Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, musical lyrics, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot and lyrics are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N- this was written for a contest at the Writer's Coffee Shop Library, I'd appreciate your votes, so if you want to vote for me, vote on May 1st here:
twcslibrary [dot] com [slash] modules [slash] challenges [slash] ?chalid=4
Thank you much!
"Hey, there Emmett! There's a puke cleanup in the North Corridor, Swan," Chris, my manager said in his most passive-aggressive voice. "Better get to it!"
Shit. I hated this job with all my heart. I hated the coveralls, the constant smell of nice little cleaners mixed together with piss and puke of drunken, rich college students partying away their summers in Forks because of the short distance to Canada, where they could get cheap beer underage. This job was humiliating and degrading, especially the way my boss treated me. But, I was a man, I could handle it. I had to get my little sister into college and to keep my Dad going until retirement, and then… And then, I'd be a used-up tired ass that had wasted his youth.
I pushed the rolling bucket and mop down the hall to see that the mess was mostly liquid. My sense of smell had gotten so good that I could tell what exactly they had been drinking-- Hennessey and probably a vodka. Nice combination. They didn't get too far before ralphing-- at least it was on the tile.
I scooped up the small amount of solid chunks, hands covered in gloves, and started the antiseptic clean up.
The clock in the maintenance room said it was eight o'clock. Ten hours was good enough.
I stripped off the coveralls and put my regular shoes on, emptying my locker of the small amount of possessions I had.
Of course, the Kalaloch Lodge was set up weird- the employee parking lot was down the North Corridor, yet the employee locker room was in the South Corridor. I headed down the opposite hallway to get to the employee parking lot. I checked my phone and, of course, I had a text from Bella, saying she was running late to pick me up. Well damnit.
I walked back into the foyer to see some of the college kids walking around. They were wearing their team sweatshirts, the girls in little sun cover-ups from passing out by the pool.
Coulda been that.
Coulda been the big shit on campus. But sometimes life threw you a curve ball. I couldn't let Dad lose the house. And I couldn't let Bella lose her chance at graduation.
"Em, sweetheart, 'got your paycheck," Sheila said.
"Thanks," I said to the middle-aged redhead behind the front desk. She held up the book for me to sign off on it.
"Can I get a wake-up call at six?" A sultry female voice said behind me.
That voice sounded too foxy to not notice. I turned around to see a gorgeous blonde- like, hella gorgeous- standing behind me. She was wearing short terry-cloth coverup that showed off an amazing pair of legs in high-heels. I wished I could see what that bikini-- by the looks of it, was a string bikini, according to the turquoise straps-- actually looked like on her. Of course, she was a rich-bitch, I could see it in the designer labels on her beach bag and her sunglasses.
"I can call you at six," I said, using a deep, throaty voice, giving her a smile that I knew showed off my dimples.
She glared at me, sliding down her sunglasses, but it slowly faded into a smile. She had amazing silver eyes and she was giving me the most smoldering look. We had an entire conversation in that glance. "I'm unlisted."
"I'm all about privacy, babe," I said. "I got tinted windows in my truck."
She smirked. "I wouldn't put up with this if you didn't have those dimples."
"Hey, Swan," Chris sneered. "The toilet's clogged in the women's shitter in the lobby. You gonna get that?"
Fuck. Where the fuck had Chris come from? "Thanks man, you're a real class act," I snapped.
"Oh, sorry man," he chuckled. "I didn't notice you were out of your janitor's uniform."
The incredible blonde just smiled at me. "See you around," she purred and walked away.
"Aww, too bad," Chris snickered.
"Christopher!" Sheila clucked. "Was that really necessary?"
"She didn't look like she was up for slumming anyway."
I almost jumped across the counter and beat the shit out of Chris, but two things stopped me: my family and the fact that unemployment is at an all-time high around here. Yes, I was happy to have this little crap job. Besides, he was right. Why would she even be interested in slummin' with me?
I just threw Chris my meanest glare. "'Night, Sheila," I said to her as I walked away.
Fuck my life, man.
As I went down the North Corridor, I thought about it. She was probably a co-ed who had a sorority to go home to. I'd tap that and it would be over with in a week. Call me old fashioned, but I liked the chase and a long relationship.
