Red was a southpaw, and he had a move he liked. Fake a straight with with the right, then hook with the left when his opponent drew back, right across the snot box. Worked every time, until he tried it on Louise. His face ate the mat within seconds. He wasn’t sure how. “Short flight,”she crowed, “bad landing.”
The mechanical door slid open and Ben slid in, taking in the scene of Red in his jeans, head down, ass up, and Louise looking down on him like shit she just picked off her shoe, hardly sweating. Her hair pinned up, her sharp features enunciated, dressed in a purple Judogi, her toenails and fingernails both painted the same shade of crimson, pipping over a loudmouth man she just bested… Ben’s heart was pitter pattering just looking at her. He kept it cool.
“I bet you didn’t slap him around like that when his old man ran this outfit.”
“Aw, hell…” Red rolled over on his side, his face a full flush, either from his head smacking the padded floor or sheer embarrassment, “…she used to kick his ass, too.”
Louise crossed her arms. “You come into my dojo with your shoes on, I guess you’re here to spar too, Mister Bigshot?” Red’s eyes grew wide as he gingerly sat up. “Jesus, Louise…” he muttered.
Ben smirked as his lit Lucky Strike dangled, an ember dangerously close to dropping and singing her precious tarp. “Please, Miss Edelman. Mister Bigshot was my father.”
“And Miss Edelman was my sister.”
With that, Louise snatched the cigarette from Ben’s lips, drew hard on it, flicked the ash in her palm, then squeezed her hand into a fist. “These things are killing your wind. Want me to prove it to you?” Her eyes locked with his like she was a tiger in a cage.
Ben was nonplussed. “You have no need to prove anything to me, Louise. Finish that smoke, hit the shower, and meet me in my office in 2o.”
“I don’t smoke.” Louise replied, holding the coffin nail in a familiar way that suggested otherwise.
“Then give it to Red. He looks like he could use it.” Ben said, as he headed out the door.
Red crossed his ankles and his hands behind his head like he was relaxing at the beach, then sing song said “You two are going to have some cranky babies.”
“Say something like that again and I’ll break your fucking jaw.”
Louise was in no mood.