The Littlest Things…

By: Sebastian Everett Bryce

Writing Prompt: Yes

Date: 27th Apr 2022

Well hello there – my name is Sebastian Everett-Bryce. Not the Sebastian Everett-Bryce that you all know and love, but the original. The blueprint, if you will. And I’m here to tell you all a story. A story about how one simple choice changed my grandson’s life. But this isn’t a biopic, no, no… That’s not my style. Instead, I much prefer to think about the path less trodden. About what would have happened if a decision had gone the other way. A simple moment so commonplace it would be cast no further thought.

In order to tell this story, I need to take you back.

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019 – The Damson Tree Pub, London, England

“Come on Seb, have a pint…” Said London Extreme Wrestling superstar, and in house tattooist, Big Ink. His imposing frame did nothing to sway Sebastian’s decision of course. The gentle giant was six feet seven inches tall and weighed three hundred and forty pounds. Almost entirely of muscle. Seb held up a hand.

“I said I wouldn’t drink, Bink.” Seb said, breathing deeply. He did so ironically, against the backdrop of shock and surprise from the group around him. “I know, I know – it’s a big surprise to me too. But I have some things to deal with when I get home. You know – business and all that.”

“You could drink Champagne with me instead.” Said a voice from behind him, a hand moving up his neck and into the back of his hair. Seb shrugged it off.

“Natasha, I’ve been clear about this. We’re not together anymore, which means you can’t just wander up and start touching me.” Seb said.

“I’d take it.” Said Big Ink with a smirk.

“Ugh. In your dreams.” Tasha said as she dropped into a seat next to Seb. Her dress was, as all of Natasha Wilmslow’s dresses were – designed to trap whatever prey was unlucky enough to catch her eye that night. As she sat, it raised up her thighs and Seb knew that all the boys from LEW were watching. He cleared his throat. “Come on, Sebbie – just one little drink. It can’t hurt…”

“Well we know that’s a lie, love.” Said Seb. “Last time we had a little drink, I woke up with you straddling me and a knife pointed in my face.”

“You got a text from another woman!” Natasha said, wide-eyed.

“Yes, it was my mother.” Said Seb.

“Well how was I meant to know that? What kind of oddity full names their parents in their contact list?” Said Tasha.

“It still had her full name… Sofia Everett-Bryce! Did you think I was fucking my cousin or something?” Seb asked.

“You aristocratic types like to keep it in the family, ya feel me bruh?” Said “Flyby” Corby Ryan. He, in contrast to his drinking partner, was a slight 178lbs at five feet eleven inches.

“You’re hilarious, Corby – with barbs like that one, I have no idea why you’re not selling out our shows single handedly.” Said Seb. Despite the barb, Seb was fully aware that this young man was the future after he left.

“Yeah, fuck you bruh.” Said Corby with a smile. “You know I got the future on my shoulders.”

“Maybe one day, Flyby.” Seb said. They chuckled as Flyby kissed his teeth and went back to his drink.

After he left… It felt strange think about. His contract was up on the 31st of June and as of yet, he hadn’t told anyone he was leaving. He had plans on travelling to America to move on to the next stage of his life. Tonight he was planning on going home alone, finishing off his application for a work visa to travel to the States and to finish signing up for the UGWC Wrestlestock Open. He was planning on shredding the new contract offer made to him by LEW.

He’d been putting it off for days, trying to decide if it was too much of a risk. His parents would hate it, especially his father. But worst of all, these people that he’d worked with and gotten to know over the past few years would miss him. He was a star here – the biggest. His name alone sold tickets to the LEW events and he was going to up and leave? Travel across the world and start again where no-one knew who he was?

But today was the day – the final day. Deadline day. If he missed the cut off, he’d miss the deadline to sign up. And anything after this would make the likelihood of him getting a visa almost impossible.

“Yeah, well, you’re not leaving without a drink. So you can either have a beer like a real man, or you can drink that shit that makes your breath stink.” Said Ink.

“That’s a myth, Champagne does not make your breath smell if it’s good quality.” Said Seb with an assured nod.

“Does if you end up with your face between her legs.” Said Flyby pointing at Tasha who was looking the opposite direction. Seb’s eyes opened wide, waiting for the explosion. She turned back to face them.

