Ezra's relationship becomes strained, he live streams a KADA viewing for his fans and he meets Jack's baby girl.
Tuesday, May 7th
Six months ago, Ezra worked tirelessly at the diner down by the main road at minimum wage to afford to help keep his family fed, and he used what was left to fund his wrestling. With the ever-present threat of cancer looming over his head and the slippery slope that is capitalism, he dared not dream he would ever wrestle as a career. God sent him a series of miracles, though! They came in many forms. Gloria Droese, Jack Lièvremont, Sean Fox, Oliver Vickery and Michelle Peterson!
Though Margaret Bloom was responsible for the new trajectory of his upcoming career, Ezra wasn't sure that she was doing God's work. She was mean-spirited and power-hungry, and he didn't like how little she seemed to value her workers. On the other hand, Michelle worked tirelessly to produce the best show every single week, as well as the two untelevised shows and the Monday recorded program! And she - MICHELLE PETERSON!!! - followed his Instagram!!
It had been a glorious weekend! Though they were expected to spend Friday night at the CenturyLink Arena, Saturday night at Stadium Bowl in Tacoma and Sunday night at Spokane Arena in the city of the same name, Ezra and Jack were not signed to a main roster contract and did not have the obligations and responsibilities that filled up their comrades' days. They were free to explore! Ezra, regrettably, still had no money, and while KADA funded his travel costs, they would not pay for him to sightsee. Before he even had a moment to brood about the experiences he was missing out on, Jack had already paid for their tickets to go up the Seattle Space Needle and visit Chihuly Garden and Glass!
"You can't keep paying for me to go to these places!" Ezra had babbled when Jack informed him of his activities.
"I have already paid!" Jack had shrugged. "But if you want not to go, I will find anoth--"
"No!! I didn't say that!!" Ezra had quickly changed his mind.
So fascinated by the gorgeous view from the top of the Space Needle was he that most of the wild salmon he ordered never made it to his mouth! Jack wasn't upset, though. He almost seemed pleased when Ezra decided he'd had his fill and wanted to stare at the skyline, the bay and lake that surrounded them and the islands, and the French-Canadian finished off his little friend's meal as well. Jack ate enough for three people, Ezra had noticed! Afterwards, they'd explored the Chihuly Garden and Glass. Ezra hadn't ever had such a good time in his life! He saw so much that he didn't believe he would ever have the privilege of seeing! He made very sure to record over twenty videos of his day out in Seattle and upload them all to his Instagram!
Sunday was Beau's nineteenth birthday, but unfortunately, Ezra wasn't able to be with him. Nor were Sean and Oliver, and poor Beau had to spend it alone - unless he fancied a visit from Sarah Liévremont. The idea made him giggle. He tried six times to call Beau, but not once did he answer, so Ezra left several messages on his Facebook, his Instagram, his phone and the house's answering machine. By Monday morning, he was getting incredibly worried. All he'd received was a confirmation that Beau would pick them up from the airport that afternoon.
As promised, when Ezra said his goodbyes to Jack, disembarked and hastily stole his luggage before the evil conveyer belt could kidnap him and bring him to an early grave behind the ominous black strips in the wall, Beau was there. Tall, skinny and with a heck of a sulk on his face. He was in what looked like new clothes - Ezra hadn't seen them before. A new blue collared shirt and black shorts with Chuck Taylors on his big feet. He must have gotten more money from his parents. Ezra beamed at him, so glad to see him again. It had been a great weekend, but he missed his boyfriend and was desperate to hug and kiss him. When he came to embrace Beau, though, Beau flinched and pushed him away.
"What? What's wrong? Are you alright?" Ezra asked, devastated by the rejection.
"Fine," Beau snapped in a tone that made it incredibly clear, even to Ezra, that he was incredibly not fine. "Hey!" On the flip side, Beau was sweet enough to cause cavities to Sean and Oliver as they greeted him.
Ezra watched, hurt as Beau squeezed Sean hello and even Oliver, whose lack of faith in Beau's limited commitment to responsibilities meant he was all set to call a cab. He didn't understand what he'd done wrong, and when he tried to snatch Beau's attention from their friends, he was given the cold shoulder and maybe a petulant glare. He sat in the back with Oliver, who was painfully aware that there was something wrong, but likely believed it was none of his business. Sean, sitting in the passenger seat, avoided the conversation as well, but as Beau's favourite person, the two were quick to discuss their weekends. Beau had successfully kept all the animals alive, though he'd forgotten whether he'd given them breakfast this morning so the animals got brunch, just in case.
Coming home was a delight, even if Beau's terrible mood had spoiled most of it. The dogs almost knocked Ezra flat on his bum with the force of their love, and Kevin Bacon would not leave the young man alone until he'd gotten his share of head scratches and belly rubs. Sean, once he'd brought his luggage inside, immediately discarded his shirt and shoes to abscond and run barefoot around the property, giving all of his beloved creatures some love. He did this every time he got home from performing somewhere in the country.
Ezra often liked to watch him from the vast kitchen windows as the brown-skinned man roamed and tamed his creatures. He'd never seen anyone love animals so much, and it made him wonder why Sean seemed like he couldn't love people the same way. Ezra was smart enough not to pry. Sean spoke about his family and past sometimes, but only when it was his idea. If Ezra began to cross a dangerous conversational border unknowingly, Oliver would often interrupt him and divert the conversation.
