The older I got the more and more I heard people tell me love was a lie, that it was phony. It seems as though people have stopped believing in it, and yet I never had to believe in it…it was always right there by my side. After that night in the gym, the night my real father took me in, the night I became the man I was destined to be…well things got real! Frankie Edgar a UFC fighter from New Jersey at the time, offered to train me and Mason Terry when he was in between fights. The two of us grew in unexpected ways, we transformed into fighters that I only dreamed of, and when I turned 20 and him 18 we got our first offers from the UFC. At first I was going to leave for the marines, figuring that I had lived enough of my dream…that I needed to give back. But like Jayden encouraged, the marines will always be there, the UFC…well this might be a onetime thing. I bulked up and became a featherweight just like my mentor Frankie, but Mason always stayed a lightweight insisting he needed the extra room for his wrestling. Together we became known as the yin and yang of the league…Static and his Boy Wonder. There were a few times we met one another in the octagon, trading wins and losses, but never for a title, and never as brutal as the first time we fought back when we were merely boys.
“Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” Young voices cried out as I tried to bury myself further into my pillow.
I heard Jayden’s giggle echo above me, a sound that has never changed “Happy Birthday dear!”
“I swear to god J, if I look up and your smiling I’m going to knock you out!” I teased, trying to get just 5 more minutes of sleep.
“My oh my how times have changed!” he laughed “Come on, the boys made you breakfast.”
I pulled myself up and looked at our two young sons “All by yourselves?”
They both proudly nodded, holding up a tray with pancakes on it “They started the batter before I woke up.” Jayden laughed.
“Oh boy!” I faked excitement, taking the tray from them “Thank you Matthew! Thank you Eli!”
“You’re 33 now.” Matthew poked looking up at me “Aba says you might retire soon.”
I looked up at Jayden and laughed “Oh yeah? He said that.”
“Oh 8 year olds, they say the oddest things.” He nervously giggled, staring down one of the twins.
“You did say that!” Eli yelped, coming to the aid of his brother.
“stom ta'pe” Jayden reprimanded.
“Don’t tell our children to shut up.” I taunted, reminding him that I had learned my fair share of Hebrew over the years.
“What aren’t you eating your breakfast dad?” Jayden instigated, trying to get our kids in a frenzy.
“Yeah why aren’t you eating?” the both poked getting closer. I took a good look at the two of them and smiled. It’s funny I was against surrogacy at first, especially since Brooke was the one who volunteered to carry! But after a lot of convincing and meeting with the doctors…it was definitely the right choice. They took sperm from the both of us and mixed it in with the egg, a new medical procedure that guaranteed the boys would have both our genes…and boy did it show! Matthew reflected back my crystal blue eyes and black hair, which was balanced out by his other father’s soft features. While Eli stood a different variation, he had Jayden’s dark hair and eyes mixed with my rough demeanor.
“You know, I have this fighter’s diet, I need to eat…”
“I thought you needed to put on weight?” Jayden provoked, trying to trap me.
“Pancakes are perfect for that.” He raised his eyes brows and looked towards our kids.
They pushed each other in excitement “We’re helping Daddy prepare for his fights!” Matthew yelped.
“Alright alright!” I sighed, finally taking a bite of the egg shell filled pancakes “Oh very good boys.” I faked “They’re good, they’re crunchy.”
“Oh I bet.” Jayden laughed “Alright boys, let’s give Daddy time to eat and relax.” He instructed steering them both out of the room “I love you dear.”
“Love you to.” I muttered, pushing the breakfast tray aside, and beginning to meditate, just like I have been for the past 18 years.
When I finally finished I got clothed and joined my family downstairs. Various pictures of me in the octagon over the years covered our walls, joined by family photos, and pictures of Jayden at the tattoo parlor he started right out of High School. I smiled and stared at my favorite picture, the one of Me, Jayden, Henry and Ivy at our high school graduation. Since then Henry joined the Navy and has been sailing all over the world, while Ivy earned her doctorate in Political Science and has been on a mission to become one of the greatest female leaders in history. I couldn't help but laugh to myself, she’s still just as hard headed and terrifying as ever.
“I was just about to come get you.” Jayden smiled as he saw me enter the living room “You have a visitor.”
I turned towards the still open door and laughed at the big man in the door way. His short dirty blonde hair still finding a way to be perfect, as his blue eyes jumped with life just like they once did when he was younger. “Eli Warren in the flesh!” I called out “Shouldn’t you be out partying?”
