CALAMITY II // PATIENT ZERO | SPACE

By: Dickie Watson

Date: 23rd Jul 2021

CALAMITY II // PATIENT ZERO |†SPACE

I ALWAYS TRY TO PICK MY BATTLES
BUT I NEVER SEEM TO WIN ONE
IíVE TAKEN CHANCES WORSE THAN ONE IN A MILLION
AND I CHANGED MY TUNE TO PLAY FOR YOU
I NEED SPACE

????????

Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.

There was no other way to put it. Leo Tolstoy said it correctly: you could never see truly what shines unless you take away the dirt, the grime, and the elements that tried to look like they were worthy. There would always be something to cover the truth, something to cover the gold and make it look like it wasnít worth quite as much as the bearer of it. That was the previous cycle, the continuation of slander and lies in order to make the person, group, company, whatever, look like they meant nothing.†

No one looking at Dickie Watson, in his grunge clothing, his lanky frame, his long hair and his cocky smirk, would think that he was gold. That he was, by any means, able to run with something and make it gold. He wasnít world champion material, was he? No. Not by any stretch of the imagination. And yetÖ

Yes, Dickie Watson was your crowned inaugural FIGHT! NYC Empire Champion. The World Champion. The one with a target on his back.

This wasnít new. This wasnít something that he was unsure of, that now that he had his hands wrapped around the gold plates and leather, he didnít know what to do. Four times. Four times, heíd held his hands around an inaugural championship. This was no different. Paul Montuori had gone down for a three count, and here he was…the unknown cog in the machine threatening to bring down everything around him. A calamitous affair…if not The Calamity itself. No one expected him to pull it off, least of all the members of a world that had forsaken them. They all had a moment. They all had a chance, just the same as he, and where did they stand now?

It didnít matter, because where he stood was far above everyone else.

As the drone circled above, he knew every eye was on him. The people in The Tower would be taken into the in-house infirmary, they would be nursed back to health, and then they would be looking to gun directly for him. He knew it, Xavier Wolf knew it, and the world who rejoiced with them in the crowning of this championship knew it. Dickie was Patient Zero, and there was no way around it.†

Heíd cleaned the grime away from his bones enough to show that they were gold. It was the only truth he knew. People were quick to claim they were stars, but it was only the ones that rose to the challenge that truly got there. Dickie rose to every challenge. He fought with everything in him. That wasnít to say others didnít, but he? He had to fight to get to where he was.

And that was on top of the world, just like heíd done.

Three times before.

There was no second guessing himself now. There was no lack of confidence, no lack of being who he wanted to be. This is who he was, this was what he came here for. Just a reminder of what he was, what he fought for, and what he wanted to represent. The very best. And there was no taking this from him.

Not now.

????????

ONE WEEK AFTER BLOOD MONEY, JULY 17
WATSON RESIDENCE, NEW YORK CITY

Hannah Watson was patient. She was kind, she was sweet, and she was a little bit more quirky than others would give her credit for. But her patience was sky high, and she always kept a smile on her face. With her multi-colored hair and her penchant for perfect makeup, she could even be considered quite beautiful. Of course, everyone had their own attractive leanings, but for Dimitri Watson, his wife was the bonafide package for him.

She sat on the white suede couch, her flowered, light linen sundress flowing out onto the cushions beneath her. In her hands, she held an Amazon Kindle and seemed to be focused on it. At least, mostly. Every so often, she would glance out the large windows of their home to see the smoggy sky, to see another plane float by silently. She raised a hand, reaching for the glass of tea that sat on the glass coffee table, and took a sip from the metallic straw within. Her knees and feet were propped up onto the cushions, as well, and she crossed her ankles softly, inhaling a little bit heavier as she waited.†

Her phone buzzed an hour ago, and she felt anxious. This had been the longest that sheíd been away from her husband, save for her trip to Italy, and the Italian woman did not like it. But that was her argument with Dimitri, wasnít it? That she wanted to stay away from wrestling, that she wanted to just be at home. Her brother, Cameron, would stop by time to time, but otherwise, she chose to stay home on her lonesome.†

She sat up abruptly as the lock turned in the door, and a moment later, she saw the jetlagged face of her husband after five days of being away from him. A smile slipped up on her face and she watched as he closed the door behind him, brushing a hand through his sweat-soaked hair with a sigh of relief. There was nothing like being home after such a long time.

Hi, babe,” she greeted him enthusiastically. But not too enthusiastically. Or at least, she hoped it wasnít too enthusiastic.

