Who knows?

Who knows?

Posted on May 29, 2024 at 6:40 pm by John Sektor

Sektor stared at his phone, conflicted about whether to call Steve. On one hand, Steve was his best friend, and he desperately wanted to confide in him about everything that had happened. But on the other hand, Lee’s ominous words echoed in his mind – “Remember what we talked about.”

Sektor knew that Lee expected his complete loyalty and obedience. Answering Steve’s call could be seen as an act of defiance.

As he stood there, frozen in indecision, the phone vibrated again. This time, it was a text from Steve:

“Hey man. Sorry I missed your call earlier. Just wanted to see if you’re doing ok. I know you’ve been going through some stuff lately that you can’t talk about. But just know that I’m here for you, no matter what. Whenever you’re ready, I’m ready to listen. No judgements.”

Sektor stared at the text from Steve, his heart aching. He wanted more than anything to confide in his best friend, to unburden himself and ask for advice about Lee. But he knew that was impossible now.

With a deep sigh, Sektor typed out a short reply: “Hey man, thanks for understanding. I’m doing alright, just super busy with family stuff at the moment. I’ll be good to go for this tag match. Enjoy memorial weekend, hermano. I’ll give you a call soon.”

He hated lying to Steve, but he didn’t see any other option. Lee had made it clear – the Alliance came first, above all else. Even best friends.

Sektor switched his phone to silent and slipped it into his pocket. He had to get his head straight for this weekend’s match. Mitchell and Zion were tough competitors, but Sektor knew he and Solex could take them if they were both firing on all cylinders. They had to, for the Alliance’s sake.

It was the first time he’d been home to Miami in weeks. He hadn’t missed a single show and had been booked to compete each and every week, whether it was defending the HOTv championship or competing in tag matches with the Alliance.

He was filled with dread as the limo pulled up in front of Lee Best’s mansion. Lee wasn’t home and thus wasn’t the cause of these feelings. Instead he was worried what kind of reception his daughter was going to give him. Chloe had made her feelings clear over the past few weeks. She doubted her fathers priorities as, in her mind, he always seemed to choose work before her.

Sektor took a deep breath and stepped out of the limo. As he walked up the driveway to the front door, he could see Chloe watching him from her bedroom window upstairs. Her arms were crossed and she had a stern look on her face.

Sektor entered the grand foyer and called out “Chloe, I’m home!” He stood there awkwardly, waiting for her to come downstairs. After a few moments, he heard footsteps descending the marble staircase.

Chloe appeared, wearing ripped jeans and an oversized hoodie with the hood pulled up. She didn’t make eye contact with Sektor as she brushed past him and headed for the kitchen.

“Aren’t you going to say hello?” Sektor asked, following her.

Chloe opened the fridge and took out a can of soda, popping it open. “Why should I?” she replied flatly. “You’re just going to take off again.”

His head bowed as he let out a disgruntled grunt. He was tired from travelling, which was why he had avoided coming home all those other weeks. The only reason he made the trip this time was to attempt to build bridges with his little girl.

May as well have stayed in Chicago,” he mumbled under his breath.

Following her into the kitchen, he stood in the doorway and watched her angrily slapping peanut butter and jelly on to a helpless slice of bread.

“I get that you’re angry, kid. But I’m here now. Don’t waste the time we have being bitter and angry with me. Let’s make the most of it.”

Sektor sighed, knowing his daughter had every right to be upset with him. He had missed too many school plays, parent teacher conferences, and nights just hanging out over pizza watching movies. Wrestling was his passion, but family had to come first.

“I’m sorry, Chloe,” he said gently. “You’re absolutely right, I haven’t been there enough for you lately. That changes now. This weekend is just for us – no matches, no training, no Lee breathing down my neck. How about we go to the beach tomorrow and build the most epic sandcastle Miami has ever seen?”

Chloe looked up, the hint of a smile crossing her face before she quickly hid it behind a scowl. “Well, I guess I don’t have anything better to do,” she muttered.

Just then, the front door slammed open, causing them both to jump. There stood Lee Best, his face purple with rage.

“SEKTOR!”

Sektor froze, his heart dropping into his stomach. Lee’s sudden entrance could only mean one thing – he had caught wind of Sektor’s plan to spend time with his daughter this weekend.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing here?” Lee bellowed, stomping towards Sektor. “You’re supposed to be at the arena prepping for your tag match! You and Solex have damages to repair and do I need to remind you that War Games is around the fucking corner.”

Lee raised his eyebrow as he turned his head towards Chloe.

“Sorry sweetheart. Don’t ever repeat what Uncle Lee just said, mmkay?”

Sektor held up his hands pleadingly. “Lee, please, just hear me out. I haven’t seen Chloe in weeks and I promised her I’d…”

Lee cut him off. “Promised? The only promise you made was to the Alliance! Your commitment is supposed to be absolute. Or have you forgotten that?”

