[Battleborn] “Snap out of it already…”/”The Prestons make up” [FYA]

By: Dane Preston

Date: 1st Oct 2021

THE APARTMENT

Suddenly I’m awakened from a dead sleep, by the repeated vibrations of my phone next to my head on the nightstand. I look over at Allison, softly brushing her hair out of her face, and see that she’s still peacefully asleep. Slipping out from under the covers as quietly and slowly as I can, I grab my phone and take it down to the living room.

Checking my phone, I see that the text messages have all come from Kal, he’s at Hearst Tower and wants to chat with me. Right now. Looking at the time on the phone has me curious what in the world Kal would want to talk to me about at 4 in the morning. After munching on an apple, a bowl of oatmeal and a protein shake, I run back upstairs and throw on some sweats and a hoodie.

Since Hearst Tower is only two blocks from our building, I jogged there. My security detail falling in behind me as I put shoes to pavement, let’s see these guys earn their pay. After a minute or two of a steady jog, I turned the intensity up and bolted which made both men cuss and take off after me.

I look over my shoulder as I’m rounding a corner, I’ve still got a pretty good lead on them. The chase came to a screeching halt when a newspaper truck tossed a hefty bundle of newspapers on the ground, forcing me to hurdle over them or eat shit on the pavement. Slowing to a stop, I give the security guys a chance to catch up and catch their breath. Hearst Tower is the next block up.

When I get to the tower, I tell my security guys to make themselves comfortably scarce, Kal and I can handle any threats. Once inside the lobby, I hear Kal yell out.

What kept ya, fucker?

DANE
Good to see you too hoss,we shake hands and Kal claps me hard on the back.  So, you mind telling me why we’re meeting at 4:30 in the godsdamned morning?

KAL
Been a fuckin’ while since I threw the weights around anywhere but Church, Murph didn’t pick up. But you answered the call.

Sunuvabitch. I dropped my head in defeat. I love training with Kal, but this man is a freak of nature. Let me paint a picture for you; where Damon has state of the art everything in his gym, Kal has gym equipment from the 90s back at home. Rusty, paint chipped, chalk powder in every crevice of each piece of equipment. The Main Man prefers to keep shit old school. From his steel horse to his iron therapy. Sadly for him, FIGHT!’s gym is anything but old school.

And I think that’s why he dragged me outta bed to train with him, because he’s afraid of breaking shit. At least if I’m with him he can point at me when people look at him when he breaks something. And he calls me his personal Fixer. Fuckin guy.

DANE
I hate you. Couldn’t this have waited until like 9 or 10?

KAL
You think fuckin’ Dickie or Shawn wait around that long to train? Fucks in your head?

DANE
Not to be a dick, but they don’t look like they workout, like, at all. It’s impressive what they do in the ring being so smol and fragile.

KAL
That ain’t the point I’m fucking makin’ here. You lost three in a row, it’s time to re-e-fucking-valuate your priorities. It’s time to start being the first to fucking get there, last to leave and work harder than everybody fucking else. Especially if you plan on whoopin’ Joe and Brandon’s asses, fucking get me?

DANE
Yeah, hoss, I get you. I really fucking hate when he makes a shit ton of sense, especially when it comes at the expense of my beauty sleep. After you…

KAL
Scratches at his beard, like I know where the fuck I’m going.

Of course, Kal was still getting his bearings in the Tower. He wants to workout, but he just doesn’t know where to go. Like an annoyed teenager being told to do his laundry, I lead Kal over to the elevator, badge in, and wait for the car to reach the lobby.

KAL
Things with you ‘n Allie gettin better? His vice of a hand grips my trap and clamps down. I wasn’t too happy to hear you fuckin both cheated on each other…

DANE
Didja already have this conversation with Allie?

KAL
Why the fuck would I do that? I love that girl like she was one of fucking mine.

DANE
Funny, Voo said the same thing to her…

Saved by the ding, the elevator car opened and we got on, thankfully Kal let go of my trap. The grip on that man is ridiculously strong.

KAL
So, what’s all this business with fuckin Montuori wantin’ to kill Sahara? I heard rumors, but I want to know, didja put her up to that shit?

DANE
I know better than to attack people outside the business. It’s a bad look, and it violates my moral code. She did that all on her own, but I’m not going to leave her out there all by herself. Whatever her reasoning, she did it because JMont manipulated all of us.

