I wait until I’m just on the borderline of town before I go into one of the disgusting toilets of a petrol stations. Disgusting, truly. I take of my black rimmed glasses and shoving them in the bottom of my duffle bag, taking my time as I put in my clear contacts, blinking a few times into the stingy and blurry mirror, I quickly pull off my sweater shoving that in my duffle bag leaving me in just a black tank, before changing out of my camo pants and into a pair of grey joggers, switching my shoes for sneakers. Zipping up my bag and slinging it over my shoulder I look at my almost complete transformation, the black ink twirling up my left arm standing out to me the most, this was the biggest thing that went against everything I ‘was’, went against what everyone thought of me, was the snake coiled around my arm. No longer the little nerd, I finish off the look by ruffling up my hair a bit before leaving the toilets heading along the border to the gym just on the edge.
Tossing my reflection a smirk, this was me.
I walk into the gym, ignoring all the other people as I head over to my corner, everyone immediately disappearing, going to other places in the gym. I dump my duffle bag on the floor and take in a deep breath, getting a good whiff of what was familiar now.
This was, is, my territory.
I fish my keys out of my duffle bag, now full of smelly gym clothes, spotting my glasses sitting there in the bottom, I get the rectangular black rimmed glasses out and put them on, squinting, glasses weren’t made to be worn with contacts at the same time.
I push the door open, surprised to see the light on as I walk in, closing the door behind me. “I don’t think so Kevin,” I hear my mother’s voice sigh, letting my glasses drop a little down my nose I peer into the lounge room, where the light was coming from, the rest of the house was still dark. “Figure it out!” My mother’s voice went louder with each word as she rubs the bridge of her nose, her blonde hair piled on the top of her head in a tight bun. “What do you mean you’ve lost the records?” She says in a strained voice, sounding as though she was trying not to yell.
I watch as she picks up her bag that she must’ve only just put down, “I’ll be there in twenty minutes.” She sighs before hanging up, turning around and seeing me for the first time.
Her mouth drops agape, as if she’d forgotten she did in fact have a son, as if she’d forgotten that I still lived here, that she wasn’t as alone as she acted. “Kade.” She says, almost as though she was picking her words carefully.
“I heard,” I mumble, running a hand through my messy hair. “I’ll be fine.” I add walking past the lounge room, I start going up the stairs to go to my room when I hear the front door open, it didn’t close for a few moments, almost as if my mother was contemplating saying something. Something like goodbye, or I’ll be home late or don’t wait up. But the door shuts, shunning me into silence.
I get out of the shower twenty minutes later, dressed in just a pair of black flannel pants, I grab my hamper from my bathroom and my gym clothes out of my duffle bag before heading downstairs, passing all the family portraits as I went, all the old memories, and walk into the laundry room, tossing everything into the washing machine turning it on and walking out, into the kitchen.
Opening the fridge searching for anything to eat, the fridge, as usual, was full. It always was, sometimes it was even over full. If mums boss ever made her come home, she’d always go out immediately, whether to shop for food, for more suits for her collection, or just went out to a yoga session or two of them. She’d do whatever it took to stay out.
I wasn’t really hungry, but I do have to eat, for tomorrow. I need to be ready for it, I can’t go down, I had to get to the end. After making a quick sandwich I go back upstairs, there was no denying it, I had a pretty good way of life. I was smart. I had good grades. But I was classified weak and out of place, I didn’t fit in.
And I suppose I did also have my other life. Where I was strong. I had people who I could talk to, people who respected me. I fit in there. Something nagging at me in the back of my head though kept warning me, making me question everything I was doing. Was I doing this for myself? What would happen when my two worlds collided? But if I get my way, these worlds will never collide.
Buzzing. Stop, go away, “Let me sleep.” I grumble, rolling over to turn the alarm off on my phone. “Stupid alarm, shit it’s Friday.” I sit up, now wide awake with that realisation.
It’s Friday. I have to fight tonight. I have tutoring tonight. Shit.
I run a hand through my hair and stumble out of my room, taking a peek in my mother’s room. Bed made, it hasn’t been slept in. I can’t remember the last time my mother slept in there. In fact I can’t remember the last time she walked up the steps I was currently walking down. I get to the bottom of the steps just in time to hear the front door click shut, and she was off, her car coming to life and driving away. I look over at the couch, there was the blanket, all folded up neatly and placed on the arm of the couch, where she slept nowadays.
