Now

Now

Posted on April 29, 2024 at 6:19 pm by Drew Mitchell

The Best Arena – Chicago, Illinois – Friday April 26th
Deafening cheers hailed the final bell following Michael Lee Best’s latest successful HOW Title defense- this one over Silent Witness.

As she’d promised the week before to Drew Mitchell, his golf prodigy friend Brinsley Decker watched atop the stands, her piercing gaze swept across the spectacle below. Amidst the sea of frenzied fans, Brinsley stood radiant, commanding attention with each graceful movement as she maneuvered her way through the dissipating crowd out of the Best Arena.

She walked around to the rear door where the wrestlers exited the building. Her eyes landed on Drew emerging with Sunny O’Callahan. The valet’s frizzy blonde hair bounced as they engaged in light conversation. But what caught her attention was the bandage on Drew’s face, a visible reminder of the brutal match he’d won earlier to retain the LSD title. Sunny’s laughter pierced through the night air.

Drew’s eyes lit up at the sight of Brinsley approaching.

“Brinsley!”

He couldn’t help but admire how stunning she looked. Her low-cut top hugged her athletic frame, accentuating her muscles and curves with ease. Her mini-skirt swirled around toned legs, revealing their strength and agility with each step, her strappy stilettos clicking confidently against the pavement. The boldness of her attire seemed more fitting for a high-end nightclub than a golf course.

“You look absolutely smashing this evening,” he stammered, voice full of genuine admiration.

Brinsley blushed. “Thank you.  You were fantastic tonight. Congratulations.”

“Oi, thanks love,” Drew responded.

Sunny observed their intense gazes and knew they were lost in each other’s presence. With a playful grin she said, “You two kids have a good night,” and excused herself with a knowing smile and a sly twinkle in her eye. “And try not to have too much fun.”

As Sunny walked away, Brinsley turned to Drew, her nerves hidden under a layer of confidence she tried to project. “I want to take you somewhere,” she declared boldly, the suggestion hanging between them like a challenge begging to be accepted.

The Sears Tower- Downtown Chicago
The metallic hum of the elevator ascending Sears Tower provided a tense soundtrack for their journey upward. Drew’s knuckles turned white as he gripped the railing inside the glass box, shooting upwards towards the sky. Brinsley, exuding poise and confidence despite her towering heels, watched him with a mix of concern and amusement.

“This is one of my favorite spots in Chicago,” she explained as they rode the elevator up to the Chicago 360 observation deck and CloudBar atop the Sears Tower, 1,000 feet above the Magnificent Mile.

“Have you ever been this high before?” she asked playfully, attempting to ease his clear discomfort.

“Oi, only when I’m tossing some poor chap off the turnbuckle,” Drew quipped, trying to cover his nerves with humor. “Or smashed.”

The doors opened to reveal the Chicago 360 observation deck, and Drew’s breath caught in his throat. The city sprawled below them, lights glittering like an inverted sea of stars. But it was the ‘Tilt’ that captured his attention – a mechanical device promising to swing them over the edge, suspended precariously above the city.

Brinsley sensed Drew’s hesitation as she stepped inside.  “Come on,” she urged and held out her hand.  “Just take my hand.”

He reached out and his large hand closed around her slender fingers. Together, they entered the ‘Tilt’.

As they tilted forward, the machine humming beneath them, the ground fell away and all that remained was glass and air between them and the distant streets below.

“Look at that view, Drew!” Brinsley exclaimed with wonder while at the same time feeling Drew’s grip on her hand tightening.

Drew’s heart raced as adrenaline surged through his body- similar to the rush he often felt when stepping into the ring.  He couldn’t help but admire not only the breathtaking sight of Chicago, but also the woman beside him. Their hands stayed clasped as the ride finished.

The Spy Bar- Downtown Chicago
Stepping through the threshold of Spybar- a basement dance club where DJs spin electronic, techno & house music on the North end of downtown- Drew’s senses were instantly accosted by a deluge of stimuli. The neon lights carved through the darkness, casting an otherworldly glow that transformed the club into a subterranean kaleidoscope. Beams of crimson and azure cut sharp angles across the faces of the revelers, while emerald spirals danced over entwined bodies. It was as if they had plunged into the colorful chaos of a wrestler’s grand entrance—each patron a character in their own right, fighting to stand out or blend in.

“Quite the bash, yeah?” Drew bellowed, grappling with the volume of the music that reverberated through the club’s foundations. It was akin to the rumble of a crowd before the bell rings, a signal that the fight was about to commence.

“Yeah,” Brinsley hollered back, her voice cutting through the din like a sharpshooter’s call. The smile that stretched across her lips was victorious. She pivoted on the spot, her mini-skirt catching the strobe lights, blooming like a firework in the night sky. The energy of the club seemed to surge through her.

