I owe it to her.

By: Ricky Rodriguez

Writing Prompt: Yes

Date: 21st Dec 2021

The match had been highly anticipated and it had not disappointed in the slightest. Ricky  and Toddy had spent the better part of the match throwing everything in their arsenals at one another. The best of friends had, once more, proven to be even better opponents. Cheers filled the air as the two had their match.

 

One miscue from Todrick had allowed Ricky to nearly take her head off with a huge spinning roundhouse kick. Before Toddy could recover, Ricky hoisted her up onto his shoulders before flipping her off and driving his knee into her skull with his Real Style finisher!

 

The exhausted Rodriguez fell onto Toddy and was barely able to hook a single leg. Dropping to the mat, the official slammed his hand onto the canvas for a count of three. The cheers were deafening as Ricky was declared the winner and Number One Contender to the Brooklyn Championship.

 

Ricky helped his friend to her feet and the two shared a tight hug. Toddy raised the arm of Ricky high into the air as the two celebrated one another and the match itself. Toddy was the first to leave, letting her friend have the time to bask in the cheers from the crowd. After doing just that, Ricky made his exit from the ring and walked to the back.

 

As soon as he got back there, he was greeted by the highly excited face of Jennie Fenix. She threw her arms around Ricky, who did the exact same, the two sharing a rather tight hug. It lingered for a couple moments before they let one another go. Jennie looked at Ricky with that bright smile upon her face before reaching up, her hands resting on both sides of his face.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘I’m sooo proud of you, baby! I knew you could do it. I was cheering so loud.’

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Not without you, I couldn’t tho. With you believin in me and havin my back? There’s nothin I can’t do!’

 

Jennie’s smile only grew as she brought a single arm up and around behind Ricky. Her hand slipping into the young man’s hair, she pulled him down into a deep, loving kiss. Not giving the slightest care to anyone around them, their kiss lasted for a couple moments before they parted once more.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘You really are the best thing to ever happen to me, I love you so much.’

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘I love you too.’

 

They leaned into one another once more, their lips finding the ones of the other. And once more, the pair embraced one another in a kiss.

 

And that was when Ricky shot up into a seated position. His eyes opened wide, he was quick to look around the room he was in, trying to regain his bearings. Noticing the dresser containing his clothes, a couple posters up on his wall, Ricky realized that the whole thing was just a dream.

 

His chest rose and fell steadily as his body was still reeling from that rather intense dream. Bringing a single hand up, he ran it through his hair. Everything about the dream had just felt so real. It was as if he could still feel her hand against the back of his head. The flutter he felt in his heart, remembering those words so vividly, was still present.

 

Ricky closed his eyes tightly as he tried like hell to regain his grip on reality. He felt the movement of another in that bed and looked to his right to see the sleeping body of Sahara, next to him. Very carefully, Ricky slipped out of that bed. He headed straight to the bathroom, silently closing the door behind him.

 

Standing in front of the sink, he looked at his own reflection staring back at him from that mirror. Turning the water on, he cupped his hands beneath the flow. Once there was enough pooled there, he splashed that water into his own face. Rubbing it in, he let his hands fall from his face. Droplets of water fell freely from his face as he looked into that mirror again.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘..that was new.’

 

That morning.

 

That dream still weighed heavily upon the mind of Ricky. Not so much the outcome of the match, but Jennie’s involvement in the whole thing. She had proved to be an amazing friend. The two had a lot in common but, for Ricky at least, that’s where it ended. Sure, he and Sahara have their problems but he still loved her and wanted to be with her.

 

Though, he’d be lying if he didn’t want things to be better between them. Sure, the sex was great, but Sahara wasn’t the most..comforting of people. She even made it clear, on multiple occasions, that she didn’t see Ricky as someone who could succeed in this business. She clearly didn’t believe in him and as much as it hurt him, he was still enamored with her. Even going as far as to having called him a loser more than a couple times.

 

But even still, Ricky still found himself trailing after her. As many times as shes proverbially kicked him while he was down, he’d still do anything she wanted him to do. It wasn’t a preferable situation and even other people felt bad for Ricky for being in the spot he was in.

 

Not just friends either, even though there were a lot of them who were quite verbal about it. But even strangers, who didn’t really know either one of them, were much more in favor of Ricky and Jennie than they were of Ricky and Sahara.

