CHAPTER II – THE ROAD BACK

CHAPTER II – THE ROAD BACK

Posted on November 12, 2021 at 3:04 pm by David Noble

September 1, 2021
The Journey to HOW

As David sat outside of the Indigo Light, he tried to fish out the memories that hung around the periphery of his mind of visiting this establishment the evening before. He was certain that he did, judging from the simple fact that it was the only bar in town, but everything about the previous night was a blur or simply non-existent in his mind. Noble sat on his motorcycle, having placed the helmet on the handlebar, and looked out at it. He sat there for a moment, the warm sun baking him as he idled in the middle of a nearly vacant parking lot. 

Sitting there, David took a moment to take a snapshot of his life and how it’d led to this moment. The events with Samantha, the fury that continued to build in his chest the months afterward, and having to leave the wrestling business for… any kind of relief he could possibly find. He remembered two evenings ago having fought in a cage in the middle of a bar about two hours south of here. That had become David’s life, fighting in random parking lots or bars for a quick buck, but more importantly, to fill a massive void in his life.

David sighed as he sat there and recoiled when a soft hand landed on his right shoulder.

“Came back for a second evening?” a young, lightly tanned woman asked him. David could only surmise this person might be a bartender, but even that was suspect. He looked at the woman with her dark brown hair that landed below her shoulders, hazelnut eyes that were large and seductive, and a slender frame that David wanted to explore further. 

“Possibly,” he muttered. 

“I didn’t think you would be back up on your feet so soon after last night. Some of the girls thought you might have ended up dead. No one knew where you went last night,” she continued and David slowly shook his head.

“Nothing is ringing a bell, unfortunately,” he responds.

“Not a surprise,” she chuckled, her voice lightly going up an octave or two. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone put as many drinks down in such a short period as you did last night. Drank us dry of bourbon.”

Noble nodded, finally confirming this woman worked at the bar. “That does sound like me. Sorry about that.”

“Oh no, no need to apologize. Best tip I’ve ever received of my life,” she smiled mischievously before she realized what she said. “Oh, sorry, I just heard what I said. Moneywise, not anything else,” she laughed, waving at the lower half of David. 

“Well, at least I took good care of you then, monetarily,” he laughed as he spoke. A moment passed between them. “You got more bourbon?”

The girl nodded her head, the locks bouncing off of her shoulders and resting perfectly against her black spaghetti-strapped shirt. She extended her hand and David took it, feeling the silk-smooth skin of this attractive woman. He hopped off his motorcycle and followed her inside the bar like a puppy dog happy to find his owner. He opened the door for her and she slipped inside before David followed behind her. She immediately walked around the corner of the bar and put her nondescript black clutch purse next to the register before saying hi to another bartender and grabbing a glass from a shelf.

David looked around at the basically empty establishment and took a seat on a wooden stool at the end of the bar. Before too long passed, a glass was put before him with a dark brown substance meant for him. He looked over at the girl and slightly nodded his head. “Thanks.”

She simply smiled back and walked around the corner while David placed his left hand around the room-temperature glass before he lifted it, put the lip of the glass against his cracked lips, and took a long sip. The contents hit like razor blades before it slid down his throat and he felt his stomach becoming familiarly warm. His eyes closed as he sat there, feeling everything settle into place and a slight buzz takes over, a welcome respite from the agony that sat in his soul each second. 

The second bartender simply smiled at David as he sat there, his eyes looking down and his arms resting against the lacquered-covered bar top. Behind him were tables and a stage lingered in the back of the establishment with a stool and microphone on it. With it being slightly after noon, the bar was still pretty empty for a Tuesday afternoon, but David liked it better this way. He didn’t want people to talk to him, to ask him questions, to recognize him by some chance.

As he sat there, he lifted the glass back to his lips and let the remaining contents slide down his throat until he felt the emptiness that the cup offered like a fuck you.

As he returned the glass to the counter, the bartender he met outside came back and looked at the now-empty glass.