"What's going on with you? Is it because I missed your birthday? Because I have your gift right here!" Ezra stalked his moody boyfriend around the kitchen as he made himself a hot drink, a small, wrapped box in his hands.
"Go fuck yourself," Beau snapped at him. "Or better yet, go and fuck Jack."
"Excuse me?" Ezra's eyes bugged.
Beau didn't bother to explain what he meant. He just took his coffee through the hallway and slammed the bedroom door behind him. Ezra took a stunned look at Oliver, who looked insanely uncomfortable, then he followed his boyfriend to the room, closing the door much more calmly behind him.
"Can you just talk to me about why you're mad and not make a scene in front of our friends?" Ezra asked him a little coldly. He knew Beau had a flair for being dramatic when he was upset and usually forgave him that, but he wasn't impressed with this behaviour at all.
"You're such a dumbass! Are you that fried in the brain that you can't think of any reason I might be mad at you?"
"I never know why you're mad at me!" Ezra raised his voice as well. "Because you never tell me anything! You tell everyone in the whole world that I'm an asshole before you bother to tell me that I've done something stupid!"
"Then stop doing stupid things?" Beau made a face at him.
"Or you could act like an adult?" Ezra ignored the irony of the petulant way he replied.
"Maybe I don't want to because I feel like a fucking paedophile around you sometimes! You're like a six-year-old with ADHD because all that chemo screwed with your body and brain!"
Ezra's fists clenched. That was an incredibly low blow. "Just tell me why we're even fighting right now."
"If you can't work it out, then why should I tell you? Maybe you should bother thinking about me for once!"
"Is this about your birthday? Because I tried to call you all blessed day and you ignored me every time!"
"Yeah, it sucked to spend my birthday all alone here with nobody around. But whatever, Ez, I actually got over that," Beau pursed his lips together in a way that told Ezra that he absolutely had not gotten over that.
"You knew I had to go! And Sean and Ollie as well! You can't be angry about that!"
"Why didn't you fly out to Minneapolis and hang out with your family?" Ezra asked him, but Beau seemed to swell up.
"I'm not mad about that! Fucking listen to me, you clueless moron! Oh my god, just get the fuck out before I break something!! I hate you so much sometimes!"
Ezra just left. He should have let Beau cool down before asking for questions, but he was being so unfair!! He'd been so excited to tell him that he was going to be a part of a documentary and that he had already signed and submitted his contract for the main roster! Now, he didn't know what he thought. He had no idea what he was supposed to have done wrong. Sean had only just returned from his wander around the yard when Ezra lumbered back to the living room. Immediately the older man's his face fell in concern at Ezra's forlorn expression, and for some reason, that was what Ezra needed to begin crying. He was mad at himself for breaking down in front of Sean. The last thing he wanted was to give him yet another reason to think he was annoying. He turned away and sat on the couch, but Sean was quick to join him.
"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" Ezra would have cried in his room if he needed to cry at all, but that wasn't an option with Beau in there.
"No, don't be sorry," Sean knew what to do and engulfed his younger friend in a warm embrace. He smelled faintly of the barn. "This house has seen a lot of tears. Most of them mine, but don't tell the press. Did you and Beau fight?"
"I don't know why he's mad and he won't tell me and I'm always ruining everything and I can't help it! I always make things worse and I don't know how to stop it!" Ezra took in several deep breaths. He was a gosh darn mess! "I don't mean to be annoying! I'm sorry!" He felt Sean's hands patting him on the back. "I know I annoy you a lot and I'm sorry."
"That's not true, Ezra. I promise it's not. I'm sorry if I make you feel that way," Sean finally released him but kept a comforting hand on his shoulder.
"You always seem like you're mad at me," Ezra pouted, frustrated with how pathetic he must look.
Sean sighed, and his vibrant brown eyes filled with guilt.
"I'm never mad at you, Ezra. Okay, maybe I was angry about the documentary thing. But that was my failing — not yours. I should have been happy for you, and I apologise for behaving the way I did. You're always so talkative and cheerful and friendly! I'm a quiet person by nature, so sometimes you are a bit much for me. That doesn't mean I'm mad at you! Or that I think you're annoying. I like you a lot! I'm happy you're here, and I'm not just saying that. You're tidy, considerate and you're always contributing, and Ollie and the animals love you too! You're a great tenant! But you're an extrovert and I'm an introvert. We're opposites, you know? You're always at an intensity level of seven or more, and sometimes I can't handle more than a three. That's just me. It's nothing to do with you, and I never mean to make you feel bad. I love you, man!"
"I love you so much, Sean Fox," Ezra couldn't believe how much better he felt with that off his mind. "I still can't believe I'm here sometimes. Only a few months ago I was fantasizing about getting your autograph. Now you're hugging me!!"
"Aww, you're still such a fan. It's cute!" Sean playfully tweaked his chin. "I remember meeting everyone for the first time. I was silly enough to leave a water bottle in my suitcase, and it leaked all over everything! So I had to show up to the arena in my wrestling digs - full Cherokee warrior - and I was so embarrassed! Heh. They thought I was just enthusiastic. I never bothered to correct them."
