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Authors: Scott Hildreth

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BOOK: Brawler
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Day thirty-six.

“Actually, Ripp hates the stuff. He only came here because he was helping me out that day, and I wanted to ride in his car,” Ethan said.

“So it was just a fluke that you guys caught me here?”

“Pretty much.”

“Well, I’m glad you did.”

“So am I.”

I took a drink of my coffee and considered whether or not the coffee shop was a good place to talk about my dilemma. I looked around the seating area and decided it was as private as my living room, as long as no one showed up.

We were sharing a corner of a small outdoor table, seated only a few feet from one another. Ethan relaxed in his chair, rocking it back onto the rear legs. He seemed more comfortable than he did when we first met, and although he still didn’t talk a lot, he did communicate more than he did at first.

As always, his hair was a perfect mess. His clothes – jeans, a tee shirt, and boots – were a reminder that we weren’t on a post-workout coffee run, and that our encounter was more of a scheduled event. I liked seeing him dressed the way he was, but doing so made me want him sexually.

Hell, everything made me want him sexually.

Regardless of what he wore, it was difficult to look at Ethan and not want to fuck him. I felt slight guilt for always thinking about having sex with him, but the guilt didn’t last long.

“Can I ask you some questions?”

He lowered the chair onto its front legs and removed his sunglasses. “Sure.”

“Some serious ones?”

“Am I in trouble?” he asked.

I stared back at him and smiled. I loved his eyes. Absolutely loved them. “No.”

“Go for it.”

My serious conversations involving men were limited to Freddy, my father, and a few of the guys I had dated over the years. Short of Freddy, none of the men placed any merit on my opinions, though. I wasn’t convinced all men were self-righteous pricks, but I did have my suspicions. 

I had decided I would tell Ethan what my concerns were, see what he thought, and make my decision on how to proceed with matters based on his responses. I didn’t expect him to commit to me, nor was a sure I wanted to commit to him, at least not yet.

As ridiculous as it sounded, I wanted confirmation that he intended to continue fucking me. I didn’t care what we chose to call our situation, I was concerned with more important things.

The most important thing.


“How long have we known each other?” I asked.

“A month. Give or take.”

“Things have changed between us here lately, and I want to discuss it.”

He looked worried. “Okay.”

“We’re fucking now.”

He returned an awkward stare. “Is that bad?”

“No,” I said. “It’s not bad, it’s just. I don’t want it to stop.”


Ethan wasn’t opposing me, but he sure wasn’t making me feel comfortable that he was vested in our conversation, either.

“I’ve got this fear that you’re going to walk away, and I’m going to be…”

It seemed strange telling him I was concerned that his big cock was going to ruin me from being able to be satisfied in the future. The longer I struggled with choosing the words to finish my sentence, the more ridiculous the entire conversation seemed.

I was mid-sentence into my explanation, and I wished I hadn’t even started our little cock talk.

“I’m not going anywhere.”

I appreciated the reassurance, but I wasn’t convinced. “Give me a second. I wasn’t done with my thought, and I need to think of how to say it.”


My brain was mush. I’d never been one for beating around the bush, and there was no sense in starting now.

“You’ve got a really nice cock,” I said.

He seemed embarrassed, but eventually he smiled. “Thanks.”

nice. And. Well. I was afraid that in a few weeks I’d be ruined, and then…you know…it’d be impossible to be satisfied in the future.”

There. I said it.

He stared back at me as if waiting for me to continue. I returned his stare, waiting for his response.

His brow wrinkled and his eyes narrowed. “I’m lost. You said a minute ago that you didn’t want to stop doing it. Then, you said if we continued, you’d be ruined. Did I hurt you or something?”

“Hurt me?”

“Yeah.” He gestured toward my crotch. “Tear your junk up?”

My junk?

“No.” I chuckled. “You didn’t tear me up.”

He looked confused. “So what are we talking about?”

“I said I wanted some commitment from you that you weren’t going to just…I don’t know…walk away. You know, that you weren’t planning on hittin’ it and quitin’ it. Not that that’s never happened, because it has. But if it happens with you, I’d rather it happen now than after a while. I just don’t want to be left, you know, struggling to have orgasms later in life because I’m all hung up on thick cocks and I can’t find one after you’re gone. I know there aren’t any assurances in a deal like this, but I was wanting…I was hoping that you’d tell me that you weren’t planning on…” I cleared my throat. “Are you going to fuck me again?”