KAL
Dude’s been at this game for a fucking long ass time, I’m not surprised that tactic worked. Tried the same thing with me ‘n Ang, Vin ‘n Voo too way the fuck back when… You try the same tired routine long enough, it’s bound to strike gold at least fuckin once.

DANE
Yeah well, I’ve made it my personal mission to put that dude down for good.

KAL
Save some for the rest of us, killer. I got an old fuckin score to settle with that guy. And his group of jerkoffs don’t exactly strike fear into ya, Yanno?

DANE
I always liked Paul, unless he’s hanging out with Joe or Moore. Then he’s a fuckin’ douchenozzle. Ricky’s good people, just got hitched to the wrong crew. Then you have Aunt Michelle…

KAL
Don’t even get me fuckin started on that one…

DANE
Who are you telling?

The elevator doors opened and we stepped out to find a teenaged kid at the desk. His eyes lit up as he handed towels to us, it was obvious that he knew who Kal was, the man’s a Legend in New York. I was just another face to this kid.

GYM ATTENDANT
Wow, I didn’t think I’d ever get to meet you guys! I usually get a few Fighters who come in around the time my shift starts. But holy shit, Kal X Wolf and Dane Preston! FYA, fuck yes!

Well that I didn’t expect, the kid put both fists out to us, FUCKN FIGHT tattooed across all ten fingers. That amused Kal, as he let out a gruff chuckle and fist bumped the kid. I followed suit and we jumped into the ring to run some drills before we hit the weights.

The workout ended up being subpar compared to our usual workouts, but we did hit a couple PRs. Mostly we were catching up on everything behind the scenes since he was unceremoniously fired from OPW by Xavier before the transition to FIGHT! NYC occurred. A little scuttlebutt here and there, some strategizing there and here. Kal may call me the leader of FYA, but he is a Five Star General to my being a Sergeant, so I’ll defer to his judgement as often as possible.

Checking my watch, I saw that it was already 8am. Allison would be up and on the phone with Bella, checking in with the twins. I was already wiped out, so I messaged my security detail to request a ride back to the apartment building. A little snarky banter and they were on their way. I’m no good to anyone dead, and I need a nap.

THE SHOOT

The last few weeks have left me wanting. First I lost to Ricky Rodriguez, I still say he got really lucky. Then Allison and I had connected brains and attacked JMont at the same time, serving him up to The New Status Quo on a silver platter. Oh for all you TNSQ marks, just know that had Allison and I not been so generous and in such a hurry to shed the dead weight that is JMont, Dickie would be the only one in that lot wearing any gold.

YOURE FUCKIN WELCOME!

…and don’t you fuckin’ forget it…

Then last week Sahara and I came up just short against Apathy and Brandon Moore. No shame in losing to either of them, like I said last week, they’re both bona fide legends. Just remember Brandon, you can spout off at the mouth all you want, I pinned you at Toxic Tag — where it mattered. You pinned me in a generic tag match on Venom. Tit for tat, I’d say I’ve still got a leg up on you. But of course, you and I, we have business to address and I promise you, as soon as I’m done mopping the ring with JMont, I’m all yours. Just remember, like Damon always said…

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!

…you’re not going to like the result…

We have good days, we have bad days, the key is not to become discouraged, instead keep your focus on your goals. First JMont, then BMoore. But before I can destroy either of those pissants, I have to deal with Ashlynn Cassidy, who won her match last week. Kudos Ashlynn, pity it was a no show victory, but in the record books a win is a win. This week is going to be a very different situation, because not only am I showing up for your match, I may very well hurt you. I know, I know, you’ve heard it all before, and I’ve said it all before and vice versa.

I’ve looked into you a bit, you’ve come and gone, same here. It’s interesting how similar we are; clearly I’m a dude and you’re not, but we’ve both had stints in and out of the business, and we’ve had our share of legal battles. Mine thankfully didn’t involve me losing custody of my kids, thank the gods. I held my hand up, Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch, please allow me to continue. I mean no disrespect, I hardly know you, that would be the type of trash talk you can expect coming from pieces of shit like Joe Montuori. But I digress.

We both have something to prove, you and I. This is what we know, what we’re good at. It takes us away from the ones we love more than we would like it to, but the silver lining on the dark cloud is that we’re doing this for them. To give our loved ones a life worth living, the life we didn’t have, but wish for them to have. I’d like to say that it sucks that you and I are stepping into the ring with each other, on the grounds that we both have something to prove, and frankly you could use a win more than I could at this point.