"Haha! I didn't know that! Ahh, watching you perform live was epic. I always wanted to see you and Gloria and Rachel and Jimmy and all the rest in person. I had no idea I'd be so blessed. You know what, fuck Beau. I don't have time not to be happy! So many things are going right. You, for one! You were one of the miracles God sent me! Thank you!" Ezra's emotions reeled through him without pause or filter. "Do you think I can make it on the main roster??"
"I mean..." Sean sighed, and Ezra could sense how conflicted he was. "Yes, I do. Absolutely! But I don't think you're ready. Not yet. I don't think you're even close. You're a great performer, Ezra. It's that there's a huge difference between what you've been doing and then performing for the camera in front of tens of thousands of people. It's just not the same, and I don't feel comfortable being in the ring versus someone without at least a full year in one of the KADA developmental centres. Tomorrow, you need to get your little ass to the performance centre and learn as much as you can!"
Ezra bit his lip. "I know it's all too fast! I know it is! I've gone from Litchfield to the performance centre to the main roster in just a few months!! But... I won't say no to this opportunity, Foxy. I can't."
"Bloom got heavy, didn't she?" Sean nodded with understanding. "I know what she's like. I don't blame you, by the way. I'm just annoyed that it's gone down this way."
"It's... well, yes, I'm scared of her!!" He admitted, and Sean giggled. "But... it's not all that. You know I've been really sick... quite a few times. And I might be better forever, but also I might not. Every time it comes back, it's worse than it was last time, and Eamonn is running out of kidneys. Heh. I don't know how long I have to make this dream come true. So... I'm sorry. I know you hate it when people cut in line, and I don't like doing that, but I won't give up my dream when there's every chance I might lose it forever. I just won't."
Sean was the one to get emotional now, it seemed. He hid it with a smile, but also, he lifted the hem of Ezra's shirt to trace the scar from his kidney transplant surgery with a finger.
"You do what you need to do, okay? Tell you what! We'll go to the performance centre tomorrow, okay? You, me and Ollie - though Jack isn't off the hook!"
Beau wouldn't be happy about that, Ezra thought, but then he wondered why he cared. Beau was determined to be a brat. Ezra didn't have time to beg for his forgiveness anymore. He was ready to move on to the next stage of their lives. If Beau wasn't, then Ezra wasn't going to wait for him.
Friday, May 17th
Weekends had very quickly become Ezra's favourite part of the week!! Flying out at sunrise on Friday morning from Knoxville airport, then immediately working out at a nearby gym. Jack had gone from best friend to full-time travel buddy! They shared hotel rooms - partially because Ezra was still frightened of being alone in a big city - and they worked out together, trained together and ate together! They appeared in each other's goofy pictures and videos all the time, and their follower numbers were soaring! Then, after soaking in the experience backstage at Friday night's main show, he would also attend the Saturday and Sunday shows. Most of the wrestlers would go home on Monday unless they had contractual obligations, Sean and Oliver included, but Ezra and Jack went to the Monday taping as well.
It certainly was a brutal schedule! Ezra spent a lot of time in the airport or driving himself and Jack around in whatever car Jack had rented for them. He worked out every single day, sometimes twice! Weights and cardio and sometimes a long run through the city so he could enjoy himself and see what the new places had to offer! He kept a close eye on his diet - not a difficult thing to do as health freak Jack took charge of their meal plans - and never failed to ring his little brother and sister every few days. Everyone back at home was so excited for him! He was incredibly busy and ended most days wholly exhausted. But he had never been happier.
Unfortunately, this meant Ezra only spent two nights a week at the house, and both of those days he was determined to train as hard as he could at the performance centre. He would be debuting any week now, so he needed to work as hard as he could to be ready!! But Beau was not coping well. This new development meant that he was home alone for days at a time, and the fight between the boys never did get resolved. When Ezra wanted to talk, Beau was too miserable or angry. When Beau wished to speak, Ezra was too busy. As time went on and they drifted further apart, the Polish-American boy was forced to wonder if they were supposed to be together. He loved Beau a lot, so much, but they appeared to be a mismatch. Was it because they had nobody else in Litchfield? Was being the only two gays in their age bracket in their tiny town all they had in common?
Tonight, before KADA's show aired live on national television, Ezra had a brainwave! He set up his phone on a small stand on the coffee table in front of him, and he used Instagram to begin streaming a live video!
"Hey! Hello everyone! Hi! Testing? Hello? Blast it-- have I done this wrong?" Ezra frowned, but lo and behold, a comment appeared!
HI ERZA WATS GOING ON?
"Ahh!! It's working! Okay! Okay, hi quikskope420!! I'm gonna watch KADA Wrestling at seven o'clock - twenty minutes! Eighteen minutes, even! You should definitely tune in! There's such a good card tonight! Big Bad Jimmy's gonna teach Sean Fox some manners, I hope! And Salamanca and Giorgio are defending the tag titles against Lansilva! Don't miss it! You'll regret it!!"
"What are you doing?" Oliver noticed that Ezra seemed to be talking to himself and leapt over to investigate.
"My fans are gonna watch KADA with me!" Ezra explained excitedly, and he shuffled across on the sofa. "Come and say hi!"
"Oh, I better watch my mouth then!" Oliver joked as he leaned over the arm of the sofa and pushed his head into the camera view. "How do you already have four hundred people viewing this? How long have you been live?"
