Let MeBy: Cecy Robson
An O'Brien Family Novel (The O'Brien Family Book 2)
I see the strike coming at me a split second before it connects with my skull. My head snaps back from the force, the crowds’ hollers resonating like a muffled cry in the distance. It was a good punch―lightning quick with enough impact to knock most guys on their asses. But I’m not most guys.
You hit me, I’m only going to hit you harder.
My right hand shoots up, blocking and smacking away the kick gunning for my ribs. I pivot out of the way, again, and again, and again, avoiding Easton’s arms and legs as they come at me. He’s fast, strong, with a six inch reach advantage. But he’s too eager to take me out and not pacing himself like he should. Already he’s breathing hard and it’s just the start of the second round.
I take my time to figure him out, planning each move, searching for that opening I need. Do I take a few bashes because of it? Sure. It’s part of the job. But believe it or not, it’s part of the job I look forward to.
Those punches and kicks remind me that I still feel, that I’m still human. And that for now, I’m still alive.
“Oh!” some drunk behind me yells when my uppercut finds Easton’s chin.
He staggers back, swiping the blood oozing from his lip, yet he keeps his grin. He’s trying to make like it was a lucky shot. That it won’t happen again.
Like me, Easton needs to win this match. And if he does, he’ll move up to the top ten, making him a contender for the UFC Lightweight title.
Talent aside, the guy’s a raging asshole, and so are the idiots in his training camp. They’ve been trash-talking since the moment I agreed to this match. I didn’t really care and laughed most of it off until they got personal and took it a step too far.
Again he nails me in the head. It’s not as hard as it was last time which tells me he’s getting tired. Does it hurt? I guess.
But let’s say I’m a guy who’s used to pain.
Easton grins. He thinks I’m afraid of him. He thinks he has me where he wants me. But fear is an emotion I don’t allow myself to entertain. Fear gets you hurt and rips you apart till you think there’s nothing left.
I dodge out of reach. He scowls and takes another swing. This one gets close enough to my jaw to create a breeze that whips across my skin.
“Finn,” my brother Killian barks from the side. “Take him out now.”
He’s worried about me. So is my family. But now’s not the time to think about them. I keep my hands up as I edge away, letting Easton think I’m backing down, that I’m tired and need to catch my breath.
I sidestep when he lunges forward, avoiding his next swing and use the momentum to drop my head and nail him in the temple with a roundhouse kick.
Like I said, Easton’s fast.
Too bad for him I’m a little bit faster.
The kick is my signature move, as natural for me as the next breath. He goes down like I planned. But in the Octagon you don’t stop just because your opponent collapses like timber. You charge forward. You show him what you’re made of. And you prove just how tough you really are.
That muffled screaming, isn’t so muffled anymore. The crowd loses their shit as I pounce, my blows nailing Easton in the face until the ref’s arms hook beneath mine as he hauls me off. I back away, my fists up because I already know I won.
I should do a back flip or some crazy shit to incite the crowd. This is it. My time has come to own it. But the good things aren’t as great as they can be. Not with the memories that haunt me. And not with the anger they stir.
Killian rushes in as the medic wipes down my face. I’m bleeding from the punch Easton caught me with at the beginning of the round. I didn’t think it was that bad, but the way the ringside medic is pressing the towel against my head clues me in the gash isn’t closing like it should.
“I’m going to have to stitch you up, Fury,” he mumbles.
“I figured,” I tell him.
Kill pats my back. “Good job,” he says.
Maybe he believes it, but I don’t miss the concern in his voice. He thinks I took too many unnecessary hits. I can’t really argue, seeing how it’s true.
He doesn’t understand that I don’t feel those strikes the way I should. Hell, I don’t think I’ve felt anything the way I should in a long time. Not like I used to. I try to tell myself that maybe that’ a good thing. That numbness is better than pain. But I’m not so convinced anymore, and neither is my family. I try to shrug it off like I’m fine. Except given the way they’ve been eyeing me, I’m not fooling anyone.