A Non-Fat Pumpkin Spice Latte with Two Splendas

By: Sahara

Date: 21st Sep 2021

Fame changes people. It doesn’t matter who they were or where they came from, eventually those connections erode and they become someone else entirely. Without question, anyone that’s not famous swears to God that if they ever get famous, “they” won’t act like “that” with their fans! And by that, I mean a standoffish prick that goes out in public but wants to be left alone. That’s calling having your cake and eating it too… But, I mean, what’s the point in having cake if you can’t eat it?

To those craving fame that swear they’ll be generous and kind with their time, what they fail to understand is that at first it’s really really fun to be recognized and wanted. You get this overwhelming feeling of vanity that’s so intoxicating, you’ll swear you’re floating on air. But soon after, reality sets in and you quickly come to understand that as long as you remain famous — if it’s for the right reasons — that it never fucking ends.

But then there’s Sahara… As she steps out onto the streets of New York with her unmistakable shock of blonde hair on full display, she wears a simple white tank, distressed yoga pants, a very colorful pair of Nike running shoes, and a Warcraft themed backpack slung over her shoulder. She puts her aviator style sunglasses on and looks up into the vast reaches of the skyline and flashes that brilliant smile, basking in the glow of the morning sun. In the wake of Venom and the Preston’s losing their Islands championships, they were forced to evacuate the Islands suite that came with it, bringing Sahara to follow them to one of Ani’s apartment complexes a few blocks away from FIGHT Tower. In light of recent events, Dane and Allison thought it safer for her to not be alone in the tower, where any number of revenge seekers could find her without backup in areas of the building that weren’t well guarded by security. Reluctantly, Sahara agreed and moved some of her belongings in with them, which meant a bit of a longer trek to the FIGHT gym, as was her morning routine. Well, first it was a quick coffee stop at her favorite Starbucks, and then the gym. The streets were typical of New York City; bustling with activity, yet nobody dared make eye contact with anyone around them. It’s practically in the NYC handbook they give you when you move there; you are to look straight down at the ground and get to wherever you’re going as quickly as possible with minimal human interaction. That’s the big city life. It had to be the most crowded yet the loneliest place on the planet, Sahara thought.

But as FIGHT rose into prominence, that lack of human interaction quickly began to change for Sahara, especially as she got closer to FIGHT tower. The nearest Starbucks to was about a block away on West 58th street, just around the corner of another building, and sightings of Sahara and Michelle had become commonplace per their noted coffee habits, which led to an increasing number of FIGHT fans gathering there every morning with no intention to purchase anything. The newly laminated signs plastered all over the windows made that clear; ‘You must make a purchase to hang in or around the store.’ This brought a smile to the blonde’s face, as Starbucks usually prides itself on letting people mill around that have no business being there.

Entering her favorite coffee shop, she was instantly mobbed by a group of adoring FIGHT fans sporting their favorite FIGHTers merch, making it extremely obvious why they were there. ”Where’s Michelle?” ”Where’d you come from, I didn’t see you come out of FIGHT Tower this morning–“ ”Can I get a selfie?” ”Can I get a hug?!” ”Can you sign my shirt?” ”Can I get a kiss?!” The questions were rapid fire, coming from all directions at the same time as she pushed her way into the shop. This is the part of fame regular people didn’t understand. You couldn’t go anywhere without being mobbed for a selfie, or an autograph. On a date?! Doesn’t matter. Be prepared to break your conversation every few minutes for an adoring fan, and to make matters worse, these tended to be wrestling fans; and to them, it didn’t matter whether they loved or hated you, they wanted to talk. A lot.

Quickly scrawling her signature on a few items shoved in her face, she posed for some selfies as she moved her way into the line. As annoying as this could be for some after the initial novelty wore off, Sahara loved the attention.

”I bet you’re gonna order a Pumpkin Spice–“ She nodded with a bit of a smile curling the right side of her face. ”Did you really DDT Mia through a glass table?!”

Now that was a question she’d actually address– ”No. I didn’t DDT anyone through a glass table.”

