Regrets

By: Noelle Rivers

Date: 17th Sep 2021

Pick up the phone. Pick up the phone. Pick it up.

The little fuck was avoiding me. This had been the routine for the last couple of weeks since Asher split The Womb and stopped speaking to us all. Iíd call him twenty times in a row and heíd send me to voicemail nineteen of them then turn the phone off by twenty. Donít feel like talking about why I keep trying, itís none of your business. Word had come through about James a few days ago via a mutual friend, apparently, heíd shown up on the side of the road doing his best impersonation of freshly neutered roadkill. Went to see him to try to figure out what the fuck had happened that night but he started thrashing around like I was the living incarnation of the devil until a nurse gave him a sedative and asked me to leave. Got a text the next day telling me not to ever contact him again, then the number started coming back disconnected.

I knew James wasnít Asherís handiwork, have you seen the kid in the ring? No, no way he did that. But that just opened up more questions that no one seemed to want to answer for me. If Asher didnít mutilate James then who else was in the room with them? And why did they do it? He was a nobody, he meant nothing to any of these people aside from me. I imagined the money that had been left for me had something to do with it but again, why? I let out a frustrated sigh as I rolled over in the bed, pulling the comforter closer to my face to breathe in the lingering scent of laundry detergent and something else.

Wasnít long ago my life was simple. I knew who I was, where I was going, how I was getting there. Now Iíve been thrust into this new world full of all these insane characters where everything is constantly amped up to the nth degree to the point of absurdity. Everything I thought I knew when I got in that car with Vincent and Vhodka went out the window and what I know now wasnít much better. Itís like all the rules of the real world didnít exist in the wrestling world, not that I had done all that good with the rules of the real world anyway. Itís just… fuck, I donít know. Like, before everything was blank. Now I wake up every morning and there are all these thoughts and feelings that I canít even begin to figure out how to sift through and even if I could I sure as fuck canít figure out what to do with any of them. It was easier before.

The sound of the knob turning in the door startled me badly enough that I shot straight up in the bed like Iíd been caught doing something I shouldnít have been. Not sure who I expected to come through the door but it was simultaneously the person I least expected and most expected. Vhodka Black poked her head through long before her body followed, squinting her eyes down at me as I settled back in the blankets, rolling onto my side away from her to stare out the window at night beyond. The bed shifted as she sat down next to me, a moment later a wet finger penetrated my ear as I slapped her hands away.

? Noelle Rivers ?
Fuck off!

? Vhodka Black ?
Why are you in Asherís bed?

Okay, so yeah. I was in Asherís bed. Iíd been sleeping here the past week once the realization that he wasnít coming home anytime soon had set in. Itís not a big deal.

? Noelle Rivers ?
Better feng shui.

Vhodka chuckled, settling back next to me in the bed as she thought about what she wanted to say next or more likely what toppings she hoped to have on her next set of nachos. I didnít like Vhodka when I first met her. Didnít even like her the hundredth time I met her. But somewhere between the first time and the hundred and first time something had occurred, some mutual understanding or maybe just a wearing down of my defenses. Back to all those thoughts and feelings I mentioned earlier. Weíd come to an uneasy agreement about one another and peace was had between nations.

? Vhodka Black ?
Soooo… you and Asher, huh?

? Noelle Rivers ?
Me and Asher what?

? Vhodka Black ?
You know. Doing the old Hungry Hungry Hippo betwixt the sheets.

? Noelle Rivers ?
What? NO. Jesus is that all you think about? Wait, donít answer.

? Vhodka Black ?
Oh so you and JJ?

? Noelle Rivers ?
What part of this arenít you understanding? Iím not fucking JJ. Or Asher for that matter.

? Vhodka Black ?
Why not? Did you guys have a fight?

? Noelle Rivers ?
Yes. No. I donít know. He wonít talk to me.

? Vhodka Black ?
Is it another girl?

? Noelle Rivers ?
What the fuck are you talking about? Asher and I arenít a thing. Weíre just fri–roommates, thatís it.

Vhodkaís face was set to incredulous as she stared at me in what I can only describe as pure disbelief. The woman believes in the Easter bunny but canít believe this. Go figure.

? Vhodka Black ?
You must think Iím pretty dumb.

