“Mirror, Mirror”

By: Dane Preston

Writing Prompt: Yes

Date: 12th Dec 2021

 

WE DANCED ALL OVER YOUR FACES
…before they crashed our little party…

Immediately following the three count, Brandon and I were ‘arguing’ in the ring ready to throw down. We shoved each other a couple times to keep all eyes on us, distracting everyone from what comes next.

MOORE
Are you ready brother? Brandon asked with a scowl on his face, a finger pointed at my face.

DANE
What the fuck do you think? I fire back before pushing him away.

Four “ELVES” rushed the ring and advanced on their targets, and we did the same, sneaking up behind our prey. Before Watson and Warstein had a chance to realize what was happening, the six of us put them down and proceeded to stomp the everloving shit out of them. The rest of NSQ – minus one James Raven – rushed the ring as fast as they could. We were out of the ring before they got to us, and escaped through the crowd. Live to fight another day and all that jazz. I didn’t see it happen, but Brandon had snatched a microphone during our hasty retreat.

MOORE
Which of you are safe, when your best two are in the most danger? This isn’t revenge. THIS IS THE WARNING SHOT.

My heart was pounding like it wanted to explode from my chest as we traversed through the sea of humanity. The rush of the Thrill is unlike anything else on Earth, sex is the closest thing I can relate it to, but that’s where the similarity stops. Before ducking out of sight, I stopped to look back in the ring, admiring the chaos that we brought down on NSQ. As I turned back around I saw Brandon talking to the elves, who split off in their own directions. So I head over to him and we fist bump one another.

MOORE
Phase one, done. Check that off the list.

DANE
Man, I can’t even begin to tell you how good it feels to unload on those NSQ fucks.

MOORE
I told you that you couldn’t refuse me.

DANE
Well, this one was just too damned good to pass up. I fucking warned them of what would happen if we wound up joining forces. I fucking warned them…

MOORE
And we’re about to show all of them just how right you were.

DANE
You gonna tell me who our Little Helpers are? I ask while folding my arms across my chest.

MOORE
You’ll know soon enough. For now, trust me Brother Dane, and all will be revealed. And just like that, he disappeared before my very eyes. Okay, not really. Brandon made a beeline for Michelle and baby Ezra, who just popped out of an elevator. I smiled and waved, then took my leave.

Brandon and I were working together again, and it felt pretty fucking awesome, but there were years of bad juju to clean up and make amends for. On both our parts. And that would take time. I headed straight for my locker room, Allison and Bella were going to meet me there in a few minutes.

Walking into my locker room, Allie and Bella were on the couch drinking wine. Noticing my arrival, Allie set her glass down and came over to me. I kissed the top of her head and headed toward my recently repaired locker to grab a towel. After using the towel to dry my face and arms, I began to remove my wrist tape.

ARP
I did not expect Santa’s Little Helpers to rush the ring and jump Dickie and Warstein with you guys…

DANE
Trusting Brother Brandon’s plan right now, but I don’t like being in the dark.

ARP
You know they’re going to come for you next week, right? After what you guys just did…

DANE
I turned to face her, Good. They would be unworthy opponents if they don’t. I’m just curious to see if anyone else bails out next week. James Raven not being there for his crew was a shock to me. I wonder if NSQ has cracked more than I imagined they had.

ARP
Well, James did just lose to Sahara and he has to face SEB next week, so he was probably off hiding somewhere licking his wounds. Speaking of next week, you’ve got your man crush, Aiden Reynolds.

DANE
I think you have it backwards, I’m his man crush. At least, I think that’s how it works. But yeah, I’ve got him next. I fully expected an NSQ gauntlet. I half expected to go through Reynolds, Raven, and Warstein before getting to Watson at Countdown. In a way I did, but a bit out of order. Anyways, I already feel bad for the guy enough as it is…

ARP
Yeah, he has been the more decent one out of the bunch, I must say.

DANE
I know, but I can’t think like that. At the end of the day he is NSQ, and that means I have to take him down with extreme prejudice.” I glanced over to Bella and then back to Allie. “All three of us know that they won’t show me any mercy, so why should I? Next week, it’s kill or be killed, and I’ve got too damned much to look forward to in my future to go down without a fight. But for now, what say we have a nice shower and head home. I feel like I could work up an appetite…

BELLA
I thought you’d never ask…

Bella downs her glass of wine, stands up while taking off her leather jacket and then slips the spaghetti straps of her sheer minidress off of her shoulders, letting the dress fall to the floor at her feet. Wearing nothing but panties and high heels she walked toward me and Allison, who I noticed had shed her minidress as well. Each of my beauties took me by the hand and led me to the showers. One is always enough, but never let it be said that two ain’t better than one.