Hey.” He replied, dropping his backpack off his shoulder. He shuffled, silently, around the sofa as she set her Kindle down, and raised both her arms. Dimitri set a knee on the cushions and then all but flopped down onto his wife, resting his head on her stomach and sighing once more. Hannah smiled as she ran her fingers through his hair and played with it lightly.†

How was Australia?

Fine.Ҡ

It was a single word response, which Hannah knew was a signal that he didnít want to talk about it. HoweverÖshe flicked him in the ear and after the initial “ow” that echoed through their apartment, he rose up onto his forearms and stared at her in the face.

Didnít win. Happy now?

Hannah sighed and shook her head. Her smile faded. Really, the level of pressure that Dickie put on himself was ridiculous at times. Anyone else would sit there and say that they were proud of the job they did, that they were going to let it bother them for only a little bit of time, but eventually, they would rise once more and hit the apex of what they could become. But she knew her husband: this was going to affect him for far longer than either of them would like.†

There is always next time, lovey.” She said, reminding him that there was, indeed, a next time.

Right. Right, and while I sit around and watch while people who were such chickenshits that they hid under the fucking ring for a majority of the match go and get a chance to win at my championship, I get to sit and team with Druggie Petey and The Shining Star-Who-Has-His-Head-Elsewhere against people that I could decimate on any given Tuesday for no championship, just the right to bury them in the shit that they deserve. I have to carry these motherfuckers and Iím not in the mood for it.“†

Hannahís nose turned up in response. “That sounded awfully like Finn there.

Am I wrong?” Dimitri crawled backwards onto his knees and flopped backwards onto the couch. He crossed his arms semi-petulantly and looked up at the ceiling. “I just feel as if Iím being wasted. I still try to carry this company on my back, I still try to be everything for it, and what do I get but kicked off of the turnbuckle by an opportunist who has his head lodged so far up his own crevice called an ass so long that he has to wear sunglasses because otherwise the sun would burn his retinas.

Hannah continued to look at him through half-narrowed eyes and as he threw his hands up in the air. He shook his head and sighed. “You know I fight for everything…and I had it in my hands. I could see the end, the moment where I could just do what Iíd done everywhere else. And it just…slipped out of my hands again. I donít get it, Hannah. I donít. I was on top of the world and then I justÖ

They got bored of you. I know.” She rolled her eyes. It was the same thing sheíd heard for months now. She slid out from underneath him and rose to her feet, crossing her arms in the process† “Maybe…just maybe, DimitriÖmaybe itís time to cut your losses, you know? Stop trying to relieve what you were last year. Just stop trying to prove that youíre the best, because clearly, youíre not. Not anymore. Not there, and to be perfectly honest, you probably wonít be ever again. The talent, the people theyíve brought in…

She didnít look at him as she spoke. It was as if she couldnít. For so long, sheíd tried to keep up the smile, to tell him that he was more than capable in everything that he did. But she was tired, and she felt like she was lying to him. Maybe, just maybe, telling him the truth, telling him that he was just burying himself in a hole and that he would never rise from this would get him out of this inherent need to be better than everyone else. He struggled daily with feelings of inadequacy, and despite what heíd done, nothing seemed to shake it. Not Aiden, not championships, not even her; no one could stop him from feeling the way he did, except perhaps a therapist and a year of sessions.

…I really think that you should be thinking about other avenues. The Legacy shot, the shot at becoming the Grand Champion…Dimitri, you are the champion in another promotion and I know you and Aiden will carry the tag titles at APEX. Maybe even in Project: Honor…” She turned then, tucking her blue hair behind her ear. Hannah took a few steps back toward him and knelt down in front of him. “I…I-I was talking to your si–

Donít even.

She stopped at his request. Dimitriís hazel eyes seemed to be looking at her, but they were unfocused and looking past her. Like he always did when the topic came up in conversation, he became catatonic. Rigid. Unrelenting and unforgiving in his responses. There was a line drawn, and sheíd suddenly crossed it. Even she knew that.

Dimitri–

Yeah?” He questioned, rising to his feet and heading back towards the door. Dickie reached out, grabbed his backpack and headed for the staircase, climbing the stairs by twos. Hannah sighed and followed him, wringing her hands together as she did so. “Have a good chat with her? Sit down and have tea?”

