Diego spends some quality time with his friends - and Lance. Eamonn struggles to make it through a holiday without his brother. Jack and Sarah discuss their future. Ezra begins to create a social media following with a series of uploaded videos.
This chapter contains a sex scene.
Note - this takes place before the final segment in the previous chapter in which Margaret Bloom invites Ezra & Jack to Seattle's show.
Good Friday, April 20th
"One, two, three!" Pearl excitedly counted down, and the arm wrestle was on!
Lance strained and panted and cried out in exertion as he tried to slam Diego's arm to the table, but Diego, a smug grin on his face, only needed to match the boy's power. It wasn't very hard. Diego teased Lance by yawning and resting his head on the palm of his spare hand as his right arm, bicep bulging, didn't move an inch.
"Bloody... bastard!" Lance's whole body was shaking with the effort, and Rachel was in fits of laughter.
"I'm not going to beat you," Diego promised him. "I'm going to wait until you give up. "
Lance, incensed by those arrogant words, broke the rules and added his left hand to the battle. Diego felt the pressure then, but he still didn't give in. Eventually, Jimmy crept up behind the Brazilian and ran an ice block down the length of his spine, making Diego gasp, flail and let his hand hit the table.
"Yes!" Lance whooped in victory and jumped to his feet, launching into one of his ridiculous happy dances. "Yes! I beat Diego! Compare your lives to mine and cry in despair!"
"I bet you think you're very clever." Diego spun around to the giggling giant, pointing in his face. "Sit down! It's your turn now, maricón!"
Jimmy playfully raised an eyebrow and ambled around the small circular table to put his mighty strength to the test. Diego, taking this challenge far more seriously, took a few breaths to steel himself and the two gripped each other's hands.
"One, two, three!"
"Get him, Jimmy!" Rachel and Lance hollered, but Pearl was in Diego's corner, cheering him on.
There were none more powerful than Jimmy Vause by reputation, but in practice, it was a much closer contest. Diego was dwarfed by the Californian, but his muscles were solid from many, many years of training. Still, Jimmy wasn't the Jesus of wrestling for nothing. Diego gave it all he had, but his opponent slowly whittled him down and slammed his hand down on the table.
"What do you think of that, puta?" Jimmy, a happier fellow now than he had been last year, grinned and gave Diego a pat on the shoulder. "Better luck next time."
"One of these days, Vause!" Diego grinned.
He decided to slip back into the hot tub, the view outside the colossal window panes an absolute delight. At a quarter to midnight, the city was full of pretty lights, and it was so beautiful from all the way up here. Rachel waded over next to him, her long, golden hair tied up above her head. She didn't want to get chlorine in it.
"Why do they have to do Easter on weekends?" Rachel asked him, her glass full of pear cider in her hand. "We're always working on the big holidays. I bet you're missing your kids."
"Well, yes and no," Diego admitted to her, and she laughed. "On Fridays, I'm actually relieved to get away from them. Up here in the penthouse with my friends, some drinks and this view. But ask me tomorrow; I will change my mind and want to go home to them. Still, I'm so glad you never got pregnant."
"So am I!" Rachel agreed, the two of them giggling. "I miss it sometimes, you know. Us."
"Yeah, we had a lot of fun," Diego turned to her and smiled. She had always been beautiful, and they got along quite well. They had great sex, too. The problem was that Diego needed more from her than she wanted to give, and the relationship eventually fell apart. The affair he had with Sean certainly didn't help. "How is Will?"
"Closed-off and horny," she replied with a coy smirk. "Just the way I like it. Are you seeing anyone yet?"
Diego looked back to the window, unable to lie to her face. As far as their friends knew, he and Lance were best friends and nothing more.
"Nope," he told her, sipping from a Bloody Mary. It went down so smoothly, the perfect antidote to a long, hard-fought match earlier that night. The bubbles in the hot tub were like heaven on his sore, aching body.
"Salem is beautiful," Rachel said after a short pause, looking down at the river and the lights. "Lance was wrong."
Diego smiled, then he chuckled, and all over again he began to laugh. She was referencing Lansilva's promo in the ring earlier that night. Taking cheap shots at the city in which they were performing was a signature of Lance's while they were in character, and the young man made a passing comment about Oregon while he was speaking, calling it "God's blind spot." Oh, the heat he copped for that was nuclear! Immediately, the crowd began to boo so loudly and incessantly for three full minutes! Diego and Lance had to pause the promo and wait for the noise to die down, or the people watching on television would not have been able to hear them. Halfway through, Diego was unable to bite the inside of his cheek hard enough to stop himself from corpsing, and he fell into a fit of giggles. Lance stood tall and proud, though. Taken aback by the strength of Salem's hatred of him, but he didn't back down. He didn't let the heckling get to him. That put another gold star next to his name, and Michelle congratulated him for his ability to read and play an audience. A solid wrestler he was not, but he was an asset in other ways.
