Break Me (Caged Hearts Book 2) (5 page)

BOOK: Break Me (Caged Hearts Book 2)
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Chapter 14



The ache in Jasper’s bones was beginning to ease. Stretching out, he smiled contentedly as he noticed Kait sleeping soundly beside him. He felt happier than he’d expected to. It had been so long since he’d been in a relationship that he’d expected himself to freak out when she asked if they were truly together, but he was happy to say that they were seeing one another. Being with Kait didn’t seem as daunting as he’d feared it would.


He could hear the soft rise and fall of her breath as she slept. Her golden hair fell over her eyes, and her cheeks were blushed with warmth. It had now been almost twenty four hours since Jasper had turned up at her door. A whole day without contact with Carl, without shouted orders from his trainer. And the rest had done Jasper the world of good. He felt less wrung out, less sore. His knee still throbbed when he placed too much weight on it, but he was starting to feel more like his old, powerful self, and it felt good.


Carefully, he left the bed so as not to disturb Kait. She murmured dreamily and rolled on to her side. Jasper stole one final glance back at her before leaving the room and heading for the kitchenette. The growl which resonated out from his stomach told him that he needed food and fast.


A quick raid of Kait’s fridge produced several eggs and some tomatoes. Jasper set about creating a basic omelet, eager to get the protein into his body. As he cooked, he heard the bedroom door distantly creak open. She must have woken up after all.


“Hey.” Kait was bleary eyed as she ambled towards the kitchenette, her hair gathered wildly around her head.


“Morning,” Jasper grinned fondly at her.


“You’re still here,” she exclaimed with a wry smile. “Shouldn’t you normally have snuck out by now?”


“Normally, yes,” Jasper agreed with a laugh.


“But things are different now,” Kait titled her head and eyed him affectionately.


“Yes,” Jasper nodded in agreement. “Things are different now.”


He shared the omelet between the two of them, though he’d have secretly preferred to have it all to himself. He made a mental note to grab a protein shake before heading to the gym.


“So what are your plans for today?” Kait asked between mouthfuls. “I’ve got Netflix set up on my TV so you can watch that if you like.”


Jasper felt his shoulders tense as he realized what Kait was implying. She thought he was going to spend the day at her apartment.


“Actually, I’m heading to the gym today.” He said casually as he watched her expression harden. She dropped her fork against her plate with a clatter.


“The gym?” She echoed in disbelief. “But Jasper, you collapsed there the other day. You need to rest.”


“I can’t afford to rest,” he told her tersely. “I’ve got another big match coming up. I need to be on top form. I’ve already taken too much time off as it is.”


Frowning, Kait picked up her fork and continued to eat her breakfast whilst wearing a sullen expression.


“I promise not to push myself,” Jasper offered, not wanting to end their morning together on bad terms.


“Okay,” Kait sighed, pushing away her now empty plate. “I’ll be back here by six at the latest. What do you want to do tonight?”


Jasper blinked at her with uncertainty. He wasn’t sure if she was joking or not. Later, all he wanted to do was sit on his own sofa, watch his own TV before creeping into his own bed. If his drill sergeant of a trainer was still at the gym, he already knew he was going to be in for a brutally draining day.


“I’m uh, going to be at my place tonight,” Jasper said after nervously clearing his throat.


“Oh,” Kait pursed her lips and nodded stiffly. “Well, that’s fine,” she added brightly, “I can come over to yours.”


Jasper almost choked on the piece of omelet sliding down his throat. She didn’t understand what he was saying. They’d just spent the night together; he now needed some time alone. Just because they were now seeing one another didn’t mean that they had to live in one another’s pockets.


“Yeah, I can’t do tonight,” he told her, hoping he didn’t sound too cold or aloof. “I’m anticipating that today in the gym will be tough, so I’ll just be looking to crash out later.”


Kait’s cheeks began to burn as his intentions became clear.


“Oh, of course,” she mumbled quickly, getting up and taking her plate with her. “I didn’t mean to intrude or anything.”


Jasper didn’t say anything as he finished off his own portion of the omelet. He heard Kait cleaning up behind him and could imagine how tense and jerky her movements were.


“So when am I going to see you next?” She asked sharply as she turned off the tap. Jasper squeezed his eyes shut and tried not to freak out. This was the part about a relationship that he didn’t like – the accountability. He was no longer able to just think about himself, but Jasper needed his independence. He couldn’t become a partnership overnight like Kait was seemingly expecting him to do.


“Kait,” he took a deep breath, “how about we ease in to the whole couple thing, okay? I’ll see you later this week, but there’s nothing formal in place. We don’t need to pencil each other in to our schedules. I’d like to keep things relaxed for a while.”


Kait came and stood within his eye line. He could see the disappointment plainly etched in to her pretty face.


“Relaxed?” She repeated the word incredulously.


“Just for a while,” Jasper insisted. “This is all pretty new to me.”


Folding her arms across her chest, Kait considered his request.


“I need to keep my independence,” Jasper said slowly, apologetically.


