September 16, 2019, 11:23:36 PM

Author Topic: Just a Shot in the Dark Pt.1  (Read 210 times)

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Offline Riley Savell

Just a Shot in the Dark Pt.1
« on: December 07, 2018, 03:20:52 PM »

November 28th 2018
New York City, New York


When he arrives at the airport, coming through the arrivals gate; Riley isn’t standing with the crowd of people greeting their friends and relatives, or the drivers with little placards holding their fares name. Instead she stands all the way back by the exit doors, a thick, fluffy white hoodie pulled on over her PJs, mostly to combat the cold temperatures, the hood pulled up to hang a shadow over half her face, just the small smile on her lips plainly visible.

She holds her left hand up, palm facing out with a tiny card, about the size of a business card in it, she’s written ‘Cosmo’ on it in delicate cursive and decorated the card with little Christmas trees, sketched out with the same cursive flair as the text.

Spotting him she waves a little with her right hand to make sure he sees her, but without drawing attention from anyone else to her presence.


After swearing to himself that he would stop traveling on days that he didn’t have anywhere to travel to, he felt himself accomplished as the plane landed in New York. While everyone had seemed to be dressed for the weather—Cosmo hadn’t gotten the memo. Instead he was wearing a pair of athletic shorts, a thin jacket and a pair of Jordan brand slides that he usually wore. All he had was a backpack over his shoulders and a neck pillow which his large headphones rested on.

He didn’t really look up from his phone until he had gotten out of the terminal. Then he began looking for Riley. His eyes scanned the group of people who met with loved ones… and then he noticed her. A sigh of relief left him, and so he placed his phone into the pocket of his shorts and ventured over to her. A small smile to match hers as he shook his head, seeing the little card she held, seeing that she was indeed dressed in her PJs, he didn’t think she would.

“This for me?” He said simply as he walked up to face her and looked at the card she was holding, sliding it from her palm and looking at it with an amused shake of his head. “You get me.”

It was pretty perfect.
 
 She exhaled into a nod, pushing off from the glass where she had been leaning her eyes casting briefly over him and deducing thar forward planning was maybe not his strongest point, judging from the lack of weather appropriate attire; not wanting to let her gaze linger she flicked her eyes up to meet his with another small smile.

“Mhm, calligraphy is a lost art you know. Everything’s all about flash and nobody considers just how pleasing to the eye, something simple and classic can be.” Turning slightly into her heels to angle them towards the exit she clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth and pulled out her phone to fire off a quick message.

“You have a whole training facility in New York and you forget what it’s like here in November? I’m not going to be held responsible if you catch pneumonia...” Her tone was soft, a light teasing edge to it as she inclined her head to his feet. “At least you’re wearing shoes, right?”
 
People breezed past them without even noticing as they stood against the glass where she leaned. He pulled his thumbs into the straps of his backpack and looked down at her as she went through her phone to send a message. He gave a small smile as she looked back up to him. The comment about shoes were pretty hilarious, his toes wiggled in the slides he wore as he just went along with it.

“Yeah, shoes. Right.” He said giving her a smirk as he kept his eyes on her. “I have no idea what the fuck calligraphy is by the way. Can you put it in terms I can understand? It sounds like something fancy.”

Cosmo had no earthly clue where they were going, despite flying into the airport there a few times—he always had gotten lost. Everyone seemed to know exactly where they were going though, including her so he just walked with her, shoulder to shoulder as they walked towards the exit. He matched her pace with his long strides.

“Hey, I’ve only been here like… once. But yeah. I could never live in this place during the winter. A big hell no on that one.”
 
 She bit at her bottom lip slightly, the edge of a chuckle escaping her despite her best efforts, her eyes flicking between him and the other people in the airport as she moved between the crowds with an effortless precision, used to coming in and out of New York on a regular basis.

“It’s the form of handwriting, you know with all those swirls and elongated forms on the letters themselves? It’s how we all used to write, back before computers and short hand and cursive... It’s mostly just used to transcribe Latin and for people, like me, who take up very boring hobbies to fill their time.” She smirked slightly, shaking her head.

