Minneapolis Minnesota was a weird blend of eclectic scenery, new buildings alongside historical structures.
“It is a revenge the devil sometimes takes upon the virtuous, that he entraps them by the force of the very passion they have suppressed and think themselves superior to..”
We were taking a cab from the airport, having flown in from Las Vegas after the Jackpot PPV for Sin City Wrestling and I was restless after Gryphon had settled me in and shut the cab door. I watched him move around to his side, my eyes taking him in. I would never perhaps put it into words, but this man drew me like none other. I was a little tired, a little battered after wrestling four matches in less than two weeks, two per PPV at Numbered Days and Jackpot. But it had been worth
it. I retained my Intercontinental Title which meant so much to me, and even now was serving as a beacon to draw toward me what I most desired and craved when it came to a wrestling ring. The challenge, the passion of a true warrior across from me who would push me right to my limits and beyond. That was exciting and pleasing to me to think of. That I had also won the triple threat match against Shelbi Lynn Carter and Heidi Lawman also pleased me. Those were two hard fighting suki
just like myself. The other two matches ...
well, everyone that followed UWF knew how the Universal Title match with Richard Osiris had gone. It was not so unexpected considering what I had done to her, and that she would step up to attempt to get some of her own back was just fine by me. There would be consequences of course, there always were. But now that we were even, if she toed the line it would be professional between us from here on out. The Jackpot match had been amazing
and brutal, and while I had not gained a title shot there, I was pleased with my performance because I knew I had impressed both Gryphon and his old running mate Jackson who had flown in specially to Las Vegas for a bit of a break and to attend Jackpot. I had gained the respect of my peers and that was a worthwhile thing to have … what most did not understand about respect is, that if you cannot give it you do not deserve it. Those that screamed and yammered the loudest about respect often wanted it but never gave it.
My dark eyes looked over as he sat down, every detail of the man permanently burned into my memory. The dark hair, long and kept in a meticulous ponytail. Those arctic cold blue eyes, usually watching the world with an unnerving blank stare from behind his nearly trademarked aviators. The way he would military-press his dark blue jeans, that always managed to look new. The shine on his rayskin boots, the gleam almost shimmering. Today he had on one of his old Affliction-style Great American Nightmare shirts, white and black that contrasted well with the battered leather of his jacket. I could not help the feeling in my belly as I looked at him, nor would I if I could. I looked back down at my hands and what they held when suddenly he captured my attention again.“I fucking hate the Midwest.”“I thought you did.”
My iPhone was in my hands, and with a few sweeps of my thumb a prerecorded soundbite rose up in the interior of the cab.“I know this, Sabra, your end is near. I'll apologize in advance but I'm going to seriously injure you.”
I felt my full lips twist into a bit of a very unpleasant, very chilling smile. I gazed down at the screen, that one tiny sentence out of everything that Shane Eric Xanders had inflicted upon UWF.com thus far this week the only thing he really said that had any worth or consequences attached to it. I found it interesting how quickly he had managed to damn himself, with one simple line. I swiped my thumb over it again, playing it one more time.“I know this, Sabra, your end is near. I'll apologize in advance but I'm going to seriously injure you.”
There was a rough sound, not quite a chuckle from the man who sat next to me in the cab. I shifted a little in my seat to put my back to the door so I could look at him better, Gryphon the king of his location no matter where we might be. He could walk into a room and just own
it, so imagine how much more amplified that was inside the small space of a cab's backseat. I smoothed my fingertips over the zipper of the black Queen of Sin hoodie I wore over a very comfortable and worn looking pair of the Replay jeans I was sponsored by, but as my thumb went to play the loop again Gryphon's scarred and calloused hand reached over and took my iPhone out of my hands – not roughly, but take it he did. He hit erase, and then tossed it back to me as I blinked, his rough and wrecked voice sharp and rusted as he spoke.“Just so you know, if I catch that little bitch backstage I'm going to hang him with my truck chain.”
Leave it to Gryphon to make me smile.
We got to the hotel without further incident, Gryphon taking our bags and handing me the soft cases with our title belts as I moved to get us checked in. It was a quiet enough hotel, with a serviceable gym and a park less than a block away with running and jogging paths, and a small but heated indoor pool. After gathering the key cards I followed him up and with very little prompting from him I took a nap. I rarely did these things, but he knew I needed the extra down time after all I had done. He even sat on the bed with me, booted feet crossed at the ankles as he got his own phone out to mess with his Twitter account. With his presence I was able to relax and drop off nearly immediately, not that I would ever examine just why that was. I woke up with my cheek pressed against the top of one blue jean clad thigh, ruining the crease but when I went to sit up with haste, that big scarred hand moved to rest on my dark silken hair. I half-smiled in my still sleepy state, and apparently I was more tired than I thought because when I woke again he had moved and we were both dressed for sleep. The clock read 3:30 A.M, which made me groan just a little. I had meant to get up and do a few things, including address the UWF fans and my opponent this week … a tiny growl leaving my lips thinking of him.
