocket, hoping it’s Leigh. It’s Trent.

“Yo,” I answer.

“Hey. You around?”

“Yeah. I'm in the apartment.” I pause. “You still stopping by?”

There's a moment of silence before he answers, “Yeah. If you don't mind, that is.”

“Not at all. Just come up. The door’s open.”

“Actually, I was hoping to use the back door. I don't want Ryleigh seeing. You know?” His tone is uneasy.

It doesn't surprise me as much as it should. I know Leigh probably hates me right about now, and I'm sure she’s been talking to Trent about it since they made up.

“No worries. I'll prop the back door open.”

“Come open it. I'm already here,” he says, shocking the shit out of me.

“All right. Be down in a minute.”

I hang up the phone and slip on my boots quickly in an attempt to get down there before Leigh finds out he's here. The last thing I want is for him to be on her shit list once I leave town. He shouldn't have to deal with that because of me.

I take the steps two at a time and peek down the hallway to make sure the coast is clear before I open the door for Trent. He slips in quietly and doesn’t say a word until we are both safely back in my apartment.

“Do you want a soda or something?” I offer as I kick my boots back off.

“I'm good, man. Thanks.”

I grab myself a drink from the fridge and try to ignore the way Trent keeps clearing his throat.

“You all right?” I ask. He looks nervous.

He ignores my question and looks around the apartment as if he's on a mission. I follow his eyes as they dodge and dart certain items. His gaze stops on my duffel bag, and then, finally, his eyes meet mine.

“Are you really leaving?”

He seems surprised, which is strange. I figured that when I said I was leaving, he would have known it’d be soon. I figured that’s what his drop in was about but now, I have no clue what's going on.