“And it looks good on Christmas cards.” The slight side note was in that same soft edged tone, she always found herself acutely aware of how out of her caste she was around other wrestlers, in the beginning it had bothered her a lot more. In more recent months she had become comfortable with it, playing it down a lot more publicly. As she moved them through the crowd to the exit, she looked up and down quickly for the car.

“I asked him to put the heat on, because otherwise you may actually freeze and unless you’re planning on inventing a gun and taking over Gotham city, it’s probably better we prevent that, hm?” Waiting for the car, she nodded in agreement slightly at his words, living here in winter was already proving to be hellish, but it was the one house that didn’t remind her of Asher and with Yas going to school here, the cold weather felt like a small price to pay. “I was expecting to be in Malibu but the house..”

She trailed off, shaking her head at herself and pulling her tone back up to a more positive one, putting that same smile back on her lips. “New York means I’m closer to Yas, not that she needs me. Which is... weird, for the first few months I couldn’t even leave her behind to travel and now I’m lucky if she calls me once a week.”
 
“Was this your idea of getting my mind off things? Bringing me out in the cold and then giving me a school lesson? Look I know I graduated with like a 2.5 but damn,” he stuck by her side as they walked. Occasionally he would glance down at his phone during their silence, but he didn’t have to do that too often because of the conversation and how it flowed between them.

“We can stick to the Christmas Cards though. I’m keeping this with me. Especially on my trip this weekend. Promise.” Pulling out his slim wallet he slid the card into the slot where a picture probably used to be. That picture was now on the dash in his car, unmoved from where he took it out.

“I’ve never really asked ‘bout that stuff. With Yas, and about.. whatever the dudes name is. And time has a funny way of separating people like that, you know? One day you’re close, the next day you look up and like… 6 years have passed. I feel like that sometimes with my old friends from college and high school. Just so caught up in the daily grind and shit.”

As they stepped out into the cold, he winced and turned his head.

“Jesus fuck.” He shook his head and made sure his hat wasn’t going anywhere as he leaned into her, as if he was trying to get her to shield him from the cold. He smirked over to her. “I’ll get used to it. All good.”

That had been the motto as of late.
 
”Sorry, sometimes I forget that I can be really fucking boring.” It was a gentle self note, she had a habit of over explaining; usually it was her anxiety kicking up those little voices of doubt in the back of her mind, but sometimes, like now, it was just a passion for the subject. As she thought that over, she watched him slide the card into his wallet, that smile growing a little as he did.

“Good, keep a little Christmas spirit with you. Maybe some of the magic of the season will give you good luck... and if not at least it’s pretty to look at. Right?” There was a slight hesitation from her, barely even a misstep and a crease of her brows; nobody really knew very much about Yas, or much of anything in Riley’s personal life, despite the occasional spillage on social media, she was mostly good at keeping the truer parts of herself a secret.

“Yas is... a long story. I uh, have some dealings with charities across the nation. She was a kid in a tough spot... lot of issues and she didn’t deserve what life was handing her, took a lot of greased palms and favors owed but guardianship saved her from juvi and the adoption was something she wanted.”

A cold snap of air sent a shiver through her and she stopped talking, that was already more than she’d willingly shared in the past. A bad habit she’d picked up as a child was to only give as much as what’s asked for, no more and no less. “You’re right, though.. people drift apparat, we either evolve together or someone gets left behind.”

She couldn’t help but laugh at his shock when the cold hit him, leaning into him to meet his lean, she laughed again, shaking her head. “The car will be here any second...” Almost right in cue the cat pulled up, turning slightly she looked up unto his eyes and for the first time, she displayed something other than confidence or a playful smile.

“Just... remember that a lot of this is habit, the cars, the house, it’s not me just, how I was raised, what I’m used to... I am not some stick up little princess, okay?”
 