? Noelle Rivers ?
I absolutely do.

? Vhodka Black ?
Four mixed gender twenty year olds locked together in one apartment? Come on, Thumbelina. Iím still hip. Iím with it. I know the 411.

? Noelle Rivers ?
Clearly not.

? Vhodka Black ?
You know, Vin and I were around your ages when we met for the first time.

? Noelle Rivers ?
So?

? Vhodka Black ?
So, Iím just saying I remember what it was like. You spend all your time in this group, around these guys, and you look at them and you tell yourself theyíre one thing in your head but theyíre an entirely different thing somewhere else.

She looked away from me, staring at nothing in particular across the room as she remembered things she didnít feel like sharing and I didnít feel like hearing.

? Noelle Rivers ?
I have no idea what youíre talking about.

? Vhodka Black ?
You seriously expect me to believe youíve spent all these months with Asher, JJ and Pixie and itís never crossed even one of your minds? Seriously?

? Noelle Rivers ?
Never once.

Frequently. Mostly in the shower. Sometimes twice.

? Vhodka Black ?
Iím not buying it.

? Noelle Rivers ?
Well, it doesnít matter. Youíre off base. We donít even like each other.

? Vhodka Black ?
Noelle.

? Noelle Rivers ?
Vhodka.

She made a frustrated noise, sitting up in the bed and readjusting herself to a more comfortable position which just so happened to be criss-cross-applesauce and pulled out a roll of Shocktarts from down her top, peeling one off the roll to pop in her mouth. I flopped onto my back, looking anywhere but the eyes that were drilling a hole into me like a kid with a magnifying glass.

? Vhodka Black ?
Youíre allowed to like people, you know? Youíre allowed to make friends. To experiment. Fuck, to be young. To be young and fuck. Youíre what, twenty? Pull the stick out of your ass and enjoy your youth, kid.

? Noelle Rivers ?
I donít want any of that. I just want to be left alone.

? Vhodka Black ?
Did I ever tell you about when Vin and I met?

? Noelle Rivers ?
Youíre going to tell me anyway arenít you?

? Vhodka Black ?
Yes, yes I am.

? Noelle Rivers ?
Letís get it over with.

? Vhodka Black ?
I was nineteen and Vin was twenty two but it feels like itís been much longer than itís actually been since then. We were friendly, ran in the same group of up and comers, you know. Not unlike you kids. Anyway, the first time I saw him was like someone smacked me in the vagina the sharp end of a hammer. Just, electric. Havenít even spoken to the guy and it was like he was talking to all the right nerve endings. You know what I mean?

? Noelle Rivers ?
Iím very concerned about your vagina.

? Vhodka Black†?
Anyway, we started hanging out alone together more and more. It was on the up and up in those early days, sometimes we didnít even speak to each other. Mostly because Vincent was even less personable than he is nowadays. Then one day, I got hurt. Some small dicked goober history has forgotten had this penchant for trying to break ankles, right? Anyway, he had a go of it with my ankle and it ended up dislocated.

Her eyes went hazy remembering something that had happened so many years ago. Up in a scaffold far above the ring was where they had met, sometimes sitting in silence beside one another, sometimes taking the piss to whoever happened to be in the ring below them at the time. On this particular night, it was different Vhodka said. She had limped up to the spot where they met still in her ring gear, sans one boot on her injured ankle which had been lost during the match – that she won, she reminded me. After some coercement from Vincent which is hard to imagine she had laid her ankle in his lap, trying desperately not to act like it wasnít laying on exactly what it was laying on. In true Vhodka fashion, she made a joke about how his dick felt underneath her foot in an attempt to reduce the awkwardness. After popping the ankle back into its proper position he laid his much larger hands on the swollen ankle, then wrapped them around it, allowing the heat from his palms to sink into the tender muscles of her ankle. Involuntarily she leaned back on her palms, her body relaxing under the feel of his hand wrapped around her ankle, only the smallest sigh breathing between her lips. When she realized how he might have taken it she opened her eyes to find him staring at her like a man dying of thirst might look when he spots an unexpected ravine. Her mouth went dry as his gaze dropped to her thighs, traveling upward on a roadmap of every single place heíd like to touch until they finally landed on the motherland.