Thatís not–

Oh, Iím sure it was harmless.” He snarled back, tossing the backpack on the bed and starting to pull things out of it. Electronics, video game systems, medications, they all found themselves scattered across the black bedspread. “It always is, and Iím sure that Iím just being completely and utterly moronic and if I apologized, everything would be hunky-dory and everyone would live happily ever after. We could have family dinners again, and we could listen as we hear about the Grand Tales of the Gothmother, of her little sycophants that follow her while the rest of us sit and listen like a bunch of fuckiní houseplants.

Hannah stood at the top of the stairs, staring into the room and watching as her husband, though forcefully, began to put away everything. Dimitriís tone bordered two levels higher than his normal tone, which was rarely raised when it came to her. “Itís just that I feel like itís weighing down too much on you. This whole thing, itís changed you, and thatís what we talked about. I donít recognize the man I married and I–

You donít? Or she manipulated you into not seeing me?” He asked, turning on his heel. “I havenít changed, Hannah. Not towards you. Not towards the people that give a flying fuck about me. Yeah, Iím a little angry; Iím not going to deny that. Anyone abandoned by the one person they considered their family for twenty-seven years of their life would be. Donít you dare sit there and not realize what this is about just because she doesnít. I could give a shit less about the championship, and I try to remember that Iím supposed to care about it every time I enter that ring. We talk about the business as being our primary focus, but you and I both know it never was. It was about rising above. Rising above everyone else, including them. I can do that anywhere, but not where she stands. Look at what Iíve accomplished without her presence. Without either of their presences.

But I just–

Just stop.” He snapped. “She abandoned me. Twice. I wonít let it happen a third time just because she has some fucking egotistical pride and needs to feel like sheís finally on top of the world after living in the dirt for her entire wrestling career. Every single person Iíve ever given a shit about has peaced out of my life, either by choice or by death, and fuck, I donít blame them. Hell, I wouldnít blame you if you decided to go.

Stop it!” Hannah cried back, clenching her fists at her sides. Dimitri stopped, but refused to look at her, shaking his head slightly. She had tears in her eyes, and she bit her lip as she looked at him. “Youíve put so much of yourself into one person. Youíre spending so much time hating her that you canít rise because youíre blinding yourself! Dimitri, sheís gone. Sheís not coming to say sheís sorry because honestly, she shouldnít have to. You fired at her, you tried to riddle her with bullets and she–

She fucking left me alone! Again!” Dimitri roared, silencing Hannah once more as he turned to face her. “She leaves everyone she touches in pain like sheís a fucking poison, and youíre no different. Iím no different. I sought her approval for so long — sheís never wanted me to wrestle, she never wanted me to do well. Sheís always wanted me to be under her shadow, sheís always drug me down into a pool of her own venom and I canít be patient zero for her meteoric rise to the top. I have my own fallacies and faults, Hannah, but I shouldnít have to carry her ego for her too. Just so she can feel better about the life she destroyed all on her own.

The blue-haired woman chewed on her lip. Dimitri never yelled at her. Never. And yet, here he was, screaming as if the rest of New York City needed to hear it.

You donít fucking abandon your family, no matter what happens. Fight, scream, yell at them. Walk away for a little bit, come back with a level head, but you donít abandon them.” His voice lowered. “You donít get it.

Youíd never get it, Hannah. You havenít lived through it. Your father would go through hell and back to make sure youíre safe, your brother is always an armís length away. Youíve not had to go through being left by everyone whoís supposed to care about you. This business, as much as I love it, has killed my relationships with people because of ego and pride. I am a better person, I am a better leader, but because pandering and a need to be something has grown exponentially in a woman who has been berated and told sheís better than she is, I was left. And youíre supposed to be the one person who gets that. Or at least, tries.

But I do!

But you donít. Otherwise, you would have never gone to speak with her. You would have never interfered in any of this. You would have stood by my side. You are my best friend, my wife, and even if you donít get something completely, you, of all people, are supposed to at least try to get that.

Dimitri, I canít just not talk to her. Sheís helped me in–

I know. I fucking know that.” He shook his head and walked towards her, looking down at her as he did so. He clasped up her hands in his and shook his head once more. “Youíre my person. Youíre supposed to be on my side here. I love you, you know that.” Her lip trembled and he raised his hand to her face, cupping her cheek. “Youíre supposed to understand. And I canít do this. I canít sit here and justÖ.listen to you defend her. Iím going out. You need to choose which side youíre on, love, because Iím not going to have this fight with you every time I come home.