”Why’d you do it?”

She sighed, ”I just said I didn’t.” While technically a lie, it was also technically the truth, as a Sister Abigail is not the same as a DDT. ”Joe exaggerates. Mia got hurt because she couldn’t keep her stupid mouth shut, one thing led to another, and … stuff happened. Okay? This is wrestling, not stripping.”

As she reached the front of the line and opened her mouth to order, someone standing beside her chimed in, ”She’ll have a non-fat Pumpkin Spice Latte with two splendas! Right?! Isn’t that your favorite this time of year?!”

Sahara sighed, but nodded, as that was going to be her order.

”Just don’t write Sarah on the cup!”, another giggled, causing the blonde to roll her eyes. Whoever that was likely heard the rumor Sahara got quite upset with a certain female barista that did that to her at one point.

As mentioned, after a while, this sort of attention would become overbearing and annoying for practically anyone; but at the moment, Sahara welcomed the adoration and attention it brought. There is almost nothing more depressing than having fame, taking it for granted, and then losing it. She tried to remind herself of this as the fans surrounding her did annoying shit like ordering her coffee because they read on some Reddit forum what her favorite Starbucks drink was. Of course, with rabid fandom, also came the perks of crazy wrestling fans, for example…

As she reached for her phone to pay, ”Hey, I got her, put it on my tab!”

Sahara smiled, knowing full well that was going to happen. She turned to the troll looking neckbeard that bought her coffee and flashed a welcoming smile, ”Oh my God, you didn’t have to do that, but thank you so much! You’re so sweet!” Her sweet tone was saccharine in his ears.

Whoever it was, he was all too happy to do it. ”Hey, I saw it’s you and Dane against Brandon Moore and Apathy this week. Are Michelle or Allison gonna be pissed about that or what?”

Sahara’s brow furrowed, ”Why the hell would Michelle be pissed–“

”Because you’ll be fighting Brandon!”

Sahara shook her head, ”No, she doesn’t give two shits about what goes on in the ring. As a matter of fact, if I was ever booked against Michelle and tried to not fight her, she’d kick my ass–“

”Or she’d have Poptart do it!”

Sahara let out a rather audible giggle, ”Yeah, or that.”

”But what about Allison? You’re tagging her with husband, who … you know!” ”Who I fucked?” Having heard this, one of the fans snorted, coffee damn near coming out of her nose and started coughing. Others couldn’t believe how direct and to the point her comment was. Sahara found this rather amusing, letting out a snort-like laugh of her own. ”No, Allison and I worked some things out, we’re good. And tagging with Dane is about business, not pleasure. Though I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.” ”So what’s goin’ on with you three anyway, rumors on the ‘Net say you’re living with Dane and Allison now?! Are you guys like a thing?”

”Uh, no.” She let out a bit of a nervous laugh, ”I’m not gay–“

”That’d be bi.”

Sahara rolls her eyes, ”Whatever, I ain’t bi, either.” Having heard herself say that, she cringed, as if the wrong person overheard the way she said it, they could easily take it the wrong way. Thankfully, it was easy to change the subject.

”Hey, do you guys wanna take a quick selfie?” ”Would you mind?!”

She nodded at his rather excited tone, ”Absolutely not, it’s the least I could do for the coffee! But let’s make it fast, I gotta head over to the tower for some promotional stuff this morning.” She quickly posed for a few more pictures before taking her leave and heading toward FIGHT tower, but that didn’t stop the group of FIGHT fans from following along.

”You goin’ to record your shoot for the match?”

”My shoot?!” Sahara sighed. It was a pet-peeve of hers to hear fans use insider terms like that, but she understood they just wanted to feel like they belonged. She nodded, ”Yeah, something like that.” As they strolled down the block toward FIGHT Tower, Sahara smiled as a few passers by took photos or video of her walking with a group of fans following close behind. ”Well, here we are. This is my stop. Thanks for the escort, ladies and gents! And make sure you show up at Venom and bring some damn Sahara signs!”

