Author Topic: ... The Wayside Of Failing Love ...  (Read 112 times)

Offline DistortedAngel

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... The Wayside Of Failing Love ...
« on: December 17, 2021, 09:04:12 PM »
“Life owes you, but sometimes you have to be your own fucking debt collector. And if we have to burn in hell for it, heaven's going to be sparsely populated.”
― Jo Nesbø, Phantom

Undisclosed Bar
Somewhere in New York

It was against nature by now.

Her own and otherwise, Amber mused as she pulled her jacket in tighter. A terrible, stupid fucking nature that somehow dragged her back kicking and screaming at Dominic’s insistence on making things ‘right’. In the back of her mind, the words of Alistair McCrae echoed soundlessly- his analogies about karma and loyalty. Dominic deserved everything that was coming his way, so why was she so insistent on putting herself between him and his wrought consequences.
She’d sworn mere weeks earlier that she was done, that Dominic had burned his last bridge and that she was strong enough to accept that it was an unfulfilling end to their rollercoaster. He’d put hands on her, and despite the fact on any given night she had him dead to rights in a fistfight, it didn;t change the fact that he’d done it… that it was somehow presumed to be okay cause he was upset.

Never mind everything that had left her head swimming in uncertainty prior to that.

She didn’t need reminding, although she wondered if that was really the case as the drifting snow seemed to linger far too long in the air to be real, catching in the messy braid that trailed over her shoulder while her ragged breaths clouded the air.
There was no reason to be here, to have ever picked up the phone when he came calling to apologize. When he begged for another chance despite the fact both of them were intimately aware that he’d never change- that her leaving did little more than leave her side of the bed a little cooler until he could pay another woman enough to deal with his bullshit for a night.

He said he loved her…

A shiver jarred her body as her patience wore thinner. Promise after promise ringing tinny down the line, words like a net closing in around her as she slashed at the air wildly in hopes that maybe he’d take her seriously if she left him in ribbons. Of course, the reason she was here was simple… simpler than she ever dared to admit. Simple enough to ignore the astute warnings of a man intent on seeing karma claim her pound of flesh regardless of who might insert themselves into the crossfire.

She loved him too… and she hated herself for it.

“Bambi, hey…”

Breathless, a fog of breath filled the space between them. Well dressed as ever in comparison to her scruffy casual, the dissipating cloud briefly made her recoil as though akin to the smoke she was so used to watching him blow.

“Can we just get this over with?”

Impatience rang true, determined to make this as impassive and apathetic as she could manage, Amber crossed her arms dutifully in hopes she might deflect the wave of absolute garbage he’d no doubt rehearsed in the mirror. Not that it changed the way she felt, but be damned if she were ever going to tell him that.

“I wanted to apologize, you know… in person.”

“By all means, go ahead then.”

Matter-of-factly, she left him no room to sweet talk. No space to needle at her emotions that she’d forced down beneath a stony facade of being done with his shit. Dominic Del Gado cleared his throat as though preparing a spiel for a prospective client, professional in a personal moment. Scripted emotion, a man typically built of oxymorons.

“I let you down Bambi, I disappointed you and I overlooked the fact that you had dreams…aspirations. I got so blinded by what the future held for us that I lost sight of what I had in the present.”

She wasn't sure if she was numb from the cold, or simply immune to the charms that Dominic had tried to turn on her- god, she was tired. Tired of fighting, tired of caring so much for so little.

“Dominic, what title did I win all those months ago…”

Blunt and unrelenting, Amber shifted her stance uncomfortably, the chill of the breeze slipping between her layers and sinking into her core. It had been her life for the last few months, her greatest achievement of her life and something she’d been so proud of… something to represent, to prove she was worthy of.
While he was stumbling off and shoving dollar notes between the strings of a stripper who thought he was cheap, she was busting her ass to make a name for herself. Money she’d earned, as little of it as she had spent on his high class ambitions and impressing people who otherwise didn’t give a shit about him.

