Chapter 3 - Altercation
It was Saturday night and I was in the abandoned warehouse where my fight was being held. There was an assigned room where I was supposed to go get ready. Hero was in the other room. I had gotten there about a half an hour ago to go over my combinations, blocks, footsteps, punches, everything. Like always before a fight, I was a tad restless.
After some practicing, I sat on the bench that was against the wall across from mirror on the opposite wall. The room was dim, cool, and bare except for me and my gym bag. Outside, I could hear the crowd whooping and hollering like they always did to get pumped up before a match started. The warehouse was closer to the Seattle area so more people showed up to watch. There might be a small exhibition match before mine to keep the audience entertained but I couldn't know for sure.
I dug around in my gym bag for my water bottle and took a sip, careful not to waste all of it since I had to save some for my match. As I set it down, I caught a glance at my reflection in the mirror. I was already sweating despite the cool temperature of the cement room, my hair was falling out of its ponytail, and my green and black eyes were alight with anticipation. I was ready for this fight.
Well, I would be ready once I fixed my hair. With a sigh, I pulled the elastic band out of my hair and redid the ponytail. I always considered chopping it off but I didn't like the idea, my long hair was something I was used to seeing. When I checked the mirror, I was satisfied with what I saw. There was a knocking on the door and I turned to it, my eyebrows pulling together in confusion. Was it already time to fight?
"Come in," I allowed. The door swung open to reveal the referee in his black and white striped uniform with a clipboard in his hands. He gave me an inquiring look.
"Amber Lahote?" he asked and I nodded, standing up with my water bottle in hand. "It's time," he said waiting for me.
I set my expression into an unbreakable mask, walking out of the dark room and into the harsh, warehouse lights that shined so brightly on the ring. I did this with a swagger of confidence that I was sure no one could rival.
Third Person POV
Paul scowled as he entered the abandoned warehouse that was currently full of drunken idiots throwing money around for bets that would probably leave them broke. Sam made Paul spy on Amber again because of the stupid little piece of information he had found out yesterday. After Amber had left, Joe told Paul about Amber's match tonight. Sam was worried that she would wolf out in the middle of it so he made him go.
Amber became visible as she got up onto the elevated ring which was set up in the center of the warehouse. Paul decided to find a spot where she would have the smallest chance of seeing him but he was still able to see her. The crowd cheered loudly for Amber and then for the dark-haired girl who also entered the ring. The referee waited patiently for the crowd to quiet down enough for him to speak. He stood in the center of the ring with each fighter on opposite corners.
"It is my honor to present to you tonight...two of the best fighters we have come to know!" he began and the crowd screamed in excitement. "To my left! I have the strong and beautiful, eighteen year old," there was a chorus of whistles from the men and Paul rolled his eyes," Amber Lahote!" he yelled and the crowd whooped. She was wearing red shorts with a black sports bra. "To my right! I have the stunning and fantastic, eighteen year old," more whistles, "Hero Garner!" he yelled and the crowd whooped for her as well.
Strange name, Paul mused silently. Hero was wearing the same thing as Amber but her shorts were green.
"Fighters! Are you ready?" the referee asked and both girls nodded, putting their fists up. "Ready...fight!" he yelled, slashing his hand between Amber and Hero before moving out of their way.
Paul noticed the fighters weren't wearing any protection except for thin gloves on their hands. He also saw Amber smirk as Hero advanced towards her. She smiled as if she knew all the secrets of fighting. And Paul thought, he might just like his new sister. Or whatever this girl was to him...
I stood in my corner of the boxing ring, cracking my knuckles while staring the girl down. I rolled my wrists and smiled at her. It was a sort of creepy smile that was meant to intimidate her. If it did, she didn't show it. Her dark eyes glared right back at me and I could tell she wasn't going to take the punches lying down.
"To my left! I have the strong and beautiful, eighteen year old, Amber Lahote!" announced the referee and I ignored the whistles and catcalls that came from behind me when the referee announced I was of legal age. The referee introduced Hero and our fight began with the slash of a hand.