He kissed her forehead, and she sputtered as he stepped back and then started moving down the stairs. For a second, she was stunned. Hannah didnít know what to do, what to say. Dimitri had never given her any kind of ultimatum, but this must have stung the most if he was. After holding back a beat, she rushed down the steps after him. What was she supposed to say? Tell him that if he walked out the door, they were done? She wasnít going to stay here? She wasnít going to be told? Yell at him louder than he had?

But she never got the chance.

The door slammed behind him.

 

????????


You know how they always say, “
Third time is the charm?

Some people believe that maybe three times is enough. Three times to rise, three times to set, three times to fall apart at the seams because you have nothing left in your life to live for. No matter the situation youíre in, life comes at you in threes. Positives, negatives. Sometimes they help you rise, or sometimes, they help you implode. There is no if, and, or but. There is only survival.

I guess thatís what you can attribute the events of Blood Money to. Survival. Survival to rise above, survival to make it to the end, survival to stand up against one of the greats of this realm and to succeed where the rest of the company failed to capitalize. Paul Montuori has a similar story to mine: we both wanted to rise above our siblings, we wanted to show that we were better, smarter, faster, stronger. The parallels are almost perfect when you look at it, except where he was persona grata, I became persona non grata.

My life prior to wrestling…well, it shaped me into who I am today. I wonít lie, Iíve got a bit of an abandonment problem, but when your parents are both dead and the person who raised you was a fellow child in the orphanage where you grew up as opposed to the nuns who were supposed to, when that person leaves you and berates you for what you chose to do…well, it gets difficult to say where the lines are drawn. One day, perhaps, weíll go down that road of orphanages and foster families and a complete and utter lack for the wellbeing of the people in their care, but thatís not today, and itís not now.

I stand before you all as the Empire Champion. Iím not the person you expected to be standing there at the end, I know. Everyone has their favorites, everyone pushes for their favorites to rise to the top. But I came out with my fists raring to go. I wasnít going to stand down there at the bottom of the tower and wonder who or what I needed to step on in order to succeed. That was my goal from the moment that I started in this business. Be the target, be the one that they donít expect.

Be the one that glitters with gold, but isnít.†

In training, I sat there and said to myself that I needed to play the part appropriately. I was never going to look the part. I donít gain weight, no matter how many cheeseburgers I put into my stomach, and I will never be seen as wrestler extraordinaire. Weighing one-hundred and seventy-six pounds, barely hitting six feet, the only thing that would attract people to me are my grungy good looks and my smile. For a long time, I profited off that smile of mine. No way would I ever be considered anything with that smile. I wouldnít be a fighter. I wouldnít be a destruction derby machine.

I wouldnít have signed with a company that leaned a little too far on the deathmatch side for this world now. I wouldnít have become its face the first show in.

I wouldnít have signed with a larger company with a huge audience and became their inaugural champion. I wouldnít have been undefeated for the entirety of both attempts at their rise. I was their only champion.

I wouldnít have walked into Project: Honor and become their inaugural champion. I wouldnít be sitting here with only five losses to my name in a year.

I wouldnít have walked into APEX. I wouldnít have become and inaugural tag champion.

Everywhere I go, I make a name for myself. And I really donít care if you like me or not, but you are going to respect me for my abilities. I am a damn good wrestler. Iíve worked hard for everything that Iíve gotten, and I swear to God, I hate when people disrespect the places I work for. Especially the places I represent. FIGHT! is now my number one priority, but I will be damned if I donít excel in every place I work in. I am not an opportunist: I earn everything that I fight for. This championship? Itís no different.

What is different, however…is that Iím not just a wrestler. I am a fighter. A survivor. Resilient, meddlesome, relentless, I will fight anyone that comes at me if only to protect me and my own. Iíve earned my place in the precipice of this company, just as much as anyone else did. I carry it with honor, dignity, grace, and everything because it does mean that much to me. Five eliminations, one being that of a legacy carrier himself, and the other the man who parallels me in so many ways.

