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Gio (5th Street #2)

By:Elizabeth Reyes

Gio (5th Street #2)
Author: Elizabeth Reyes





PROLOGUE

The bloody mouthpiece flying through the air in slow motion as Trinidad's lifeless body hit the floor was just one of the things from that day that would forever be seared into Giovanni Bravo's memory. The screaming was the other. The ref jumped in front of Gio as if he'd even think of still going after Trinidad.

Trinidad lay there completely out and within minutes it was chaos. He wasn't breathing. The buzzing in Gio's ears got louder as the medics jumped into the ring and began trying resuscitation. People in the audience stood in motionless silence, most holding their hands to their mouths looking as stunned as Gio felt. He froze where he stood not even noticing that Abel and Jack stood by his side.

They started CPR on Trinidad, pounding forcefully on his chest. That's when the screaming started. The paramedics placed him on a stretcher continuing to pound on his chest. Trinidad's pregnant wife's screams grew louder as a few people struggled to hold her back.

"You okay?" Jack asked, looking very concerned.

Gio glanced at him for a moment nodding but his eyes went back to the stretcher now being rushed out of the stadium. "He's not responding," he heard himself say.

"He'll be okay," Abel said, placing his hand on Gio's shoulder. "He just went down pretty hard."

Trinidad was pronounced dead before he ever reached the hospital. Dead at only twenty-two-and Gio had killed him.

CHAPTER 1

The broadcaster on the small television in Gio's garage, stood outside the cemetery where services for Trinidad had been held. The light from the television screen was the only thing that illuminated the otherwise dark garage. Gio wasn't even listening anymore. He'd stopped listening hours ago but still, he sat there on his Raiders beanbag, like he had for days, staring at the screen.

The knock at the door was soft and he didn't bother responding. Someone opened it anyway and walked in. Gio's eyes never left the screen that now panned out, showing the mourners entering their cars as the recording of the broadcast of the services played on. Trinidad had been buried days ago. Gio had already watched this footage repeatedly. Just like the first time, he felt numb each time he watched it again but he couldn't tear himself away from the television.

"Hey."

Without looking away from the screen, Gio lifted his chin. It was the only response he showed to hearing his best friend Noah's voice.

"Roni made zucchini bread. She wanted me to bring you some."

"Cool. Tell her I said thanks."

Noah took a step forward pulling the string above Gio's head to turn the lights on and turned off the television. "You gotta stop this, G. Your mom's worried. She asked me to come over and talk to you. I was going to anyway. Everyone's worried, man."

"About what?" Gio said, staring at the floor and tossing the remote aside. "I'm not the one who's dead."

"So what? Because his life is over, yours is, too?" Noah sat down on an ice chest near Gio. "What happened sucks, Gio, but he knew the risks when he stepped into that ring. Hell, we all do. It's a tragic thing but you can't blame yourself."

Gio finally turned to face Noah. "What do you mean I can't blame myself? Who else is there to blame? I'm the one that took the shot at him. I ended that guy's life."

"Boxing ended his life! You just happened to be the opponent in the ring with him at the time. If it hadn't been you it would've been the next fighter he faced. He had a pre-existing condition for Christ's sakes. If anyone is to blame, it's whoever cleared him to fight. He should've never been in there in the first place."

Gio stood up, hands at his waist and paced. "What's gonna happen to his wife?"

"That's not your problem, G. I know it sounds shitty but-"

"You're damn right it sounds shitty!" Gio stopped and glared at Noah. "She's pregnant. What's wrong with you?"

As long as he lived, those agonized screams would haunt him.

"Look." Noah lifted his hand. "All I'm saying is she has a family. She'll be taken care of. You shouldn't burden yourself worrying about that right now. You should worry about this." Noah pointed at Gio's forehead. "You're my friend-my family. And I'm worried about you right now. Worried about what's going on in that head."

The door opened. Gio's other friend Abel and his younger brother Hector walked in. "We all are," Abel said. "You need to get your ass back in the ring. Sitting around in this cave isn't gonna do you any good."

Gio collapsed back into his beanbag. "Maybe I don't wanna get back in the ring."

They all stared at him but Noah spoke first. "You're just saying that now but-"

"No. I've been thinking about it. Maybe I don't wanna risk it. What happened to Trinidad can happen to any of us. Maybe I don't wanna take that risk anymore."

"But this is what you-" Noah stopped talking when Abel touched his arm.

"So you train," Abel said. "You're a hell of a trainer. You know those two you've been training have 'up and coming' written all over them. You said it yourself."

Gio glanced at Abel but said nothing and then stared at the floor again. He hadn't even stepped foot in 5th Street since that horrific night.

"They've been asking about you," Hector added. "Just today at school. Nate asked if I knew when you were coming back."

Both of the guys Gio was training were still in high school. Juniors like Hector but both had massive potential.

He couldn't believe he'd actually said it out loud. That he didn't want to get back in the ring. But it was true-for now anyway. Maybe some day he'd get back in it but for now, he didn't even want to think about it. Not for himself. But Abel was right. He did love training. He'd even thought about asking Jack, the owner of 5th Street, what he thought about him starting up a beginner's clas

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