Wrestling with Love Series (Book 2)
Line Between Love and Hate
Candace Smith aka Candy adjusted her newest pastel cotton candy-colored ring gear. Her long cotton candy pink hair flowing down her back made her really stand out in a crowd. Each day at her new job she would create a new candy-coated look and she was loving it. The IWX stylist had worked for hours on her new style. Candy was a low-level jobber wrestler at International Wrestling Xtream. Jobbers were always considered the low man on the totem pole working to make big stars look good. She didn’t mind being at the bottom but wanted more.
Candy had yet to make it to the mainstage. Davis Preston, the IWX owner, was working to find her a more updated look to her character’s style. He was interested in moving her up the main roster when the time was right and her kid-themed look just wasn't going to cut it. Over the past few months, she was mostly doing pre-show matches and a few filler matches on the main stage. Candy had never been booked to win regardless of her talent.
Her current image was very much a throwback to a 90’s club kids and Harajuku girls. Part candy addiction, part living doll. She looked like a sexy candy-inspired anime cartoon character. She loved her look but knew it was too campy to really make an impact on fans. In the meantime, it was colorful and fun and the child fans loved it. To her, that was worth it. She loved children and seeing their happy faces made her heart full of joy.
She had been called Candy since she was a kid. The nickname became the inspiration for her stage persona when her baby brother was too little to pronounce her name correctly as a toddler, so the nickname stuck. Candy knew that eventually, she would have to revamp her style to be more fitting to the main roster. For now, she loved kids and they seemed to be drawn to her colorful look. Unlike most wrestlers, she was free to play around with her ring fashion and change it up day-to-day. She had ideas to refine her image but for now, she’d roll with the punches.
Tonight she was in a match with another low-level female wrestler. Candy was up against her best friend, Sahara Sands, in a pre-show match. Sahara was a beautiful tall African American girl with long hair and rare grey eyes. From the first day they met, the girls were close. Sahara and Candy got along great and we’re about the same age. They met three months prior, on Candy’s first day of work, and became inseparable.
It was now three months at IWX and not much had changed since her first day. IWX was known to have a reputation backstage for drama. Candy had just had a run-in earlier that evening with one of the head guys on the roster leading her to meet the new girl, Isis.
Gage, from the Justice faction, was a great guy but had been a little handsy with Candy on the way to catering and they got into a little tiff. Typically she wouldn’t think much of it. Gage was often teasingly playful with her. He had helped Candy when she was needing to learn new skills in the ring and had been very much like a big brother figure for her. Lately, something was off and he had become a jerk, even to Candy.
Early in the show, Gage had given the new girl, Isis, a hard time. Candy took the time to welcome her when she found the girl alone and crying in the hallway. Candy wanted to show the new girl that she wasn’t alone in this tough company and she had someone to have her back. Candy knew what a hard time she had on her first day, and hoped to make sure the girl understood she had someone in her corner.
IWX was known to have some tough cookies backstage and Candy was not immune to the rabid crew of tormentors. Lucky for her, she was tough too and knew how to roll with the punches. Candy suspected Isis was a shy girl and would fall victim to the rough road that was the IXW locker room. If anything, she would have made a new friend in Candy and not feel so excluded.
“Hey Candy! Cool new gear! You always have the coolest ideas for your look.” Sahara sat down with her tray in catering. She grabbed a grape from Candy’s tray and stuck out her tongue.
“Hey!” Candy giggled.
“Where were you? I was looking everywhere.”
“Talking to the new girl. Gage is giving her a hard time. Maybe you can talk to your boyfriend Drake and ask him to make Gage back off a little. Since they are in the same faction, maybe Gage will listen to him. She was crying and I felt so bad for her.”
“That’s awful. Poor kid. I saw her opening segment. She’s really pretty. I liked her outfit. Super sexy but it was cool. Gage can be a jerk sometimes. It’s crazy because when I first started here, he was super nice. Until his divorce that is. Summer really messed that guy up.”
“Gage is cool. He’s just going through a hard time. Something must be really bothering him. Anyway, he’ll come out of it.” Candy popped a grape in her mouth.
“I hope so or the new girl is going to have a miserable time here. Gage already seems to not like her. So, have you heard that the boss’s daughter and Jason Maxx are dating? I just caught them making out in the hallway.” Sahara pretended to gag. “So nasty. It looked like Jason was eating her face. When he took me on a date, when I first started here, he kissed me. He can’t kiss for shit. It’s like being devoured by a slug. If Davis Preston catches them, he will flip his lid. I think she can do better.” Sahara started eating.
