Home > Reckless

Reckless
Author: Tia Lewis

1

 

 

Paul

 

 

I watched as the bride and groom moved slowly around the dance floor, wondering how many times Tony was stepping on Hannah’s feet. Tony had never been considered a graceful guy despite his moves in the cage, and I couldn’t help but think that either he had taken dance lessons or Hannah was one tough chick. Still, the bastard looked happy, and I couldn’t fault that too much. They were meant to be together.

Taking a sip of my beer, I turned to look at the couple on my left, Travis and his now fiancée Julia huddled close together, another couple that had popped up in the last month. At this rate, Benji and I were doomed to have the same fucking thing happen in a matter of months.

“Dude, what has this turned into?” Benji said as he came to stand beside me. “It’s like we are running a newlywed camp instead of a fucking fighter gym.

I couldn’t help but agree. Since the exhibition match, we had put on last month, attendance was up again, with new fighters coming in every day. The concern was if we were going to have enough trainers to go around. Hell, if we could pry them from their chicks long enough to make some money. At one time there had been four fighters in together on a business venture to open a gym. Anthony, Benji, Travis, and I had put down our own money on the dream, and though we had struggled the last few months, things were looking up. We were making money. But it wasn’t about the money. All of us had enough money to go around. This was about the next generation of fighters and honing them to carry the sport into the future.

After all, I didn’t have anything else going on in my life. Fighting had been my life like it was for most of these guys, the one thing that was constant and could be counted on when nothing else or no one else could. But now, the gym was all I had. That and the guys that were dropping like flies to the fairer sex.

“Think we can buy out their shares?” Benji continued on, a grin on his face. “This is turning into a damn circus. What happened to the bachelors? Next, they will want daycares for their kids and parental time off.”

“I wish,” I answered, joking as we watched the newly wedded couple finish their dance. There was no way we would do that, but it did beg to wonder what the future was going to look like. I had no intention of being the next to fall victim to a woman’s charms. I had done that long ago and got burned in the worst way possible, the pain every morning reminding me to never trust a woman again. I took women home, had sex with them, but never longer than a one night’s stand. Anything longer would make them think I was interested in something more. I wasn’t.

“I’m going to get a breather,” I said to Benji before walking away, the collar of my suit tight around my neck. All of this love and devotion was getting to me, and I really didn’t want to look at it anymore. I was happy for them, but I sure as hell didn’t want to be in their place.

There were all kinds of people I recognized, though none bothered to even talk with me as I passed, averting their gazes like I didn’t even exist. It was fine. I didn’t need to talk to them. Not a damn one of them was there when I needed them the most, and sometimes I wondered why I even bothered to hang around Chicago. I should have left long ago. The gym and the guys were the other things keeping me in this damn city, but the longer I was here, the more I thought about leaving.

Finding a door, I pushed it open and found myself in the middle of some type of courtyard, the sun shining down brightly as I walked out onto the stone path. I never really did like crowds of people, weddings even less, but Tony was a good guy, and Hannah had treated us like family since she had moved next door to the gym, her bakery one of the best in Chicago. There was no way I was going to miss out on their wedding.

“You can do this. There is nothing standing in your way.”

I cocked my head and stopped in my tracks, the soft voice barely discernible over the traffic just over the low wall. It was definitely female and just on the other side of the tree that I had been about to come up on, giving me pause to keep going. There was no one else milling around the courtyard, and I contemplated turning around, taking my chances in the wedding reception instead of staying right here with a stranger, a female stranger at that. I should turn around. Clearly, she wanted privacy, and I was intruding on her time.

“You are stronger than you seem. You can handle anything that is thrown at you.”

What the hell was she doing? It sounded like a desperate pep talk, no fire in her words as she repeated the phrase, making me wonder what the hell she was getting herself psyched up for. I mean it wasn’t like we were on a cliff, about to jump off or anything.

Unable to resist, I looked around the tree, spying a woman seated on a stone bench, dressed in a short green dress, the sunlight reflecting off of her dark hair. She was looking down at something in her hands, her shoulders hunched over as she repeated the phrase again. I knew I should leave her alone, let her attempt to do whatever she was talking herself up for but found myself highly intrigued to find out exactly what she was doing here, in the courtyard of a reception hall.

As I stepped forward, my foot snapped a twig on the stone path and her head shot up, looking over in my direction and giving me the first glimpse of her face, those whiskey-colored eyes widening with surprise, then recognition. I had seen those eyes before and kinda hoped I would never see them again in this lifetime. Damn.

“Paul?” she asked breathlessly, standing. I took in her short dress, the way that the material conformed to her curves and showed off a hefty amount of cleavage. Despite my anger toward her, my cock stirred to life, reminding me that above all else, I was a damn guy. Damn. “Paul Watts?”

I immediately started back peddling, turning around before she reached out, her hand landing on my forearm. A bolt of electricity shot through me and I shook off her touch, not even wanting to think about what it was doing to my cock at the moment.

“Wait,” she said as I headed back to the door I came out of, desperate to get back inside and lose her in the crowd of people in there. “Please, just stop and talk to me.”

I turned, figuring she wasn’t going to leave me alone and I was not going to let her follow me inside and ruin Hannah and Tony’s wedding day. What the hell was she doing here to begin with? Surely, she hadn’t been invited. “I wouldn’t give you the time of day if you were on fire.”

She flinched, her eyes widening and I immediately regretted my words. Maybe I had been a little too harsh. “Listen,” I ground out, anger in my voice. “Why can’t you just leave me the hell alone? Did you follow me today?”

Her eyes narrowed, and she crossed her arms over her chest. I couldn’t help but notice how her full breasts shifted with the movement, a nice swell peeking out from the neckline of her dress. My cock jumped again, and I bit the inside of my cheek to force the attention elsewhere. Hell no. I was not attracted to her. “I’m not following you.”

“Oh yeah?” I asked, laughing. “Really? So you just happen to use the men’s bathrooms all the time, huh?”

She blushed, and I walked away, anger in every bone of my body. I wanted nothing to do with her, nothing at all. Yanking open the door, I walked back into the reception and shut the door firmly behind me, hoping that she wouldn’t be stupid enough to follow me in. Damn. Not what I wanted to deal with today.

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