A nod to the bartender and Brinsley suddenly had a glass filled with a drink that seemed to capture the essence of the club’s pulsating neon—a visual symphony of color swirling within. She brought the glass to her lips, the liquid’s hues painting her smile in strobe-lit brilliance. As she tilted her head back, savoring the sweet burst of flavors, Drew couldn’t help but marvel at the transformation before him. The disciplined golfer who’d spent countless hours mastering her swing, whose eyes could dissect angles and wind speed without a second thought, was now swaying with the rhythm of the night, her usual reserve shed like an old skin.

Drew, ever the mischievous provocateur, leaned closer, muscles tensed like a wrestler on the ropes awaiting the bell. “What the bloody hell happened to ya, Brinsley Decker?” he teased, his British accent thick despite the clamor. “The one who gave me a right bollocking for not keeping my head in the game and gaveme a proper dressing-down for losing focus?”

Her blue eyes caught his, sparkling with the same fervor she brought to the greens. The club throbbed with bass as she leaned in, her voice a competitor against the sonic boom of the speakers. “Every four months or so, I allow myself to take a few days to get away from golf and breathe,” she shouted, her declaration grappling for space in the auditory battle of the club. She edged in closer, her breath warm and quick like the aftermath of a bout, mingling with the charged air of the dance floor. Her words locked in a clinch with the clamor around them. “Sometimes I go on a nice vacation to get away and clear my head.  The last two springs, I went on Spring Break to Florida with Miranda for Spring Break and let me tell you, it was wild,” Brinsley boasted with a sly grin on her lips. “Casting all restraint aside, shedding my skin of discipline and throwing caution to the wind, drinking, guys, dancing to all hours, diving headfirst into the chaotic world of beach parties and reckless celebrations.  Obviously, I didn’t go this year because this weekend was my 21st birthday.”

“Blimey, never pegged you for the type to dive into the madness of spring break,” Drew said, playfully nudging her shoulder.

Drew pictured Brinsley, the determined golfer who always had a plan for everything, throwing caution to the wind.  He considered that while watching her dance with a freedom that defied her controlled swings on the course, her long brunette hair whipping through the air like a lasso.

Yet here she was, a vision of vitality and spontaneity, her usually poised demeanor replaced by something far more raw and captivating.

A little while later, Drew and Brinsley left the club and headed back out to the street… the energy that had vibrated through Spybar’s walls tapered off like the final echo of a ring bell.

“It’s getting late.  Shall we snag a taxi?” Brinsley said, her voice slicing through the calm.

Her suggestion was met with the sudden appearance of a cab, its yellow form cleaving the darkness, headlights like spotlights on the entrance ramp.

They ducked into the backseat, and as they settled into the ride, Drew could feel the space between them charged with an energy different from the thrum of the club. The city outside painted streaks of light across their faces, neon signs and streetlights becoming a blur—a softened reality where focus shifted inward.

“Where to?” The cabbie’s inquiry was idle, routine.

Drew turned to Brinsley.  “I guess you’ll need to go back to Miranda’s place?”

The blue of her eyes locked onto his: clear, intense, and unyielding. It was the gaze of someone accustomed to calculating distances to the green, only now her target was much closer. “I told Miranda I wouldn’t be coming back to her place tonight,” she murmured, her tone steady yet inviting.

“Oi,” he exhaled, the syllable a reflex from his British roots. Surprise flared within him, swiftly chased by a burgeoning excitement.

Brinsley leaned in, her breath brushing against his skin, warm and soft.  Drew’s heart rate kicked up a notch, adrenaline spiking the moment their lips met and he felt an electric shockwave surge through his veins, igniting every nerve ending with a fiery intensity that eclipsed the blinding spotlights of the wrestling ring.

Drew’s pulse thundered in his ears like the beat of entrance music as he surged into the kiss. His hands traced the contours of Brinsley’s back with an urgency.

Brinsley, for her part, reciprocated with equal vigor, her arms wrapping around his neck. She matched him move for move, their kiss deepening, each one staking their ground in this silent war of wills as the taxi driver waited.

Finally, Drew and Brinsley came up for air long enough for Drew to inform the driver of their destination.

“DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Chicago – Magnificent Mile.”

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel – Downtown Chicago
Brinsley emerged from the bathroom adorning Drew’s button-down shirt. The fabric hung loose on her frame, tantalizingly unbuttoned down to her navel, revealing a landscape of toned skin that spoke of discipline and raw strength. Drew stood rooted to the spot, stunned into silence by her arresting beauty.

“Blimey,” he murmured under his breath, his British accent thick with awe.