Diego, thinking of Lance and how much he missed looking at him for the last forty-five seconds, turned around to take in the sight of the boy who had somehow stolen his heart. The Londoner drove him mad most of the time. The two of them had very little in common, even after they made their peace. As professional and savvy as Lance was when it came to his career and public image, he was still barely out of diapers. Twenty-three. He was androgynous and flamboyant in the extreme, whereas Diego was very much a traditional, conservative fellow. The only real interest they shared was wrestling. Everything else brought on arguments, especially their significant age gap. Twelve years was a lot, especially to someone only twenty-three years old.
He was sitting on Pearl's lap, which was gorgeous. He remembered back around this time last year when Jimmy, as locker room leader, put Lance in the doghouse. Nobody was allowed to talk to him or associate with him until he proved himself - and he was a tough nut to crack. Pearl was the first to befriend him. It wasn't a surprise. Lance was the outlier in the men's division the same way Pearl was in the women's locker room, and the two of them moved across continents to be a part of KADA's family. That meant they missed out on everything - Easters, birthdays, Christmases. Diego missed out on Nina's seventh birthday earlier that month, but it wasn't the same as it was for Lance and Pearl. They missed everything. The two had more in common than a lot of people did. Pearl was looking better by the day, Diego thought. She hid a lot of muscle under the layers of fat, and she was deceptively athletic in spite of her size. Her hair had grown out into a feathery bob, which looked very cute on her. Had Diego not been seized by Lance hook, line and sinker, he'd be tempted to make a pass at the Japanese sweetheart.
"Have you had any dates lately, James?" Lance spoke in a smooth, clean British accent.
"No," Jimmy locked his phone and put it down outside the hot tub. "My experience with Ivy has left me... hesitant to date outside the business, and I'm not interested in any of the KADA ladies. No offence to present company. You're like my sisters."
"It's a pain, trying to have time for a relationship when you're away so much," Diego muttered, causing Lance to look up and leer at him. He knows what I'm talking about, he told himself, sipping his drink.
"You and Gloria, I tell you, Jim, it should have happened," Rachel commented, getting up and out and looking out the wall-sized window once more. "You'd have been perfect for each other."
"We had a spark a long time ago but it..." Jimmy muttered, before grimacing and screwing his eyes shut.
"I knew it!" Diego slammed his fist on the side of the tub. "I knew you and Gloria fooled around! I fucking knew it! Damn, you and her can keep a secret!"
"I'm drunk. I have no idea what I'm saying. It's BS! Shut up. Stop looking at me!" Jimmy went pink, and Pearl, chuckling, slid along and wrapped him up in her embrace. He was broad and her arms were short, so she barely made the hug full circle. "Don't tell her that I told you. She will cut things off me if she finds out."
"It's our secret!" Lance promised him, his eyes still firmly on Diego. "I guess even relationships with people in the company can fail."
"It's getting late," Rachel yawned, finishing off the rest of her drink and drying herself off with the towel she brought with her. "I better be off, boys and Pearls. Five o'clock rise if I want to be beautiful for the fan meet."
"Me too!" Pearl decided, getting up and out of the tub. "You too, Lance. Bedtime."
"Tch, fine! But next time, we get the room with the hot tub!"
Lance pouted playfully, getting up and stretching. Damn, he was a sight. So lean. Strong, but he didn't have a wrestler's body. He had a dancer's body, and he wasn't interested in assimilating and gaining. Firm abs and pecs and even a sweet curve to his wider hips. In recent months he'd been getting skinny - too skinny, Diego thought. He wasn't sure whether to look at it as a potential eating disorder or if Lance was just too busy to deal with the bothersome minutiae of daily life - eating, for example. Lance caught Diego staring, and he seemed to blush and his red lips simpered shyly. That was another thing Diego loved about him! He was supremely confident - nigh untouchable - in the public eye, but with Diego and his closest friends, he was comfortable being himself. Comfortable enough to even share his natural eye colour with him. With their guests gone, Diego and Jimmy dried themselves off and turned the hot tub and the lights off.
"You want to throw on a movie or something?" Jimmy asked him, his alabaster skin turned red by the hot water. It was like boiling an albino lobster.
"I don't mind. Whatever helps you sleep," Diego shrugged.
He would be sneaking out for a rendezvous with his boyfriend, after all. Jimmy could never keep his eyes open. As predicted, Jimmy took his sleepy pill and was snoring gently in his bed three minutes into Rampage.
Diego: Want a visit?
Lance: Yes what's taking so bloody long???
Diego chuckled quietly, slipping off his bed and putting his shirt and a pair of shorts on for the quick dash to his secret boyfriend's room. I feel like a teenager, he thought. It won't be long before I'm trying to stop Nina from doing the same thing. Lance didn't bother with having clothes on when Diego arrived, and the Brazilian immediately took him in his arms and forced a passionate kiss on the boy's lips. Lance surprised him with an aggressive response, slipping his arms around Diego's neck and jumping on him, hooking his muscular legs around the bigger man's thick waist. Diego could feel his hardness pressing against his belly, and he quickly rose to full mast as well.