“So, this is going to be a repeat of last night?” she inquired and David shrugged his shoulders.

“Depends, how bad was I last night?” he asked.

“Well, I’ve seen far too many people put away as much alcohol as you did and yet you were by far the nicest and kindest of all of them in that inebriated state. Some of our regulars tried to work you into a fight, but you seemed unwilling to engage, which was surprising.”

David let his eyes drop back to his empty glass.

“That happens from time to time,” he muttered.

“Do you normally refuse or do you rise to the bait?” she asked as she grabbed the glass and found the bottle that David seemed to prefer the previous night, replenishing it before setting it back before David.

“Well, let’s just say that what you witnessed last night, if I didn’t decide to fight, is a rarity in my life so I would consider that abnormal.”

The laugh from the bartender returned and it didn’t grate on David, so he considered that an improvement on his usual scorecard of reasons he would normally be annoyed with people. 

“Then I will make sure I monitor your intake tonight so we don’t get to see the usual version of yourself.”

A sly smile appeared on David’s face as he took a sip of the bourbon and relished the feeling of it against his lips. 

The bartender reached under the bar and produced a cloth towel and wiped down the area around him.

“Some of the guys,” she began hesitantly. “They said you were a wrestler or a fighter?”

David took a moment to let that sink in, to mentally note that he’d been recognized and knew he had to get out of town that evening for fear of it becoming a mess. When people found out that he was a wrestler, they wanted to fight, and more times than not, he’d let himself trade punches with the people who would simply be known as assholes; people who were eager to piss off the man who fought for a living, certain that it was all fake. Those people would then be left laid out on the sidewalk, a reminder to everyone to not fuck with him. Except that would just piss more people off and he would have to find his next respite from the hell he lived with every single day.

“Once upon a time,” David eventually responded. 

“What happened?” she asked him, and he knew that question was coming the moment she mentioned him being a wrestler.

“That is a story I don’t normally tell people,” he responded, his eyes fixated upon his glass and consumed the contents of the glass for a second time, though this time was significantly faster than his first glass.

He began to crack the door open to the story for the first time in quite some time.

February 18, 2007
The Journey to Destruction

David woke up and looked across the room to see a pair of blue eyes staring back at him with a smile plastered across the face of the cute girl that was hanging onto the bars of her crib in the master bedroom of the palatial home David bought. To say that his life was perfect would be an understatement. He felt happiness had been granted to him after a lifetime of being unhappy; he told himself all of those days were simply to help him be ready for life with his little girl, with his fiancee. 

He slowly sat up in the bed, feeling the strain of his body after another year of being on the road, performing for thousands, and the year of putting his body through hell to make the most for his family. Even with all of the aches and pains that he felt across his shoulders, back, arms, abdomen, and legs, he wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. He found somewhere he belonged and that life had blessed him with the life he had at home. There were no holes in his life that would need to be fixed because he’d been given everything he needed and more.

David stood up and felt every single one of his muscles stretch with him and awaken violently. Noble ignored all of it, knowing he would need to apply ice later on, but for right now, he wanted to see his little girl and hold her. As he walked across the room, he saw the smile widen on her chunky face and David wasted no time scooping her up and wrapping his arms around her. She cooed as she nestled into his bare chest. Over the year, so many people had told him the bond between Lorelai and him was special, that she was truly Daddy’s Little Girl. It made him smile every single time, helping him get through the days when the pain could be unbearable from the job that provided for them.

“Morning, princess,” he whispered to her. “I can’t believe you are a year old today.” None of it made any sense to Lorelai, who simply wanted to cuddle with her daddy. He walked back to his bed and laid down with her as she found a nook in his arm and laid there, her eyes looking up at her father as he felt his entire body relax with her presence and touch. 

Within moments, the two of them drifted to sleep.