“I thought Jenna and Slade Logan were together?” Candy rolled her eyes.
The thought of that man made her infuriated, just by the mere mention of him.
“Nope. Jenna told me a few days ago they’re just friends now. They broke up a little over a month ago. They just kept it quiet for kayfabe for the show. She said it didn’t work. Apparently, Jenna thinks he’s into someone else on the roster now anyway, but she didn’t say who.”
“Poor girl. If his new potential fling is lucky, the girl will lose her hearing on the first date. I would figure that is the only way I could tolerate his big mouth. He’s such a dick. It’s like all the factions guys have some stupid chip on their shoulder.”
“Slade’s really hot and you know it. I don’t see why you two hate each other. You seem to have a lot in common. I know you hate that idea but it’s true. Secretly you like him don’t you?” Sahara teased.
She knew Candy couldn’t stand him, but taunting her was entertaining.
“He’s a total prick. I would rather spend the rest of my lonely life with a broken vibrator, that kept losing charge before orgasm, than have five seconds alone with Slade Logan.”
“That’s harsh. Wait? So there’s at least that five seconds you could tolerate to get down and dirty with him?” Sahara laughed.
Candy grunted and looked at her friend with an annoyed glare. She was not in any way amused. Candy heard a group of guys chattering while walking into the dining hall. She glanced over to the doorway watching as the Retribution team walked into the room, joking around and laughing.
“Geez. Speak of the devil. Here come the three musketeers with their faithful leader, little lord douchebag.” Candy tried to revert attention to her food. She really wasn’t in the mood for Slade’s snarky attitude tonight.
Slade “The Slayer” Logan strolled by her table noticing Candy avoiding eye contact. He ran his fingers through his clean-cut short dark brown hair. His blue-grey sultry eyes, tone body, and sly smile made him hard to not take notice but Candy wasn’t having any part of that. His secret pleasure lately had been finding more ways to piss her off. It was like he was drawn to inflict her daily torment. Since the day she arrived, they were like oil and water.
“Well, if it isn’t stripper Rainbow Bright. I hear Davis is going to put a pole in the ring for you tonight, Candy. Make a little extra cash shakin' that ass.” He taunted pretending to dance around and wiggling his butt at her.
“Nope. The idea fell through. He didn’t think the stage crew will be able to pull the pole out of your ass in enough time for the show. I hear ya stuck it up there pretty deep this time,” Candy glared at him.
Colt, Slade’s best friend and one of the Retribution team members, cracked a smile giving a short chuckle. Slade looked over at him annoyed at the man who was second in command of the bad boy group.
“Sorry, Slade.” Colt tried to hide his smirk from his friend.
“You know you might actually be able to get laid if you weren’t such a bitch all the time, Candy. It may loosen you up a bit,” Slade glared back.
Candy stood up leaning towards him over the table. “Don’t ever call me a bitch. I’ll take that ball bat you carry around the ring and stick it right up your pompous ass.” She scowled looking him directly in the eyes.
He leaned over to meet her eyes smirking. “Bitch.”
Candy grabbed her cup of water throwing it in his face.
“What the fuck!” Slade jumped back wiping his face.
Slade lunged to grab her and a gruff voice came behind him.
“What the hell is going on?”
The two stopped in their tracks at the rumbling sound of the authoritative voice behind them. The boss, Davis Preston, stood there crossing his arms not approving of the days’ spectacle. The handsome greying older man in the three-piece suit waited for a reply.
Candy stood up straight with a look of guilt all over her face as Davis took a deep breath in disgust when Slade tried to speak.
“It’s nothing, Davis.”
“Doesn’t look like nothing! I have had just about had enough of you two. This constant bickering and foolishness have to stop. I am at my wit’s end! I think my whole damn roster has lost their minds lately and you two are the worst of them all. It’s like dealing with a group of preschoolers.”
Candy spoke up, “He started it! I was just sitting here eating and he…”
Davis looked at her and almost growl came from the older man. “I don’t care who started it this time. If it’s not one of you starting this idiocy it’s the other. Candy, go get ready for your match. Slade, I don’t know what is going on with you two, but you better figure out how to get along before the pay-per-view on Sunday. Start getting along or both of you will have me to deal with. Understood!”
Slade huffed glaring at Candy, “Yes.”
“Candy? Understood?” Davis scolded.