Hero narrowed her eyes at me again, her face one of complete concentration as she advanced towards me. I smile deviously and started towards her. We both circled each other, each of us waiting for the other to make the first move. Hero decided that it would be her. She swung her fist at my head. I easily ducked and snuck under her arm to get behind her. She spun around to block my punches but I was lucky to have hit her twice.
We went back to circling each other again, the calls of the crowd fading out of my ears until it was just a hum. I advanced on her this time, faking a punch that caused her to dodge the wrong way. I landed a solid punch on Hero's mouth and it caused her to stumble backwards. She gave me a stunned look while licking her bleeding lip with the tip of her tongue before sending me a glare. I smirked as I watched that one punch begin the fight. We were both caught in an endless war of dodges and fists hitting the air. There was always the occasional hit but neither of us were hurt badly.
I decided to try out a combination I had come up with and my feet moved with ease as I confused Hero with the direction I was going in. It left her wide open and I punched her square in the gut. A painted grunt escaped her mouth as she fell to the floor. Quiet gasps reached my ears as she tried to regain her breath but I wasn't finished with her yet. She had to tap out.
I sat on top of her and started landing punches on where I could. I managed to hit her face a few times before she tried to block me. But I was winning. Her nose and lip were bleeding and she was choking on the rush of blood.
The crowd was screaming in excitement, yelling for me to finish her. But before I could knock Hero unconscious, her hand tapped the mat three times. I immediately stopped my attack and let the referee pull me off of the bloodied girl. The referee announced my victory for that round before kneeling down beside Hero to make sure she could still fight.
During that time, I gloated by smiling seductively at the crowd. I winked and blew a kiss with my bloodied knuckles. They cheered for me and for the violence. I turned to look back down at Hero, giving her a challenging smirk which she glared at.
She hauled herself up, clutching her stomach and wiping at a bloody lip before standing up straight. She gave me a defiant look. I just smirked back, preparing myself for the next round and Hero did the same. We were both glowering at each other now, bloodlust in both of our eyes as we tensed for the moment the referee would release us from this state of moratorium. The fight was on and we both knew it.
"Ready...fight!" the referee yelled once again, giving us both wary looks before backing away. He knew it was going to get ugly.
"Whatcha waiting for, Hero?" I taunted, spitting her name. "Scared?" I asked, sounding angry.
Hero growled viciously and ran at me, her anger driving her forward. The crowd screamed as our bodies collided. I fell on my back and Hero sat on top of me. She started punching but I blocked a lot of them. I finally managed to shove her off of me, both of us scrambling to our feet and backing up to give ourselves a moment. My temple ached from where she had hit me.
She ran at me again and this time I attempted to duck. But I underestimated her speed and her shoulder hit me in the face. I cried out in pain and felt the blood running down my lips and chin. My nose was bleeding. I just wiped it away with the back of my hand. I could also feel my eye throbbing from its collision with her shoulder. My temper flared and I spit some blood that had dripped into my mouth onto the ground.
"You little bitch!" I snarled, sounding animal-like. Hero put her fists back up when she saw my rage. I ignored her hesitation and caution, running at her with fury.
Third Person POV
Paul watched intently as Amber continued to taunt Hero. Amber was going to pay for it, he just knew it. And he was right. She didn't pay attention to Hero's speed and her shoulder hit her right in the face. He could see the blood running down Amber's pale skin and he watched each drop as it hit the floor. His enhanced eyes could already detect the small purplish bruise that was forming under her green eye. Amber's eyes were alight with rage.
I wouldn't want to be Hero right now, he thought.
But then he realized something. If Amber got too mad, it could trigger the phase. She could transform any second in front of everyone. Paul tensed, prepared to spring into action at a moment's notice. But he was surprised to see that Amber showed no signs of phasing. No unusual amount of heat, no shaking, no growling, no nothing. His forehead crinkled but he stayed back, curious about why this was happening, or rather why this wasn't happening.
