Blake’s Pov

Emily has left the club. It’s silent and just me and all memories hanging around in the club, staring me in the face!

I picked up gloves and put them on. This time I used Emily’s.

As I pull it over my hands, I can feel the pain. I don’t know her story, but I have my own story about why I started to become a kickboxer. The memories of my father run through my mind when I pull the punch bag closer.

“Did you hit him back?” father is sitting with a knife peeling his apple on the front porch when I came home from school with a bloody nose.

“I asked if you punched him back?” I hear my father’s voice clearly as I punch the bag.

I just stared at him that day, remembering how he used women, how he was never there for me. He only cared about his title as the world-famous kickboxing champion and how women were falling at his feet. And here I am, getting bullied at school because I’m not my father.

The words repeat themselves as I kick and punch the bag.

Hit harder, kick harder, fight little boy, don’t be weak, don’t be scared, never let the opponent have the upper hand!!! The words repeat and repeats until I kicked the bag so hard it fell to the ground.

My father trained me to be the best, but he never trained me to be a man, to have a soul. As I grew up, I became the best. No one dares to look in my way without fear in their eyes. I train children exactly the way my father trained me, to always be the best and to never allow someone to bully you, but I don’t train them to love as well, I only train them for people to fear them, and for them to never have fear.

Until Emily walked into my gym. Fear all over her face, fear for her past, but not fear for me, fear for being defeated, but not by me. Fear for losing, but not fear of losing me.

What am I doing? Teaching her the way I teach these kids? Or Is she teaching me how to love? And to have compassion?

I sit flat on my ass with her hand gloves on. I can still feel the sweat of her tiny hands melting with mine. Who is she so afraid of that she’s not showing any sign of fear for me?

I would take women home, and still, I would see fear in their eyes, because they’re at the undefeated worldwide kickboxers’ house, but not Emily, when I look at her, I see someone that wants revenge, and not for what happened to her in the Alley, no one knows who that man was, and what happened to Emily happens daily around here. Some just know how to defend themselves, but Emily could not even throw a punch when I first met her, and she’s beautiful and charming and have so much compassion that I can’t think that someone ever bullied her, well not as a child, anyway.

I stand up and pulled another bag closer and placed the hand gloves back on.

My father’s voice runs like a river through my mind.

“anger is hot, evil, and rage. This can help because it boosts your adrenaline through the roof and adds motivation and power to your punches, punch the bag, Blake!” Tears are streaming out of a 10-year-old boy’s eyes.

“Stop crying Blake, tears make you weak!” the words repeat itself, while the blood is dripping on the floor when he made me punch a bag without gloves.

“Pain will make you mad and strong.” I hit the bag, and it fell to the ground again. I pulled another one closer as the rage and anger and pain filled my body.

“anger is like fire. Fire can be very useful if you use it right. Use the anger in you, Blake! See your bully!” my father yelled. He pushed me and I tripped and hit my head against the bag.

“Control your emotions!” my father yelled again and kicked me. I remember how the rage took over, and I turned around and tried to punch him in the face, but who was I fooling? I tried to take on the best fighter in the world.

“Through kickboxing, you’ll learn the correct way to punch and kick to make a much larger effect, and you’ll learn endless combinations of kicks and punches. This can be used if you ever end up in a dangerous situation like now.” he threw a punch and I hit the floor.

With all the memories and the rage, I stopped hitting the bag.

I don’t know what I am doing? I’ve been fighting all these years with rage and how to control my outcome with breathing, but there is so much that Emily is teaching me, and I don’t know if it’s a food thing or a bad thing.

I sit for a while before I decided to stand up and go home. 

Home, where no one is waiting for me. I was only trained to use women for my pleasure and train like a champ since I was beaten and bullied in school.

I finally got home and threw my bag on the floor, plot down on the couch and ordered some takeaway, when a message from Emily came through.

*thank you for helping me today.* thank you? I’ve never heard that word before, or how to even use it. The only word I know is, defeat the opponent.

*no need to thank me, I’m just training you* I replied back.

*I know, but you didn’t have to, and you still do. I bet there are a million other things you would rather do than train a girl who doesn’t even know how to punch a bag.* a million other things. No, I would rather train her. I said to myself.

*no, it’s nice helping you. I can see a difference already from when the day you walked into the gym* I replied and lied. I don’t know why I’m boosting her confidence. She is not ready to take on anyone. One hit and she will drop like a banging bag on the floor.

*thank you, but no need to make me feel better. I know I’m not good, but with your help, I will be able to defeat my demons one day.* demons? What demons are haunting this beautiful woman? And if it’s demons, I feel like I can crush them with my bare hands and keep her safe, keep her as beautiful as she is, so that no one can ever hurt her face again like the day I rescued her from the alley.

I sit in silence. What is this woman doing to me?

*sleep tight* I replied.

*sleep tight* she replied with a hug emoji. I threw my phone on the couch and grab my head. I need to get myself together. I said no strings attached. I reminded myself.

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