“Good. Now try to keep away from each other tonight. I don’t have time to answer questions from the cops if you kill each other.” Davis walked away grumbling in annoyance.
Candy grabbed her tray and looked up at Slade with a little hurt in her eyes. She shook her head sadly and went to throw away her trash. She knew if things kept going this way she’d never get on the main roster. She had been warned before.
Slade looked around the room at everyone who was watching the drama unfold. They all looked annoyed at the two as well. The whole roster was sick of them acting like children. He walked out following her into the hall.
“Candy! Wait up.”
“Fuck off, dickhead.”
He grabbed her hand softly pulling her back. “Wait. Please? I’m sorry. I went a little too far.”
She turned to face him. “You think? Calling me a stripper and a bitch. So, there’s some sort of a line you don’t cross, Logan? I’m surprised.”
Slade looked away taking deep calming breaths. “I was just joking about the stripper thing. I can’t even joke with you. I don’t know why you can’t take a joke? I… I apologize, okay? I was rude.”
Candy looked down at her hand in his, remembering the first day they met. She shook her head pulling her hand away. “I accept your apology. I’m sorry I threw water in your face.”
Slade chuckled looking down at her. Candy was short but feisty. He loved tormenting her but he didn’t want to see her almost ready to cry. “I was sort of asking for it.”
She half-smiled with a soft giggle. “You always do.”
“Yeah, I guess so. Listen. Good luck with your match tonight.” He patted her shoulder.
Candy walked past the Retribution locker room on the first day of work. Jenna Preston the owner's daughter walked out and Slade followed quickly behind. Not watching where he was going, Slade walked into the oncoming, Candy. He tried to stop the fall but didn’t reach out in time. Candy fell backward on her bottom trying to stop the fall with her free hand. She fell hard on her free hand scraping it against a stage prop that was resting against the wall on the way down.
“Ouch! Oh no!”
The big oversized rainbow lollipop she had for her candy gimmick flew up in the air and burst into a thousand pieces on the floor. Slade started laughing hysterically. Not meaning to laugh at her fall. It was just a reaction to the rainbow mess that exploded from her like a candy bomb. Candy blushed with embarrassment while fighting back tears. She grabbed her hand that she fell onto wincing.
“Jerk! Ouch. My hand. Owww.” Her lip started to quiver from the excruciating pain.
Jenna rushed over trying to help her up. “Slade, she’s hurt. Her hand is bleeding. It looks really bad.”
Slade went over to help the new girl up from the floor. “Sorry, I wasn’t laughing at you. It’s all this candy mess. I think I ran into the Easter Bunny or something. You're the new candy girl? Davis must be trying to get the kid ratings making you do this crazy gimmick.”
Candy pulled away. “Let me go.”
“Sweetheart, are you okay? Do you want me to take you to the medic? It looks pretty bad.” Jenna looked over her bleeding hand.
“I’m fine. It just hurts a little.”
Her lip quivering showed the truth. Candy was trying to keep up a brave face. The truth was it hurt like hell and was probably going to need stitches. She wasn’t going to let it ruin her debut tough. She had to soldier through until the show was over.
“Do you bleed rainbows and glitter too?” Slade joked checking her hand. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to knock you down.”
Candy looked at him angered by his remarks. “No, I don’t. I know if you keep insulting me we can find out what color you bleed.”
“I was just joking. Trying to lighten the mood. Calm down. Are you okay? I have a first aid kit in my bag in the Retribution locker room.”
Slade looked over her cut feeling guilty for hurting her. He couldn’t help his eyes from roaming over her voluptuous frame. Candy was pretty. Even though the colorful hair and candy-inspired costume were distracting, he could see it. He wasn’t usually into girls with colored hair but with her, it just fit. His style was usually girly-girls like Jenna, but for this girl, he was willing to make an exception if he could taste her rainbow-colored lips just once.
Unfortunately, the woman standing next to him was his girlfriend and he would never cheat on her. Jenna was too good of a person for that, even though their relationship was seeming to come to an end.
Slade caught himself ogling Candy and blushed slightly trying to focus back on her injury. Jenna noticed too and just smiled. She knew Slade too well. He was crushing on this girl. Jenna wasn’t one to be jealous so she just ignored it. They weren’t in a serious relationship so it was not worth the fight.
Slade was almost taken aback at Candy’s big beautiful tear-filled blue eyes looking pained in front of him. She looked like an anime cartoon character with her big round eyes and colored attire. His heart pounded a little seeing the candy-coated treat in front of him with her luscious pouty lips begging to be kissed. Slade swallowed hard to try to conceal his instant attraction. He couldn’t look away even though he was trying his best to do just that.