Amber advanced towards Hero, her eyes still burning brightly with anger. Both eyes burned in a different way. The black eye burned like a raging fire but the green one appeared to be melting ice. It was startling and fearsome.
Paul watched with wide eyes as Amber released her fury on the girl. She punched Hero mercilessly, anywhere she was able. Hero was trying to block her hits but didn't succeed much. Amber seemed like she couldn't control herself. It was like she was in her own little world, unaware that she had the strength to beat this girl to death. Meanwhile, her audience cheered her on.
Damn, this girl was going to be a handful.
I punched Hero relentlessly, not bothering to follow a specific technique or pattern. I just punched where it seemed fit. Hero's knees struggled to keep her body weight upright and I smiled, knowing that victory was practically in my outstretched hands. Hero was bleeding...really badly. It was hard to tell where she was bleeding; blood was smudged everywhere and all over me. I gave one last blow to the side of her face and she fell to the ground, unconscious.
I smiled triumphantly and spit the rusty tasting blood in my mouth to the ground. The cheers of the audience made me feel at home and I knew that this is where I belonged. Basking in my own glory after doing what I loved.
"Give it up for the undefeated, Amber Lahote!" the referee called over the yelling, lifting my hand up above my head. I just kept on grinning, soaking up the moment.
The referee let me go and the crowd started to disintegrate. No one stuck around for long after these fights. They all carried their alcoholic beverages in jars and stumbled their ways out to wherever they were going.
"Wait! Amber! Here's your five hundred dollars. Good job tonight," the referee congratulated, handing me a wad of rolled up, wrinkled money held together with a rubber band.
"Thanks," I said, turning to jump off the ring. I hopped down and wiped sweat off my forehead with my arm before taking a couple gulps of water. The taste of blood ran down my throat with the cool, refreshing water. The gross feeling of sweat mixed with blood dripping down my skin made me shudder. I wanted a shower. There was a slight throbbing under my eye and my temple felt a little sore, but I would be fine. I've had worse.
I flipped through the money casually to make sure that it was the right amount before smoothing my hair back. Just as I was about to turn to go back to that room to get my things, an arm wrapped around my waist. My body went tense and I heard the annoying sound that was Shawn's voice in my ear. I smelled beer off his breath and my nose wrinkled in disgust.
"Hey, babe. That was quite some fighting you did tonight," he slurred drunkenly and I leaned away from him.
"Get the hell of me," I spat, my voice warning him of my anger.
"Come on, Amber. Don't be like that," he whined, tightening his grip on me and pulling me closer so that I was pressed against his chest.
"Oh, you want me to be like kicking your ass?" I retorted angrily, easily slipping out of his intoxicated grip and grabbing his wrist. I twisted it around his back and kicked the back of his knees so that he fell to the ground. He grunted as I twisted his wrist further and I kneeled down next to him. "You sure? 'Cause I thought we went over this the other day," I said darkly. "You know, when I knocked you the fuck out," I growled when he didn't answer. "Whatever, you're not worth my time."
I got up and stalked away angrily, feeling angrier than I should have over something stupid like that. I could hear Shawn's friends who must have been watching from a distance laughing drunkenly and helping him up. But I didn't stop walking. I just returned to the room as quickly as I could. I threw my money and my water bottle into my bag without bothering to make sure they were in there safely. My anger seemed to grow by the second. Why am I so angry? I wasn't always so furious for no reason.
Instead lingering on my strange anger, I just threw my bag over my shoulder and sped out of the room.
Third Person POV
Paul watched in disbelief as Amber singlehandedly put a guy on the ground who was three times her size. He was definitely going to give this girl some space when she went wolf. Amber marched back into the room she had been in before the fight. The transformation was happening. Paul could sense it. Her temper was flaring...in a room full of people. Not good…
He watched as Amber speed-walked her way out of the warehouse. From a distance, he could see the anger growing in her chest and spreading throughout her body. He made sure that she left the warehouse before following. Paul decided he had to get Sam and Jared out here before something bad happened.
