“That’s it, Alex. Quick punches. And don’t forget your feet. That’s where you can really mess up.” My coach was relentless today, not letting me have even five minutes in between sets.
Panting, I’d already drenched my shirt. One hour and thirty minutes into our session, usually I’m not this tired, but I think because of the fight last night, I hurt my hand. I really landed a hard punch on that kid.
“Nice. Now do some uppercuts and then I’ll let you get some water.”
In quick succession, I pummeled the bag. Left. Right. Right. Left. Right. Right. Left.
“Yes...yes! Keep going. Don’t let your opponent breathe.”
“What’s this?” a familiar voice interrupted my coach. “The kid can box as well as fix cars? Impressive. There is hope for our youth these days.”
Hearing his voice made a clink on my insides, and I stumbled into the bag.
“Footwork, Alex!” Coach Marvin bellowed. “If you can’t control your feet, you won’t control the fight.”
“S-Sorry, coach. I got a little distracted.”
“Yes, it’s my fault,” Knight Richardson said with a mischievous smile. “I didn’t mean to interrupt.”
“No, it’s okay.” I put out my hand. “Coach was going to give me a break anyway.” I guessed Knight Richardson didn’t know about what had happened to his brother last night. Relieved, I went on, “I’m glad to see you, Mr. Richardson. Just wanted to let you know the part arrived yesterday afternoon and it’s all ready. I stayed late fixing your car. You can pick it up when I open at 9 today.”
“Okay, I’ll go to your garage right after I’m done here. So...you’re a boxer?”
Shrugging, I said, “I do mixed martial arts—I know judo, jujitsu as well as wrestling and boxing. It’s pretty hard, but I like it. Keeps me in shape, anyway.”
“Wow. That’s amazing.”
My coach piped up. “Alex is my most talented pupil. We will be at the octagon in one month. I believe we’ll see a trophy belt in that and then it’s on to the national competition.”
“I’d like to watch that. I’ll make sure to get tickets. Well, I better get going. See you soon, Alex.”
“Bye, Mr. Richardson.”
Hesitating, then leaning in, he added, “Please, call me Knight. Mr. Richardson makes me feel old.”
I smiled. He certainly was a lot nicer today. Must have been in a bad mood last time I saw him. “Okay, Knight. See you then.”
After he’d left, my coach just stared at me. “What?” I asked.
Lifting his eyebrows, he said, “I think he’s into you.”
I rolled my eyes. “Knight Richardson is NOT into me. In fact, yesterday, he told me he would rearrange my face if I didn’t have his car done. Those are not exactly sweet nothings. Plus, I'd never get mixed up with the Richardson family. They have the notoriety of being a bunch of assholes.”
Shrugging and smiling, Coach Marvin laughed. “I know what I see. But I want to warn you. Boyfriends don’t mesh with all we have to do to get ready for your fight. Got it?”
I sighed. “Coach, you don’t need to worry about that. I’ve got too much on my plate.”
“Agreed. But just thought I’d put it out there. Now, one more set and you’ll be done for today.”