And yet, I was the one who rose to prominence. I am the target, the person to penetrate with bullets so they go down into the fires of Mordor or whatever fuckiní weird ass place you want to call it. Purgatory. Hell. A place where youíre yesterdayís news, and youíve got nothing more than a few more matches left in your tank before you move on to a place that values your rise. I know where I stand in this company: Iím the newbie, the one that you donít know, and the one youíre going to try and put what you think you know about me on me. I fully expect for you to try and destroy me the way that I mercilessly took out three of you at Blood Money.†

It feels good to be the target, and let me tell you this now: I donít want you to shy away. I want you to come at me, give me everything that you have in order to bury me. It makes it that much sweeter when Iím able to outlast, and outfight you. You donít know my level of ability, or what I can or cannot take. There have been multiple times where people have tried to assess my tolerance, where it stops and where it starts, and let me tell you right now…Iím not the type that youíre going to be able to figure out with just a couple glances at what I can do.†

This isnít Blood Money, and this isnít an opportunity now for everyone else in the entirety of the company to be better than each other. This is Venom. This is that singular, one off moment where someone on the other side gets the opportunity to try and outfight the Empire Champion. That person is Dane Preston, a man that carries a lot of baggage and clout into this company.

Everyone knows you, Dane. They know your story. They know what youíve done, they know what you can do, and they know what the world is around you. Youíve had your kids, youíve married people, youíve traveled these roads with these people for far longer than Iíve even been wrestling. Youíve had your opportunities, youíve had your rise to fame and they call you what now…Dickless Dane? Thereís a significant amount of information on youÖ

…and I just donít care.

I know that sounds shitty. I can hear it in my tone, and I know itís not exactly what youíre dying to hear from me. Donít get me wrong, I respect every competitor that comes across me, but Iíve faced so many people that sit there and give me their life story that I just…donít care. I donít care if you have a jiu-jitsu background, I donít care that youíve been incarcerated, I donít care who youíve married, I donít care. When we step in that ring across from one another, everything that we know about each other goes out the window except the fight in our hands. Thatís what FIGHT! is, isnít it?†

Itís about what we can do in this tower, how we can fight the masses, how we push each other to gain notoriety and fight. I respect you enough to give you my all. I respect you enough to not go down without a fight, to push harder than I ever have, and to represent the company that I now stand as the face of it all. Itís a hard job to have, but believe me when I say, even though Iíve only been around for three years, I know how to carry it.†

At Blood Money, you spent your time burying yourself into decimating the Montuoris. You fought Joe and Paul valiantly, you tried to protect your family…but you failed. Right up until the very end, you failed. And that has to eat at you, knowing that you had an opportunity such as the rest of us, and you were in the final seven. The problem that this creates, Dane, is that we know your weakness. Thatís what this precedent sets, and this is what I see. If I were to go after Allison, or your children, what would you do? Would you lose your head? Would you engrain yourself into the battle just to see me fall?

You lose your head with me, you lose everything.

Iím calculating, I push, and I decimate when I find a weakness. Itís how Iíve always operated, ever since I was a kid: find the button, push it. Find the thing that matters to them most, take it. Hell, in a war with friends, if weíre all against each other, it is every man for himself. Iíve been loosely affiliated with Shawn Warstein for a little under a year now, and I eliminated him like that just to ensure my own success.†

You canít have ties in this business, because they just end up breaking you. Makes it a little difficult for the tag bit that was announced, but you know. You align with the right people for a certain amount of time, and then youíre done when that time expires.†

But thatís the thing, Dane. I donít have anyone I need to protect in this company. I donít have anyone I rely on, I donít have anything but me, myself, and I. And those three? They donít like falling down for anyone. Not with a person with such a storied history. We can all look at this as a continuation of the old, but is it really? Itís new, itís uncharted, and itís led by me. And I donít fight to lose. Every loss Iíve had has come at some opportunist using dickbait moves to rise…Iím sure thatís not what youíre going to do. You wouldnít dream of being a callous fuckwit taking the easy way out.

So throw everything at me. Try to beat me down. And watch me rise like the goddamned phoenix that I am.

Your Empire Champion, whether theyíre in the main event, headliner, or first round, will put on a clinic every fucking time, you best believe it. And this time? Itís no different.†

Good luck, mate.

 

????????

 

He didnít know why he showed up there. Itíd been raining for the last twenty minutes of his walk, but he ended up walking the three miles across New York City with nothing but the ripped up tank and jeans he wore, his converse sloshing in the puddles on the sidewalk. He walked into the lobby of the building, ignoring the guffaws of the doorman who complained about the riff raff now entering his building. Without a thought, he moved for the hallway full of elevators and bashed the up button about thirty times.