 Riley’s personality was adorable. He laughed when she called herself boring, and he couldn’t take the stupid smile off of his face. Cosmo wasn’t the greatest at hiding emotions and he didn’t have much of a poker face. Even his attitude shifts as Riley called them could be easily picked up on. He had tried to push her away, but she wouldn’t budge. So, instead he decided to give in and go to her. That’s what he wanted. To hear her, to feel her close to him. It was all silly, but it was what he needed.

“I won’t linger on it, Riley. But it sounds like a really cool thing you did. Respect, not a lot of people would take on that responsibly. It says a lot about you and your character. And here I was drawn to you because I like bad girls, and you were The Villain.” he chuckled at the quip.

“My gran hated Christmas, you know? I think it’s why I don’t really do holidays anymore. Once her parents died, she wasn’t really into it. Never really wanted anyone around. Never really put up a tree. I guess it stopped being special to her when the family didn’t gather anymore. Funny how that ties in with what we are talking about.”

“But this?” he nodded to his wallet where the little card was that she gave him. “I can appreciate this… but…”

As they waited for the car, he turned to face her.

“I owe you this.” He leaned down and wrapped his arms around her in a deep hug. Squeezing her in the cold. Retreating back to a standing position he looked into her eyes. He nodded.

“I know what you are. I’ve known since we talked for the first time.”
 
“Back when we first started talking, I told you that we all play parts. Coming in like I did, off a legacy as tarnished as Julian left behind? I couldn’t hope to have anyone like me, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy being the bad guy, I do... whatever I might do when the cameras are off, my personality is just more inclined to be brutal and honest... I guess that’s why nobody’s ever going to be fitting me for a cape.”

Her tone was measured, a mix of the cold and the feeling of him close to her had her usual pattern thrown off, leaning in close enough that she could smell him, whether it was cologne or just the general scent he had, as we all do, she couldn’t wholly tell but thar closeness to another person after so many days of distance was enough to throw her slightly off.

“My dad hated it too, eventually, but I just have so many memories, even when I was too old to really still believe in it all; of feeling that magic, that... rush of excitement when the star goes on the tree, the flutter in your stomach of nervous excitement before the lights switch on...”

She sighed softly, letting herself fall back into what few good memories she had of her childhood, in actuality she loved Christmas for that reason, because it was warm memories and the only one she had of her mother at all, was over the Christmas period.

“I know it’s so commercial now, people don’t buy into the spirit of it but I just... think it’s magic I guess. I’m not really religious or whatever but what’s wrong in holding onto thar whole Christmas miracle shit you know?”

She caught herself rambling again, but before she could correct it, he wrapped her up in a hug that took her entirely by surprise, returning the gesture almost on instinct, her brain trying to catch up with the quick shift, squeezing him back just in time before he moved back to a standing position.

“Huh? What I am?” Her usually careful and precise poise slipping away she stared up at him with a knit in her brows, a confused but curious frown. “What am I?”
 
“The cold isn’t so bad when we are hugging, you know?” He said after delivering on his promised hug. But there were plenty more to come after that one.

“How about you just have my cape? Everyone has already ripped it off and put it back on me so many times… I don’t think it means much anymore, do you?” He said as he pulled back from the hug and looked at her. A smile across his lips as he looked down at the space between them and then back up to her facial features.

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s because we’ve never had snow where I am from. Or maybe it’s just because how commercial and fake it is. I’ve never really gotten into it. And I won’t let you talk me into enjoying it. Not one bit. I won’t have it, Riley.”

Smirking he bit his bottom lip as she asked what she was. It was hard for him to explain. He wasn’t the greatest talker, and many had condemned his inability to talk as one of his biggest detractors of ever making it in the wrestling business but he had proved them wrong—thankfully.

“I know you’re not a spoiled little princess. I know you’re caring. I know you’re real. And I know you’re persistent. Because I tried to push you away several times and you just kept coming back for me, and I’m not entirely sure why. I know there’s something about you that made me fly halfway across the country just to spend a night with you. And I know just being with you for five minutes, I’ve felt better than I have the last three weeks.”

He shrugged.

“Maybe you do need fitted for that cape after all.”
 