Brinsley crossed the room with the confidence of someone accustomed to walking down fairways, her blue eyes locked onto Drew’s. Her gaze held the same focus she used to line up a putt, but tonight it was aimed at him. Without warning, she crashed into him like a finishing move, her lips finding his with a passion that lit a fire in his chest.

Drew’s hands moved with surprising gentleness as they tangled in her long brunette hair. Reacting instinctively, Drew swept her up into his arms with the ease and precision of a seasoned wrestler executing a perfect scoop slam. But instead of landing on a hard canvas, they fell onto the plush mattress of the bed. Brinsley clung to him, her lips leaving a trail of fire along his neck.

“Brinsley, are you sure about this?” His voice was edged with concern, aware of the weight and significance of the moment.

Brinsley looked up at him, determination shining in her eyes as her hands slowly undid the remaining buttons on the shirt she was wearing.

“What do you think?”

And in that moment, Drew knew this wasn’t just another conquest, not just another meaningless one-night fling or fleeting encounter. This was something more, something real. As real as the sweat and blood he spilled in the ring, as genuine as the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. This was life beyond the mat.

And for the first time in his life, he was ready to take the plunge.

The Gym – St. Louis, Missouri
Drew heaved open the heavy gym doors first thing Monday morning, his muscles already tensed in anticipation of the familiar sights and sounds that awaited him. The clang of weights echoed off the walls, mingling with the sharp smell of disinfectant and the pungent scent of sweat. As he stepped inside, the stale air enveloped him in a comforting embrace, reminding him of all the early morning workouts he had endured in this very place.

Drew’s gaze roamed over the rows of treadmills, weight benches, and exercise machines, until it was interrupted by an anomaly on the wall where a clock should have been. Instead, there was a piece of cardboard haphazardly taped over its face with one word scrawled on it in bold letters…

NOW.

“Oi, Sunny!” Drew called out to her across the gym floor, his British accent cutting through the muted grunts and thuds of exerting bodies. “What’s this about?”

Sunny, her frizzy blonde curls bouncing with each step, made her way over to him with a saunter that exuded both confidence and mischief. “What’s what about?” she asked innocently, batting her long eyelashes at him.

Drew knew better than to be fooled by that facade. Sunny always had something up her sleeve. He gestured towards the makeshift clock on the wall. “That,” he said pointedly.

Sunny grinned mischievously. “I’m just trying to remind you to live in the present, Drew. What time is it?  The time is now. Time’s an illusion, kid and what you did last Friday, defending and retaining the LSD title against de Lacy and Scorpio in Chicago- it’s history. It has nothing to do with now.”

Drew’s brows knitted together, his raw energy pulsing just beneath the surface. “But I fought bloody hard for that—”

“History,” Sunny repeated firmly, pointing to the clock on the wall. “It’s done. You need to live in the now, because what you do today in the now shapes what happens tomorrow. Understand?  It’s like you and Brinsley this weekend.  I know you two had a great weekend together.  But it’s done. Brinsley has to get ready for a big golf tournament next week. You need to get your head into training today for a big match on Friday night. You have to live in the now.”

Grudgingly, Drew nodded, his mind wrestling with the concept.

“Good.”  Sunny clapped her hands. “Now, let’s get to work.”

***

As the morning went forward and the sun rose higher into the sky, Drew’s body was drenched in sweat as he pushed through his grueling morning routine, in-ring drills followed by a weightlifting session, Drew then returned to the wrestling ring and practiced running the ropes before he collapsed onto the cold metal bench, his body trembling with exhaustion. He had just completed another grueling round of training with Sunny and she stood nearby, her piercing gaze never leaving him as she evaluated his performance.

He ran a hand through his damp chestnut hair, breathing heavily, and reaching out for a nearby towel.

“Take a minute to catch your breath,” she said softly. “And then let’s talk about this Friday night.”

Drew nodded, grateful for the brief reprieve before their conversation turned towards his upcoming match. The weight of the challenge ahead hung heavy over him.

“Let’s talk about your opponents.  You and Noah Hanson are wrestling Michael Lee Best Friday and Teddy Palmer on Friday night,” Sunny began, listing off her opponent’s impressive credentials. “Michael Lee Best has won twelve High Octane Wrestling World titles… seven ICON titles… four LSD titles.  Teddy Palmer won the LSD title a couple of years ago.  All that glory is now history. Dust in the wind. It has nothing to do with now.”

Drew straightened up, wiping his face with the towel as he processed her words. He knew his own record well enough – three wins and three losses last year… three wins and one loss since the year started. The LSD title win was still fresh in his mind, but even that felt distant now under Sunny’s unwavering scrutiny.

