Totally Tormented
Author:Lucy Covington

“The Barbarian,” Malcolm said. “Personally, I like it. It’s got flair.”

 

“If you say so,” I replied. I wasn’t altogether sure what I thought of any of this, including my new nickname. JB was fine with me – it was what I’d always been called.

 

“I’m Brooklyn,” the girl said, flashing her dark eyes at me.

 

“Nice to meet you.”

 

“You’re not very inquisitive, are you Mister Barbarian?”

 

“I wasn’t aware there was something I was supposed to be inquiring about.”

 

“Well, when you meet someone, it’s polite to ask them a question about themselves. Don’t you want to know anything about me?” She batted her eyelashes playfully.

 

Malcolm chuckled. “Brooklyn, he doesn’t give a fuck about you. He’s going to be a star.” Brooklyn turned and gave him a hard punch in his shoulder.

 

“Ow,” he said, wincing. “That actually hurt.”

 

“Nice form,” I said, meaning it. “You hit with good technique, turned your hand over and everything.”

 

“I’ve been watching people fight my whole life,” she said. “I picked up a few things here and there.”

 

I was slightly intrigued. She was objectively pretty, kind of reminded me of Katy Perry with the dark hair, full figure, and a bit of attitude. She seemed interested in me, too. In the past I would have been all over her. But for some reason, I just couldn’t make myself get too interested.

 

Instead, I caught myself trying to steal a glance behind me to see what Lindsay was doing.

 

My stomach curdled.

 

Somehow, in the short time that I’d been away from her, she’d been approached by Tim “The Sting” Young and Virgil Jones. Tim was the Heavyweight Champ in the UFF and Virgil was a contender at Light Heavyweight. They were both good-looking guys, slick, charming and confident. Tim was especially worrisome, because although I’d cleaned Virgil’s clock yesterday, Tim had been a different beast entirely.

 

Lindsay was looking up at both of them as they spit game at her. She seemed to kind of be falling for it, actually. She laughed hard at something Tim said, covering her mouth as her cheeks reddened.

 

“Is that your girlfriend?” I turned to find Brooklyn watching me with a crafty smile playing at the corners of her lips. “She seems to be enjoying herself.”

 

“She’s not my girlfriend,” I said, but the words came out harsh and acidic.

 

“You sure?”

 

“Positive.”

 

Brooklyn folded her arms and leaned back against the wall. I realized it was just her and I talking with each other. Malcolm had become engrossed in conversation with some white dude with dreadlocks and a cast on his arm.

 

I wanted badly to see what was going on behind me with Lindsay and those guys.

 

Why was she laughing? Did she actually find those idiots funny?

 

“I think you like her, though,” Brooklyn said, cutting into my thoughts.

 

“We’re just friends.” I took another sip of my beer and turned away from Lindsay. “She’s not my type.”

 

“What is your type?”

 

I shrugged. “Rough, knows what she wants, isn’t afraid of anything. And doesn’t play head games.”

 

“Everyone plays head games.”

 

“I disagree.”

 

“You’re playing them right now, with what’s-her-name over there.”

 

“Bullshit.”

 

Brooklyn straightened and moved towards me suddenly. “Prove it, then.”

 

“Prove what?”

 

“Prove you’re not into that girl. Prove you aren’t with her. Kiss me on the lips, right now.” Her voice had turned a little huskier, and when she moved toward me, she leaned forward just enough so that I got a view of her ample cleavage.

 

“I’m not going to do that,” I said, shaking my head and putting the beer to my lips.

 

“That’s because you’re lying.”

 

“I don’t lie.”

 

“Maybe not to me, Justin Brown,” she said, leaning back against the wall again and taking a slow sip of her drink. “But you might be lying to yourself.”

 

“You can call me JB,” I told her. “And I don’t have to prove anything to you.”

 

But she had a point. Why was I spending all of this mental energy on someone I knew I couldn’t be with? Was I just trying to torture myself?”

 

“Whatever. It looks like not everyone is as timid as The Barbarian,” Brooklyn laughed, as she looked past me.

 

I turned around in time to see Tim and Virgil leading Lindsay out of the room.

 

“What the— ” Instinctively, I moved after them. I caught up with Lindsay in just a couple of strides, grabbing her wrist. “What are you doing?” I said.

 

She spun, pulled away from me. “What’s your problem?”

 

“Where are you going?”

 

Tim and Virgil were watching us now. Virgil laughed. “Relax, dude. We were just going to show her Quarry’s awesome game room.”

 

I didn’t even pay attention to him. I looked at Lindsay. “Are you drunk?”

 

“No, I’m not drunk! I’ve hardly even had a beer. I’m totally fine.”

 

“She’s fine, JB,” Tim said. “So why don’t you chill?”

 

“I need to talk to you for a second,” I told her. “Now.”

 

“Fine,” she sighed.