Jasper:Caged Hearts MMA(7)By: Heather West
“Yes, really,” Kait laughed. “I could actually use a night out.”
“Man troubles?” Anna asked mischievously. Kait could just imagine her blue eyed friend pressing herself tightly against her phone, her mouth held in a cheeky line.
“No, no man troubles.” Kait lied convincingly.
“Course not, you’re all career career career. There’s no men in your life; you’re basically celibate. I honestly don’t know how you do it.”
Kait smiled knowingly to herself. For once, she hadn’t pushed a man aside in favour of her career. She’d let a man into her apartment, into her bed, and it had been wonderful. The smile faltered. And then he’d gone. They’d spent a fantastic night together, but before the sun could even rise he’d gone, slinking away beneath the cover of darkness as if ashamed about what had happened between them.
“So I’ll pick you up at eight?” Anna asked brightly.
“Yep, sounds good. I’ll see you then.”
“Wait, sorry, what?” Anna gestured wildly with her cocktail though none of the bright red liquid managed to escape the sleek glass.
Kait drew her shoulders together and looked down at her own drink which she’d been nursing for the past half hour. It was her third cocktail, and she’d yet to get that warm, pleasant buzz that normally accompanied an intake of alcohol.
“I was… attacked,” Kait admitted sadly. As she said the words, she realised that she hadn’t told anyone about what had happened that night in the parking lot. No one except Jasper. Just thinking about him made her mouth go dry. She raised her glass and drank deeply from it.
“Oh my God!” Anna’s eyes widened, and she pulled herself closer to her friend across the table.
“That’s…that’s terrifying! What happened?”
“There were three guys,” Kait recalled grimly. “They followed me up to my car and jumped me.”
“Did they want money?”
“I don’t know,” Kait swallowed stiffly. “They threatened to do…things to me.”
“Urgh, what bastards!” Anna seethed. “How did you get away from them?”
“This…this guy showed up,” Kait felt her cheeks beginning to burn as she mentioned Jasper.
“Oh?” Anna waited expectantly for more information.
“He was really well built, and he basically…beat them up I guess. He sort of saved me.”
“Wow!” Anna knocked back the remainder of her drink. “That’s like something out of a movie, Kait. That guy was like your knight in shining armour.”
Kait lowered her gaze to the table. She had thought Jasper was her knight in shining armour too, but now she didn’t know what he was.
“Another round?” Anna eyed their now empty glasses.
“Sure, I’ll get it.” Kait slid out from their booth, eager to move away from any further questions about Jasper.
She weaved through the crowded venue and approached the bar, squeezing herself between two burly men. As she waited to order more drinks, she noticed that the crowd consisted mainly of muscular men. All of them were craning their thick necks up towards the huge flat screen television positioned behind the bar. They clutched their drinks and jeered at the screen. Kait lifted her gaze casually, expecting to see the bright green backdrop of a football field and tiny men sprinting madly around it. Instead she saw the foreboding setting of a giant cage, a blue mat at its base. Two men in head guards with their knuckles wrapped in protective layers of bandages hopped around each other, occasionally taking a brutal kick at the other’s chest. Each time a kick landed successfully, the gathered crowd in the bar whooped in appreciation.
One man wore blue, the other red. The man in red was pale with arms laced with fierce some tattoos. He was taking quite a beating from the man in blue whose back was currently to the camera as he delivered several more critical kicks. The crowd in the bar were getting whipped into a frenzy.
For some reason, Kait couldn’t take her eyes off the screen. Normally she’d have no interest in such a brutal sport, but something was holding her attention, compelling her to watch. The round concluded, and as the men retreated to their respective corners of the cage, the camera panned and showed the face of the man in blue.