New beginnings. (Petty?)

By: Tara Fenix

Writing Prompt: No

Date: 7th Nov 2021

It’s funny how life can go…

One day I decided to hang up my boots, I did so with a bittersweet smile. I looked at my accomplishments, and wholeheartedly believed that I had done it all… I’ve sold out arenas around the world, I had held the grandest of prizes over my head. I put the biggest target on my back; I became the alpha. I was challenged by anyone, by everyone that was looking to make a name in this business just to say that they stood in the ring with the great Tara Fenix. I didn’t shy away from a challenge. I answered them. I conquered them.

And after I had answered and defeated every challenge: I walked away.

But even as I stayed… dormant… I heard the ridicule; I heard the people mocking my name, I heard the jeers people made at my expense because I was no longer concerned with the throne. The wicked witch was dead! That’s what they thought… When they mocked my name, and there was no answer: ding-dong, the wicked witch is dead! There was no one there to bury them. There was no one there to pin them down.

Things were never quite so easy, though…

There must always be a ruler. 

No matter how much time passed, my name would not be forgotten. I was the comparison… Years passed, and people would claim that they were greater than Tara. There were those of you who knew… There were those of you who insisted that they bite their tongue, because there was… is… and only ever will be one Tara. The fact remained; they knew what the throne was just as well as I did: it’s mine. And when I walk up to take my claim, whoever happens to be holding it at the time is going to simply… stand up… and give it to me.

But there are those of you who are going to want to challenge me.

Those of you who are going to pretend that you haven’t heard the world shout my name. 

One of you has decided to try to do everything you can to break me… You decided to spit in my face, and throw away our friendship all for a little bit of revenge, but it must hurt you to see a smile on my face. It must hurt to know that you just… don’t matter that much. 

 All the same… I don’t turn down a challenge, Dove. You wanted me? You’ve got me.

And I know you’re sitting in the back, so I want you to pay close attention to what I do to Jaxton this week, and I really won’t blame you for having second thoughts.

The morning of her debut with FIGHT! NYC… Tara was leaning on her elbows against the barricade of her balcony that was looking over the vast city of New York. She had a mug of coffee in one hand, held loosely with her index and middle fingers interlacing with her thumb around the handle. The FIGHT! Tower was visible from the balcony and Tara could not help but let her eyes linger on it. She raised the mug to her lips and took a sip, simultaneously stifling a sob that tried to escape. Despite her keeping a strong face, she couldn’t help but be hurt over the betrayal.

While sipping her coffee, the vibration against her leg startled her; she set the mug on top of the railing and reached into her pocket to get her phone out… She briefly looked at the contact before raising it to her ear, “Hello?” Tara answered. The voice on the other end came out as more of a muffle than anything. Tara let out a heavy sigh before continuing her part of the conversation.

“Yes… Yes, I’m fine.” Tara answered, the tone in her voice suggesting she was a bit defensive, “I promise… No, you don’t have to hurt anyone. I can take care of it… Everything is good on your end?”

Tara could hear the sound of the front door to her suite opening, and she peeked over her shoulder to see that Jennie and Sabin had arrived at her suite. Tara returned her attention to the FIGHT! Tower, and lowered her voice so that she mumbled, “I have to go. I’ll call you later.” Tara clicked the “end call” button before the person on the other end had a chance to reply; she tucked the phone back into her pocket and looked back over her shoulder while sipping back from her coffee. 

“Tláa!” Sabin called out, but the motion did not go unnoticed as Sabin took a rather large stride and Tara could see his face twist into a series of emotions: anger, frustration, confusion. “Was that Jason?” Sabin asked her with a bold tone. Much bolder than he had been accustomed to speaking to his mother with, and he clenched his hand. Tara glanced down and could see his nails digging into the palm of his hand.

“No…” Tara answered, and fixed her gaze back on the eyes of her eldest son; the confirmation that it was not Jason seemed to ease his mind as the frustration left his face, but was replaced by pure confusion. 

“Okay,” Sabin answered with a nod, “Who was it then?” He questioned her as he moved forward and let his eyes linger on the FIGHT! Tower as well; he took the mug from his mother and sipped her coffee. “What’s on your mind?”

“Nothing.” Tara dismissed her son’s question toward her. 

By his side glance toward her, he knew that she was hiding something but he knew better than to pry. Inside of the suite, Jennie could be heard humming and starting to dig through Tara’s bag, which finally caught her eye as she watched clothes being flung around the room. “What are you doing?” Tara asked, her voice with more annoyance evident in her tone.