"Oh, --OH!" Ezra's eyes bugged when he released that the number had gone from thirty-three to four hundred and twelve in little more than a couple of minutes. "Hi everyone! Oh, there are so many of you! Oh, rabbits!"
"Rabbits? They're breeding like rabbits!" Oliver laughed out loud. "But I need to borrow you for just a few seconds. Sorry about this, Luczynskiacs."
"I'll be back in just a second! Sorry!" Ezra promised his phone, and he leapt from the sofa to join Oliver in the corridor outside the room. "What's up?"
"I don't know if you're supposed to be doing this," Oliver told him quietly, his arms folded against his chest. "You have to be getting permission to do this sort of thing while the show is live."
"You can't see the monitor or anything! It's just me! I know what the contract says, Ollie. Do you know how much I've dreamed of this? I read that thing a bajillion times! I'm not breaking any rules!" Ezra insisted somewhat defensively.
"Cool! I'm not attacking you, little buddy! I reckon it's a great idea. Trust. I just really think you should ask 'Chelle first. Even if the contract says it's fine, the wasp is always ready to sting someone in the ass. Protect yourself, kid. That's all."
"Oooooh!" Ezra nervously bit his nails. "I didn't think about her! Maybe I should do that! Hold on!" He spun back inside the small alcove he'd inhabited, garnering attention from passersby. "Hey-- oh! Six hundred now! Hey everyone! I, um, just have to-- oh! Hold again! I'm sorry!"
He'd turned his head and met the cold grey eyes of Michelle Peterson, who had apparently become privy to his social media movements what must have been immediately after he went live. With a beckon of her head, she summoned him out the same way Oliver had. With his tail between his legs, Ezra slunk outside, his head hanging low.
"Oh, don't look like a beaten dog, Protostar. It turns me off," she warned him harshly, and he bravely looked up at her face. Michelle was taller than him - barely. Even if he were seven feet tall, he was confident he'd still feel smaller than her! "So, what's given you the idea to put up a live feed, hmm? Explain."
"I... I don't know! It came to me, and I thought it'd be something nice for all the supportive fans I have. They love it when I interact. I didn't think it would be a big deal."
"You needed to talk to me about this," she had her arms folded, and she was noisily chewing nicotine gum. "Come on, star. You know better."
"I'm sorry. I thought it was a good idea," he hung his head. The fans that tuned in would be so disappointed! He didn't want to have to break the news that he couldn't go through with it!
"I'm not saying otherwise. It's a brilliant idea!" Michelle, even though she was praising him, still spoke as though she were scolding him, and it took him a couple of seconds to realise what she said. "The way you engage with the fans and promote our product makes me very happy, Ezra. That's why we picked you in the first place. You're likeable and relatable, and had I known you were planning this, I would have gotten on board right away! Hell, I could have lent you a few cameras to make this a real thing. That," she waved her hand at the smartphone propped up on a small stand. "That's just fucking sad, kid. There's a reason all ideas come through me. I'm the businesswoman! And, I'm warning you now, going into business for yourself is a nasty look in this industry. I'm not saying that's what you're doing at all, but I am saying that you need to be more mindful in future. Other people might think you're treading on their toes."
Ezra was frozen. He wasn't entirely sure if he was in trouble or not! He didn't know what he was supposed to say or do from here!
"Do I shut it down?" He finally asked her, timidly enough to make her roll her eyes.
"Hell, no! You watch the whole damn show, you throw in your best commentary, you rake in as many followers for yourself and ratings for us as you can. Next time, run it by me first. I need you to understand that, Ezra. If you're ever unsure about something, come and see me. I don't care if it's big or small or if you've already seen me about something. You literally cannot ask me too many questions. Get in there and entertain your crowd. Don't spoil any results on the card or I'll fire you."
And just like that, she was gone! Ezra didn't wait to digest her words, though. All he knew was that he had the green light to interact with his supporters, and he intended to make the most of it! Besides, he didn't even know who was going to win tonight! It was more fun without spoilers!!
"Whew, that's a relief, buddy!" Oliver had been watching from across the corridor. "Have a great night! Make sure to tell your fans to cheer me!"
The number of viewers had dwindled since Ezra took two breaks from the camera, but he didn't mind! He fell back down on the sofa and, with a big grin, waved at his fanbase.
"Sorry, everyone! I'm here for good! I think! Unless I have to go to the bathroom! But... yes! Hello! Everything's all cleared up! Now, let's watch some wrestling!! Who wants Lansilva to get their annoying butts kicked?? I'm cheering for Salamanca and Giorgio!"
Ezra paused to read some of the comments, but they were flying by awfully fast as more and more people joined or rejoined his live stream and tried to catch his attention. Oh dear. He did his best to respond.
"Oooh, Jack's around here somewhere! I'm not sure what he's doing! But I bet he's not having as much fun as we are!"
"When am I wrestling? Stay tuned and find out for yourself! Hehehe."
"My favourite breakfast is pancakes! But it's not something I can eat every day if I want to fit into my trunks!"
"Aw, I'm not trying to ignore anyone! I get a lot of comments on my posts and I don't have the time to reply to all of them. I'm busy these days, as you've probably noticed. Make sure to put a joke in there! I love jokes! And when people post pictures of their pets!"