Bella was waiting in the truck, flipping through songs on her old iPod. I wanted to get ahead and buy her a new one and a new laptop she could take to school with her in the fall, but I knew that was a long-shot. I banged on the window, which made her jump. My little sis was an endless source of entertainment. I wished I was in a better mood to enjoy it.
"Hey Sis," I said, opening the door. I sat down on something-- paper, I think; couldn't read it in the dark. "How's it going?"
"We're almost out of Spaghetti O's, but other than that, it's good."
She chose a song by that awful band Muse. I hated Muse but she loved it.
"Ugh," I teased her. "Do you have to play that?"
"Yes, I do," she started the engine. I'd give my sister anything she wanted or needed. She'd always have me wrapped around her little finger.
"Well, I got paid," I said. "We can go grocery shopping."
"Can we get some gas, too?" she asked.
"How much do we need?"
"I'm coasting on fumes, Em."
Damn. There goes my entire paycheck; groceries, gas, and the mortgage. How was it that I just got paid and was still broke?
"You know, Em, I can get an extra job at Carl Jr's," she offered, clearly feeling guilty that I bore the financial burden in the family.
"No," I said. My sister's stacked and nobody in town lets her forget it. "Newton's is bad enough with that pervy little Mike trying to look down your shirt every time you bend over, I don't want Bryan Close doing it too!"
"It would be food," she offered. "Extra burgers at the end of the night. We wouldn't have to grocery shop so often."
I didn't want her to bring home hamburgers she'd paid for with her virtue. My sis was a hot little number around town, and just because she was poor, some of the assholes around town treated her like garbage. That was part of being poor-- everyone sucked towards you when you most needed them to be understanding. "Yeah, grease and french fries. Great way to lard up the fam."
Our house wasn't too far from the Lodge. I got out with Bella and saw that Dad was still sitting in his favorite recliner, watching antenna channels.
"Hey Dad," I called.
"Hey, Son," Dad called back. In the living room, he was still laying in his pajamas and robe. Bella had made dinner for him, the bowl of which, was sitting on the tray beside him, empty. His back injury made me feel all that much guiltier, especially when he never got out of his pajamas. All the doctors told us to watch out for signs of depression and how dangerous it could be.
Dad's back was thrown out, and there went his job as the Police Chief in town. He tried so hard to work through it because he wanted me to go to college on that football scholarship. Once they gave him a pink slip and the workman's comp ran out, that spark in his eye died. Now, he sat at home all day, watching TV until our satellite had been cut off a few months ago. He was a down and depressed man. Especially after I had to give up my scholarship for football.
"Any news on who won?" I asked, attempting to bring him out of this funk. He always got excited about sports- a little ember usually lit up his eyes when I brought it up. But it made me bitter to think about it too long.
"Braves," he muttered.
"Damn," I muttered. That went well.
Dad shifted around in the chair and I saw the pill vial container on the floor. Picking it up, I noticed it was empty.
"Dad, how long have you needed a refill?" I asked. "And don't lie to me!"
"Um…" Dad grimaced. I wondered if it was pain or was it the fact that I had noticed. "A couple of days."
"You know that the doctor said that if you're in pain, you're going to heal slower!" I argued.
"I know," he muttered. "But, I didn't want to be a burden."
"We got some spaghetti O's left over," Bella interrupted from the kitchen. She hated it when we argued and she tended to baby Dad. I didn't want Dad babied- I wanted him to get better.
"Go eat your dinner," Dad barked.
I had the feeling Bella hadn't eaten dinner today. She probably wasn't eating enough in general; she was looking kinda thin. I got out my whey protein powder and filled up a glass with tap water. If only we had fresh milk. But, there was only $3.14 cents left in our checking account this morning.
"Come on, you heard Dad. Eat your dinner."
She handed me the spaghetti O's in a pot over the busted microwave, with a laundry basket of wet clothes balanced on her hip.
"Not hungry," I said.
"Neither am I. I just need to…" She tried to clothespin a worn-out pair of jeans with holes in them to the line draped across the room.
