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It was impossible to tell what was happening. At first I think he's totally winning, which would have calmed me down some, but then I see that fist meet his chest and even I can't breathe.
"Come on, David!" I yell amongst the crowd. I'm not sure if he heard me, because everyone else is yelling at the top of their lungs once my brother's knees hit the ground. I actually hope that he didn't. Everyone else, however, positively revel in the fight. Maybe because they're drunk, maybe even high—it smells weird in here.
He stands up and moves out of the way, sweeping his leg around and knocking the other guy onto his back. Unlike the other cage fighter, my brother was probably the only one who was playing fair—and winning. Of course, he had to be careful. It seemed like David was never hit in the face. I could only assume that was his plan, because not only were our parents not supposed to know about this, I wasn't supposed to know either—until I stowed away in my brother's car and snuck in.
Before I know it, the fight is over, and David is the only one left standing; the other guy is on the ground, blood trickling down his mouth and onto the platform. Everyone rushes forward while I rush back: David's going to kill me if he knows I know. Well, he wouldn't actually kill me, but he could easily keep me quiet—he knew stuff about me too.
Sneaking out is easy; I walk behind a bunch of women, pretending I was with them, even though they're several years older than me (not to mention skanky-looking). The bouncer just smiles as we pass and I sigh in relief. It's dark out, only half a moon shining tonight. But finding David's car is simple; it's one of the crappy-looking ones compared to some of the Hot Wheels parked around the bar.
I'm just about to open the back door of the station wagon when—
"Hey! What're you—Olivia?"
I slowly peek over. "Uh… H-hey, David."
"What the hell are you doing here?" He comes to lean over the car. I can't see his face, the moonlight only illuminating the top of his head. But I knew he was giving me that brown-eyed glare I recognized so well.
I shrug. "I, uh… I hid in the back."
"Well… I just wanted to know where you go all the time. That's all."
He scoffs. "'That's all'? Why didn't you just ask?"
"You would just lie."
David rolls his eyes. "Exactly. You better not tell Ma y Pa," he says. "Get in."
I open the door and slide into the passenger seat. "I won't. I promise."
David starts the car and peels out onto the street. He shakes his head. "Why the hell did you come here? Do you not see the kind of people that hang out here?"
"Why do you come here? Since when did you even fight?"
"It's different, Oli."
He sighs as we reach a four-way stop, the light turning red. "You know I have to pay to stay in school. We need money for that, and you and I both know that Ma and Pa aren't doing so well."
"I thought you were working."
"No, I haven't."
"Well, can't you just get a job?"
David smirks. "You sound like Ma. And, yeah, I can. But I can make much more here in one night than working at a convenience store for an entire month." He pats his wallet—which is on the dashboard—that's bulging and just about ready to burst.
"But… isn't it dangerous? All that fighting…?"
"Duh. But I'm good enough," he says, pressing the gas and following the other cars beside us. "Didn't you see me?" he adds with his arrogant smirk.
"How long have you been doing this?"
He glances at me. "Do you really want to know?" David raises an eyebrow as if to challenge me.
I mimic him. "Well, I am asking."
He sighs and turns to look at the street. "About… four months."
My jaw drops. "Four months?! And you've gotten away with it? All this time?!" How could he have kept us in the dark for four months? None of us had one single clue as to where he supposedly "worked" as he had always led us to believe. I'd assumed he was working at some fast food place, like every other nineteen-year-old.
David sighs heavily. "Sheesh. Calm down, Oli. It's not a big deal."
I scoff at him. "Are you insane? It is a big deal. What if… what if you'd gotten seriously hurt? Or you ended up in the hospital? How would we know? I don't think any of those people would take care of you."
David sighs again. "This is exactly why I didn't tell any of you."
"That's nice," I reply sarcastically, glaring out the window. In my passenger-side mirror, I notice a pair of headlights coming closer. "I think that guy wants to pass." It's some kind of military-looking Hummer, except it's shiny and blacker than the night outside. Pretty intimidating compared to our little old station wagon.
David looks in the rearview mirror, a look of horror on his face. He then turns around to look for himself. "Oh s***."
I look back too. "What? What is it?" It's just a car, right?