But, I’ve noticed that you’ve been hanging around with Michelle and all those feelings of wanting to go easy on you fly out the window like Monkeys in the Wizard of Oz. See, Michelle and I don’t have the best history, she’s my wife’s aunt, must be a witch herself, because she’s gotta be pushing mid to late 40’s by now and she looks like she’s in her mid 20’s. But that’s beside the point. Michelle is married to my former best friend and training partner. So, guilt by association warrants that I put the boots to you like I would anybody else. No mercy, no quarter given.

I want you to know, this isn’t personal. You just happen to be my dance partner at a really dire time in my tenure with FIGHT! I’ve been so focused on this ridiculous rivalry with JMont that I tend to lose sight of my ultimate goal, which is establishing FYA as the Top of the Food Chain. And I can’t very well do that if I take pity on a damsel, clearly not in distress, now can I? Absolutely not.

Heh, it’s funny. A few months back, I wasn’t in control of my actions, and you very well could have gotten seriously injured stepping in the ring with me. So allow me to properly introduce myself to you, I am Dane Preston, Battleborn. I fight, I fuck, I fix shit, and if I’m not fixing it, I’m fucking it up. I was born and bred for combat and that means it’s high time for me to…

SNAP THE FUCK OUTTA THIS SHIT!
…and consider this slump officially over…

I’ve been in this business long enough to know when I’ve been pussyfooting around. All my time has been spent dealing with JMont and I haven’t taken anyone else as seriously as I usually would. That would explain what happened this past week. If there is one thing you will never see me do, it’s cry over losses. You win some, you lose some. But recently, I’ve lost more than enough for my liking. It’s high time for me to get back in the saddle and get after it.

I’m going to have to apologize in advance Ashlynn, because I’m not about to take it easy on you. Just so we’re clear, I have absolutely no problem stepping into the ring with women. You can go ahead and blame VooDoo, Anicka Swan, Vhodka Marie, my wife Allison, Miss Michelle and Sahara. I’ve been in the ring with some spectacular female fighters throughout my career, and each and everyone of them would beat my ass if I were to take it easy on them…and even if I didn’t. And if I don’t show you the same respect, they’ll likely kick my ass for that too. So, for the sake of my personal safety, it’s kill or be killed, which means that I’m going to have to put you down. Good luck countering me, Counter Queen. I’ll be seeing you…

THE GETAWAY

Allison walked into the bedroom where she found me sitting on the end of the bed taking off my sneakers. I’d just come back from a workout with Kal at the Tower. I was doing that more and more as of late, sneaking off to workout and think about things. We both had, as well as talking to each other too.

ARP
Hey, babe?I looked up to see that she had that little smile on her face, that one that she smiled at me and it was then I knew for sure that she was the one.

DANE
Hmm?

ARP
Let’s get away for a few days. Just me and you.

DANE
I didn’t even have to think twice before answering. I’ve got the perfect place.

ARP
Nope, I do.If that isn’t a change, usually it’s me who makes the decisions like this because as she puts it, as long as we’re together it’s always the perfect place.

DANE
Well, don’t leave me in suspense, where are we going?

ARP
A little place overlooking Lake George. We’re going to have to take one of the jets there and then it’s a one hour drive to get there. She still had that little smile on her lips. But that’s all you get. I was thinking about leaving tomorrow morning?

DANE
Super secret squirrel weekend getaway?I’m curious, she’s never like this. This is so unlike you…

ARP
I know. She kept smiling at me. So, make sure you’re packed. I am gonna go finalize the arrangements now.

And with that, she turned back around and came in the door just as she had walked in leaving me there to think about what she had up her sleeve.

The next day came and we were out of the apartment by noon. I had dressed in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and Allison was dressed in a yellow sundress that almost matched the one that she wore on our first date together. I couldn’t help but hope to think maybe there was a reason behind us getting away. I was hoping that we were finally going to figure out what we were going to do, instead of being in this holding pattern.

The plane was ready for us on the tarmac when we got there, since we took the private entrance, there was no line as the limo pulled straight up to the plane and as we got out the driver was already popping the door to the jet open for us and bringing the bags inside for the crew to stow away.

It was one of the smaller jets, but it was really all that was needed since it was the two of us, plus it was less than a two hour flight to get us to the closest airport to our destination. We still had an hour drive ahead of us when we landed at the airport. Not exactly sure if I should be worried or not with all the smiling and taking me out in the middle of nowhere; this was the daughter of Havok, anything was possible.