"If I could tag team with anyone, it would be Jack, of course! I mean, have you seen him?? He's amazingly awesome! You know, we wrestled against each other once! He flattened me with La Disparition and he beat me! I mean it, guys! You should absolutely look up Jack Lièvremont's previous matches, the guy is a DEMON! So I know I'd want him in-- ahh!! The show's starting! Shh!!"
In the beginning, Ezra's viewing party was a solo affair. Those around him, Oliver included, weren't comfortable being broadcast to the world while they were backstage. Which was fair! But slowly, people began to join him! Predictably, Jack was the first, and it had nothing to do with the pact the two made to always have each other's back no matter what. When Ezra explained what he was doing, Jack disappeared and quickly returned with an entire plate from the catering table! A plate stacked with sandwich quarters - ham, turkey, egg salad, pickles! With the number of people on the stream doubled - and available food - more people backstage began to show interest.
Though it was a three-hour show, not everybody signed to the main roster made it onto the show. In fact, this was Pearl's fourth consecutive week of not being featured on television, so she was the first one to make her presence a permanent one about half an hour into the show. Ezra had grown fond of the Japanese woman! She laughed a lot, and Ezra couldn't help but like people who frequently laugh. Jack sat on one end of the sofa, Pearl on the other, and Ezra had no trouble squeezing in between them.
Rachel Reid was another who spent a lot of time perched on the arm of the sofa next to Pearl, and with a wrestling celebrity of her calibre, the number of viewers increased dramatically! By the time she'd been actively commentating on the show alongside the others, nearly four thousand people were watching Ezra's stream! During a commercial break, Ezra made sure to re-engage the fans on his video feed - he tended to get so involved in the show that nothing else mattered.
"Wow, guys! This show is amazing, and if you're not watching, you are definitely missing out!!" The teenager exclaimed with his hands clasped over his mouth. "I don't believe what we just saw! Sean Fox actually beat Big Bad Jimmy!! He did it!!"
"He beat him clean, too," Rachel added, her long, golden curls tied behind her head in an elegant ponytail. "He didn't even need to cheat. Kodeine better be watching himself, because Foxy's going to walk out the new Champion sooner rather than later."
"I can beat Jimmy," Jack declared, flashing a cocky grin as everyone looked at him incredulously. "Everyone beats Jimmy now!"
"Say that to his face! I dare you!" Ezra hugged his knees to his chest, his mouth blissfully open like a permanent "colon D" emoticon.
"Diego, Kodeine and now Fox all beat Jimmy Vause. I wonder what he'll do now?" Pearl pondered, and Rachel shrugged.
"TheGeorgest99 wants to know..." Ezra leaned close to read a comment at random. "Who you would... oh! Who would you marry, kill and... kiss! I have to say kiss!"
It said a much naughtier word! But while he was representing KADA on social media, Ezra was to keep a civil tongue at all times. It meant some of his best material, often pranks involving Jack, had to be scrapped because of an ill-timed swear. Besides, Ezra didn't like to swear in the first place. Eamonn swore quite enough for the both of them, thank you very much.
"From KADA?" Rachel looked into the air as she rubbed her hands together. "I would kiss Jimmy. I suppose I would marry Lance because I can steal from his wardrobe that way. I think I'd kill Gloria for taking my Championship last year!"
"I would kiss Jack!" Pearl stated quite bluntly, and this time, all jaws dropped slightly. "And I would marry Lance for his money. And I would also kill Lance because he would make me sign a prenup."
"How about you, Jackalacka? Would you kiss Pearl??" Ezra asked him, making the poor man blush a deep shade of crimson. He totally would!!
"I'm married!" Jack held up his ring finger to all, especially to the camera. "I would not. Sorry!" He apologised to the woman opposite him as though he might have offended her.
"Oooh shh shhhh!! It's back! Main event time!! Lansilva versus Salamanca and Giorgio!!"
Lansilva was out first, of course. They always had a few minutes allotted to them before their match to rile up the crowd by being the most annoying, obnoxious, horrible people in the world!! Still, Ezra did laugh a few times when they took a few cheap shots at the Reno crowd, especially the crack Diego made about God abandoning Nevada because he couldn't find a virgin or three wise men. Because the audience was so livid with the villains, they always cheered the opposition incredibly loudly. The reigning Tag Team Champions, Salamanca and Giorgio, came out to a massive pop when their music broke out midway through Lansilva's promo.
The match itself was so hard-hitting! Salamanca was the real deal from Mexico! Pure Lucha-libre style. He was so quick and fast and flashy that even Diego Silva looked underwhelming by comparison. Giorgio was a brawler, with brutal fists, elbows and kicks. Lance Lovecraft didn't spend too much time in the ring. Diego took most of the offence because he was one of the best talents in the whole industry, and he knew how to make his opponents look good. He sold everything so well that a few times, Ezra squeaked in alarm. It looked like Diego really did land on the top of his head!!
When Lance was tagged in, it was usually to give Diego a breather and slow down the pace of the patch. The Brit practically oozed charisma and character in every movement he made! His carefree, cocky and lazy style was so aggravating to watch, and it made him such a fantastic heel. It was his job to slow down the pace of the match and punish and torture whichever of his opponents were in the ring. Unfortunately, he just wasn't up to the same standard of the other three. He wasn't a good wrestler, even though he was trying hard to improve. The laymen would not notice, but Ezra had worked for over four years in the industry, and he could see the effort Lance was putting in!