I look down at my phone in my hand as it beeps. Robin. ‘Tonight. You better be ready Mathis! Be there @ 7, fight starts at @ 8. You know the deal.’ I read the text twice, tonight was going to be a difficult one, it wasn’t being held in the next town over, or three towns over, but four towns away. Two hours away, I’d have to drive, and stay overnight, who knows how long the fight would go for.
“This is stupid, maybe I should drop out. No. I can’t drop out.” I push my glasses back up my nose as I walk the familiar route to school, the 30 minute walk, I suppose I could just drive my car, but I don’t want to risk anything happening to it before I need it tonight. My bag already packed and sitting on the back seat waiting for me for when I get home, ready for a quick exit to drive the distance.
This sweater is so itchy, no Kade focus on the history questions, I look up at Annalisa as she sits ridged and on the edge of her seat, looking around my dining room as if she’d never seen one before. I clear my throat catching her attention, “You know the point of this is to actually try answering the questions.”
Shoot, that didn’t sound like me, like the nerd, shit. Annalisa’s cold blue eyes narrow at me before she raises an eyebrow, “It’s boring.” Is all she says.
I roll my eyes before I can stop myself, making her narrow her eyes further at me, “It isn’t meant to be fun.” I mumble looking back down at my sheet. Damn this sweater! Fucking itchy piece of-5:00! “You’ve got to-I’ve got to go. Sorry. Have to cut it short, I need to leave now.”
Annalisa stands up easily, shoving the sheets I gave her in a little back pack, “Heard you the first time Mathis,” I nod before walking out, Annalisa following behind me as I open the front door for her, trying hard not to let my jaw drop at the site of a beautiful black Harley Davidson, that was currently parked in my driveway. No way, she didn’t. “Yes Mathis the bike is mine.” She mumbles, putting her back pack on her back and pushing past me, I barely moved, watching as she picked up the helmet that had been sitting on the seat. “We need to buckle down with this, don’t tell anyone I said that either.” She quickly adds, her face still set in her emotionless ways. “Tomorrow, yours?”
I go to nod then think, “Come at three.” I say closing the door behind me and locking it, walking over to the garage door. Once again Annalisa raises a perfectly shaped eyebrow at me, wait perfectly shaped? Weird thoughts. “See you then Annalisa.” I say, trying not to sound pushy, but I couldn’t be late to this. She rolls her eyes at me and I wait for her to start her bike and leave the driveway before I open the garage door, smiling as I saw my car. An Impala 67. My baby.
“Mathis!” Robin smiles at me, clapping me over the shoulder as I climb out of my car, parking it around back, I’d had to quickly pull over at a gas station as I pulled into this town and get changed, forgetting that I’d still been as that itchy as hell sweater and my camo pants.
I got out of the car wearing what I wore to all fights, basketball shorts. At the moment I had a jumper on as well, a jumper that Robin was frowning at, but Robin knew as well as I did that it wouldn’t last long. It’d be off by the time we got to the arena. “Robin.” I acknowledge, grabbing my duffle, before watching as Robin admired my car. “You know you love it.” I smirk.
Robin rolls his eyes at me as we head inside, “You know I want it. It’s a nice car.” He grumbles under his breath as I let out a loud laugh.
“It’s a beaut,” I smile dropping my bag on the floor. “Who am I up against?”
Robin’s face lights up, he wasn’t a fighter, he was my informant, got all the info I’d need to go up against my competitors. “Well, as you know we’re on his home turf.” I give him a pointed look, telling him to tell me something I don’t know, I lean against the wall as Robin simply winks at me, “He’s big, like really big, you’re going to look like a mouse next to him. But he doesn’t think, he uses brunt force, you think, you are strategic, so I think you’ve got this one in the bag.”
“Ladies and gentlemen!” The crowd roars, I hate this part, this is the part where I start to think about all that could possibly go wrong. "This is the decider! Who will go to the semis next week? Our very own Jake!” The screams get if possibly louder and I know my competitor has gone out. “Against our visitor from three towns away Four-Eyes!"
I laugh and a smirk tugs at my lips, four towns away you dip shits, if you actually did your research you’d know I lied about my last name and where I lived. They thought I lived with a Robin Jones, and that my name was Kade Jones A.K.A Four-Eyes. There were some cheers and some boos. But I ignore them, just walking out.
Robin wasn’t kidding when he said Jake was big. Jake was massive, steroids my friend, they are going to come back and bite him in the ass later. He looks down at me, I swear his head was so small in comparison to the rest of him. “Now now, boys, we want a clean fight.” Bullshit you do. The crowds booing makes the ref laugh. “What am I kidding! No we don’t! And begin!”
