This was Ace’s weekend with his dad. He enjoyed going to see his dad, Spade. He usually watched his dad and his dad’s best friend, Cas, spar. This time, Cas, had brought Candie over for a visit, Candie was Cas’s daughter. Ace had only met her a few times, and she never really talked much to him.
Spade brought out the boxing gloves and he and Cas went a few rounds in the ring. They went on, exchanging blows as Candie and Ace watched them. The adolescent kids handed their parents a few things every now and then when asked.
“Can I try?” asked Ace. He watched them intently, he clenched his shaking hands into fists.
“Yep- you can spar against Can,” said Spade.
“Candie?” he asked curiously, turning a head to his dad. “Can’t I fight one of you?”
“I think she’s pretty good,” said Cas. He grinned ear to ear.
“Shut up, she’s your daughter. You’re bragging again. We’ll see what she’s made of,” said Spade. He grinned back.
Cas and Spade helped the two into their gloves.
“I never knew you boxed,” Ace said to Can, looking up at her.
“Just a little bit…are you sure you should be boxing?” she said softly as her dad pulled her shoulder length hair into a ponytail.
Ace took a few steps back so there was a little space between the two of them, and they both began to square up. “Ready?”
“Fight!” shouted Spade.
Ace and Candie spared for a while until they started to sweat. They stopped when they were offered ice-cream.
Collapsing onto the mat, out of breath, Candie looked over at him. “Remind me never to piss you off.”
Ace laughed. “You won.”
Later that day, when Cas and Candie had left the gym, Spade and Ace walked around town, talking and catching up with each other. “How’s school going?”
“Fine, I guess.”
“You have lots of friends now?”
“I don’t really know anyone. No one talks to me. They all think I kill people.”
Spade sighed. “What about around the neighborhood?”
“Jordan’s a cool kid,” said Ace. He shrugged, shoving his hands in his pockets as he walked.
“How did you get that bruise under your eye? Can almost felt sorry for beating you.” he said.
“Me and Jordan were playing basketball… he bet I couldn’t touch the rim. Turned out he was right.”
Spade laughed. “With a little practice, you’ll be touching the rim in no time.”
Ace laughed too.
Spade walked Ace to the front door, and he pushed his son’s forehead. “I’d come in, but you know how your mother feels about me. When you’re ready to tell me what really happen to your eye, I’m always open ears. You know that, right?”
Ace paused. “I love you Dad. Have a safe trip home.” Ace walked inside, shutting the door behind him.
After a few moments Spade heard the sound of arguing emerging, he decided to let himself in and overheard the conversation.
“Mom! You deserve so much better than that bastard! He hits you! Dad never hit you!” he shouted.
“Your father is a stupid bastard that can’t accept the responsibility of a family!”
“Dad loves me!” he hollered.
“Your father is a coward! He chose that violent life over me! You better not turn out like him Ace, or I swear to God I’ll--”
“So, what if I do!? I won’t be like that bum, who threatens to kill kids because his mom wants to leave the loser. You know, Dad asked about my eye. I should have told him the truth. I’m tired of you letting him beat on me, Ma. I get my ass beat for you! I’m your son! He tries to kill me, and you just watch him!”
Heart didn’t say anything, she was close to tears, and Spade quickly turned the corner from having enough of listening to them from behind the wall.
“Spade…” He had startled her. Heart just about jumped out of her skin.
“…Dad… I didn’t hear the door…” said Ace. His face turned pale.
“I bet. You couldn’t hear anything over that yellin’ you two were doing. The door was unlocked, so I let myself in.” He took a step closer to them, and Heart took a step backwards. “Why so distant, Hearts? This would be a lot easier if I didn’t have to sneak and see my son. You’ve got men putting their hands on my child for sport, Hearts.”
“Don’t call me that!”
“Why not? It’s your name.” He moved closer to her.
“Drop the ‘s’! You stupid bastard!” said Heart.
“Ace, upstairs- now. Don’t ever lie to me again or you’ll regret it.” Ace silently nodded and proceeded upstairs as he was told. “First the drug problem, now this?” He stepped towards her slowly.
“Stay away from me, Spade!” She backed up into the wall.
He walked over to her and grabbed her by the throat. “How could you let him touch my son? You’re still on those drugs, aren’t you, Heart?! Has he been hitting on Diamond too?!”
She gasped for air and clawed at his arms. “…can’t…breathe…”
“You’re lucky I don’t take your last breath for putting my kids in danger!”
Ace ran back downstairs when he heard them get louder. He was listening at the top of the stairs. “Dad! You’ll kill her, that’s my mom! Get off of her!” he shouted.
Heart began to lose consciousness right before he let her go, and she dropped to the ground.
Spade backed away from Heart and looked at Ace. He walked over to the stairs that faced the front door. The breeze tickled his skin and the wind crept in through the gap from when he first came in.
Ace went to his mother’s side. She took slow, deep breaths before she started coughing.
“Queen, Diamond! Pack a bag, you’re coming with me.”
“You can’t take my kids!” said Heart.
“Watch me take care of my kids. You need to get better and handle your shit. It’s starting to affect us,” said Spade. He walked to the stairs and waited for the girls. “Make it quick ladies!”