St Louis, MI
Regan’s stride was calculated as her red heels clicked against the stone path. Like how a lioness would stalk her prey with bared claws. Her black pantsuit hugged her tight physique, as though it was painted on, whilst she stopped at the top of the steps to take a look around the garden.
Several tiny paths were worn into the grassy floor of the garden area. Each one meandering off into various areas which were shrouded by towering oaks. Flowers, of all colors, painted a floral masterpiece around the centre stage of the garden. A grand fountain with a statuette of a bird at its centrepiece. The whole site was blessed by the sun, which smiled down from a clear robin’s-egg blue sky.
She smiled as she began her descent down the steps and towards the fountain. The moist air was filled with the whistling and chirping of birds. She’d been cooped up within the confines of the inner city for so long that the unfamiliar smell of fresh earth, flowering plants and clean summer rain was intoxicating to her. To someone accustomed to the city odours of smoke, hot asphalt and urine this place was surreal to her.
Her smile was menacing as she continued her calculated approach towards the fountain, where a man was sitting in a wheelchair with his back turned. He wasn’t alone, most of the people around the garden area had some form of physical disability.
“Hello, darling,” she sang sarcastically, as she placed her manicured hands on his shoulders and leant down to his ear. “Did you miss me?”
She gave the man a slow and lingering kiss on the cheek, moving around to the front so that he could see her and she could see him.
“Sorry it’s been so long. I’ve been so busy,” she continued, with a mocking pout of her lips.
The man didn’t move, save for his eyes. They followed her every movement, with anxiety clear within them. His head was propped up with supports in the chair, his hands strategically placed on the arms and supported by splits whilst his legs sat in stirrups. It was evident that this man was quadraplegic and a prisoner in his own body.
Regan reached into her red, leather, mulberry purse and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. She took her time slipping one out and placing it between her ruby red lips, lighting it with the flickering flame of her zippo. She blew the first drag of smoke out of the corner of her mouth with elegance, thumbing the butt of the cigarette with her polished red nail. She smiled at him, not with adoration, but as though she was enjoying his unfortunate circumstances.
A faint whistling sound was coming from a tracheostomy in his throat as he breathed in and out. Regan rolled her eyes.
“Oh, where are my manners?” she scoffed, taking a look around at her surroundings as though checking no one was watching.
She leaned down to his eye level with care, slowly placing the butt of the lit cigarette in his tracheostomy and occluding it. His lungs shook slightly, attempting to cough but lacking the muscular strength to do so effectively.
“Don’t tell anyone,” she winked, straightening herself back up.
She sat down on the edge of the marble fountain, crossing her legs elegantly as she held her cigarette at a very feminine angle
“My plan is coming together nicely,” she began, sounding more serious than her previously playful demeanor. “John has provided the funds for the project, and I have secured a facility just across town. Soon we will be opening the doors to a state of the art wrestling academy, with hand picked students paying extortionate prices to be trained by the legendary John Sektor,” she proclaimed, as though she was narrating the trailer for a Hollywood movie.
Her eyes sparkled at the thought, her passion and drive to succeed there for all to see in her crystal-blue eyes.
“He’s a tough nut to crack, though,” she continued, her eyes looking more serious and concerned as her head reappeared from the clouds. “Forming a relationship with him is not going to be easy. He clearly has a distaste for women, and has no intention of entering any kind of romantic commitment. Right now? It’s strictly business…and sex.”
Her eyes filled with pleasure as she took a deep drag of her cigarette, before standing back up and slowly walking back towards the disabled man.
“That’s right,” she said, slowly swooping around behind him and leaning down so that her lips were pressing delicately against his ear. “Amazing, dirty, hard..SEX!”
A single tear slowly trickled down the cheek of the man, whilst the rest of his face was unable to show any emotion. Regan noticed this and she swooned back around, offering him a mocking pout of sympathy.
“Awww, poor baby! Is that upsetting to hear?”
Whatever her link to this man was, she was enjoying the control she had over him and the situation, as though she was inflicting some kind of punishment that was justly deserved.
“It’s all a necessary evil. I have to be convincing. You understand, right?” she asked, though it was obvious she had no care for the man’s emotional well-being. “I need his capital to get this company off the ground. And with the resources and infrastructure I am providing for him? He will surely be World champion once again, meaning even more money!”
