The Wrong Type of Redemption

5 Seven PM


5: Seven PM

At Mia’s urging, Jerry arranged the boxing match with Dale. As he stood at the front counter waiting for the guy to come back with used gloves that would fit him, the blond guy who was still standing there looked Jerry over.

Jerry tried not to notice, but those blue eyes bore into him more than usual.

“And when will you and I go a couple of rounds.” The man’s voice was low, but suggestive.

“We’re in different weight classes,” Jerry said pretending he didn’t know what the man alluded towards.

There was a soft chuckle before he uttered, “I see the way you look at me.”

How could Jerry not? The man was long lean muscle. Just thick enough and just sexy enough to lick along the lines. But Jerry knew better. A lot of guys came to this gym, and not all of them were tolerant.


“Shouldn’t you be?” Jerry asked.

“I’m careful. You seem to be, too.”

Jerry said nothing.

“You seem intense, too. I like intense.”

Dale came from the back room then carrying the used red gloves Jerry had worn before. The guy grinned. “Did I tell you that my son just started kick boxing?” Dale’s cheerful eyes lit with humor. “He’s going to be awesome one day.”

“Your son’s only five. Let him be a kid for a little while,” the blond said.

“Of course.” The shorter man nodded in agreement. “But he likes fighting,” Dale said proudly.

“When he’s ready for real boxing, send him my way,” the blond said.

“You bet!” Dale grinned showing off his chipped front tooth.

Jerry took the gloves. He headed for the ring where Mia was watching the sights, legs slightly parted and arms folded over her chest like she owned the place.

He clapped her back with the gloves and she spun, all business, and began helping him put them on.

They worked silently as the chatter in the room grew, anticipation for the fight. Jerry tested the gloves, shadow boxed for a few minutes bouncing on his toes to warm up.

Mia watched as if she was his coach. And in truth she mostly was. She introduced him to the sport. She gave him good pointers. And she introduced him to Dale who was a better coach.

When Alejandro jumped into the ring, Jerry nodded down at Mia, which told her it was time. Then he leaned down where she took out his hearing aid from both ears.

When she was done. Dale came up to him holding a blue head guard. He put the helmet like cushioned gear over his head and strapped it on tight.

Getting in Jerry’s face, Dale’s lips began to move. “Remember what you learned.” Jerry read before Dale lifted a disposable mouth guard. Jerry opened his mouth and Dale shoved it in.

Ready, Jerry nodded and headed for the ring. The sounds around him were muted as if in another room. If he concentrated he could make out what some sounds were, even a few words if they were loud enough. But mostly without his hearing aid, he was in a world of his own. The feeling of isolation was perfect for concentrating helping him block out distractions.

When he ducked under the rope and got in the ring, he stood before Alejandro who glared with a mocking expression, lips curled up in disgust. The gym’s referee came between them. The ref made motions that told Jerry he was spouting the rules. Mia had made Jerry memorize them all so not to use the excuse of him being hard of hearing as the reason for breaking any.

When the ref stepped back, Jerry began bouncing on the balls of his feet, hands raised to guard his face. Then the man lifted his arm before swinging it down, signaling the start of the fight.

Jerry let Alejandro advance before he stepped to the side, dodging the first punch. Then he used his fist to attack the guy’s gut. Mr. Macho barely blocked the blow.

Alejandro was quick precise punches, but Jerry embodied power and speed on his toes.

Alejandro went for Jerry’s head next, getting a good shot in. His mind spun, reeling from the contact…Alejandro attacked again, aiming for Jerry’s head once more. Jerry tried to block, but wasn’t fast enough…

Images…memories surfaced…

Fourteen-year-old Jerry was on his bed, working on his laptop. Gerald was sitting beside him, innocently combing a hand through his hair talking about school. Jerry always loved his brother’s touch and leaned into it.

As if encouraged by Jerry’s response, Gerald grew bolder, kissing him on the neck, then the jaw… the lips… His twin moved the laptop aside. They only did things that daring when they were in the stables alone together or just the two of them far out on the land. They never kissed in the house…

“Wait…” Jerry began to warn his brother.

