Relentlessly Reckless
Author:Lucy Covington

“There he is!” Drew shouted, and some flashbulbs went off, nearly blinding me, as the cheers erupted.

 

I blinked, staring at the bizarre scene. Was this some sort of joke? I didn’t get it.

 

“What’s going on?” I asked.

 

“What’s going on?” Drew repeated, laughing. “What’s going on is that you and Uriah put on one hell of a fight. It was so amazing and so crowd pleasing, I couldn’t just give the contract to Uriah.”

 

My heart nearly stopped beating. “What?”

 

Quarry proudly handed me a contract and a pen. I took it from him, unable to even look him in the eye as I did so.

 

“Now, we can’t give you three fights, like we did for Uriah. But this is a two-fight deal, and essentially it’s just as good. You’re officially in the UFF, once you sign that damn contract.”

 

I stared at it, disbelief and happiness and anxiety and every other emotion washing over me. This was what I’d been wanting, working for—and it had finally arrived.

 

I started reading the contract. I couldn’t remember who’d told me this—maybe it was Coach Jansen, but I remembered hearing that you should never sign anything unless you’d read it first, no matter what. The problem was, the contract had a lot of lawyer-speak and I wasn’t totally sure what they were getting at.

 

“Jesus, we’re going to be here all night at this rate,” Drew joked, getting a chuckle from the onlookers.

 

“Are you going to sign already or what?” Quarry yelled, drawing more laughs.

 

“Of course I’m going to sign,” I laughed, then grabbed the pen and signed my name with a flourish.

 

More pictures were snapped. Drew wanted to get a few with me and him and my coach. “These will be up on the website tomorrow,” he told me. “You’re going to be big, JB. We still believe in you. Everyone has a loss now and then, and let’s face it, that stoppage was total bullshit.”

 

“Thanks for noticing,” I told him.

 

Everyone wanted to party now. Guys from the gym were filtering in, trying to get my attention. But the truth was, I didn’t care about any of them right now. So I excused myself and quickly tried to sneak out the back again to find Lindsay.

 

But when I opened the door to the outside, she was nowhere to be seen. I looked around, figuring she might have just moved to another spot to wait for me.

 

“Lindsay?” I called out. “Hey, Lindsay!” My voice echoed.

 

Had she gotten angry that I’d left for a few minutes? I pulled out my cell and texted her.

 

Where r u??

 

Waiting for a response, I was startled to hear the door open behind me. “Are you looking for that girl who was out here?”

 

I turned and saw Brooklyn and my heart sank. “Yeah, actually. Do you know where she went?”

 

Brooklyn came out, folding her arms and shivering a little in the breeze. “After you went inside, she started acting all antsy. And then she told me to tell you she needed to go, and that was it. She took off like a bat out of hell.”

 

I couldn’t believe it. Why had she just taken off like that? Had I done something? Checking my phone again, I texted Lindsay once more, asking her what was wrong.

 

“Why don’t you come home with me, Justin?” Brooklyn asked, running her hand up my arm. “I thought we had fun together.”

 

I spun around. “I don’t call what you said to me tonight fun, Brooklyn.”

 

“I know. I’m really sorry about that, JB. I just… I felt bad for you and my emotions got the best of me.”

 

“That’s how you get when you feel bad for someone? Remind me not to get you angry, then.”

 

“I’m sorry,” she said again. “Please, JB. Let me make it up to you tonight. Back at my place.”

 

I knew what she was offering, but I had no interest.

 

It was actually pretty ironic -- on what should have been the happiest night of my life, I felt more alone than ever. All I could think about was why Lindsay had taken off.

 

I started to text her again.

 

“Hey,” the familiar voice rang out.

 

My head snapped up from staring at my cell phone, and I saw her.

 

Lindsay. She was standing a few feet away from us.

 

“Where’d you go?” I asked.

 

“Does it matter? I’m back now.” She stared defiantly at Brooklyn.

 

“Brown, don’t go with that girl. She’s totally crazy,” Brooklyn said.

 

I didn’t even look at her. “Brooklyn. Go back inside.” And then I went toward Lindsay. I took her hand.

 

“Come on,” I said. “Come on.”

 

We started to walk together. Our hands intertwined, and I could feel the warmth of her skin against mine. Everything about her felt right.

 

My whole body was vibrating with need, and with certainty. Despite all of my doubts and all the resistance, I couldn’t hold back. I couldn’t stop what was going to happen next, and I didn’t even want to try.

 

Tonight we were finally going to be together, the way we should have been all along.