Steel and Guts

Nolan strolled into the gym with hours of a sleepless night gritting his eyes.  Ciara’s screaming had woke him up. They’d all heard her screaming over the last two months.  The setbacks of living in the same house.  They all had demons, nightmares, flashbacks.  Sometimes a job set them off after years of keeping the skeletons firmly locked in the closet.  They’d flare up for a day or two and then fade to the background again.

But Ciara’s had been getting worse.  Starting earlier in the night, every time they sounded like her soul was getting ripped out of her body with red hot talons. At first they had stopped after the first two or three minutes.  But the last five nights running they’d gone on longer.  And last night he hadn’t been able to lay awake and listen to them anymore.

He had left his room in sweats and socks and gone down the hall. The screaming had stopped by the time he’d reached her door but he couldn’t make himself turn around.   So instead, he’d held her while she fell apart.  He hadn’t know someone could cry that hard. He’d been afraid her body would break as she’d sobbed.  But she hadn’t.  That woman was made of steel and guts.

He rubbed his hands against his face as he sat to wrap his hands.  Bad Willie slouched onto the bench next to him. “Long night eh?”

Nolan glanced across the gym to where Ciara took on two of the team.  He glanced back at Bad Willie, “She’s tougher than all of us.  To hold that inside of her and wake up every day to fight some more? That’s some shit right there.”

Bad Willie smiled, “We’re all soldiers man.  It’s what we do.”

Nolan shook his head.  “No man, you and I, we’re soldiers.” He nodded at Ciara, “That one’s a warrior.”

Bad Willie studied Ciara as she systematically mowed through two teammates, experienced mercenaries, former black op soldiers.  He nodded, “Maybe you have a point.” Ciara executed a perfect high kick, body lithe in the air, legs snapping out to connect with her opponent’s chest.  “Then again you could just be in lust.  Who wouldn’t want a woman who can do that?”

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