The cheers get louder and louder, half being cheers and half being chants. One word. Fight. I raise my eyebrows at the man, before sending him a wink, recalling Robins words from earlier. “Whatever you do, don’t wink, it pisses him off apparently. But knowing you it’s going to be the one thing you do.” Thanks Robin.
Jake comes at me, taking a swing, trying to right hook me in the face, a predictable move, which I easily dodge, I crack my neck before proceeding to crack my knuckles, my smirk still on my face as Jake’s face goes red before I mouth four words slowly to him. Let the fight commence.
The doorbell didn’t stop. Not once, as I bolt downstairs, well walk down slowly, I pass a mirror in the hallway, seeing my beautiful bruise forming on my collar bone. Who the hell would be here on a weekend? I look through the peephole seeing the blonde head of hair, she looking away from the door towards the driveway. Shit, Annalisa, I bolt into the laundry, finding a jumper to pull on and cover my upper body, I was already in slacks. I open the door, running a hand through my hair.
She quickly looks towards the door and gives me an up and down look over, “You know I was going to apologise for being late, but it doesn’t seem that it would matter. Did you just get up?” Her eyebrows rising as she looks at me.
I move my glasses a little so I can rub my tired eyes, “I was up.” Is all I reply with, stepping back to let Annalisa in, slowly she walks in, her shoulder brushing my chest, causing me to flinch, but she doesn’t notice. “Just go into the lounge room there, first entry way.” I call over my shoulder, shutting the door.
I rest my head on the door, maybe I should’ve just said no. “Hey, Mathis, you coming?” Annalisa’s voice calls, interrupting my thoughts.
“Just let me get everything.” I say walking past the lounge room and up the stairs, grabbing my satchel, before slowly making my way down the stairs, I peer into the lounge room, seeing Annalisa standing at the window, looking out, from the angle she was standing she had perfect view of my driveway. Perfect view of her black Harley Davidson and of my Impala 67 that I forgot to put away, shit. I let out a cough and Annalisa looks over at me, her facial expression startled for only a second before she composes herself, putting on her emotionless facade. “Are you ready?”
“Is that your car? Or someone else’s?” She questions, ignoring my question, I walk past her and sit down on the couch, getting all the necessary books and papers out of my bag.
Annalisa sits down opposite me, and just like she had yesterday, she was perched on the edge of the seat.
She lets out a sigh, telling me she was actually wanting an answer, “Mine.” I reply shortly, letting out a yawn. “The Impala 67 Chevrolet is mine.” When I look up at Annalisa I’m surprised to see her with a more relaxed look on her face, it almost looked as though she was fighting off a smile, the corner of her lips tugging up a bit.
“It’s nice.” She says appreciatively, leaning back slightly in her seat, almost as though she was relaxing.
I scoff without meaning too, “It’s better than nice, it’s amazing.” I correct earning a light chuckle from Annalisa.
“Please don’t tell me you’re secretly one of those guys that has a relationship with his car, where it’s ‘His Baby’” She uses her hands to do quotation marks around the last two words.
I shake my head, “No, that’s kind of creepy how people do that, but I do have an appreciation for the classics. Like that Harley Davidson parked in my driveway.” This time it was my turn to raise my eyebrows at her.
She looks at me with a surprised look, “A nerd that knows his stuff.” Oh shit, right nerd Kade, not fighter Kade, shit! “I like it, you like bikes then?”
I can’t help the smile that takes over my lips without my permission, remembering the days, back before I moved here. “Yeah, let’s just said I used to want a V Rod. Instead my mum got me my Impala 67, so I’m not complaining.”
The surprised look on her face grows, “V Rod? That’s a nice one. My dad used to have a PJD Cadillac, until Erica made him promise to stop riding it and get rid of it, because it was a ‘stupid metal death trap.’” She spat out the last half of that statement bitterly, making my eyes widen in surprise, wow.
“My dad used to ride a PJD Cadillac too.” I say quietly, the silence taking over, I reach forward at pick up a book: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I slide the copy across the table to Annalisa.
She leans forward and picks it up, reading the cover before looking up at me, “You’re joking right? The Scarlet Letter?”
I grab my own copy and lean back in my seat, “If you were ever in English, you’d know that we’re doing an essay on it soon, I’m trying to help, you said you needed the grades, and now I need to know if you’re serious. And no, I won’t tell anyone what you say next, no one will know and all that shit,” I smirk as she slowly closes her mouth, “Who would I tell anyway?”
Annalisa seems to study me closely, the eye contact was inevitable, her pale blue eyes never wavering, not letting mine go.