Sequel: Faith
Status: Complete.


"I don't want you coaching me, Tommy."

12 days. Those were the only words drifting through Tommy's brain as he worked the heavy bags next to Jade. 12 days. He wished he had seen a picture of the dickless man that had hurt her so. 12 days. It would make visualizing his face that much easier as he hit the bag.

He had come back to his place to help Jade nurse her hangover and even gave her a day off to come to terms with what was ahead. Now they were back at the gym, training more intensely than ever.

The grunts coming from Jade at his side were frenzied, angry; they seemed to be coming straight from her gut as she attacked her bag with vigor. Hairs were coming loose from her usual ponytail, adding to her harried look. It was pretty hot, actually, all things considered.

It took him a moment to realize that his punches were the only ones ringing out. Jade had stopped beside him, her eyes closed, cheeks pink from exhersion. She tilted her head back, exposing the long expanse of her throat to him, pulse fluttering while she panted hard.

Tommy swore she would be the undoing of him.

"Ready for speed bags, doll?"

He was surprised when she shook her head no. "Can I spar with someone else?" Tommy raised a suspicious eyebrow her way. "I'm used to you now, Tommy. I can read you, I know what you're going to do before you do it half the time."

Tommy leaned in closer so he wouldn't be overheard. "You want someone else touchin' ya? Maybe takin' advantage and gropin' ya?"

"No. And that's the point." Jade pulled away to stare at him, eyes blazing with determination. "I gotta be ready for him, Tommy."

"I already told ya', you're gonna be safe."

"You going to move me where he can't find me and Nanna? Be by my side 24/7? He's a patient psychopath, Tommy. He'll wait until the time is ripe to strike. And he'll make sure you're incapacitated when he does."

Tommy shook his head and puffed out a noise of frustration, running his hand through his stubble as he thought. "You sure about this?" She gave him her stare, eyes and jaw set. Guess that was her answer. "JORDAN!" The man rounded the corner, acknowledging Tommy with a nod. "Get someone else on the front desk, I need you." He didn't like this, not one fucking bit. But she had a point.

He walked her to an unoccupied ring, voice low as Jordan trotted away. "Watch out for his-"

"I don't want you couching me, Tommy. I'm doin' this one on my own."

Tommy grabbed her arm and pulled her to him, staring down at her face as he did. "I am not going to let him hurt you, Jade. Let me tell you what you need to know."

She stared daggers back at him. "What are Andrew's strengths, Tommy? What about the man in the park?" Jade was so close, he could feel her breath on his lips. "What about my dad's weaknesses, other than the bottle? My high school boyfriend's?" She pulled her arm out of his violently, her anger apparent. "Don't you dare fucking tell me anything." And at that, she climbed into the ring without his assistance.

Rage flared up inside him. How many? How many had hurt his Jade? No wonder she thought she was broken. The men in her life had done exactly that.

Jordan jogged up beside him then. "Whatcha' need, Tommy?"

His jaw was tight as he replied. "Spar with Jade."

Jordan stared at him, slack jawed for a moment. "Holy shit, you really fucking mean it." A look glazed his eyes over for a moment, licking his lips as he considered it. And Tommy most definitely didn't like it.

He grabbed Jordan's arm before climbing into the ring. "You hurt her? You damage her in any way? I'll pay you back tenfold, you fucking hear me?" Jordan nodded before taking his arm back. But it did nothing to alleviate the discomfort in his stomach.