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Round 3: Zero vs. Spike Saunders

Chad

The Godfather
Staff member
Joined
Mar 17, 1988
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3,928
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thecswa.com
Roleplay begins Thursday and ends next Thursday. 3 RP maximum.

You may submit a card segment for use on the card by private messaging it to the following usernames: Chad; Ford; User Poets Not all segments may be used (i.e. we might only include winners, just depends on the amount of craziness).
 

Spike Saunders

Super Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
516
Points
16
Age
37
Website
thenbw.com
Lexia (V.O.): Michael, do you believe he still has what it takes? To compete with the very best. Even those younger than himself?

O’Dell (V.O.): From our days in the WWR under the guises of The Executioner and him as the Silver Prince I have always seen Saunders as a guy that would continue wrestling and performing for the fans until the day he dies. Out of all of us back then, he was the one I would have put money on. Over the years he may have suffered brutal injuries when competing with the best but if you look at him now, what do you see?

Do you know what I see?

An unstoppable giant.

FADEIN: Once more the yellow-gold and blue NBW logo was in sight however this time when the camera pulled back and zoomed out it was the cover-piece to a marble table positioned between the one and only Spike Saunders. And next to him the red haired Brit clad in his expensive dollar store blue-suede suit. Which he can introduce himself. It is after all his favorite line.

“Good evening Knight-watchers! It is I your hostest with the mostest, the number one reporter in the land of the NBW, and the man that sends the ratings to the stratosphere – Trent McKnight. Ladies and Gents, welcome to NBW Talk!” Cue canned applause, after all this is just a stage set. “Welcome, welcome, welcome all! Tonight I am joined by a man that very well could reach that stratosphere. The seven foot three Colossus of the NBW, All-star Championship Wrestling, and the UltraTitle tournament – SPIKE SAUNDERS!” Cue another round of canned applause.

The camera panned to the right where the Colossus sat comfortably in the 'guest-only' wooden chair.

“Thank you Trent. Great to be here again.”

“Great to have you. You know the deal Spike, but for those whom are new to the proceedings let me explain. The NBW Talk is a special talk-show slash interview session where we get down to the dirty and gritty, while having a little fun in between. And now that you at home watching are in the know, let us get this started.” McKnight leaned forward in his chair and focused directly on his guest. “Mr. Saunders, you joined one hundred and twenty seven other men in the Ultratitle tournament. A tournament that has made careers. However one thing it has not been is predictable. Even you can attest to this, can you not?”

“Can I not?” Saunders raised his right eyebrow slightly off put by the phrasing of the question. “I would assume you are talking about my recent victory in the second round against Cobra? The man that nobody thought had a chance against one of the top picks in this tournament to take it to the finals and expected to sweep on by me. The problem here Trent is that his focus was still on his past victory rather than preparing for the coming storm.

“I am not making that mistake. My focus is on the finals and those that I will have to plow through to make it there.

“First off being-“ he paused for a moment still unsure how this had wound up. “Zero.”

“Zero. A name synonymous to your career." McKnight stated as he had done his research. "At least for those that have followed it since the beginning. But Saunders, this is not that Zero. His name is Lint Douglas, a man that has not been seen for ages, and-“

“I know that Trent!” Barked the giant as his fist clinched tight. “You think I do not know that? The mask is different. The biography listed on ESEN for the Ultratitle tournament is different. But the name is there. His age lines up. But I know it Trent. I know Lint is not the same Zero that had my ex-wife killed. If he was I would---”

Saunders leaned forward and shook his head. He looked off camera to Lexia and then back to McKnight before straightening up.

“No. It is not him. I am sorry for yelling Trent. Can we move on along please?”

“No need to apologize. We will skip on ahead then." He retrieved a large note card out of his vest pocket. "Time to rev up your engines. It is now time for TEN. The category of course being the Ultratitle tournament. Ready?”

“Ready.”

Trent turned towards the camera and held up a large cue card with ten different names on it. “Folks playing at home, TEN is where I present the guest of the show with ten random names, events, places or just words in general. They will then respond with the first thing that comes to their head. There are no delays. No pauses. Just quick name recognition.” He turned back towards Saunders and raised the card. “Let us begin. One. Shawn Jessica Hart.”