Chloe looked back and forth between them nervously. Sektor gave her a gentle push towards the stairs.

“Go on up to your room, sweetheart,” he said quietly. “Lee and I need to have a talk.”

Once Chloe was upstairs, Sektor turned to Lee. “Look, I know my priorities are with the Alliance right now. But I also have responsibilities as a father that I can’t ignore.”

Lee scowled. “The Alliance must always come first. You know what’s at stake here.”

Sektor sighed and shook his head. “Nothing more important that family. You remember saying that, boss?” he asked, unable to hide his frustration.

Lee scowled as Sektor reminded him of his own words about family. He had built the Alliance into a ruthless fighting force, demanding complete loyalty and obedience from its members. But even he could not deny the pull of family.

“You’re right,” Lee finally conceded. “I did say family comes first.” He sighed deeply. “But the Alliance is your family too now, and we’ve got a war to win.”

“Against who? Jace is gone. Who are we even at war with any more?”

“We’re always at war, Sektor. And I need my soldiers by my side and looking strong as we head into the final ever War Games.”

Sektor bowed his head and nodded, reluctantly but obediently. Lee narrowed his one good eye.

“You know how much I depend on you Sektor. You’ve been by my side all these years and you are one of the few I can always count on. I don’t know how all this is going to end, but I am making sure that when we go down in the blaze of glory? That I have people by my side who I love and trust with my life.”

“I know. I’m one hundred and ten percent committed to you and the Alliance. You know this.”

Lee smiled. “Look, you’re here now. No sense you dragging your ass straight back. Take a couple of days with your girl and then get back to it.”

Sektor relaxed as an overwhelming wave of relief washed over him.

“Thank you.”

“You and Solex best fucking win!”

Sektor let out a relieved sigh as Lee headed out of the kitchen and up the stairs, the slam of his study door echoing through the mansion. He knew Lee was right – the Alliance had to come first, especially with War Games looming. But getting this time with Chloe felt like a gift.

Sektor suddenly found himself looking down at his hands as they began to tremble and shake uncontrollably, his fingers tightening like the talons of an eagle.

Sektor stared at his hands in shock as they trembled violently, his fingers curling into rigid claws. A cold sweat broke out across his brow and his breath came in short, panicked gasps. He clutched at his chest, his heart hammering wildly. The room began to spin and tilt around him.

“No, not now,” he choked out through shallow breaths. He squeezed his eyes shut against the dizziness, willing his body to regain control. But the trembling only intensified, his claws digging into his palms hard enough to draw blood. He collapsed against the kitchen counter, his knees giving out as a full-blown panic attack seized him in its icy grip.

He hadn’t had an attack this bad in years. The stress and pressure of Lee’s demands, of representing the Alliance in War Games, and now the guilt of neglecting his daughter – it had finally caught up and overwhelmed him. He tried desperately to control his breathing, to regain some semblance of calm, but the panic flooding his system would not subside. His heart slammed against his ribs like a caged animal and his lungs burned for want of air. He slid down the kitchen counter to the floor, his entire body wracked with tremors.

This couldn’t be happening now, not when so much was at stake. Lee was counting on him, trusting him to fight with honor for the Alliance. And his daughter, his sweet Chloe, she needed her father. But the attack gripped Sektor mercilessly, blinding his senses with dizzying vertigo and deafening him with the roaring rush of blood in his ears.

He had to get control. Sektor closed his eyes, focusing on slowing his rapid breaths despite the terror still clutching his chest. In and out. In and out. Gradually, incrementally, the trembling in his hands subsided. His breathing slowed as he regained control. The panic that had seized him so forcefully began to loosen its grip.

Sektor opened his eyes slowly. The kitchen came back into focus around him. He flexed his fingers gingerly, the claw-like rigidity leaving them. As the vertigo cleared, he pulled himself carefully back to his feet, using the counter for support.

Though exhausted, relief flooded through him. The panic attack had passed. He was in control again. Sektor took a deep, steadying breath. There would be time later to unpack the stressors that had triggered such an intense episode. For now, he needed to clean himself up and compose himself before Chloe came looking for him.

Splashing some cold water on his face, Sektor straightened his shirt and ran a hand through his hair. The bleeding in his palms had already clotted.

As he rested against the kitchen worktop, and allowed himself to recover, he was awoken by the feeling of his phone vibrating in his pocket. He pulled it out and opened up another message from Solex:

“All good bro, whenever you’re ready. I’d catch a bullet for you, man. You know that!”

That phrase cut through him like a serrated edged blade as he read it. A soldier telling their friend that they’d take a bullet for them was the ultimate symbol of love. He felt guilty, but he didn’t truly know why. A gut feeling was telling him that Solex may be running a fine line with Lee and what was worse was that Sektor felt he was responsible. If he and Solex didn’t win this next match?

Who knows?