I hope this is worth your time. Enjoy.
It was late. His bones were sore. It had been a long day.
He wore his leather jacket with pride as he strolled down the streets of Philly. His father gave him this jacket. Right before he died.
Being the son of a heavy weight champion was a difficult burden sometimes.
They never saw Rocky Jr. Just Rocky.
With his rich black hair, deep chocolate brown eyes, and Italian complexion he was the mirror image of his father. They had a rough relationship. He was ashamed of himself for keeping his father at a distance after his mother passed away. When Rocky Jr. thought back to all that time they had wasted, it often left him with an ache that he knew would never go away.
The streets still chanted his father's name.
He was a great man.
Rocky Jr. wished he knew him better.
He made his way to his apartment building. There was no space or privacy in these homes. The buildings touched, just enough to remind him of that. He ran a hand through his hair and sighed.
His father had left him Adrian's. The restaurant he opened after his mother had passed. It was a tribute to her. Rocky even used some of her recipe's and said it was the next best thing to having her home.
He envied the love between his parents. It couldn't be described in words.
He remembered visiting his mother in the hospital toward the end when she was sick. The tension between father and son was at it's peak. But she always managed to calm them. Bring them together.
Rocky Jr. glanced back as he left the room and his father leaned down to kiss his wife's forehead. He gently wiped the tears from her eyes and told her he loved her.
She didn't have to say it back. It was in her eyes. It always was.
She passed the day after. His father was lost for a while after that. And no matter how many times he tried to reach out to his son, he was always too busy. Rocky Jr. sat on the steps in front of his building. The heavy burden of life crashed down around him.
He was lost in thought until he heard someone talking to him.
She had to repeat herself twice because he couldn't get over how beautiful she was.
"Excuse me, is this East Tusculum Street?" She hesitated as he continued to stare.
He shook his head yes, feeling foolish.
She was stunning. Even in the pale glow of the street lights. She had dark chestnut hair and a heart shaped face. But it was her eyes that captivated him. They were kind. Sweet. She reminded him of his mother.
"Thank you." She began up the stairs. She was looking at the directory.
"Are you looking for someone?" He asked.
"Yes actually. Rocky Balboa Jr.?" She read his name off of a wrinkled piece of paper.
"That's me." He said, suddenly suspicious.
"Oh. Hello." She smiled at him. He remained silent.
"My name is Brianna Concetti. I work for Mr. Tony Ever's. You may know him by his nickname. Duke. He trained Mr. Apollo Creed and then well, as you may know, he trained your father."
Rocky Jr. remained silent. The subject of his father always put him on the defense.
"I'm here to offer you a rare opportunity Mr. Balboa."
He cringed at hearing his name said like that. Cold. Business-like.
"We know that you have been training at a local gym. We also know that you've signed up for local sparring matches and competitions. From what we hear, and read, you're pretty good." She hesitated. "Better then good."
He shrugged not admitting to anything yet.
"Mr. Evers would like to train you Mr. Balboa. I'll be honest. You're father was a legend. His legacy is yours now. You seem to have inherited his south paw style and that's difficult but we will be able to train you to use both…"
She continued to speak and he held up a hand to stop her.
"Excuse me, but what exactly are you offering me here? Train me for what?"
She stared at him as if he had two heads.
"For a chance at the title Mr. Balboa. The heavy weight champion knows of your father and knows of you. He desperatley wants to set up a fight with you. Unfinished business he says. You may know him? His name is Franky Gunn. Tommy Gunn's son."
At the mention of that name, Rocky Jr.'s blood boiled beyond comprehension. That man was the start of the tension between his father and him. Rocky made a lot of mistakes in his life. And letting a perfect stranger take his son's place was one of them.
"Not interested." Rocky Jr. began up the steps.
"But wait," She chased after him. "Don't you understand? This could mean fame or fortune."
"No thanks." Rocky Jr. remembered the days when his mother lectured his father on fighting. She hated it. Rocky Jr. hated that he loved it.
"Please, at least take my card and think about it." She handed it to him.
He took one last look at her and walked inside.
His apartment was dark. Empty. Quiet.
He flipped the card over and over in his hands.
If he did this, would his father be the only one anyone ever saw? If he did win, would his victory be stolen by his father's name?
He wrestled with the idea relentlessly. He rubbed his tired eyes and stared at the number. Concetti, nice Italian name. He smiled. His father would like her.
Sighing, he reached for his cell and dialed her number.
It seemed almost inevitable that he became a fighter.
After all, it was in his blood.