“Was… Was that aimed at ME!?” She shouted, before climbing to her feet. The scene slowed down to a stop as her hand reached towards the glass in front of her.

Hello again – this is where I come in. You see, in our original scene, Natasha here would take that glass and throw it’s contents in the face of Flyby Corby Ryan. In a fit of rage, she would storm out of the pub. Corby, in his own anger, would try to follow her, but instead Sebastian would agree to that one drink. That one pint was all Sebastian could stomach – lager had never quite been his tipple. He was more of a champagne and cocktails kind of gent. And so, after finishing his drink – or, as it actually happened, little by little tipping the contents into a nearby plant – Sebastian took his leave and returned home.

The rest is history – Sebastian would reject the contract offer made by LEW and begin the career he has today in the United States. But how different would life be, if fate had intervened. One small, seemingly insignificant change.

As the scene started to move again, Seb’s head turned slightly, just in time to see Natasha reaching down for the glass. As the scene reached its full speed, he lurched forward and pulled the glass out of her way.

“No, no, Tash.” Seb said. “What have I told you before, you don’t throw drinks at people.”

“He was making a joke about the smell of my…” Tasha began.

“Be that as it may, it was just a joke, and this is a safe space.” Seb said, casting Flyby a look that said ‘Nice one, dickhead.’. “How about we all sit down and have a nice drink to relax, hmm?”

Tasha glanced at Flyby and then at Seb and then back at Flyby before clicking her teeth and rolling her eyes.

“Fine!” She said, before looking at Flyby again. “We’ll both have champagne…”

“Oh I’m not…” Seb began, before he caught a look from Tasha. He glanced at Flyby. “We’ll both have Champagne.”

And Seb leaned back into his seat, ready to drink his one and only drink of the night.

And there it is – one small change. A different drink. That’s all. How could one minute change alter the entire future of one man.

My grandson… Sebastian Everett-Bryce

What many call fate, some call karma, destiny even doom. The inevitable ending no matter what the path walked. There is comfort in the idea that your future is preordained – that the choices we make are oddly irrelevant. It’s freeing to believe that no matter what poorly chosen ideals you hold will bring you to the same end no matter what. And that, dearest Dane, is true without doubt. At the most basic level, we are fated to live and we are fated to die. That is the one inevitable about every single one of us who set place on earth. The less tangible are the moments in between. The subtleties that forge the unwinding path to that same ultimate destination.

Our life’s journey.

I like to think that everything we go through happens for a reason, Dane. Every moment that seeks to break us brings us closer to the inevitable moment where we understand why we’ve been where we’ve been. The epiphany of why the path behind us brought us to the moment in which we stand. I’ll never claim that my life was any easier nor any more difficult than anyone around me. I’ve merely played the hand dealt, good or bad, and made the best of it. It’s what brought me here, Dane – it brought me to Fight! NYC. It brought me to The Thrill and The Agony.

It brought me to you.

And while I fully understand that I may well be facing a version of you, and not the genuine article, it doesn’t matter. And while I know that this could have been over and done with weeks ago if it weren’t for forces way outside of my control, it doesn’t matter. And whilst I know that you’ll walk into that arena with all the confidence in the world that you’ll treat me like Eoin O’Rourke or Alan Chaney, it doesn’t matter. And whilst I know the disappointment of finding out that your confidence is misplaced may be crippling, it still won’t matter. None of it will matter. Because you’re the hand I’ve been dealt, Dane Preston, and I’m going to make the best of it.

Because that’s what I do.

Sunday, May 5th, 2019 – Casa Seb, London, England

Seb’s eyes flickered and then opened, before he let out a violent groan. Why were the windows attacking him and making his head hurt? He reached out his hand to fumble for his phone.

“The… The fuck?” He said, blinking and looking at the time. It was 11.30am. “No… No, no, no… No.”

He pulled back the covers, but his legs weren’t working correctly. He fell to the floor in a heap before stumbling towards the door to the bedroom. He slipped though, trying to blink away the pain in his head and trying hard to ignore the churning feeling in his stomach. He reached the living room and dropped into a seat at the table.