“Creepy as hell. Sister even more so!” he answered with a smirk.

“Two. Eli Flair.”

“A prodigy”

“Three. Spooky Doom.”

“Crickets.”

“Four. Orphan.”

“Sadistic.”

“Five. Castor V. Strife”

“Lucky.”

“Six. Sergeant.”

“Respect.”

“Seven. Jack Harmen.”

“Lunatic.”

“Eight. Jeff Andrews.”

“Defiant. AND he beat Voss.”

“Nine. Joey Melton.”

“Talented.”

“Ten. ... Zero.”

“Next.”

Saunders shook his head and looked at McKnight with a ‘iknowwhatyoudidthere’ grin.

“All random Spike, I assure you. They gave me the ten names and I only read them off on this card.” He handed the Colossus the card and rested back in his chair for a moment before they continued. “Fact is though; Zero is your opponent for the third round. There is no avoiding that fact. Are you prepared to face him while forgetting about the past?”

“Trent, I have never backed down from a challenge. I have never backed down from a match under my own will. The Ultratitle tournament is no different. I know he is not the man that still haunts me. This Zero calls himself a hardcore icon. A reluctant hero even. I will never refer to myself as a hardcore icon. There is nothing iconic about being hardcore and surviving the elements. But I will claim proudly the name our fans have given me, that being the word Hero. Not reluctant. Not unfortunate. Just hero.

“No spandex. No utility belt. No mask.

“Just an ordinary hero to those that perceive it that way.

“Lint has joined the Ultratitle throwing a way the peace and tranquility he had attained. You know though, it is no mystery that he is far from at peace, let alone tranquil in life. His interviews and promos have shown us this.

“Normally I would invite and encourage anyone to go out there and do what they do best in a once in a life time experience like this tournament. Zero I feel is an exception. Not because I do not want to face him. Not because of his names impact on my history. Nor even because I think he does not have what it takes.

“I state this Trent, because quite frankly Lint sounds like he was putting his life together. And now that he is dividing his concentration between that and the Ultratitle tournament, I fear both will suffer in result.”

Spike Saunders leaned forward from his chair while the camera zoomed in on his face.

“Zero if that is truly the case. Do us all a favor and just do not show up. One wrong maneuver while distracted in your thoughts could result in an injury that neither of us would want to occur.

“So please. If you are not coming to the match at One Hundred percent, just step down and step back. Take focus on your life and get it in order as Lint.

“If you are ready and coming at this one hundred percent then Zero, I welcome you to join me in the ring and show the fans a spectacular night. It is all up to you. I will be there ready for action. Completely focused and mentally prepared.

“Will you, Zero?”

Trent McKnight stood from his seat and extended his arm.

“Thank you Mr. Saunders for joining us tonight. We all look forward to your match and wish you the best of luck.”

“Thanks Trent. See you around.” Saunders shook McKnight’s arm then proceeded to walk off set while the camera panned to follow. “So, where to now?” He stopped in front of the spitfire Lexia whom was applauding his last few moments. She was wearing a nice dress and due to the lack of pockets her cell phone was conveniently resting between here breasts which the Colossus gave a chuckle about while raising his eyebrow.

“The arena. I talked it over with Thaddeus Boyle and he has green lit the usage of the arena for some sparring sessions. He said the offer is even extended to all the NBW alumni, except for Jack Harmen. Since you know… he burned down that last arena.” She smirked just as her phone begun to vibrate against her breasts. She looked down at it while listening to the familiar ringtone that consisted of the Doctor Who tv series opening. Lexia then withdrew the phone and pressed the button on screen to accept the call.

“Hey, I was wondering when you would call.”

She paused while the voice on the other end spoke.

“Okay great. We are just wrapping up things here at the studio and then headed to the Arena.”

Saunders tried to ask her what she was discussing but she just smiled before speaking again.

“Oh so he will be there too? Ha. Well that will be a nice surprise for Spike, especially after his recent loss in the tournament.”

Again she smiled up at the friendly giant and nodded her head to the other person on the line despite that they could not see her. But we do that when on a cell phone. It seems to be hardwired in our genes.

