Post by Alexandra Sanders on Jul 22, 2022 18:00:59 GMT -5
Social Media Queen
Moments after her Battle Royal Win
Alexandra had just finished the big Battle Royal and the celebration that quickly followed it. She got backstage, retrieving her cellphone from her gear bag. She went onto Instagram and clicked live, waiting for the people to join. Once her fans flooded in she began to speak. She was still shocked at her win and excited at the chance to fight for PWS:Apex's World Championship. PWS: Apex had been good to her since her arrival in the company and big things were on the horizon for her."Hey guys, it's been an amazing night. I never thought that I would get this big of a shot, especially not so early in my time here. But here we are, now I go on to face off against the current number one contender for the coveted World Championship. How beautiful its going to look around my waist. Just think about it guys."
She takes a few moments to revel in the image of her as PWS: Apex's World Champion. How proudly she could hold her head high as the Queen of Apex. The number one, the Apex Predator of this company. She was more than ready, even if there was a voice in the back of her head, telling her to let go.. to go deeper into the darkness. She tried to fight it."HellfyreFan": Way to go Alexandra I'm excited to see you be the champion."Thanks HellfyreFan. I'm going to do it. No matter what it takes.""CleoFan22": Cleo is going to beat you! You'll regret winning the battle royal."Nice to know that she needs the fans to speak for her. I'll let you know this, she can try. I've fought bigger, harder, and faster. I just fought nine other people to get here. One of them was my own friend Jenn. So if you believe for one second that I wont fire on all cylinders and gun straight for kneeing her head off, you are so fucking wrong. Do me a favor and allow Cleo to speak for herself, she's a grown ass adult.""CanadianHero": Be sure to show Cleo whos the real Queen around here."That's not going to be a problem CanadianHero. I plan on it. And I don't plan on stopping with just her.. I'll move on after winning tonight and..."
She looks up at someone who had just walked up and leaned against the wall, raising his head to look at her. She bit her lip and looked up into the eyes of Michael Rathedon. He smiled at her and she looked down at her phone.
-Your live has been interrupted-
Her system glitches and she left staring at the person who had just walked up, leaning against the wall, just past her cellphone. She smiles and gives it a few more moments before it comes back up."Sorry guys, bit of interference there. I don't know what happened. Anyways thank you everyone for stopping in. Stay turned for more exciting moments ahead. There's more to come. So come on my Fallen Angels.. and follow me into Hell."
With that she cut the feed and looked up at Michael, wondering how he was still here, still alive.
Crashed Into You
Alexandra had just ended her live feed and stood up to look at him. There he was, the man from her past, the one everyone had told her was dead. But he couldn't be could he, since he was standing right there in front of her, like some phantom in a dream. She hadn't felt this way in a very long time. Like everything was as it should be."Good showing out there tonight."
She extended her hand, forgetting completely that her tattoo wasn't covered right now. Michael continues to gaze at her without saying a single word. After a moment he throws a small smile her way and meets her extended hand with his. He let's go of her hand pretty quickly however and instead goes in to give her a hug."My jaw kinda hurts, thank you for that."
He laughs and pulls away from her. "I genuinely cannot believe it's you. I'm happy it is and believe me, I wouldn't have had our reunion go any other way... Alexandra..."
She smiled feeling him hug her. She wrapped her arms around him and as quickly as he had entered her arms he was gone again. She stood there looking at him as he spoke. She couldn't believe it was him, something about it all was too real. "Yeah about that.. I'm sorry. I said I wasn't going to let anyone stand in my way. Then you hit that move.. and I knew it was you.. I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest."
She laughed softly looking at him. "I can't believe it's you.. how.. they told me.. they.."
She swallowed hard. "He told me he killed you.. that you were gone.."
She bit her lip. "Nova.. Micah.. Zak.. they had planned it all from the start."
Michael looks down to his feet and rubs the back of his head, running his fingers through his hair from anxiety."I heard through the grape vine that you had been killed years ago. That was my biggest reason for leaving. I was convinced I had no one left other than Mackenzie and Madyson..."
He looks back up and looks her right in the eyes."You look a lot different ya know that?"
He lightly chuckles.
She blushed a bit looking into his eyes, when he pulled away, she bit her lip, trying to find the words to say."Well I mean.."
She smiled. "I got older.. had a little girl.. As for me being killed.. he left me in an alleyway, a piece of rebar through my chest, inches from killing my little girl and me.. So yeah to him.. I was left for dead.."
He places his hand on her shoulder."Fuck... I'm so sorry that happened to you. I shouldn't have ran. I should have stayed and dealt with him one way or another. That was all my fault, it was my brother-"
He gets cut off by Alexandra placing her hand on his to calm him down."I- I'm just so happy you're ok. I was broken up about it for so long. I've lost so much because of him and I'm glad you weren't one of them after all."
