“Were you there? Do you know that for sure? No, I didn’t think so, so shut your fucking mouth,” I yelled back in his face. I can’t say for sure why I was defending this kid so much. It was a bit of a change for me, at least. I’d gone from making life miserable for kids like him to defending him. Scott and me squared up to each other and I wondered for a moment who was going to be the first to throw a punch.
“He was there.”
Sophia’s angry, upset voice cut in. “Stop it, both of you just shut up,” she pushed me back and stood between us again, like it would do anything to stop me from going for Scott if I decided to. “We both know what your real problem here is, Scott, and it’s that Cancer is with me, not you.” While that was true, I think we all knew it was beyond the point of reasoning with each other. I, for one, wanted nothing more than to drive home the point that Scott wasn’t going to win. He wasn’t going to win in a fight, and he was never going to win Sophia back. Remember I mentioned I get a tiny bit possessive?
“Please just stop fighting,” she pleaded with us. I think she knew her pleas were going to fall on deaf ears, I could almost smell her fear at being stuck between us. I glared, backing off a little, if only so Sophia could get out of the way if he went for me. Silently, I dared him to go for it. As Sophia moved back with me to take my hand, he had a perfectly clear shot. I think Sophia’s gesture of holding my hand was meant to keep me calm, but I already was. It was like a game of violent chess – seeing what the other’s going to do before he does it. That’s how it starts, at least. After that, it’s just making sure you keep the upper hand you get from seeing their first move and being able to counter it.
I could see the slow, rusty cogs in his head grinding to try and figure out if it was worth it. I smiled at him like I’d already won.
That was when he went for me. He shoved Sophia to the floor and swung at me. I wasn’t expecting him to tackle Sophia like that. I was expecting the badly timed fist he aimed at my face, though. I ducked it, using my good arm to wrap around his lower legs and pull them out from under him. His face smacked into the hard floor and not waiting for him to recover, I dragged him by his feet across to the other side of the store, to keep Sophia out of it. I didn’t like not being able to use both arms. I didn’t feel entirely vulnerable, just a bit... exposed. I couldn’t use it to block as much as I’d like, and when I had to it felt like it was being ripped all over again.
Scott pulled out of my grip, grappling with me until he managed to topple me. I hit the ground with a louder thud than Scott had, and pain shot up and down my back. That was the least of my concern, though. My face was getting a pretty good pounding too, from Scott’s fists. I returned more than a fair share of the damage, but he had me at an advantage. Every time I moved my arm, or had to use it to stop him from breaking my jaw, I felt like someone had shot me, or that the stitches were snapping one by one.
I didn’t notice that Sophia was back on her feet until she was trying desperately to split us up. Suddenly she was falling back, stunned, like one of us had hit her. She tumbled to the floor, her head smacking into a shelving unit on the way down. Scott didn’t notice, and kept laying into me. I stopped fighting, and started trying to push him off instead.
“Sophia?” I asked. She didn’t move. Well, fuck. It made Scott notice though. He looked around and froze. I pushed myself up with my good arm and saw blood leaking from her head. Shitting hell. I threw Scott off with one hard shove. “Now look at what you’ve fucking done,” I growled, picking myself up off the floor carefully. He woke up out of his little daze there.
“I didn’t do anything,” he protested as I looked around for some first aid type stuff. “It was your fucking fault.” I glanced over to see him checking to make sure that was the only part of her that had gotten hurt, before taking off his shirt and pressing it carefully against her head.
“You were the one that went for me,” I snapped irritably, bring back a few bandages and pads. He snatched up and unwrapped a gauze pad.
“You took her from me in the first place. If you’d just fucked off at the start, none of this would have ever happened,” he moved his shirt and replaced it with the pad as I unwrapped a bandage.
“Hey, it’s not my fault she wanted me more than you. It’s not like I asked her to leave you for me,” I reminded him angrily. His frustration at the situation, I could understand, but accusing me of it being my fault was bullshit. I wrapped the bandage around her head to hold the pad in place, doing my best to focus on that rather than how much I wanted to break Scott’s nose.
“We were happy before you came along, doing the whole hero thing,” he said, lifting her up and putting her on the table I’d woken up on before. Hero thing? What fucking hero thing? He covered her up in a blanket, setting up some kind of IV drip – for reasons known only to him, I guess. I didn’t think unconscious people needed a drip unless they were in a bad enough way to need a hospital. “She was fine with me.”
“I wasn’t playing a fucking hero, you idiot. Would you rather I’d left her to get eaten? ‘Cause she was gonna be, if I hadn’t been there. And if she was so happy with you before I came along, what changed when I arrived, huh? I mean, if your relationship was that good, she would’ve stayed with you.” Scott didn’t say anything to that. I’d probably gone too far, but someone had to say it to him.
Sophia stirred, then, mumbling, “Luca?” She wasn’t exactly awake, though. Scott stepped back.
“I’ll leave you guys to it,” he muttered. I watched as he walked out into the back room. For about half a second, I felt almost bad for him.