"The hard way or the easy way?"
Angela paled, but didn't hesitate. "Hard. I want to be able to kick his ass anytime I feel like it."
Adrian didn't doubt who she was talking about. All of this mess was Kenn’s fault. Steeling his heart, he stepped back, eyes unreadable. "I challenge you."
Angela immediately swung a roundhouse, sure he wasn't ready for it, and the blond staggered back at the blow… then returned the favor.
It was only a light sting on her cheek, but shocked sounds echoed from the dim cracks around them. Adrian had hit a woman!
Angela wasn't shocked; she knew what she'd asked for, and she leaned into her next swing, telling him she could take more.
Adrian let her hit land and then delivered another slap, this one a bit harder.
She swayed, caught her balance, fired back.
Angela's hits became steadily harder, and each slap he delivered was received with a pinched up face and a healing heart. Before the War, she would have been on the ground already, begging not to be hit again.
Adrian's blow knocked her down and Angela felt her rage spring to life as she picked herself up, blood dripping from her lip. How many times had Kenny done that to her? A hundred? A thousand? And she'd had to sit back and take it.
Her grin was ice as she moved toward him. Not anymore. Now, she got to fight back! Her hit was full of fury, solid and well delivered, and Adrian staggered back again.
Blood dripped from his nose, but his thoughts were still calm, safe.
"Again, and mean it this time, Bitch!" he snarled, making his voice sound almost identical to Kenn's and she did just that, using the new skills she'd learned from Neil. Blood sprayed at the hit, rocking his head back.
Three of the stunned men watching through the cracks in the bales moved closer to the doorway as the tension grew thicker and the hits harder, not sure who to protect.
The insult had Angela swinging again, Adrian grunting at the impact. Neil had done his job.
"Never get away! Mine!"
Angela's fury was firmly in control and even though Adrian was no longer hitting back, she couldn't stop, shiny tears of rage rolling down her red cheeks with every swing.
"Hate you! Fuck you! Pig!"
Adrian stayed as still as he could and felt bitterness grow heavy in his heart for the Marine. Such a piece of shit Kenn had been.
Angela stopped swinging, shoulder on fire. She rested her hands on her knees, getting her wind back.
Adrian wiped his sleeve over his bloody face, waiting, not sure if it had been enough.
"I'm not... either," Angela panted.
He looked casually at his wrist. "Another five?"
She moved toward him with fire burning in her depths.