“Come on, come on!” He said out loud.

“Could you… Keep it down please?” Came a voice from the couch. Seb narrowed his eyes as a figure raised it’s head.

“Grant?” Seb asked as he looked across at his best friend and school chum, Grantham Delaney-Smyth.

“The one and only.” Grant said, his arms over the back of the couch to hold him up. “What’s with all the shouting?”

“Sorry – I didn’t even know you were here.” Seb said trying to shake away the cobwebs whilst avoiding the loud clanging pain everytime he moved.

“How could you not know I was here, I’ve been with you since Thursday night?” Grant said.

Seb typed in his passcode on the laptop as the screen came to life, only to be greeted with what was evidently PornHub.

“Grant why is PornHub open on my laptop?” Asked Seb.

“Because I couldn’t remember your password for Only Fans…” Said Grant.

“I think you misunderstand my question. Why have you been watching porn on my laptop?” Seb asked.

“Oh, we didn’t. We put it on the big screen.” Grant said, pointing over his shoulder.

“We?” Seb asked.

“You have a really great TV, Seb – I didn’t know they did porn in 4K these days.” Said a second voice as Big Ink sat up.

“What the…” Seb began.

“And in HDR too.” Said a third voice as Flyby too awoke from his slumber.

“Excuse me… Were you all masturbating on my couch?” Asked Seb in shock.

“What? No! We were watching for the storyline!” Said Grant.

“We’re all connoisseurs.” Said Ink with an assured nod. Seb blinked rapidly for a few seconds.

“Why are you all here?” Seb asked.

“You invited us back…” Said Grant.

“Last night?” Asked Seb.

“Every night.” Said Grant with a chuckle. “Since Thursday.”

“Why do you keep saying that?” Seb asked. “Like Thursday was days ago.

“Thursday was days ago – it’s Sunday.” Said Flyby.

“What?!” Said Seb. “Oh god… Oh no! No!”

“Everything okay?” Asked Big Ink.

“I… Uh… I just had a deadline that I needed to meet and I think I’ve missed it.” Said Seb, frantically trying to find the website.

‘Applications for the Wrestlestock Open are now closed – we thank you for your interest and encourage you to try again next year.’

“Fuck.” He said quietly, before lowering his head.

“Oh, don’t worry about that – you did it on Thursday.” Said Big Ink.

“I… I did?” Said Seb, his heart starting to swell.

“Yeah.” Said Flyby. “You were adamant that you had to come back here before we carried on the party.”

“Oh… Oh thats good.” Seb said, suddenly feeling relief wash over him.

“You know, you could have told us. You didn’t have to keep it to yourself, Sebastian.” Said Ink.

“Oh… Right… Of course… I mean, yes, well I have been meaning to tell you…” Seb began.

“A new three year contract?! Why wouldn’t you tell us? This is amazing news.” Said Flyby.

“Yeah.” Said Grant with a strange smile. “Isn’t it amazing?”

“What?” Said Seb, glancing back down at the screen. He could see an email blinking in his inbox. He opened it.”

‘Seb – got the scanned copy of your contract. This is amazing news – can’t wait for another three productive years together – T’

Seb glanced towards the pile of papers that sat just behind the laptop, he turned the pages until he saw a somewhat scrawled version of his own signature on the new contract with London Extreme Wrestling.

What the fuck had he done?

What had he done indeed. For this contract would keep Sebastian in London for at least three more years. Three more years with his dreadful ex, Natasha. Three more years with his untrustworthy school-friend with disloyalty in his eyes. Three more years attached to my awful son, and Seb’s awful father. Three more years in the place he was least happy.

What would become of Sebastian Everett-Bryce…

In the years that followed, my grandson would slip into a world of acceptance. He accepted his position as the next in line for the family business. He accepted Natasha Wilmslow as his fiancé. He accepted his place as the biggest name in London Extreme Wrestling. But most of all, he’d accepted that this was all there was for him. He still yearned to travel. Yearned to take the leap into the future he once saw for himself. But with every passing day, something new tethered himself to the city in which he lived and the life that was being carved out by those around him.

