Where were you?

Where were you?

A Story by Amy Couture

You don't know what you're doing.


Where were you last night?” Michael growled. His tall lanky figure moved down the dark alley towards me with grace like a tiger on a mission. His normal green eyes were a dark evergreen rather than the normal sea green.  His blonde hair was a mess, like he hadn’t brushed it in days, weeks even. My eyes flicker to his hands, where they were clenched by his side.

He reached me so fast, I didn’t have time to cover my beaten face with my hood. His eyes read my face, absorbing half of the story. His eyes shifted from my busted lip, to the dark yellow-brown skin around my right eye. I stand tall, not letting his towering body intimidate me. Forcefully, he grabbed my upper arm, pulling me away from the dark shadow I was in, to under a street light.

“Where were you.” I flinched at the growl that could make buildings fall. I forced my emotions to be neutral and looked straight in his eyes. I yanked my arm out of his grasp. He wiped his face with his hands and turned his back to me, shaking his head.

“That’s none of your business Mike.” I turn my back to him like I’ve done a million times before. I slowly walk away, adding swagger in every step. I heard him laugh, then his heavy steps followed behind me. Each one of his steps reminded me of the watchers at the pit banging down on the metal railing. I stuck my hands into my back pockets, hissing as the familiar pain of the ripped skin folding back, shooting a sharp pain through my body. The streets were black, hiding everything amongst them. Like every untold story of each fighter.

“Don’t ignore me Ashley.” His voice barely made it around the corner after me.“You don’t know what you're doing!”

I spun around, smashing his head with bricks in my mind. Michael almost walked into me from my sudden stop. He stumbles, then mumbles nastily under his breath.

“I don’t need you telling me what I can and can not do Michael!” I could taste the anger in my voice. He can’t treat me like this anymore, I’m not a little girl. I’m seventeen, I don’t need him to protect me, I can protect myself. His expression breaks a little, as if he realizes something he didn’t before, but quickly recovered it. A deep sigh encaptured him while he shook his head, walking away from me.

“The pits aren’t the place for a girl Ash,” his voice sounded concerned but I could hear the sliver of anger.  “They’re too dangerous.”

I scoffed. “Oh, so since I’m a girl I fight like one?

“That’s not what I meant Ash and you know it!” He points and walks towards me. I roll my eyes even though he can’t see them. We silently walked down the street, Michael was like a lost puppy, but I know he’s not lost. I push the door open into the pub. That little lost puppy from moments before became a ferocious guard dog, shoving people aggressively out of his path, pinning himself to my side. I give him a small shove and he gives me one back. I sit at the bar and nod to the tender. He gives me a sly smile that soon fades when he notices Michael.

He sets two beers down in front of us and walked away. I took a big swig of mine while Michael looked at me in disappointment. Whether it was in me or himself, I didn’t know. Halfway through my third, he yanks the brown bottle from my intoxicated lips. He slams the bottle on the table. A body smashing into the ground flies through my mind and I shake my head. I reach for the bottle, but he slides it away. I stare him down, hand outstretched for it back. He nods to the guy that’s been eyeing me all night.

“She’s done.” He slaps a twenty onto the dark wood table and gets up. Grabbing my upper arm, he starts to pull me out of the bar. I mumble and struggle in his grip but it only tightens. The beer was starting to set in. I trip over the step into the black night, but Michael catches me. I giggle but then stop myself, wondering why I was laughing in the first place. As we walk down the streets, the beer really starts to set in. My swagger becomes clumsy, my eagle sharp eyes become fuzzy. My gymnast balance becomes helpless as I stumble over my feet. Once again, he catches me.

It took me a minute to rebalance and when we started walking, I fall once more. Drowsiness hits me like a cinderblock and I suddenly feel sick. I empty my liquor filled stomach all over the cement ground. I rest a palm on a cold brick building, heaving more liquor out of my system. I felt a soft grip grab my hair and hold it back. A smooth gentle hand rubbed my back, soothing my anxious nerves and twisting stomach. When I finish, I rub my sleeve against my mouth. The next thing I know I’m swooped up into firm warm arms. I rest my head on Michael’s chest as he carries me.

His walking style changed from rugged, to smooth, like a breeze coming from an open window. As we climbed the stairs to my apartment my eyes started to droop. As we reached my door, I groaned not wanting to stand up to unlock it. But somehow, he managed to open it without dropping me.

He walks us through my black apartment, not bothering to flip any lights on. Even when we reach my bedroom, he leaves them off. He probably doesn’t want to face my bloody face and bruised body. He places me down on the bed, and unzipped my hoodie. My scarred torso was revealed in the moonlit room as he assisted me out of the sleeves. He left the room and came back a few moments later with a first aid kit, a bowl of steaming water, and a small towel. I flinched at the trowel's touch, the warm towel was foreign to my cold body. Michael softly scrubbed the dried blood off that wasn’t mine. He carefully opened the first aid kit and placed bandages on my reopened wounds. Walking over to the dresser, he opened the bottom drawer, pulling out one of his tanks, brought it to me. He took a look at my blood spotted sports bra and the scab right above my belly button. I gesture for the shirt and he helped me put it on.

The shirt engulfs me like a mouse in a garbage can. He pulls the sheets back as I changed from leggings to sweatpants and I roll into the uncovered spot, curling up into a ball. Michael pulls the covers over me and sits on the bed beside me.

“You know, Bryan would give me hell if he ever found out I let our 17 year old sister get drunk, again.” he shook his head. I smiled and closed my eyes, thinking of him, our oldest brother and our only other sibling. I thought of mom, and how she would’ve had my head.

“Mom would hang me.” I half laughed, but I felt Michael tense.

“Well Mom’s not here anymore, neither is Dad.”

“Or Bryan.” I added softly. Michael sighed and his hand came up to stroked my head. I groaned and turned into his hand. He leaned down and kisses my forehead.

“Remember, just because we’re runaway orphans doesn’t mean we're not wanted. We don’t need money from the pit, we’ll work this out. We have each other, alright? If you ever feel upset or need a punching bag, I’ll be there. I promise.” I whimper, and a tear rolls down my cheek.

“Goodnight Ash, I love you.” Michael whispered. He got up and left the room. Just as he was about to close the door, I sat up. He stopped and turned to me, waiting for me to say something, anything. I could only see the outline of his tired body.

“I love you too Mikey.” I swore I saw a small smile as he closed the door, the first smile in seven years.

© 2016 Amy Couture

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Added on November 2, 2016
Last Updated on November 2, 2016
Tags: girl, boy, brother, alone, fighting, beer, drinking, love, family


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