“Well we will be there in around an hour or so. Got one stop first.” Lexia giggled while looking at Saunders and corrected herself. “Well two stops, as I did promise him we would stop by Wendys for a couple dozen chicken nuggets. You guys get setup and we will meet you there. Later!”

She hit the end button and pocketed the phone once more snugly between her breasts.

“Alright Spiker. The arena is ours. Mike is headed there now along with a few friends. So if nothing else is going on here, let us get going then.”

She turned and without hesitation headed off towards the exit while Spike turned back to Trent. “You can kill it now you sneaky bloke.”

McKnight smiled and turned back to the camera which panned back towards him.

“You heard it here folks. A colossal training session is soon to begin. We should go cover that action! Until next time Knight-watchers, have a great weekend!”

FADEOUT: The NBW Talkshow set fades from view until it is replaced by the ESEN Ultratitle logo. Once more Lexia’s voice is heard in the background.

Lexia (V.O.): Callie, you have teamed with him over the years and even won a few tag team titles along the way. Do you think his time is coming to an end?

Callie (V.O.): Multiple titles and reigns even. However while I may have retired with several of my own, Spiker has continued to engage in what he loves quite possibly more than anything else on this earth. And that is entertaining the fans.

You asked me if I think his time is coming to an end, but I can not honestly answer that question.

If I were to rephrase the question slightly, it is not that I think his time is coming to an end. I think despite his age and length of his career he still has a few tricks up his sleeves. The Ultratitle tournament is the first step outside of his comfort zone of the NBW and ACW in sometime. A place he has never been within. Competition he has never seen or faced.

His opponents see him as dated. A fossil of what he once was. Caged for the last decade. And now he is free. In a whole new yet old world.

They do not realize it yet but thanks to the Ultratitle tournament they have drawn out a long dormant beast.

An unstoppable giant.

A feat not since accomplished for nearly over three decades.

And I think that alone should make them afraid. Very afraid.

Afraid of what has been released.

God have mercy for those in his path.


FTB
 

Spike Saunders

Super Moderator
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
516
Points
16
Age
37
Website
thenbw.com
"‘Two!"

"Three!"

Ding ding ding

FADEIN: The ringing of the bell was joined by the sight of Spike Saunders as he stood next to the former Executioner, Michael O’Dell, a man whom had just been Spiked to the canvas. The Colossus reached his hand down to which O’Dell accepted and was pulled back to his feet. Saunders then looked out over the ropes to where the dinging had come from.

“Great job Spiker,” she remarked while being quite decisive on giving the fans a good view of the arena. While holding her flip cam high she spun about on her heels which caused the view of the two men to be replaced in a whirl by the various seats and barricades. Then went to the large EpiCenter II hanging overhead of the ring, and on over to the EpiCenter I over the entrance walk way. A courtesy view of the usually packed arena, filmed by the one and only Lexia Hart.

Well at least it used to be packed. Now that the NBW has been on a Global Tour for over the past year the Epic II arena has been unused. The sparring session just put on by the two men in the ring would have been the first in over a year. Shame nobody caught it on camera.


“Mike you did good too. You probably would have had him if you had not gone for that stunner ddt of yours. What was it called?”

“Huuuuu-“ Nearly out of breath Michael stepped up to the corner post and retrieved the towel draped there. He then proceeded to wipe the sweat from his forehead before he attempted to speak again. “Oh that. Well if this guy was not so god damn tall… well it could have worked.” Saunders chuckled while O’Dell shrugged and craned his neck back then rolled it back forward. “To answer your question though, it used to be named The Executioner’s Device. But now… I think I will just say the axe was dull.”

“Hah funny one.” Lexia giggled while she walked around the ring and gave the viewers a good view of the two individuals. “Still, thank you for coming out tonight. Spiker is so used to the heavy hitters, the big guys with power moves and the like that an opponent like Zero with his technical expertise is relatively new. Well not new, but more of a hindrance?”

“Nah,” Saunders stepped his large frame over the top rope and dropped down to sit on the apron while Lexia hopped back on the guardrail. “I have faced other experts in the ring Lexia. Heck one of them is right here. Ol’ Micheal used to be the Definition of Perfection. Everything he did was spot on. Picture perfect. So obviously if there was one person that I know I could count on to work out some strategy, Mikey’s that guy.”

