“Anything to declare?”
MJ Flair stares at the customs agent for a moment, the desire for a witty reply fighting against the desire to just get on with her day.
MJF: ...No, nothing.
That was difficult. She shows her passport, signs her paperwork, and leaves the area. She reaches into her carry - on bag (damn you, girl jeans and your useless fucking ‘pockets’) for her phone. She hits her fourth speed dial and holds the device to her face.
“Good morning, Ms. Flair.”
MJF: Hey Adrian, I just landed and got through customs; I’mma grab a cab and I’ll be right over.
Adrian Evans sighs into the phone; MJ can see him facepalm in her mind’s eye, though she doesn’t know why.
Adrian: Don’t bother, Ms. Flair.
Adrian: I’m at the hospital, I’m in the room, but Ms. Rayne is gone. Nobody seems to know what happened, nobody saw her leave, nobody saw anyone take her out.
MJ stops. Someone walks into her from behind and she moves to the side, subway-walk-mode activated. She was hoping to visit Mia Rayne in the hospital today, but now it looks like that plan has gone sideways.
Adrian: Obviously, they won’t give me any information, but I can ask Ms. McGinnis to check their visitor logs, nursing rounds, the whole nine.
MJF: No - no, don’t bother. Shit. Let’s get through the show tonight and talk to the Forsaken guys afterward.
She silently curses herself: this is what she gets for staying in Toronto for a few extra days and flying in to Buffalo literally the day of the show.
MJF: Just keep me updated, okay? See you at the arena.
She hangs up the phone and walks through the hallway.
There’s always something.
”I don’t know what happens now.”
“Last week, I became the co-number-one-contender for the CWF World Championship. In two weeks, I wrestle at the top of Wrestle Fest IV, hopefully, to fulfil my quest of regaining the Championship.”
“This week? The waiting game.”
“I mean, it’s not really a waiting game: I’ve got The Ringmaster, who’s lookin’ for a boost himself, as he’s taking on Jarvis King for the Paramount Title at Wrestlefest. We could both go with some momentum heading into the big show.”
“But does it matter?”
“I’m wrestling Colton Mace for the vacant Championship, no matter what happens here. The Ringmaster is wrestling Jarvis King for King’s Paramount Championship, no matter what happens here.”
“If we were smart, we’d all phone it in or skip the night. Save the pain ‘n suffering for the dance.”
“Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.”
There was no problem catching a cab to the arena: they congregate outside the airport like a swarm of basic bitches around pumpkin spice. MJ had picked the closest one, but he keeps looking at her in the rear view. It’s unsettling.
Driver: You, you look familiar.
MJF: It’s possible.
She isn’t looking up: instagram is far more interesting to her at the moment.
Driver: Where you from?
Driver: No, I mean where you from? You an actress? You do movies?
MJF: I’m on the CWF wrestling show, Evolution.
He seems to consider this for a few seconds.
Driver: So you’re like, a tough chick, huh?
MJF: I can hold my own.
Driver: So, like… if I pulled over and refused to complete the fare unless you got out and gave me a little something-something… you could kick my ass.
MJ stops scrolling, and she tenses. Her eyes focus on the Driver: he looks to be in pretty haggard shape, and she could probably take him if need be.
Still… why the fuck. She returns her attention to her phone.
MJF: Probably could, but I wouldn’t. I’d get out, call another cab, call your dispatch, and get your ass fired.
That seems to hold him, fortunately.
MJ’s mother is petite; she somehow managed to be more shapely than her by her thirteenth birthday, and had to deal with the unwanted attention from men ever since. When her father first started taking her to the gym, she thought it was mainly so they could spend some time together.
He was preparing her for life. Of course, MJ’s parents have always done the best they could to protect her, but logic dictates that they won’t always be there. The upside, of course, is that MJ has never ever felt intimidated, physically, by anyone, any time.
Still… why the fuck.
”I would never, ever insult an opponent by saying that a match doesn’t matter. But, Ringmaster… this match doesn’t matter.”
“You still have your title shot. I still have my title shot.”
“It’s not about titles. It’s about pride.”
“Pride in being the best. Pride in giving the fans their moneys worth. Pride in saying that, even if a match, strictly speaking, doesn’t matter, it matters.”
“It always matters, Ringmaster.”
“It’s always important. Especially when you’ve got something to prove.”
“I can’t speak for you, but I’ve got something to prove.”
“Caledonia beat me, fair and on the level, for the CWF World Championship. Every chance I’ve had, ever since, to either win it back or earn an opportunity, has been met with failure. Not once. Not twice. Three times.”
“Our colleagues, who are not fortunate enough to be in this match at Wrestle Fest, many of ‘em have said that I don’t deserve this shot, or they’ve said it to someone else or themself off the record. And they’ve got a point.”
“Why me? Why Ataxia? Why Ripper? Why Colton Mace?”
“I’ll argue the point. I’ll defend my career, I’ll defend the title if I’m fortunate enough to come out on top at Wrestle Fest. I’ll bust my ass to prove all over again that I belong in that spot, that I’m the Champion that the CWF needs right now.”
“I’ll meet you in the ring, Ringmaster, and look you in the eye and prove to ya that I deserve the opportunity I’ve won.”
“And you’ll do the same to me.”
“When all’a this is over? When the final bell rings at Wrestle Fest, when we can both call ourselves Champion?”
“We can tell everyone that doubted either of us… told ya so.”
“At least, I will.”
“Because with me, on some level, it’s never over.”