A few hours later, David was awoken abruptly by the sound of crying and a door slamming shut. Immediately he sat up and was startled when he saw across the room was Samantha, who stood in the frame of the door to the master bedroom with her blonde hair tied up in a ponytail, wearing a pair of blue jeans and a cream-colored sweater. Her eyes were narrowed as she looked at David with an intensity that he’d never seen from her before. 

“Where’s Lorelai?” David asked, looking around the room hurriedly.

“She’s gone, David.” Samantha’s tone was chilling as the words flew out of her mouth. Without warning, David stood up and walked over to Samantha.

“What do you mean she’s gone?”

Samantha took a step back. “It’s time you know the truth.” She then removed the ring, her engagement ring, from her finger and placed it in her pocket. “All of this, a ruse. You were an easy mark. My boyfriend and I knew we could trick you, get money from you, and leave you high and dry. Then I got pregnant and we decided to see how far we could take it.”

David shook his head. “What the fuck are you talking about?” Samantha rolled her eyes.

“Never that bright, were you David? Actually, your real problem is that no one loves you so the first time someone actually showed an interest in you, you couldn’t help yourself. Then Lorelai came into the picture and you latched onto this instant-family life far faster than I could’ve imagined it.’

David took a step back, blow after blow landing from Samantha’s words, as he simply tried to process what was happening, why it was happening.

“You were played David, from the very jump. The entire time I’ve been with you, I’ve been with my boyfriend, and I can’t begin to tell you how much of a laugh we’ve had at your expense. As you paid for everything, including his debts. As you fell deeper in love with someone who could never love you. As you become the father of someone who isn’t even your child.”

The words washed over David and he snapped as he moved quickly towards Samantha, fury racing through his veins. Samantha quickly though pushed her body into David.

“What are you going to do, hit me? You don’t have it in you for starters and if you do, then I become the fiancee you hit, the mother of your child that you hit. Everything will fall apart for you just like that,” she says as she snaps her fingers at the last word. David seethed as he stood mere inches from Samantha, knowing it all to be true, and nearly deciding it would all be worth it.

“You bitch,” he roared softly. 

“Damn straight. Because you’re going to start paying child support on top of it.” Noble then opened his mouth to respond, but Samantha quickly shut her off. “Oh, I know you can’t risk the reputation hit you would take if it came out that you were played. Big wrestling star, played like a fucking fiddle. Fed lies for nearly two years to support a woman while he was cucked, raising a child that isn’t even his. I know how it’s going to play out in the news, in the dirt sheets, and with the boys in the back. Lindsay Troy won’t be able to stop laughing at you every time you turn the corner.” 

David stood there, flabbergasted. Slowly, reality began to set over him as he backed up and felt the door against his back. Rage was being held back by the thinnest of walls, but he also knew he was about to lose more than money or life.

He was about to lose his daughter. Or the child he thought was his baby.

“Lorelai—“ was all he managed to get out as he felt the tears welling up in his eyes.

“Never going to see her again. Don’t worry though, your money will keep her living the life she would always live. You have two choices. Keep the joint account and put your money in there, or I can go to court. Your choice. Can’t imagine you want the knock that comes with that either.”

Noble just stood there, floored, as Samantha smiled, turned around, and walked out the door to the house. Noble dropped to his knees, not able to process every feeling that came over him in mere seconds.

As he curled up into the fetal position, he just felt everything inside of him break into a million little pieces, as he could only think about her.

Lorelai

November 11, 2021
The Journey to Redemption

David dropped his black leather bag on his bed inside of the Dakota Glasgow hotel. Four more days of training in Aberdeen and then a quick flight to Glasgow had been basically everything that had encapsulated David’s mind.

Basically

He stood there, his head dropped a bit, as he felt the soreness over virtually every inch of his body. Roberts had shown him how far David still had to go to get back to ring shape. The rust was evident in his match and while his training had gone well to this point, his body could’ve never been ready for the beating that would come in the ring, Roberts or anyone else.

To say David was exhausted would be an understatement as he sat on the edge of his bed, playing the last week over and over again in his mind. The news that Samantha had passed away had rocked him hard. It took everything in his body to not abandon his training that day, to just find a bar somewhere, and let him do the second thing he does best; drink. 