“Are you denying me?” Gerald asked gripping Jerry’s wrist firm enough to make it clear, his twin wasn’t taking no for an answer.


Gerald pushed him back on the bed, taking absolute control…and Jerry liked it.

Hovering over Jerry, legs straddling him, Gerald’s tongue slid over Jerry’s. His hands went to Jerry’s zipper.

The door opened. Eric stood looking shocked. His eyes drifted down to where Gerald’s hand lingered between Jerry’s crotch.

“What the hell?” Eric yelled.

“Watch your language, young man?” Their mother shouted from downstairs.

“You fucking fags! What the hell do you think you’re doing?” With each word Eric marched into the room fists balled.

He was headed for Gerald! Jerry shoved his twin off him and back, shielding him when Eric’s fist shot out.

“Sick twisted faggots!” 

Jerry felt the first blow in the face. Again and again. He didn’t remember when he hit the floor.

“Stop!” Gerald roared somewhere above him.

His mother’s screams came…Then nothing…it all became strangely quiet as his head hit the floor over and over…blood filling his mouth and eyes…

Jerry roared in rage as Eric aimed for his head again. He dodged just enough before plowing his fist in the guy’s gut. Then his chest. Jerry’s rage built until he had Eric backing up to the ropes and the ref was getting between them.

Heat blew through his nostrils in a rush when he stared at Eric wanting to beat the asshole more. Fear flickered in the guy’s face as red ran down his nose. Brown eyes wide with shock…wait…Eric’s eyes were blue not brown…

Mia’s small brown hands were pulling him back and away. She got in his face and signed, *Where are you, Jerry? Where are you now?*

“I’m okay…I’m okay…” He mouthed reassuring her as he realized Alejandro wasn’t Eric… And Eric couldn’t hurt him again.

*Let’s take it to the punching bags.* Signs of worry crinkled her brow.

He nodded.

When they took off his gloves and his helmet, Jerry finally saw his surroundings. The ref, who doubled as sports medicine, attended to Alejandro’s bloody nose and a cut above his eye that wouldn’t stop bleeding. Shit…I don’t even remember doing that…

After getting his hearing aides and putting them in, Jerry heard a gruff Latin accent say, “The retarded bastard’s trying to ruin my career. He knows I have a bout in two days! Asshole!”

“You’re the one who wanted this fight, Alejandro. You should’ve waited until after your scheduled fight before picking one with Jerry.”

“Jerry’s an amateur, that’s why this happened. You hear me rookie? You pull this shit again, and I’ll-“

“None of that, Al, no threats.” Dale warned. “Is anything broken?” He asked the ref.

“Just his ego. He’ll live. But the fight’s over. You lost.”

“I never said I gave up!”

“You called for the ref!” Someone on the sidelines yelled.

“Only because the retard was going for blood! I didn’t ask for a death match.”

“For a boxer, you’re awfully delicate,” Someone else in the gym said before others laughed.

Alejandro threw up his middle finger. “Fuck you! I have a match in two days!”

“Then I suggest you rest up and stay out of the gym, Al.” Dale sighed running a hand over his head.

Alejandro just glared at Jerry and muttered. “Watch your back, handicapped motherfucker…” Though it wasn’t loud enough for anyone to hear, Jerry read every word on the assholes lips.

Oblivious to the tension, Mia checked him over. *How do you feel?*

He got up off the stool he’d been sitting on.

*Is your mind clear?* She asked staring up at him.

Shaking off those past memories, Jerry nodded. He signed. *I’m good.*

*J…* Concerned twisted her features.

To distract her from his mind trip, he signed, *I still don’t know what I’m going to do about…that person…but…* He looked over at the blond who was sitting back against the bleachers relaxing. *I have options.*

Mia looked back to see the guy who turned his gaze elsewhere. She returned her gaze to Jerry, suspicion glittering her eyes.

*Come on, let’s go hit something that doesn’t hit back,* Jerry signed before ducking under the ropes.

The blond’s name was Nick according to Mia. The guy was headed to the pro boxing circuit soon. He stood nearly a foot shorter than Jerry and knew how to play it cool. All while they were in the gym, the two never did more than give cursory glances at each other.