The sound was tiny but enough to make Gryphon stir in his sleep, and when he reached for me I did not resist. The next morning was soon enough to prepare what I wanted to say and where I would say it.
Sure enough, he had us up early and had called the UWF cameras to the location we would be heading to after breakfast. When I saw what he had picked out for me to wear I chuckled and felt it was a fine idea. After all what better to be dressed as, when you must teach a lesson, than a teacher? A rental car was waiting for us downstairs, and while it was not the 1969 Oldsmobile that he drove and I adored so much, it was still a decent car and would get us where we were going. Pulling up fifteen minutes later at an abandoned school, I felt a tug of a smile at the corners of my mouth when I thought of the last time we had chosen a location such as this. He encouraged me to go set up, and he went to speak to the camera crew that was just arriving as I did so.
This place had seen better days. Two wings, the one on the left closed and the one on the right used mostly for storage of items from the other schools in the district. It was the kind of place that would serve as a dumping ground for old textbooks, equipment that did not work but was too expensive to repair, or things that had been replaced due to state funding but to some still held some intrinsic worth, usually in the mind of the person that could not bear to throw it away. Most of the seat and desk combinations were askew in the room, desktops cracked and the laminated wood peeling and chipped. Dust lay thickly on the tiles, ropes of it hung from the corners of the ceiling, spiderwebs coated so deep that they no longer resembled what they had started as. When the cameras caught up I had cleared off the teacher's desk save for an old globe in desperate need of polish on the brass, a brand new placemat that was vibrant and clean, and thus seemed terribly out of place to the right of that where rested a single bright red polished apple.
I did so adore my symbolism.
Behind me on the dirty and cracked slate of the room length chalkboard I had written in huge letters with the shards of dusty chalk left behind “MISS NIKOLAYEV” and I picked up a long thin pointer that I smacked against my palm as I turned to face the camera fully. I was wearing a corset top of white leather which contrasted nicely with my honey-toned skin, a flared black plaid pleated short skirt, my dark silky locks smoothed into a French twist at the nape of my neck and secured with a black clip, and perched on my nose were a pair of 'librarian' style glasses. I moved from behind the desk, the motion revealing with a tiny flip of the hem of the skirt the dark stockings and garters I wore beneath it, and the click of my three inch high heels on the dusty tiles was loud and echoing.
My voice though, while heavily accented as always, delivered my speech just as flawlessly as the fans had grown to expect it.“First let me say this, Mister Xanders. Apology not accepted. For everything else you claim and maintain I would have been willing to overlook it. To let it go, chalk it up to youthful excitement and adrenaline, being that far in over your head and all.
Then I remembered you are actually likely older than I am, but you are one of those that will always be twenty-one going on six. You want gratification right fucking now as if it is a right of yours, you have a sense of entitlement you have never earned, and you will not listen when a woman tells you something even when she is right. J.C. Diamond, she has experience which you would do well to listen to. Even Gage Gannon has gone through things in his career that you would do well to learn from if he is feeling generous enough to share those stories with you. But like so many others, you and the rest just like you are fools. You like to laugh at Kassidy behind his back, forgetting that he used to wrestle here and was better than the lot of you. You failed to see what he did at Supremacy, failed to remember that if he got ready he could fold you like a piece of paper. Why else do you think, he is with Black Dawn? The man is utterly ruthless, and that is why we like him.”
There was a gleam in my dark eyes that was not usually seen until the heated moments in the middle of a really good match. A certain sort of fire, that made them flash and my free hand swept a pile of old and unwanted tests off the desk to the floor below. A slight tremble of my upper lip was almost a snarl, but a sharp snap of fingers got me to turn my head and accept what had been handed to me. My Intercontinental title, which I carefully, reverently hooked into place around my waist. The gold gleamed in the portable lights the camera crew held, and then Gryphon stepped into frame to place my tag title over my right shoulder before smoothing a rogue lock of hair from my face and tucking it behind my ear. When he stepped out of the shot I glared at the camera and continued.“There is no doubt that you came into the Universal Wrestling Federation to make an impact. You were undefeated after all until Bree Swift took your ass to the woodshed, at least that is what a certain friend of mine said. So now the man that thought he was Perfection got to experience a loss. How touching, how tragic! Because to a man like you a loss is crippling. Idiot. A loss should be nothing more and nothing less than the chance to learn something new about yourself and your opponent. Where were they weak? Where were they strong? What was it that gave them the edge to defeat you? You have a raw natural ability, Mister Xanders. You have some skills, and had embraced the Hardcore ideal despite your presentation as a ladies man with a handsome face.