HOURS LATER

The limo pulled off the main road into a private driveway and drove through to great stone pillars that weaved in a spiral upwards until we reached our destination. I should have known, my princess would pick a castle. Four stories and made of stone, there was a staff of two on call for us the whole time, a butler and a chef.

They came with the place and as the butler had showed us to our rooms, he explained to us that their jobs were to not be seen unless they were needed. Otherwise, it would mostly be during meals and if we wanted anything to eat all we had to do was swing by the kitchen and the chef would cook something up, plus we had free reign when the chef was asleep.

It was later that night, when we were ready for dinner, I was standing at the base of the stairs waiting for her to come down. I have no idea why she decided we should take separate rooms since we’ve been sleeping in the same bed for a few weeks now. I didn’t protest or anything like that, this was her show and I was interested in seeing where it’s going to go.

I hadn’t been standing there long when I heard the sound of her heels on the wooden landing above; I will admit, I stood there a little excited with anticipation. When she came into view, she didn’t let me down. She was dressed in a golden dress and matching heels, her long blonde hair fell across her bare shoulders and a smile on her face that lit up the whole room.

DANE
You look absolutely amazing…

ARP
I’ve got to say, you look pretty damned good yourself.Her smile was as radiant as ever.

We walked into the great hall and over to the dining table where the staff had already laid out dinner for us under silver domed serving trays, there was a beautiful view of the lake. The fireplace was already lit on the other side of the room where there was a sitting area. They had our place settings with me at the head of the table and her at my right side. We went through the normal conversation that people have at meals about the location and the food, but then as per our usual it turned to business.

ARP
How are you feeling about your match this week? Your head on straight with it?She asked me as she took a bite of her steak. Got to give my girl credit, she always comes out with the heavy punch first.

DANE
I actually feel bad, Ashlynn and I have had a few backstage conversations, and despite the fact that she’s buddy buddy with your aunt, she’s actually pretty nice. But I’ve got to get a W and snap outta this losing streak.I took a sip of my drink and was pleasantly surprised. You had them serve my butterbeer?Be still my beating heart.

ARP
Of course.I get the feeling that she pulled out all the stops for this little vacation getaway. Truth be told, I thought I would be the one doing this, planning this whole elaborate thing, but here she was, my Princess taking charge like a Queen. Not sure what to make of her myself. If I don’t fully trust Michelle, not sure I would fully trust someone who thinks the sun rises and sets in my aunt’s asshole. Including Sahara.I watched as she paused for a moment and furrowed her brow. We’re close, but I always keep looking for the other shoe to drop. Going to be interesting seeing her around the kids.

DANE
Yeah, I’m curious to see how she does with the twins. Now that she’s dating Ricky, I bet that chaps JMont’s punk ass…

ARP
I bet there’s a lot that’s chapping JMont’s ass right now. And I am hoping that the things that I am doing, that we are doing, are at least the top three items on his list.

DANE
If it’s all the same, I’d rather not think about what he has to say about us…

Allison nodded in agreement and took a drink of her wine as we continued to talk more about the matches that were coming up, who we thought were going to win and what craziness we thought was going to happen.

It was an hour later, after finishing dessert, that we walked over to one of the couches before the fireplace with their glasses and the rest of the bottle of wine. Allie slipped out of her shoes before she tucked her feet up on the couch beside her; my eyes couldn’t help but glance down at her thighs as the dress rode up a little bit. Although, I wanted to take her in my arms right then and there, this was her show.

DANE
So, where do we go from here?Okay, maybe not totally her show, I was ready to get this holding pattern we are in over with; either move on together or move on apart.

ARP
Well, I think it’s pretty safe to say that we’re not going to leave each other. You mentioned bringing Bella and the kids to New York. We really need to sit down and have a talk with her about what happened. We’ve just kinda left her hanging out at Parts Unknown watching. I wouldn’t blame her if she told us both to fuck off.

DANE
She has been distant with us, for good reason, but she hasn’t been rude. What we have together is unique, I dare say special. I don’t think she would up and leave us. And no, we’re not going to leave each other. We’ve been through way too much together. I’m not happy about what happened, or why. But I’m going to ride the waves of this ocean we call life with you…

ARP
Not really sure how Sahara is going to do around Bella. Her and Sahara didn’t have that great island adventure that we did. I am almost sure that they will bump heads with each other, but Sahara and I do that occasionally still.