Once inside, he stared at the walls, but he wasnít seeing them. No, he was seeing her leave. He was seeing her raven hair as she never looked back, he was seeing her walk away from him. It was like a broken record. Ever since March, itís all that played in his head when he heard her name. Not their battle, not their war. Just her, sixteen years old and walking out of his life for good. It was so…minor. People left all the time, and it wasnít like she was really his family. Heíd just relied on her so much that it affected him this badly now.†

Perhaps he never should have trusted her. Because now all it did was make him hate everything. It made him dislike his job, his life, his family, his career…it made him wonder if he was ever going to stand on his own two feet again. FIGHT! gave him that opportunity, it gave him the ability to become something without ever having either of their names attached to his progress. They didnít know of them, and here…here he was safe. Here, he could survive and battle and become something that he would never have again elsewhere. FIGHT! was his priority, and that was what he needed to focus in on: building a new home.†

Something he desperately needed.

The elevator signaled his arrival at the tenth floor, and he wandered into the private hallway, staring at the door. Water dripped off of his nose, and onto the carpet beneath him. He paused outside of the door, his hand raised upwards in order to announce to the inhabitants that he was here, but he didnít have his phone, and besides that, heíd froze.†

He should have walked to Aidenís. He didnít know why he was here.

Regardless of his lack of knocking, the door swung open. A woman with raven hair stood there, and for a moment, his body went into panic mode. He could feel his body preparing to leap backwards and dash for the elevator, but he stayed frozen completely. It was no use, however: this wasnít her. Tattoos decorated her arms and chest, where she proudly displayed her tits with a low-cut tank and short-shorts that showed just a little more than hint of a backside he didnít want to see when she turned around. She wore an angry expression, pursed lips and an annoyed eyebrow raised upwards. With a roll of her eyes, she turned and looked back into the flat.

Your pissy little brother is here, Finn.” She announced, her East English accent strong.†

Of course, Kayla was here. She always seemed to be hanging around Finnís apartment now, and for what, Dickie didnít really know. It was like she was trying to seduce him somehow, and his older brother was just ignoring all of it either out of stupidity or because he knew she was engaged to be married. This bothered Dimitri a hell of a lot, but it wasnít his friend and it wasnít his actual brother.

All he knew was that heíd walked all this way and he still didnít know why it was the option.

She led him into the apartment, to the living room where his brother was seated on the large grey sectional, his lanky legs draped over the seat cushions. Finn Whelan was, by all means, another decorated wrestler in Dickieís life. He was what Dickie originally wanted to be. Lanky, tall, bright blue eyes, a smirk that would kill women in their sleep, and a charm that seemed to keep him in good graces no matter what the hell he said. He currently wrestled in a different promotion, and seemed to be enjoying himself. More than he used to, anyway. Maybe it was because he cut all professional ties with people that only brought him down. Maybe it was because heíd stopped chasing for the top championships, instead letting the cards fall where they laid.

Kayla, too, was a wrestler. She was signed to Project: Honor, and just moved onto Dickieís brand. He couldnít imagine having to deal with her in more places than just this one, but thatís how the cards fell. She dropped down next to him, a little too closely, but Finn didnít bother to say anything. The older man just looked up from his seat and raised an eyebrow.†

Eventually, when Dickie didnít move and Finn just stared at him, opting to do so instead of watching American Horror Story reruns, he cleared his throat. “You smell like a wet dog.

Poor little bitch.” Kaylaís tone was patronizing. Finn turned his head and smirked a little bit.

Kayla.” He stated.

Would you go like…fuck a nine inch spike and get the hell out of my brotherís living room?” Dickie snapped at her, at the same time as Finn spoke.†

Kaylaís expression turned to amused surprise as she raised her hand and pressed it to her collar bone, leaning backwards. She turned her head to look at Finn, and then back at Dickie, and Finn again. “Well, fuckiníell.” She laughed derisively, rising to her feet once more. “The poor puppy dog has a little bit of bite today. Iím going to go get some popcorn…donít move onto the next episode without me.” She reached out and ran a singular finger against Finnís sharp jawline, before disappearing entirely into the kitchen.

Finn rolled his eyes and snorted. When Dickie still said nothing, he gestured to the couch. But still, he didnít move. Normally, Dickie would say something about Kaylaís behavior, about how raunchy it was that she was willing to flirt with Finn despite being engaged to someone else. But Finn wouldnít comment on it anyway, and Dickie seemed to be in some form of shock.

Youíre here…why?

Dickie lowered his head, staring at his feet.†

I think Hannah and I are in a fight. I canít go back home right now…can I bum a couple nights here with you?

You riddle people with bullets in an attempt to make them realize how they hurt you, but you never realize that even when youíre firingÖ

…youíre only firing at yourself.††