He existed. That was all. He merely existed. And that was no life I’d want for any grandson of mine. Of course, I could do little to influence his position. I was, as I had been for almost four years, exiled from the family that had begun with my name. Instead, I would hear rumour of what had befallen the boy that had given me so much joy in his younger years. And I would weep for his soul.

The thing about fate, though, Dane is that it’s not as unyielding as you would think. And it’s damn sure not as mystical as others would have you believe. In some cases, it’s merely common sense. I came to Fight for one thing – to prove to myself and the world that the very best fighters in this business can be beaten. I came to Fight, because there were names here that I wanted to face. Yours, Dane Preston, was one of them.

See. Fate.

Because the moment I decided I wanted to come here, then the notion that you and I would stand opposed to one another was set in stone. I was always going to face you. Which means we were fated to face one another – the only thing that we couldn’t be sure of is the path that would lead us to this point. You and I, facing one another for the opportunity to fight whoever comes out of the Main Event of this show with their hand in the air. Neither one of us could have guessed that our match would fade into the background like it did. No-one could have guessed I’d have ran up that ramp to stop Chaney from caving your head in one more time.

Not even I would have guessed that.

But did that change our fate, Dane? No – it merely delayed it. And here we are, edging ever closer to the moment that we’ve both been waiting for. You, Dane Preston-cum-Fix taking on me – Sebastian Everett-Bryce. The fastest rising name in Fight! NYC today. Because it had to be fate that brought us to this point, right Dane? It had to be written in the stars that this opportunity would fall to you and I. It had to be preordained by some higher power. It just had to be.

Otherwise how the fuck are you even in the conversation?

You failed at Countdown. You failed at Blood Money. You failed when you were faced with the opportunity of facing me before. But it goes back even further, doesn’t it Dane? You failed at Silent Night – you and Brandon Moore, firing your warning shots, trying to prove that you had what it took to take down the New Status Quo and then… Nothing. You failed. The New Status Quo fell apart as all of the greatest groups in our business do – of their own volition. You had nothing to do with it.

You failed.

Saturday, April 24th, 2022 – The Chelsea House, London, England

It was a phrase that Sebastian Everett-Bryce the third had once vowed never to utter, and yet it was now one he had become accustomed to. It had been a long week at the office. Between taking up a new role with Everett-Bryce Holdings and trying to find time to train for his wrestling career, something was going to give.

He leaned back in the seat of the car that drove him through the city. He had a match that weekend, and in his heart he knew it would be one of his last. His time in LEW was coming to an end and trying to live two separate lives was taking its toll. And so, he had made the decision that, when his new contract ended in a couple of months’ time, he would walk away from professional wrestling forever.

He opened his phone and began to scan through videos of the promotions he’d been following. UGWC, Fight! NYC, Pro Wrestling Valor. The names that had become familiar to him over the years of watching and dreaming of what could have been, particularly in Fight. Dickie Watson. Shawn Warstein. Dane Prescott. Sahara. Joe Montouri. His name could have been in that list.

He followed them all on Twitter, watching them go back and forth, needling one another. And now he was watching the build – Dickie and Shawn… Sahara and Dane… Winners of each of these matches would meet for the Empire Championship.

It could have been him. In another world, it could have been his name up there.

It could have been him getting the chance to shut Dane Preston’s loud mouth.

He shucked away the fantasy as the car pulled up to the home he shared with his fiancé. He looked at the time – he’d managed to get away from the office early. He wanted to get home, change and get into the gym ahead of the match this weekend. The reviews of his last match had been less than stellar. Slow. Out of shape. Complacent. That wasn’t how he wanted the end of his career to be remembered.

“Thanks Phil.” Seb said to his driver as he climbed out of the car. He walked up the steps that led up to the front door and scanned his phone to get access. The door opened, and he was greeted by the sound of music.

“Must be after lunch – Tash is drunk already.” He said to himself with a chuckle and a shake of his head. He hung up his bag, and took off his jacket, before walking towards the stairs that led up to their bedroom. He picked up the pile of letters and began to riffle through them as he walked. As he reached the bedroom, he pushed open the door.

“Fuck!” Seb heard. He froze, his eyes rising slightly as he saw Grant pulling back from the edge of the bed and reaching for a nearby towel. Natasha’s eyes were wide as she groped for the bed sheets and pulled them around her.