"What's going on here, here?" I asked. "Is the dryer on the fritz again?"
Bella shrugged. "Yeah." I grabbed some wet clothes and clothespins to put them up on the line.
"I got a protein shake. Sit down and eat your Spaghetti O's with me."
Bella took the last of the pasta and sat down at the table, eating them slowly while filling some form out.
"Hey Bells, whatcha doing?" I asked, sitting down at the table to chug my protein powder mixture. I saw it and I immediately snatched it up.
An application for food stamps.
"You can't be serious-" I cried.
"Yes, I am," she said belligerently.
"We're not going on food stamps!" I snapped.
"Yeah, we are. Emmett, you work, what? Fifty, sixty hours a week? You won't let me get a full-time job because you don't want me feeling like I have to contribute to the family income. And we still don't have enough money to buy anything other than Spaghetti O's and coffee. I'm filling this out-- they'll give us three hundred a month towards groceries. An extra three hundred could go really far as long as I keep cutting coupons."
I sighed. Bells was right. We Swans had learned to stretch a dollar.
But the horror of being on a form of welfare… I never thought it would happen to us. Dad was a hard-worker, Bella was the smart one, I was the athletic one who was offered a scholarship for football at U of Washington in Seattle. It all came crashing down with a single back injury two years ago.
"Emmett, it's fine. They'll give us a debit card every month and it'll be just like a checking account. They reload it and nobody would know differently."
I sighed. When Bella decided she wanted to do something, she did it. While she was smart, stubbornness was her trademark- especially when it came to Dad and me. You couldn't sway her.
"I'm going to have a quick workout and go to bed," I said, slurping down the last of my protein shake.
Out in the garage, I turned on Finger Eleven. Paul had given a CD to me as work-out music. I got out a jump rope and began. As simple as they can
Never tell your friends
They'll never understand
Confessions only burn themselves in the fire
Choke on every word
That no one's ever heard
Your sentimental thoughts are strangled and tired
See it in another light
You'll see it working out alright
I know I won't change any mind
As long as they're still changing mine
They're telling you again
What they think you've done is so unbecoming
But you don't have to take
Every old mistake
And always see it as a fall while you're running
As simple as they can
Sooner than I thought possible, my alarm clock when off and I groaned. I never felt like I had enough sleep anymore. I got up to have a shit, shower, and shave.
After another breakfast of whey protein and water, I heard the horn honking outside the front door. Paul was waiting with Jared. I picked up my duffle bag and headed outside.
It was a cold, wet morning outside. Nothing unusual for Forks.
The heat in Paul's car was on as I climbed in. "Hey man," Paul said. "You alright?"
"Sure," I said. The only thing on my mind was Bella turning in an application for food stamps and Dad's empty vial of pills. I'm sure it showed.
Paul threw the truck into reverse and we sped off to the Quiluete Indian Reservation.
This was the way most of my mornings were spent; in a run-down gym filled with ancient gym equipment, working on my cardio endurance and jabs. I wasn't the only person working out here.
Sam emerged from the office. "Hey," he said, seeing me putting on my gloves. "You ready for tonight?"
"Sure," I lied, despite the butterflies swarming around in my stomach. "I can do this."
"The hell you can. I'll believe it when I see it."
Well, that made two people that didn't believe in me.
My morning workout left me feeling drained today- like a bar of lead had formed in my stomach. I think it was what was coming up that was making me so nauseous.
After my workout, Paul gave me a ride out to the Lodge where I got dressed in those smelly, God-awful coveralls. I came in an hour early so I could get out early.
I saw the beautiful blonde from last night walking out in that string bikini that hardly covered her up in the right places. And this morning, she wasn't wearing a cover-up- I probably couldn't imagine how hot she was naked. My mind could never do her justice. She strolled past me, and I stayed hidden behind a bush.
My heart broke. She'd never like me seriously. It was slumming and she was just a little too good for me. But goddamn, did she look fine or what? I'd never touch her. Ever.
Chris gave me some shit about clocking in early and asking to leave before my ten hours were up. Fuck that. If I did well tonight, I was going to be able to quit this job… if everything went well…
I called Bella to let her know that I wasn't going to need her to pick me up tonight- I was going out. Paul and Jared were waiting for me in their truck at the end of the North Corridor. We all looked like someone had died.