“This top would look cute on me…” Jennie answered with the innocent tone; she had one of Tara’s packed shirts held up as if to model it over herself and let Tara and Sabin see.

Tara slightly shook her head, and drew in a deep breath before turning her attention forward again. Sabin glanced back and forth at his mother and his aunt before finally chiming in, “I think it looks great on you!” He said with a spark of enthusiasm.

“Thank you!” Jennie gave a curtsy before putting straightening it on the bed and patting it down to get out any of the wrinkles and creases. 

“Mom… You can talk to me.” Sabin insisted. He couldn’t help but feel a little hurt that his mother, Tara, had not opened up to him despite him being there for her when nobody else was; not even Jennie. “Tell me what’s on your mind… I know that Jason hurt you with–“

“I don’t want to fucking talk about Jason!” Tara lashed out at him for persisting. Sabin nodded his head as if coming to acceptance of her decision not to talk about what had happened between her and Jason. “I– I’m just thinking about this debut…”

“Nervous?” a wide-eyed Sabin asks, as if in absolute disbelief that his mother felt such an emotion. “You’ve made your debut at how many places in the last year, and this one has you shaken? I call booshit!”

“Yeah,” Jennie called out from inside the room, “That’s absolute bull-poo!”

“I’ve never even heard of this person before–“ Tara tried to counter them, but was quickly cut off.

“That hasn’t stopped you before.” Sabin was the first to answer.

“Yeah, I’m still not buying it.” Jennie chimed in afterward.

I gripped the railing hard, and felt my hands beginning to tremble… I didn’t want to tell them. I didn’t want to tell anybody! I didn’t even want to admit it to myself, but the fact was that there was no escaping the truth: I was hurting. Mentally. This wouldn’t be the first time that I stepped into the ring with a chip on my shoulder, and it damn sure wasn’t going to be the last; I knew how to use it in my favor. I knew how to channel the anger… the frustration… the hate that I felt. I just wanted to get into the ring and unload every ounce of energy on the person in front of me. I just wanted to hurt the person in front of me.

My only wish is that it was someone who deserved to be hurt.

Someone who deserved my hate.

Someone who deserved to be broken.

And when I think about Jaxton, this guy that I was going to be making my debut against at FIGHT tonight… I don’t know much about him. Being who I am, and doing what I do, I’ve tried to always prepare myself for who stood opposite of me; confident in my own abilities, but know what my opponent can bring to the table even if it’s only a name. I don’t know anything about him.

At least nothing too out of the ordinary… He’s a big guy, but I’ve torn down bigger. He seems to rely on power, and not much finesse. I am faster, and much more calculated. Focus on one part… Break it. Move to the next, and repeat, until he quits. There was no need in changing my gameplan. It’s worked well for me all this time, and it will work again. Defense? Just don’t get hit.

Sabin’s and Jennie’s voices began to become the focal point as I blinked my eyes several times to bring my attention back to what was going on in front of me. I stayed silent for a few moments, not wanting to admit to them that I had zoned out as I did.

“… but you have to promise not to treat me like your kid sister!” Jennie had shouted at me. I raised my eyebrows and she could already tell that I had not heard a word she said and she let out a gasp, and was visibly annoyed, “Promise–” I could hear her growling under her breath, “–you weren’t listening!” With that finally being stated, she pointed an accusatory finger at me. I couldn’t fight off the shrug that I reacted with.

“What?” Tara questioned.

“I love that you’ve signed with FIGHT, Tara! I really do!” I could sense the “but” right before she said it.

“BUT! You have to remember that I, too–“ Jennie placed a hand over her heart, “–am a professional, and I want to be viewed as such! And so I must respectfully ask you, sister dearest, that you keep your nose out of my business!” Tara appeared as if she were about to object by raising a finger into the air, but Jennie resumed before one word could escape her lips, “AND that includes my battle with Miss Michelle Moore!”

Tara’s lips pursed together, and she brought her hand back down, interlocking her fingers together while giving a subtle nod to Jennie.

“I am going to go back after that Bronx belt whether she’s still the champion or not, and that is going to be the first belt that I wear in FIGHT. And don’t battle me for it, okay?!” Jennie said in a pouting tone.

“Umm… What if I want the Bronx Championship?” Tara asked, and leaned in as Jennie’s lips quivered, and she began mumbling angrily.

