Follow My Heart (The Wrestler's Heart Book 1)

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Chapter Ten

(Ethan)

P.M. from Velvet Rose:

Okay, enough talk about that subject.

I’m on break right now and I’m sitting outside. There’s this fountain with a rock waterfall and I’m watching the water tumble down, splashing into the small koi pond below, and I can’t help but think about the recent storm.

When the rain pours down, people stare at it with disgust, worry, and fear, and I wonder why? It streams down the windows the same as water cascades over rocks. Why don’t they find beauty in that?

***

Rose’s reply surprised me. I chuckled as I read her attempt to avoid the obvious. She was a good girl … okay … I got it. She wasn’t the type to step out. I admired her for that and at the same time didn’t understand why she continued a conversation with a man she knew wanted more. And why did I want to? When I knew she had a man in her life?

***

P.M. from Ethan Hart:

If the rain fell a little lighter, and the wind didn’t howl as loud as a banshee, I think more would find beauty in the storm. A bolt of lightning still enchants me. Dazzling to look at, but deadly if touched. Some relationships are like that, I think. Safer to view from a distance, for getting too close, might hurt.

***

“You’re never going to finish this workout if you keep stopping to look at your phone.” Seyer talked through gritted teeth as he laid on a bench, pumping three-hundred and fifty pounds of iron up and down.

“I thought she’d written to me by now.” I laid down and continued my reps, matching Seyer’s pace.

“Who?” Seyer’s blew out a breath. “That Chatter Chick? I thought that was over.”

“Nah. We’ve been exchanging private messages.” I groaned as my arms began to ache, telling me I’d lifted as much as they could stand. My cue to push them a little further. Force them to become stronger. “So, you two are a thing, now?”

“I don’t know. We say … well she says … just friends, but there’s always a hint of more hidden between the lines. I’ve had more conversations with her in the last few weeks than Stacy and I had in an entire year and I don’t even know her name yet. I think I’d like to meet her.”

“What if you meet her and she turns out to have all these terrible qualities.”

“Like what?”

“Shit, man … I don’t know … what if she’s a crazy cat lady, taking every stray on the street home with her?”

“I wouldn’t care. I think … I’m done,” I ran out of breath quicker every time I tried to talk and workout at the same time. I sat up and wiped my face with a towel.

“You’d care.” Seyer sat up and picked up a water bottle. “Maybe she’s a hoarder? You could walk into her house and run into a tower of old magazines and newspapers … or piles of clothes that aren’t even her size … but she can’t throw them out because she might need them one day.”

“She’s posted pictures of herself at home. Not even a little clutter.”

“Maybe it’s the one clean room in the house. Maybe it’s someone else’s place.” He took a big swig and let out a long ’Ahh!’. “What if she’s one of those bondage chicks? Maybe she likes to share with a friend or swing or …”

“Now you’re just talking shit.” I chuckled at his wide grin.

“You’d draw the line at that ... admit it.”

“I don’t think Rose is into any of that … Geeze!” I thought for a moment. “Do you think she might? Hell, how do you know if someone likes that stuff?”

“You’ll know when she invites you to join in with her and her man.” He stood and laughed at my bewildered expression. He had me wondering if I could be getting myself into something crazy. I mean how much can you actually know about someone on the internet?

“I’m just screwing with you, dude.” He gave my shoulder a playful shove.

“You’re a sick man, Seyer Stone.”

***

P.M. from Velvet Rose:

Tori and I have different schedules this week. She’s working third and I’m still stuck here on the day shift. We’re lucky to say hello in passing each morning.

The hours move so move slowly when she’s not here. People often ask me how I put up with her. I honestly take offense because they don’t know her. She’s the type of person who cares deeply and loves with all she has. That’s why she keeps her heart hidden. She’s been hurt before. In a way that no one should be… but that is her story to tell, not mine. I just try to be there for her and understand, the way she is for me.

P.M. from Ethan Hart:

Friends are great, aren’t they? I’d say a friendship could be the most important relationship you’ll ever have. Right up there with mothers, grandmas, and spouses.

Seyer Stone is my best friend, believe it or not. He’s not as evil and vindictive as he seems on TV.

Deep down, he’s an honestly good guy. True, he romances women with no intention of contacting them after an intimate encounter. He’s upfront about it. He never lies about what he wants. I guess that makes it a little bit better. Still, I think there’s more to his ways, though he’d never tell me. He’s the type that likes that doesn’t talk about the scars on his heart. I doubt he even talks about it with himself. LOL.

But he makes things interesting. Today, he told our new boss to shove it. I can’t say DeBosa didn’t deserve it. He’s supposed to be a silent partner, but since the real boss decided to take a break, we have to put up with him. I hope Muxlin comes back soon and I wish I had Seyer’s nerve.

***

I wrote to Rose before going to sleep that night. Her message had come while I was in the ring performing. I laid my head down and gazed at the device until I fell asleep, never knowing if or when she would respond at night. When she was home, her responses took forever. I guess she had to hide me, or maybe she chose to spend that time with the man she lived with instead of me.

***

And then Cady entered the picture. Finally, trained enough to appear on live television, the storyline Corrine had warned me about, began.

Like a true-life princess, Cady De Bosa debuted that Friday night. The big boss escorted her to the squared circle, tiara and sash included. She wore a bright pink, sequined one-piece short outfit that showed the slightest hint of cheeks when she moved. Her blonde hair, curled in perfect fashion doll imitation, swayed at her waist as she sauntered.

Stanley DeBosa, a star in his youth, introduced his pride and joy.

I smirked knowing exactly who his character was based on, but hell. I was probably the only one besides Muxlin who knew about it.