She’d made this her life, and now he stood there blankly trying to make her believe that he wasn’t ignorant the whole time.

Hell, she wasn’t about to admit that McCrae was right… but the sorry state of a man struggling to find the right words to sidestep an obvious flaw in his scripted and deflective poetic musings seemed to validate everything the man of cloth had told her.
Vindication that she was better off alone than with a man who could barely recall the one thing she’d held almost as closely as his affections.

“... Yeah. That's precisely what I thought.”

Turning to walk away, Amber dropped her head to try and shield from the swirling flurries of snow. Hands tucked firmly into pockets where she tried to regain the feeling in her fingers as his frenetic footsteps on the slickened pavement echoed behind her.

“Please… I love you.”

As dishonest as it was pathetic, Amber couldn’t contain the almost offensively raucous laughter that spewed from her chest as she turned to face him incredulously, like a plague of locusts condensed into sound.

“You love me? No, you love the idea of having me. Tell me Dominic… did you love me all the times that you told me my ambitions meant less than yours, that everything I did meant nothing cause it didn’t directly impact your reputations. That everything I spent my life working for was nothing cause it didn’t have your Daddy’s name attached?”

Furious, the flush in her cheeks deepened with the cold in her skin, a hurt that she’d forced down inside for so long bubbling to the surface. She wanted to scream in his face and call him every name under the sun- but men like Dominic Del Gado didn’t understand things like that. Perceived crazy simply made him double down on his perspective, that her reacting meant that he was right by default.

“Listen to yourself Amber, you’re obsessed with this stupid belt, this convoluted idea of a career… You’d rather value an inanimate object than our relationship. Honestly, you need to wake up and understand that your dreams aren’t more important than anyone else's, that if you keep going down this road I guarantee you’ll be alone and miserable…”

Dominic straightened himself up, the arrogance she’d known so well always pulling his spine back into shape from the lesser version of a man he’d feigned for her sympathy.

“... Wrestling doesn’t love you Amber. It never has and it never will, and when the day comes that you realize that- I’ll be there, waiting.”

Amber, as thoughtfully as she could pretend in the face of hypocrisy and selfishness, cocked her head to the right whilst studying the man who’s well pressed suit and italian leather shoes were being assaulted by the smog laden snow and icy slush that it left in its wake.

“Maybe it doesn’t… but it sure as fuck loves me more than you ever did.”


“It's probably about now you start wondering just how you got into this situation…

You know the one- you’re preparing for arguably the biggest match of your life, the one that everyone is probably quietly saying in the nicest way they can that you don’t stand a chance, but good on you for trying. You’re trying to stay upbeat and silky sweet, destined to prove that nice girls really can do it all.
You feel ready, focused, determined and you’ve done everything within your power to get yourself to this spot- and then I come along…like an asshole and explain to you that this is just like any given Sunday.

You’ll probably be one of the million who says that I’m overlooking them, that I don’t take you seriously as though you’ve given me any real reason outside of winning a match… Yeah, one match. Somebody set off some fireworks cause this one must be really special, you know?
Seriously though Bella… All this hype, all this build and everything you’ve done to prove that you belong on this level.

Did you get some new gear made up? Maybe planned a special little choreographed entrance… Got all your friends and family front row tickets so they can be right there when the absolutely unthinkable happens.

Cause you’re right. It really is unthinkable- although you certainly aren’t the type to dwell on such things.

Let’s review, shall we?

On one hand- we have the reigning, defending and frankly un-fucking-disputed World Bombshells Champion who has torn through the home of every challenger since mid-March like they were made of straw and stick. On the other? A spitfire aspiring challenger with everything to prove and a can-do attitude that would make the little train that could feel a little overwhelmed.
Kiddies, if this isn’t a marquee match for the ages then I’m not sure you belong in this world as a fan anymore cause matches like this… are what our industry is built upon.

You don’t get clashes between titans without bright sparks lighting the way first, legends don’t make their name by beating the same three people over and over cause no one else feels like losing. No, a match like this is the reason that people invest their time and their money into the stupid shit we do between those ropes… Matches like this make our constant sacrifices actually mean something.