He places his back up against a wall and rubs his face with both his hands."Hey.. it's not your fault.. your life was falling apart. You had a psycho girl after you.. and you had your children to think about.Michael.. I don't blame you for what happened."
She watched as he backed up moving to place a hand on his shoulder."I know, but I can't help but feel like I could've done something..."
He exhales deeply and he flips a switch to go from melancholy to energetic. He puts a massive smile on his face and wraps his arm around Alexandra's shoulders."Let's forget about all that for the time being and celebrate! You're the big winner tonight!"
She sighed looking up at him. Her eyes brightened when she felt him wrap his arms around her. There was a safeness there that she almost forgotten in the eight years since they had seen each other."What sacrificed your life to save mine? Yeah.. the winner.. but look at what I have to do now.."
She was a bit worried about that match. A World title shot was big, this was just some other match. "Don't worry about that at all. I knew you for a long time and if you're anything like the woman I knew, you're gonna win easily."
He looks at her and smiles."If I was gonna beat her, you definitely will."
She smiles at him, as she rubbed her left arm, the radio tattoo, the rose tattoo under it and her daughters name on her wrist."She's still in here somewhere. Under all the bullshit.. You know.. She asks about you a lot.."
Michael pulls back a little and furrows his eyebrows with a grin. "I'm sorry? Who does?"
He looks at the tattoos and notices the Radio first and he closes his eyes and lightly laughs. He looks to the name on her wrist now. He looks back up to her gaze."Did you-?"
She nodded knowing what he was asking. She knew that if anyone deserved to know, he did. She wasn't secretive about her daughter, not anymore. She had been at first."Did I what? Have a kid.. yeah I had a little girl.. the night the attempt on my life was taken.. she's still alive."
Alexandra nods her head."Holy shit, it didn't even snap. Awesome! You're a mom! We can have our kids meet and all those kinds of parent things. They've gotten so big too you would barely recognize them!"
She smiled hearing his excitement."I always wondered how they were.. After Nova left me for Zak. they kidnapped me, tied me up and .. held me hostage.. when I managed to escape and he came after me..*
She covered the scar on her stomach, it was small, round, looked like a bullet hole. Only it was a piece of rebar that had almost taken her life. From joy immediately to anger. He starts pacing to stopping pacing right in front of Alexandra."That- That's too fucking far. I'll go dig up his grave wherever the fuck he's buried and piss all over his fucking corpse. I- I- ya know what? Nah, it's done. It's the past..."
She reached up to touch his cheek."You're right.. it's the past."
She smiled at him. "We're alive.. we are here.. we get to reconnect. And you were there when I won.."
She started to cry. He pulls her in as soon as she begins crying. "Life is only on the ups from here on out huh?"
She wraps her arms around him, burying her face against his chest."I sure hope so. After all we've been through, the only thing we can do is go up from here.. there is no going back. No more thinking about what might have been. Let's focus on what we have now."
She looked up at him, her eyes fixed on his for a few moments, before the two walked off the screen together, disappearing into her locker room. The scene fades out on the door of the room, with their voices inaudible.
The Stormy Beginning of a Life
6/20/1983So a young, freshly graduated from High School Mark Calaway, went to a strip club for graduation, with a bunch of his buddies he'd be going off to college with. Once inside the club, he found himself attracted to one of the strippers, for this purpose we will call her "Daisy Mae" her real name isn't important. Anyways, having been drinking before he went to the club, he and his friends thought it would be good if "Big Red" flirted with a stripper, so one of his older friends bought him a few drinks, and he downed them quickly, building up the courage to get a lap dance. Four hours later and several drinks in, Mark and the stripper emerged from the private VIP room and the two looked dishelved. Mark thanked her for an experience he'd never forget and he and his friends left.
Daisy Mae, had been doing drugs and drinking for years, it's how she got through stripping to put herself through school. Two months had passed since that night and Daisy started to feel sick, she felt like she was going to throw up everything she ate, no matter the time of day. Her friends took her to the doctor and it was confirmed she was pregnant. She hated the idea, she wanted the thing ripped out of her. But she couldn't do that, right? This was her baby. So she continued to be a stripper, now knowing she was going to have a baby to take care of. Four months later, everything took a turn for the worst. The woman gave birth to a two month premature baby girl, at 9:50 pm on June 20th 1983.
"Miss Mae, we are going to have to take your babies out now.. if not all of you could die."
She shook her head, not wanting to have the thing.. not caring if it killed them both, she didn't want it, she hated what the babies had done to her.
"Miss Mae, I urge you.. the lives of your children and yourself are important. Please let us do this.."
She agreed the pain getting worse. Several hours later and a babies scream was heard. The doctor turned to congratulate the mother on the save birth of her daughter, who's twin had already died in the womb, but he noticed that the mother was already gone, having bled out.