The butterflies in my stomach had turned to rocks. I felt sick at the thought.
The cars weren't going fast enough. I just wanted this to be over with. To know if I could do this or not.
I walked into the dressing room, taking a nervous piss before puking what little contents I had in my stomach up.
Embry passed by me, holding out his fist for me to bump. I did it, despite the sour taste of vomit in the back of my mouth.
I changed into my shorts and running shoes and Jared helped me get my wrists and hands bandaged before applying the giant gloves.
Jacob Black passed by me. He and Sam were the geniuses who came up with this, despite not having all the proper permits. Jake fought for a while, but ended up becoming management, somehow. They managed to evade the law-- and do it well. There were so many people in the stands, I could hear them cheering when the people in the ring got a good hit. I'd known Jake since he was in diapers, back when he wanted to bang my sister. He his parents had lived in a trailer park, and now, Jake bought his mom a little house a few blocks away, leaving his father there to drink himself to death after diabetes took the use of his legs. Jake had money now, and had been dating Bella's best friend Angela for a while. He was probably going to drop out of school and just keep doing this. I wish my life went that fucking well.
"Come on," Sam said, smacking my shoulder. "You're up."
The crowd was pretty smashed and jeered as I walked in. "I've been watching them do this for years," Jared said. "All your puke stuff, it'll either disappear with the first punch or take over. Just remember, you still make something even if you lose."
I nodded as he helped me get the mouth guard in.
"Sam and Jake only take guys they know can do this. They saw something in you," Jared continued. "You'll be fine."
I didn't feel 'fine.'
I walked through the crowd, my skin chilled against the body heat, already sweating.
"You'll be fine," Jared repeated in my ear.
Little Claire Young was in a bikini and high-heels, although she really didn't have the body for it yet at fourteen, holding up a white board that said "Round One," while trying to sway her non-existent hips. I'd be damned if Bella was ever seen doing that. We had some pride.
They let me in under the ropes. I was now in the ring-- it could be my doom or my salvation.
I thought back to my dad and his empty pill bottle, and the truck that sat in our driveway-- its gas gauge on empty. My little sister, taking on the responsibility of food stamps. The empty fridge. The late notices held onto our fridge by an industrial size magnet.
I was more than ready for this.
"Focus on technique," Paul said, smearing Vaseline over my eyes. "Remember what we trained for."
"In the corner, wearing the blue and white shorts, weighing in at two-hundred three pounds is Emmett Swan of Forks, Washington," the announcer said over the crackly PA. "And in the other corner wearing black and gold, weighing in at two hundred seven pounds, from Port Angeles, Washington, is Laurent Harper." I hardly heard my challenger's name-- he was a giant black man with muscles upon muscles and a mean glint in his eyes. He was going to kill me. I shivered. "Overseeing the match is referee Harry Clearwater."
Harper banged his gloved fists over mine and the fight was on.
The bell clanged and, before I knew it, Harper got a good slug into my face.
I had to remember-- be quick on my feet. Retreat first, come back to fight when he was tired of chasing me around. I had put too much work into my endurance to shit out like this. There was a lot of money riding on this fight. Laurent got a few shots in, but he missed mostly. I had to be careful of the low blows and kidney shots and watch out for his fists.
I managed to win Round 1.
Back in my corner, while Claire Young pranced around in her bikini with the white board, Jared took my mouth guard out so I could take a shot of water, swirl it around and spit it out in the bucket. "He's watching you," Paul said. "He's figuring where you fall short, what your habits are-- you gotta keep him guessing-- you gotta get mad. Everything that sucks in your life, you don't take it out on anybody but him. Take it all out, here in the ring, alright?"
I nodded and looked into the bucket. There was pink in the water when I spit out. I shivered and got the mouth guard back in. I hoped I'd see it to round ten. Either that or win by TKO. Son of a bitch got me in the eye and I knew it would swell up.