As she turned toward the large front rotating doors to the tower, she smiled as that feeling of vanity consumed her. She took a drink of her free Pumpkin Spice Latte as a few of the fans commented how nice she actually was. While they could be quite annoying, the affection the fans lavished on her really did make her day.

And she was determined to enjoy it while it lasted this time.

~~~~~

You suck, we’re the best. I’m rubber, you’re glue. We’re gonna win this match because we’ve won like three-hundred and forty-seven titles in our combined careers, and you’re both losers! Sahara sighs.

Sorry boys and girls, but that’s not my style. I ain’t here to put you down or undermine your accomplishments or your careers in this business. Everybody knows the names Brandon Moore and Apathy. Hell, I could probably write a book gushing about your collective accomplishments as a fan of wrestling history. You could even call me a fan of your work. Momma’s Baby Boy sure ain’t no baby anymore. And the Femme Icon is exactly as advertised. An Icon. You both got my respect. Whatever that means to ya, ya got it. But other than the glimmer of what you saw of me in action at Blood Money, lemme assure you that neither of you have ever faced the real me. This ain’t that watered down, bullshit, OPW Sahara that was more interested in Hollywood than she was wrestling. This is the old me, back from the dead. This ain’t the actress you once saw roaming the halls.

This is the wrestler.

And make no mistake, I got no problem calling myself out for what I did in that other place prior to when FIGHT came a callin’. No matter who I faced, it was always the same song and dance. They dismissed me, because they should have. I was just another pretty face. She points at her smiling face with both index fingers. Just like my father, they couldn’t see past the hair, the bewbsshe pushes her chest forward before turning her ass toward the camera and smacking itthe ass or the legs. But that was my own fault. Because it’s all I was. What you don’t see is the years of pain that brought me to this dance. I made the cardinal sin of getting civilized. I let the desire for things supercede my desire to win. I forgot who I was and where I came from. Prada, Gucci, Rolex, you name it. That’s what I became. A human billboard for overpriced labels. I thought those things defined me. I thought they made me better.

All they really did was make me a fuckin’ wannabe, cuz beneath all that glitz and glamor, beneath the labels and the brands, I was still that girl from the Southside of Chicago that drinks like a fish, swears like a sailor, and fights like a rabid wolf … and I ain’t never gonna be accepted by that bridge and tunnel crowd that I was tryin’ to impress.

Thinkin’ back, I remember gettin’ in the ring and wondering what the hell I was doing there. I might chip a nail or something. Lookin’ across at my opponents and thinkin’ to myself, “Oh, I think a new Dolce handbag came out yesterday, I need it!”, while my opponents were starin’ me down like hungry hyenas.

As an athlete, in whatever sport you’re in, you know when you’ve lost it.

Without a doubt in my mind, I’d lost it. She shrugs. Her body language is clearly an admittance of guilt, but she shakes it off, a slight smirk curling her lips. And you also know when you’ve found it again. So what happened? A little thing called failure. Washing out. A fall from grace. Not just from Hollywood but from the very thing that brought me to the dance. Wrestling. And when the chips were down, and the opportunities had disappeared, little did I know it but my life was about to change, cuz someone out there remembered me. I don’t know why, and I don’t know who, but they remembered who I was even though I’d forgotten. That someone invited me to join the FIGHT, and ever since arriving at the tower, my whole vision of what wrestling was, is, and should be has changed. I never imagined a world where the setting wouldn’t just be in an arena, inside a squared circle, but at times, we take the FIGHT through an entire goddamn skyscraper. The Blood Money PPV was more than just a reference to the currency they incorporated into the fabric of FIGHT; to make winning meaningful, if not essential. It was an event unlike any other I’ve ever seen or been a part of in my life.

It was an experience. An experience I will fight to keep alive.

The battlelines are being drawn, and I now know where I stand, and more importantly, who I stand with. And I promise ya, with everything I got — in the name of FYA, by FYA, and for FYA — I will do what needs to be done. Without question. Without provocation. And without remorse. As I see it, it’s my job to do what the others can’t or won’t do, because their moral compasses get in the way. Let’s just say in rediscovering the person I once was, I de-accessorized. There ain’t no more labels on this body. No Rolex. No Prada. No morals. No compass. I got no problem bein’ the assassin my team needs. And this week at Venom, I’m Lee Harvey Oswald, and you two fucks may as well be the Kennedy’s.

