BK. 2, CH. 01 PT. 02 – Lock the Gates (Καλημέρα)

By: James Raven

Writing Prompt: No

Date: 2nd Feb 2022

“CALM BEFORE THE STORM”
ORLANDO, FLORIDA
THE MAGIC KINGDOM
MOMENTS BEFORE BLOOD MONEY 2

Her eyes are empty as she passes, barely flicking in his direction as FIGHT! show-runners and security lead her around the gates towards her entrance to the park. Her hair is pulled back in a tight ponytail, her heels clipping against the pavement loudly and her demeanor colder than any brisk night air.

“Fuck her.”

James Raven looks away from Betsy Granger as she disappears slowly and confidently around a corner, taking a deep breath and ignoring the obnoxious and callous sniping of his older brother. TJ doesn’t let it go easily, though.

“Forget about her. This isn’t the time to get sentimental, or to start doubting things. Focus up, bitch, it’s time to go to work.”

“Nobody’s sentimental. Nobody’s doubting anything. I’m ready.”

“Don’t lie to me. You act like I can’t tell exactly what you’re feeling right now. Sure, you stepped away, but she went hammering wedges between the two of you like it was her job. Don’t make me pull out the laundry list of things that she’s said, or tweeted, or don-“

“Stop. I said I was ready.”

“You better be…”

The ominous tone echoes menacingly in his head, the words of his brother reverberating to his core. A chill rushes up his spine. He tells himself it’s because of the wind. He turns away from the gate to the Disney park, rolling his shoulders and twisting his neck sharply to both sides to crack the vertebrae. He paces slowly and tries to act casual, his eyes cast down at the concrete before slowly lifting to sneak a glance at the corner Betsy had vanished behind.

“Oh, Christ…”

“I’m good.”

“Are you?! If you meet her inside those gates, are you really going to be able to focus on the task at hand? Can you stick to your guns? Because I’m really starting to second guess whether you can handle this sort of action.”

“Yes.”

“Can you look her in the eyes and forget about all of the good times together, and kick her head off her shoulders? Can you take her Manhattan title, if given the opportunity?”

“Yes.”

“I need you to focus on the hatred and the spite. I need you to remember the rage she’s filled you with, and all of the nights spent home alone waiting to be worth something to her… let that shit FUEL you. Think about who she was in this business when you met her, and look at her now. SHE USED YOU!”

“STOP! You’re such a fucking cunt. I said I’m ready, and I’m ready.”

TJ says nothing. He’s skeptical. He has good reason to be.

“Turn around.”

Slowly, James obliges. He rotates back towards the gate, his eyes still cast down on the concrete.

“Look at her.”

James looks up slowly, his gaze resting on the visage of his goddess, Atara Themis. A soft smile appears on his face. She’s been watching him from the park entrance, and brushes the hair from her face as she returns a gentle grin.

“This isn’t just about Blood Money 2, little brother. This is about your entire future, your happily ever after… I need you to be completely honest with me…Are you TRULY prepared to do anything you have to do? Can you overcome anything, and anybody, that comes between you and the ultimate goal?”

“Yes.”

“Good.”

A long pause.

“Because if you can’t, you know that I will. Don’t let it come to that.”

James stands rooted in place, watching as Atara makes her way over to him carefully and places a palm on each side of his jaw. She pulls his face closer to hers, staring into his eyes with an unbridled intensity.

ATARA
This whole park is a Garden of Adonis. Remind them. This entire roster is terrified of what you can do. Show them.

She leans in and kisses him, her hands moving from his face and through his hair before she releases him.

ATARA
Once it starts, if you need me, I’ll be there.

The two make their way back to the gate, standing together as they await their cue to enter.

RAVEN
I need you.

She smiles at him.

“Aaaaaand here… we… go…”

‘The calm before the storm’.

It’s an idiom that’s skyrocketed in popularity since the twentieth century. It’s a phrase of figurative meaning, describing the period of tranquility or stability that often seems to precede difficult times. The original phrase was “the calm before the tempest”, penned by Gervase Markham and Lewis Machin in their seventeenth century play ‘The Dumb Knight’.

He had been absorbing a lot of #AttyFacts lately.

ATARA
You’re going to win this entire thing.

That was another.

FADE TO BLACK