DANE
Tell me about it, I’m not sure about anything with Sahara. That woman drives me up the fucking wall, but strangely, I’m okay with it.

ARP
I wonder if Dad’s going to razz us forever over this?

DANE
Um, what else is new? Razzing us is his favorite pastime…

ARP
Speaking of favorite pastimes…

She looked at me before she leaned forward and placed her glass on the table, then turned and looked at me with that look in her eye; a look I was worried I would never see from her again. Then she crawled into my lap and straddled me, the hem of that dress riding so dangerously high that I was no longer going to have to wonder if she had anything on under the dress.

When she reached up and caressed the side of my face before she leaned in and kissed me, I couldn’t help but close my eyes and thank all the damned gods there were. We kissed like we did that very first night; some will tell you those sparks and fireworks are a thing of writers and poets, but that’s a lie. You know when you’ve found the right one, it just feels right.

I wrapped my arms around Allison’s waist and held her as I pushed myself up off the couch. She wrapped her legs around my waist and her arms around my neck and I started for the steps that led up to the master suite. I was not going to make love to my wife for the first time in forever on a godsdamned couch.

When we entered the bedroom, the fireplace was already ablaze and the bed turned down with a bottle of wine sitting on the one of the night stands with two glasses. I walked over to the bed, my hands fumbling to find the zipper on the back of her dress before finally unzipping it. When I placed her on her feet beside the bed, the dress just slipped effortlessly off her shoulders. Stepping out of the dress and kicking it aside, she stood before me dressed in the smallest of thongs made of gold lace.

As she slipped from her heels, I quickly got out of my suit and as soon as we were both naked, I pulled her tightly to me, wrapping my arms around her once more. Leaning down, I kissed her hard and full on the lips, our tongues dancing together as I hoisted her up once again, her legs wrapped around my waist as I found the bed and crawled onto it cradling her to me.

When I was on top of her, all I could think about was how much I truly loved this woman and could never imagine life without her in it. What followed was one of the most passionate nights of our lives. Sensual, careful, and loving, with occasional rough moments. We know each other so well that we knew what the other wanted almost before we did.

THE PRIORITIES

During my workout with Kal, he touched on my needing to re-evaluate my priorities. With everything that’s gone on with Joe Montuori and how he’s impacted my family, I dropped everything to make him my number one priority. That ends here and now. Family over everything. Always.

I’ve only just gotten Allison back, I won’t jeopardize what we have ever again. She has been my rock since the moment we started dating. We’ve been through my drinking, top secret black ops missions, me fighting her father so many times I’ve lost count. She was so mad at me that she drove the Chevelle I built her as a wedding present into the lake at the South Jersey Compound.

Then there’s Bella, she came into our lives when we least expected it, and never left. For some reason we have that effect on people. She could have walked away when the problems began with JMont, and she was seriously upset when it looked like Allison was falling for JMont. But she stuck it out, and stayed with the twins and Damon and Jenna. She deserves better, and we’re going to give her better.

We certainly can’t forget Sahara, she’ll never let us anyway. While she may irritate the shit outta me, she is also a good friend who has had my back through all of this. Yes, we had a wild night of sex, which I don’t regret, as much as she thinks that I do. She needs me, needs us, to look after her. But I think we need her too. Not just in FYA. It’s something more, different, and I can’t quite figure it out. Until I do, she’s welcome to stay with us and hopefully feel safe and secure.

Luke and Layla have grown so much, and yet Allie and I only get to see them on the weekends. We made the decision to move them into the apartment with us, it’s big enough for all of us, at least until our home is built on the Jersey Compound. I need my kids with me, so does Allison. It will be good for them to have us all together again, and I’m very intrigued by the prospect of Sahara spending time with the twins. It’ll be good for her, I think, maybe she’ll let her guard down with them.[

Then you have Kal and Murph, my brothers in metal, wrestling, and hot rodding. They have both stood by me even as the Wolf family was imploding. I owe it to them to rain Hell upon FIGHT! with them, like Kal did with Damon back in UnCivilizeD and like Murph and I did when we terrorized the EWA a few years back.

I will do anything and everything to keep them safe, successful, loved and comforted.

These are my people.

They are my priority.

To Dynasty

To The Cure

To New Status Quo

F[/i]UCK Y OU ALL!