 

 

MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL
…who is the fairest fighter of us all…

I needed a drink. A stiff one. But I also needed some time to myself. So I went down to the bar at FIGHT! Tower. I saw a few production crew members, no suits, and no fighters in the area. Last thing I needed right now was to socialize. I needed to clear my mind. Sahara. Countdown. The new shop. Right now I needed to focus on the big Aussie under the NSQ banner. It was after hours, there was no bartender in sight, but we were afforded certain luxuries, like being able to go behind the bar to grab a bottle and a glass.

I went and sat in a dark secluded corner, so I wouldn’t be seen or interrupted. As always, there were a few Occhi camera drones – think the Snitch from Harry Potter, only the wings spun around the ball and the camera eye was fixed on the bottom. I had to pay for a couple that I swatted with my towel when I came out of the shower the day after Blood Money. After paying to replace them, I kept the two I broke and dissected them. Advanced tech, military grade. Of course, X Wants, X Takes. Pouring myself a glass and plugging the bottle, I swish the whiskey around my glass for a few seconds before throwing it back and pouring myself another.

This is one of those matches where the phrase ‘Wrong place, wrong time’ is apropos. I do not dislike you Aiden, to be honest, I don’t dislike any of you. What I dislike is everything you are; an obstacle in my path to greatness. To my rise to becoming the top of the food chain. But you in particular, Aiden, you I like the most out of your compatriots. Sure, you make your wisecracks, but you’ve also been the most civil and social one of your camp when interacting with me.

For that I thank you. Under different conditions, a guy might even see himself being your friend. The problem is that these aren’t ‘different conditions’. We are two combatants on opposing sides, representing different factions. I have been with this promotion since before FIGHT! was the name of the company. You might consider me an ‘Original’ of a sort. While you and the rest of NSQ are very well known outside the confines of FIGHT! You represent my ticket to the big time. All of you in NSQ do.

This isn’t about revenge. It never was, it’s all about reclamation. Taking back what’s ours. And that means dethroning your best friend Dickie. But that’ll come at Countdown. Let’s talk about us, shall we? I’m sure you’re going to follow Raven’s lead and use the whole Allie and Montuori thing against me, like that’s the only trump card you all have in your decks. The reality is that you’ve got nothing on me. Just marital drama.

I know good and well that you’re going to use the infidelity card. It’s a tired tactic that was played out the moment it first started. My wife is with me, happily, and we’re working on building an even better life than we’ve had before. So, FULL STOP. If I’m right, and that is in fact what your game plan is, please retreat back to the NSQ planning room, and come up with a different point of attack, because that ain’t the one, son. Not anymore.

You’re my last stop en route to fulfilling my destiny and becoming THEE GUY in FIGHT! And I know good and GODSDAMNED WELL that Dickie wants you to tune me up heading into Countdown, or at the very least Warstein does. Who can blame the guys? Protect ya neck at all times, ain’t that right? Well, if I were you Aiden, I’d get to work on protecting my own neck, lest you get dropped on it.

You shouldn’t be forced to suffer at my hands, simply because I’m facing Dickie next. After the last two Venoms, I’m pretty fucking pissed off, and looking for any excuse to unleash the beast all over NSQ again. Truth be told, I’m just sorry that it’s you that has to take the brunt of my frustration this week. If it’s any consolation, I plan on doing far worse to Dickie at Countdown.

I know you’re just doing your job, playing your role in all of this. I get it. You came in to back your friend. But let’s be real here, Dickie isn’t the victim he makes himself out to be. He can sit there and say that you guys were attacked from all sides, all he wants. SO WAS I. Your crew came in here with chips on your shoulders, with something to prove. And prove it you did. NSQ has proven themselves a force to be reckoned with. Your crew has victories over Paul Montuori, Sahara, Allison, myself and a litany of other FIGHT! talent.

But let’s face it, you are all collective and individual megastars in your own rights before ever setting foot in FIGHT! Tower. Your reputations span far and wide, while those of us who were with FIGHT! under its previous name are obscure and unknown to your network and community of peers. Which is why it is all the more important for someone, shall we say homegrown, to take NSQ down, to prove that we can go with some of the best your network has to offer.

Make no mistake about it Aiden, I may be easy on the eyes to you, but I pack a helluva punch too. Just ask Dickie, he’ll tell you all about our first encounter, if he hasn’t already. On any given day, any one of us could defeat any one of you, just ask James Raven how he feels having an L dealt to him by Sahara. I’ll bet he’s beside himself over that one. That’d be my best guess as to why he didn’t come to Watson and Warstein’s aid last week. My point is that you’re all outrageously talented, and while that can never be taken away from you, but so are we.