"Miss Mae.. you have..." The doctor looked down. "Her name, Her mother left us the name, what were we supposed to call her.. oh that's right, Put this on her birth certificate Alexandra Rhiannon Calaway. Time of death 5:55 am June 20th, Mother and Son, born dead, 2 months in womb.. Daughter living, healthy. Call the foster company, I'll tend to her until they can take her. Also put a call out, to see if we can find her birth father."
Her life started out a bloody mess, killing the woman that carried her and her twin for six and a half months. Alexandra's childhood was relatively uneventful. After her stormy birth in Tombstone, Arizona, her father found her in a foster home where she was from birth till age three. They moved into suburban Dallas, Texas, away from the life of foster care and into a home, with a family who loved her. Her father and his current wife, Jodi Lynn took care of her.
Alexandra had been at the arena for hours, mentally preparing for her match. She had acknowledged a few of the people who walked past her as she stretched on the stairs, before running up and down them. Her mind was racing and she needed to get her head on right before her match with Cleo, or things could go south quickly for her. She wanted this championship, it would solidify her as a competitor here and she couldn't risk the chance of making a mistake. About that time she saw as Daniel Clark and a camera man walked up. She rolled her eyes and stopped doing the stairs to stop at the bottoms step crossing her arms over her chest."Ms. Calaway, can I get a few moments of your time?""Sure.. I'm available.. but if all you are going to do is try to stir the pot and make me angry, it's not going to work. I'm saving all of that for the ring."
"Tonight you are facing Cleo for the World Championship, what do you plan on doing out there tonight?"
She rolled her eyes while looking at him, dragging her hand through her now dyed hair, before speaking. A cocky smirk crossing her features."Let's not put the duh in dumb.. I plan on winning you fucking moron.. what did you think I was going to do out there... dance a fucking jig? No Daniel, I'm going out there tonight, with every intention on walking out with the title over my shoulder and to go into Riot, with that title on my shoulder, to defend it each and every week. I am the champion this company deserves. Now.. that doesn't mean I'll sit here and insult my opponent. I'm simply going to say this. I am faster, I hit harder, and when I go out there.. I don't go out there to play around, I go out there focused and ready to win. Just look at my past matches. Look at my record here in. I am the Apex Predator, the Dark Queen. I will do whatever it takes to win, no matter how much blood I have to spill, be it mine.. or yours.. it will happen."
She pushed him out of the way now, wanting him out of the frame. She held the microphone in her hand, looking directly into the camera. She hated when interviewers tried to lead them into saying something that they thought everyone wanted to hear. These fans didn't want to force fed bullshit interview. They wanted the truth and she was going to give it to them, the everyone in the backstage area and to Cleo herself."Most people look at me and see a woman who is trying to walk in the footsteps her father had left on this planet. The truth of it is.. I don't need to walk in his footsteps.. I don't need to use his trail to get somewhere. I got there on my own. I got to this place.. to where I am, by bleeding.. but breaking bones.. like I have several times over. I've poured my heart and soul into this industry, to be held back by managements in other companies, because they feared that if the gave me gold.. I would hold it beyond the time any of their current "Golden Lovers" have. They feared what it would be like with me as their champion.. but here.. no. They see what I can do.. they see what resides within me.. the warrior spirit.. and they revel in that."
She rolled her shoulders and neck, before focusing on the camera once more, her newly dyed hair falling over her shoulders. She smiled into the camera, knowing that Cleo would be watching and if she wanted to do so, now would be the time to say it."Now Cleo.. you and I are one of a kind.. two women cut from the same cloth, however, I must ask myself. How far will Cleo go to assure a win? You see, that is where we differ. I have respect for you, but I am not afraid to do what must be done, what I must do, isn't going to be pretty. But I'm sure you knew that. You watched the Battle Royal right? Well this time, there isn't a way to get me out quickly. The ropes wont be your savior. There is no elimination that way. No where to run.. no where to hide. Though.. you don't peg me for the type to run. You seem like you will stand there and take the ass whippin' I'm going to give you. It's true, I do respect each person who steps into that ring with me on a professional level. It takes balls to look darkness in the eyes. But it will not stop me from taking you on a trip to hell."
Silence fell over the woman once more, the sounds of something in around her, caused her to look around for a moment, before she focused back on the camera once more. Her gaze cold, almost as if she had changed from one form to another, keeping her eyes on the camera, as if she was looking into Cleo's soul directly."It seems that Cleo has come to play in the darkness with me.. are you sure you are ready? Have you taken the time to make things right with those you have crossed. Those who you have hurt in the past, have you paid your penance.. and do you have your money for the ferryman? You see.. in order to cross into that darkness.. that world, you must pay the fee and if you do not have the fee, Cerebus the three headed guard dog of the underworld, will tear you to shreds. But in order to capture that title.. I have paid greatly in my own blood, my own sweat and my tears. I've paid for it in years of missed birthdays, millions of miles traveled, through loss of loves.. loss of family.. and those who supported me. I pushed through all of that to find myself here, standing across from you, ready to show the world just what I can do. I don't care if you try to break me.. if you knock me down.. I'll get right back up like a monster in your worst nightmare. You may think, Cleo.. that all I am saying is just pretty words, an attempt to psych you out. But that is simply.. not the case. This is my story.. this is my time.. and that.. is MY World Championship."