“Then I’m going to beat your ass! You’re not going to know what hit you!” Jennie took a step toward her sister and snapped her fingers in her face, getting a reactionary laugh out of Tara, and Sabin was uncertain whether he would have to step in between the two.

“Alright, alright, let’s simmer down!” Sabin said while walking between them.

Tara raised her hands in a manner of protesting innocence, “Don’t worry. Don’t worry. I’m not interested in having the Bronx Championship… And that’s not a diss against Miss Michelle. She’s good, but you know me: I aim for the top.” Tara said with a smirk and cocked her head to the side.

“My bestie is the only one who has that chance.” Jennie said with confidence.

“Your bestie?” Tara questions.

“Shawnzie!” Jennie exclaims.

Tara blinks her eyes a few times before finally giving her answer, “He doesn’t even know who you are.”

Jennie reacted with a huff, and stormed back into the room. Sabin scoffed and followed, but not without adding his own remark to his mother, “This guy had a match a couple nights ago at the UWL–“ the words seemed to gain Tara’s attention and she was the last one to go into the room, and sliding the door shut behind her, “–against the number one contender for their belt. It didn’t go well for him.” Sabin couldn’t restrain from the mocking tone in his voice. He was his mother’s son.

“So he’s going to be looking to bounce back at FIGHT…” Tara snickered, “He could be a little hungrier. A little more desperate to bring some relevance to his name.”

“I still don’t think you should underestimate him. The match showed that he can definitely take a hit.” Sabin answered. He pulled a tablet out and was beginning to pull up footage from the recent event where Jaxton had competed, but before he could start playing it, Tara couldn’t bite her tongue on the matter.

“If relevance is what he wants, then I will make him relevant… I will make him relevant by turning him into an example of what it is I will bring to FIGHT, and show them that I was well worth the pursuit. They saw a glimpse of what I could do on my cruise; just a glimpse. Some of them are a little more familiar with my history and know what I’ve done in my time, and others… shrug it off. I’ll show them why you shouldn’t blink against me. He can take a hit? I’ll hit harder. I’ll continue to break him down until he realizes that he came here on the wrong week, because we’re both looking to do one thing: start off on the right foot. We’re both looking to get the people of FIGHT to look at us, and know that they have someone they need to watch.” Tara said. There was some commotion in the background just as Tara and Sabin looked ready to focus in on the tablet to see who exactly Tara was going against.

Jennie is back to digging through the bag, tossing the clothes onto the bed until she comes to something indifferent… She is rather surprised by what she has laid her eyes on, and holds it at the sleeves to get a better look at it. “80” was the number on the back with the name “JOHNSON” over the numbers, and finally a signature was over the numbers. Jennie finally called out, “Since when were you a Texans fan?” She said with utter disgust.

Tara walked toward where Jennie was standing with that same expression even as she turned her head toward Tara, who looked at it for a moment while crossing her arms over her stomach… She cocked her head to the side, and the pursing of her lips gave every indication of who it belonged to without her having to say it, but for good measure, she said it anyway.

“That’s Jason’s…” Tara muttered. Jennie tossed the jersey down and looked even more disgusted by it. “I–“ she seemed to ponder it for a moment, as if she were contemplating returning it to Jason, but with a stutter, she seemed to have something else in mind, “–have an idea.” She finally finished her sentence and walked for the door; she peeked out and looked both ways down the hallway when her eyes laid upon the custodian cart, and she closed the door carefully so that it was stuck on the frame… as soon as the coast was clear, she got what she wanted and came back into the room carrying a bottle of bleach.

Upon the sighting of it, both Jennie and Sabin crept a smile on their face; Jennie hoisted the jersey over her head and ran for the tub to throw it in; Sabin took a seat on the edge of the bed just letting his mother and aunt enjoy their pettiness. Tara followed Jennie to the tub and twisted the cap off of the bleach before pouring it over the jersey, ensuring that she gets it right over the name, the number, and especially the signature. 

Tara shrugged her shoulders before turning away and letting the jersey soak in the bleach for a while. Jennie couldn’t help but clap her hands together, in an excited giddy, “I’m going to take this to him for our next show!” Jennie said.

Tara walked back over to where Sabin was holding the tablet, but she glanced past him; she glanced back to what she had been looking at since she arrived: The FIGHT! Tower. It was a mere glance to her, but the moment lingered longer when she considered what it was to her. It was a symbol… A representation to better things, and new beginnings.