It was as though someone had turned up the lights in her eyes as she salivated at the thought of money.
“Then we will bleed him dry and we will take back what is ours! Everything that he has taken away from us!”
Her tone was passionate and she smiled down at the man. Her posture soon relaxed as she flicked the remains of her cigarette near her heels, rubbing into the ground with the red end of her shoe.
She then squatted down in front of him, rubbing his thighs softly and teasingly.
“I’d be lying if I said it was all business and no pleasure. Oh, the things he has to me? Ooof,” she shuddered. “You couldn’t even imagine.”
She was becoming increasingly aroused by how much she was enjoying tormenting him. Her eyes stared into his broken sole with cruel coldness.
“I guess that’s something the two of you don’t share. You and your….
Casa de Sektor
“Bon appetit!” said Matt, my nutritionist, as he slid the plate of food in front of my face.
As I sat at the breakfast bar in my kitchen I stared down at the food with a knot in my stomach. Don’t get me wrong, the breakfast he’d whipped up for me looked amazing. Smashed avocados on toasted, whole grain, bread with two poached eggs with a healthy side of kale. It looked as good as I imagined it would taste.
It was the day after the go home show. We’d headed straight back to Miami to spend the weekend at home before the trip to Missouri for boot camp. I was so beat from the match and the travelling that I hadn’t fully processed what went down during the match. Now here I was, staring down at a plate of food. All I could think about was the fact that I was now facing Clay Byrd one on one at Bottomline for my LSD championship.
“You just gonna stare at it?” asked Adam, who sat next to me with a mouthful of eggs and avocado. He was on the same diet and program as I was.
It wasn’t ideal, having the whole team living under my roof. I only had four bedrooms in my humble little villa. Still, it kept me focussed and disciplined. Soon we would all be training at the new complex being built in St Louis.
“What’s on your mind, boss?” my apprentice again probed.
“Ah,” I grumbled, picking at the food with a fork. “I’m just thinking about what Clay did to Teddy last night.”
I could see him frowning out of the corner of my eye.
“Isn’t that what you wanted? Clay to show his loyalty to the BA and rough up Teddy?” he asked, sounding genuinely confused.
“Roughed up, ya,” I replied, feeling my chest tightening. “But not completely remove him from the match. I wanted to beat Teddy again, and prove that me taking the title from him wasn’t a fluke.”
“Yeah, well I’m pissed too!” scoffed my young protégé, aggressively sawing through a slice of toast.
“The’fuck you pissed about?”
He widened his eyes and tensed his shoulders, trying to chew his food. He was a product of his good upbringing and didn’t like to talk with his mouth full.
“All those hours watching tapes? All the notes I made? All the research? What a waste of fucking time that was,” he spat, shaking his head.
I must have stared at him for a solid thirty seconds and he didn’t even notice. So I clipped him round his head with the back of my knuckles.
“OW!” he yelled, clutching the sore spot I’d just created. “What was that for?”
“Waste of time?” I asked rhetorically, raising an eyebrow. “You think that was all a waste of time?”
He looked at me as though I was the one being stupid.
“He’s not even in the fucking match!”
“Mi hijo (my boy), it doesn’t matter. How many times do I have to tell you that the devil is in the details? The important thing is that you got to experience what it really takes to learn about your opponent. Every tiny detail can be the difference between winning and losing. And preparation is key. The process is what was important for you,” I explained.
I could tell by the look in his eyes that he understood what I was teaching him. He probably felt a little stupid for reacting in the way that he did.
“Now you get to do it again. This time for Clay,” I explained, feeling the heavy sensation return to my chest.
It was at that moment that the tension faded and was replaced by excitement. I had no idea what Clay was going to bring at Bottomline, but I had a good idea. He was smart. He’d heard my warning that he would be out of his ears if he didn’t protect me in the triple threat match. So now he’s made it one on one, where no one could blame him for taking his opportunity to capture the LSD championship. In Lee’s eyes? Clay had just guaranteed that the LSD championship was staying in the Best Alliance. So that was one challenge out of the way. Now all he had to do was beat me and finally capture the title that has eluded him for months.