With that Alexandra walked off down the hall, finding herself into one of the darker areas, waiting for her match to start. She stretched out trying to loosen up her muscles to prepare herself.
We must go deeper into that darkness
Alexandra had been leaning against the wall in one of the darker hallways of the Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. She could been seen getting ready when suddenly out of no where, a voice calls her name. She stops and looks around, her heart racing in her chest. Since the night of the Battle Royal, she had heard this voice.. this call in the darkness, urging her to join them.. to be a peace with the darkness inside of her. She had tried to fight it.. to ignore it's call. However it was like a siren call to her and getting harder to ignore now.
She head the voice calling her name, the hair on the back of her neck stood up. The way it spoke her name was warm, inviting, a temptation lingered in the air, with each word the voice spoke. And just as she had heard her name, she heard the voice speak again."Why do you keep running from that darkness in your soul? You KNOW what you are...why not just embrace it?"
She paused hearing the voice around her now, as if it was echoing from all directions. She had heard that voice in her dreams, every night since trying to fight the darkness inside of her."If I let it out... if I show how deep in I am.. no one will like it.. no one will have my back.."
She listen in that moment, wondering where the voice was coming from, she looked around, seeing if she could see anyone, but it was like every time before, there was no one to be found. Was she going crazy or was there some truth to what this voice said. She remembered what happened years ago, when she allowed herself to embrace that darkness. Now it closed in around her and she almost welcomed it."There are many creatures lurking in the darkness, Alexandra. I understand your fear...but imagine what you could do if you let GO of all of that. Imagine what you could become...if you stopped holding yourself back."
She closed her eyes, its as if the being the voice belong to was right behind her, she melted into the inky darkness, listening to the voices' every word. "A darkness.. a force that no one could stop.. the Champion this company needs.. The Dark Queen that I claim I know I am.. The Queen that everyone see's yet doesn't fear.. yet"
It was as if she was in a trance now, her eyes staring forward now. She could not see it, but somewhere deep within the darkness, two shadowy black lips curled into a wicked smirk. The darkness embraced her, as she began to surrender into it."Precisely."
She had opened her eyes, seeing her own reflection in the mirror, but it was not as she was. She saw the figure in front of her, blood on her face, smeared across it, on one shoulder set her title. On the other was a hand, but the darkness kept her from being able to see the hand on her shoulder. Her gaze fell to that shoulder, yet no hand rested there. She took a deep breath and smiled, but it wasn't her normally warm one.. it was cold.. calculated and full of that darkness. Had this voice managed to break through the walls she had built up? Was it possible the Dark Queen had returned to Wrestling? Only time would tell.. and who's voice was it she was hearing or was it all in her head? It was for sure, Cleo was going to walk through hell, hand in hand with the Dark Queen.. to watch as Alexandra would take her place on the throne. For that was how all true stories went.
Post by Cleo Phillips on Jul 24, 2022 2:20:38 GMT -5
The video opens with a shot of a theater stage, a lone microphone sits on stage in front of a closed curtain, a well dressed older gentleman walks out onto the stage and steps in front of the mic, and begins crooning a song.
“Oooooooh she kicked out my windshield, and she kicked me over the head, she cussed and cried and said I’d lied and she wished that I was dead….” as he sings, three ladies dressed in matching outfits that seem to be ripped from somewhere around the 1950s walk out, dancing and waving their hands and singing in unison
“Oh, lay that pistol down, babe, lay that pistol down, pistol packing mama
lay that pistol down.” they sing as they walk around the man at the microphone, who casually is snapping to the beat of the song.
“We're three tough gals,from deep down Texas way, we got no pals ,they don't like the way we play, we're a rough rooting tooting shooting trio, but you ought to see my sister Cleo, She's a terror make no error, but there ain't no nicer terror,here's what we tell her…“lay that pistol down, babe, lay that pistol down, pistol packing mama, lay that pistol down…” they continue singing until a record scratch is heard, and parts of the songs begin to repeat.
…….You ought to see my sister Cleo
……terror make no error…
no nicer terror….
….lay that pistol down…
..kicked out my windshield…
…see my sister Cleo...