He chuckled while he leaned to the side and grabbed the water bottle on the apron. He popped the cap open and took a big chug and squeezed the contents clear of the bottle. Empty and useless he chucked the bottle at the camera which gave for a nice 3D scare effect as it sailed past. At least if the promo was filmed in 3D and anybody cared to have that technology to view such a promo it would have been a nice effect.

Lexia though was less than amused.


“Try that again wise guy and I will be your next opponent!”

Saunders shrugged at her joke. However the crease that formed across his forehead showed he had a feeling she was serious.

“Watch it man. She can be vicious when serious. Trust me.” Micheal stated as he rolled under the ring ropes. Then kicked his legs in the air to spin about and take a seat on the apron like the Colossus. “That night back in April when we had that charity tag team invitational match in Vegas. After you hit the Strip we got down and dirty in-“

O’Dell stopped mid-sentence, breathless, as if he had felt someone knee him in his gut. He had turned his head slowly to face his comrade who had him locked in his sights. His stare pierced through him like daggers.

“No. No no. Wait. I did not mean it like that-“ O’Dell shook his head and gave a faux smile and held his arms up crossed in the air. “We… well… you know. Vegas man. We all had a blast. The energy was in the air. And Lexia and I felt like continuing it after you left.” He nervously chuckled and glanced over at Lexia, and by proxy the camera. “That old saying. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. You know. We… uh…. Crap. How do I put this?”

The Colossus was for once not smiling. No grin. Not even a hint of his easy-going self.

“Come on. Lexia help me out here!” Michael cried out.
Low Battery

“Sure doll,” she shifted her view slightly over to Saunders. “Yeah Spiker, he took advantage and had his way with me in Vegas.”

Boom! Headshot!!

Without warning O’Dell unfortunately found that giant ham fist reign down on him which knocked him out cold. His body slumped back against the ropes while Lexia laughed off-camera.

“I got him back though! I told him I would!”

Spike turned back to look at her and cocked his eyebrow to show his confusion.

“Wait… what?”

Low Battery

“Silly. After you left we went back down to the ring and… well I had him beat… I did. A beautiful twisting senton off the top rope. I nailed him perfectly. But that bastard would not stay down! So I went to the ropes for the springboard splash and that bastard rolled out of the way. Which meant I MISSED. THEN he grabbed my tights and rolled me up like a roly-poly, and went slapping the mat with his free hand three times.”

“So wait… by advantage you meant… he… in the match?” Spike stumbled over his words and looked over at his friend who had slunk halfway back into the ring through the bottom and middle ropes.

“Yeah. Who knew you would take it the wrong way.”

She giggled while Saunders turned back towards her. “Yeah, right. Who knew…”

After a few moments of silence had passed between the three individuals, one of which obviously was not in a state to talk, Lexia chirped. “Chirp.” Yeah she really said chirp.

“What?” The giant rose from the apron and took two steps over to look down at O’Dell while Lexia sat before them bored. “So… because of your little joke my sparring partner is out right now.”

“His fault for trying to take advantage of me!” Lexia cried out in protest as if trying to trick the giant again.

“Right." He rolled his eyes and looked back over at her. "Speaking of sparring though. I thought you said somebody was going to meet us here? Did you mean Callie?”
Low Battery

“Hmm, what? Sorry. Nope. Not her. She flew back to Japan for her Restaurant, remember?” The Colossus nodded his head. He did remember her mentioning that in a drunken stupor after they left the diner. “No. Anyway seems he could not make it. Airplane difficulties or something. Anyway… um… “

“Okay. I really hate secrets. Especially ones that leave me guessing. You know that.” He slowly shook his head and looked back down at O’Dell. “Alright, well help me wake this guy up and we will hit the showers and go out for pizza or something. I much rather go a few more rounds but I think I may have hit a bit too hard.”

“I got a better idea.” The view slowly descended as the camera had been lowered down on the rail she was sitting on. Her purple tights then filled the screen while she stood in front of it. “I will be your opponent.”

“You?”
Low Battery

“Yes me. You need all the preparation you can get right? Or at least want to.”