He thought to himself that he did have a little sweet tooth and wouldn’t mind a taste of her. He chuckled softly to himself at the thought.
“I’m fine. You don’t have to worry about me.” She wiped her tears away.
“Jenna. Go meet with the guys and send someone to clean up the candy. I’m going to help Princess Lolly here with her hand. Come on. Let’s clean this up, sweetheart.” He pulled her into his locker room.
Jenna just shrugged and went to find the janitor.
Inside the locker room, Candy felt the throbbing in her hand start to increase as the adrenaline wore off. She whimpered holding her hand to her chest.
Slade felt his heart drop seeing her in such pain. He hated that he hurt this small girl and saw how hard she was fighting to not show any weakness. It reminded him of his childhood and seeing his little sisters cry from a scraped knee or broken heart.
“It’s okay to cry. You don’t have to be brave for me. I know it hurts. Sit. I have a first aid kit here somewhere. I really am sorry I hurt you. I wasn’t watching where I was going.”
“Did you reference Candy Land out there? Princess Lolly?” Candy broke a half-hearted smile.
“I have twin sisters. It was their favorite game when we were kids.”
Candy sat watching as Slade cleaned the wound and patched her up. He kissed her palm and winked at her with a heartwarming smile. Candy blushed and looked down at the work he did on her hand.
She sweetly looked up through her lashes. “Thank you.”
For the first time, he was able to take in her big beautiful eyes and felt like he had seen an angel. “You have pretty blue eyes, Sprinkles.”
Candy bit her lip shyly. “Thank you. Candy… Candace Smith.”
“Huh?” He looked confused.
“My name. It’s Candace. Everyone calls me Candy.”
“Oh. So that’s why the raver candy outfit. Cute. Do you think you'll be okay?” Slade helped her up.
“Yes. Thanks for helping me.”
“No problem. It was my fault. I’m Slade, by the way. Sorry, we had to meet this way.” He moved a piece of hair from her face and pushed it behind her ear.
Candy rubbed her sore hand. “Me too.”
“All right, let’s head out. I think you'll be fine.”
Later that night, Candy was heading to meet the tour bus with other wrestlers. She looked over witnessing Slade and Retribution getting into their private bus behind the one she was assigned. She rolled her suitcase over to the driver to load it in the cargo area watching as everyone scattered around to leave to the next town.
“Hey, Sprinkles! How’s the hand?” Slade yelled to her from across the parking lot with a wave.
Candy looked up and gave a thumbs up showing she was all right. One of the guys quipped something vulgar about her not being able to give any handjobs for a while and Slade started laughing. Slade said something about Candy can still suck on a big lollipop and motioned to his crotch.
Candy felt like she was going to die of embarrassment. She always had a short fuse. Very short. In a moment, her calm demeanor flipped like a switch. Candy rushed Slade spearing him in the gut with her shoulder, knocking him to the ground. She started hitting him and his friends scrambled pulled her off.
“What the hell?” Slade got up dusting off his clothes. “It was a joke. What’s your problem?”
“My problem? You guys are assholes! Who talks about a woman like that? I thought you were a nice guy. You’re a jerk, Slade Logan!”
Candy’s small frame was not easy for the guys to hold back from trying to get at him. She was like trying to hold onto a hyper puppy. She was dressed normally now in jeans and a pink hoodie with her hand still bandaged up. She was small but very feisty and extremely quick-tempered.
Candy turned her head seeing the other Retribution guys standing around her. Dustin watching as Trent and Colt held her back. The one who started the comments, Dustin, looked over at her with an arrogant smirk. She snarled her nose and wriggled loose from the men. She punched Dustin in the face and walked away back to her bus, flipping them off the whole way. Dustin grabbed his nose and cursing at her through the wreathing pain.
“Suck on that, bitches!”
Sahara, one of the other female wrestlers, walked up beside her trying to keep pace. “I would have punched him in the nuts for saying that stuff.”
Candy smiled looking back at them. “Should I go back and try again?”
“I say cut your losses. Hi. I’m Sahara. You new here too?”
“Yep. Candace. You can call me Candy.”
“Well, Candy, it looks like you have made enemy number one with Retribution. I like it. You’re my type of chic. You’re tough and take no shit. We’re going to be great friends. Ebony and Ivory!” Sahara pulled her arm through Candy’s and led her to the tour bus.