"You're frisky tonight," Diego commented, his fingers grabbing and squeezing Lance's firm buttcheek. "Does this mean I'm getting my dick wet?"
"You want a gob job? Is that right?" Lance teased him, poking his pink tongue out and running it suggestively over his boyfriend's lips.
"Have I ever said no?" Diego nipped at his boyfriend's nose with his teeth, gently laying the both of them on the bed and pinning Lance under his weight. "I just want to be with you. Gob job or not."
English was a simple language once. In the before-Lance times. Now it was a confusing mess. Still, Lance blushed and squeaked with sheer joy when he said that, and he squeezed Diego with surprising strength. Hungry for each other, they kissed and massaged the other's tongue with their own, enjoying the heat and the intimacy. Eventually, Diego began to grind his rock hard cock against his boyfriend's, causing little, guttural moans to come from the boy's throat. It was remarkable, Diego thought as he ran his tongue from Lance's earlobe down his pretty neck and along his clavicle. Lance's moans were strangely masculine in spite of his appearance. Husky and deep. The same went for when he grunted in exertion at the gym or in the ring. It was jarring at first, but it was another thing Diego grew to love.
Diego massaged Lance's cock with his hand, a petite thing - not quite small, but a little on the modest side. As he slowly jerked, using his body to prevent Lance from trying to fuck his hand with his hips, he used his lips to kiss at the boy's firm chest, making him pant and squirm when he suckled at one of those erect pink nipples. He was sensitive everywhere, it seemed. Diego moved further south, tracing the outlines of the boy's hard ab muscles and teasing his belly button, causing ticklish giggles to spill out, yet Lance did not try to stop him. When he reached his destination, he took that pale cock into his mouth and began to bob up and down.
Diego wasn't incredibly keen on sucking dick. It wasn't unpleasant, exactly, and making Lance feel good was more important than any problems he still had with his evolving sexuality, but he just liked holes better. It wasn't a big deal where or whether they were male or female holes. He enjoyed putting things in other people. When he worked past the problems he had with getting sexual with men, he found that his sexual interests were actually quite simple and wondered why he went to so much effort to deny himself half the pleasures his body craved. Lance ran his long, manicured nails through Diego's curly locks, gently massaging his scalp, and that was almost enough to turn Diego into jelly. When the Brazilian looked up, Lance had his eyes closed, and he looked flustered! Confident he was doing a good job, Diego continued until Lance finally pulled him off and scooted over to kiss his mouth.
"You're getting so good!" Lance panted, his breath smelling and tasting of alcohol.
Diego let Lance push him over onto his back and moaned so loudly when Lance's tongue swiped over his scrotum that he quickly bit down on his finger to muffle himself. The British fellow was quite fiery and animated when he used his mouth, and when he managed to fit all of Diego's thick eight inches into his mouth, Diego felt like he might pass out. He wasn't sure if it was a competitive thing - if Lance was trying to prove he was better than Sean was - but he was quite okay with letting him try. To make an objective decision, Lance did give better blowjobs, but Diego did miss Sean's keenness for anal sex. Lance promised they would get to that stage eventually, but he wasn't quite ready to make what he believed was a big commitment. Diego was okay to wait, of course. It wasn't as though having Lance's mouth on his dick was a bad alternative, and Lance was quite happy to let Diego play with his butt in other ways.
Thinking of Lance's butt made Diego lust for it, and he slapped the boy's firm glut with his hand, drawing a lusty, involuntary moan. Lance got the hint and swung his body around, putting a leg over Diego's chest and settling down in the sixty-nine position. It was their favourite. Diego kissed the tip of Lance's cock as it presented himself, then he laid some kisses all the way down to the boy's little pink hole. Lance wiggled and gasped and moaned as Diego used his tongue to tease and lick and prod at the sensitive nerve endings and his hand to reach around and stroke Lance's expanding cock. Lance's body vibrated as he swallowed as much of his older boyfriend's cock as he could. Diego was at his happiest here. Lance's asshole was very sensitive and using his mouth and fingers to play with him was hot - especially the way his body trembled when Diego pushed that special button on the inside.
He couldn't help but fantasize about how much he wanted to slide his cock in Lance and fuck him without restraint. He knew Lance would have the time of his life, but the Brit wasn't ready yet. It was an emotional commitment to him. Diego didn't mind waiting, but he couldn't help but pretend that Lance's mouth was his asshole, warm and wet and hungry the way Sean's had been. He imagined fucking faster, his orgasm thundering close like a train until he ejaculated in Lance's mouth, the boy offering a happy little moan as he swallowed his boyfriend's sticky surprise. Knowing how to best get Lance to pop off after some experimentation early in their sexual relationship, Diego used two of his fingers to trace circles around the younger man's prostate and focused his jerking around the head of the boy's cock. Just like magic, it brought him to a climax that had him whining, moaning and even falling forwards onto Diego's belly and legs. Diego could feel the twitching asshole expanding and clenching all by itself, and he wished he could feel it on his cock. One day soon, Lance promised. One day.