Round two was a repeat of round one, I just didn't get as many blows in-- I didn't want Laurent figuring me out before I exhausted him and we were stumbling around. I lost round two. Round three I won, but just barely. And then, in round four, it began to wear on me and Laurent got one good punch in that sent my head spinning. He backed me into a corner and before I knew it, he was pounding me and I ended up in his arms, being held against the ropes.
I didn't go down.
The bell rang. I'd made it through the round.
I sat down in my corner and Jared removed my mouth piece and pumped water into my mouth. I spit it towards the bucket, but I think most of it got on Jared. "You gotta the brute punches in," Paul said. "Send his head spinning. He's got you in the corner. Clear your head, alright? Can you see out 'your eye?"
"Yeah, right now," I admitted. I knew it was only going to get worse. Jared wiped a trickle of blood off my cheek.
"Breathe," Paul ordered. I gulped in a few lungfuls of air.
I nodded. My vision wasn't quite normal, but I was capable of getting back up. "Stay mad," Sam ordered. "Whatever makes you mad."
And yeah, I was mad.
I had a picture of Dad in his uniform in my locker before this back injury-- there was a twinkle in his eye and pride on his face. Now, he was sitting all day in his bathrobe in front of the TV, trying to watch sports, not wanting to be a burden to us. He went without pain pills because he was afraid of addiction, afraid of the cost, afraid of us not eating yet my paychecks were spent before I even got them cashed. And Bella-- Bella hadn't bought new clothes in months. Not even from the thrift store. What teenage girl didn't get to go shopping? She had had to dump her friend Alice because she didn't want to be the pity friend that Alice had to pay for everything for, since Alice was so rich. Bella had given up friendships and a normal senior year. And it pissed me off. I should be able to provide for my family. My sister should be a normal teenage girl. My dad may have been sick, but his pride was wounded, too. And it pissed me off that we were going on fucking food stamps simply to get by. We were on fucking welfare, Goddamnit. We were the Swan family. We may not have been the most educated family in the world, but we weren't fucking charity cases.
I hardly saw Laurent. I got tunnel vision and began pounding at him.
Bella. Dad. Food stamps. Past due bills. No money. Broken appliances. No gas in the car.
I got through Round five and was called the winner.
This was the anger I had to tap into. Round six, I tapped into it again- and Laurent fought back just as hard this time.
I got through another two rounds before my eye got too swollen. Sam had to cut me to lance it. I was too enraged to feel the pain. Round nine, I had to get through. I could see Laurent was dragging, exhausted. I was still bouncing on my feet; somehow the anger was fueling me beyond the point of exhaustion.
I thought about Bella, being the poor girl at school. About being picked on. And the way girls could get—and it increased exponentially. All those boys at school telling her she could make an extra twenty-five for a hand job. Who gave them that right, huh? She was still a virgin and didn't fool around. But they talked to her like being poor was an excuse to call her a whore. My sister was not a whore!
I swung hard with all my might, allowing all that pent up anger to flow through my muscles.
And then, I saw Laurent's eyes--he was terrified. He must have been able to sense the blow that was coming. I watched, as if in slow motion, as his eyes rolled up in his head and he fell over onto the mat. Harry began counting. Harper crawled-- over to the ropes, reaching, pulling-- but could not get a grip.
"Nine.... ten! Knock Out!" Harry shouted. He grabbed my glove and lifted it into the air. "Emmett Swan is the winner by Technical Knock Out!"
Things were thrown into the ring at us from the crowd, but a feeling of relief washed over me. I had gotten through it. I had gotten through nine rounds and knocked the son of a bitch out. The exhaustion hit me. All my muscles were screaming and burning in pain. My fists felt like they weighed down my whole body and I wanted to collapse, had there not been blood falling down over my vision.
Sam, Paul and Jared got into the ring and carried me out— literally.
"You were all kinds of fucking scary in the last four or five rounds," Jared said. "Where did that come from?"
"You don't wanna know," I muttered as they dragged me into the locker room. I laid down on the bench. If my whole life depended on this moment, I was one lucky son of a bitch. Either that or an angry SOB. I hadn't known where it came from, but somehow, I survived it.
"Shit, man, I gotta get a shower and get home before Dad knows what I've been doing."