It wasn't long before he had shed his human skin for fur and Sam and Jared were aware of the situation. They were already on patrol so it didn't take much time for them to catch up. Paul kept pace with Amber's truck, staying in the shadows.
"Looks like your sister's a hothead, Paul. Just like you," Jared chuckled as he examined Paul's memory.
"Shut up, Jared. At least I'm not some love-sick puppy…" he shot back, referring to Jared's imprint; Kim. Jared gave Paul a mental glare but didn't reply as Sam interrupted the argument.
"Be quiet, you two," Sam ordered, his alpha voice showing slightly. The younger wolves obeyed and the group silently followed Amber's truck to her house. Once she reached the driveway, Sam began to bark out orders again. "I will take the front yard. You two will take the backyard; make sure she doesn't go running off. And stay hidden," he commanded.
The wolves did as he said without argument, crouching in the shadows of the night, waiting apprehensively for Amber to explode.
I stepped out of my truck to find that only my dad was home. Which meant the possibility of yet another argument.
I slammed the door of my truck with more force than needed and walked to the front door. It was unlocked and swung open easily. After stepping into the silent house, I found that my father was nowhere in sight. But before I had time to think anything else, a harsh hit to my head caused me to fall onto my face.
"What the fu―"
"You stupid, no-good bitch. No one fucking wants you here! Get out!" my dad slurred, swaying where he stood. Was everyone drunk tonight? I glared up at him and stood. My body was trembling. Not in fear, but in a very intense rage that I had never felt before.
"No one fucking wants you here either," I spat back at him, leaving my bag on the floor where it had fallen.
"Don't talk to me that way, you fucking shit!" he yelled and smacked me across the face.
I glowered fiercely at him and snarled. Yes, an actual, animalistic snarl. Then an odd, somewhat painful tearing sensation ran through my body. It pulled at my skin, made my bones ache, and my muscles stretch. When it ended, everything felt strangely...enhanced. I felt shorter and just...different. I could see things differently, hear things, smell things. I heard a growl and realized that it came from my own mouth. It sounded animal-like and I looked up at my father who just stared back at me with a mixture of awe and fear.
I pulled my lips back into an evil smile, not paying attention to the vivid sight or intense smells. My dad stumbled back and fell to the floor, trying to get away from me. I stepped forward and noticed something unusual. My feet were, well...not feet at all. They were paws. Giant, auburn, paws with sharp claws. Four of them! Where the hell was my skin? My feet? My hands? And why did my thoughts feel so crowded? I looked back to my father with genuine confusion and a little bit of fear in my eyes. When he saw my expression, he burst into laughter.
"I knew it! I knew it would happen! I always had a feeling! And now you're stuck with it! You're stuck with the same evil curse that was on my father," he laughed hysterically. "That's what you get for being an ungrateful brat."
I growled at him while trying to process what he was talking about. I shuffled through my thoughts, the past, my grandfather. I couldn't remember anything. I didn't know my grandfather or anything about him. What was he talking about? He just continued to laugh at my confusion and fear.
I snarled menacingly, enraged that he found this so amusing and was just about to jump onto him to rip him to shreds. But a pair of razor-sharp teeth sank into my shoulder, effectively pulling me back. I yelped and jumped away from the teeth. When I turned to find the source, I saw a massive, black wolf. I was short and slender compared to him.
My lip curled back anyway as I prepared to snap at him, but the wolf seemed completely unaffected by me. I leaned down into a crouch, instinct taking over as low growls slipped through my teeth but a voice stopped me.
"Amber, enough," it said. I whipped my head around, looking at my dad but he wasn't talking and it wasn't his voice. I looked around the room for another person but found none. Even stranger, the voice sounded like it was coming from inside, not out.
I'm going insane...great.