GENRE: YA Contemporary
Naya knows how to throw a punch. After years of fighting, she has developed a pretty thick skin. Too bad she's about to learn that it doesn't protect her heart.
I know the feel of blood. The way it drips down your face—thick and slow—reaching your mouth long after you realize it's coming. Long after you see it on your best friend's face. If you're stupid enough to look at him, that is.
I know the way it tastes. Like salt. Like satisfaction. Blood means it was a good hit. Maybe even a break. Blood means my opponent is relaxed. Sure of herself. Convinced I'm going to back down.
But she's wrong. Blood never means I'm going to back down. Back off. Blood means I'm coming back for more. For more blood. But not mine. I've already seen mine. Many times. Dripping down my face. Pouring on the floor. Soaked into Taye's clothes as he pulls me away, lecturing me about whatever fight I've started this time. That's what he says. This time. Because there's always a last time. And there's always a next one. He knows this. We both do.
But for now—for now, there's just this one. There's just me standing here with a bloody nose. And there's her. Her standing there not knowing she's about to get one.
I step back. Retreat. Wipe my sleeve across my mouth. Glance at Taye. He's shaking his head. Telling me to walk away. Yeah, right. I'll walk away when she's flat on the floor. Or maybe—
Maybe...when I am.