“Seb… This… This isn’t what it looks like.” She said, her eyes darting this way and that. “He… He made me! He blackmailed me! He said that if I didn’t sleep with him, then he’d plant evidence that you’ve been embezzling from the company!”

“What the fuck? I did no such thing! I came around to pick up some paperwork for your father and she just… Lunged at me!” Said Grant. “Seb come on, mate… You know I wouldn’t…”

Seb held up a hand, before tossing the letters on the table next to him.

“I want to thank the both of you.” He said, shaking his head just a little.

“You’re… Welcome?” Said Tasha, glancing up at Grant. “What are you thanking us for?”

“For making this really, really easy…” Seb said. He turned, without a second look, and started to chuckle as he made his way back down the stairs. As he reached the bottom, he pulled open the door and waved a hand at Phil who hadn’t yet pulled away. He slipped into the back seat.”

“Leaving already, sir?” Asked Phil. “Anywhere in particular?”

“Indeed.” Said Seb, smiling. “My father’s estate.”

“Absolutely, sir.” Said Phil. As the car pulled away, the door to the house opened and Natasha wearing nothing but the bedsheet came running out trying to wave down the car. Grant followed closely behind, still wearing the towel.

When they finally realised that the car wasn’t going to stop, Natasha let out a howl of frustration, before walking back towards the house. Not before gripping Grant’s towel and pulling it away. She slammed the door behind her, leaving him stood in the street entirely naked.

Even in an alternative reality, those two are the absolute worst. It was only a matter of time before their true nature was revealed to my grandson. Thank heavens it was before it was too late. You see, whilst some things change on a whim, others are destined to happen one way or another. Certain inevitabilities. Death, Taxes, and Natasha and Grant turning out to be the pairing that Sebastian realised them to be much sooner in his own reality. But in this one, well, I imagine I whooped with joy when I heard that he’d found out what kind of people he’d surrounded himself with.

But the battle wasn’t over quite yet.

Should I continue, Dane? Or should I focus on how you’re so utterly obsessed with a past that’s so far outside the realms of anything involving you that you still reach out even now? Creeping your sad little tendrils into the lives of others simply because they’ve moved on. How you flaunt your status as some kind of self-styled don juan, tagging others in posts to try and disprove the fingers that point and laugh at your oh-so-very small dick energy. All the while trying to pick apart something that doesn’t involve you in the slightest.

Move on, man – it’s getting embarrassing.

Perhaps your recent devolution into madness should be the stick I should beat you with – about the fact that somehow, you seem to want to con people into the idea that this alternative personality you’ve developed is anything but a smokescreen to hide behind the fact that you’ve ran out of people who find you, Dane Preston, anymore more than a sad little joke. They laugh at you Dane. All of them. Everyone backstage. All your so-called friends and the people you claim as enemies even if they don’t see you as a threat.

They all laugh.

Whether it’s behind their hands so you don’t see, or outwardly to your face. There’s no hiding away from it – Dane Preston. Fix. They don’t see you as a threat anymore, and the sad truth is that you don’t either. That’s why Fix is here – because the Dane deep down thinks that if he wasn’t enough to beat Dickie Watson before, then he’s not going to be now. That the Dane that showed up at Countdown doesn’t have it in him to hang at the top of this card. Face it Dane – you laugh at yourself. Publicly.

And it’s painful to watch.

But remember this, Dane Preston – you were one of the ones I wanted to fight when I came here. Watson. Warstein. Raven. Montouri. Themis. Granger. Moore. Tabor. Ramsey. Reynolds. Michelle. And you. Preston. There were the names I saw from a far and I wanted to face – you think I want to face just anyone? You think I want to turn up here and have to deal with pricks like Tyler Bradford? No – I want to be the best, and to be the best I have to beat the best.

That includes you.

So get your head out of your arse – I don’t want to waste another week on a gimme.

Saturday, April 24th, 2022 – The Everett-Bryce Estate, Surrey, England

When Seb arrived at his parents rather large estate, he found both of his parents in the drawing room. This was surprising, Seb had thought, until he discovered that they’d been made aware of his pending arrival. Shortly after exchanging pleasantries, Seb had accepted a Cognac from his father before sitting down.