In the end, Giorgio made the tag and unloaded a series of vicious moves on Lance, who was slow and awkward when he tried to sell, and knocked him down with his finishing move. Diego, of course, leapt in the ring to pull Giorgio off his partner to prevent him from pinning him. Salamanca took the Brazilian and tossed him out of the ring, and they began to brawl outside. Giorgio then approached a seemingly unconscious Lance and went to pin him, but Lance sprung up and rolled him into a surprise pin. Big deal! Lance Lovecraft was a jobber.
But then the referee hit the floor to watch Giorgio's shoulders and count the pin, and Lance discreetly put his feet up onto the second ropes by the turnbuckle!! A dirty tactic that provided extra leverage and made the pin much harder to break free of - not to mention AGAINST THE RULES!! The crowd booed and shouted furiously when they saw what he was doing!!
"Ref!!" Ezra hopped right out of his seat and pointed at the screen. "He's cheating!"
"REF! HE'S CHEATING!"
THREE!! No way!!
Lansilva's music, Froot by Marina and the Diamonds, blared through the arena and the fans erupted into boos so intensely loud that Ezra could hear little else. The stadium seemed to come alive with the noise of furious fans. Everyone in the room with him reacted much the same way - shock! How the devil did Lance Lovecraft, queen of the jobbers, pin someone to win a legitimate Championship?? Trust Michelle Peterson to book a result nobody in the world expected - even though Lance had snuck an unexpected win over Sean Fox two weeks ago! Ezra thought it was to make a fool of Sean, not push Lance as a genuine threat!
The moment the referee slammed his wrist against the mat the third time, the young man's red eyes seemed to bulge out of his skull and he shrieked like an excited middle school girl as the realisation hit. Lansilva were the new Tag Team Champions! A look of pure ecstasy, delight and sentiment crossed his face, and he never entirely made it to his feet. There was no character in Lance Lovecraft at that moment. All that emotion was authentic. He began to sob in joy as Diego slid in the ring, quickly picking up his partner in his arms and squeezing him, sharing the moment with him! The referee handed them the Tag Team Championships, and Lance hopped up into an airborne hug, his legs around Diego's thick waist and face tucked away in the larger man's shoulder.
"Okay, well, I was definitely not expecting that!!" Ezra exclaimed to the fans watching his stream, to the dozen people watching the monitor in disbelief, and even to himself! "New champions! Lansilva! Gross! He cheated! We all saw him cheat! That referee is so blind!! What a show, though! Oh, wow!! Just you wait until next week! Salamanca and Giorgio won't let them get away with that! You can count on it! I can't wait!"
The programme came to an end with the former champions arguing with the referee and a long shot of Diego and Lance holding their new shiny belts high above their heads. Lance's face was wet with tears! Diego's wasn't - not like it was when he won the Heavyweight Championship from Jimmy Vause the year before. With the show over, Ezra thanked his fans for watching the show with him, all six thousand of them, and then turned his stream off.
"Bullshit," one of Sean's friends, a stout wrestler who went by the apt name of Huskie, was the first to be openly disappointed about the ending of that match. "Fucking bullshit. Why did those two deserve to win? Someone tell me. What did the ladyboy do to deserve a championship reign? Anyone?"
Ezra felt very uncomfortable hearing that, moreso when he realised how furious Sean would be to see his friends losing the Tag Team Championships to the two people he disliked more than anyone else. The locker room was undoubtedly divided. One group, the one he happened to be sitting with, was happy for Lansilva. The other, the more densely populated one, believed that the pair were handed the decision because they sucked up to the administration. While Rachel and Pearl left pretty soon, Ezra and Jack remained where they were on the couch and waited for the heat to die down before they did anything or spoke to anyone. Gloria warned them to stay out of backstage politics until they found their feet, and Ezra intended very much to do just that.
It wasn't difficult to zone out of the negative energy in the back area, though. Jack's English was improving as time went by, but the more time the two men spent together, the better they were at communicating. For a while, as the angry crowds thinned, Jack showed Ezra some recent pictures of his baby girl. Ezra wanted to meet her, but due to incredibly tight schedules and Sarah's intense dislike of him, he had not had an opportunity. Apparently, things were difficult at home for the Quebecer as well. The recent leap to the main roster had caused an upset, and Sarah was still stung thanks to Michelle deciding not to offer her a contract. Ezra didn't like being kept away from Jack's daughter, Amélie. Though they'd only known each other a short time, he considered the man a close friend. But still, he brushed that issue to the side. There were many things he liked about Jack, and he decided to focus on those instead!
Michelle came to find them sometime after the angry crowds had begun to disperse, and she looked... well, happy wasn't the word Ezra would have chosen. But she didn't look angry! So that was a step in the right direction!
"My new recruits! I thought you would have headed off by now. I'm glad you didn't! I have some news for you," she revealed, a coy smile on her wrinkled lips.
"Oooh!!" Ezra grabbed Jack on the leg in his excitement, hard enough to make his friend cry out in surprise. "What's going on? I know! Next week you're going to reverse the referee's decision and uncrown Lansilva!!"