This coming Monday, you’re going to find out – and I cannot believe that I’m about to say this – that I am more than just a pretty face. So if you can snap yourself out of ogling me and keep your tongue in your head long enough for us to put on a helluva match, I’d be ever so grateful. And please, keep in mind that this match is strictly business for me, like I said earlier, I like you, I think you’re a fuckin riot. I just have to go through you to get to your boy. I gotta do what I gotta do, and if the shoe was on the other foot, I’m pretty damned sure that you’d be doing the same godsdamned thing. So, I’ll see you soon, mate. Just be ready to fight and not dance, I already have two full-time dance partners with another figuring her shit out. I’m not sure I, or we, can take on a fourth. You understand, I’m sure.

I down the contents of my glass before my phone starts buzzing in my pocket. Sliding it out, I see a text message from Brandon. All it says is…

THE JADED PRINCESS IS NEXT

I shook my head and poured myself another glass, which I down immediately before pouring myself one more.

This dude is going to be the death of me…

 

 

THE COUNTDOWN HAS BEGUN
…but the party is just getting started…

It was my turn to put the twins to bed and Bella went to bed early. When I came downstairs, I found Allison sitting on the terrace, wrapped up in a blanket by the light of the firetable. As I came out to join her, Allie opened her blanket so I could bundle up with her. Once we were settled, Allie leaned her head on my shoulder and we watched our breath in the cold New York winter air. The flames crackled silently, going with the flow of the wind.

ARP
This is nice. We don’t do this very often anymore…

DANE
Um, I’m pretty sure we hang out on the terrace all the time, usually with cocktails or drinks. But we’re always taking advantage of this space.

ARP
Us, just the two of us, just enjoying being snuggled up close to one another. No kids…

DANE
No Bella either. But I see your point, you miss our bond, and the two of us just being.

ARP
Yea, exactly.

DANE
I miss it too. Simpler times for sure.

ARP
How do you feel about your match with Aiden?

DANE
I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. My confidence is not what it used to be though. After losing to Raven two weeks ago, then Dickie and Warstein last week, I’m not looking particularly forward to stepping into the ring with another member of NSQ so close to my title bout with Dickie…

ARP
I know, believe me, that loss to Raven doesn’t sit well with me. Both yours and mine. So I understand. But you have to remember who you are?

DANE
Oh yeah? And who am I?

ARP
Apart from being my baby daddy, the man who stole my heart, you’re the guy that goes to the ends of the earth to finish anything you set your heart on. The man who doesn’t know the meaning of the word quit. When the deck is stacked against you and you’re backed against the wall is when you are at your most dangerous. I have seen you do incredibly amazing things when you didn’t think you could.

DANE
I am pretty amazing, aren’t I?

ARP
Don’t let it go to your head now…

DANE
Don’t worry, I’m not your dad.

ARP
No, but you’re still MY daddy…

DANE
I see what you’re doing, you’re making fun of me right now.

ARP
Me? Make fun of you? Never. I just want you to know that I love you and I know that you have wanted an opportunity like this for years. Your time is now, babe. Deal with Aiden first, and then break your foot off in Dickie’s ass. You’ve already done it once before.

DANE
When you say it like that, I feel like I can take on the whole entire world.

ARP
And I’ll be standing right next to you in the trenches. Hey, not to change the subject, but did you get your Secret Satan shopping done?

DANE
Yup, way ahead of you.

ARP
And what did you get her?

DANE
Well I debated on getting her something practical and useful, but she has the means to acquire anything she wants. So I played to her interests…

ARP
And?

DANE
A remote control Dalek.

ARP
A what?

DANE
Ask your nerd friends on Twitter.

ARP
My what?

DANE
All the nerdy little goobers thirsting for your gorgeous body…I bet you they’ll all know.

ARP
Omigod, fine!

She reaches on the cushion next to her and grabs her phone. “Hey Twitter peeps, can you tell me what the hell a Dalek is? Dane won’t tell me, and said to ask my nerd friends. So, all my Twitter peeps, you’re up.” She tweeted the query to her Twitter and literally within 30 seconds the comments started rolling in. She looked at the comments and clicked on some of the links.

ARP
Really Dane, don’t you think that’s a bit on the nose?

DANE
That’s what I call a perfect shot, a bullseye if you will.

ARP
You’re too much, you know that?

BELLA
Hey! What gives?!?

We both looked back over the loveseat to find Bella standing in the doorway, wrapped in the comforter from our bed with a pouty look on her face.

BELLA
You guys were supposed to come to bed and keep me warm.

ARP
Plenty of room out here for you too, babe.

DANE
I patted the cushion to my right. C’mon on Beez, let’s enjoy the evening.

BELLA
Fine, but you better keep me warm Fixerman…

Bella came and sat with me, then wrapped her blanket around the two of us and laid her head on my right shoulder before reaching across my lap for Allie’s hand.  So there we were, three lovers, wrapped up, intertwined with one another, in the frigid New York night time air.  It wasn’t long before hands began to roam and we moved the party inside.