“This Friday night isn’t about their past,” Sunny continued, stepping closer to Drew so that they were almost nose-to-nose. “This Friday night will be about you standing toe-to-toe with HOW’s greatest – Michael Lee Best – and proving to yourself and the world where you fit into this picture right now. We’re going to find out just what you’re doing right. We’re going to pinpoint what needs work.  Drew, don’t get lost in what’s behind you in past and don’t get caught up in what’s coming up in the future. Focus on right now and right now mean getting ready for the moment you step into the ring with Michael Lee Best and Teddy Palmer. Live in the now, do the work you need to do in the now, and you just might surprise yourself and everyone else on Friday night.”

Drew met her gaze, nodding slowly.

“In the now, in the gym… this gritty, sweat-soaked space where the air is heavy and musty and filled with the scent of damp towels and old rubber from the mats. Ris up.  Cast your shadow, work your muscles, work with intensity… there’s no time for rest or for celebration.  Yes, you defeated Charles de Lacy and Hugo Scorpio last Friday night.  That was then… this is now.  What you do now makes it possible for you to potentially make your mark on Friday so you can show the world… and yourself… just who Drew Mitchell really is.”

Drew rose from his spot on the floor, his towering frame casting a long shadow in the dimming light of day. Beads of sweat glistened on his chiseled muscles, evidence of the intense workout he had just completed. But there was no time for rest or celebration.

Drew rose from his spot on the floor, his towering frame casting a long shadow in the dimming light of day. Beads of sweat glistened on his chiseled muscles, evidence of the intense workout he had just completed. But there was no time for rest or celebration. Not for Drew. No clock counted down the minutes until showtime, no past victories or accolades gave him a safety net. There was only the present moment, with all its uncertainty and possibility. There was only the…

Now.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel – Downtown Chicago – Saturday morning April 27th
Morning light filtered through the sheer curtains, casting a warm glow on the tangled mess of sheets that cocooned Brinsley. She stirred, her arms stretching out as she blinked away the remnants of sleep from her blue eyes. Her long brunette hair was a wild cascade around her pillow, and she couldn’t help but feel exposed with so much skin peeking through the twisted linen.

“Morning,” she murmured, voice gravelly.

“Morning,” came Drew’s reply, tinged with his British accent. She turned her head to see him perched on the edge of the bed, an intense gaze fixed upon her.

Brinsley asked, noting the unusual stillness in the six-foot-one wrestler, who usually exuded raw energy like he was perpetually ready to bound into the ring.

“Is something wrong?”

“Wrong? Nonsense.” Drew shook his head, the corner of his mouth lifting in a half-smile. “You’re simply exquisite… you’re just… you’re the most stunningly beautiful woman I’ve ever been with.”

The compliment caught her off guard… Drew praising her morning disarray? She felt a blush rise to her cheeks.

“Here,” Drew said, extending a piece of paper toward her… a drawing… a sketch of Brinsley lying asleep with the bedsheets draped artistically over her chest and hips, leaving much to the imagination yet capturing every curve.

Brinsley’s eyes widened. “You drew this?”

“Aye,” Drew confirmed, his fingers running along the rough edges of the paper. His artwork wasn’t polished by any stretch of the imagination, but there was an undeniable talent behind the lines that traced the contours of her body.

“I don’t look that good,” she protested, her competitive nature and strict discipline making it hard to accept such raw admiration without questioning it.

“Trust me, you do lass.” Drew’s disagreement was firm, his gaze not wavering from hers.

At that moment, with the vulnerability of his hand-drawn gift laid bare between them, Brinsley saw something more than the rowdy, untamed rookie Sunny O’Callahan had taken under his wing several months ago- she saw a glimpse of the genuine admiration and tenderness that Drew seldom showed.

“Thank you,” she whispered, profoundly touched by Drew’s gesture, tossing her long brunette hair over her shoulder.  “What are your plans for today?” Brinsley stretched like a lazy cat.

“I’ve got until 11 in the morning to check out, mate. Then it’s back to St. Louis with Sunny,” Drew replied, the bed creaking ever so slightly as he sat upright. “You?”

“I’m staying in Chicago for one more night.  Then I’m coming home tomorrow because I’ve got an LPGA Open qualifier on May 8th in St. Louis that I need to get ready for.  But…” With a mischievous twinkle in her eye, Brinsley in one fluid motion reached out and pulled Drew down onto the soft mattress. “…it’s only eight in the morning…”

Drew offered no resistance as Brinsley rolled on top and straddled him, the sheet slipping from her body to reveal the sculpted lines of her bare back, her legs below the knees sticking out from the covers along with her feet. Her wild mane framed their encounter, disheveled from earlier skirmishes, adding to the raw allure that Drew found irresistible. Her lips crashed down upon his, delivering a fervor that would’ve knocked the wind out of any lesser man.

She drew back only slightly, enough to murmur, “We’ve got plenty of time,” her voice a low hum.