 Stepping back to lead him to the car she took a minute to catch her breath, not one to speak without thinking first, she bought a little time with introduction to the driver, leaning against the side of the car as she did.

“In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m  very convincing. Especially when it’s something I feel strongly about and Christmas? That just happens to be one of those things, I’ll find something you enjoy about it, even if it kills me!”

She gave a dramatic sweep of her hand across her brow to ass to the drama of her response, breaking out into another smile and moving clear of the door so the driver could open it for Cosmo to get in the car, she opted to move around the other side and slide in from that door, meeting him in the middle of the seat.

“And as for the cape, I think it’s definitely more suited to you. I’ve never wanted to be a role model and I’ve done things so many people think I should regret. But I don’t... I understand the importance of being remembered and if my legacy is to be the evil bitch who set people on fire and choked out reporters then, I’m kind of okay with that.”

Fussing around with some things in the back of the car, she turned the heater up, hoping to offer him some comfort from the cold. “Why...” She hesitated, pushing her hands into the pockets on her hoodie she considered her options, leaning in closer to him, her eyes on his she sighs.

“Every day, since my sixteenth birthday, I wake up, look at the clock and wonder if today will be the day it all finally ends. Every night, since that same day, I go to sleep staring down a bottle of pills, not sure if that will be the night they finally win... I... haven’t ever told anyone that.”

She looks away looking down at her boots that replaced the slippers she had on before leaving the house focusing on the laces with a half shrug.

“I’ve tried a lot of things to not feel that way. I’ve tried to be what other people thought I was, or wanted me to be. I’ve tried to... fill that hole with charity work and good deeds, I’ve tried drinking it into submission and fuck, I’ve even tried marrying someone my father would choose just to feel like I’m living some part of the legacy he wanted for me. None of it works...

But you, talking to you... realizing for even one second that I’m not the only person out there who finds all this so fucking hard, so... questionable at times. It made a difference and then, knowing how I feel, all the time and knowing how I won’t give in to that...

I couldn’t, Can’t ever let you either. So maybe it’s not such a good deed, maybe I’m just really, really selfish.”


She half laughs, looking back up into his face.

“Told you, misery loves company.”
 
 Cosmo’s eyes stayed locked to hers. Even as they got into the car and huddled close as the heat blared. He took his backpack off and placed it into his lap. Seeing her hands go into her pockets, he grabbed one of her wrists and brought it back out. Cosmo interlocked his fingers into hers and held her hand. Letting them fall between them. He looked so sad as he listened to her story, unable to find the words.

“I feel really stupid now, and selfish. Pushing you away like that, downing the sleeping pills like I did. With you going through all of that. Shit, Riley I had no idea. I’m so sorry.” He squeezed her hand and then laid his head on her shoulder and curled his arm around hers as he heaved a sigh.

“I got caught up in feeling sorry for myself, that I didn’t even think about what you may be going through… I don’t know. I just see these people who wanna hang out with you, and wanna be around you, and want to support you. I don’t know. I just felt like you didn’t need me adding onto all of that.” He shook his head on her shoulder.

“I just felt like if I stopped talking to you, that you would just drift away and wouldn’t be dragged into all of this, but… I just didn’t know. I’m glad you told me. Because now it just makes me realize perspective.” He squeezed her hand.

“But if you ever feel like that, I don’t care when it is. You come to me, okay? Like I came to you tonight.”
 
 His hand felt cold against hers, their fingers interlocking. In some small way the gesture spoke to her more than his words did, shaking her head slightly she leaned into him.

“Don’t... feel stupid, or selfish I mean. It’s not as though I put a lot of myself out there, you, push people away to feel safe. I just never really let anyone in to begin with, even my closest friends... my best friend... they couldn’t tell you any of that, or even close to it. I’ve been that way since I was a kid.”

As he shook his head from her shoulder, she in turn rested her own against his, the side of her thumb running up and down his a couple of times, the draw of physical interaction too much for her to hold back on completely.