 

This was all new to the young man and he really didn’t know how to deal with it all. Deciding the best thing, for now, would be to hit up the gym. That way he could not only get ready for the match but hopefully clear his head as well. As soon as he stepped foot into Fight’s Training Center he felt a bit of peace in his mind. But of course, that wouldn’t last long as he caught sight of Jennie Fenix across the way, really tearing it up with a workout of her own.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Man.’

 

He gripped the handle of his gym bag a bit tighter as he made his way deeper into the facility. Even as he did, he couldn’t help but to occasionally glance over in her direction. It was the first time seeing her after that dream and he’d be lying if he saw her the same as he did before. Her hair was thrown up into a messy bun and it was like she was in an entirely different zone. The determination was crystal clear in her face as she prepared herself for her upcoming match against Ashlynn Cassidy.

 

Setting his bag down next to a stationary bike, Ricky reached up to slick his hair back before getting up on it. He hit a few buttons and began to use his legs to pedal. Finding it hard to really get into it, he would occasionally glance over at Jennie. It wasn’t even the first time they’ve been in the gym together but this time? The way her workout attire clung to her body in all the right places? It was something he hadn’t even noticed before. 

 

To say his mind began to wander would be an understatement. It got to the point where he didn’t even realize that Jennie had finished her workout and noticed Ricky in his own. Poor Ricky was so lost in his thoughts that Jennie had to reach out and grab him by the shoulder. The sudden contact jolted Ricky from his thoughts, even startling the man.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Oh shit, Jennie! Hey!’

 

He laughed out, a hint of nervousness to it. His legs slowed their pedaling as he reached up behind his head and rubbed the back of his head for a moment.

 

Jennie waved at Ricky which turned into her stretching her arms out and letting out a massive yawn.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Heeey, Ricky!’

 

She said, midway returning to a normal voice and smacked her lips together a few times. She walked toward Ricky and the cycle and couldn’t help but see the duration he was on, and how much distance he had traveled

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘How are you?’

 

She tapped her hands against the handlebars while slumping against it. She was still quite tired.

 

Her voice brought him back to reality as Ricky looked at Jennie with a bright, reassuring smile.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Hey Jenniee~’

 

He relaxed back a bit, retaining that smile. After thinking about it for a moment, he shrugged his shoulders a bit.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I’m okay enough, I think. How bout you?’

 

It was clear that Ricky was a bit distracted and after a dream like that, who wouldn’t be?

 

Jennie groaned while lying her head down against the handlebars.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Soooo tired! Everything is a mess.’

 

She let out a heavy sigh before crossing her arms and sitting back up slightly.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘How long have you been up? I thought I’d be the first!’

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I’ve been up for a..while. Hadda..weird..dream and couldn’t sleep very well at all last night.’

 

He laughed slightly before looking at her with a tilt of his head.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘But whatcha mean by everythin’s a mess? Are you good?’

 

There was a bit of concern in his voice as he stepped off of that bike to stand on his feet.

 

Jennie waved her hand a few times then tapped it against the front of the cycle.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Oh it’s no biggy really, we’ll deal with that! What was the dream about? Was it like… zombie apocalypse?’

 

Jennie leaned forward with her interest peaking.

 

Ricky’s eyes widened just a bit as he heard her question. Quickly, he shook his head as if to dismiss the thought.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Nah, nothin bad like that at all. It was a great dream really, just kinda shook me up a lilbit.’

 

He nodded in agreement with himself.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Oohhh… was it about puppies?’

 

Jennie got her own dreamy look.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘I had a dream about puppies one time! They were aliens and started eating everything but they were too cute so we just let it happen.’

 

Jennie nodded.

 

He gasped out before laughing afterwards.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘We’d be totally screwed if that happened. How do you defend against that kinda cuteness?’

 

Laughing still even as he spoke, he shook his head slowly.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Scary as hell just thinkin bout it.’

 

Jennie got a bit of a dazed look, almost distraught as she thought about that dream but soon snapped back to reality. Her bright eyes widened as she fixated back on Ricky, and smiled.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Tell me about yours, though!’

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Mine? Oh..uhh..’

 

He thought about it for a moment, once more reaching for and rubbing the back of his head.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘It was after the match at Countdown with Toddy and it was really nice..but different?’