His eyes went wide. “Wow.”

I scrunched my nose and glared. “What?”

a girl.”

“What do you mean?”

“You fight like a man. You walk like a man. You talk like a man. Well, when you cuss, anyway. But
? Whatever that was? That was one hundred percent girl. It made no sense whatsoever.”

“Which part?”

“All of it.”

I had explained everything. For as polite and as attentive as he was, he was a complete man.

Never paying attention to what a woman says.

“I’ll dumb it down for you.”

“Dumb it down?”

I nodded. “Uh huh.”

“When do you plan on walking away?” I asked.

His forehead wrinkled. “From what?”

I sighed. “This.”

The confused look returned. “This?”

I inhaled a deep breath and shook my head. “When are you going to quit fucking me?”

“I’ve got to quit?”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “No. But sooner or later, you will. Nothing lasts forever. So, what’s your plan?”

He shrugged. “Are you afraid of commitment or something?”



“Yeah,” he said. “Commitment.”

Somehow the conversation had gone from fucking to commitment. As much as I enjoyed their company, men seemed to simply drive me insane. “No, I’m not afraid of commitment. Why?”

“I really don’t know what it is you’re trying to do here, but maybe this will help.” He leaned forward and placed his hand on my knee. “I’m not going to
hit it and quit it
. I like you. If I didn’t, I would have never come over for dinner. You didn’t ask, but I’m sure you wonder, so I’ll just tell you now. I’m not fucking anyone else, and I won’t. I’m not like that.”

As he spoke, my mouth curled into what eventually became a monstrous grin.

“And, I’m not planning on leaving you,” he continued. “I might have been raised by an asshole, but I was raised with a pretty good understanding of what’s right and wrong. So when I agreed to have sex, I made a mental commitment to you. You can call it whatever you want to call it.”

He lifted his hand from my knee and relaxed in his chair. “I call it being a man.”

His little speech almost brought me to tears. I fought to swallow, but my throat had gone dry. I took a drink of coffee and smiled.

“I don’t have any more questions.”




Day forty-three.

I ran through the house, tearing clothes off and tossing them aside as I rushed to get to the shower.

I had picked up an extra shift at work to help with the cost of gas from driving back and forth to the gym, and now I was running later than I expected. If I was late for the fight, it would be forfeited, and Ripp would kill me.

I took a quick shower, dried off, and began to rub my lotion on.

The doorbell rang.


I pulled on some sweats and a hoodie, then ran to the window. Peering through the blinds and out onto the entrance revealed no one.

Fucking kids.

I hurried back to my bedroom, got undressed, and quickly put on my shorts and sports bra. After grabbing my gym bag, I ran to the kitchen and got a protein bar. A quick check of my watch revealed thirty minutes until the fight.

As long as I didn’t get caught in traffic, I’d have fifteen minutes to spare.

With the protein bar in my mouth and my bag over my shoulder, I pulled the door open and stepped onto the porch. While locking the door, something right beside the door caught my eye. I turned to the side.


A vase filled with roses sat on the side of my porch. Beneath the vase, an envelope. Filled with excitement, I slid the vase to the side. On the outside of the envelope, a name was written in pen.


I checked over each shoulder and carefully opened the envelope.

On the outside, the card simply said
thank you.
I opened it. Inside, there was a small paragraph, written very neatly and with perfect penmanship.


Thank you for giving me a chance. I’ll do my best not to disappoint you, and I hope so far I haven’t done so. If so, accept these flowers as an apology. If not, accept them as a gift expressing my appreciation for you allowing me into your life.

Good luck tonight.


I read it twice and then picked up the flowers and buried my nose in them. The sweet aroma caused me to salivate and filled me with an odd warmth. For, at least at that moment, what I believed to be the first time in my life, I felt appreciated for simply being myself.

It was an exciting time. I’d never received flowers from anyone before. As much as I didn’t want to leave them, I carried the vase into my apartment, situated them in the center of the table, and placed the card in my purse.