So perhaps forgive me if I seem a little jaded by the fact that you’re giving me a whole lot of flash and sizzle, without a lot of substance.

I’m sure this is the point you call me an asshole- cause I’m as mean as I am brutally honest and the fact that your feelings might just be made of tissue paper is obviously irrelevant. See, when it comes down to it Bella- I’m a realist firstly and foremostly, I don’t pretend like everyone is equal. I’m not going to stand here and bullshit and call Bea Barnhart the greatest challenge to my belt since god knows fucking when… just like I’m not going to stand by and humour you with this fantasy that you are anything more than another nearly-there.

I mean honestly, what did it really take for you to get to this point Bella… A win in a match that you were otherwise severely underqualified for? Which happened to take place right after I threw down the gauntlet in hopes of making all these other Bombshells napping in catering, waiting for opportunity to kick them in the shins, wake the fuck up and take some accountability for thier place in this company.
I was the one who went out there and said no more passengers… no more skating by on the names and reputations of those who care enough to keep these walls standing.

I was the one who created this opportunity for you to seize. I’m the reason you’re in this match Bella… I’m the reason that it's not Roxi Johnson or Crystal whatever-pseudonym-combination-she-wants-to-use-this-week Zdunich trying to beg and plead for senpai to once again notice them before kicking them back down the stairs.

Create and destroy Bella, things don’t get better if you don’t tear them down to start with.

Don’t think I don’t know how hard you’ve worked, that I don’t pay attention to the turning of gears beneath my feet- let me assure you sweetheart, I’m intimately aware of what everyone is doing, and how they think they’re going to be the one to dethrone me.
Everyones working on their formulation of kryptonite like I haven’t developed an immunity to the unoriginality of the superman pun.
Fact is though, fortunes don’t change overnight cause you’re motivated… A few weeks don’t change the build up of mediocrity on your record.

Maybe I sound like I’m getting too big for my boots, that I’m talking down cause that's what the champion is supposed to do- truth is though Bella, there is no one in the past year who has worked harder than me. Maybe I’m cocky as fuck, but I’ve earned the right to be. No one had done more, no one has wanted this title more and that's why I’m still the champion and you’re trying to figure out how to beat Krystal Wolfe for the fourth time in nearly as many months.

Don’t get me wrong, you got all these ambitions and high hopes… just like everyone else who thought they could come calling and expect me not to slam the door right back in their faces.
At the end of the day, and this might be the most important thing for you to understand- you don’t want this World Bombshells title more than me.
I’ve proven time and time again Bella that I’m willing to do more than anyone else, go further, stoop lower if needed just so that I could still call myself the World Bombshells champion as the lights dim on another Sin City Wrestling event.

In the end Bella, I’ve worked too fucking hard for too fucking long to lose to the next pretty smile saying she’s got something to prove. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I commend your guts and your gall walking into this so brave and proud- but honestly… that eternal optimism of yours?
It's never gotten anyone any further than where they started.

Only real difference is that they’re just way happier about it…

So yeah.. You just keep smiling Bella, you have at least that still going for you.”


Atlantic City Dockyards
Atlantic City, NJ

Atlantic City was an interesting place for those who had the time and patience to allow it to be.

Depending on the lens you viewed it through, it's personality and perception changed with the moods of the weather like some garish neon lit concrete and steel chameleon taking on whatever idealistic view was projected upon it. Through sunshine and rain though, Amber found that the dockyards never really changed that much- at least not to her… maybe the shimmer and shine of the place had long since worn off, leaving the vaguely sticky residue of someplace better in it's wake.

Or maybe it was just the fact that in reality, concrete and metal didn’t seem to care much for the weather as much as anticipated.