She placed her hands across her hips and strutted forward. The camera focus finally left the all purple shot.

“So. Mike is out. Nobody else is here besides you and me. I suppose you could do a little strut in the ring and drop an elbow on the mat like the legends do it, but I think actually having a real fighter would be best. Right?”

The Colossus shrugged while Lexia rushed at him and dived past him through the bottom and middle rope. She sprung to her feet in the center of the ring and gave him a ‘bring it’ gesture with her hand.
Low Battery

“Well… come on.” She gestured again and hopped back and forth with her feet really getting into it. Saunders stepped up on the apron and then back over the top rope.

He walked right up to her and placed his hand gently on her shoulder.


“Fine. We will do this. I will try and hold back but-“
Low Battery

HOLD BACK?Lexia’s face had turned red as she shouted at the man before her. “Are you going to hold back against Zero? Did you hold back against Cobra? Or Loco? No of course not. Now Spiker, either you come at me with everything you got or you will be joining Mikey in la la land. Savvy?”
Low Battery

He let out a sigh and released her shoulder: “Lexia, if I hur-“

DING

Yeah… that was not the sound of a bell ringing folks.
Low Battery

“Son of a-“
Low Battery

Saunders crunched forward after a jostling kick to the one spot that all men everywhere hated to be hit.

Low Battery

Lexia jumped back a few steps and prepared to fight the now hopefully angered giant. While a quick rapid beeping from the camera could be heard.

Before the picture then dropped to black.
 
Last edited:

bloxham

League Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2012
Messages
39
Points
6
Location
varies depending upon the week
From His Perspective

Alone.

The gentle waters of the Atlantic slowly rocked his home back and forth as Lint sat on the edge of his bed. He was back in Maine, back in his houseboat, back in the obscurity and isolation that was his only life until recently. He had surfaced twice for appearances in the Ultratitle tournament, and disappeared in-between to San Francisco to pursue his reasoning for stepping back into the spotlight in the first place.

It wouldn’t be that easy.

He looked down at the only photograph he had of his child, a boy nearly ten years old. A son he had only recently learned of. It had been so long ago. Seeing Carenthia again brought back a flood of memories from his life in California. His temporary life in Oregon. And the panic and distrust that pushed him far away, settling into a residence and employment at the other edge of the country.

This was all a gamble.

She wouldn’t have reached out to him now if she didn’t need him. No matter what she told him outside the doorway to his hotel room, why would she have contacted him now if she didn’t want his help. If she didn’t feel a purpose behind reaching him again. They hadn’t left on the best of terms. But then again, they had no choice but to leave each other. For him to leave her. The truth overshadowed the lie they were forming together. She had family there.

What is a family?

Is it biological? Will there always be a connection to the people who bring a life into the world? Do they have a further responsibility? Lint questioned this reasoning. He never knew his parents. Adults in his life were a cascading arrangement of foster homes until law stated he was old enough to fend for himself. The people responsible for his DNA had no part in his life. He wouldn’t call that family.

And now he was on his way to creating the same history for his own son.

Nature versus nurture. But what is it when nature doesn’t know, and nurture is never given a chance? He travelled across the country for a night to sit in a hotel room and was not allowed to say the one thing he went to utter. To say “hi” to the son he never knew he had.

Lint looked up at the clock. He had to report to the shipyard in twenty minutes. His employers had granted him a reduced work schedule while competing in the wrestling tournament. He was pulling double-duty. Bills still arrived each month. The prospect of winning a competition was no replacement for the day-to-day of manual labor. And if he did win, that money was already spent. Whether Carenthia wanted the help or not, the check would go straight to the surgery bills his son would need. His DNA was responsible for this situation. Nature and nurture could reconnect.

He got up to put on his mud-stained pants and work boots. It was the fabled tale of the wrestler once the fans’ applause dried up. What does a wrestler do when there is no arena left for him? As Lint grabbed a t-shirt, he looked back at his living conditions for that answer.

In a week, he would return to that arena for his next match. A foot in height and an untold weight disadvantage outsized him. Good thing this stuff was booked, he thought to himself. All he could do was go in there and give the performance he knew he could. What he remembered he could do. The fantasy of wrestling, he thought, was that even someone like him, even as he put on his work boots to toil his day away as a ship builder, could somehow be the victor in front of thousands of fans. But he knew the person in that ring was never this man before him. That was the façade. This was real life. The means to make that possible.