Suddenly the curtains fly open after a brief flash of light, we’re in an inner city street in New York City, it’s late and the the flickering street lights on the corner don’t help as much as they probably should, through the airy silence someone can be heard whistling to the tune of "Pistol Packin' Mama", as Cleo Phillips saunters into frame, hoodie zipped up, sideways Yankees cap on her head and being one of the few that still looks cool wearing sunglasses at night, as she stops whistling, she takes a post on the wall of the liquor store behind her, and without looking up at the camera, begins clapping.
“Congratulations to you Alexandra, you played the wildcard well and have earned yourself a chance to become World Champion.” she begins, “In such short time too, it really is impressive. I just wonder, are you really ready?”
She looks up now, and looks into the camera from behind her signature sunglasses.
“I’m not gonna deny you or anything, everybody who knows me knows that ain’t my style. You won the battle royale, and I give you all the props in the world but the fact is you just got here, and I’d be a liar if I said the fact you get this opportunity almost right away, earned or not doesn’t bother me a little.” Cleo says, “It almost feels like the same ol’ bullshit I’ve dealt with my entire life. Life always throwin’ me curveballs. But this time I’m gonna hit that curveball, and it’s going all the way out of the park.”
Cleo mocks swinging a bat, and with a hand on her ballcap, watches the “ball” fly out of the park.
“See, I was expecting Sierra Williams, I was READY for Sierra Williams. Then what happened, happened and it ain’t really anyone's fault. The company had to do something. PWS still needed a main event for Rise to Glory, and they needed a champion. They did right by me by not taking away the championship match I earned.” Cleo says, keeping her tone respectful, but serious and confident, “See, we both earned this match, I just earned it a little differently than you did Alexandra.”
Her eyes remain hidden behind the sunglasses, but even still you can feel the daggers she’s staring into the camera, as her tone becomes more passionate.
“I earned my shot by GRINDING my way to the top for the past TWO YEARS. I’ve left blood sweat and tears all over this ring, and this arena. I’ve been thrown off a building, had my best friend stab me in the back, I DEFEATED the former world champion, and I even had one of the longest United Championship regions this company has ever seen.” she continues, spit flying from her mouth “I didn’t just walk into this company and have a lottery ticket handed to me like you did. Sadly, I’m afraid that your ticket is going to be a loser because you’re going to have to fucking kill me, do you understand? The ONLY way you leave this match as World Champion after I’ve grinded my way to this spot, is over my dead body.”
Cleo takes a moment to pause, catch her breath and regain her composure.
“Like I said, I mean you no disrespect, but this match means so much more to me than you’ll ever know. See, it’s not just about the grind I’ve been on since I came into this company, but the fight I’ve been dealing with my whole life.” Cleo begins, “Now, I’m not gonna go all Devon Ryder on ya’ll with the social justice issues and what not, but it’s a fight you will never be able to understand. I’m not somebody that’s supposed to be here, but here I am. I still get looks you know, when I’m about my business. I get it, not everybody is a wrestling fan so there’s gonna be people who have no idea who the hell I am, and the looks I get from some of those people are a reminder of how most of the world still sees me. Just some gangbangin’ thug from the streets.”
With a heavy sigh she shakes her head, the issue all too real for her.
“Like, I don’t even bang anymore, but they don’t know that. They make judgments based on the clothes I wear, or the way I speak, or the music I listen to.” Cleo explains, “I’ll be dealing with that my entire life. Yet I still fight. I fight for change. I want to be an example of change. That no matter what you’ve done in your past, or what upbringing you had, if you try then you can achieve anything.”
After another pause, in which she cracks her knuckles and her confident aura never wavers.
“We all have our struggles, all have a different journey that got us here. I admit, to not knowing much about yours. I heard about your husband, and give you my condolences. I lost a good friend of mine to suicide, and knew plenty of women who grew up single mothers. Shit, I was one of them. So I know it’s not easy, and I totally respect you just trying to do right for your daughter.” Cleo says, “I hope you understand that while I got no kids of my own, there are still plenty of children that I’m fighting for, kids with no positive role models. Kids who need someone to champion for them, and after Rise For Glory, I will be their champion.”
With a confident smile, she does the belt motion around her waist.
“I’ve been down some dark roads Alexandra. I’ve been to places that someone who looks like you, just wouldn’t be safe. I don’t care how tough you are, or what sort of battles you’ve done in your career, these are places where it’s kill or be killed. Some of these places I won’t even go, some of them I’m still not ALLOWED to go because of the people I’ve crossed in the past.” Cleo continues, “And still on the flipside, while I got people who still won’t hesitate to try and take me out just for being caught up on the wrong block, I got others who will rise up and fight FOR me. Just because they want to show ME support, and they expect nothing in return. I just hope the 5th street soldiers know their loyalty to me is worth more than any championship.”
She pounds her chest twice, and nods at the camera.