In an abrupt motion without thought to the repercussions Vincent pulled her to him and she straddled his lap digging herself into him as their lips met for the first time, tongues exploring each otherís mouths as she clawed at his hair and he clawed at every inch of her body heíd never been allowed to touch before. Clothes were not removed but torn away in jerky clumsy movements that seemed unimportant to the mounting need growing inside of them. He slid himself inside he-

? Noelle Rivers ?
JESUS FUCK I DONíT NEED TO HEAR THIS AT ALL.

? Vhodka Black ?
But I was just getting to the good part!

? Noelle Rivers ?
What does any of this have to do with me?

? Vhodka Black ?
I donít know. I forgot. I just suddenly really need to see Vin. The things he can do with hisó

? Noelle Rivers ?
Great! Fantastic! Off with you.

? Vhodka Black ?
No, no wait I remember where I was going with this now. Look, Iíve made a lot of mistakes in my life. Like a lot. But the biggest one I ever made was being too chicken shit to tell Vincent how I felt about him that night.

? Noelle Rivers ?
How did he not know? Fucking someone seems pretty self explanatory.

? Vhodka Black ?
Sex is sex. Love is love. They arenít the same and you donít need to have one for the other. If I would have told him how I felt about him thenÖ Look at my life. Iím still fighting battles that should have been over and done with a decade ago. Candice and me. Sarah now. I could have been something, you know? But instead I wasted my career and now Iím stuck cleaning up the mess I made in my youth instead of actually doing something with my talent.

Vhodka looked down and if I hadnít known better Iíd almost say she looked sad. It was weird and entirely out of character for her. This woman never seemed to feel any deep emotions unless she was looking at something deep fried, yet here she was feeling regretfulabout fucking up her career over a guy.

? Vhodka Black ?
If I had told Vin from jump street how I felt none of the bad shit in my life would have happened. But I was scared. He was scared. Youíre young and you think youíre tough, that you donít need anyone. So you play the role, right? But you can only play a role for so long. I donít want you to make the mistakes that I made.

? Noelle Rivers ?
Iím not in love with Asher, Vhodka. This isnít your story.

She looked at me like a mother looks at the child they know is lying. I stared back, unflinching.

? Vhodka Black ?
You arenít sleeping in Asherís bed every night because the room has better lighting. You donít stand outside of JJís door every night working up the courage to knock because you need a cup of sugar. You can bullshit everyone else, but you canít bullshit me. If you feel something, if you want something, want it with your chest out. Ya know? Donít be sorry for it. Donít be scared of it. Some of itíll work out, most of it wonít. But donít live with regrets because you were too scared to try.

? Noelle Rivers ?
How the fuck do you know about the JJ thing?

Vhodka jumped off the bed, hands behind her back as she suddenly couldnít look at me.

? Vhodka Black ?
How I know these things is incredibly unimportant. I came here to tell you that you did well against Korrupt last match. Youíd have had him if it werenít for his cronies.

? Noelle Rivers ?
Yeah, it doesn’t matter now.

? Vhodka Black ?
Do you want to know what the second biggest mistake I ever made was?

? Noelle Rivers ?
Sure, why not.

? Vhodka Black ?
Not taking my career seriously. Alexis took it seriously, she had the gold and the glory. I took it as a joke. Youíre good, kid. You can go the distance. I want you to apply yourself. Starting this week with Atara.

? Noelle Rivers ?
You think I have a shot?

? Vhodka Black ?
Oh, absolutely not. Sheís going to wipe the ring with you. But donít let that discourage you. Go out there and learn from her. Learn everything you can. Listen to the other women in this businessÖ Atara, Dru, Betsy, fuck even Voo. Learn from them. Learn from the mistakes we made and go be better.

? Noelle Rivers ?
Thanks for the rousing endorsement, Coach.

? Vhodka Black ?
No problem. Oh and one more thing.

? Noelle Rivers ?
Yeah?

? Vhodka Black ?
If youíre going to be in here, you might as well read Asherís book.

? Noelle Rivers ?
Book? What are you talking about?

Vhodka smiled at me wistfully, tossing a hard covered book onto the bed beside me before she turned and quietly left the room.