The thought of Josh's first fight in the arena shook me out of my reverie. I was sleeping alongside Jacob now in his bed at night. I'd become a kept man. Jacob brought me little gifts like books and a laptop to pass the endless hours I was locked in his room. He was addicted to my touch and lapped up any chance to let me worship his body; and the comfort of keeping him happy made our sex like a drug to me. I quickly began craving it, knowing deep down my safety depended on it.
Josh's first fight was scheduled only a week into our captivity but life for me was already routine. I only got to see Josh one additional time in that first week, and I suspect it was more for his sake than mine. Even so, it was a relief to see him and I passed on what little I knew about the layout and people of the place.
Having missed the other bouts lined up after Ronan's loss, I dreaded having to sit through multiple fights before seeing Josh when the day finally arrived, but being the new kid in the arena he was scheduled first, just as Perseus had been for his first fight.
"Josh!" I called out, extending a hand as though I could reach him. I saw him mouth my name back, but it was impossible to hear him over the noise. Dressed in the same skin tight shorts that I was wearing, his body glistened in the light. I couldn't tell from this distance if he was oiled up or sweating, but his good looks and physique were certainly pleasing the crowd.
The hidden announcer boomed across the speakers: "And his opponent, from the House of Main and going for his fifth straight win, put your hands together for The MAN…TRAAA!"
With his grandstanding over, Mantra stepped up to Josh and shook his hand. They exchanged a few words and I wished I could lip read. The sight of the handshake gave me hope that it would be a fair fight though. The clean cut look of Mantra strengthened that view.
Josh and Mantra backed away a few steps and prepared to fight. They circled, waiting for the other to make the first move. Mantra launched with a kicked that Josh easily deflected but Mantra expected the response and spun with his other foot, landing it in Josh's ribs.
Josh stumbled, clutching his side and Mantra dove in behind him wrapping an arm around Josh's throat and hauling him into a half nelson. Josh fell into Mantra. His pinned arm reached behind him, clasping the back of Mantra's head. He hauled forward, falling to a knee and flipping Mantra over his shoulder.
The crowd cheered as Mantra hit the ground and Josh pinned him with a knee on his face. With one arm trapped under Josh, Mantra struck out with his other, but Josh grabbed it, clasping the wrist and bending the fingers back.
On the ground, Mantra cried out with pain. He lifted his mid section off the ground and tried twisted out of the hold, but Josh held firm. I could see Mantra going red in the face. He kicked up, back flipping completely, his legs striking Josh in the head, knocking him off as Mantra ended the flip on his feet. He leapt on Josh, bowling him over backwards and landing in a sitting position on Josh's chest, pinning his arms beneath his knees.
Josh kicked out and bought a knee up into his opponent's back but Mantra steadied himself with a hand on the ground and closed his palm over Josh's mouth and nose. Even from this distance, I could see the whites of Josh's eyes as they widened with surprise. Mantra was suffocating him!
"Josh!" I cried out again and turned to look frantically at Jacob. He was sitting back in his chair, watching me, unmoved by Josh's predicament below. I turned back to the fight in time to see Josh bring his knee into Mantra's back again and this time power up with his arms as Mantra steadied himself with his free arm. It wasn't much of a movement, but it allowed Josh to free one hand, shooting it up passed his head.
Mantra immediately grabbed at it, forgetting the suffocation for a moment to pin Josh's arm above his head. Mantra leaned forward, keeping Josh's arm stretched out tight, giving it no power to push back, but his other arm freed itself from under Mantra's leg and grabbed at Mantra's elbow.
Mantra twisted his arm and suddenly had hold of Josh's other arm, forcing that down over his head too. Josh was pinned again. Before he could kick up, Mantra spun off him, landing back on top in a sitting position facing the opposite direction. Suddenly Josh's arms were locked above him, pressing into the side of his head as Mantra sat over his face. Josh's torso was exposed to Mantra's fists now as he pummelled Josh's gut with a series of blows that winded him.
Mantra placed the flat of his hand on Josh's chest and landed a sharp blow into one of his pecs. Josh convulsed and Mantra repeated the blow before swapping hands to torture Josh's other pec.
The crowd was lapping it up but cheered even louder when Josh suddenly kicked up, wrapping his legs around Mantra's head and pulling him over. Mantra somersaulted off and Josh quickly adjusted his leg lock back around Mantra's head. Mantra scrabbled for freedom but Josh reached over, grabbing both of Mantra's hands and hauling them back.
He squeezed his legs tight and pulled on Mantra's arms, stretching the muscled man to the limits. Mantra's arms bulged as he pulled against the stretch, ripping both arms free from Josh's sweaty grip and almost hauling Josh over with the effort to hold on.
Still caught in the leg log, Mantra clasped Josh's thighs and rocked sideways until he flipped both of them over. Suddenly Mantra was up on his knees and rising. Josh had no other choice but release the leg lock as his feet were lifted higher into the air. Mantra wasn't so quick to release his hold though, tightening his grip around Josh's ankles and lifting them high above his head.
Hanging upside down, Josh was once more on the receiving end of The Mantra.