"Oh bloody hell," Lance panted, rolling over onto his back with a look of lust and ecstasy on his face. "If I'd known you were this good, I would have just sat on your face to shut you up when you were a total berk all that time ago."
"A year ago I would have punched you out if you tried," Diego moved so that he was able to slide into the big spoon position, slithering across and cuddling his lover to his chest and breathing in the scent of vanilla and hickory that Lance often wore. It was his aroma. Heavenly.
"Like you punched my ex, you mean?" Lance sighed happily as Diego kissed him on his warm neck and the lobe of his pierced ear.
"Danny deserved more than a punch in the face for the way he treated you," Diego defended himself.
"And, if you could go back one year and see for yourself what a colossal twat you were, would you have punched him?" Lance asked him.
"I wouldn't stop until he realised what a colossal twat he was," Diego purred, and Lance snorted.
"You masc boys and your lust for violence," the redhead tutted, and Diego scoffed.
"You're a professional wrestler, you... pillock!" He picked one of Lance's nonsense words to use against him as he pointed out the irony. "I don't care who it is, Lance. If anyone behaves to you like I did in the past, I will break their freaking arm."
Lance sighed, but he rolled on his side and pressed his lips to Diego, who tasted the remnants of his own ejaculate. It didn't disgust him as it used to.
"You better abscond before Jimmy realises you're not here and puts two and two together," Lance told him, his hands gliding over Diego's tight body.
"Yeah. Just not yet," Diego kissed him again.
"I'm bored!" Celeste whined. Again.
"And that's my problem how?" He wasn't really in the mood to entertain her.
"What did you and Ezra do when he was living here?" Celeste asked, moving from her new bed over to his. "I thought you guys did fun stuff and that's why you never let me hang out!"
"It's time I told you the truth about something, Celeste," Eamonn shifted his feet for his sister to find a spot further down. "Now that you've moved into my room and spoiled the only good thing to come from Ez leaving, you should know that this is the least exciting room in the whole house. I wouldn't be surprised if you and Mom had more interesting slumber parties. Nothing ever happens. When Ez was here, he wasn't. He had his wrestling stuff, his job or his boyfriend. When he actually was around for real, he was tired as hell from trying to take care of us as well as himself. Long story short, excluding you was the only fun thing we ever did."
"You seem to have fun being a fuckhead," Celeste punched him on the calf of his leg. "Why are you so mean and grumpy all the time?"
"I dunno, Celeste. I haven't had sex yet, it's probably getting on my nerves," he suggested facetiously, and Celeste actually laughed. "I just hate everyone, okay? Including you. Maybe a little less than everyone else, though. Not Ezra. I like Ezra more than you."
"I like him better than you too!" Celeste punched him again on the calf and he withdrew his legs. She could give a mean charlie horse, even though she was only just beginning the ghastly slope to womanhood. "I miss him! When is he coming home?"
"I don't know," Eamonn leered at her. "Probably never. Why would he? This is a shithole, you're irritating, I'm a fuckhead and Mom's a nightmare. He's got better things to do than hang in this place before the leukaemia comes back."
"You don't know if he'll get sick again!" Celeste argued, concern and worry spreading over her chubby face.
"No, Celeste. I don't."
Eamonn decided to spare her feelings by agreeing with her, but he wasn't optimistic. It always came back. That meant more transfusions and marrow, most likely. And that was okay. Anything for Ezra. The only person who made Eamonn feel like he mattered after their father got drunk and ran off the bridge. He wondered if they'd let him give Ezra his other kidney too. If it were to save Ezra's life, Eamonn would give him any organic matter he needed. Every time. Even if he only had one kidney left. Ezra deserved the world.
"Celeste! Get the door, please!" Glennys shrieked from her place on the chair.
Eamonn was the one to get up. Since Ezra left, Celeste was now the one their bitch mother called on to be a convenient slave while she did nothing but exist. It wasn't fair on Celeste. Or Ezra. Eamonn would do it. On his way through the main room, past the miserable old cow and made his way over to the door.
"Mickey?" Eamonn greeted Ezra's high school buddy with surprise. "Why are you here? Did you decide you were too happy and needed to come somewhere really fucking depressing?"
Mickey was a backwoods hick - the good kind. Rough around the edges, a redneck appearance and a hilariously stereotypical accent, but he was always reeling the munchkin in line when he got out of control, and Eamonn held anyone who helped Ezra out in high esteem. Ever since Ezra left for good, Mickey had been stopping by every other day to check up on the siblings he left behind. It was kind of Mickey, who had his hands full with a life of his own, to indulge Ezra by keeping an eye on Eamonn and Celeste.
"If it ain't my favourite little asshole," Mickey reached over and snatched the beanie from Eamonn's head, exposing his greasy blond hair to the world. "You could use a haircut, buddy. Don't need people thinkin' Ez has two sisters."