“I’m not stupid, I know a large amount of the people suddenly wanting to be my inner circle want one if two things, to fuck me, or to grab a little shine off my upswing. If there’s one thing I do well, it’s comeback harder.... but you aren’t either of those.”

Biting at her bottom lip she sighs, not moving from her position she relaxes into him a little instead.

“You never need to feel bad for... not feeling yourself. The sadness, the loneliness... everything you’re going through? Those are perfectly normal. And I meant what I said, I’ll always be here.” Sighing softly she squeezed his hand back again. “I promise I’m not always this depressing I just... figured offering you an explanation, or something like one was only fair.”

Closing his eyes, he just enjoyed her touch. It was comforting for him, because he hadn’t had -this- since he and Leela had broken up. Just someone to comfort him. He had tried to find that in… other ways but it had been rather empty and ended up being worse on him than before. That’s why he wasted no time hugging her, or grabbing her hand and holding it, because he found comfort in her. Feeling her head against his he kept his eyes closed as he spoke to her.

“You didn’t owe me anything. I was dumb. I was just denying myself of this. I thought if I stopped talking to you that you’d just… go away. And you didn’t. Out of all the people who want to be around you, for whatever reason you wouldn’t go away. And now, you’re stuck with me.” He bumped his head against hers. “Good luck with that.”

He chuckled to himself as the car hummed underneath them in the New York traffic.

“I guess I just didn’t understand how cruel people could be. And I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. And when it hit me, no matter how much I tried to pretend it didn’t bother me, it did. And… yeah.”
 
 She angled herself just a little, turning into him to be more comfortable as she leaned into him for her ride, her thumb dancing up and down the edge of his as he talked. There was a pleasant warmth in the almost innocence of their physical interactions, something she usually tried to avoid with people, felt comforting now.

“Funny I told you something kinda similar huh?” A small chuckle preceded her smile this time, where she would usually be paying far too much attention to the route her driver chose, today she wasn’t so concerned with finding the quickest way back. “I think I can live with being stuck with you, if you can live with the other way around... Usually when people tell me I’m difficult it’s kind of insulting, but I think in this case my being difficult was exactly what you needed.”

She was almost musing aloud as she talked, her tone that same, warm, soft one she had been using since the airport, a much kinder tone than the one she used in front of the cameras.

“It’s hard, to convince yourself that the things people say don’t matter. Why do you think I only really talk to people on a serious level in private? Everyone has some opinion on my marriage falling apart; at first it bothered me, the constant harassment about it but lately I just... don’t care.”

She pauses and angled her head just a little to look up at him through her lashes, a soft sigh coming from her lips. “The things they said to you though... I can’t... if I’ve ever been thar cruel to someone, I feel terrible for it now. It’s so easy to say certain things over twitter, or alone in front of a camera because the people you’re talking about, they don’t seem real. Their pain doesn’t seem real.”
 
“I’m not naive.. at least not a lot. I know it’s impossible to get people to like you 100 percent of the time. But just the venom they spewed. It was something I’ve never experienced. I’ve had people attack my grandmother before verbally to try to get to me, that just comes with being in this business. But to say they wanted her to die because I did the right thing and broke it off with Leela instead of dragging it along… I don’t know. Seems like they live in some fantasy world that I don’t want any part in.”

Feeling her thumb run against his, he began to do the same to her. A slow thumb war as he looked up to her with a smile and then his head went back to hers.

“I’m just convinced now that you were put into my life for a reason. I don’t know. This just feels so right to me. I feel whole, sitting here with you. Coming to you like this. I told you, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’m not going to let you go until you have to leave for Adrenaline. Sorry, not sorry.”

He laughed some.

“And maybe I will listen to you pitch things on Christmas until we find something I like. I guess there’s a few movies. But maybe this will become my new Christmas tradition? We gotta’ find somewhere this isn’t New York though.”
 
 She inhaled deeply, a relaxed breath as his thumb moved against hers, the smile on her lips growing all the more, despite the admission that she had done and said awful things to people in the past, she had never gone that far.