“Is everying alright, sweetheart?” Asked Sofia kindly. Seb ran his thumbs over the rim of the glass he held in his hand.

“Depends on your point of view.” Said Seb, a burgeoning sense of anger at the betrayal, but also excitement at a prospective future. “When I arrived home today, I found Natasha and Grant… In our bed.”

Seb looked up from his glass, expecting to see looks of shock and anger. Instead, Sofia and Sebastian Snr. exchanged a different kind of look.

“Did you not hear me? Grant and Tasha were fu…” Seb began.

“Alright, yes, we get the picture, Sebastian, thank you.” Said his father, holding up a hand. “Grantham called whilst you were on your way. He explained.”

“Explained what?” Said Seb, before letting out a burst of exasperated laughter. “Oh this should be good – what excuse have they come up with now? I suppose Natasha was choking and he was merely giving her the Heimlich manoeuvre. Rapidly.”

“There was no excuse.” Said his father, picking a piece of cotton from his pristine trousers. “Grant merely called to offer his apologies, and assurances that it will never happen again.”

“I don’t want their apology.” Said Seb.

“He wasn’t offering an apology to you.” Said his father, darkly.

“Well isn’t that lovely.” Said Seb, with a roll of the eyes. He shook his head, and looked down into his glass again. The silence hung for a moment, all that broke through was the sound of the ticking clock above the fireplace. And then Seb took a deep breath. “Well… At least I can call off the engagement.”

“You’ll do no such thing.” Said Sebastian Snr. with a look of fire in his eyes. “You will not bring shame upon our family.”

“Me bring shame?” Said Seb, his eyes wide with shock. “It’s the two of them who did this, not me.”

“And you will grin and bear it.” Said his father warningly. “We have an agreement with her family – you break off this engagement it will be bad for all of us.”

Seb let out a burst of mirthful laughter.

“I never wanted to marry her in the first place! I never wanted any of this – I didn’t want to be here, to be … this. I had plans! I was moving to America!” Seb said raising his arms.

“Yes, I’m fully aware of your plans, Sebastian. I’m also very aware of the lengths I had to go to in order to stop you from throwing your fucking life away.” Said his father.

“… What?” Said Seb.

“Sebastian.” Said Sofia, looking at Seb’s father pointedly.

“No, mother – I want to know what he meant by that.” Said Seb. His father pushed up from his seat and walked towards the fireplace. He rested his hands on the mantle and leaned forward, his head bowed. “Father I demand…”

“You demand… Nothing.” Said Sebastian Snr. turning to face Seb with fire in his eyes. “You wanted to go to America and further disgrace our name with this wrestling nonsense. It’s bad enough that you parade around London as if you’re not a fucking embarrassment.”

“Sebastian!” Said Sofia – she was the angry one now. But Seb’s father held up his hand.

“Grantham had the wherewithal to point out your idiotic notion of future.” Said Sebastian Snr.

“So what? He told you – there’s no way you could have known what would happen.” Said Seb. He and his father continued to stare at one another, until Seb broke away and looked at his mother who looked down at the ground. Seb slowly turned back to look at his father. “What did you do?”

“It wasn’t difficult – all I needed was for Natasha to start your little party. And then Grantham did what any loyal company man would do.” Said Sebastian Snr. And yet, there was something that could have passed as guilt upon his face. “He slipped something in your drink. Merely an attempt to get you to miss that preposterous deadline.”

Seb blinked rapidly, his eyes scanning his father’s face.

“Even I didn’t imagine he had the brains to convince you to sign that contract. That was never my plan – I wanted you out of that circus. All I wanted was for you to miss the chance to leave – after that, it would only be a matter of time before you joined the company.” Said Sebastian. Seb slowly began to sit down. “And look at you now – a company man yourself. Devoted to our business and to becoming my successor.”

“You’re insane…” Said Seb quietly.

“Speak up, boy. Stop mumbling.” Said his father as he lifted the glass to his lips.

“I said you’re fucking insane!” Seb replied, his eyes wide. “You think I want any of this? After finding out that you tried to take away the one thing from my life that made me happy.”