For me, I have to look at the positives. I never wanted to defend the championship in a triple threat match. There’s two many variables and too many situations which can arise out of my control. I would have hated to have lost the title because I couldn’t stop one of them pinning the other. But Clay had solved that problem in his own way. Sure, I wanted it to be me and Teddy one on one, but that’s not possible now. Instead I have Clay one on one, and an opportunity to prove my superiority in the Best Alliance.
“Something wrong with the food, Sek?” Matt asked, noticing that I hadn’t even tasted the breakfast he’d prepared.
Adam gestured that he thought it was delicious.
“My appetite eludes me,” I eventually said, giving him a shrug.
“Well you best find it, chief,” he continued, rather authoritatively. “You got a lot of eating to do over the next couple of weeks.”
I couldn’t help but feel confused by what he meant by this. “Huh?”
“Clay’s a big guy, man,” he explained.
“Really? I didn’t notice..”
“We want you to be at least twelve to fifteen pounds heavier by the time your match roll’s around.”
The thought of gaining weight made me feel nauseous. After all, I’d only just got back down to my target weight and shifted all the fat. That took a helluva lot of work.
“Won’t that slow me down?” I asked, genuinely concerned.
He pouted and shook his head calmly. “You shouldn’t really notice it. And you’ll still be quicker than him. Main thing is you need to be able to stand up to him and handle his force. Right now there’s nothing stopping him from having his way with you.”
He was right. Clay’s greatest asset was his size and strength. He was a mountain of a man and could easily be an immovable object for me. If I add some more muscle weight? I might be able to resist his power a little more and give myself a chance of withstanding his brute force.
I looked back down at my food and slammed my fork straight into the middle, ripping off a healthy slice and stuffing it in my mouth. There was a reason to eat that food, whether I felt like doing it or not.
“Good man,” Matt called encouragingly, before going back to loading my dishwasher.
I was just beginning to enjoy my breakfast when Adam decided to break the silence with an inappropriate question.
“So will you be spending some time with Ms Marsden when we get to St Louis?” he asked, a teasing grin spread across his face.
Before I could answer, my new vid-phone began to ring on the breakfast bar on my left. I couldn’t help but laugh in disbelief because of the coincidental information being displayed on the device:
Incoming Video Call
I turned and rolled my eyes at Adam with a wry smile. “Ask for the devil? And she will appear,” I laughed, taking a deep breath as I wiped the avocado from my moustache. “Alexa! Answer call!”
The vidphone display stuttered to life as an ‘RM’ avatar filled the screen for a few moments. Apparently my internet service provider wasn’t providing me with the ‘super fast speeds’ that they’d promised.
Eventually her face rendered in and her flawless complexion smiled back at me like porcelain. I couldn’t quite make out the background but I could tell she wasn’t at home.
“Hey champ,” she greeted, her long, velvety, eyelashes batting at me. “Thought I’d check in and see how you’re all doing.”
“We’re good, just having breakfast,” I explained, shoveling in another mouthful of toast loaded with avocado, egg and Kale.
“Is that Adam I can see there in the background,” she asked inquisitively, raising her chin to try and look over the top of me, forgetting the limitations of this technology.
“Hey Ms Madsen,” Adam greeted coyly, leaning over my shoulder to give her a half hearted wave.
“You ready for Monday? Huge opportunity for you!”
She was referring to a 10 man battle royale he was due to compete in over at MVW. Depending on where he finishes will determine his ranking and division. It certainly was a huge opportunity as Regan had mentioned. He’d been doing good. In his last outing he managed to destroy his opponent in less than two minutes during a dark match. He’d put to use some new tactics and a sharper edge to his craft. Working with me was paying off for the kid, but mentoring him had certain psychological benefits for myself also.
“Sure am,” he eagerly replied, obviously not wanting to open up their dialogue any further.
“What can we do for you, mamma,” I mumbled with a mouthful of food. Matt slammed a litre of thick protein and bulking compounds in front of me. I shot him a look but he gestured with his eyes for me to suck it up and get it drunk.
“Look where I am,” she gasped excitedly, flipping the camera on her phone around to reveal, what looked to be, an empty warehouse the size of a football field.