"While I'm at it, I'll cut off that filthy rattail," Eamonn retorted, grabbing his beanie back and slipping it firmly down on his head. He always wore a hat, and he felt far too exposed without one. "The last thing we need is for people to think you're hiding the salami with your sister."
Mickey laughed and offered a fist bump - one that Eamonn returned. As much as they gave each other shit, it was never with malicious intent and they shared a mutual respect. Both had gone above and beyond for their brother - though Mickey didn't share blood with Ezra, he insisted they were family.
"Ain't you a funny beanstalk," Mickey grinned with crooked but beautifully white teeth. "How you goin' down here?" He leaned closer and whispered, his eyes on Glennys, who had already lost interest when the visitor wasn't for her and returned to her endless reruns of Friends. "She treatin' you and Celeste okay?"
"She's basically got her ass melded to that chair," Eamonn quipped, leaning against the wall and letting Mickey stand in the doorway, knowing he was not exactly welcome inside as far as the matriarch of the tiny old flat was concerned. "I don't think I've ever known a person who was an actual waste of fucking space before, but she's the one. She gets up, sits down, watches TV, gets up to go to the bathroom a few times, then goes to bed."
"What?" Mickey's eyes narrowed in hatred as they glossed over the lump in the recliner. "You guys are eating though, right?"
"Not really," Eamonn admitted, too tired, depressed and disillusioned to lie. "Ezra used to cook, or sometimes he'd bring home leftovers from the diner."
"So you can't learn how to cook for you and Celeste?" Mickey asked him somewhat scornfully, and Eamonn didn't appreciate his tone.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I can," he replied tartly enough for the man to realise he'd struck a bad note. "But I don't have money, Mick. I don't make money. I can't buy groceries or ingredients. We survive on noodle cups or ramen. Sometimes I give Celeste my share so she's not hungry and I just go to bed early."
"Fucking hell," Mickey covered his mouth with his hand. "Ez hasn't sent any dough? He's gotta be rakin' it in now."
"He will when he gets paid," Eamonn wasn't sure he cared either way. "Anyway, you can tell him we're fine. Thanks for dropping by."
"Man, hell no. You're not fine," Mickey hit the side of his clenched freckled fist against the door frame. "You and Celeste should come and have some grub with my flock."
"I don't think so," the Polish-American boy didn't consider it for a minute. He was a burden enough already. He didn't need to burden Mickey's family too. "Celeste might."
"Come on, Bean!" Mickey often called him that nowadays, short for beanstalk. Although it was Mickey's nickname for Eamonn, it was more to do with teasing Ezra about the way his younger brother shot up past him. "Ez is family, so you're family too, and in the south, we take care of family."
"Take Celeste. She could use some time away from me, I reckon," Eamonn offered bitterly. "Celeste, Mick wants to know if you're sick of my face!"
Celeste, who had been peeking from the doorway to the room they now shared with all the subtlety of a farting gorilla, took that as her cue to join the conversation and she slipped past her mother, likely fearing a comment about the way she jiggled, and stood by her brother.
"What do you mean?" She asked, and Mickey extended his offer to her.
"We're havin' a whole lot of fish and chips at our place tonight," he explained, and Eamonn's tummy rumbled at the thought. "Come on over."
"She's not going anywhere," Glennys piped up from her chair, and Eamonn rolled his eyes.
"I'll drop them both back here by nine, ma'am," Mickey called over to her, but Glennys reiterated her decision.
"No. She's grounded."
"Why?" Celeste whined at her.
"Just go. What's she gonna do about it?" Eamonn snorted, his blood boiling at his mother's attempts to make her daughter as miserable as she was. "Piss off, Celeste. Go and eat and be happy, okay? I'll be fine here."
"She's not going!" Glennys was now beginning to cry.
"I don't want to get in trouble," Celeste was now panicking, torn between wanting to eat something good tonight and celebrating Easter, and not upsetting her mother.
"I didn't mean to make a scene--" Mickey began apologetically, but Eamonn decided to take charge.
"Quiet!!" He shouted, rubbing his temples with his index fingers. When he spoke again, he used the calm, monotone voice he was known for. "Celeste, you can go out and have fun and stuff your face with fried food and be miserable when you come back, or you can stay and be miserable anyway. Just get the fuck out before you turn into me."
That was a powerful sentiment, apparently, because Celeste took that to heart. So did Mickey. So did Glennys. None of them had much to say, but Celeste slowly walked out the door and stood behind Mickey. Good girl, Eamonn thought, a glimmer of a smile appearing on his hard, stoic face. Glennys threw her can of orange soda against the wall, where it splattered spectacularly. She was getting good at her tears and tantrums on demand since Ezra decided he wanted to leave home. Celeste ate them up every time, so easily manipulated by their narcissist mother's behaviour. Eamonn needed to drive a wedge between them before Glennys broke Celeste's spirit.