Despite her frequency, especially in the past few months, Amber hadn’t been back to the dockyards since the altercation… the one that left Cassiopeia Mares running concussed and scared, the one that left Amber with little choice other than to lie to her beloved for fear that the truth might alienate even further. The one that left a bitter taste on the back of her tongue reminding her of stale bile and the nasty lingering feeling of demons dredging themselves from the recesses of her past to come and play.

Sunset was incoming- and the World Bombshells champion found herself on a precarious metaphorical precipice of her own design.

Of course Mac didn’t believe her. Even she saw the holes in the story and did little to try and plug them with anything that might hold water- like silly putty was going to stop this Titanic from taking on more water. In the same breath though, she mused silently as the glow of orange seemed to capture the glass edges of skyline buildings, how was she supposed to explain it in a way that didn’t invite further delving into why she was suddenly so ‘okay’ with how few repercussions had come from the altercation. Why she was so intent on running from- or back into the arms of an old demon that had already nearly taken everything from her once before… an old demon drawn from the shadows with a wicked painted smile as she waxed poetic on the nature of man…

Amber shook her head, trying to dislodge whatever doubts had taken residence in the vacant corners of her mind. Better a profound lie to protect than a truth that would prove damn near impossible to swallow. She was sparing Mac, at least in her fucked up roundabout way, and maybe one day he’d come to appreciate it before it left her a little red pile of cinder.

Driven to distraction Amber settled herself into a seated position at the edge of the docks, the cool concrete settling into her skin as her palms braced against the edge while she gazed out across the murky waters. It was no secret she’d been holding her cards closer to the chest than ever- just putting on a glassy eyed smile for the cameras while she stumbled her way through social interactions like she knew what the fuck she was doing.
Just smile, it was far easier that way.

Pressure had been building for months now, the idea of this godforsaken record being within her clutches… so tantalizingly close from being such a pipe dream when she’d first won the belt. Back then, with her championship record, nine defenses seemed determinedly impossible. Each win seemed to add a layer to the story, as though everyone thought the next one would surely be her demise- that she’d drift back down to the upper mid-card and be happy with the status quo.
Next thing she knew, she was on the cusp of number ten and dreading the moment she stepped into that ring- as though knowing that fate had a way of being particularly cruel to those who continually defied it.

Every match left her a little further on edge these days, to the point now it seemed her stranglehold was the only thing left keeping her upright. One wrong move and the house of cards would come tumbling, cause it was inevitable… one could only go for so long like this. Scrambling to hold on by her fingernails- Amber knew that eventually she’d have to lose, and even just the thought made her more nauseous than the thin film of fuel and filth that sat atop the waters intermittently below her.
To fall from the top of the mountain might not have been lethal, but that didn’t mean it wouldn;t hurt- as though she feared any pain this life might bring… the disappointment though, the fact she couldn’t live up to expectation forever… the strain that it had put upon her marriage now meaning basically nothing without a justification of why they both felt so fucking shitty

Granted, Mac had his 'Saviors' now… although they hadn’t spoken much on where she stood with them despite her obvious connection. If anything, they hadn’t really spoken much at all between fleeting hellos and goodbyes as they continually missed each other like ships in the night.
At shows though, they maintained the facade of being ‘fine’ cause that was always far easier than harbouring questions on everything reason why they weren’t…mostly because even they weren’t sure anymore how things had become so… uncertain.

Amber allowed the heavy sigh that had built up in her chest to pour out- they’d never know it from the outside, but she’d never been closer to that proverbial edge. Dancing on a crumbling ledge that no one thought she had the guys to jump from- when she’d already choreographed the landing in her head.
Nine months was a long time to be anything, after all.
Just one little nudge and maybe the freefall would be exhilarating for awhile, the desperate dynamic of having nothing left to tether with was almost inviting, however to take that leap would invite chaos and with chaos came the invitation to an upset.

Bella Madison wasn’t going to be the one to beat her, came the contemplation as the sun sunk lower beyond the buildings- silhouetting them in such a way that it was almost magnetic as it was depressingly grey. It wasn’t as though she wasn’t theoretically ‘good enough’ by any means… Girl had talent, a do-good attitude and a hunger that seemed absent from many others content with their place in the hierarchy. Girl had the look, the desire and determination to be better…that put her ahead of almost 80% of the roster before she’d ever even stepped foot in a ring.