"Hah! Better, kids. Next week in Salt Lake, the two of you will be officially debuting on KADA's Friday night show in a segment against our biggest bad boys, Lansilva," Michelle explained, every bit as excited as her young employees were.
Ezra's jaw DROPPED!
Wednesday, May 22nd
Jack's house was so... ordinary, Ezra thought. It was a surprise to him. Wrestlers tended to either be broke or rich, without any in-between. Jack Lièvremont was a star in Canada, so he'd made a decent amount of money wrestling in the prestigious wrestling promotions up north. Sarah was no slouch either, but her wrestling career dropped off after the birth of her daughter. She expected that she and Jack would be hired together as a package, and she would act as his manager and translator. Unfortunately for her, KADA decided to hire Jack alone and just teach him how to speak English. Because of the strain this put on their relationship, Jack had only now invited his new best friend into his house for the first time - and to meet someone very special.
"Ahh!!" Ezra's feet stomped on the ground in joy when Jack carried in a chubby baby on his hip. "Ahh!! Give me that child; I must hold her immediately!"
"Sit down and you can hold her," Jack pointed to the soft white sofa behind him, and Ezra's feelings were hurt.
"I won't drop her!" He complained.
Jack, quick as a snake, lobbed a tiny ball he'd hidden in his hand to the left of Ezra's chest. Ezra panicked and tried to catch, but clipped it with his hand, and again, and again, and again before it hit the wooden floor with a small jingle.
"I thought so! You will sit," Jack demanded again, a whimsical smirk on his lips.
"That doesn't count at all! It's not like you'll throw your daughter at me!" Ezra complained, but he complied with Jack's wishes and sat down, almost feeling himself being sucked up inside the furniture.
"You get excited and distracted very easy. You can get used to holding her first while sitting," the tall French-Canadian man decided.
Any hurt feelings at Jack's completely unjustified lack of trust melted away when his friend handed his infant daughter over, and Ezra immediately fell in love with her. Completely and utterly! She was a treasure!!
"Bonjour Amélie! Je m'appelle Ezra et--and-- je t'aime!" Ezra introduced himself using clumsy, freshly learned French, and Jack looked bewildered. "I've been waiting two days to say that!" Ezra puffed his chest out proudly, and Jack's open-jawed expression turned into a grin.
"You learned that?" Jack laughed and fell from his immensely high centre of gravity into the lovely plush sofa next to his friend.
"Yes! And I'll learn more stuff, I hope! I'm trying to learn French on Duolingo," Ezra revealed, looking directly into the lazily blinking blue eyes Amélie inherited from her daddy. "I already know a few words! Like fromage - which is cheese! And fille, lutter and pomme! I know livre is a word too, but I forget what it means!"
"Ah, livre is book!" Jack beamed at him, reaching over his shoulder and scratching at his Super Mario style star tattoo. "What are you learning French for?"
"Well, you're still learning English, and I know that's really hard on you, especially when we're already on the road. So I wanted to make it fairer on you by learning your language at the same time! So you can laugh at me when I get it all wrong and you won't feel so bad when you do make mistakes. I dunno, I thought it might make you feel less lonely."
Jack didn't seem to know what to say. He blinked a few times and reached out to tug Amélie's cute little hat over her tiny ear.
"Is that okay??" Ezra panicked after a mere three seconds of silence, wondering if he hurt Jack's feelings rather than cheer him up.
"You do that for me?" Jack asked him adorably.
"Well, yeah!" Ezra let Amélie squeeze his finger with her little hand.
"You do not need French for me," the older man tended to mess up most when he was happy or frustrated, and Ezra assumed he was happy.
"That's good to know, but it'll give me something to do on the flights! You can't just get me drunk every time!" Ezra and Jack shared a laugh. "I want to learn French! And then we can talk about people while they're in the room!"
Jack showed his appreciation and affection by punching his friend in the bicep. Ezra turned his attention back to the baby and beamed at her. It was bittersweet, though. He was aware that he was only able to meet Jack's daughter because Sarah wasn't around to make Jack miserable about it. She was livid that Ezra won a contract with KADA yet she did not, and it was likely the toxic way she conducted herself in the meeting with Michelle at the Boise arena that cost her the opportunity. Ezra remembered how embarrassed she and Jack were when Beau revealed he'd been eavesdropping on their private conversation, as he spoke enough to understand them. He laughed, but then he remembered that he and Beau were worlds apart at the moment. The Belgian-American was so keen to avoid his boyfriend that he didn't even come to see Amélie.
"I think I must leave Amélie with my parents," Jack suddenly broke the magic with a bomb.
"What??" Ezra cuddled the baby closer to him as she cooed and poked him in the face, as though he were refusing to let go of her. "Why?"
Jack turned to him, eyes full of melancholy as he stroked his neatly groomed soul patch. "Sarah is maybe not being back. I have no choice."
"She's not coming back? You mean she's just leaving you and Amélie? Why? How? That's evil!!" Ezra panicked, thinking of how upset his tag-team partner might be if he lost both his wife and his daughter at once.
"Please don't," said Jack as he leaned over to stroke his baby's cheek. "You know nothing about her or us. I am not hurt by her."
