LAND DOWN UNDA #2: TRUST ISSUES

By: Aiden Reynolds

Writing Prompt: No

Date: 31st Oct 2021

Trust

People give away trust too easily. You meet people and you get a first impression; based on that, you can sometimes hand trust over to them like it’s nothing. But the truth is…it’s one of the most important things you have.

And it is a gift that anyone you give it to should appreciate.

When that is broken, when the pieces lie scattered on the floor, it takes a long time to put it all back together. But it can be done, it can be repaired and held up for the world to see.

But be careful with it, respect it.

Because you break trust one too many times, and there is no fixing it. There is no earning it or giving it. Failing to trust someone else causes them to distrust you….

And that is the cycle that needs to be broken.

I’m Trying

Early 2019[

It was interesting meeting everyone at Wolfslair, working with them, watching them move and learning from one another. In theory, it was something Aiden Reynolds had always wanted. A team. A group of people who helped each other in aid of getting better themselves. And the last few weeks had helped…but…Aiden was holding back. When the gym was getting ready to close for the night, some would go out for meals together, maybe even a few drinks. They would always invite him, of course. But he believed it was out of some kind of polite courtesy. He would decline, instead choosing to go back to his one-bedroom apartment, heat some food, and binge-watch Netflix.

It was a solitary existence. But one that Aiden preferred.

He wasn’t always this way. Aiden used to be the most outgoing person you could meet. He would flick through his cellphone, across his Instagram, and smile. He would see pictures of himself with friends and family. A beer in hand, making goofy faces. They were better times. And for a split second, he would crave that again. The human interaction and comfort. That is until he would come across a picture of his old tag team partner. His mind would flashback to that day when he realized a guy he had been up and down the roads with, someone he had bled buckets of blood with, had betrayed him. 

His heart would sink to his stomach and the feeling he had wanted that back again would disappear. So that’s where we are now. Aiden sitting in his apartment, a bowl of tuna and rice in his hand as his eyes focused on the next episode of The Office. 

He was alone, he was working hard. That’s all that mattered right?

Knock knock.

He turned his head towards his door, looking up at the clock. Who would be visiting him at 7:30 at night?. He pushed to his feet and left the bowl on the table before opening the door. Standing right there was Alex Jones. Aiden raised an eyebrow surprised to see the owner and head trainer of Wolfslair. He stepped back and said nothing. Instead, Alex laughed to himself and shook his head. “Hey kid, got a minute?” 

“Uh yeah, sure, come in, mate.” Aiden turned to the side, letting Alex in, closed the door behind him and moved back to the couch. He reached down, picking up his meal. “Have a seat mate, I know it ain’t much…” He looked around, there were clothes on the back of the couch, pizza boxes he hadn’t taken out. Energy drink cans and used empty tubs of protein powder.  Fuck! Aiden thought to himself Way to make an impression.

For his part, Alex simply laughed and took off his jacket as he sat down. He leaned forward and smiled warmly. “Don’t worry about it, kid, we all started somewhere.”

Aiden gave nothing more than a small nod of understanding before popping another forkful of food in his mouth. Alex cleared his throat and looked around. Aiden turned to him and smirked. “Can I get ya a drink, mate?”

Alex shook his head and sighed. “No thanks, kid. I’m just here to ask how you’re feeling? Enjoying training? Getting to know everyone?”

He had no idea how to answer the question. Despite outward appearances and how he sometimes acted, Aiden Reynolds was not stupid. And he could feel the hidden agenda behind the question. He finished his meal and placed the bowl back down on the small glass coffee table in front of him before sitting back trying to act natural and casual. “I’m enjoying it, mate. The others are helpful, we all work hard; it’s no wonder success is coming, eh? Hopefully, I can get my own, ya know?” He slowly nodded, not trying to convince anyone but himself.

Alex gave a small hum of understanding and leaned on his knees clasping his hands together. “You don’t seem happy. You come in the gym, you work hard, you help others and they help you, but…deep down, Aiden you’re not….having any fun.”

Fun

He sighed heavily and shook his head.“I ain’t here to have fun, mate. I ain’t here to make friends. I’m here to train and get better.”

He slumped down into the couch further. Alex shook his head again and reached up running his hands through his long black hair getting a little frustrated. “Do you remember what I told you?” Aiden looked over, an eyebrow raised as he wondered what Alex was talking about.“I told you, Wolfslair was more than just a gym. It was more than just somewhere to collect talented individuals.” Aiden looked away, knowing where this was going. Then Alex said it. “It’s a family.”

The word made him angry. Aiden’s blood boiled. Family. What a joke. His mind flashed to Japan, he and his partner. They were like brothers. But since, then he couldn’t bring himself to even say his name. To use what he did there as a way to get work…Aiden took a long, deep breath and tried to calm himself before answering.“Look, I appreciate what you’re tryin’ to do Alex. But, I’m not interested in family. I’m not interested in being best friends with you, or Austin, or Alicia, or anyone else.” He paused for a moment and laughed under his breath getting to his feet. “I’m just here to be better, and make people around me better.”

Alex got to his feet and moved around in front of Aiden, the two men face to face as Alex shook his head and locked eyes with him. “I thought after a few weeks you’d see what this was about. Kid, you have talent, an amazing amount of it, but closing yourself off? You’re denying who you are, an-“

Aiden snapped.“How would ya know who I am Alex? Huh? Ya met me for twenty minutes, saw I was athletic and wanted me to help train ya monkeys.”

