Post by Boardwalk Angels on Apr 6, 2018 23:44:29 GMT -5
* Thursday, April 5th, 2018 *
* The Madigan-Star Residence *
* Malibu, CA *
She half-stands, half-leans, her shoulder pressed against the wall by the picture window in the living room, staring blankly at the front yard and the world beyond. The modest flower garden she and Katalina had been cultivating was starting to show signs of future beauty and a few of Makayla’s toys were scattered round. Soon it would be time to start the tedious detail of mowing every weekend, not to mention weed eating and all the other floral toiling necessary to maintain a pleasant patch of land. Her mind wanders to these things but always returns to the present. Return, however, is not the proper word. Crashes, more like. From time to time, Zoey’s hand lifts to her face and rubs at one or both of her eyes, perhaps her cheek as well. It always comes down glistening a bit, sometimes streaked with a bit of black. That’s enough of a clue, but the odd sniffle and shaky breath hammer the point home:
This is a very unhappy Angel.
Coming along silently, padding across the carpet and rubbing up against Zoey’s leg, Aloysius looks up at her and meows expectantly. The gray-on-gray tabby gazes intently up at her, meowing again once he has her attention. The sight, to her credit, makes Zoey smile a little.
“Past your lunchtime, huh?”
Crouching, she scoops Aloysius up into her arms whereupon the young cat makes himself comfortable, audibly purring as it nestles in. Zoey carries him to the kitchen, a brief shot of her tear-marred features showing before she rounds the corner. Setting Aloysius down on the island counter, where he sits upright and watches closely, Zoey goes to the cabinet and takes down a small can. She proceeds to mix his wet and dry into a clean bowl, filling a second with water and clicking her tongue softly to call him over.
“Eat up, sweetheart.”
Still more purrs as Aloysius gets a few strokes from head to tail as he digs in. Zoey, hearing a door open and close, glances up and her expression goes from curious, to confused, then to mildly amused.
“You’re seriously going to do this like that?”
A quiet giggle comes from out of sight, which Zoey takes as an affirmative.
“That’s… very distracting.”
She continues, pausing after a moment and resting her arms upon her knees, folded there as she remains crouched. For a moment, she watches Aloysius eat, then continues.
“I almost feel like I should wait till I calm down to do this. Earlier today… well, you can see how that went.”
Just the thought has her rubbing at her eyes again, standing up.
“Excuse me a moment?”
Walking out of sight in the direction of the main hall, the view following her, Zoey moves out of sight and after a brief time lapse she returns again. Same white hoodie with the Boardwalk Angels logo, same artfully torn and faded blue jeans with purple tights showing beneath, same custom white-and-purple Nikes. The difference? Brushed hair, carefully reapplied makeup and a smile. Honestly, the makeup is likely far more real than the smile, but Zoey is making an effort. That counts for something, doesn’t it?
“Okay… let’s try this now while I’m relatively calm. Wait a moment. No… no, I can’t focus with you looking that way.”
Stepping into her office, Zoey beckons for the person with the camera to follow. They do so, but before it gets a look at what the magician-turned-wrestler has in mind, something goes over the lens and the scene cuts to black. Beyond this, there’s some squeaks and grunts, a bit of shuffling and muttered directives such as “hold still” and “lean forward” and “stop being obstinate!” from Zoey. Then, a few moments later, the view is back. Same place, same direction. Nothing has changed in that regard. There’s some distinctly-perturbed mumblings from behind it, though, which draws a reproving look from Zoey.
“This is serious. You do realize that one of our opponents is Alicia Lukas, right? I can’t be breaking down into giggles and foolishness because you’re bored holding a camera. If Farrah were doing this…”
Then there’s a pause and Zoey has to tighten up, shaking it off as she rises fully to her feet again.
“Forget I said anything.”
Glancing to the person with the camera, she points.
“To the deck. March.”
The tone is firm as is the delivery, but completely devoid of harshness or malice. The scene cuts out once again…
...and returns a moment later. The sun is still out and the ocean breeze is salty and refreshing. Zoey, standing about halfway down the path between the deck proper and the beach, watches the waves crash in the distance as the wind tosses her dark hair a bit. A muffled grunt singals her that the recording has begun and she turns about, first looking over her shoulder then turning completely, offering a more genuine smile as she slips into business-mode.
“First things first. I can’t imagine that this will come from anyone else, so once again allow me to be the sole voice of reason and understanding. Alicia Lukas, you have my sincere apologies for who you have to team with at LAW #80. A woman of your standing and talent deserves better than having to share ring time with an animatronic Barbie with missing fuses. You are a professional and I know that you will make the most of it, because that’s what you do. Still… it sucks. No sense mincing words.”
Turning again, Zoey leans upon folded arms against the deck railing, lifting her hand only to tuck a few tossed dark locks behind her ear.
