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Chapter 13

            Ayanna stared through the double glass window of her office out to the ring. The seats were about seventy-five percent full, and she tapped the toe of her black stiletto on the cement floor with arms folded across her chest. Aiden was struggling in the ring, and a small smile crept up over her face as he was repeatedly slammed to the ground by a Mexican wrestler in bright orange costume, who looked to easily outweigh Aiden by 100 pounds.

            “Ayanna…” Kirsten, a petite blonde, who looked to be under the age of twenty, hurried in from the door directly across from the window with clipboard in hand and black messenger bag slung across her shoulders.

            “Shut. Up.” Ayanna’s eyes did not move from her brother in the ring. She silently exhaled as he was slammed to the ring once more and proclaimed the loser in the final match of the night. She rushed past Kirsten to the outside room, ceremoniously running over to her brother and hugging him. She grabbed the microphone from the announcer.

            “He WILL be back,” she shouted over the noise of the people moving their chairs to exit from the sauna-like conditions.

            Ayanna made her way down the second series of hallways to the last room where Aiden had a locker room and office set up.

            “Good job,” she said.

            “Yani,” Aiden started. “I was supposed to win tonight. What the fuck was that? He could have killed me.”

            Ayanna was moving around the small room, picking up dirty clothes, shuffling through papers on the desk and tossing empty potato chip bags in the trashcan.

            “Really, Aiden. You could at least try to keep the place clean.”

            “Ayanna.” He stared at her. “What WAS that?”

            “A fighter got sick. I had to replace him. Simple as that.” She turned to exit the room, but Aiden stood quickly and grabbed her left wrist.

            “Not okay, Ayanna. Not fucking okay.”

            “Let—me—go.” She turned to leave the room. “Well, you have a chance to redeem yourself in a week. Get some rest.”

            “A week? What happened to tomorrow?”

            “Well, you lost,” Ayanna said. Her voice was oddly quiet. “So, we can have you fighting for a title. So, a week from now, we start again. It’s for the best, I promise.”

            “No! I’m going home! I didn’t want to fight tomorrow, and I don’t want to fight next week.” But Ayanna had already left the room, shutting the door behind her.

            She entered her office from the side door to find that Kirsten had not moved from the position she left her. Now standing next to her was the rest of the B-squad. Jolene and Marlie stood beside her. Each with the same physique and both under the age of twenty. They circulated the crowd during the matches, flirting with the men and asking for drinks.

            Ayanna took her seat in the black and silver desk chair behind the desk and turned to face the girls.

            “Tomorrow. I need it all done by then. Move together and remember: your primary responsibility is your work.”

            The girls stood to leave.

            “And Kirsten—if you ever interrupt a fight again, I’ll see to it that you’re done.”

About Jana

Mom. Educator. Writer. Photographer. Avid fan of baseball and summer.

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