"Alright, Bean. I'll bring her home safe and sound by nine," Mickey shook Eamonn's hand as a sign of trust and respect. "Oi, before I get goin', I do have somethin'. Easter Bunny couldn't make it this year, so he sent me instead."
"Aww, how about that?" Eamonn smirked. "I always dreamed of a Santa with a mullet, but I suppose an Easter Bunny with a rattail is a close second."
"Har har," Mickey grinned and picked up a brown paper bag from next to his feet that Eamonn had not yet noticed. It was full of colourful Easter eggs! "This is fer you, buddy. Ez ain't forgettin' about you."
"What about me? He's not getting all of them!" Celeste interjected, and Mickey brushed her off.
"This one's fer you, he ain't forgetting his baby sis. This is Ez we're talkin' about!"
Mickey used his foot to nudge the second paper bag still on the landing, and Celeste's eyes bulged when she saw it. Eamonn couldn't blame her - it was a pretty big haul this year. Five egg-sized, at least a dozen tiny ones and two that looked like they came from a damn ostrich.
"Most of these are from yer brother," Mickey explained to the Luczysnki kids. "These big ones here? They're from Isaac and me. Happy Easter, Bean. If you don't wanna have fish 'n' chips, at least have a break from noodles and have some chocolate for dinner."
"Thank you! Thank you!" Celeste cheered and whooped, already unwrapping one of the mini eggs.
"Thanks," Eamonn smiled warmly. From the heart, and not just because a smile was expected of him. "Really, Mick. That means a lot. Take care of her, okay?"
"Yeah, man, 'course! And if you ever need a hand with anythin', you gimme a call," Mickie squeezed his shoulder and turned on his heel, taking a giddy Celeste with him down the stairway.
Eamonn closed the door, and immediately his mother started up again. Typical.
"I don't suppose Ezra ever thought I might like something for Easter," she moped, curled up into a sulky little ball. "I only birthed him and raised him. He doesn't care about me."
"No, he doesn't," Eamonn replied sourly. "And you can stop with the act, too. I'm the only one here, and we both know you're full of crap."
"This is all your fault!" She went from miserable and depressed to full of anger like someone flipped a switch. She was a good actress, to her credit, but Eamonn was far too used to her pity routine. "You turned Ezra against me and now you're turning Celeste against me too! You should have been the one with cancer instead of your brother!"
"Finally, we actually agree on something," he remarked as he walked nonchalantly past her, the words trying and failing to get under his skin. "I've learned to live with the fact that you don't love your kids. I don't think you actually can. You're fucked in the head. But meh. Whatever. I don't care about you. Ezra doesn't anymore - your bullshit made that a certainty. Celeste still does, but I don't think it's going to last, Mom. She's on to you. I guarantee that when you die, nobody's showing up to the funeral. Why would we? There's not a single thing about you worth remembering."
Eamonn relished the look of hurt on her face as he shut the bedroom door behind him. He couldn't help but go out of his way to upset her. She'd been doing the same thing since long before she drove his father to swerve off the bridge out of town into the gorge. It was his mission to make her as miserable as she made everybody else. She deserved nothing less. Ezra preached forgiveness. Kindness. He was a good Christian boy. Eamonn didn't buy into all that, though. His heart wasn't as pure as his brother's. All he'd learned from his short life thus far was that it was his responsibility to give his brother life. Now that Ezra was gone, who was Eamonn? Did he even exist? To all but his brother and sister, he may as well not.
He booted up the old hunk of plastic, wondering if he could mess around in his favourite program to create synthetic music, but the will wasn't there. Ezra was gone. Without him, there wasn't much point. He thought briefly of searching up some porn now that he had the room to himself for a while, but he didn't have the motivation for that either. Instead, he curled up on his bed and simply stared at the ceiling, leaving his Easter eggs where they lay next to him. Without his brother, there was no point. Funny, how the weird, wacky little man was so full of energy and positivity that he managed to warm Eamonn's cold, lifeless heart. Things were only fun if Eamonn could share them with the guy who brought him so much joy. Maybe he'd wait for Celeste to get home. There was no reason she couldn't fill the void - right? She still had life in her.
"I am Jack Lièvremont," the tall, muscular man spoke quietly to the bathroom mirror, eyeing his blue eyes off in the most threatening way he could. "I..." he sighed, trying his best to remain in character and remember his lines. His English lines. "I... I crush the... them wrestling all over the world, and..." he grimaced. Sarah used to help him. "Now that I wrestle in KADA, Kodeine's champion time is coming to end!"
This is stupid. In Québécois, I am smart. I am quick on my skates! I can be a babyface or I can be a heel. I can be anyone my employer wants me to be, and I can do it well! In Canada, I am a good wrestler. In America, I am not. In English, nobody takes me seriously, because I sound like an idiot. KADA is an English company, and Sarah will not be there to help me anymore. I need to make this work, but it's taking so long!
"I am Jack Lièvremont!" He began again, putting everything he had into getting this right. "I from Canada -- I am from Canada. I crush them the wrestlers there. I... ahh." He sighed. "T’es faite à l’os."