“You’ll find a way to surpass the limitations imposed on you, though. Even before your entrance into LAW I found myself following your sojourn through the wrestling business, and it didn’t take long before I was penciling your name in on the list of people I wanted to face at some point in my career. And now here we are. It’s a rare bright spot for me in a tumultuous period in my life, so forgive me if I gush a bit. You’re one of those rare types about whom the hype is, nine times out of ten, very real… sometimes even understated. Farrah and I tend to take a great deal of pride in our tenure as LAW and Rose City Tag Champions as well as our undefeated streak but in this case I think that would just be asking for it… tempting fate, if you will.
Of course, that’s not the only reason that I don’t feel like indulging in our accomplishments would be proper. I mean, there wasn’t even a tag title defense at the last pay-per-view. Farrah and I faced each other. Did you see that match, Alicia? If not, that’s all right. Chances are you were preparing for your match with our fellow Angel, Crystal Hilton. What I’m getting at is that the Boardwalk Angels have reached the level here in LAW where there’s simply no one left to challenge us. The Dynasty, Guilty Pleasure, Team Kickass, The Queens of Wrestling, The Naughty Girls, Hilton and Zdunich… they came, they saw, they fell from Heaven to earth. On and on, ad infinitum. I apologize if that comes off sounding arrogant. It is merely a statement of fact… and more or less going against my desire to be humble. I apologize for that.”
She lowers her head a bit, this time not bothering to move aside the hair that the wind throws about willy-nilly.
“The point… yes, I should get to that, hm?”
Faintly yet certainly does her smile return.
“You’re good enough, even with a bleached-blonde albatross around your neck, to beat us. I’m not entirely saying that as a fan of yours, Alicia, and I want that clear. If my short time in wrestling has taught me anything, it’s not just how to get it done in the ring, but how to watch others, how to observe what they do. Picking out the miscues and mistakes that they themselves might not be aware that they are making, learning their tells and idiosyncrasies and using that information to puncture their strategies and impose my own. My trainer got me into the habit and I’ve never really stopped. It does not guarantee anything, but with the level of competition steadily rising in wrestling these days, it would be foolish to not try, don’t you think? In fact, I get the feeling that you do the same. Success like yours doesn’t come with hard work, and that work doesn’t always involve kicking someone’s nose off or twisting their limbs in directions not intended by nature, am I right?
However, before I go any further, there’s a VERY pink elephant in the room… and there’s no sense beating around the bush, so let’s just go ahead and say it loud and clear: not everything is well with Farrah and I. We haven’t teamed in LAW in I don’t know how long, which by itself is just frustrating and infuriating in the same breath. We’re also having our share of personal problems which, unfortunately, are causing some friction in our relationship. We endeavored to work on that a little bit earlier today, but… no such luck, unfortunately. So what does this mean, then, for our match? Is this just me making excuses in anticipation of us losing for the first time in over 400 days? It certainly isn’t an attempt to lull you into a false sense of security; that would be both uncouth and, most likely, ineffective.
No, what I mean by saying all this is to emphasize that no matter what happens outside the ring, when we’re together between those ropes and the bell rings, we make magic. The problems get left at the curtain, picked up again when the final bell has tolled. We’re not fixing our ills in a few days’ time. We’re not going to patch up the issues with some magic words and a tub of rocky road over a Game of Thrones marathon. And there’s not enough hugs on the planet soothe the pains we feel singly and in terms of each other. In the ring, however? None of that exists. What you have instead is one of the best tag teams on a planet, packing a title over each shoulder and always looking for another way to prove ourselves. The triple digits concerning our feats in LAW aren’t a fluke, Alicia. Roxy might try to tell you otherwise, spouting off about how one of us is carrying the other, trying to raise herself up through talk she’s yet to back up. The poor creature has ADD something fierce. It’s not that she can’t focus long enough to know what’s right and wrong and react accordingly. No, the Deficit in this ADD sandwich is because she never gets enough Attention. Again: my apologies for you having to tolerate her for even one night. You deserve better.”
Pushing up, Zoey starts walking further down the path, prompting the camera to follow after her. When she reaches the sand, Zoey stops for a moment and takes in a deep breath.
“Like I said, though: I’m going to enjoy this. I believe Farrah will, too. You’re just her type: you don’t do anything halfway and you’ll fight until you literally cannot move your body in order to reach that pinnacle. She and I both respect that kind of drive. You also don’t censor your thoughts or feelings for the sake of anyone else, another trait the two of you share. Something tells me watching you two clash is going to be a very enriching experience…”
There’s a twinge of that glow in her tone now, a hint of the eagerness Zoey tends to feel when she’s facing someone new, someone she either admires or that she knows will push her. The joys of competition; she feels them most intensely.
