The heavy metal doors of the boxing room swing open, and the low hum of white-noise chatter ceases momentarily. Light shines through as if the sun was sitting right behind the door frame, silhouetting a figure, a human figure—tall, muscular, and menacing. From the way the shorts sit seductively on the figure's hips and the done-up fake blond curls tucked behind the ears, there is no doubt about who she is. No confusion.

She walks into the room with an air of ease, past the punching bags, past the weights. Past the men who try not to stare, try not to laugh. She is taller than them, no doubt about it, and stronger, too. She is able to kick the ass of anyone who tried to get in her way and send it home to his momma, bruised and battered. Her abilities are nothing to be laughed at.

When she reaches the ring in the very center of the room, the big square of hard mat surrounded by rubber ropes, she stops to pull on a red, soft leather helmet with the name "Veronica" embroidered flamboyantly in silver thread at the nape of her thick neck. However, the helmet does not protect much, not even her head.

A man climbs into the ring from the opposite side, helmet and gloves already in place. His skin, pale in comparison to hers, shines with his sticky sweat. His hair, cropped shorter than hers, sticks to his forehead in a dark fringe. He asks her if she wants to fight.

She nods, her tongue a little tied, and nervously slips her gloves on over her too-large fingers, and tightens them around her pulsing wrist. The veins in her ebony arms are raised, like little brown rivers. With a deep breath, she heaves herself up onto the mat, into the ring, and stands across from the other man.

They acknowledge each other with their eyes, his gray ones framed with bushy eyebrows, and her mocha ones with the markered lines on the brow bone. She does not want to hurt him, she realizes. All she wants is a kiss, to feel the soft, mouth-guarded lips against hers. All she wants is affection from this beautiful boy, the one she sees every day, beating up the punching bag with all of his long-limbed strength. But he never gave her a second glance, until now.

Now he stands in front of her, loose clothing showing off his toned body, glowing pinkish porcelain even in the muted light of the room. He is smaller than her, but not by much—he could still hold her. She wishes he would.

She steps forward in an uncontrolled urge, and is instantly pummeled in the cheek. Catching herself before she hit the mat, she winds her own arm back and hits him, on the side of his head, his perfect head. But he is back this time, with a harder punch, his gray eyes narrowed, a crease forming between his eyebrows. She doubles over for a brief second knowing she has no choice; she has to hit back. That's the joy of the sport, isn't it?

A hit square in her gut has her reeling. She is tougher than that; she knows she is, and everyone else knows it, too. That is why they stop to watch.

She stumbles forward and grabs his shoulders, tears running down her big face, her waterproof makeup smearing. She wants to beg him, please stop, please stop. I love you. She is unable to get the words out of her mouth before he hits her in the groin, one powerful, illegal, and purely intentional shot.

The beautiful boy leaves her there, curled up in the center of the ring. Tears, silent, salty tears slide down her face and she is not sure how to move. She does not know how to think.

She simply knows who she is, and for that her blood stains the mat.