Hell, she’d have been a total package if she weren’t coming up against…well, Amber.

Just a little more unhinged, a little more unstable… and a lot fighting the internal war against herself to keep a grip on everything she’d worked so hard to maintain… than people may have anticipated.

No, there's a reputation to uphold. A status quo to maintain under all circumstances. Don’t let the facade fall, even for a second otherwise they might start thinking she was actually human… that she still bled red… that she was far more beatable than they imagined.
Being World Bombshells Champion had become more than obsession, more than an unhealthy addiction to something she wasn’t possibly tenable- it had become fused into her backbone, the metal tracing through her veins, name plate etched into her still beating heart.

Without it, she was just another Bombshell with a big reputation having a hard time keeping her hands busy… and that just couldn’t possibly do. For now at least, Amber contemplated silently as the concrete numbed the back of her knees while her feet dangled, the World Bombshells title had become far more important than anything else she had…

If only cause it was the only thing that might not judge her for feeling that way.

“Did you think it was just a fever dream? That I was made of punch-drunk feelings, shaped by all those concussions?”

Porcelain white and cracked in almost deliberate tiny spiderwebs that traced through the otherwise smooth facial structure, the voice that emanated from beyond it came with an almost melodic quality. A softness offset by the cruel and patronising undertone that always lingered. Amber didn’t need to turn around to witness the unnaturally wide smile, the click clack of heel on concrete sent enough chills down her already crumbling spine.

A face in the rain. Amber knew it wasn’t a dream that stormy night- but hearing that voice, remembering the sadistic and efficient nature of dissection and knowing that what waited beyond would fuel every regret of ever choosing to take up the waltz with the devil…

What reached out a hand for her shoulder in such a tender way, it might have even been construed as loving- was more than enough to make her sincerely wish it was.


“You’ll never believe me, I’m sure when I tell you that I was like you at one point…

That isn’t just some fucking smart ass aside either that I spent a day walking around with a big goofy smile pretending like the apocalypse wasn’t real. No, Bella honey, I spent YEARS walking around under this cloud of silver linings with big hopes and dreams that working hard and ‘doing my best’ was going to see me catapulted to great success- cause why wouldn’t it?
That's what we’re all taught coming up- conventional or not, everyone tells you that dedication to your craft, a healthy level of respect for those who came before and so much ambition you’re literally shitting it in place of a regular bowel movement… is really fucking important.

You can’t be champion if you don’t do it the ‘right way’.

I was that girl Bella, from when I got signed to my first professional contract at age 20 till I was almost 24 years old… I walked around, I shook everyone's hand, I treated them all with utmost respect… and I lost almost every opportunity I had, which I can assure you… was not many.
It wasn’t as though I didn’t have talent, I promise I didn’t just ‘get good’ one day after crying into a pumpkin cause someone else looked better in my shoes. I just didn’t get it…

I did everything right Bela, just like you are doing now.

Gutsy as you are fucking adorable, darling if I thought I could pinch your cheeks without getting slapped I’d be all over it.You’re cute, you’re ambitious, you’re perky in every sense of the word and frankly if I wasn’t such a realist piece of shit- we could probably be friends in another life.
But honey, oh honey… you aren’t a world champion.
Not right now, not in this life, not while I’m the fucking Queenpin playing fiddle on the roof while I raze this city to the ground in hopes it might take me with it.

That's going to be something you don’t stop hearing coming into this- and maybe it fields you, and I’d love for that to be the case. However it's not because anyone doubts your ability, despite the fact you are essentially overmatched in every meaningful way, it's because of the fact that you are too damn sweet… You’re nice Bella, and nice girls don’t have the greatest reputations for doing anything but picking up after everyones left the victory party. Everything you have- is completely undone by the one thing you don’t.
A killer instinct, Bella. A willingness to do what it ACTUALLY takes to tear this belt from my cold dead grasp- I have no doubt that you’ll say you’ll do a lot. That underdogs can win, that it's not impossible… but you won’t cause you won’t allow yourself to go to a place where things start to get a little grey morally, where the edges start to blur and everything you were certain about in your existence is called into question.