“Pretty much everything you said is correct, Alicia, and your candor is appreciated. If things do go south for Farrah and I on Sunday night, at the very least we’ll know that it was to someone we respect. Again, pretty much everything you related… except we might disagree on the praise you’ve offered Roxy in an attempt to be professional about this whole thing. And speaking of her…”
Zoey’s expression as she turns to face the camera this time is one of resigned discomfort, the sort of look a person might have when preparing to take some particularly foul-tasting medicine or having to do a chore that they despise. Or entering any conversation about politics or religion. That too.
“Let’s get something straight, gumdrop, before you go making an even larger rear end of yourself on social media, hm?”
Tossing her hair over her shoulder, Zoey brings up her hands, fingers a-wigglin’. A smirk replaces the smile.
“You. Are. Not. On. Our. Level.”
Her hands lower, smirk giving way to stare. Being honest, it only took a few minutes after Zoey figured out Roxy’s existence for one of the sweetest people on the planet to loathe the blonde. And considering what is known of Zoey… that says plenty.
“Shut down your phone, close your laptop… do whatever it takes to keep yourself off the Internet until after this is done. Stop talking about how things have changed since last time or commenting on the weakness of previous partners. Stop claiming underestimation and pathetic attempts to get under the skin of myself and my partner. And for the love of all that’s holy, stop trying to tell your partner that you’re taking the lead. You have never, nor will you ever be, on our level. And if you’re not on ours, you’re not within sniffing distance of Alicia’s. Every time you open your mouth or move your fingers to retort, you only make this worse for yourself.
Over a year, gumdrop. Four-hundred-plus days as champion. And that only counts LAW. Toss Rose City in there and the divide grows. We won’t even get into Foxy Boxing because, honestly? I don’t think your ego can survive that much truth. Go hang with family and friends from back home, do a little sightseeing, paint a picture… just keep your face from in front of a camera and your electronics away from an Internet connection. Do NOT give us more of a reason than we already have to turn you wrong-side out. Because you, and the whole world, knows that we’re neither above it nor incapable of it.”
Message delivered, Zoey smoothly reverts to her usual charming self.
“It’s time to remind the locker room, the fans… perhaps even ourselves… that the Boardwalk Angels are the standard in tag team wrestling once again. That no matter how much time passes between battles that we do not slacken our step nor rein in our strength. Yes, our situation isn’t the best but I refuse to let that be an excuse. Alicia… this is going to be a pleasure. Afterward I hope we have a chance to speak personally. As for you, gumdrop… remember what I said. Every syllable and stupid expression you make out of turn is another piece of you I’m going to tear off and grind into the canvas with my boot.
And you don’t want to know what Farrah will do when her turn comes. Get ready to fly, ladies.”
Back to the camera once more, Zoey starts walking toward the shoreline as the scene fades to black.
* Wednesday, April 4th, 2018 *
* Malachi’s Delihouse *
* Malibu, CA *
Seated at an outside table, a mug filled with steaming-hot tea cradled in her hands, Zoey offers a few kind words of thanks to the waiter as he returns to the restaurant interior, her eyes lingering on him for just a moment as he departs. Sipping carefully of the beverage, her expression becomes tense once again the moment she’s alone. Keeping the mug close simply for the fragrant steam, she sips once or twice more before setting it down atop the glass surface with a soft clink, impatiently checking her watch while murmuring under her breath.
“She is late…”
Looking to the sidewalk, the street, the path beyond… there is nothing falling under her gaze that offers the magician solace. Another, too-hurried sip is taken of the tea and Zoey very nearly gives her tongue a good searing; poor form, no doubt, especially considering that lunch is due. Malachi’s a place where you want ALL of your taste buds standing at attention.
Yes, she busted out a ‘curses’. Zoey doesn’t swear. Get used to it. She’s setting up to get to her feet when Malachi himself, a tall, dark-haired fellow with a ready smile (although here it is quite subdued) comes out to her table. He has in his hands a large, yellow envelope which he holds out to Zoey, speaking in a thickly-accented tone, likely Mediterranean in origin.
“Lady came to th’ back door, left this for ye with apologies. Seemed important, love. Is all well?”
Accepting it, Zoey opens and peruses some of the contents of the envelope. Her expression hardens a little.
“No, dear, but thank you regardless.”
Lifting her attention from the paper, she offers Malachi a smile, which is returned, before looking past him with her eyes widening quite suddenly. She deftly slips the envelope into her bag near one of the empty chairs nearby. Not a moment later, Farrah walks up and Malachi lights up. The two embrace briefly, exchanging kisses on the cheek before the latter hurries back into the restaurant. Zoey, somewhat shakily, looks to her partner with a small smile.
“You’re very early, F.J.”
“Yeah… other plans fell through. Figured we could use the extra time.”
“Interestingly enough, the same is the case on my end. Shall we?”
It’s a little too formal, too business-like, but they take their seats and soon a mug of potent coffee is placed before Farrah. Before anything can be spoken, however, the scene cuts to black.