“The referee has called a stop to this match at two-minutes and forty-nine seconds into the second round,” the announcer begins. “The winner by TKO, Finn ‘The Fury’ O’Brien.”
The crowd screams and pumps their fists in the air when my hand is raised. I take the few seconds I need to thank my sponsors, my camp, and my brother, because that’s what I’m supposed to do despite the fog clouding my senses. I wish that disconnect had something to do with all the hits I took, but deep down I know that it doesn’t.
I’m back in the locker room before I know it getting stitched up, too many people talking at once. God, I barely hear their questions or my responses. But they’re there and somehow I make it through.
“I’m worried about you, Finnie,” Kill says when everyone piles out.
“Don’t. I’m not drinking tonight. I’m headed home,” I assure him.
“That’s not what I mean,” he says. He’s sitting in a fold out chair, his arms resting against his muscular legs. “I think you need to talk to someone.”
I stretch out my arms. By now they’re so tight, they pull against the bones. “I am. I’m talking to you.”
I don’t have to see him to know he’s shaking his head, or that he’s looking sad, disappointed, and maybe something else, too. “I’m not who you should be speaking to,” he says. “Not for what’s going on in your head.”
“You’re enough,” I say, even though I know it’s no longer true.
“Finn,” he begins.
I don’t wait for him to finish, leaving the changing area and heading toward the showers. “Go find Sofia and Wren,” I call over my shoulder as I strip out my shirt. “See if they’re up for some dinner.”
I don’t remember peeling the rest of my clothes off. That numbness I’ve been feeling too much lately claiming me like a mist until it fully engulfs me. Fuck. It’s like I’ve stopped living even though for the most part I think I’m still alive.
Pick up the Two RITA Finalists
ONCE PURE & ONCE KISSED