He took a deep breath. Over time, the gasps were able to be deeper and deeper. They were natural again. Before slipping on the shirt, he looked into a mirror at the scar running across his chest. He hadn’t received medical clearance before stepping out to compete. This was part of the gamble he took upon himself. Ever since the surgery, or even before that when he was first given the diagnosis, each day was a quest to finish the night with another breath left to take.

It was stupid to even be taking this risk.

But he looked back at the photograph of his son. This child, one who he doubted even knew his existence, was cause for trudging forward. The difference between Lint and his birth parents was that Lint was coming back into this child’s life. Was that the ingredients to a family? Was this a right he had for himself and what he created?

He didn’t blame Carenthia. He even knew why she would be hesitant. If roles were reversed, he wasn’t so sure that he wouldn’t do the same thing. It’s not that she didn’t want her son to meet Lint. It was because that was just the introduction. Behind this inconvenience was a well of truth left to be told. An unfortunate yet certain path that their child was on. It was a target neither knew rested ahead all of those years ago. If they did, certainly, things would be different. And the two would still be talking to this day.

What is a family?

Lint, Carenthia, and their child. In a number of ways.
 

bloxham

League Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2012
Messages
39
Points
6
Location
varies depending upon the week
From Her Perspective

Into a dark room, she peered. He had been restless all day. The parent/teacher discussion at school informed her of the troubles. His eyesight problems had started a few years prior, but in those formative stages, set the course for the bullying and his anxious retaliation against the other children. The conference earlier in the day was just another in a long list of times Carenthia had went before her son’s teachers to listen and attempt to explain his behavior to those whose patience rarely allowed for outliers in the classroom.

She took a moment to relax. He appeared to be asleep. Stretched sideways in bed with the pillow shoved out of the way, this was usually the indicator. Content, she closed the door. She turned to see Robert, her fiancé, coming out of the washroom.

“Is Dougie asleep?” he asked.

She nodded her head. “Finally,” she said. It had been a long day.

“Did you get a chance to look over the options for the reception venue?” He asked. He pointed down the hallway to the kitchen table, where a stack of brochure options rested for their upcoming wedding. They were still six months away, but the planning and decisions to be made never ended.

She had completely forgotten. In the hectic schedule of what the day had been, planning for the event that would begin the rest of her life slipped to the side. Parent/teacher conference, arranging for a friend to watch her son after, and a trip to the airport had consumed her.

“I…” she said. “I completely forgot. I’m sorry, it’s just been a…” She leaned against the wall of the hallway.

“Hey,” he said, putting his arms around her waist. “It’s okay.” Robert leaned in and gave her a small kiss. “You’ve been busy. Dougie hasn’t made it any easier right now.” He looked into her eyes and smiled. “But things will slow down. We’ll figure out what to do. And then we can have the celebration we keep putting off.”

She returned his smile and gave him another kiss. “I know, I know.” She exhaled a bit of exhaustion. “Once he has the surgery…” She trailed off.

He released his arms from around her and took off of his shirt. “The doctors are optimistic, which is always good. I’m in line for a promotion, which should free up some money.” He tossed the shirt into the dirty clothes hamper of the washroom. “It will all work out. Just stop worrying about everything.” He put his hand on her shoulder. “Come on, let’s go to bed,” he said, smiling, and nodded to the bedroom.

She put her hand on his hand and returned his smile. “You go ahead, I’ll be there in a minute.”

“Don’t be too long,” he said.

“I won’t,” she said. “I’m going to look over those options.”

“Oh Carenthia, that could wait until tomorrow. Really, it’s no rush.”

She shook her head no. “If I wait until then, there will be other stuff getting in the way.” She gave him a smile. “It never ends, you know. This. I should just do it now.”

“All right,” he said, and began to walk to the bedroom. “But if you’re not here in fifteen minutes, I’m coming to rescue you.” He acted out the motions of a fireman, in an awkward way that made no sense at all.

