Today, for the letter Q I have a scene from chapter seven of All It Takes.
Later that evening, with the comments Mum made earlier in the back of my mind, I idly flicked through the telly channels; looking for a distraction. When I reached the sports stations, I paused on a talk-show, and the presenter said they had an interview with Kian coming up. Curious to see what he was like in ‘work mode’, I watched the adverts and waited for his segment to begin.
The interview started in the standard way, with a summary of who Kian was over the top of some clips of his fights.
I stared at the screen in silence, absorbing everything that was going on. It was my first time seeing him in the cage, and the sight of him violently hitting another person made my stomach quiver and my mouth went dry. He moved too quickly, the way his fists hammered down on the guy make me dizzy.
The presenter, a short man in glasses, asked Kian how his training had been going and how he’d been enjoying London. He then moved onto some more generic questions, like asking Kian what his pre-fight diet consisted of. I was amused to note he said protein shakes, sausage and egg sandwiches.
Belly Busters should start sponsoring him!
“How old were you when you started cage fighting?”
“I’d not long turned twenty. I’d been going to Davi Silva’s gym to work out for a few years, and I was thinking of getting into boxing, like my dad. Then Davi told me the local MMA promotion was looking for fighters.”
“That’s Davi Silva, former light heavyweight boxer and now the owner of the most successful gym in the Midlands?”
Kian grinned. “Yeah, that’s the one.”
“And your dad was a boxer too, wasn’t he?”
“Yeah, Brien Murphy.” Another grin from Kian. “He was big back in Ireland.”
“So you didn’t think of following in either of their footsteps?”
“Sure I thought about it. But I wanted to make my own path, ya know?”
“How very ambitious of you.” I couldn’t tell if the presenter has a slight sneer on his lips. His expression changed so quickly I wondered if I’d imagined it, and then he moved onto the next question.
“And now I’d like to get your thoughts on your last fight against Matthews.”
The programme went on to show a clip of Kian getting injured in the cage and made note of how he’d broken his collarbone in a bike accident.
In a little cut-out screen, to the left of the fight clips the camera focused on Kian, capturing his reaction to seeing himself injured in the cage. I could tell by the way his fists were balled at his side that reliving that moment was uncomfortable for him. Not that I could blame him. It made me uncomfortable too. I’d never seen an MMA fight, and although I knew they were brutal, this was far beyond what I expected. I covered my face with my hands, peeking out from between my fingers, as the other guy – who was much stockier than Kian, with more defined muscle structure – yanked Kian’s arm and twisted it behind his back, pulling in a way no one’s limbs should ever bend. I subconsciously rubbed my shoulder blades, as on screen, Kian sat stone faced.
“Maybe you should have a few more of those muscle drinks.” The interviewer’s tone was light and teasing, but Kian’s lips formed a thin line.
He forced out a dry laugh. “Yeah, maybe that’s it.”
“So Kian, what is it about you that makes you so susceptible to injury? I know you lost a lot of fans following the accident, how did that affect your career?”
“Did I lose a lot of fans? I made a full recovery so it’s…”
“Yes, but injuries never really heal do they?”
“Doesn’t that depend on the…”
“There are plenty of fighters who’ve suffered an injury and just don’t have the drive to get back to 100 percent. There are people out there who think you can’t ever get back to full health.”
“Ah, it’s like that then? Okay, well I’ve been training non-stop for the last...”
“But is that enough-”
“You cut me off again I swear I’m going to f***ing hurt you.” The TV interview bleeped out Kian’s words, but nothing could disguise the tone of his voice, and I winced, having experienced that anger first hand. “If I get injured, my goal is always to get fit, then get back into fighting shape. That’s the same with anyone who’s suffered an…”
“But can fighters ever really…”
“You think ya funny mate? You trying to make a joke? Let’s see how p***ed off you can make Murphy on your s***ty little show?”
“No, of course not. But answer me this: Aren’t you worried someone much bigger and tougher is going to come along and end your career? The last time you faced Matthews, he dislocated your shoulder.”
“You think I’m scared? Do I look f***ing scared?”
Kian stood up from his chair, and stalked towards the interviewer, standing just inches from him.
“Kian, please. I’m just doing my job, please take a seat.” The presenter shuffled back, but Kian didn’t stand down.
“Yeah? And how about I do what I do right here, right now?” Kian jabbed a finger into the man’s shoulder.
“All I meant was-”
“All you meant was,” Kian said in a mocking voice. “You don’t think I can beat Matthews, do ya? You asked if I’m worried someone much bigger and tougher is going to end my career. I ain’t fucking scared of no one. No one, you f***ing hack.” Kian threw the microphone to the floor, and pressed forward so he was towering above the interviewer.
“You’d f***ing love that, wouldn’t ya, ya little snake? Seeing me get my arse beat. Get a kick out of it, wouldn’t ya? ‘Cos you’re too much of a pussy to do it yourself.”
The interviewer tried to stand, but Kian shoved him back in his seat. “You, Matthews, you’re gonna be disappointed, ‘cos when I face him, I’m going to f***ing kill him.”
The show abruptly cut to the adverts, and I was left I staring at the screen in shock. What the hell had just happened? Why was Kian, a man who a few days previously had gone to the effort of mailing me his sister’s Step Up DVD and some baby clothes his mum had knitted, attacking a TV interviewer? Was this what he was like in ‘work mode’? Was it normal for him to lose his cool so quickly and then get both physically and verbally abusive with a virtual stranger?
Still stunned by what I'd just witnessed, I thought back over all the interaction we’d had in the past few months for any hints that this was ‘normal’ behaviour for him.
Since the scan, he'd been nothing but a perfect gentleman and doting father-to-be. But I remembered what he’d said about breaking that guy’s arm, and the fights we’d had over the paternity test, and how Emilia had asked if he’d hurt me after we’d argued that night in the restaurant.
Memories of his icy blue eyes boring into me flashed through my mind, and I let out an involuntary shudder thinking about how his every muscle had tightened with rage.
He obviously had a short fuse and a history of violence. Hell, that’s probably one of the reasons why he’d become a fighter; to let out all that pent up tension.
I turned off the telly, and sank down on the sofa, my head falling into my hands.
Was this really the type of man I wanted involved in my life? In my baby's life? Would these ‘outbursts’ keep happening, and could the baby and I be at risk?
Not knowing the answers to any of the questions, I dug out my phone and decided to call the one person who might be able to offer me some insight into what Kian was really like – Emilia Silva.
Thanks for reading. If you're interested in reading All It Takes, it can be found at claredugmore.com
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