"You gotta get to the hospital," Sam said. "He fucked you up."
"No," I said. "No hospital." All I needed was a record I got the shit knocked out of me. ER visits were expensive, even with our meager health insurance.
Sam helped me to sit up and suddenly, Jared was attacking me with an alcohol soaked-cloth on my eye. I yelped in pain.
"You're going to need stitches," Paul said. "Come on, let's get you to the truck and let's go."
"Let me change clothes, first," I said.
"No time for that," Sam said. "Go with Jared. Come on."
"The money," I muttered.
"I'll settle it," Paul said. "I'll make sure you get your share, man. Jared?" He handed the younger kid his keys.
"Sam'll never screw you," Jared promised, pulling a t-shirt over my head and pulling off my boxing gloves.
I decided to trust them, what other choice did I have? I got up and followed Jared out to the truck, although my head was hazy. "Come on, dude, stay awake," he said, snapping his fingers in front of my face. I felt nauseated on the way to the hospital. All I wanted was to sleep, now.
They saw me at the ER and rushed me right through the Triage with whispers that Charlie's son was here and looked like he had been mugged pretty badly. If only they knew. "Man, you guys," I muttered, slipping into sleep.
"Don't let him sleep!" the nurse shouted. "He might have a concussion!"
I sat up and Jared pounded me on the back, occasionally to keep me awake. I puked a few times into a bucket before they took me to get a CT scan to see if I had a concussion. Staying awake was the hardest thing I had ever done. I had to stand up every few minutes, despite the bile that rose. Then, I'd sit back down until I started feeling like I was going to fall asleep again.
Sam finally came to the ER. "How are you feeling?" he asked.
"Like I just got the shit beat out of me," I said.
"Laurie's a few stalls down," he said. "Worse for the wear. Man, you were killer. Nobody tonight beat hell like you."
"How'd we do?" I asked.
"We said ten thousand if you went a whole ten rounds," he said. "You only went nine."
"What?" I cried. "I took his ass down!"
"Well, I can walk away and not pay you anything," Sam snarled.
"Fuck this shit," I muttered, rubbing my head.
"We got six K," Jared said. "Here- I'm taking five hundred. Paul and I are getting five hundred each. After locker room fees you made a little over four thousand tonight."
"Four thousand?" I asked. Well, honestly, it was still a lot of money.
"I had to haggle for that," Paul said.
In my head, I started planning out what I could do with that money. I could pay off the bills. I could get Dad more pain meds. I could get the dryer fixed. I could get some fucking gas in the car. There would be money for groceries and Bella could get some new clothes. I felt a flood of relief. I started laughing.
"Are you okay, man?" Jared asked.
"Yeah, never better," I said, despite the exhaustion and the pain. I was fatigued so badly I didn't want to move. "Never better."
Paul let me skip the next morning at the gym. I had earned it. But nothing excused me from work.
I got up just early enough to get the cash deposited into Dad's checking account before driving to work. I got the truck for the day and filled up the tank. It felt good to know we weren't scraping by… this month, atleast.
I checked in on my schedule and, of course, more than a few college students had puked in their rooms. Leah, a Quiluete girl, was working housekeeping that morning.
"Hey, Em," she purred. "Heard you won a shitload of cash last night."
"It's already spent," I muttered, ignoring her. She'd act like she wanted me until the money ran out.
After cleaning up the puke and other unmentionable materials, I got a call that landscaping needed me by the pool. Shit, pulling double-duty.
The pool was lined with hot chicks in bikinis, lathered up in sun tan oil. I wanted to just smack a few of those firm asses, but I knew that would put my job on the line.
The landscaping needed a little shaping up, and it was like torturing me just to look at them.
Groaning, I kneeled down to trim the rhododendrons, my whole body crying in pain. I trimmed the branches and saw a shadow fall into my vision.
"Nice job last night. I'm shocked you didn't kill yourself."
I turned around to see the gorgeous blonde with a voice that made me want to cry she was so beautiful in her bikini-- three triangles of strategically placed fabric and string placed just right to make me want to cry. She winced when she saw my face. "What the hell were you doing?" she asked. "You could have gotten killed!"
"You were there?" I asked.