As he gloomily braced himself on the bathroom sink, he heard the familiar sound of Amélie beginning to cry again. He was quick to respond, hoping to calm her before she made a train, walking past several unpacked boxes to the room he shared with his little girl. Amélie seemed to know somehow what he was doing, and she was quick to begin wailing in earnest.
"Why are you so sad, my dear?" Jack whispered to her calmly as he gently picked her up out of her crib and held her tightly against his body. "Are you lonely?" He kissed her tenderly on her cheek, and he rubbed gentle clockwise circles on her back. "You can't be hungry. I think you're just too tired for your own good, my kitten. Please don't wake Mom up. I have you, okay? Shhh."
Amélie's grizzling slowed as she snuggled into her father's familiar embrace and lazily suckled on her pacifier, but it was too late, unfortunately. The light from Sarah's bedroom flicked on, and Jack braced himself for another fight with her.
"You woke her up, didn't you?" Sarah snapped at him in their native tongue, stomping through the doorway in her nightgown. "Can't you practice your promos when she's not sleeping?"
"Sorry," Jack spoke that word in English, then returned to the words he grew up with. "I was quiet, Sarah. She woke up on her own."
"If I could hear you, then so could she!" Sarah looked like a corpse, he thought. She was gaunt and tired and depressed. How she had changed so much in the eighteen months he'd known her. "And your first instinct is to pick her up! You can't pick her up every time she cries, Jack!"
"I will not leave my daughter to cry in her crib," Jack replied coolly, using his spare hand to reference the fact that since he began to rock her against his chest, she'd started to make lazy cooing noises rather than crying for attention.
"She needs to be independent, but if you pick her up every time she cries, in ten years she'll be coming to you for every little problem!" Sarah rehashed their argument once again, but while Jack was a gentleman and often yielded to make her happy, this was not something he would concede. Not now, not before, and never in the future.
"I hope she does come to me when she has problems. It will always be me, Sarah, because I am the one who feeds her, who changes her, who takes her to daycare because you don't want to look after her. I cradle her, I put her to bed, and I get up every time she cries. I want her to trust me."
He nuzzled one of his prominent cheekbones against Amélie's face. He did not know he could love someone so deeply. He cherished his mother and father. He adored his extended family. He even loved Sarah at one time. But none of that compared to what it felt like to hold his daughter for the first time. She was a surprise for sure, but when he met her, he knew the Lord had blessed him with the most perfect gift in the world. It was a shame Sarah could not share in that joy with him. While Jack was thrilled to be a father, she was destined to fight the baby blues, it seemed. She felt trapped, and it was difficult to blame her. Jack felt for her. She was not ready to be a wife and a mother, but the two of them could not let their daughter be born out of wedlock - their families would never get over it.
Sarah was not impressed with him, though. She did not like it when he pointed out how unbalanced their home life was. Sarah gave up a lot of momentum on her budding career when she fell pregnant, that was true, but Jack was now doing everything. He was living in a strange country where he did not even speak the language because Sarah willed him to do so for the sake of their daughter, and when she failed to secure a contract with KADA, she gave up. She didn't cook or clean or look after their daughter, nor did she look to wrestle, train or even work out frequently. So when Sarah replied, it was an angry farrago of words in English to spite him. He understood some of it. A little over half, if the person spoke slowly and clearly. Enough to piece together something that made sense - most of the time. She said "fuck" a lot. Funny, how differently they swear in English, Jack found himself thinking. A lot of Québecois curses were derived from Catholicism. As a Catholic, Jack did not like to use those words - nor did Sarah, but she used the English variants without pause!
"Sarah, do you want to go home?" He asked her gently when she paused for breath. She was so miserable, and though their marriage was not a loving one, he cared about her. "To Canada?"
"How can I?" Sarah began to comb her purple hair with her hands. "We can't divorce. Do you know what my Mom would say? What yours would say?"
"I did not say divorce," Jack shook his head. He did not want to entertain that idea. He took vows, and he intended to keep them. "But... you can go home, yes? It does not have to be permanent! You could spend a week. A month. Until you were ready to come home again."
"You can't wait to get rid of me, can you?" She walked closer and gently stroked the back of Amélie's head.
"I don't want to get rid of you. Don't say that," Jack reached over to touch her arm. "I think you need some space. That's all. I would like to have you stay, but not if it makes you unhappy, you know? You can go home if you like. I know you miss Québec."
"I'm sorry," Sarah rested her head against his firm pectoral muscle. "Maybe that's a good idea. I love Amélie, but I'm not doing her any favours by being around her. And... I don't love you anymore."
"I know," Jack reassured her, glad that the two of them could be adults while they discussed such a delicate subject. These days, it was a roll of the dice. "We are going through a very stressful period in our lives, and I know you were not ready to have a baby and get married. If you need to leave for a while, then I think you should do it - even though I will miss you."
"What if I don't want to come back?"