He was upset. It was obvious. Alex shook his head again and reached out tapping Aiden on the shoulder. “That isn’t it at all. I hope you figure it out Aiden, I do. I hope you give us a chance, cause you need it. Look, I’m not going to force you, but try and be one of us…I’ll see you tomorrow, kid.” Alex turned and grabbed his jacket heading to the door.

As it closed, Aiden sighed heavily and put his hands on his head. “I’m fuckin tryin’.”

————————

“So Joe”

“Paul!”

Aiden jumped, startled as he turned to Dickie Watson, a Nintendo switch in his hands as he lowered it to look at his Australian friend and tag team partner. “Paul Montuori!”

Aiden stared blankly, blinking a few times before looking down at his phone and back to Dickie. “You sure?”

“Positive.”

Aiden paused again, nodding as he flicked through notes, all of them written about JMont, not Paul. He shook his head before throwing his phone across the room onto the couch. 

“Right, fuck it then. Wait, wasn’t Paul the one I eliminated in that tower?”

There’s another pause, Dickie shaking his head and putting it in his hands after putting the switch down on the arm of the chair. “No, that was Joe, Paul was the one I beat the night before.”

“Ahhhh” Aiden nods slowly, he stops again and thinks for a moment, cue the Zack Galifianakis working out math gif. “Wasn’t Paul the one who…quit?”

“Aye?”

“Ya know, he just threw a tantrum, told us all to basically go fuck ourselves and tossed the keys at Shawney?” Dickie nods slowly. Aiden smirks and shakes his head. “Man, that had to be embarrassing eh? I mean shit Paul should have fought till the very end. That’s what I would have done, what you would have done, what Kasey, Betsy and Shawn would have done. I mean we were all in that together mate. And while I’m on that subject let me just say that New Status Quo becomin this powerful is awesome, and I’m glad to be on this journey with ya….even if the fuckin bottle-o wouldn’t take me blood money for beer…”

“The what? And they why?”

Aiden rolls his eyes and throws his hands in the air, deviating from the shots at Paul to tell Dickie a story. 

“So, I went to the bottle-o-…sorry Liquor store, right? An I was standin there all ready to celebrate our win, cause I am damn proud of it, and I thought to meself “Shit yeah Aiden, you got five G to spend on some quality premium grog”. So I go up and down the aisles grabbin some of the nicest amber liquid I could see an-“

“Any Fosters?”

“Mate, I will slap you”

Dickie just offers a small shrug before Aiden clears his throat.

“ANY-WAY. I got some beer, and went to the counter, it came to $437.50 an-“

“HOW MUCH DID YOU BUY?”

“…Enough for the weekend. But please, Dickie, stop interruptin. I told the bloke to take it out of me Fight NYC blood money, ya know what he told me? He said he didn’t know what that was and he only took American cash or credit cards. Can ya fuckin believe that? Like me money wasn’t good enough, me hard earned blood money. I felt down right insulted I did. So I marched out of the store…fuckin dickhead.”

Dickie wanted to tell Aiden, he really did, he bit his lip and opened his mouth to say something but paused. Aiden was about to go on a roll and instead started right back on again about Paul.

“Back to what I was sayin, New Status Quo. See, the thing is about groups like this, is that normally they break apart because of ego. An I’m not gonna deny we all have a bit of an ego, right? I mean not as much as Paul Mon…Monto…Montague does, I mean he called himself the second comin, trust me, I was talkin to Kallie and she said somethin about how no one is comin once lookin at him let alone twice.”

Mr Watson, who was hung up on AIden calling him “Montague” suddenly has to try and hold back laughter.

“But, groups can usually fracture due to ego eh? We ain’t gonna have that problem. Betsy has a bit of an ego, it’s earned, Shawn has a bit of an ego, again, well deserved, same as James Raven and you and even me. All earned egos. Admittedly Kasey needs to fuckin reign hers in a bit, I mean FUUUCK me that girl thinks highly of herself.”

“Aiden I-“

“But, it’s alright, we forgive her. And that’s what makes New Status Quo special. That and, ya know I gotta be honest, when we were in that tower, fightin all those other teams, knowin that Paul and Joe had each others backs as family, I was worried mate. See, my greatest FEAR, was letting you all down, I know that you have this thing about being the “weak link” but, it’s only cause that’s what I was scared of, what if I let you all down? Ya know? What if I failed? And I screwed up everything? You, Betsy, Shawn and Kasey have been holdin down the fort, me and Raven are comin in, I didn’t want to fuck your work up….”

“But now, well this time, when I go have a scrap woith that wannabe pretty boy, well, it’s me. I get to jump in there and show em all what I can do. But, I also don’t want to reflect badly on NSQ. I’m going to try and do you proud Dickie, you and the others.”

Aiden holds out his hand, Dickie takes it and smirks. Aiden’s phone suddenly flashes, he raises an eyebrow and turns picking it up.

“Aiden, ya know how good you are bruv. I have faith in you, we all do and…wait what the fuck are you looking at?”

Dickie snatches the phone from Aiden, he looks at it with a deadpan expression on his face, Aiden nervously darts his eyes from side to side before shrugging. 

“Don’t judge me mate…”

“Aiden…”

“Mate I”

Aiden….”

“What?”

“Why is your background Dane Preston?”

There is an awkward silence, Aiden reaches up and slowly takes his phone back from Dickie, putting it onto the lock screen. Dickie shakes his head slowly. 

“Look I…you got me in a box here….”