First chapter of Property of Billionaire #1
“What the fuck are you doin’? If I’ve told you once, Brodie, I’ve told ya a thousand times, protect your face,” Sandy bellowed.
The frustration and snarled shout did little to stop the fists coming at me, forcing me to protect my face and leave my body exposed to the solid punch that came at my stomach. I blanched, my legs turning to jelly as I tried to skip back.
“Fuck’s sake, what are you, a man or a little bloody pansy?” Spit hit my face as my father continued to rage, the next punch hitting my cheek and shooting pain up into my eye. My head snapped back so hard that my legs rocked from under me and my vision blurred.
I worked hard to blink the tears back. Showing weakness would only make this worse for me.
“Can’t you see he’s had enough, Frank? He’ll be no good to you if you knock his block off,” came the voice of reason from my uncle. At least he was if you discounted the fact that they were both training me to be a bare-knuckle fighter so that they could make money off me.
“You want Brodie to remain a fucking pansy for the rest of his life?” My father roared, not once letting up on the blows he was delivering to my body. The tears that clogged my throat were swallowed as I did my best to dodge the next few hits. Even though he was a drunk, the fucker was faster than me.
Ever since I’d turned eleven, several weeks earlier, my father had taken it upon himself to train me to take over from him in the backstreet fighting rings. Underground, bare-knuckle fighting brought in big money if you were any good at it.
My father, in his heyday, had been the king, but given his preference of spending the majority of his time in the pub getting drunk, things had taken a downward turn over the last few months. His answer to that was to train me instead.
I’d known it wouldn’t be long before he dragged me into the ring. I’d seen the way he’d watched as I’d started to grow and fill out. Fortunately, I was in the one per cent of the population who were able to naturally build muscle without the need for the steroids my father liked to use. Those things were a brain drain. They turned him into even more of a psycho than he already was.
My mother had long since abandoned us both, leaving me with him and my good-for-nothing uncle. I’d given up praying that she’d come back and rescue me from this hellhole. No, dreams were for babies, and regardless of my age, I was no longer a child. My fucker of a father had made sure of that.
I took after my mother, with jet black curls and blue eyes that gave me a cherub-like appearance. It was a constant reminder for him, one that he didn’t want. He always told me that it made me resemble a pansy. Who the hell knew what that was?
Once my mother had left, it had become my new name. Her leaving had also given him the perfect excuse to hate me. So instead of being a normal, loving parent, he’d decided to make me into a man by ensuring that the pansy was beaten out of me.
My chest heaved, right along with my stomach, as my father stepped back and lowered his bruised hands. The dark stain across his knuckles told me that my face and body wouldn’t look dissimilar. Not that the pain morphing into one never-ending throb, which seemed to fill my whole body, made it possible to forget what he’d done to me. Not for the first time, I considered if death would be an easier option than living in this hell.
I lifted my head at the sound of my father spitting. It dripped down the front of my filthy T-shirt. The urge to take my top off was quelled by the steely-eyed look of disgust on my father’s face which demonstrated his scorn.
Heat spread through my body, my hands dropping to my sides as I lowered my eyelashes, trying to shield the hate that bubbled up inside me. As I struggled to swallow past the lump in my throat, he stepped up to me, using his additional six inches of height as an advantage. His fingers pinched my chin in a punishing grip, lifting it so that I had to meet his gaze.
“If you don’t start getting your shit together, I’ll take you to the next fight and leave you to fend for yourself.” His thick Scottish accent barely made the words sound like English, but the threat his face held more than made up for it.
All of the blood circulating through me seemed to freeze as I realised what he was saying. Held captive by the evil grin spreading across his face, I swallowed and willed myself not to pass out. A wave of dizziness swept through me and bile burned my throat, the bitterness coating my tongue. Would he really throw me to the wolves?
What a stupid question, of course he bloody would.
My father’s eyes narrowed and my heart stuttered at the thought of what he might have read on my face.
“Frank, stop fucking with the boy,” Sandy said, his voice slurring.
“Who says I’m fuckin’ with him,” my father growled at his brother without taking his eyes off me. “No, I think it’s time Pansy started to learn some hard facts about life.”
As he spoke, my body sagged and my knees turned to jelly at the implication. But I kept silent, knowing that begging would only make things worse. What could I do? I’d never survive in the ring. Fuck, I’d be dead after just one round. The pills I’d squirrelled away, hidden under a pile of dirty washing, were starting to look like the only escape I had.
When he finally released my chin, I had to work on remaining upright. He spun around, heading towards his brother, who was slouched on the ratty sofa pushed up against the wall in our tenement flat.
Sandy chugged from the can of lager he held, half-heartedly swiping at the drops that spilt down his chin. A loud belch was followed by a fart, neither man seeming to notice. The stench of rotten eggs filled the small room as my father parked his arse next to his brother and took the can off him.
The brown threadbare carpet and the few bits of rickety furniture scattered about the room were all that had been left after my father had run out of money for beer. I eyed the room as if seeing it for the first time.
“He’ll not last two minutes with the likes of Anderson or Briggs. You know that, right?”
A tiny sliver of hope sprang up as Sandy tried to reason with my father. It was squashed by his next words. “Set up a fight with a few of the lesser-known boys. The newer ones on the circuit might give us a fighting chance to make some money, especially if we bet on the other guy winning.” He shrugged his too-thin shoulders and sniffed before absently picking at his dirty fingernail.
“Ya might be right, we’ll do that.” A malicious grin spread across my father’s face as he stared at me while I remained rooted to the spot, too scared to do anything. “At least we’ll have some money then.”
Something inside my heart hardened as I listened to their callous conversation. They were talking as if I was nothing but a thing to them. A means to an end, completely worthless, unless I could make them beer money.
Sucking in a breath through gritted teeth, I straightened my spine, ignoring how the action made my whole body hurt. I’d show them. If it was the last thing I did, I’d show them that I was more than just a thing, more than a bet, more than a means to money. With that promise running through my head, I spun around and ran out of the room. Their laughter followed me, but I didn’t stop. I ran out of the flat and down the ten flights of stairs.
Rage burned through me as I ran through the dark streets with nowhere to go. One day, I’ll show them what I’m really made of and then we’ll see who has the last laugh.