Xavier Cold

Page 23


“They do,” he agrees. “But you know how intimidating those guys can be. Hell, when you ran with them, even as a teenager, you were scary as hell. That’s why Bishop liked having you as his muscle.”
I shake my head. “I look back at myself during those couple of years of my life, and I don’t like what I see there.”
Cole nods. “But you were smart enough back then to realize for yourself all the damage the crew was doing, and you walked away even though you knew you’d be living on the streets again. That was brave as hell. I only got out because Dad threatened to send me to military school.”
I think back to that time period. Kai was right. Bishop made sure I had everything I needed—food, nice clothes, and a bed—to entice me to stay and do his dirty work. I got caught up in having things I’d never had before, but when things went from simple drug dealing to hurting people for money, I couldn’t take it. I was done, and I walked away. After spending two years with Bishop and his crew, I went back to living under that freeway bridge.
I’m not sure what I would’ve done if Nettie and Carl hadn’t intervened in my life. I’m a better person because of them.
All this talk about the old days has me curious. “When’s the last time you saw Kai?”
“I haven’t talked to him in a long time, but I’ve seen him around while I’ve been out on patrol.”
For a moment, I debate on making Cole aware of the situation that happened last night, but I decide against it. There’s no need to bring him into the situation. I won’t put him in danger, but it’s good to know that, if the shit gets too hot to handle, there’s someone on the force I can trust.
Once both Cole and I are warmed up, I climb into the ring. Leaning against these ropes, I feel at home. Countless hours were spent in this very ring with Cole and his father, working on all the moves that are now trademarks of my style. Cole’s father helped me figure out ways to harness all the rage I felt inside and put it into punishing my body in and out of the ring. It’s one of the main reasons I’m able to take so much punishment. In an odd way, I enjoy the pain.
Cole swings his leg over the middle rope and then bounces around on the balls of his feet, like he’s ready to box me. “Let’s see what you’ve got, X. I’ve been dying to get back in the ring with you after watching you on television and seeing how much you’ve improved. I’ve been studying the new moves you’ve coined.”
I laugh. “Don’t worry. I’ll take it easy on you.”
Cole lunges first, and we lock up, but I get out of his hold with ease.
“Damn. How the hell did you get even faster?”
I wave him on. “Try again.”
We repeat the same thing over and over, and each time, I get the best of him.
Eventually, Cole gives up and leans against the corner ropes. “Things have definitely changed. What else is different with you?”
I throw my elbows over the top and lean back. “Nothing, man. Same ole. You know.”
“What about that girl I’ve seen you with on Tension? That real?”
I bite the inside of my lower lip. “Yeah. Her name is Anna.”
“She’s cute. Did you meet her through Tension?”
“Then, how’d she get on the show?”
I sigh and then go into detail about how I met her, and before I know it, I’m spilling everything to Cole about my situation with Rex. It feels good to get it off my chest.
“Shit, X. She worth all the trouble?”
“She is,” I confirm without any hesitation. “I’d do anything for her.”
Cole lets out a low whistle.
He shrugs. “I never thought I would see the day when Xavier Cold fell in love. You’re not exactly known for keeping the same girl for very long.”
“What can I say, man? Anna’s different.”
We finish training, and the muscles in my body burn. I needed this. It really helped bring things back into focus, and I realize that Anna was right. It would hurt like a motherfucker if I could never wrestle again. I’m glad she’s kept a level head in this situation. I want her by my side when the suspension is lifted.
Cole walks with me down the stairwell, and I notice the sun is about to set.
Once we get outside, Cole turns to me. “Stop by whenever you want to train. I’m here most days.”
I reach out, and we clasp hands. “Thanks, man. I appreciate that.”
When I turn to walk to my bike, I notice Kai and another rather large man from his crew, leaning against the black Escalade that was at the house last night. My shoulders stiffen of their own accord while Cole stills next to me.
Kai is making good on his threat. The beef we had last night isn’t over. Going with him to see Bishop is the last thing I want to do, but if I don’t go, Bishop won’t stop coming at me. Leaving with him in front of Cole will give me a little peace of mind. Kai’s not stupid enough to kill me if a cop can place me with him last.
I turn toward Cole. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Cole doesn’t try to talk me out of going with Kai. He knows as well as I do that there’s no shaking Kai or Bishop in this city.
If going with him right now keeps Bishop away from Anna, I’ll do it.
I’d do anything to protect her.
I near Kai, and a knowing smile spreads over his face.
He looks like he’s won the battle. “I see you’ve come to your senses. ’Bout time.”
“Shut up, and get in the fucking car,” I snap.
I open the door of the Escalade and hop into the backseat while Kai and one of the other guys get in the front. The engine rumbles to life, and my heart races in my chest, as I’m about to face my past head-on.
Chapter 13
The SUV comes to a stop just outside an old building. It appears to be an abandoned factory of some type, which is common in this city. When the economy went south a few years back, most of the big businesses left, leaving it even poorer than when they had been here.
“We’re here,” Kai says before opening the door.
I follow suit and get out, wondering what in the hell we’re doing. I’m not sure if he brought me to this abandoned building to kill me.
Kai notices me staring up at the building and laughs. “You can stop that shit that’s going through your mind. Just because your bitch-ass punched me in the face doesn’t mean I’m going to kill you, no matter if I should or not. Bishop wants to talk. That’s all.”