“Don’t be melodramatic.” Said his father, with a shake of his head.

“Melo…” Seb said, a quaver in his voice. “You know wrestling is the only thing I’ve ever loved doing. I joined the company for you. For both of you!”

Seb raised his voice as he glanced towards his mother.

“Watch your tone, boy.” Said his father. Seb paused, dangerously, before climbing to his feet.

“All of this was you… Natasha and the engagement. Grant being there every time I moved, second guessing me and the decisions I made. This is all your plan.” Said Seb.

“I’ll admit, it wasn’t precisely how I’d envisioned it, but it does seem to be going my way, yes.” Said his father with a smirk.

“Fuck you…” Said Seb.

“I said watch your…” His father began again. He pointed with the hand his glass was in.

“Take your finger out of my fucking face!” Seb growled as he swung an open hand and slapped the crystal from within his father’s fingers. It smashed against the fireplace and the flames roared. “You don’t own me – you may be my father, but you’re no dad.”

His father looked smaller all of a sudden, almost fearful about what his son may do next.

“You knew about this?” Seb asked, looking at his mother.

“Not at first… Not for sure…” She said.

“But you guessed?” Seb asked, his eyes full of tears that burned with the fire of anger and hurt. The years of his life, wasted through manipulation and lies. His mother nodded slowly.

“I’m leaving.” Seb said.

“Good idea – take a break and allow cooler heads to prevail.” Said his father, checking his hand to ensure it wasn’t cut – and he called Seb dramatic.

“I’m leaving London. England. The fucking planet if I could make it happen. So long as I’m as far away from you as humanly possible.” Seb said, turning and snatching up his jacket. “And let me tell you this – I am leaving LEW when my contract is over. And when I do? I’m going… To.. America.”

Seb turned towards the door.

“You’ll do nothing. And you’ll accept it.” Said his father, now looming larger than ever. “Wherever you go, I will make sure you can never be successful. I will use every resource I have to destroy every opportunity that is extended to you. I will make ever single day a living hell until you’re forced to crawl back to me and beg for my help.”

Seb turned slowly, a smile upon his face.

“You can try…” He said.

“You know I’ll succeed.” Said his father, with a look of victory upon his face. Seb’s smile faltered. His father’s resources could and would stretch far and wide. There was no winning here – no way to beat a man like that. “There’s nothing you can do that will stop me.”

Seb closed his eyes, and felt the tears spill down his cheeks. His father was right. He was utterly powerless.

“Go, Sebastian.”

Seb opened his eyes and looked at his mother, tears upon her own cheeks. She walked towards him and placed her hands upon his neck.

“Go… And live the life you want.” She said, kissing him on the cheek.

“I forbid it.” Said his father, not angry, but silky. Powerful. His mother’s loving look slowly turned to one of fury. She turned to face Sebastian Snr.

“If you raise one hand to try and harm my son, I will destroy you Sebastian.” She said slowly, walking towards him. “I will leave you. I will spill every secret I know about you. And I will humiliate you in the wake.”

Seb’s father’s eyes opened wide.

“I love you. You know that – but my love for you is nothing compared to my love for my child. And I will give up everything we have if you even think about standing in his way.” She said, a steely resolve in her voice. “Make the right choice…”

His father’s eyes focused upon her, and then flickered towards Seb.

“Go.” He said, with no love at all. “Before I change my mind.”

“Thank you, mother.” Seb said. She glanced towards him, and smiled through the tears that she’d held back for just long enough. And she mouthed the words ‘I love you’, before he turned towards the door and walked away.

And that was how Sebastian’s relationship with his father all but ended. In the short term at least – like a bad case of herpes, my horrendous child had a tendency to spring back up when least wanted. That being said, my grandson was finally free from the clutches of my demon spawn and planning for the next stage in his life – a life that he could finally enjoy without the trappings of endless wealth and unmatched privilege… Hmm… Perhaps he didn’t quite think this one through. But at the very least, he could follow his dreams.