“Alexandra, I fully expect a fight from you. I know you’ve spent years winning championships in this business, but so has Nick Madison and I won the United Championship from him. So your experience does not intimidate me, and the people that trained me have been at this just as long as you have, I’m just part of the new generation of talent The Lyons Den has been putting out there.” says Cleo, “I’m sure this will be a star making performance for you, but it won’t be a championship one. They’ll talk about your guts, and how we went the distance together but in the end it will be my hand raised, and it will be me who walks out as the champion of the people.”
She chuckles to herself.
“It was last year at this same show when I defeated Nick, and this year it’ll be the world championship, next year? Who knows, we’ll figure that out when the time comes. Right now, it’s about taking home that world championship, and not you or anyone is going to stop me. I’ve fought too hard and too long for this.” she continues, “Once again, I am going to Rise 2 Glory and have gold around my waist, and The Dark Queen will be sent back to her chambers in defeat after she finds out exactly what I mean when I tell her that when she gets into the ring with The Body Snatcher, I am going to do what I always do, and..”
Short pause for effect.
“SET IT OFF.”
She tips her cap to the camera, in a show of respect, and the cameras stay on her as the scene fades out.
With some of her free time before taping her Rise 2 Glory promo, Cleo took a visit to the Lyons Den in hopes of having a talk with her trainer before the biggest match of her career at Ride 2 Glory. She was as confident as ever, yet still could feel some doubts within herself, such feelings were only human of course but even still, maybe talking to Keevee Kaiser would help, he had been down this road before, had his own career before retiring to become a trainer at The Lyons Den, with the same family who trained him.
She caught eye of him talking to one of the students, as he caught her glance he quickly finished up his conversation.
“You’ll do fine over there Eddie, don’t worry about it.” he said, as the man nodded and went off to the workout area to hit the weights.
“Cleo!” Keevee said with a smile, “Good to see you. All set for the big match?”
Cleo greeted with a fist bump, “You know I’m always ready coach.”
“Of course you are” nodded Keevee, “What brings you around? Looking to get a workout before the big match?”
“Well, actually” she muttered, moving to seat on the apron on one of the nearby rings, “I was lookin’ for some advice. Like I know I’m ready, yet….I don’t know the nerves or something I guess won’t go away.”
“There’s nothing wrong with that Cleo.” said Keevee, “And this school is proud of you no matter what. I’m proud of you no matter what.”
“What happens if I lose? I mean, I was expecting Sierra Williams. I KNEW Sierra Williams, now I have to battle against a nearly unknown opponent.” Cleo replied
“Then you lose, and you pick yourself up and try again.” Keevee replied back, “You know damn well that you’ve dealt with worse. You brought yourself out of poverty. Yeah you came here on a probationary program, designed to help you make those changes but YOU still made them. Nobody made them for you. Cleo Phillips doesn’t give up does she?”
“Fuck no, she doesn’t” Cleo replied
“So it’s not Sierra, so what?” said Keevee “What’s the girls name again that won that battle royal deal?”
“Alexandra Calaway.” replied Cleo.
“Well, you just need to let Alexandra Calaway know who you are.” Keevee replied, “That it doesn’t matter who your opponent is, nothing stands in your way of becoming champion. It’s okay to be nervous, just remember how hard you’ve fought to get to this point.”
Cleo nods, as she listens
“This Alexandra, she had to win a match to get here, you simply earned it by working hard the past two years.” Keevee reminded her, “PWS allowed you retain your championship opportunity for a reason, because they know that you deserve it, and you have fought enough for it already.”
“Yeah..” she said with a smile.
“Come with me to my office, I want to show you something.” he said, motioning for her to follow him.
Cleo follows him to the head trainers office, where he digs through his overly cluttered desk, and finds a piece of paper, some sort of contract, he shows it to her, and her eyes look it over.
“The Cleo Phillips Program?” she questioned, “What is this?”
“When you came here, I honestly didn’t put much faith in you” Keevee admitted, “You had a bad attitude, and didn’t take anything seriously. But the deal was I had to send you somewhere and PWS seemed like a safe choice.”
“I was pretty ratchet back then.” Cleo replied
“But, something happened, you grew up, you started to take things seriously, and you proved me wrong.” Keevee continued, “Now you’re one of the top students in this school, and that’s why we opened this. This program, named after you will allow us to work with prisons, jails and detention centers around the world, looking for those who need some sort of change in their life, we hope more can follow in the same footsteps that you laid out.”
A heartfelt smile comes across Cleos face, and she gives her trainer a hug.
“Damn, that’s actually hella cool.” she said, “I hope it works out.”
“Well, if they try even half as hard as you have, it’ll be a success.” said Keevee, “Just like you will have success at Rise 2 Glory, it’s okay to be nervous, but you have nothing to be worried about. All you have to do is show Alexandra just who the hell you are, and how she’s not yet ready to be the PWS World Champion. Remember, she’s only getting this opportunity because Sierra Williams left the company, and while that shows how well she can take advantage of a situation and capitalize, it’s just not gonna happen with you.”
