Later that afternoon, I was allowed to see Josh and rushed as fast as the guard permitted to his sealed quarters.
Unlike last time, he was in his room and when I threw myself at him he bowled over backwards onto the bed. He laughed as we hugged tightly and I found myself pecking his neck over and over again with my lips.
"Whoa!" he laughed, pulling me away. "Take it easy. You're killing me!"
"I'm sorry," I gushed. "I was just so relieved when you won. I was terrified!"
"It wasn't easy," he said.
"Did you see the fight afterwards?" I asked lowering my voice. He shook his head. "It was that other guy, the alpha one here."
I nodded hard and told him what happened. The look of distain on Josh's face needed no words.
A shadow fell on us and I turned to see a tall, muscular man in the doorway. With a light coat of body hair and large pink lips, his dark, chiselled torso was a sight beautiful enough to have been Photoshopped. I didn't think stomach muscles like that could be real but his abs could serve as a washwoman's scrubbing board. The sight of him sent an unexpected flutter through my own stomach.
"Sorry," the man said. "I'll come back."
"It's okay," Josh said. "Miguel, this is Harry, the one I was telling you about."
"Oh, hi," he said, shaking my hand.
"Miguel just arrived. His first fight is next week. Come in, Miguel. Sit."
Miguel sat sheepishly at the end of the bed and Josh squeezed in between him and I.
"I'm helping Miguel settle in," Josh said. "The first few days are pretty scary."
"Few days?!" Miguel scoffed. "You're tougher than I am. Try every day, for the rest of my life, however long that is now."
Josh patted him on the back and offered him a few words of comfort that had little effect. The man looked almost as terrified as I did when I'd first arrived despite the idea of it being completely incongruous to his size and physique.
"How often to they bring new people in?" I asked.
"Only when the numbers are down, apparently. Miguel's replaced Rona…" Josh cut himself off too late.
"Ronan? The Asian guy?!" I asked.
Josh nodded solemnly. "He lost one too many times."
It took a moment for his words to sink in.
"Oh, Jesus!" I gasped, turning white. Josh wrapped his arm around me and pulled me into him. It seemed that every time I managed to forget the horror of our situation, something happened to remind me all over again. I started shaking. Josh held me tighter then, to my surprise, Miguel came around to my other side and embraced me too.
"Between me and this man," he said, "nothing's gonna touch you, ya hear?"
His faux bravery was enough for me to pull myself together. If he could do it, so could I. I nodded and sat up, taking a deep breath.
"I'm fine," I said. "Nothing's changed. We can all do this."
"That's right," Josh smiled and patted me on the back encouragingly.
A moment later, I was whisked away by the guard and taken to a part of the complex I'd never been. The wide room was a smaller, cleaner version of the main hall. Two dozen chairs lined the edge of the room, filled with an assortment of naked middle aged men. At the far side, Jacob waited for me in all his naked glory too.
All eyes in the room followed me as I was led around the wrestling area, which this time comprised a slightly raised circular dais covered in thick blue plastic. Despite my skimpy tight shorts, I suddenly felt overdressed.
"Come!" Jacob grinned, motioning me to his side. We've been waiting for you. You're going to enjoy this."
"What is it?" I said, taking my seat beside him.
"A select few of our clients enjoy something a bit more…exclusive than the main ring," he smiled. "I cater to everyone."
"Exclusive?" My head wasn't taking it in until a side door opened, and the fighters called Colby and pretty boy Saxon walked into the room, oiled up and naked. They were a sight to behold and the murmurs of approval around the room made me spot a number of erections already.
Smiling and unhurried, they climbed onto the slippery plastic dais and took a moment to get their balance. Then slowly, they glided to each other and stopped when their chests touched. As their lips locked in a playful kiss, their hands clasped down by their sides. Their backs tensed and their smiling lips separated. The fight was on, only this time, the stakes appeared to be higher.