No strings attached

        Emily’s Pov

      I watch how he uses his body to help kids defend themselves, and how confident these kids look, more than what I feel like a grown-up.

      He hadn’t noticed me yet, so I looked around the gym. It’s massive. Gloves hanging everywhere, kickboxing bags hanging in rows. Weights everywhere and a cage obviously to learn and defend yourself.

      I sat down on the bench, waiting for him to finish his class.

      I don’t know what to expect when he finishes, but he did tell me to find out who he is, so that’s what I did.

      I’m amazed by these kids, how they know how to turn themselves out of a position when they're in trouble, how they can block a punch and how they use their legs to stay firm.

      “Thank you, guys. We’ll catch up with some warmups tomorrow and choose who will join the tournament.” The kids high five each other and grab their bags.

      I’m getting nervous. One thing I could never control, even as a practice nurse.

      “What are you doing here?” He asked me when I jumped up from the bench and he used the towel to clean the sweat off his face.

      “I want you to train me?” He stares at me like I just asked him to marry me.

      “So you did find out who I am?”

      “Yes, I did, and I need you to help me defend myself.” He took off his gloves and placed them in his bag.

      “Go home, Emily.” He said coldly.

      “Please, I need you to help me defend myself,” I begged.

      “Hit me.” He said unexpectedly, making me uncomfortable.

      “Get in the cage.” He placed hand gloves on my hands.

      “Hit me.” He said again, but this time more aggressively.

      “if you can’t handle the punches, how will you ever stop them from abusing you?”

      “Hit me?” Blake yells. Making my eyes twitch and angry because of speaking to me like that.

      “Hit me, or I will hit you,” he said again. I picked up my fist to punch him as hard as I could, but he grabbed me and picked me up before my fist could connect with his jaw. Our eyes melted together, and I’m slowly disappearing into a dark place the more I stare.

      “You not ready.” he jumped over the cage and left me with the gloves and asked questions why he didn’t want to help me.

      “So you can teach children, but a woman you saved from getting a beat down you can’t help?” I yelled at him.

      “I don’t help women. They always fall in love with me, and get their hearts broken when I’m not interested. That’s worse than a getting a beat down,” he admits.

      I jumped out of the cage and walked straight up to him.

      “I’m not any woman. I’m here to learn how to defend myself, nothing else.” My face is inches away from him.

      “Why do you want this so badly? You’re a woman,” he asked suspiciously.

      “I have my reason.”

      “Not good enough!” he turned his back on me. I lifted my top and removed the bandage from my ribs.

      “Is this not a good enough reason for you? You should know, you’re the one who saved me from that man.” he turned to look at my blue-purple ribs, my lip still busted and my face still swelled up.

      “Okay, but let’s get one thing straight. I will train you, but that’s where it stays, no strings attach and you can’t fall in love with me,” he said honestly.

      “Don’t flatter yourself, Mr Blake. I’m here to defend myself, not to find a man.” he smiled and pulled my top down.

      “Be here at 3 pm. That’s when the junior classes end, and Emily, you will be the first woman I ever trained. Don’t spread the news. It will flag this gym with women.” I grin. Can one man think so much of himself?

      “Deal, but you have to promise me, the day I walk out of here, no one will ever be able to touch or hurt me again.” he doesn’t respond, just nodding in agreement.

      “See you tomorrow.” I smiled and grabbed a bottle of water from the counter, making him even smile a bigger smile.

      I went to the mall and shopped for some gym clothes. I’m pretty sure my nursing clothes won’t do the trick. I got a few tights and tops and training shoes.

      I stared at the gloves and took them as well.

      I need this. I feel scared, but at the same time, I’m feeling excited about learning.

      I want to get rid of the nightmares and the fear of ever being hurt by anyone again. Especially my stepfather. I haven’t spoken to my mother since I left when I was 18, but if anything should happen to me, she is my next of kin, and obviously, my stepfather would glow, seeing how I look now.

      He has reminded me ever since I can remember that I’m weak and will never find someone that will love me because I can’t defend myself.

      “Move up lady.” the rude man said behind me. I grabbed my basket and felt like punching him, but like I said, I don’t know how to defend myself yet.

      I went home and unpacked the gym clothes and placed them in a gym bag. There are still a few things that I need, but I will get to that. For now, I need to focus on the training and my studies.

      “Shit,” I said out loud. I still have a test tomorrow. I grab my books and open the pages that I mark that I still have to study, but I can’t concentrate. The only thing I can think of is the gym classes tomorrow.

      I made one cup after another cup of coffee and tried to get the words in my mind, but it was useless. All I can think of is the day I give back my stepfather what he deserves.

      For everything he put me through as a child, and as an adult with nightmares, him stands over my body while I bleed and he refuses my mother to call an ambulance.



      I closed my books, I will wake up earlier to study. There is no use in studying now. I fix my mind on the training.



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