“Yeah, you right.” Cleo nodded, now feeling more motivated to win. Keevee was right, she had fought hard to get this opportunity, and if Alexandra was to win, she was going to have to come harder than ever. Cleo knew she could do it, she beat the FORMER champion, she had survived multiple stabbings, survived being shot at least 4 different times, survived prison and lived most of her life in some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in all of New York City.
“And remember, no matter what happens win or lose, we’re all proud of you and know you’re going to do this school proud.” Keevee reminded her
“Yeah yeah, no doubt” Cleo nodded, fist bumping her trainer. “Thanks for the pep talk coach, mind if I go hit the ropes some? Gotta get some work in ya know?”
Keevee nodded, “Of course, you’re always welcome to use the equipment and rings here, how about I go with you, make sure everything is on point.”
“Fo’ sho” nodded Cleo, “Anything to get me ready for this match.”
“Then let’s go find a ring, and run some drills.” Keevee replied, “But remember, you’re ALREADY ready for this match.”
The two share another fist bump, and exit the office heading to a nearby ring that isn’t being used when they bump into Alexander Lyons, Alex simply looks at them and scoffs.
“Got a problem?” asked Cleo
“I just don’t like the idea of some low-life felon representing MY family's school as a World Champion.” muttered Alex, “Don’t forget whose family owns this place.”
“Alex, just chill the fuck out” snapped Kaiser, “Don’t you have your own championship match to worry about?”
“Yeah, because I’m ACTUALLY a champion” said Alex, “And unlike her, when mine WAS lost and I had the chance to win it back, I did. She just lost again to Alexis, and was unable to recapture the United Championship, and now she gets a World Championship match? How’s that work?”
“Um, because I issued the challenge to Sierra who was champion at the time?" Cleo replied, “Because I earned my way to this spot by working hard these past two years? If you wanted a chance, maybe you should have signed up for the battle royale.”
Alex angrily gets in Cleo's face, and Keevee has to separate the two before a fight breaks out.
“Alex, just leave it dude!.” Keevee snapped, “Nobody asked for your opinion. Just go focus on your own match okay?”
“Yeah, whatever.” Alex said, stepping back, “Good luck Cleo, and if you must know. My money is on our Dark Queen.”
He winks at Cleo, who looks just shakes her head and shrugs at Keevee, as Alex slips away elsewhere.
“Don’t worry about him.” said Keevee, “He’s still got some growing to do. Haven’t fully figured him out myself yet.”
“You’re tellin’ me” said Cleo, visibly annoyed but able to keep her cool.
“Anyway, get in the ring and we’ll get started.” Keevee said.
“Ain’t you gonna find my a sparring partner?” she asked.
“HEY EDDIE!” he called, to one of the newest graduates and cousin to Alexander Lyons, the only member of the family with any real sense of honor jogs over.
“Hop in, you’re gonna spar with Cleo, help her get ready for her big match.” said Keevee
Eddie nodded, and rolled into the ring, he and Cleo both went to a corner, and waited for the sound of the bell.
“DING DING DING” Keevee shouted, and both Eddie and Cleo locked up in the center of the ring, and began a friendly sparring match, as Keevee stood at ringside calling out pointers.
“Stay on him Cleo!” Keevee called, as she got Eddie down on the mat, the sparring would continue for some time, Cleo wasn’t about to let herself or anyone down, and she would just love to rub her victory in Alex’s twisted little ratface.
Some people would do nothing but train, workout, sleep, repeat in preparation for a big match. But taking time to relax and clear ones mind is equally as important. One doesn’t want to run the risk over overworking themselves and tiring their body out before they even walk down the ramp.
For Cleo, this meant meeting up with Z for some basketball in the park. It was a reminder of the old days before PWS, her crew would come and shoot hoops down here often. It was also a former place of business, where Cleo herself had made more than a few deals. When she arrived at the courts, they were empty, except for Z-Money who was already there.
He didn’t notice her approaching with the basketball, he was lost in the music from the oversized headphones he’s wearing. Cleo watches him dance, and sing, poorly, but full of energy.
“OH WHEN YOU WALK BY EVERY NIGHT, TALKIN’ SWEET AND LOOKIN’ FINE. I GET KINDA HECTIC INSIIIIIIIIIIDE” Z-Money continues to sing, oblivious to Cleo watching him, “BABY IM SO INTO YOU, DARLIN’ IF YOU ONLY KNEW, ALL THE THINGS THAT FLOW THROUGH MY MIIIIIIND.”
Cleo covers her mouth, to hid her smirking. Z STILL doesn’t notice.