She laughed at his antics. “Okay, okay,” she said. “I’ll be there before then, so no need to suit up.”

They laughed together, and then she turned to walk to the kitchen.

“Oh,” he said, turning back to her. “I almost forgot. Did you meet up with your friend today?”

She paused in her walk, but removed the surprised look from her face before turning back to him. “Oh, yeah, I had a quick lunch with them.”

“They doing well? What brings them to San Francisco?” He slipped off his socks and stepped back into the hallway to throw them next to the shirt.

“Business,” she said.

“Well, if they’re staying very long, we should have them over for dinner.”

“Oh,” she said, “It was just an overnight thing. Happenchance that I was even able to see them for that long, really.”

He walked up to her. “Well, next time you have friends in, invite them over. I never get to meet people from when you were younger.” He gave her a kiss. “It’s all some mystery.” He smiled. “But I think that’s one of the things I love about you.”

She smiled and returned his kiss. “No mystery, really,” she said. “I just don’t have an exciting past,” she lied.

“Hurry up and come to bed!” He said, slapping her bottom with a soft pat.

“Okay!” She said, smiling as he tossed his hand back to him.

She turned and began to walk back to the kitchen. Robert didn’t know whom she had met. She had no intentions of telling him. But even if she said “Lint,” he would still have no context. She had never told him about that aspect of her past. Or the true identity of her son’s father. And she wanted to keep it that way. It was simple. Much easier without the explanations that would follow. The only thing she had shared about Frankie’s father was that he abandoned them years ago, leaving her to raise the child alone. That much was true, actually. Robert had been completely understanding, and honestly, the perfect man to enter her life a few years later. She didn’t feel as though she were keeping secrets from him. Instead, she only wanted to protect him.

She sat down at the kitchen table and began to look at the potential venues for their upcoming wedding. She looked at the first one, then the second, but by the third, it looked like the first. She couldn’t focus on these. They were too abstract, too in the future. Her mind was still stuck in the past.

Just hours prior, she had seen Lint Douglas for the first time since Oregon. She still remembered back then, watching his car pull out to leave. He had looked back. She had waved. He waved back. And that was it. They promised not to write each other. That moment would be the end, and they would force themselves to start a new life free of each other and their lifestyle.

Then, two months later, she discovered she was pregnant.

She could have contacted him. She could have told him. And maybe, he would have returned. And they could have created some resemblance of a life together with their offspring. A certain type of family. But she knew it wouldn’t be okay. That they couldn’t. So she scrapped the letter she had composed, keeping true to their vow to each other. And she set out to embrace and accept this new life that would soon come before her.

Why had she contacted him again, nearly ten years later? Was it in a panic? People don’t handwrite letters and then take them to the mailbox in a prolonged sense of panic. Reason would kick in eventually.

He had stood before her just hours earlier. A wash of emotions were present inside of her during that brief period of interaction with him again. It was like talking to a stranger, but somewhere inside of this was a familiarity that felt comfortable. Almost, instinctual. It had been a tormenting moment of excitement to see him again.

She felt horrible for not letting Lint meet his son. But she couldn’t. Not now. Or ever, she thought. Her life was too stuck in where it was for it to be shaken now. She desperately needed his assistance for Frankie’s operation. But was that really why she had contacted him?

She looked back at the venue options before her. A permanency was slowly creeping into her life. She still didn’t know why she had seen him. It was a mistake, she was sure. And now, because of her, he was putting himself back at risk in situations they both knew he couldn’t perform in any longer. Had she of known about his diagnosis and surgery beforehand, then she…

She would have contacted him way back then. He had almost died. What if he had? That single wave to each other would have been the last memory. At least now…

She unknowingly crumbled one of the brochures in her hand. This was the thing she hated the most. The second-guessing. The logic against emotion. Everything that told her not to mess up this life that she had. It was good. It was what she needed. She had a son to think of, too. And she hadn’t done anything wrong. Why even go back to this spot in her past? She thought back to her family’s initial response to the news, to Lint’s departure, to the pregnancy.

What is a family?

She took a deep breath and sighed. She closed her eyes as a single tear rolled down her cheek.

Lint was the only true family she had. Her brother. And that discovery, ten years ago in Oregon, tore them apart.
 
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