Fiery little Bella Madison is gonna spit venom and talk a big game- but the girl showing up to the ring on Sunday doesn’t have it in her emotionally and psychologically to stand toe to toe with me.

By all means though, use the excuse that I’m looking past you towards Johanna at Inception, like that fucking blowhard is going to do a damn thing to affect this outcome. No, I don’t look ahead of people Bella, that's why I’m coming into my tenth defense- I don’t overlook, I don’t consider anyone less of a threat like I’m fucking infallible. I’m not so arrogant that I don’t think you could upset me with a cheeky roll-up…
I take everyone as they come to me, it's not up to me to prove I take you seriously though, it's up to you to give me a reason to…

See, right now you’re like a pane of glass. I have no need to look past cause I can stare straight on through the brave face and big talk you’re throwing out there. Clear as day, nothing to hide. You’re an open book without ever cracking the cover cause with you sweetheart, what you see is precisely what you get and unfortunately all I’ve seen?
Potential squandered, contentment with simply being a good sport, being okay with second best cause you did a good job and put on a show. I have no doubt you can rise to the proverbial occasion- but winning ONE match to get ehre doesn’t do alot for your proof. I’m not the one under the microscope here Bella, this is a test to see if you can handle yourself under the spotlight, an opportunity to prove that High Stakes wasn’t just you fluking your way into a career shift.

If I have to be brutally honest, I could stand here and say that you aren’t ready…that everything I’m willing to do to stay champion will haunt you for the rest of your career, that in close enough proximity you can almost hear the ticking of the timebomb in my chest that this title triggers upon loss.
You’re good, maybe you’re even great… but you’re a total package missing it's edges, like a laminated piece paper with a dulled and chewed up edge. An angel with clipped wings and a faulty glowstick halo trying to give advice on how to blend in while traversing the scenic route of hell.
You’re really fucking good, you have to be cause you wouldn’t be here otherwise… but you’re still swinging above your head in hopes of grazing my elbow  instead of trying to elevate yourself so that you might take a swing and shut me the fuck up.

Don’t get me wrong, I really do want you to be on my level- but to try and put you there right now would be akin to trying to save someone from drowning by tying an extra few cinderblocks to their shoelaces. Maybe it’ll work, but most likely it’d just make your loved ones really upset with me.
Oddly enough, I seem to have that effect on people quite regularly- although I simply can’t imagine why…

Fact is Bella, I’ve already done my hard work… you don’t rack up nine defenses by looking pretty on Twitter, and sure, maybe one or two defenses would have been fine for most but I just never stopped… Really, you’re the one with something to prove this time, the proverbial mountain to climb while I’ve long since acclimated to the thinning air. You’re the one under the pressure to perform cause I’ve proven myself on this kind of stage more times than nearly anyone else in the last few years.
Hell, I’ve got more ‘good will’ built up with what I’ve done than I’ll ever know what to do with- it's like cryptocurrency I suppose, but devalues way faster and can’t be exchanged for anything worth having.

That being said though, and it's something I shall continue to reiterate until people fucking get this right…despite my records, I’m not the best. I’ve never actually claimed to be, it's always been my opponents and peers who say that- which I suppose should be flattering, if they weren’t following it with a ‘but’ insert inane argument here.
Truth is, I’ve made it my point to go out there night after night and be better than whoever was standing across from me. It didn’t have to be dominant, I didn’t have to put people on the shelf for looking at me wrong during a lock up- just good enough that I would walk away with the W. I’ve made it my mission to drag everyone else up to my  level so that I didn’t have to break my back stooping down for equality purposes. 