 

Jennie was nodding her head as an expression that she was listening, but as Ricky questioned, she leaned a little further forward.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘How so? Was it like…the future? I mean of course it’s the future, but like further in the future!’

 

A soft smile broke out across his face, almost on instinct, as he thought back to that dream.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Nah, it was like..the match itself. Me and Toddy tore it up..and I won. I actually won. And when I got to the back, you were there.’

 

Jennie giggled at the comment.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Total premonition! Of course you won, and of course I’m gonna be there after you win!’

 

Jennie nodded, sounding so sure. But she tried to stay quiet to indicate for Ricky to continue.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Well yeah, you’re gonna be there. But like, in the dream, you weren’t just there, you were there.’

 

Clearly, he wasn’t quite sure how to phrase it without just coming out with it.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Things were different in the dream than they are here and you were sayin the nicest things and bein so supportive and just..’

 

He stopped, sighing softly as he shook his head a bit.

 

Jennie kept her eyes on Ricky, seeming to pick up on what he was suggesting either the dream. Her lips formed the shape of an “O” and she leaned back slightly.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Oh… oh!’

 

She did return to her giddiness although she blushed slightly.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Umm! Nothing wrong with that… it was just a dream after all!’

 

She said reassuringly to Ricky, and nodding her head.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘I mean, I know Lauren believes in you and supports you! She just…has a different way of showing it, y’know?’

 

The sight of her blushing brought a smile to his face and the words she spoke next had him laughing out.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Right, justa dream and all that.’

 

The last bit of what she said kind of rang in his ears. The expression on his face showed he wasn’t quite sure of that at all.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Does she tho? I totally understand havin a different way of showin it but you can’t call the total opposite just a different way.’

 

He shook his head a bit, a soft sigh slipping free from behind his lips.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘It’s okay tho, I mean..as fucked as it sounds, I’ve pretty much come to terms with it.’

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘I’m sure she does!’

 

Jennie did her best to still sound reassuring for Ricky. But she gave off her own nervous smile as the curiosity was getting the best of her.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘So, umm… what did we do? What was I wearing? Ooohhh… were we naked?’

 

Ricky obviously wasn’t as sure as she was but before he could speak more on the subject, he heard those questions. Laughing out a bit, he chewed on the inside of his lip before answering.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘We weren’t naked but now I’m sure the next one’s gonna be.’

 

He shot her a teasing look.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘But nah, we were dressed. And we just..kissed a couple times. And you were wearin these really tight black leggins and this black flowery shirt. Really showed off..things.’

 

Jennie nodded her head as Ricky explained.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Clothes are good. Yup! Really good. Was I like…a good kisser?’

 

Jennie inquired more.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I mean, even with the clothes, if you looked right way you still coulda seen..’

 

He stopped himself, rapidly shaking his head again.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Better than good, it was..wow. Like, I woke up and still was just..wow.’

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Lots of tongue?’

 

Jennie cocked her head to the side with her eyes still side, and she had a sly smile.

 

Ricky saw that sly smile and knew exactly what she was doing. Shooting her his own look, he spoke up.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Not lots of tongue, lots of..those.’

 

He motioned his head towards her chest for emphasis. It only took him just a moment to realize what she had meant.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Oh! I wouldn’t say a lot but just enough.’

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Oh!’

 

Jennie did blush a little more but finally tried to shrug it off.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘It does sound like it’d be a pleasant dream at least.’

 

Jennie smiled again but turned away and started walking toward the dumbbells.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘I had no fun dreams like that… but y’know probably for the best! It didn’t bother you, right?’

 

Jennie asked while leaning to pick up two dumbbells.

 

He watched her over at the dumbbells as she picked them up.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Nah, it didn’t bother me at all. It was actually a really good dream. Y’know those where you wake up and you’re kinda disappointed it’s justa dream.’

 

He realized that might not have been the best choice of words but those are the ones that came out.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘It was just one of..those.’

 

Jennie bit down on her lip while doing a few reps with the dumbbells.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘I know the feeling! It’s okay, though…but I—’

 

Jennie stopped to shrug before going back into her reps.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Why are you disappointed?’

 

Jennie shot a glance at him over her shoulder, then watched him from the wall mirror.

 

Ricky looked into that mirror to see her watching him in the reflection. He brought his hands up and laced them behind his head.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I didn’t really even mean disappointed like that. I just mean like..it was really nice there and not really all that nice here, most of the time.’