"I hope you do, but if you don't, then I will take good care of Amélie. If you wish to see her, we will work it out," Jack shrugged. He knew it was not going to be nearly that easy, but he felt it was the right thing to say. Caring for Amélie alone had to be more comfortable than co-parenting with someone whose heart was not in it.
"Just... get her to sleep and go to bed," Sarah parted from him and ambled out of the room. "It's late."
Jack obediently put his girl down in her crib once more, the dim night light keeping the darkness from swallowing her up. He wondered what might happen. Today was Good Friday, and he went to Mass alone with Amélie. Sarah was as devout a Catholic as he was, and she was too depressed to go. That was worrisome, and Jack did not know what to do but suggest that she return to where she was last happy and decide what she wanted. He loved her, of course, but he was not deluding himself - she never felt the same way about him. He had friends, though. Ava and Louise were sociable and engaging, and Ezra was the funniest guy with the sweetest heart in the world. And of course, he had Amélie Lièvremont in his arms. He would not be lonely if Sarah left. It might be the best decision for everyone - though his parents would wonder why his wife returned to Canada without their granddaughter. He did not know what to tell them.
"Happy Easter, my kitten," Jack whispered to her as she began to doze off while he watched, her grip on his index finger relaxing. "You are blessed."
After Jack locked up the small house and turned off all the lights, but before he went to sleep alone in his bed, he knelt and began to pray, as he did every night.
Please keep my daughter safe, healthy and happy, and please give Sarah the strength to make it through this rough patch. Please forgive her absence today - things have been tough on her. And I know you have a plan for Ezra Luczynski, but please be gentle with him, too. I pray that you keep his sickness away, because there is nobody with a purer heart. Amen.
Video uploaded by EZLuczynski, 10:14 pm
Ezra looked dejectly at the camera on his phone, an empty bowl and an unopened tin of peaches in syrup in front of him at the dining table.
"So most of the time Oliver takes care of dessert, but he and Sean are all the way across the country tonight and Beau is in bed so I'm on my own! And so I get hungry late at night and I start thinking 'oh hey, there are canned peaches in the pantry!!' And that's like, the best feeling in the world, right? So I get my bowl ready and my spoon ready and I'm super happy and stuff and I go to peel the lid off the tin and the ring comes off!! Who designs this stuff?? Argh!!"
Video uploaded by EZLuczynski, 10:23 pm
Ezra pouted, banging an old-fashioned tin opener against the wooden table, and a large dog walked by behind him.
"Okay, so I've had a brainwave!! You see, when God closes a door, he opens up a window! Why he does this with tinned peaches is anybody's guess - but he does work in mysterious ways! So I'm gonna use a tin opener! And... the blasted thing doesn't work!! See??"
Ezra tried to attach the tin opener to the can, but it wasn't happening.
"GAHHHHHH! I don't get how you're supposed to... GRR! Stupid archaic... blast it all!"
He began to bash the top of the lid with the butt of the tin opener.
Video uploaded by EZLuczynski, 10:29
Ezra held up his head with his hand, looking melancholy as he fiddled with the tin opener in his other hand. The can's lid was now totally mangled.
"I had no idea that I'd still be dealing with this sort of thing when I signed KADA's developmental contract! I mean, I just didn't think professional wrestlers faced these problems or something. I can't wait to be on television and get interviewed backstage and say 'yeah that tin of peaches got the better of me tonight, but you wait until next week!!' So... yeah! This is my life! This is the life of a professional wrestler, everyone!"
He sighed and lowered his head to the table with a thud, and let out some fake sobs to convey his desperation.
"I'm so hungry."
Video uploaded by EZLuczynski, 10:35
Ezra looked considerably happier than he did in the last video - excited even.
"So I may have gotten a little excited and woken up Beau, but he showed me that I was doing it all wrong! I've been holding it wrong the whole time! Oh, I can't wait to go through all the comments calling me an idiot!! So if I attach it THIS way, then..."
Ezra held the tin opener sideways and to his glee, the beat-up tin began to move.
He'd managed to open a tenth of the circumference of the tin, but his bashing of the metal had mangled the rim of the lid too much.
"It's not fair!!"
Video uploaded by EZLuczynski, 10:42
"So I've made some mistakes, but that's okay!! This is all a learning experience for all of us! I don't need a tin opener when I have a knife!"
"You're going to hurt yourself, you dumbass," Beau remarked from offscreen, but Ezra was far too determined to get his peaches after all the effort he'd gone to for them.
He gingerly slipped a sharp looking blade into the hole he'd created into the top of the tin and began to jiggle and pry, and to his glee, it seemed to be working.
"Hah! Who's the dumbass now?"
Suddenly, Ezra lost his grip, and the tin fell towards him, spilling sticky, sugary syrup and some bits of peach through the gap and all over the table - and him. His face fell, his spirit absolutely crushed, while Beau began to laugh hysterically at his expense.
I apologise for the long delay. ❤️ Thank you for reading!