And so we’re here again – Sebastian Everett-Bryce versus Dane Preston – at this point, the winner is all but guaranteed to be the next one in line for a shot at the Empire Championship. Fate dealt you a reprieve, man – because had Chaney not used your head for target practice four weeks ago then you wouldn’t have been in the equation. THAT Dane Preston had no chance when he stepped in the ring with me. THAT Dane Preston would have been the one that everyone was still laughing at.

But now you have a chance to change all that.

Now you have an opportunity to step in the ring with me while you’re at your best. The Dane that survived what would have killed others at Countdown. The Dane that decimated O’Rourke and Chaney. The Dane Preston that I watched from afar. The Dane Preston that was on my list long before I set foot in Fight and had to watch while he lowered himself to the ignominy of… Fix.

I don’t want the pretender. I want the real thing.

Not the Dane hiding behind some unfettered notion that the only choice he had was to sink within and let something else rear its head in order to reinvent himself and be taken seriously. I’m talking about the real… Dane Preston. I want you at your utmost, friend. Far away from the joke you can so easily slip into.

You still won’t win but at least we’ll have some fun before it’s all over.

Try not to disappoint me again.

Friday, July 8th, 2022 – An Uber on the way to Heathrow Airport, Surrey, England

The final weeks of Sebastian’s time in London Extreme Wrestling had been something of a celebration. A somewhat surprising face turn had delighted the fans, and his dropping of the LEW British Heavyweight Championship had made a new heel for a new generation in Dreek.

Then had began his plans – which were limited at best. But he had opportunities. Having reached out to UGWC, Fight! NYC and Pro Wrestling Valor, all had shown interest in having him make some preliminary appearances, and this time he’d managed to officially sign up to the Wrestlestock Open.

He had no idea where he would live, or how he would make money. But his optimism for the future was unlike anything he’d ever felt before.

In the days following the fallout with his father, Seb had moved out of the Chelsea house. He’d done so without so much as a word to Natasha who had been afforded the luxury of staying on. Shockingly, Grant had been given the task of ensuring that she was safe and comforted and so had moved in. Seb had said one last thing to Grant in the form of a text message before he left.

‘Lol. Good luck.’

And for the first time in what felt like a lifetime, Seb had reached out to his grandfather who had been so happy to hear from him, that he’d made the bold and surprising decision to follow Sebastian to America so they could continue to reconnect. Seb had been saddened to learn of the passing of Bastian’s husband, Maurice, six months after their last meeting. He surmised that Bastian’s choice to move had more to do with loneliness than the want to rebuild their relationship. But he wouldn’t complain.

And now, today was the day. Seb would fly to Chicago to finalise his preparation for Wrestlestock.

During his drive, he’d taken to Twitter. Wanting to understand a little more about the field that lay before him. And so, he searched for #Wrestlestock. In the midst of the fan tweets about the festival grounds and what matches they might see, he spotted some tweets from familiar names. Chronic Chris Page had signed up for the tournament too, and had some choice words about the future of CCP Enterprises. Fight! NYC’s Dane Preston had also signed up for the event – Seb hoped beyond hope he’d have the chance to slap the broke into Fix.

And then he saw a tweet that caught his attention.

Seb smiled – that would have been the same event as him. He wondered if they’d know each other now. Been friends even. He’d long noticed that she was pretty hot too. He smiled to himself and leaned back in his seat for a second.

“Fuck it…” He said, before pulling up the tweet again.

He pressed follow and bit his lip as he refreshed the feed over and over again. What exactly was he hoping for? And then his screen flashed and he saw a notification.

A second later came the follow back. He took a deep breath, before pulling open the DM’s.

As the Uber pulled up to the airport entrance, Seb climbed out of the car and pulled his bags from the boot. As he placed them on the pavement, he felt his phone vibrate. He pulled open Twitter and opened the DM.

Seb felt the warmth flood to his face. Chicago was looking more fun by the minute.

Welcome to the Empire, indeed.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Perhaps a few years later than in the real world, but the outcome was much the same. Fate has a strange way of ensuring that the destination remains the same even if the journey happens to change. I always knew my grandson was destined for great things – even if he had to take the long way around. I know that seems like the addled musings of a biased old man, but ask yourself this. Would anyone else really want to be in Dane Preston’s shoes?

I don’t think anyone would choose that willingly – save for those with nothing to lose.

The End.

For now.