I could see the disappointment on Ripp’s face as soon as I stepped into the gym. Standing beside the ring with his hands on his hips and his eyes locked on me, he looked angry and disappointed at the same time.

“You’ve got fifteen fucking minutes,” he growled.

I tossed my bag on the floor and removed my shoes. “I’m sorry. I had to work, and it just went to fuck after that.”

“Why didn’t you answer my texts?”

Because I couldn’t afford to pay for my phone, and it got turned off.

“I don’t know where my phone is.”

It was true. It had been turned off for three days, and I really didn’t know what I did with it after they turned it off.

He shot me a glare. “If you’re not going to take this seriously--”

I shook my head. “I am serious. So serious. I want this more than anything. I’m really sorry. I couldn’t afford the extra gas from driving here five days a week, so I picked up an extra shift to help pay for gas and protein bars. And my phone? I don’t know where it is, really. But it got shut off.”


It seemed like a stupid question until I remembered that everyone didn’t have the same financial concerns I had.

“I couldn’t afford to pay the bill.”

His dropped his gaze to the floor. “I’ll pay your phone bill.”

“No you won’t,” I said.

I finished lacing my shoes, grabbed my jump rope, and sighed. “I’ll pay it as soon as I can afford to.”

“I said I’ll pay it.”

“And I said
.” I raised my hands to shoulder height. “Sorry, I’ve got to warm up.”

I began jumping rope while Ripp stood with a concerned look on his face. As with most people who weren’t, trying to understand the difficulties associated with being poor was impossible for him.

“Let me pay it and you can pay me back,” he said. “I need to be able to get ahold of you. You’re going to go places in this sport, Jaz. And you can’t fuckin’ get there if I can’t get ahold of you.”

I responded as I continued to jump. “I might…let you do…that. I can pay you…back as soon as…I get another shift…picked up. Maybe like two…weeks. It’s…not cheap…though.”

His eyes widened comically.

“Eighty bucks,” I said.

“I think I can work somethin’ out.”


He motioned toward my bag. “Toss the rope.”

I stopped jumping and dropped the rope on top of my bag.

“Listen up,” he said. “Remember, she fights unorthodox. And her left hook is her signature, so watch for it. She almost always throws it right after a clench, so don’t spend much time in close with her. If you get caught in there, get out quick.”

He’s already told me everything about her, but it didn’t hurt to hear it again. I nodded. “Got it, Boss.”

“She’s been fightin’ amateur for three years, and she’s got about forty fights. She’s undefeated, Jaz.”

He’s failed to tell me that.

“What if I lose?”

“You plannin’ on losin’?”

“No, but I’m just asking. What happens?”

“Nothin’. It’ll just be a setback. Be tougher for you to be accepted in the pros for a while. If you keep knockin’ ‘em out quick, it’ll get a lot of people to talkin’, that’s for sure.”

“It makes a difference if I knock ‘em out?”

He nodded. “Big difference.”

“And if it’s quick?”

“Huge difference. A late round knockout can be dismissed as a tired opponent or a lucky series of punches. But first round knockouts back to back to back? It brings a lot of attention and gives you a label.”

“A label?”

He nodded. “They’ll label you a bad ass.”

“I am a bad ass.”

“Prove it,” he said. “Give me a good fight.”

“What if I give you a first round knockout?”

“Not going to happen with this one, Jaz. She’ll just feel you out in the first.”

We’ll see about that.

I shrugged. “You never know.”

“Ripton! You ready?”

I turned toward the voice. The referee stood at the edge of the ring, leaning over the top rope.

“Coming in now,” Ripp said.

I grinned. “Ripton?”

He pushed my headgear onto my head and nodded. “Michael Allen Ripton. Don’t act like your name’s Jaz.”

After he put on my gloves and checked them for rips, I climbed in the ring.

“What is it?” he shouted.

I shook my head. “Just Jaz.”

I hated my name. Who the fuck would name their daughter Beth? Even in school, most of my teachers called me Jaz, and it was how I signed all of my schoolwork. No one called me Beth but my father.

“Get in the ring, Just Jaz.”

I climbed in the ring and leaned over the rope. “Wish me luck.”

He poked my mouthpiece into my mouth. “You don’t need it,” he said with a laugh. “You’ve got mad skills.”

BOOK: Brawler
12.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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