Still, he was on the road he wanted to be on and that’s what mattered right now, but there were still many things he needed to take care of, and not nearly enough time to give each of them the due diligence required. Noble knew he was at the risk of spreading himself so thin, but he didn’t know another way. He just knew he had to push forward.

David stood up and caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He walked over and took a long hard look, seeing the fraying edges of himself, but knowing he had to put it back together in time for his next match against Kevin Capone. He refused to go down two matches in his comeback, wouldn’t happen. So instead of letting the misery pile up in his mind, he stepped out of his room into the living room in the three-bedroom suite he’d rented. 

As he stepped out, he saw sitting in a black chair his trainer, Joey. Joey sat there in a stained white undershirt and a pair of boxers. David shook his head as he was certain he was paying Joey money but wasn’t sure where any of it went. As he stood there, Joey had a keen sense of knowing when he was being watched.

‘Fuck you want?” Joey asked in this low twang that caused David to crack a smile.

“What you doin’?” David inquired as he walked over and saw Joey looking at a pile of papers that he’d spread out on the coffee table. 

“Looking into your next opponent, Kevin Capone. Maybe related to Al, who knows? Anyways, you know, doing the shit you should be doing,” Joey relayed before he grabbed a glass filled with an unknown substance and took a sip from it.

“That’s why I pay you to do it. Just tell me what I need to do and I can do it,” David responded as he made his way into the kitchen and opened the fridge to find a nice ice-cold bottle of water. He ripped the lid off and started to take a drink from it.

“Did you a load of good in your last match,” Joey retorted.

“Yeah, that one was a message from management. Keep mouthing off and we’ll keep putting you in there until he kills you. That’s fine. It took me a minute to get my legs back under me.”

Joey chuckled. “Fuck yeah it did. Seen virgins look more aware than you did out there.”

“Fuck off,” David responded before he took another drink from the water bottle. “What’s the word on him? We got some tape.”

Joey nodded. “Yeah, you can watch it tomorrow. You just gotta be ready for him to do anything he can to get you in a submission. Kid is a technician and he’s gonna want to lock one in soon. You’re going to have to keep moving and keep the pressure on him. Stay loose, keep your wits about you.”

“Yeah, yeah,” David spat back. “Look, Roberts is a different beast. Next time I’m in the ring with him, it won’t be like it was and he knows that. This time though, Capone is firmly in my sights. I need to hit him, hard, and keep the pressure up. Blitz him so he is off guard.”

“Much like you were,” Joey fired off another insult. “Just keep your wits about you kid. You’re not the fresh one anymore, you’ve gotta dig deep until your sea legs come back to you, hear me?”

David nodded as he stood in the kitchen, looking out at the dreary night. He took a deep breath in and sighed.

“She arrive?” David asked Joey and Joey simply nodded. David thought about just heading back to his room and calling it a night, but Joey had other thoughts.

“Stop avoiding. Go talk to her, figure your shit out, and move forward. You think your head’s fucked up? Hers is far worse.”

David didn’t say anything else, instead leaving the opened water bottle on the stone counter and making his way over to the third bedroom in the suite, knocking on it lightly, and then opening it.

As he stepped inside, he saw a red-headed female sitting in a chair, looking out the window, her legs against her chest, and her arms wrapped around them as she seemed lost in thought. David noticed a pair of earbuds in her ear and debated just letting her be, but as he looked at her, the softer side of himself took over. He walked over to and tapped her on the shoulder, before sitting on the edge of the bed.

She spun around and her eyes, which were glazed over, immediately softened at the sight of David.

“Hi,” she said softly as David took in her face, her blue eyes, the soft lines on her face, the thin lines of her lips. 

“Hey, Lorelai,” he whispered as he grabbed her hand and felt the tension in her hand as she looked back out the window and the tears fell freely down her cheeks.

To Be Continued