“It’s too easy to get caught up things I guess, I’ve never wished death on someone’s family but... there was a time when that might not have been a line I wasn’t afraid to cross if it came to it. I like to think I’ve actually grown just in these few months, I’m not the same girl who got arrested for fighting Becky in the street; but as much as we can evolve and move forward, people can devolve into things they claim to hate.”

She chewed at the side of her lip for a moment as she thought about her own history, they had, definitely, had exceptionally different careers so far and whilst he had built his name on being the good guy, she had found her place by building off of people’s hatred, stoking those fires as much as she could to get her foot through the door.

“Someone will always have something to say, anyone who expects you to just be magically okay, isn’t realistic. Ending a relationship doesn’t mean the love is just gone, how would that even work? Love doesn’t just melt away, it just manifests into something else... especially your first real love, thar stays with you it just becomes a warm memory as opposed to a sharp stabbing pain when you think about it.”

Angling her head just an inch or so, she looked out the window to gauge how far out from the house they were, nodding slightly.

“You don’t always find what you didn’t know you need in places you think you should be looking. Does that make sense? There is absolutely nothing about us, on the surface, that says we should be this... comfortable or safe with eachother. Maybe that’s why it works, why I feel like I can trust you.“

She smiled at the promise of not letting her go until she had to leave, this was the last thing she had expected to be doing the day before her match; but she knew she didn’t want to be anywhere else.

“You want to talk about Christmas and not consider New York?! Now I know you’re talking crazy, Christmas here is... like nothing else, the windows, the trees, the giant ice skating rink! It’s freezing, of course, but Christmas is supposed to be cold... people on the beach in bikinis on Christmas Day, that’s like, sacreligious!” She laughed shaking her head some as they were just a few blocks from the house now. “I’ll bet I can find more than one thing you like about Christmas and, if you’re lucky, maybe I’ll let you in on my own Christmas tradition... that one’s a huge secret.”
 
Cosmo’s other arm went across his body and to his arm where he brought his fingers against her arm and gently ran them up and down her forearm as she talked. Listening to her, unable to tell exactly where they were because he was so unfamiliar with New York. Most of the time was spent looking down at his phone when he was here, and now his time was spent looking at her, or looking down at their hands. Closing his eyes and just feeling her presence next to him.

“You’re right. And I’m not trying to push my love for Leela away. It'll never go away, you know? No matter how bad it gets. I just hope everyone can eventually let it go. The longer they drag it on, the more sour the taste gets in my mouth. I’m not trying to hide things, I was unhappy but that was my fault with everything else going on and just all the frustration… “

He traced his fingers up and down her forearm as he spoke. Cooper laughed.

“You are the last person I would have expected to be with… or want to be with. But I think you’re right. And I may get grumpy and I may have bad days and try and push you away. Trust me when I say that I will never betray your trust once I have it… and I know you will do the same for me. I guess… I don’t know. We came along for each other at the right place at the right time?”

Shaking his head about her Christmas comment. “Okay, like I get it. New York is this magical place. I’ll get on board if it snows. I like the snow. But if it’s just cold as fuck I don’t want it. Give me snow or give me a beach. No in between, okay?” He was intrigued now.

“I wonder what your Christmas tradition is… are you inviting the Satanists over for a ritual this year? Is this what this is? Are they waiting for me when we get to your house?”
 
Goosebumps rose along her skin at his touch, a soft breath leaving her lips like a content sigh, closing her own eyes to just enjoy the sensation for a moment. Her free hand closing around his, as it holds her other hand, the warmth of her palm against the back of his hand.

“It’s because they think they know, what things were like. In reality no one can ever know what someone’s life is like, even when we share that life with them, they still have a different outlook, you know? All you can do is try and ignore as much of it as possible and, talk about the stuff that does hit home... don’t let it fester, that’s the worst thing you can do.”

She nodded in agreement at his remarks about trust, she already knew she could trust him. He hadn’t even really pushed why she preferred to speak in private, something most people had issue with. Seeing it as she was trying to hide something, or felt shame, as opposed to understanding that her life is under such heavy scrutiny, she simply didn’t want things ruined before they even started.

