"Right, Alex, you have a mother to go charm. Be nice, don't resort to flirting with her and you're driving," I shove the car key in Alex's hand and pick up my gym bag, waiting for Caleb's inevitable protest.
"Why don't I get to drive?" There we go.
"Because it would be irresponsible of him to let you drive when you say you can only ‘kinda' drive. You're trying to win your mother over, not piss her off more."
"Dude, I thought you were cool."
"I have nothing to do with this, but if Alex lets you drive, he'll look worse than he already does." Alex scowls at me and I shrug, "what? You fucked a barely legal stranger. You can't expect to look good in his mother's eyes. Shoo, I'm gonna go back and see Hadley." Caleb giggles.
"Like I said last time, don't give it to him too hard."
"Shoo," I repeat with a less than amused look. He laughs and gets in the car, waiting for Alex. Alex smiles, and I can almost hear the words about to slip out before he says them.
"Cheers for helping sort this out," he says, giving me a quick hug.
"S'fine. Go away." He laughs and gets in the car, and suddenly I just remember who I gave the keys to. I tap on the driver's side window and Alex rolls it down, looking at me expectantly. "Don't drive like a maniac." Alex gives me his best offended face and I arch an eyebrow slightly.
"Hurry up, old man," Caleb pipes up and I shake my head.
"Don't encourage him." Caleb just giggles and I stand well back. Alex shoots off out of the car park just as I expected and I roll my eyes. Way to make a good impression on someone's mum, buddy.
Shouldering my gym bag, I make my way back to the motel.
When I get back, I go straight to our room and knock on the door, waiting for Hadley to appear and... nothing. Frowning, I go back down to reception.
"Hey," I say to the woman behind the counter, "um, did my friend go out earlier? Only he has the key to our room and he didn't say he was going anywhere." She smiles and nods.
"Yes, dear, he left the key with me. One moment," she goes to find it and I give her a mumbled thank you as I try to figure out where Hadley went. To be fair, he might have tried to call, but my phone's still in my suitcase. She hands over the key and I thank her again, jogging up the stairs to our room.
After tipping out the entire contents of my suitcase, I find my phone. Wondering how the hell it got that far down, I check my missed calls. Three from Hadley and one from a number I don't recognise. Actually, that number's an England one. My granddad must have given my mum my number. Shaking my head, I figure I can deal with that later.
I text Hads, asking where he's got to and sit around for a bit, wondering if I should get a taxi back to mine to reply to that email I've been ignoring. I wait for nearly an hour, clean the room, repack my case, wonder what time Alex as to be back at the arena for, blah blah blah before I get bored of waiting.
So I call him. Four times. Without an answer.
I light a cigarette and go back to the fight venue, skulking around and having a good look at the other competitors. Pete scowls at me a couple of times but I ignore him, throwing myself down on a chair and chain smoking.
"Where's your fucking boyfriend?" I hear Pete's irritated voice beside me and I look up, giving him a look that says I'm more irritated than him.
"Trying to sort his life out," I grunt, turning back to the last warm up fight of the afternoon, "and he's not my boyfriend."
"He has less than an hour to get his ass back here."
"Call him, then." With a growl, Pete fucks off and I relax again. That man really does get on my nerves.
Maybe half an hour later, Alex saunters in looking like he owns the fucking world. He sits next to me, waving at the cloud of smoke around me to try and shift it a little. Caleb looks like his head is about to drop off from grinning.
"Went well then?" I mutter, still watching the other fighters milling around trying to intimidate one another. Caleb giggles and I sigh inwardly.
"Poor baby has a sore face now."
"My face doesn't hurt." Alex laughs.
"Then why were you whining like five minutes ago?"
"Because it was uncalled for!" I roll my eyes. It was hardly uncalled for. I feel like slapping you too. Excuse the bitterness. He might have moved on, but I'm having a bit of a difficult time accepting that.
"I think you deserved it."
"He deserves a slap just for being alive," I mutter under my breath, but neither of them hear me. "Your manager wants you Alex. He was breathing down my neck because you weren't here on time." Like you're my responsibility. He sighs and kisses Caleb swiftly before standing up.
"Where is the old bastard?" I shrug. Why would I know?
"You're so helpful," Caleb says, trying not to smile.
"Well I don't keep tabs on him same as I don't keep tabs on Alex," I glance up at Alex, "he's probably giving one of his other fighters a pep talk."
"Where's Hadley? I know he likes being on his own but this is pushing it," Caleb queries as Alex wanders off.
"Fuck knows. He wasn't at the motel and he won't return my calls."
He frowns, "Maybe he left his phone behind?" I shake my head. "I'm sure he's okay, he's always got that thing on silent," he gives me a nervous smile and I nod slightly.
"Sure," I gesture at the people coming in to watch the fights and stand up, "I'm gonna find a better seat. Coming?" he nods and follows me to the ring of seats around the cage. I flop into one and light a cigarette, waiting for the fights to start. I'll call Hadley again in the interval.