“I’m hardly asking you to sell your apartment and move in!” Kait cried as she threw her arms up in anger. “God, Jasper, I was just hoping to spend some time together! Is that so much to ask?”


Jasper flinched. This was what he had been dreading. Relationships always involved arguments, and the last thing he wanted to do was bicker before going to the gym. He was about to defend himself when Kait declared that she was going for a shower before storming off in the direction of the bathroom.


Suddenly alone, Jasper considered what he should do. He knew that really he should stay and speak with Kait when she came out of the shower, but he was in no mood to just keep arguing. Quickly he gathered his belongings and left the apartment.


Chapter 15


“You’re slipping.” Carl was standing by the kitchen counter when Jasper walked into his apartment.


“Nice to see you too,” Jasper muttered angrily, wondering why he’d been stupid enough to give his agent a key to his apartment. At some point, he’d definitely need to try and get it back.


“I heard about what happened at the gym.”


“Thanks for your concern,” Jasper noted grimly.


“I am concerned!” Carl insisted, walking over to his client and resting his small hands upon Jasper’s huge shoulders. “I’m concerned you won’t win your next fight,” Carl continued. Jasper shook him off and strode over to the fridge to grab a bottle of water.


“Is that all you’re concerned about?” He asked bitterly.


“It’s all you should be concerned about!” Carl vented. “You need to win this next fight, Jasper! The rest of your career depends on it! How do you not get the seriousness of the situation?”


“I get it!” Jasper snapped. “Trust me, I get it.” His shoulders sagged as his anger drained out of him. Carl was right; he knew that. He needed to remain focused on his next fight. He couldn’t start entering into domestic arguments with Kait. Not when it was paramount that he keep training and stay on top of his game.


“So today, are you ready to train?”


“Yes.” Jasper narrowed his eyes with determination. “I’m ready to train.”


“That’s what I like to hear,” Carl smiled. “I need you to stay focused, Jasper.”


“I will.”


“Where were you yesterday?” Carl squinted with suspicion.


“At the hospital.”


“After that.”


Jasper sighed and rolled his shoulders. He knew where Carl was going with it, and he was in no mood to have yet another argument.


“It’s not what you think,” he told him. “I just went there to crash.”


“So you’re not entering in to a relationship with this girl?” Carl challenged, sounding every inch the protective parent in their dynamic. “Because you know how foolish that would be right now.”


“I know,” Jasper was nodding as he spoke. “And no, I’m not entering in to a relationship.” The lie came easier to him than he’d thought it would. Perhaps he wasn’t as ready for something serious as he’d originally thought.


“Good, then let’s get your ass to the gym.”


Chapter 16


As he sprinted on the treadmill, Jasper tried not to think about Kait, about how disappointed she’d looked when he’d said he didn’t want to meet up that evening. His bad knee was covered in a tight fitting support band which helped with some of his discomfort. He had been running for twenty minutes straight, and sweat was pouring down his back.


“Good,” his trainer complimented him from nearby where he was checking Jasper’s stats on the treadmill’s digital display.


“Happy to please you,” Jasper said sarcastically. Despite sweating profusely, he had yet to lose his breath and could still hold a conversation. His day spent sleeping in Kait’s bed had renewed him. If only his knee wasn’t in such a bad state, he’d almost be back to his best.


“I think we should train in the ring this afternoon,” his trainer decided, running a hand through his perfect mane of golden hair. Jasper was grateful that the gym was guys only. If girls trained there, they’d doubtlessly be drooling over his trainer all the time.


“I could go for some sparring,” Jasper nodded. He liked the idea of punching out some of his tension. He was still annoyed over his conversation with Kait that morning. He hadn’t heard from her since he’d left. He could only imagine how angry she must have been when she came out of the shower and realized he was gone, but he couldn’t think about that now. He had to focus on training, on becoming strong.


“Good, keep going,” his trainer urged him.


Jasper ran hard and fast. He ran as though he was being chased instead of remaining in one spot. He pushed through the pain in his knee and ignored the throb in his muscles as he began to push them too hard. All that mattered was staying in top form. He had to remain the best. He had to prove to everyone that he was still a champion.


“I like this new found grit,” his trainer said with a clap of his hands. “Okay, take ten.”


Jasper lowered the setting on the treadmill, and soon he was walking briskly before stopping all together. His legs felt like jelly as he stepped off the machine.


“This is the Jasper Duboix I was expecting to meet,” his trainer pointed enthusiastically at him, grinning wildly.


Jasper shrugged modestly and wiped off some of his sweat with a nearby towel.


“I look forward to seeing what power you bring in to the ring.”


“You’ll see soon enough,” Jasper said as he waited for his heart rate to regulate now that he’d stopping exercising. It was in the ring that he always excelled. Despite his dominating physique, he was light on his feet and able to dodge incoming shots with ease. At least that was usually the case. He could still hear the crunch as his opponent’s fist smacked into his body when he’d been too slow, too sluggish to move out of the way in time. But that wouldn’t happen again. No matter how much it took from him, Jasper was going to train harder than ever to prove that he was still on top.

BOOK: Break Me (Caged Hearts Book 2)
10.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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