I staggered off home, angry with everything. Even with my ankle, I’d expected to win that fight. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d lost to anyone.
Lou was awake by the time I got back. She was sat in the hallway, this frown on her face. She looked up as I walked in, cursing irritably at the crutches for getting in my way.
“Oh, Luca!” she almost launched herself at me. “Where the fuck have you been?” she asked, throwing her arms around me.
“I went for a walk,” I replied once I’d recovered from her reaction. She looked up at me, the frown returning.
“So what happened to your face, then?” she pulled back a little, inspecting the damage.
“Daniel happened to my face,” I gritted my teeth, “it doesn’t matter, okay? I need a piss,” I grumbled, prying her arms off me and pushing her to the side. She didn’t argue, silently following me along the hallway as far as the bedroom door. She slid inside and left me to it.
I stared at my face in the mirror through the darkness and saw the stranger looking back. I barely recognized myself. It wasn’t the fact that one of my eyes was coming up in a bruise, or that my head was bleeding, or that my lip had been bust and was swelling up. In fact, that was more familiar than anything else.
My cheeks had filled out and my eyes weren’t so sunken into my skull as they used to be. The week’s worth of stubble didn’t have the same sort of homeless person look the way it used to.
I scrubbed at the blood with a towel, dumping it in the wash basket when I was done cleaning my face up.
I was on my way to the bedroom when there was a knock on the door. I huffed.
“Cancer!” Joe’s voice yelled from outside.
Oh, for fuck’s sake.
I shuffled over to the door, wondering what he could possibly want now.
"What?" I grunted, letting the door swing open.
"Adam wants to see you."
"Tell him to go fuck himself," I replied, reaching to slam the door in the little ginger cunt's face.
"Wait," he said, "it's up to Adam to decide what to do about you and Daniel fighting. He wants to assess the situation with you two for himself. Like it or not, he's still in charge."
"Do I look like I give a shit what he thinks?"
Joe sighed, exasperated. "I know you don't care, Cancer, but he's going to end up kicking you out of the town if you carry on like this."
I scowled at him. I didn't want to stay here, but Lou and Alicia did. "Fine," I growled. They'd better appreciate this. I stepped out the door and shut it behind me.
The walk to Adam's place was almost totally silent. We didn't have a fucking word to say to each other anymore. Apparently surviving through all that shit together weren't as meaningful as I'd thought. I weren't too sure how looking after each other like we did could ever mean nothing.
Joe ushered me through the door and left me to wait with a couple of the other 'soldiers' until Adam decided he wanted to see me.
It felt like fucking ages before he called me in. He was sat behind his desk, pulling a photo of his family out of its broken frame. Shaking the glass off it onto the desk, he gestured for me to sit opposite him. If my ankle hadn't been hurting like a bitch, I would've told him to stuff his chair where the sun don't shine.
Instead, I kinda of just fell into it and leant my crutches up on the desk.
"I hear you got in a fight with Daniel," he told me, his icy eyes looked up at me. I met his gaze, half shrugging. "What happened?"
"Lou was asleep and I was bored of her making me stay in bed all day, so I went for a walk," I muttered, clasping my hands together to stop myself from punching him. I was here to do my best not to get kicked out so I could stay with Lou, not to get the truth out of him. That could wait til my ankle had healed at least.
"Yes, a fucking walk, you asshole. Did you go deaf since I last got dragged in here?" I snapped, my temper bubbling dangerously close to the surface.
"I spoke to Daniel," he told me, staying calm. The look on his face told me he was close to breaking point too. A few more sparks and either one of us would explode. I'd lost one fight today, I wasn't planning on losing another.
"Let me guess, the cunt told you I started it, right?"
"He did," Adam nodded, "but given that both of you have a… reputation, I decided I wanted the whole story."
"And you wouldn't if it'd been someone else?" I growled.
"Probably not. You've been in this office more times than most of the people in this town have put together." I opened my mouth to argue with him, but he cut me off. "Regardless, all I want to hear is your side of this story, Cancer, I don't want to argue with you."
I snapped my mouth shut again and inhaled deeply, thinking about how good things are with me and the girls when we weren't fighting. "I stopped for a break and Daniel appeared. He was yelling at me about something. I told him to fuck off and he floored me." I didn't really wanna say much more. Nothing a guy likes talking about more, is how he lost a fight.
Adam sat silently and eventually told me to go home. Said he had some thinking to do. Fucker could think all he liked, I weren't going nowhere.