 

His face scrunched up a bit, seemingly confusing himself a bit.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I don’t really know what I meant.’

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘You’re confusing me.’

 

Jennie said and stifled a laugh under her breath. 

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘It’s okay, Ricky! Just teasing. Soooo you ready for your match?’

 

She looked more focused while doing her reps, and even wore her own look of annoyance from her own problems, but she wanted to escape them through helping Ricky with his.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Mann, I’m confusin me too.’

 

Laughing out, he watched on as she continued her workout. Noticing that look on her face, one of concern grew across his face as he took a couple steps towards her.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Bout as ready as I’m gonna be but that’s not for another few days so it’s no worries.’

 

Continuing those steps, he stopped once he got more than a bit closer to her.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘What’s goin on?’

 

Jennie did force a smile but tried to shake her head a little.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘It’s nothing.’

 

She said dismissively.

 

Another few steps taken would put Ricky directly next to her. He looked into that mirror, at the both of them, before shaking his head.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘If it’s botherin you then it’s so much more than nothin.’

 

He turned around to face her.

 

Jennie let out a sigh and set the dumbbells back down.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Okay, so…’

 

Jennie began and pivoted on her heels to face Ricky.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘You know about this dude…Angel, and Tara?’

 

He smiled a bit as he saw her turn to face him. Bringing his arms up to cross them at his chest, he nodded knowingly.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘A lilbit. Notta whole lot, honestly but keep goin.’

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Soooo this guy is Tara’s ex! And like they just got back together, and I’m over here like WHAT? This guy is a full fledged psychopath, who framed her for so much bullshiiiit to get his son back, and he had the AUDACITY to say, “you’d have done the same!” I lost a show throwing it at this guy, he’s the guy who made it so I— I couldn’t be here. I had to get away for my own sanity! And Tara is BACK WITH HIM? My nephew, you met him, cool guy, laid back, he can’t stand him that’s why he moved in, but…’

 

Jennie was now red in the face more with the anger she felt toward Angel, Tara’s ex-husband, but she took a deep breath to calm herself even if only slightly.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Tara is swearing that he’s changed, and says how she didn’t wanna believe it but… swears that he is. Swears that he did. And yeah, Eddy looks so happy with his mom and dad back together, and I… I don’t know! My sister is so happy so I don’t wanna tear her down. I wanna give him the benefit of the doubt just for her… so I dunno. I feel like I need to convince Sabin to go see her for Christmas. She asked me ya know?’

 

Jennie hesitated but shortly resumed.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘She asked me to talk to him and convince him to go… said she was really looking forward to having her whole family together for Christmas. Sons and all. My brother is coming into town. My parents. Everyone. And she wants us all to be there!’

 

Ricky remained quiet as Jennie spilled all of that, listening intently to her every word. When she finished he took in a breath only to sigh out softly.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Jennie..’

 

He paused for a moment, not really sure what to say to help. After that moment passed, he wrapped his arms around her in a reassuring hug.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘That’s a really bad spot to be in. I totally understand how you feel but really, I think, the best thing you can do is let it all play out. If it ends badly, just..be there for her, I guess?’

 

He gave another soft sigh before going on.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘It’s clear that all of that really had a bad impact on you. Never even seen you that red before. But I mean, Tara is stubborn as all hell. If he has changed and everythin’s better then great. But if it ends up like it did before, then you need to be there to help her in anyway you can.’

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘You’re right …’

 

Jennie sighed.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘I have to try to get Sabin to go there, and just… i guess if she says he changed, take her word for it?’

 

Jennie’s face, still red, began to cool down and she did return a smile.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘But now I still gotta worry about Ash!’

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I mean, tryin is okay but if you push too hard it could just give you more problems that you gotta deal with.’

 

That mention of Ash had Ricky laughing a bit. A reassuring smile grew across his features that he followed up with a firm nod.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Ash is Ash. You’re gonna do great out there. You just gotta be careful tho.’

 

Giving off another nod, Ricky continued on.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘She’s really good but her head’s all over the place. If you keep with whatcha good at then I don’t see you losin. You already know Ima be cheerin you on louder than anyone else!’

 

Jennie took a deep breath. She wouldn’t say it, but the losses piling up were getting to her; carrying the Queens Championship for even the short time that she has is what she imagined as much a burden as the one ring was to Frodo. She looked up at Ricky’s eyes and hers lit up.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘But you fought here before! Maybe you can give me some pointers…what I should look out for.’