“You’re the lightweight champion, I could be asking you the same thing.” He teased, walking in and giving me a huge bear hug.
“Boys.” Jayden called out “Someone’s here to see you!”
“Uncle Eli!” Matthew yelped running into his favorite adult.
Eli reached down and scooped him up “What’s up Matty? Still want to give me my first tattoo?”
“Yeah!” he exclaimed with a tiny laugh.
“Hey what’s up with him?” Eli asked, pointing over at his namesake who was refusing to acknowledge his presence.
“Ah him!” Jayden yelled, grasping the boy on the shoulder “Well Eli why don’t you explain it.”
“You haven’t resigned with the devils yet.” He bit, keeping a frown “You’re not gonna stay!”
“Well…” Eli sighed “The rumors I’m looking to sign with the Red Wings are pretty serious. I’ve helped bring 3 more cups here.” He explained showing off 3 championship rings “Maybe it’s time to give something back to Michigan.” He watched as the younger Eli began to pout in sadness “Nah f that!” he giggled “I’ve only got 2 or 3 more years left in the NHL, you honestly think I don’t want to retire a devil? I just need more time to negotiate a contract!”
Eli charged and wrapped around his leg with joy “Yes! So you’re staying?”
“Would I leave my favorite twins?” he giggled, rustling his hair. He looked up and raised his eye brows “I still can’t believe you named a kid after me.”
I shrugged my shoulders and looked to Jayden who didn’t have the words to answer “You mean a lot to the two of us.” I looked over to the varsity jacket framed on the wall “You’ve taught me a lot.”
He nodded in appreciation, and let the twins off of him “Happy birthday man.”
“Thanks.” I smiled as he handed me a small token. I looked down at the worn white chip and shook my head “No Eli…I can’t accept…”
“It wouldn’t have been possible without you.” He warmly smiled.
I shook my head and one more embraced him in gratitude. I clutched the old white token tightly in my hand, the desire chip…the one that signifies the first sober day an addict takes…the very beginning of the fight for Eli against his addiction. A war he’s been dominating ever since.
“Alright, I gotta run” he sighed pulling away “More negotiation talks with my agent.” He winked towards Eli, and hugged the twins, and Jayden before leaving. He’s always been so good with the boys…yet he’s never wanted kids of his own, in fact he’s never even went on another date since Jamie. Whenever me and Jayden try to set him up he tells us he already found his soul mate. I guess even all these years later his love for Jamie still burns strong. I’m proud to have one of my boys named after him, to have him follow in his footsteps.
“Alright boys, go shower!” Jayden demanded “We have to get to Grandpa Perry’s by 3 for dinner tonight. You know he hates when we’re late!”
“Is Aunty Brooke still going to be there?” Matty jumped up excitedly.
“Yup.” Jayden nodded “So go clean up for her!”
“Is Robert going to be there tonight?” I asked as the boys ran up the stairs.
“I don’t know” he shrugged making a face “He’s been trying, you can’t deny that.”
“I know” I nodded, thinking back on my biological father’s efforts over the years. He’s slipped up from time to time, but ever since that night…ever since Perry punched him, he’s really been trying his best to be a good father, to put me and Brooke first. “The important thing is you and the boys are there.” I determined with a smile.
“Oh yeah?” he giggled with the same charm he had when we were kids.
“Oh yeah.” I emphasized giving him a kiss on the lips. After all these years…after all this time…I still love him as much as I did back in the cafeteria of Bellmont…I still get nervous when I see him, and my heart still freezes when he gets all dressy. Time has moved on, and we’ve both grown, but our love has never changed.
Back when I left my family and moved in with Perry…there were a lot of rumbles. A lot of shit talking, people called me ungrateful, spoiled, and nothing but a crestfallen little brat, but the truth is I couldn’t have been any happier. I watched Jayden run up the stairs yelling in Hebrew at our screaming children and laughed. I’ve won the titles and defended my belts, and yet nothing makes me happier than him…nothing makes me happier than us.
Thank you guys so much for reading book 2! I appreciate all of you guys so much! Whether you've been with me since chapter 1 of Velocity, or just joined all of us on this new adventure...thank you, it's been awesome being able to share this story! I know it was rough and heart breaking at times, but you all stuck through and watched as life broke through the rubble of what the world had destroyed, and came back stronger than ever.
As for this series, Book 3: Blinded will come out in the next day or two. It will debut a whole new set of characters, and have no connection with this story. I hope to see you there, if not than I'm sure I'll catch you around the site! Thank you!