The crowd yelled … for him. Cady beamed as if they were happy to see the daughter no one knew the old man had. She smiled like an angel.

I watched the live feed backstage. Okay, she was cute. Gorgeous. No one would argue with that. She had pouty magenta lips, high cheekbones, a decent rack. The woman definitely wouldn’t hurt my character’s reputation standing beside me.

I was still trying to find something appealing in Cady besides her looks. But it seemed the more that woman talked the less attractive I found her. However, I didn’t have the luxury of deciding. I only got the information a couple of pages at a time, but I could already smell the television romance brewing between us and it was going to take a lot of acting. A LOT!

“I am so happy to be here where my daddy and my big brother have been so warmly loved.” Cady’s voice was sugary sweet, her smile innocent and kind, but for some reason it all seemed fake.

Of course. It was supposed to be, I chastised myself repeatedly, talking to my alter ego, the character I had created, telling him that he and I were two different people and trying to convince him that Cady was the perfect woman for him – or his career – whatever worked.

The show was more than physical brutality. It was a soap opera. Kind of. Cady was just playing her part and I was willing to give Cady the benefit of the doubt before completely writing her off. Every newbie needed a friend. Perhaps more than the seasoned veterans. Hell, perhaps we would hit it off. She was there. In-person. That definitely tipped the scale in her favor. I wouldn’t fall into the same pit I had found myself in with every other woman.

“But I want to assure each and every one of you that I belong here. Yes, my father did buy my way into the business. Everything and everyone can be bought, right?” Cady laughed. “But, I have no problem proving that I am a force to be reckoned with. And I want to be the women’s champion.”

On cue, the reigning women’s champion appeared. Strutting with the coveted prize draped upon her shoulder.

Towanda Knight, ducked between the second and third ropes to enter the ring. She grabbed a mic and scanned the new wrestler up and down with a snarled upper lip.

“So … you think you can just waltz in here and take on the best woman wrestler in the business?” She gave a quick, smirk. “Let me introduce you to reality, sweetheart … you’re not ready.”

Towanda Knight was no expert on the mic. Her pauses were a bit too long, making her statements sound rehearsed, but she was a hard worker with an incredible wrestling style.

She wasn’t the normal hired-for-her-body female competitor. Standing an inch or two above five-foot, Towanda rocked a body any mother of two could identify with. She wasn’t obese, her biceps soft and her belly slightly protruded. Her long, straight hair, parted in the middle, hung in a simple style and her crooked nose marred her facial features, making her look like someone who’d seen a lot of rough days. But she was a badass in the ring, flipping off the top rope with ease, clotheslining with authority and the fans loved her.

“If you weren’t threatened by me … Towanda … you wouldn’t be standing there refusing to fight me.”

And the storyline prevailed. Cady spout mesmerized lines as if she’d done it for years and Towanda Knight, of course, refused.

Nothing new. Many had done it before … the newcomer entered the ring …. issued a challenge to the current champion hoping to make an instant name for herself. I felt like I was watching a rerun. Damn, being on that side of the screen sure took the fun out of wrestling entertainment.

“There’s just one thing you don’t understand.” Cady sneered. “What daddy’s little girl wants … she gets.”

I rolled my eyes. Corrine managed to write Cady the way she saw her in reality. Oh, how I hoped there was more to the woman I’d be forced to spend too much of my future time with.

As expected, her Daddy managed to buy Cady what she wanted, slapping cash money into the Champion’s palm.

The bell rang. With the championship on the line, the match started off with the woman’s champion delivering a hard slap to the armature wrestler’s cheek. Cady immediately fell to her knees. Tears rolled from her eyes. Her tiny hand held her wound.

I honestly felt for her. That strike hadn’t been completely fake. The woman in the back talked, and Towanda’s strikes, if you weren’t paying attention, if you missed her cue … left a stinging imprint behind.

The woman immediately apologized. Repeatedly, stating that she knew the young girl wasn’t ready.

Big mistake. Cady caught her opponent off guard, rolled her on her back, holding her legs ridiculously high, placing all her weight on them and the champion couldn’t get up.

It appeared unplanned and awkward to me and it wouldn’t help Cady make friends backstage. Champion on her very first night? What a load of bull, but the writer’s never put much effort into the woman’s division.

“Two minutes,” A little man with a clipboard announced.

Time to stretch the muscles. I cupped my elbow and stretched my arms one at a time over my shoulders. I performed a couple of quick squats, cracked my neck, bounced up and down like a boxer. Then moved on to the small dark area to wait for my cue. My personal theme song.

I walked out to the stage and down a long ramp. Chin slightly up and a sadistic smirk across my lips as I strolled. As instructed, Cady caught my eye as we passed each other. She walked backward with a big smile. I kept turning back. Forcing myself to relay an instant attraction through my facial expressions.

Pathetic, but what could I do? I’d tried but I just couldn’t talk myself into lusting after the woman. Oh, well. It was just part of the job. Just another chance to prove I was as good an actor as I was an athlete.

My opponent entered immediately after I had completed my entrance to the ring. A no-name newbie, whose only job was to make the big names look good. This one was young, bony, and made absolutely no sense. Even a first-time watcher would know he was destined to lose.

A bell sounded. My match began and the princess returned to ringside as if in a trance. Drawn to the bad boy I pretended to be. She didn’t speak, only watched my every move with big brown doe eyes. I had to notice and I had to pretend I liked it when in reality it made me eerily uncomfortable. It sent a chill right to my core and formed a tight ball in the pit of my stomach.

I shook it off, leaving my true life outside the ring. At that moment, I was only my character and I played the game in front of millions.

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