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Hmm..’

 

He thought about it for a moment, even rubbing his chin to show the thought he put into it.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Ya gotta keep things at your pace. Don’t let her tryta switch things up on you. I’ve seen you out there, I know whatcha can do. Keep things on your level and you’ll do great!’

 

Flashing that bright smile, he nodded.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Don’t let her get to you. She doesn’t care bout how you feel so when she does the fake sad thing, don’t even let it get to you.’

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘So kick her when she’s down?’

 

Jennie seemed puzzled by it, but was trying to consider the options of how she could respond.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Maybe we could get a spar in!’

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Not really kick her when she’s down but more like..Sahara picked her for a reason. Her and Michelle both. They both can be manipulative as hell and Ash is gonna take advantage of you if she can. You can’t let her.’

 

His eyes widened a bit as he nodded his head firmly.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘That could actually help a lot, for the both of us!’

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Should we see if Lauren wants to train with us? Or should we surprise her with big wins!’

 

Jennie seems to be pondering it.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘She prolly don’t think either one of us is gonna win so let’s surprise her.’

 

There was a hint of disappointment in Ricky’s voice but even still, he kept that smile on his face.

 

Jennie eyed Ricky for a moment after hearing his tone. She let out a sigh.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Tell me.’

 

She said in a bit of a commanding tone, but still with enough sense that it was easy to hear she cared.

 

With the tone she used, he knew he couldn’t avoid what she was asking for. That smile faded as he shook his head.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I hate it, y’know? I thought it was bad enough wonderin if she believed in me or not but come to find out, that’s actually alottabit better than actually bein told to my face that she doesn’t.’

 

Reaching up, Ricky ran his hand through his own hair before shaking his head.

 

Jennie let out a sigh. She knew what Ricky was saying, and knew there was no way of trying to justify it… but she did give a half smile, almost on instinct, how she always tried to stay positive.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘You’re right …’

 

She finally said, and waited a moment. 

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘But maybe if we can train, practice, and win, we could surprise her and she would believe in you.’

 

Even with those words of encouragement from Jennie, Ricky only half heartedly nodded his head. The smile he wore matched that nod as well.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I wish I wasn’t.’

 

He gave half a shrug before her words rang in his ears.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I mean, I’m totally down for that but it’s not gonna be for her. She made her choice and now Ima do it in spite of her.’

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Hmm. I wish you weren’t either…’

 

Jennie had her turn of sounding disappointed but she then looked around the training center a little more.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Do they have mats somewhere?’

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I think I saw some somewhere around here..’

 

Turning away from her, he began to look around for those mats that Jennie asked about.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘You’d think they’d have some somewhere round here.’

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Lead the way!’

 

Jennie was peering around but couldn’t see any so just opted to follow Ricky.

 

After a couple moments, Ricky found those mats and led Jennie to where they were. He began pulling them out and setting them up as he spoke.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘When we’re done, won’t nobody be able to doubt us!’

 

Jennie takes a tumble onto the mats before beginning to finally do a few yoga stretches.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Completely unbeatable! Unstoppable! And invincible! We’ll make them all be asking us for our time and we’ll…’

 

Jennie sits up, but still stretches her leg in the pose.

 

Jennie Fenix: ‘Do it. Because we’re nice.’

 

Round Two.

 

Big Ass Bobby: ‘Are you happy with how things have been so far?’

 

There was a look of confusion that grew across the features of Ricky as he turned his head to look at Bobby.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Whatcha mean?’

 

Big Ass Bobby: ‘You know. Is there anything you would change, if you had the chance?’

 

Ricky looked back towards that water, thinking about Bobby’s question for a moment.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Prolly not. I mean, I learned from everythin that’s happened and grown cause of it. I like who I am right now and I prolly wouldn’t be who I am if not for everythin that’s happened.’

 

Big Ass Bobby: ‘Such a lame answer.’

 

Laughing out, Ricky looked at Bobby in shock as he shrugged his shoulders in response.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I mean, I coulda done with a few more wins. Maybe some gold. But hey, I’m gettin there. I just gotta get shit figured out and as soon as I do? Ain’t nobody gonna doubt me again.’