That's what everyone seems to forget though- having the title doesn’t automatically change anything, the best has never simply been defined by the one wearing the belt however logic might try to dictate otherwise. There are plenty of women who excel in ways that I’ll never match, however I’ve never needed to either. I don’t need to try to match strength with Tempest, throw strikes with Alicia or spew terrible analogies about respect like Roxi and whichever face Crystal painted on that given day.
All I’ve ever done was manage to be better than the next asshole for three seconds- each and every Bombshells that crossed my path learned it the hard way.
Even now the lesson hasn;t quite sunk in with some- I don’t need to be the best, I just need to be better than whoever gets thrown at my feet.

Besides, honey. Why would I wanna be the best… when I can continue to be the World Bombshells Champion instead.

By all means though, come Sunday sweet girl… You bring that relentless optimism like a safety blanket and all the best training that Wolfslair might give you, just to sow those seeds of doubt a little further into their ranks when I go two for two against some of their best and brightest. You bring all those affirmations, those positive vibes to drown out the perpetual hum of my contemptuous realism, you bring every weapon that you have in your platinum gilded arsenal…

Everything you have to offer, everything you promise.

I’ll bring MY title.

… and we’ll see what really means more."


Undisclosed Subway Line
New York City, NY

There once was a time that Amber would have frozen at this moment.

She would have swallowed her spite and her caustic guilt under the facade of ‘being the bigger woman’ if such things weren’t just an overwrought cliche of excuse making. Maybe she’d have smiled and simply pretended that it wasn’t worthwhile, that her reputation and responsibilities as a standard bearer for Sin City Wrestling were paramount and her sought vengeance was simply not enough of a priority to risk repercussion for.

Yet here she was… trailing the suitably dyed hair and unhealthily wrinkle free swarthy skin of Dominic Del Gado, waiting for a break in the sheer mass of humanity that filled every workable space like social tetris. She’d never taken him for the subway type, maybe it made him seem more relatable to the ‘little people’ or maybe he liked the small thrill that came with being no one in a throng of everyone. Anonymous without ever belonging…
Most likely though, Amber mused as she slipped by a huddle of confused tourists who couldn’t make heads or tails of the human holiday highway threatening to burst to the surface like a breaking dam of almost festive spirit.

By now, she didn’t even care if he knew that she’d found him. For weeks, he’d been ducking her at every opportunity- phone number changes, new assistants with strict instructions not to engage, taking the subway it seemed. Dominic Del Gado was a prideful man, one who despite his affinity for being the centre of attention, didn’t stand well for being made the centre of attention without a pressed suit and written spiel for effect.
A small break in the crowd came as they splintered towards one of the mant stairways already jammed with people who didn’t understand the function of arrows, each finding their errands of nothing in particular to be far more important than the self-obsessed asshole trying to go in the opposite direction. Amber- in that moment seized her chance and slipped up behind Dominic, spun him around and slammed him hard into the wall with her forearm wedged against his throat tightly enough that he understood this wasn’t an expected speech moment.

It was New York, no one cared what anyone else was doing. Bystanders stared and murmured to their respective cohorts as they passed, but no one stepped in. There wasn’t nearly enough blood for anyone to find their backbone or empathy yet, after all.

“You know, it's really funny who you come across on the subway sometimes… Granted, it's not my usual scene, too many people you see... Of course, I wouldn't have picked it for yours either, but I suppose a pit of snakes isn’t exactly foreign territory.”

Dominic gurgled something unintelligible, making a vain attempt to find a space between Amber’s fleece laden arm and his windpipe. Amber, however was prepared for the eventuality and shifted her weight slightly, forcing her forearm a little deeper if only to get the rush of panic to sear his better judgement.

“No, this is where I talk and you get a really good understanding of what happens next…”

Forcing down the bile that slithered to the back of her throat, she forced down the painful twinge radiating through her chest as the words lost their focus for a moment.

