12 Rounds (Knockout 1) - Page 4

May 2012

I am from the city of rock.

A city built up from the gray chimney stacks of steel mills, Chevy and Ford factories, and middle class America. A city where blood, sweat, and tears are poured into a funnel the size of Mars to keep the economy going. Where laboring, hardworking men are a dime a dozen. A place where the streets can become your best friend…

Or your worst enemy.

And at night, the streets don’t welcome you.

They destroy you.

I live in the armpit of the U.S.—Ohio. Cleveland, Ohio to be exact. Been here since I was seven. I like Ohio. Even though I was born on The Emerald Isle, I’ll always consider Ohio to be my home. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I’ve been here longer. Or because for some reason, Ohio has a home-like feel to it. I still boast a faint Irish accent and that’s the only souvenier that I’ve taken with me from my homeland.

Cleveland Rocks!

Cleveland Rocks!

Okay, okay.

I get it. Enough with the bullshit.

Moonlight drips down from the star-filled sky and coats the street with a soft light. The light of the moon combined with the street lamp makes the darkened road seem brighter. Gun shots ring out in the distance and the sound is welcoming, familiar. It's almost like music for someone like me. Someone who spends most of their nights on street corners in the bad part of town.

I know what most people think of guys like me.

They think that I’m a scumbag.

A bottom feeder.

They think I’m the lowest form of a man.

A good for nothing ex-drug runner mixed up in a ring of corruption, blow, (yes the white powder) , and illegal activity.

What I’d really like to tell them is to fuck off. Well, that and that I’m none of the things they think I am. Fuckin’ hypocrites. All they want to do is judge.

I’ll tell you what I’d ask them if I had the chance. I’d ask them what they wouldn’t do for the people they cared about. I’d ask them if they wouldn’t get down on their knees to grovel before Lucifer himself if it meant you could save who you loved most in the world. I don’t know why I think about asking because I know exactly what they’d say…


They’d do anything.

I like to think most people would.

I’m no different. With both parents gone, I did what I had to do for my sister and myself, and I hate it when pretentious assholes judge me for that. I used to see it all the time. I’d walk in to a restaurant or a store, and people would take one look at my tatted up arms, facial piercing, and cold distant eyes and assume I was a punk. Their eyes would sweep over me, disgusted scowls on their lips, then they’d turn their heads.

That’s right, I’d think. Turn your fucking heads before I knock your damn teeth out.

I know.

I have anger issues.

I’m working on it.

Truth is, I’m just a guy who fights for what matters most to him and what matters most to me—is family.

Or what’s left of mine anyway.

When I was about seventeen, Connor Doyle, my boss took me under his wing. He showed me the ropes of hustling drugs and making a profit. He told me, “Son,” then swept his arm out in front of him, “Some day you'll be running these streets.”

Tags: Lauren Hammond Knockout Romance
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