“I can’t say I won’t do the same, I have a smiling habit, I get too in my head, too focused on work and everything else kind of slips... I’ve tried to work on that, the singular focus thing. Like training too hard this week... I know it doesn’t help.” To accentuate her point she extended her left knee with a flinch, not wearing her brace meant she felt a constant dull ache in it. “That sounds like a fair deal though.”

Pulling her leg back to be comfortable and almost immediately drawing attention away from her knee. “Snow or bust, I used to hate the snow but I’ve spent so much time in aspen I’ve started to love it, it’s cleaner there though, crisp and white. It’s amazing.” She paused, having gotten married in aspen just six months ago she should hate the memories it held, but it was one of the few places that hadn’t lost its sparkle for her. “You figured me out! They’re probably bleeding the goat out right now as we speak...”
 
“You really know how to treat a guy, Riley.” He said as he continued to run his fingers idly up and down her forearm. Nearly clinging to her at this point. A smile on his lips as he heard her sigh, he glanced up to her for a moment. Just to see if she was content or uncomfortable with how physical he was being. But he could feel how relaxed her body was and he knew that she was enjoying the company just as much as he was.

“Is it still bothering you?” He asked with a glance up to her. Riley had told him of her knee problems. He was lucky, he hadn’t been injured for more than a day or so with his time in the business. His body worked like a machine. It was a blessing for wrestling but not so much for fighting because it look him so long to feel pain.

“I hate you have to wrestle injured, but I can’t tell you to stop, you know? I know this business like you do. And the moment you step away is the moment you fade away.” Dropping his free hand away from her arm, he put his hand on her knee and rubbed gently as he frowned. “I wish I could take it from you. I really do. All the pain you’ve been feeling really.”

He had enjoyed seeing her smile, it was even prettier in person. He brought a hand back up to her arm. “I would totally go sledding with you, by the way. That’s definitely what we should do sometime.”
 
 At first she flinched at his touch on her knee, not out of pain but more out of habit; it was rare she did anything without the brace on anymore and she felt a little more naked than she liked without it.

“The cartilage is totally busted... I’d need surgery to repair it and six months out when I’ve only been in nine? It just doesn’t make sense, you know? I’m allowed to wrestle with the brace on so it doesn’t hurt like it used to.” Biting into her bottom lip slightly she hazarded a look up into his eyes, talking about her injury had always led to fights with Asher, he didn’t really get it.

“Plus I have a nice mix of painkillers, all registered so I can’t get busted on tests... not always the most fun thing but it means I can keep going until things are better with it...” As she settled back against him the car drew up to the front of the house, rather than living in central New York, the house was set back just a little, enough to give her more land than anyone should really have in the area.

“Self care is important with it is all and... the few people who know about it understanding that it’s going to hurt, I’m going to have days where I can stand on my own and that I’m willing to push through that to be successful...” There was no shift in her tone but her words were clearly cautionary, she wasn’t willing to forgo her career at the risk of taking time off for just a knee. “Sledding is awesome, I still can’t ski for shit but I have a cute little cabin in aspen... we can definitely do that... that sounds really ridiculous but property is kinda my thing, I like houses, I hate hotels...”
 
“So, was it an injury sustained or just something you did over time?” He could feel her pain in her voice and when she flinched. So many of his peers had been rattled with injuries that they had to work through. So of course he understood, plus she had just signed with 4CW and that isn’t somewhere you wanted to go and immediately leave because of an injury. It was hard for anyone to recover from that.

“You’re handling it exactly how I would, honestly.” As he leaned back against her, he saw they had pulled up in front of the house and his jaw nearly dropped. Cosmo had come from, and still lived rather humbly. He could afford a new house, a new car, but he kept things simple. The same house he used to live in. The same old truck he used to drive. To him it was comforting but people usually looked at him like he was crazy. Unlike most wrestlers, he had decided to save instead of splurge.