“See, I know Dominic. I like to think you get that by now, by this situation but I want you to really get it this time… I know what you were doing. I don’t know why, I don’t really care. Maybe you think I’m just this dumb fucking wrestler who has been hit in the head so many times they forgot how to write their name or maybe I’m just too goddamn fucking loyal to the past and what it meant for my own good.”

Swallowing hard, Amber shook her head slightly trying to refind the focus as a few errant sounds escaped Dominic’s throat as his swarthy skin took on a scarlet undertone.

“I just want you to know… Her name was Cassidy. You should remember her when we were young, not whatever bullshit name she thought she had to call herself in the end, and how close we used to be… Yeah, you do… and you used it to string me along Dominic. A puppet prepared to dance for every stray breadcrumb you’d drop expecting I’d be so thankful I wouldn’t ask questions.”

Oh, how the ache in her chest grew, this was supposed to be a catharsis however all it seemed to do was magnify all the ways she’d fucked up. Not just for Cassidy, but for Mac, for all the secrets she’d kept and lies she’d told along the way… for all she’d tried to protect and preserve. Now here she was, in a crowded subway trying to atone in the only way she knew how.

“How did you expect this would all end, darling?”

Leaning in, she rested her forehead against his, almost making it seem as though they were sharing something intimate instead of threatening. If only the slightly awkward angle of her elbow could be ignored when lingered on for a second too long.

“I thought a lot about what I was going to do when this moment came… all the ways I could make it seem like an accident.”

There was a crack in her voice she couldn’t mask- all the times he had used her for his own benefit, all the times she had to scratch and claw for acknowledgement that she was half the person he was. All the times she had to prove to everyone around her that she was enough…

Every fucking day she still felt like she still had to…

“Truth is though, maybe just living is enough. Much as I'd like to see you splattered on these walls... You'll have to walk around with the knowledge that I’ve outgrown you, that I don’t need you anymore and that you had to pull at my proverbial strings to find the relevancy you so craved. I want you to walk away from this and understand what it means to be helpless Dominic… to feel as though nothing you do matters.”

Reputation be damned, the satisfaction of tossing him off the platform would have been enough to sustain her for a lifetime however there was something far more gripping still under the surface that just wouldn;t let go. As though any kind of finality would simply allow him to justify his world perspective in his fleeting last moments.
Rage. Grief. There was an underlying guilt that didn’t shift from her bones, the taste of ash and self-loathing still laced across her lips from words spoken in vitriol. She hated Dominic Del Gado almost as much as she hated what he’d made her into.
Irredeemable perhaps, unforgivable in some lights. If only cause there had always been the option of doing more, of doing better and instead… she’d always woken up and chosen violence.

“Should you come crawling to my doorstep once more Dominic… I promise you’ll take your last breath on your knees.”

Matter-of-factly and with as much apathy as she might muster, as though the man deserved anything better than her venom injected directly through the middle of his chest, Amber jerked away and allowed him to crumble against the grimy wall with a heaving gasp. Pathetically, Dominic slid down into a crumpled mess like he’d left her emotionally too many times, like Cassidy had been in the wake of Amber’s ignorance, like the fast decaying foundation of her life outside of wrestling success…

Looking down for a moment and finding little joy in the gesture, Amber shook her head indignantly. Where she’d sought ablution, she’d found just an exponential growth in the void she was harbouring between her ribs. Behind a facade that everything was fine and fuckign dandy cause she was the goddamn fucking World Bombshells Champion and how dare she not smile at the top of the mountain like it wasn;t everything she ever wanted.

She couldn’t not smile.

She couldn’t…

She couldn’t continue this way.

Disappearing as quickly as she materialized, she left Dominic a coughing and spluttering heap with a slight cock of the head and a flicker at the edge of her lips that curled into a disordered half-smile, painted as though not entirely convinced in itself that it was ever supposed to exist.

After all, this was everything she’d come searching for…

Everything she ever wanted…

How could she not smile?

SCW: 15 - 4 - 1
Uprising: 8 - 2 - 0
Life: 0 - 1 - 0</span>