 

Big Ass Bobby: ‘You know..they wouldn’t have cared whether or not you’re successful at this. They just wanted you to be happy. But you’re not..you haven’t been in a while. I’ve noticed it. Austin and Toddy noticed it. Seems like you’re the only one not ready to acknowledge it. And you know what the source of the problem is.’

 

Big Ass Bobby stood, with his arms crossed at his chest, leaning against the side of a picnic table. On the top of that table sat Ricky. He seemed to be lost, gazing out into the distance at the rippling surface of that small lake.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I didn’t get you out here to talk bout all that, y’know.’

 

Bobby shrugged his large shoulders, those eyes of his still closed.

 

Big Ass Bobby: That problem is causing your problems in the ring. How are you going to be able to put forth the fight you need to put forth if your heart isn’t in it?’

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Bobby.’

 

Big Ass Bobby: ‘Ricky.’

 

Taking in a deep breath, Ricky sighed out heavily before turning, in his seat upon that table, to look at Bobby.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘It’s more than justa match this time. We’re actually fightin for somethin and not just for sport. Whoever wins becomes the Number One Contender to the Brooklyn Championship. So much more on the line this time. I gotta push harder than I did last time.’

 

Big Ass Bobby: ‘I knew you held back.’

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I didn’t hold back. I just wanted to make sure I had somethin left for Ascension. As much as I wanted the Manhattan Championship, I couldn’t leave it all there and have nothin left and let everyone in Dynasty down like that.’

 

Shaking his head at how Ricky explained it, he rolled his eyes afterwards. Despite not even looking his way, Ricky knew the exact reaction Bobby was having.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘And I’m not full of shit. That’s really how I was thinkin goin into it.’

 

Big Ass Bobby: ‘Look what that did for you. Nothing. You put the group ahead of yourself and you walked away with nothing. But that’s not going to happen this time because there is no group to put ahead of yourself.’

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I know. This time, I’m free to really put everythin into this match. Ain’t no bigger match loomin over my head, no split priorities. I can just focus entirely on Toddy.’

 

Big Ass Bobby: ‘But will you? That’s the question. I know how you feel about her and I also know you. No way are you going to go all in in the match against her. I love you, Ricky, you’re my brother and I’m always going to protect and look out for you..when I need to. But, I’m being entirely honest when I tell you that you have to be able to start separating business and friendship.’

 

Ricky parted his lips, as if to speak, but nothing came out.

 

Big Ass Bobby: ‘It’s easier said than done, I know. But this is a great place to start. You want to be Number One Contender to the Brooklyn Championship and in order to do that, you’re going to have to put yourself before Todrick, no matter how you feel about her. You have to go out there with every intention of putting her down. Because, let me tell you. She’s going to be looking to do the same thing to you.’

 

Letting his eyes close, Ricky took in a deep breath before sighing out softly. 

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘That’s what I’m gonna hafta do. There’s not really any way around it. If I wanna get that shot then I gotta come for Toddy like I did for people like Ash or Dane. I hafta do whatever I hafta do for that win. I want this shot. I wanna prove that I can be more than what people think I am. If I go out there and beat Toddy then it’ll open alotta eyes.’

 

The more Ricky thought about it, the more his gaze drifted off. It wasn’t even clear as to what he was looking at, but his eyes were focused towards the distance.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘I know Jennie would be proud of me however the match went. But if I lose then Sahara is just proved right again. I mean, I love her but goddamn, she really knows how to cut me deep sometimes.’

 

As soon as Ricky got those words out, Bobby found his spot.

 

Big Ass Bobby: ‘Speaking of Sahara.’

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘Nope.’

 

The younger of the two shook his head firmly.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: ‘See, my outside problems aren’t an issue right now. My focus..my only focus is on Toddy and that Brooklyn Championship. I know I can do this. I know I can get through whatever hangup I’ve been havin out there. And when, not if, I get through it? You’re gonna see a whole new man out there, Bobby.

 

I love and respect Toddy more than I do damn near anyone else. I owe it to her to go out there and give it my absolute best. I owe it to her to go out there and do everythin in my power to kick her ass from corner to corner. I owe it to her to win. And after that? I owe it to myself to win that Brooklyn Championship.’

 

Standing up on the seat of that bench, Ricky hopped down before walking around to where Bobby was. He playfully smacked the man in the arm and laughed out. Shaking his head, Bobby pushed off of that table and followed Ricky as he walked off.