Instead of answering, he presses the gas, making the car jolt forward with a burst of new speed—something this car rarely did. The other car has no trouble keeping up. I immediately sense something is incredibly wrong once I feel the other car bump ours, making me lurch forward against my seatbelt.
"Hang on." Right away, he makes a sharp turn that leaves me bracing myself against the dashboard. The screech of the tires drown out everything else as we cut through an alley. Both of our cars race to the other end, where David makes another sharp turn right and races down the road. The headlights from the other car remain close, then it hits us again. Before I know it, David makes another quick turn and turns into another alley, a smaller one. I turn around to find the other car stopping because it's too big to fit.
David doesn't slow down until we reach the end, where he stomps on the brake and wrenches the steering wheel to the left, both of us being pulled to our right. He continues going faster than the speed limit.
"You okay?" he asks me, checking the rearview mirrors and slowly decelerating.
It's a minute to breathe again. "No! I am not okay! What the hell was that?"
His jaw clenches. "Nothing." His hands tighten on the steering wheel.
"What?! That was not nothing! This isn't The Fast and The Furious! Why was that guy following us? What does he want?" I felt like this wasn't the first time
"It's just a little problem, that's all, Oli. Leave it at that." David turns onto Fifth Avenue, slowing down as we reach home.
"It didn't look like a little problem, David. I'm not leaving it 'at that'. Why was that guy following you? Is he part of some mob? A gang? Do you owe him money?" I gasp. "Is it about drugs?"
"Yes. No. No. And God no."
"Why is the mob after you then?"
He sighs as he presses the gas and passes our house. Pa was already home from work. Both our parents work in the fields, but Ma isn't working this week. She's more of a seamstress, fixing or making clothes and stuff for people. Ma sometimes works at the cleaners, but the owner hadn't called her this week.
"Do you really want to know everything, Oli?" David asks, driving around the block, and then heading into town. The time on the dashboard says it was nine o'clock; I should be home in half an hour.
"I am sitting here. What did you get yourself into?" It was going to be good for me later if he continued confessing. It's weird how he doesn't see it, how I can used this against him.
"I didn't get myself into anything. Desperate times call for desperate measures."
"Oh, wow. Nice logic."
He shakes his head. "Look. That guy wanted me to throw a few fights so he could place higher bets on the other guys, who'd fought longer than I have. If I'd done that, then I wouldn't gain any money. So, I started betting on myself behind his back, gaining money of my own. I guess he'd found out and…"
I shake my head. "Oh. My. Gosh. You really did it this time, David."
"Don't 'what' me. Look what you've gotten yourself into. You've already got guys coming after you.”
"I don't swing that way," he smirks.
I scowl at him. "Ha ha. Not funny. What if you get killed?"
"I'm not going to get myself killed, Oli. It's not that--"
"Yes! Yes it is, David! Why do you have to be so stupid?"
David slams the brakes in the middle of the main square of town, the loud screeching sound blaring in my ears again. We finally stop under a streetlight. All the stores are closed and the street is empty.
"Look, Olivia. I know what I'm doing. We need money, and I'm getting it." He glares maddeningly at the darkness.
"Really? Did you learn that in college? The Fighting Biz 101? What would Ma and Pa say?" David immediately makes a donut in the middle of the street and speeds back towards our house.
"They aren't going to say anything," he replies. "You are not going to tell them anything. You are not stowing away in the car again, got it?" He drives incredibly fast because he's already coming to a stop in front of our lawn, perfectly quiet so our parents don't look outside.
I crossed my arms and glared at the road. "Got it, bro."
"Thank you. Now get inside before they get mad at you."
Narrowing my eyes at him, I get out of the car and want to slam the door, but I only shut it softly. I stick my head in through the window. "Where're you going?" I ask.
"I'm going back to the campus. Duh. Why?"
I raise an eyebrow.
David sighs. "Come on, Oli. I'm not doing anything else."
He rolls his eyes. "I swear. Love ya, Oli. Watch your feet."
I step back as he revs the engine and pulls out into the quiet street. As I watch him leave, a gut feeling tells me that he probably just lied to me.
The last thing I see are the taillights as he speeds away into the night….