Chapter 21 A: Waiting for You

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***The move Beckett does in the fight is passed on this trick I did in the video***

"Circle up!" Barron commands.

Everyone looks to each out of confusion but, without another word, we begin to move from our positions around the gym. For the past two days, Barron has been teaching us different attack combinations, defensive moves and escape maneuvers. And each day we've separated with partners to practice. He's never asked us to switch partners or even spar. He's been going easy on us and I've been on edge. Nothing is ever easy with Barron. The same can be said about Adam; he's been making me practice everything from the past two days during our trainings. We've been doing them after dinner, which means I don't get back to my room until eleven or midnight depending on if he's feeling testy.

I turn to look at Bently to see if she has any idea what's in store but she give me the same looks of confusion that I'm sure I'm wearing.

"Now that you've all had a chance to practice, I say it's time to test your skills. We will be doing one-on-ones right here."

Barron points down at the large square mat we are all standing on. It's not usually here and I don't know how I didn't notice it today. As I think about what he said, I realize that he means we are going to be fighting in front of everyone. This is something I haven't done since the evaluation. I can't decide if this is more or less stressful. Last time I was fighting in front of only a portion of my sector but everyone hated me there and would rather see me fail. My only safety then was knowing I was one of the strongest fighters. Now, I'm in front of a small amount of people that are the best fighters in our pack who saw me lose it two weeks ago. They have also seen me fall down that ranking each week so I no longer have the reputation I did in my sector. I have more to prove now.

"First up is Beckett and Cyrus," Barron announces.

As Beckett walks onto the mat, he makes a point to look me in the eye and send me an unspoken message. In his eyes, I see determination, anger, pride and mischief. It's the most emotion I've ever seen from him. He's usually so calm and level headed; my counter. There's a half grin across his face letting me know that he's ready to play but this is also his time for payback. The silent message he's giving me is that he's going to make Cyrus pay and everything he's about to do is going to be for me.

I look to Bently to get her reaction but she doesn't have. She stands with her arms crossed and a laser focus in her stare. She seems as ready as Beckett and she isn't even the one fighting.

Once Beckett and Cyrus stand in the center of the mat and everyone has stepped off, Barron gives them the signal to start. Having been on the other side of Cyrus in sparring, I know his technique and style but I've never taken the chance to watch Beckett. He's ranked second so he must be good but he's the first to make a move. Cyrus never makes the first move; he likes to make his opponent do it so he can go on the defensive. Argumentatively, it's what he's best at despite always attacking me first- outside of the ring at least.

Rather than waiting for Cyrus to make a move, Beckett steps forward and snaps out his arm so quickly one might not see it. He strikes Cyrus' throat, something Cyrus wasn't anticipating. None of us were as it wasn't something we've been working on. Barron doesn't say anything, call him out for dirty fighting, or scole him. Part of me wants to believe that he's letting Beckett do this because he know that Cyrus deserves it. But I know better. He's probably teaching us that your opponent won't play by the rules.

Cyrus attempts to stop coughing and collect his breathing in order to strike back but Beckett punches the left side of his torso while Cyrus is distracted. Not giving Cyrus a moment to recuperate from the blows Beckett has done to his diaphragm, he uses his left leg to kick the center of Cyrus's body. Adding to his diaphragm problems. Cyrus falls back but as his back hit the mat he rolls back and lands in a crouched position.

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