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Gio (5th Street #2)

By:Elizabeth Reyes

added with a smirk.

"No shit." Noah laughed. "He ain't lying. He just finished telling me this morning if you weren't back by tomorrow he was coming to get you."

Gio chuckled. "Well, then I'm glad I did."

It felt a little weird being back and having Felix's circus there made it feel even weirder. He turned to where Felix was being interviewed. The girl he'd brought held a phone to her ear and covered her other ear with her hand. "She anyone we should know?"

Gio had felt a little stupid the last time he'd been introduced to Felix's flavor of the week and he had no idea who she was. He wanted to prevent that happening again.

"I dunno," Abel said with a frown. "Somehow it got leaked that he'd be here today. The camera crews have been here all morning. He just arrived about an hour ago. He was mobbed as soon as he walked in. We barely had a chance to talk to him."

"I don't recognize her from anywhere." Noah tilted his head sideways.

Gio gave up trying to figure it out and headed to the locker room to put his things away. He hadn't been in there very long when he heard a commotion and then loud voices coming toward him. Felix and Abel walked to him. Felix had a big smile on his face. "Hey, my man! How's it going?"

"I'm doing all right." Gio reached out his hand to shake Felix's but Felix pulled him in for a man hug.

Felix pulled back to face him and the smile slowly collapsed. "I heard about what happened, man . But you know what? This shit happens in boxing. They say you're really beating yourself up about it. You can't do that, G. It's not your fault and hey, it might even happen again."

"No, it won't," Gio said turning back to his locker. "Not to me anyway. Because I'm not fighting anymore."

Felix glanced back at Abel who shrugged, leaning against a row of lockers. "What do you mean you're not fighting anymore? You can't give up because of this one thing. Gio, it wasn't your fault."

"I know." Gio stuffed his bag in the locker. "But I'm done."

"Dude, so what are you gonna do now?"

"I'm gonna train. There is some real good talent coming in here lately who I think have a lot of potential. I'll focus on getting them ready."

Felix's eyes opened wide then he smiled. "Fuck that. If you're gonna train, come train with me. I need a good sparring partner and you were one of my best."

Gio stared at him for a moment not sure if he was serious. "With you?"

"Yeah, it'd be perfect. This fight is coming up in a few months so I'm headed up to Big Bear to train there. You can come with me. It's only a couple of hours from here so if you ever need to come back home for whatever you can just drive back."

Gio and Abel exchanged glances. "Are you serious?"

"Hell, yeah," Felix laughed. "This will be awesome. You'll be well compensated, too. Because even though we'll do the whole snowboarding and partying with all the snow bunnies up there, I'm putting your ass to work. This guy I'm fighting is supposed to be the best thing outta the Philippines since Pacquiao. I got my work cut out for me."

"Yeah, you do," Abel agreed then turned to Gio. "Some time away might do you some good, too. Who knows? Sparring with Felix might get you itching to get back in the ring."

Gio wasn't sure about that but he was right about one thing. The time away would probably do him some good. "When are you headed up?"

Felix smiled. "Next week. I'll be up there for two months straight. 'Course there's gonna be times I'll have to leave. Since I'll be in California, my agents lined up some stuff for me to promote the fight. Television appearances, morning radio shows, shit like that, but I'll only be gone for two, maybe three days tops when I do that stuff. You can stay up there and ski or go snowboarding while I'm gone." He winked with a smirk. "I'll make sure you have company."

Gio chuckled, knowing exactly what he meant. "Speaking of, who's this chick with you today? Anyone I should know about before I make an ass of myself like I did last time?"

"Nah, she's a jazz singer but she's small potatoes. I met her in Vegas after one of my fights. She does have her own show out there but nothing you'd know about."

"So, she your new chick? " Abel asked.

Felix laughed. "C'mon brother, you know me. Life's too short to settle on just one chick. Although there is one who seriously has me considering it."

"No way," Gio said, closing his locker. He'd heard rumors about Felix and a girl from Big Bear but just like all the other rumors he'd heard about Felix, Gio hadn't thought anything of it.

"Hey," Felix said, lifting his hands in front of him. "Stranger things have happened. So what do you say? You in?"

"I'll give it some thought and let you know in a couple of days. I gotta talk to Jack, too. This is my first day back and already I gotta tell him I may be leaving for two months."

"I doubt he'll have a problem with it," Abel said "He'll probably agree you could use the time away."

Gio frowned. "Still, I gotta run it past him first."

Gio had to admit the more he thought about it, the more he agreed with Abel that getting away might do him some good.

As it turned out not only was Abel right about Jack agreeing that Gio could use the time away, he insisted Gio did. That evening Jack took Gio aside. "I'm getting old. Too old to be managing this place. The busier it gets; the harder it gets for me."

"That's what me and the guys are here for. You know you can count on us for anything."

"Oh, I know that," Jack said coming around to sit at his old desk. "I already have Hector doing the bills and payroll for me."

"Hector?" Gio asked, confused. The kid was still in high school.

"Yeah, that boy is smart as a whip. I showed him the other day how I do all the back end stuff around here and within minutes he had it all going on the computer-said I could do it all faster and more effic