She nodded. "My brother has a thing for all kind of athletics," she said. "I play volleyball myself. Hey, why don't you take a break? I've got some sodas."
"Nah, that's okay," I said, thinking of Chris's fat face twisting when he saw me taking a break without his permission.
"Please?" she asked. I couldn't deny a beautiful blonde's pleading.
"Alright. Fifteen minutes," I said. She walked towards a lounge chair, and I simply wanted to cup that firm ass covered up by another flimsy triangle of fabric.
She sat down at one with a towel draped over it and got a Coke out of a cooler, tossing it to me.
"I really don't think should have come into work today," she said as I sat on the end of the chair.
"I'm saving my sick days for when I feel better," I said. I tried to smile, but my face was too bruised and it hurt too much. I pressed the cold can to it for some relief. "Besides, nobody ever pays attention to the help."
She sighed. "You really should think about going legitimate. You've got a real fire. That's what it takes to do something like boxing. Think about it."
"It would be any better?" I asked, thinking of all the hoops I'd have to jump through and all the people I'd have to pay out.
"Yeah," she said. "Underground sports are dangerous."
I shrugged. "They're more profitable."
"You could lose your life," she said. She sighed and crossed her arms. "Look-- um…"
"It's Emmett," I said. "Emmett Swan."
"Emmett… I like that," she said. "Emmett, it's not worth your life."
"You don't know why I fight."
"Goddamnit," I muttered under my breath. Chris was standing beside the entrance to the pool, glaring at me. Every opportunity to make a fool of me in front of hot chicks.
"Swan, we don't pay you to sit around--"
"I was just asking this young man to apply some sun oil to my back," the blonde said.
"Miss, that's not his job-- I'd be happy to--"
"He's an employee of your hotel, isn't he?" she asked. "And I want him. Not you."
She tossed me a bottle of suntan oil and flipped over onto her stomach. "Emmett, can you untie my bikini in the back, too?"
I sure as hell could. I pulled the string and could see a vast amount of side boob. Holy shit, I was being blessed by the gods right now, especially her little moan. Her eyes suddenly flittered open. "Do you mind?" she sneered at Chris.
"If you need anything--"
"I won't," she said. "At least, not from you…" I could have sworn I heard her mutter perv under her breath. Chris finally walked away.
I squeezed out some oil into my hand. Fuck me, if her skin wasn't soft with a little bit of muscle underneath. "Thanks," I said.
"No problem," she muttered. "He creeps my shit out. He's a douchebag."
"He's a dick," I agreed. I ran my hands up her sides, brushing her tits. Definitely real. Then, I ran my hands down to her hips, under the strings of her bikini bottoms.
"You give great back rubs," she said. Yeah, if she had me rubbing her down with oil, I'd give her anything she wanted.
I was thinking with my dick, not my head. She was teasing me—and she knew what she was doing. I was going to have to walk around with my fists in my pockets to the lockerroom. "Look, I gotta get back on the clock, beautiful."
"While Beautiful is a very nice name, I prefer you to call me Rosalie."
I misunderstood her. "Rose?"
"I'll just call you Rose. A rose by any other name is just as sweet."
"Nice. See you around, Emmett."
I was definitely going to need a cold shower when I walked in the door.
Dad was making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when I walked in. "Son?" he asked, seeing my swollen and bruised face. "What happened?"
I shrugged. "I love you, Dad," I said. That was the only explanation I could come up with.
"Emmett, why was there four-thousand extra dollars in our checking account?"
"I don't know," I offered. I hated lying to my family. But I knew he wouldn't encourage this. He had been a police officer for God's sake. I was illegally fighting without a license. "Day before last was payday."
"I doubt anywhere in town pays four-thousand for a week's worth of work," Dad said. "It's not…"
"Not drugs," I said. "And I'm not killing people, either."
Dad's features softened. "Alright."
"I'm gonna go take a shower," I said. "Where's Bells?"
"I'm proud of you, son."
A/N-Special thanks to my beta, LisaCaptainOfTeamJoseph! You rawk, bb!
And thank you to SweetLilBullet, who gave me the plot bunny for this one and allowed me to use it.