“Is that the place?”
“Great, isn’t it?” she replied, but the intermittent beeping sound of trucks reversing took my attention elsewhere.
“What’s that sound?” I asked.
She twirled the camera around without saying a word, allowing me to see for myself. It was, indeed, a truck reversing. She moved the camera around so I could see several other trucks queuing up to do the same. I frowned curiously as the driver hopped out of his cabin and moved around the back, popping the latch so that the shutters on the back of the truck sprung up to reveal its contents. I narrowed my eyes to examine it closely, but my heart began to beat with excitement like a kid on Christmas morning. I knew what it was.
“Is that? The ring?”
“Yes it is,” she replied, making even those three innocent words sound dirty and seductive. “Everything else is arriving today too. By the time you arrive on Monday everything will be set up and ready for you and Adam to begin training.”
“Awesome!” I looked at Adam and his expression shared my excitement. But that excitement quickly evaporated.
“I can’t wait to give you the grand tour,” she continued, causing my face to melt into more confusion and little anger.
“Wait, you won’t be there,” I explained, about as tactile as a nuclear bomb.
Her face resembled a dejected puppy who’d just been scolded. I won’t lie, it tugged at my black heartstrings a little, but I had been very clear about my training process before big matches.
“What do you mean?” she asked, acting ignorant.
“We’ve been over this, Regan. You know I can’t have you around whilst I’m preparing to wrestle Clay. This LSD championship match is too important and you’ll be a distraction. A huge distraction,” I smirked, trying to boost her self-esteem by letting her know the real reason why she would be bad for me to have around before a big match.
“Can’t I even see you for like thirty minutes, just to show you around our creation?”
She was making it clear that we were tied together in this little business venture of ours. Problem was that only she saw it as a business. All I wanted was the facilities to train and prepare for matches, and to help Adam and any future wrestlers I take under my wing.
“I appreciate you organising all of this,” I continued, even though it was with my checkbook. “But I can’t have you around until after Bottomline.”
From the look on her face, Regan didn’t really seem comfortable with the idea, but I wasn’t giving her any options – we were going to play it my way. I knew her type; strong, independent, likes to take charge. Unfortunately for her I’m putting my foot down and establishing my dominance in this little partnership of ours.
“You understand, right?” I asked, not really caring if she did or not.
She was vulnerable and clearly hated it. After looking down at the floor and letting out a purposeful sigh she glared at me.
“I guess I have no choice, do I?”
With that the video feed went black. She’d hung up.
“Oof, women huh?” Adam laughed.
I didn’t answer him, I instead took a huge gulp of the thick bulking cocktail that Matt had made me and gathered my thoughts. Regan’s behaviour was worrying me. Until now I thought we had a mutual understanding that this was a business partnership with some casual fucking thrown into the mix. I really hoped that she wasn’t catching feelings, because I don’t have the time or energy for that. Plus, I swore off relationships around the same time my ex-wife ripped my heart out of my chest, ate it, and shit it out all over my face.
One thing’s for sure, I don’t have time to be worrying about women right now. Clay Byrd was a real threat and was going to be waiting for me in less than two weeks. He’d made his intentions clear and he was coming for my title. Not only that, but this was an inner power struggle within the BA.
The Best Alliance has always consisted of Alpha males. We all know that Lee is the pack leader but there’s still a jostle for who the Alpha in the locker room is. Clay was swinging his dick and he knows that taking my title from me makes him top dog. He didn’t like me throwing my weight around and giving him orders. I’m not about to give up my championship, and I certainly won’t be a part of a Best Alliance where I’m not the top guy.
The division is also at stake. Since becoming LSD champion I have shifted the genre from mindless violence to the art of technical wrestling, essentially turning it into what the Icon title stood for. With Clay at the helm it will be represented by a man who likes to throw fists. There is no artistry to what Clay does, it’s just brute force and power. I’ve worked too hard to give the LSD championship this new identity, and I won’t see it shattered by a Neanderthal like him.
Like Clay, the task of retaining the champion is a mountain to climb. But I’m willing to put in the grind, pack on some weight and focus every bit of energy and time I have on preparing to defend my championship.
Monday we head to Missouri.
Then the real work begins.