~~~~~

The New Apartment
111 West 57th Street, New York New York

Walking in, Sahara dropped a few additional bags of her personal effects, and instantly noticed Dane doing that thing where he stares out the window, arms folded across his chest, in complete silence. She rolled her eyes. He must be contemplating his place in the universe again…

”We need to talk.” Sahara broke the silence, only it took a few moments for Dane to acknowledge her presence. Turning toward her, he gave her one of his, “What now?” looks.

”Dane”, she looked at him with an uneasiness in her pale blue eyes. ”I don’t know what this is anymore, but I need to know you got my back out there. No, don’t–“, she held up a finger demanding silence. ”Don’t talk, just listen to me for a minute. The time for the coy games about what we did and what we are is over. I know you regret what we did, you were angry, and I didn’t help by taking advantage of the situation. But so did you. Be that as it may, you’ve made your regret perfectly clear, and ever since it happened you’ve been keeping me at arms length as if you don’t trust yourself around me. But that doesn’t work for me anymore. We’re not only on the same side in this coming war, but we’re a tag-team this week, and there can’t be any hesitation on your part because deep down you’re worried what Allison might think if we gel as a team. We need to get on the same page — all of us – so whatever this is–“ Sahara motioned around the apartment they were now sharing. ”Whatever the hell we are, you either need to accept it, or you need to man up and tell me to get the fuck out before I unpack another damn thing.”

”Lauren, my head is all over the place, and my only regret is that what we did hurt Allison. I don’t know WHAT we are right now, but what I do know is that YOU are one of US. And we look out for our own.”

Sahara shook her head as a somewhat bewildered smile came across her face. ”Wow.” ”Wow what?”

Looking away for a moment, she let out a little laugh. ”I already know I’m one of you. What I don’t know — again – is what this is.” She made a motion between them. ”Who the hell cheats on their wife, and then brings the girl he slept with home to his wife to live with them? Am I like a Scientologist or something and I don’t know it yet?”

Dane laughed, ”I think you mean Mormon–“

”I think I mean answer the fucking question. Is this not weird to you or Allison? I mean, I know we bonded or whatever on that island, but I sure as hell didn’t expect to be living with you two after we did what we did–“ ”Sacrifices have to be made. Allison understands that. Neither of us wants you left alone in FIGHT Tower with all this going on. That’s why we had you staying at the suite instead of your room. That’s why we brought you here with us. I’m not saying you can’t defend yourself, Lauren, but whatever Joe and his crew got planned for us, we need to be there for each other when it happens.”

”Yeah, I get that part of it.” She heaved a sigh of exasperation. ”You really should be a politician, ya know that? You got a way of saying a whole lotta stuff while avoiding the questions I asked. So lemme try this again. What the fuck are we, Dane? What is this living situation?”

”I’m not avoiding the question, I just can’t seem to find the right words to describe my thoughts and feelings.” He clasped his hands behind his head. ”I care about you Lauren, more than a married man should care about a woman who isn’t his wife.”

Unbeknownst to either Dane or Sahara, Allison came out of another room in time to eavesdrop on this part of the conversation.

”And yes, to answer your earlier question, this is weird for me and Allison. We’re in uncharted waters here. Let’s just stop worrying about what we are for a while, focus on Venom, and just let nature take its course…”

Unsure how to feel, Allison quietly ducked back into the bedroom.

”Just–” Sahara paused for a moment, contemplating her phrasing, ”–tell me that no matter what happens out there at Venom that you’ve got my back.”

Dane nodded, a sudden earnestness in his voice, ”Always.”

Sahara simply looked at him for a few moments and nodded. She believed him. ”Okay.”