Sitting nearby, Mia instructed him as he laid into a large punching bag.

“Mia! Mi mami!”

Jerry stopped mid-punch when he heard the rough Spanish accent.

He turned to scowl at Alejandro strolling up with his gym bag slung over one shoulder and a butterfly bandage over his eyebrow. The shorter man was all thick muscle, tan skin, with a beautiful face that betrayed the sadistic nature within. Jerry would’ve found him attractive if the asshole had any damn manners. That condescending smirk on his face told Jerry the guy meant to cause trouble.


“You know she can’t hear you,” a man sitting on a weight bench behind him said.

“I know. It makes it even better when I sneak up on her.” His eyes shifted to look at Jerry who waited to see how far the man pushed it. Mia didn’t need him to protect her, but he would simply because he didn’t like Alejandro.

“What? You her boyfriend now?” The guy stopped several inches from Jerry, nearly invading his space.

Lifting an eyebrow, Jerry dared the guy to pick a real fight.

He saw some of the athletes stop what they were doing to watch. Nick circled slow as if prepared to rush in at any moment.

“Well, handi-boy? You decided to be her new fuck or what?” The asshole leaned forward.

Before he opened his mouth to tell the man to back up, Mia was between them pushing Alejandro back.

Then she pointed a warning finger at him.

“What? Cat got your tongue?” Alejandro mocked cruelly knowing Mia wasn’t mute.

Another guy ran up to the asshole looking furious and nearly growling at him in Spanish pushing him toward the exit. The guy was Dale’s business partner, Enrique. “I don’t want to ban you from here, Al,” the guy said in heavily accented English. “But keep pushing your luck and I will. I won’t have you starting unsanctioned fights. If you want to take it to the ring, do so. But not out here. And leave Mia alone!”

Alejandro shrugged as if he didn’t care. “This place bores me.” He sauntered off. “Later, shit faces.”

Mia turned to Jerry and asked, *What did he want?*

*He’s bored.* Jerry replied.

*He’s a sore loser, that’s what he is.*

Jerry had to agree.

*Finish out on the weights so we can leave,* she ordered.

He did.

When they were about to leave, Mia ran up to Nick all flirty and took a pen and paper from her pocket. Being born completely deaf, never having heard or learned speech, she often had to write things down for those who didn’t sign. Unlike Jerry, who had full hearing until fourteen, therefore could speak clearly, people didn’t know he was deaf unless he told them. So he often translated for Mia when they went to the gym…which made him wonder why she wasn’t using him now?

She wrote something on it, tore the page from the pad, and gave it to Nick winking. She held up her hand as if it were a phone and mouthed, “Call me.”

She sauntered off as some of the guys whistled in approval.

Nick frowned down at the piece of paper, clearly confused, until he read it. His eyes lit up, head lifting slightly to look at Jerry.

*Mia did you just give him my number?* he asked in horror.

*Sure did. I think he’s boyfriend material.*

*I don’t do boyfriends.*

*You need an actual date and not a quickie.*

*M.I.A.* He signed each letter as harshly as he could.

She nodded. *I know. I’m meddling…crossing the professional line. But I can’t…I don’t want you to do…anything stupid.* She meant his father.

*I should have never told you.*

She winced. *J.*

*Goodnight.* He turned to leave, but she jumped in front of him and signed.

*You will come back to the center, right?*

*The choice is mine what I decide to do and when. Consequences are also mine to bare. Understand? If you insist I need to see that man, I’ll deal with it on my terms. But I’m not some boy who doesn’t know right from wrong.*

*But you regret your broth-*

*No! I regret we got caught. That’s what I regret!*

Her eyes grew wide. *I thought…You said-*

*I still love him, Mia. I always will. Nothing I say or do…* Emotions welled up inside of him. I wanted him to be my first and my last, he thought but didn’t say. He just walked past her wanting to scream. But he wouldn’t. It would do no good. Gerald was never coming back.

That night, Nick had texted him. [Congratulation on winning in the ring!] Jerry never replied.


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