SEBASTIAN WAS STRAPPING HIS boxing gloves shut with his teeth as Levi bandaged his hands, Ella watching them both with amusement. They were on the second floor now, in a room she and Seb had turned into their own sanctuary. The walls are all white, except for the one opposite the door, which is a mirror, showing the punching bag hanging on the left, the workout machines beside it and the weights scattered across the floor on the right. The middle of the room is still empty though, the only thing there a navy mat the size of a boxing ring.
"So," Ella smiled at Alex," do you want to cry now or later?"
"Now please," Alex said," I need my tears to dry in time to meet this beautiful Faiza I've heard so much about."
Her brother practically jumped up from where he had been sitting cross-legged on the floor, eyes livid as he parted his lips. As soon as he locked gazes with Ella though he settled down, looking slightly embarrassed. Alex hadn't even noticed though, but Will had, quickly changing the subject with a flash of concern in his eyes.
"Did you know that there are eight species of bees that are endangered now?" he said.
Sebastian frowned, looking genuinely worried. "Seriously? Why? They are just out there, buzzing and living their best life."
"Remember when Levi got stung by a bee in the face?" Alex said, smiling fondly at the memory," it really was ready to give it's life to minorly inconvenience Levi's and that's peak comedy."
"Guys, you're getting side-tracked," Ella said as she threw Alex' boxing gloves at him.
He caught them, flashing her a wolfish grin. "Come on now, you all should be placing your bets."
"You got this, Alex," Sebastian grinned at him," prove boxing is superior to MMA for me, please. I can't fight all-out with Ella without being killed by our mother."
"Or me, you mean," she smiled sweetly at him.
"That too," he said.
Levi just walked towards her, bandaging her hands expertly, his own just as calloused as hers as they brushed against each other. He didn't speak a word as he did so and when he was done his hand lingered on hers a while longer, before nodding at her and going back to the sidelines. Alex called out after him to have his hands bandaged so lovingly as well and when Levi didn't reply he shook his head.
"Okay, this does it," he said to Ella," we're fighting for Levi's hand now, babe."
"No, it's fine," Ella said as she raised a hand to stop him," let's not do that."
"No, we will," Alex said as he dramatically glanced at Levi," I have lost my dear friend to love and I will fight to get him back."
Levi just slowly sunk his face in his hands, looking done with it all. Only Will cheered, Sebastian seeming unsure what to reply to that. Ella cracked her knuckles then, a smile appearing on her face. She was used to training several times a week, so to have her fight with Trevor be the only workout she had really gotten the past week wasn't feeling right. Besides, it wasn't like Trevor had much technique anyway, just a brute strength he hadn't known how to use. Looking at Alex though as his usual confidence settled into something calmer and he took his fighting stance, she knew that was different now. Sebastian threw a pair of boxing gloves at her and she strapped them on, taking her own stance herself.
"Let's go at it, Farrow," she said.
"Take it easy on me, Martinez," he grinned at her.
Will whistled then and they started circling each other, adrenaline already beginning to course through her veins as she matched his footwork. Though her fighting style was vastly different from Alex' and he was stronger, in terms of speed she won. It was all a matter of technique now and she searched for a hole in his guard. As soon as she found one she quickly stepped in and turned to land a high kick on him, but he blocked it.