“Wow, it’s… so pretty. I’ve always lived in the same house since I was a kid. My grandpa built it so I would have something to live in when I got older. Real estate obviously a real issue in Santa Rosa with fires and everything else. So I’ve always just… lived there and enjoyed it.”

Although she wasn’t the proper princess, he wouldn’t sure how she would feel stepping into his smaller home. Two bedrooms and one bathroom. A fenced in backyard and that was about it.
 
Her eyes flicked to her knee and she sighed softly.

“I hurt it in a match, then I got into the whole death march scene and Kennedy went after it, then Saki... neither of them are known for a gentle hand, you know? There’s been a few days where I can’t really walk on it, but canes are handy when that happens, it’s not often... mostly I just Medicare and try to keep the brace on..”

Her eyes followed his as he looked up at the huge three story house, Yasmine called it Wayne Manor, mostly because it had secret doors and rooms littered across the top floor and even the attic had a dumb waiter that took you to a secret area in the basement, it wasn’t her favorite house at all.

“I find it rather ostentatious actually... it was my first husband’s house, something I acquired for pain and damages, or however you want to put it, long story short he was an asshole who got caught embezzling funds from charity accounts, I got the house and his shares in legitimate businesses... in turn he ran off to the caymans, last I heard.” Her tone was offhand instead of the soft one she’d used before, Malcom wasn’t something she talked about often, unlike Asher he had been every bit like her father.

“It’s nice though, the staff aren’t here... I hate having them around, I like to be comfortable in my own home..” Before she could finish her thought the driver opened her door, very reluctantly she pulled herself away from him, pulling on his hand to only let go at the last second to get out of the car, moving around to wait street side where he could get out.
 
Cosmo kept her hand as long as he could until she got out. Grabbing his lone luggage of a backpack, he slung it over one shoulder as he ducked out of the car to get out and then he stood up and looked at the place. He always found big houses scary, like ghosts and shit lurked around every corner. As soon as he got out he was to her side, still wanting to me close to her. Especially after how close they were on the car ride over. He felt warm beside her.

“I didn’t know you had another husband before, Asher or whatever his name was. You’ve really been through it, haven’t you?” And with that, he dropped his hand back down and wrapped his arm in hers as they walked towards the house.

“So we’ve got this big house to ourselves?” He stared up at it and then glanced back to the car and then chuckled. “Okay, this is how some horror movies begin, but at least there’s a pretty girl involved, I guess.” He said nudging her.

“If we get to… like…” he didn’t know how to put it without coming across as weird. They were friends after all. “Spend more time together. I’d love to help you rehab some. It’s not going to fix it completely, but I can probably help you with pain management and that sort of thing.” He let her lead the way towards her home.
 
She wrapped her hand around his arm as he wrapped their arms together, leaning into him just a little she nodded her head. “We weren’t married very long... it was before wrestling g or anything, when I was trying to live up to what was left for me instead of living the life I wanted...” Not seeing any reason to dwell on it, she fished about in her pockets with her free hands to find her keys, leading him up the steps as he mentioned her knee.

“I’d be open to it, honestly... I’ve mostly just injected pain killers and tried to keep it limber, but any suggestion you have I’m willing to listen to.” Reaching the door she looked up at him, initially blushing at the compliment before hiding her blushing cheeks behind her hair with a wicked smile. “I promise to show you which rooms are haunted so you don’t accidentally wander into one during the night...”

With a laugh she opened the door, leading him into the grand foyer which immediately met a grand staircase, a hallways leading off onto the ground floor of the house. “I’m kidding, mostly... there are some secret rooms and shit. I guess you don’t hide loads of money without getting good at hiding right? Anyway... uh, we can pretty much do whatever you want.” She turned on her heels to face him fully, sliding her hand down his arm to interlock their fingers once more, exhaling with a slight frown.

“You think I’m totally fucking spoiled and shit, don’t you?”


There was a measure of doubt in her tone, the grandeur of her home, her illusion of perfection so well crafted, she knew what people thought of her. And even still, she prayed he didn’t think it.