Chapter 30: The Promise

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I set my coffee mug down on the counter and looked around the apartment. "Where is Nathan?"

"Where do you think?" Darian snorted as he changed channels on the television. "He's at the gym."

"Again?" I leaned against the marble counter and sighed. "This his the fifth time this week."

My roommate shrugged. "Liam came to the apartment again when you and Samara went to Starbucks yesterday. I think he just needs to let out some steam."

I sighed and placed my mug in the sink. "I'm going to go see him."

Darian turned around and gave me a confused look. "Why?"

"Because he is upset and he's in a gym full of guys who would happily kick his ass if he asked them to!" I replied.

Stomping over to the coat rack by the front door, I grabbed my navy peacoat and tied up my laced boots. I opened the door and turned back to Darian. "I'll be back, hopefully without your brother's pretty face all banged up."

I stood in front of the rickety old building and I sighed. The place looked even worse than when I had last seen it. The bricks were more chipped and all the windows were now broken and sealed up with either duct tape or wooden planks.

As I went down the stairs, I braced myself for the grossness and creepiness I was about to endure. I opened the door and I was harshly greeted with the metallic smell of blood and sweat.

Much like last time, there was sweaty bodies everywhere, pounding on bags and surrounding the ring. I looked around quickly to see if Nathan was in the crowd, but I figured he was in the small room in the back like he was last time.

I made my way through the crowd, ignoring the flirtatious stares and whistles I received as I walked by.

Once I made my way to the room, I slammed the door and stood with my arms crossed, staring at Nathan intently. "Fancy seeing you here."

Nathan stopped attacking the bag and he gave me an annoyed look.

Sweat dripped down his face and his hair looked soaked. He wasn't wearing a shirt, which caused me to feel distracted as he walked slowly over to me, his muscles bulging as he did so. Once he was right in front of me, he stopped and gave me a pointed glare.

"What have I said about coming here?" He said, in a dangerously low voice.

"You can't blame me for checking in on you after you refused to talk Darian and me for five days straight!" I burst out, taking a step around him and going deeper in the room. "You give me a beautiful journal and act all cute and then the next day, you say nothing? You ignore me and your brother, the people who are trying to help you?"

Nathan's serious face soon was replaced with a cocky grin. "You thought I was cute?"

"That is not the point!" I yelled, punching the bag in front of me with my left bare hand. Pain pierced through knuckles and up my arm. Why would I do that? Why am I so angry? "Shit that hurt like a friggin bitch!"

Nathan chuckled as he took off his gloves and then he went to grab some wraps from his gym bag that was on the bench near the equipment and began to wrap up my hand. "You're supposed to punch with the gloves on, princess."

I scowled at him. "I'm still mad at you.  Darian may not say it because he doesn't want to piss you off but he's worried about you and the fighting."

"What fighting?" Nathan questioned, scrunching his eyebrows in a fake confusion.

I rolled my eyes and looked down at his hands carefully wrapping up my probably sprained hand. "We've seen the bruises, Nate. You need to stop. Do you really want that pretty face of yours all bruised up?"

Nathan tilted his head to ponder what I had said and gave me a smirk. "You think my face is pretty?"

"Nathan," I licked my lips and stared at him intently. "Please stop, I'm worried about you. Darian is worried about you."

Nathan finished wrapping my hand and turned away, not wanting to face me. He scratched his head and sighed. "I have a match tonight. And even if I didn't, boxing is my life. It makes me feel free."

I stayed silent and Nathan continued, now looking directly at me. "You had once told me you write to escape your life, to feel free of it. It made you soar. Well, doing this makes me feel the exact same way. I'm not going to give it up."

I nodded my head in understanding. His boxing may concern me but I didn't want to be the reason he doesn't feel free, the reason why he doesn't have that escape like I do.

I touched his arm and gave it a small squeeze. "If it's what makes you happy, I'd never want to be the reason it's gone. But can you promise me something?"

Nathan shrugged and smiled slightly. "Anything."

"If it ever becomes too much, if you ever get hurt to the point you need to go to the hospital and you're coughing up blood or you got your face so smashed in that I can't even recognize you, promise me you'll stop," I licked my lips and continued. "It's okay to love something, but it's not okay if you love it to the point you'll let it kill you. I know it's a far stretch and overdramatic but people have died from this, Nate. So promise me."

Nathan walked up to me slowly and gently held both my hands. His forehead rested on mine and his eyes glinted with an emotion I had never seen before, causing my heart to pick up in pace. "I promise you, princess. Nothing will happen to me, but if it does, I promise you I'll stop."

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