But you let that success go to your head. You could not see the skills of those you faced, you could not give them the regard they earned for paying their dues, or respect any of their accomplishments. Even now you mock the man you had defeated to take your former belt. So do not be so surprised then, when Bree mocks you for the exact same things. Speaking of Bree? Congratulations, you set yourself a goal and you achieved it no matter what wanted to stand in your way. Really it is not that hard to do, but as you know it is surprising the number of people that have not figured that simple thing out.
Do not say it, unless you know you can do it. For example Mister Xanders. What on Earth makes you believe you have the balls to actually injure me? I am not talking about things that may happen in the course of a match. That is expected. That is the nature of wrestling. But you?”
I heard my voice, usually a pleasant contralto drop nearly a full octave as I set the stick down with a bang, putting my hands palms down on the desk and leaning forward.“Oh you. You believe that I will just lay back and allow you first not just to win this match and pin me, but to let you injure me afterward on top of that. Do you really believe it will be that easy, just because you are pissed off another pair of tits came down to that ring and embarrassingly to you took your title? If you could not defeat Bree, then you are not ready to defeat me. You have potential, I have said so have I not? You could go far in this business, make a real career of it. Make the fans love you, make them cheer for you. But you have to stop fucking up. You have to think of the consequences of your actions, and be willing to back them up all the way.
Nothing we have seen from you from the moment you walked in the doors to the moment you lost your title leads anyone to believe that you can, Mister Xanders and that is your problem. You have a glimmer of hope, you know what your mistake was, you blew off your match and paid for it. But instead of truly working hard to improve, you decided that it was better to make threats to injure me. If you had simply said you wished for the best competition you can get, for a match that will push you to improve, that will make an impression on the fans? I would have agreed. I would have worked with you to make our match special. But you?
Disrespected me. You disrespected my Intercontinental Title, by implying that you who had so recently thrown away your own Hardcore Title because you could not focus on anything but partying and getting your dick wet while an idiotic sycophant leeches off your ignorance of how these things work, could just walk in and take it from me with little to no effort on your part. Even added tiny compliment about my skill in the ring to top it off. A compliment mixed with the total underestimation of what I can do is worse than a slap in the face.
So I … am left with little choice here Mister Xanders.”
My eyes narrowed just slightly, and I took up that pointer to thwack it hard on the desk, a puff of dust coming up just as my lips twisted in a snarl.“You, whom I could have treated as a fellow competitor, someone who was worth the attention and worthwhile to face in the ring? You are begging to be my bitch in that ring. Does that make you angry? Good. I have seen you angry and all it does is make you sloppy. It makes you easy meat. But my anger is not like your anger, Mister Xanders.
My anger is cold, calculating and makes me focus even more on the match in front of me. This is what you have to look forward to first hand at Adrenaline. Words you spoke in anger and haste, are going to serve you exactly has you deserve. I am the Legacy of Violence, Mister Xanders. And you, lucky you...”
I smacked that pointer down on the desk hard enough to make it shatter, the pieces skittering across that surface and hitting the floor at random intervals. I held up my Tag title before gently setting it near the apple, and then unhooked my Intercontinental belt, holding it toward the camera to display my name on it.“Get to find out first hand what that means. I want you to remember after it is all over, that you had no one to blame for this but yourself.”
I set the Intercontinental belt next to the tag title belt, and took up the apple, slowly rubbing it against my hip and that black plaid until it shone, and brought it up to my lips before taking a bite, and winking at the camera. Gryphon's rusted chuckle filled the room as I finished that bite and swallowed, before leaning over the desk, balanced now on one hand while I offered the apple to Gryphon off-screen, the pose undeniably sexy.“Believe the hype, Mister Xanders. Or do not, but either way it will not change what happens to you at Adrenaline. Watch very carefully what you say to me, from now until then. Remember that I am the embodiment of the Three R's. Ruthless, Relentless, and Revenge. You cannot fix this, but you can make it worse.”
I tossed the apple to Gryphon as the cameras cut out for now, the last thing seen was the hint of a bit more skin as I began to unlace that corset.