“BUT IT’S A SWEET SWEET FANTASY BABY…JUST A SWEET SWEE…” He suddenly stops, and his eyes grow wide with shock as he sees Cleo watching him, and she just can’t help herself as she bursts into laughter.
“Mariah Carey?!?” She says in between laughs, “You know I’m give you shit for this forever now right?”
“...Whatever…” Z mutters embarrassed, “Nothing wrong with a little Mariah now and then.”
“Looked like a LOT of Mariah to me.” Cleo chuckled.
“Whatever, you ready to ball? Or you just gonna make jokes?” said Z
Cleo laughed again, and tossed the ball to Z.
“Let’s do this.” she said
She started out well, but it didn’t take Z long to get the upper-hand. It made sense, he was the better basketball player of the two but even he knew this was different. Cleo seemed off her game, missing wide open shots that anyone could make.
“Hey, you good?” he asked, signaling for a time out, “You’ve never missed this many shots, even on your worst day.”
He was right, and she couldn’t hide it.
“Just, my mind is dead focused on this match I got coming up” said Cleo, “It’s all I can think about.”
“Man, quit trippin’ Cleo.” said Z, “We’re all behind you. You got this.”
“That’s what they tell me.” she said, “But I still feel like something is missing. I can’t explain it, but it’s just this weird nagging feeling in the back of my brain.”
Z looked into Cleos eyes with a nod, “Well, forgive me if it’s too personal…but when was the last time you went to see….her?”
Cleo took a step back, and lowered her head.
“...You mean Juliet…” she said softly. “Been a couple years I guess, been busy with PWS and all that….”
“Maybe it’s time.” he said, “I know it’s dipping into a more personal side, but maybe it’s what you need. I’m sure she would like to hear from you.”
“Maybe, it is time…” Cleo admitted, “It’s just been so long…”
“I’m sure she would be proud, no she IS proud of how far you’ve come.” said Z
“I just wish she was still here.” Cleo said softly.
“Yeah, me too. She was a cool cat.” nodded Z.
Z collected up the basketball, and the two left the courts together, off to visit an old friend.
Cleo approached the gravestone alone, asking Z to wait in the car. She looked down at the tombstone with a heavy sigh, and rests a hand on it.
HERE LIES JULIET ROBERTSON
Beloved Daughter, Sister and Friend.
“Hey babe.” she muttered, “Sorry it’s been so long.”
She remained quiet fro a moment, admiring the site of the grave. It was nice and well kept, likely by Juliet's family or the maintenance team at the cemetery.
“I did it you know.” she said, “I made it out. Just like you always wanted to. It just sucks we couldn’t do it together like we were supposed to.”
Cleo is forced to clear her throat, as she wipes a single tear from her cheek.
“I ain’t told them bout you.” she said, “I guess I just wanted to keep some things private, and I guess it’s just hard for me too, with what happened and all. How it was my fault, and you should have never been on that corner in the first place.”
Cleo takes a heavy breath, and continues on.
“It should have been me.” she said, “I was the fucking target, not you. You just wanted me to get out of that lifestyle because you loved me, but I was too stubborn to listen, and you suffered for it.”
With another sigh, Cleo shakes her head.
“I’m gonna make it right.” she went on, “I’ll do right by you babe, I swear. I told you, I got myself out, it’s just me and Z now.”
Cleo, takes a seat, legs crossed in front of the gravesite.
“Big Mo’ and I don’t speak, she turned her back on me. You never did like her, guess I should have listened to you then.” said Cleo, “But it’s all good, I’m doing this wrestling thing now, and I got a chance to become a world champion.”
Cleo starts to find herself more at peace, as she continues talking.
“Everyone that helped me get to this spot has been nothing but supportive. I just wish you were here to witness it. You’d be so proud. It’s like I found a way to channel my anger and all that into something positive. I’ve even started speaking at YMCAs and stuff, trying to get the kids to do right, make sure they don’t make the mistakes I did.” she continued, “That’s what I need to win this for, Jules. I need to win it for them. I need to win it for you. I know wherever you are, you’re rooting for me. It’s time I truly rose up, it’s time I became the champion of the people I know I can be, the champion you always knew I was.”
She rises to her feet, feeling more confident and prepared as she heads into Rise 2 Glory.
“I’m gonna do it Jules. I’m going to beat Alexandra Calaway, and I am going to become the PWS champion. Nothing stands in my way, I’ve just fought too hard and come too far, It’s my time to be World Champion, and nobody is going to just walk in and take that from me.” she said confidently, “The next chapter in my story is about to begin, and it’s going to be the greatest chapter of them all.”
She stands there quietly for a moment, her thoughts kept to herself, before she sets a hand on the grave one last time.
“This ones for you Jules. I love you.” she said, before leaving the grave site, heading back to where Z was waiting in the car.