"But she-- I--!" Ezra went to protest, but he calmed himself. "You're right. I'm sorry! It just seems so unfair on you and Amélie!"
"I think this was a bad idea," Jack admitted, running his fingers through his jagged, uneven bangs. He looked like a rock punk that ate nothing but protein shakes, especially on his days off where he dressed like a gothic body-builder! "Ezra, I will say something if you will not be angry."
"Can I be angry but not at you?" Ezra asked, joking, then realised it was inappropriate. "I won't be angry. Sorry."
"Sarah dislikes you, but that is one reason for. I did not want to bring you to Amélie because I know I must will have to take her away," Jack explained solemnly. "But you wanted so badly to see her."
That made more sense! In fact, Ezra wished he just said that from the beginning! He was beginning to wonder why Jack, someone he'd forged a very close and quick bond with, was so eager to keep him away from his private life. But Ezra, thanks to numerous small interventions by Sean Fox, was learning that sometimes he could make things worse by taking steps to make them better.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" Ezra asked him, cautiously.
"No. You already help as maximum as much-- sorry! You already help. As. Much. As you can," Jack spoke slowly, frustration sounding out his syllables.
Ezra nodded and planted more kisses on Amélie's soft head as she continued to doze. Jack, wanting to move past the awkward conversation, flipped on the television and let the news play while the two checked their social media accounts. It was horrible having to remain silent about his upcoming debut! He wanted everyone in the whole world to tune in to KADA Wrestling and watch him appear as part of the program!! Though he couldn't confirm any details by rule of KADA management, he did strongly "encourage" his brother, sister and Litchfield friends to watch this particular episode. Glennys wasn't interested, though. Ezra was sad to think his mother felt her grudge against him for leaving was more important than seeing him succeed. At least his father would be watching him proudly from Heaven!
"What do you think we'll get to do on Friday night??" Ezra asked Jack for about the sixty-seventh time.
"We will skydive to the ring!" Jack always had a new answer for him.
Ezra's phone then began to ring, and he looked at the caller ID. It was Sean - though Ezra had no idea if this was good or bad. He couldn't imagine Sean was mad at him! He'd washed up, dried and put away all of his dishes, fed the animals within the parameters and even gone to efforts to sweep the enormous living room! No, he was in the clear! He was sure of it! He and Jack spent hours at the Knoxville Performance Centre training up for their big moment two nights from now, and he mentioned he would be back for dinner.
"Heeey, what's going on?" He answered tentatively.
"Hi," Sean's voice was quiet, and the hairs on Ezra's neck immediately pricked up. "Are you able to come home?"
"Yes, but why? What's happened?" Ezra sat up, disturbing Amélie from her nap.
"Oliver and I came home, and Beau was gone, and he's left a note that I think you need to read," Sean revealed.
Ezra's heart broke in his chest when he returned home to see that his boyfriend had packed all of his clothes and belongings and caught a cab while everyone was out at the Performance Center. Oliver and Sean did their best to help dry up his tears as he read the note.
I only ever wanted to move out and start a new life with you, but I never see you anymore. I'm always worried about you because you're bad at wrestling and you keep hurting yourself, and I'm tired of waiting at home alone for news that you've broken your neck. I really did love you, and it killed me to be apart from you all the time, but you obviously don't feel the same way, because you're so fucking happy when you're gone. You don't need me around to drag you down, so I'm going to go to Minneapolis like we planned and start over again without you. Have a great life, Ezra. Don't try to contact me.
5/4 - 7:12pm EZLuczynski shared a video uploaded by OllieVKADAW Don't knock it til you try it!! 😏🤤
Ezra, dressed for dinner at a restaurant, took a deep breath and looked directly at the camera.
"Ollie was excited when he found out I've never eaten an oyster before, so he bought me a single, lonely oyster to... enjoy. Errrgh it looks like a snot!!"
Oliver giggled from behind the camera as Ezra's expression changed between curiosity, fear and disgust as he picked up the shell.
"Drink up, little man!"
Ezra grimaced and tipped the shell back in his mouth before he swallowed and his face relaxed.
"That was actually not bad!"
"You are kidding me! You're not supposed to like it!"
"How was I supposed--" Ezra laughed as Oliver cut him off.
"Nope! Game's over, everyone. Little buddy is the only one in the world to actually like oysters. You ruined it for everyone, Ez."
5/11 - 11:19 pm EZLuczynski shared a video uploaded by wayathefox Jack is a man of many talents! 😲😁
Jack stood facing a wall of a hotel room, clad in his underwear while Oliver and Ezra sat on the couch on the right of the shot.
"So, this white boy says he's gonna school Sean and me on how to shake the booty," Oliver explained to camera. "Seano there is the twerk king, so he got to pick the song."
"No way he beats Sean!" Ezra added, hugging his knees.
"Show me what you've got, Jack!" Sean taunted from behind the camera.
All The Single Ladies by Beyonce began to play, and the Jack began to slowly but surely settle into a rhythm, shaking his ass up and down as he gyrated left and right. He was so insanely good that Ezra and Oliver both immediately cheered him on.
"No! I am NOT being upstaged by a white boy! Hold my beer!" Sean exclaimed, laughing.
"Dance battle!" Ollie whooped.
5/14 - 7:48 am EZLuczynski uploaded a video Gotta make sure Jack pulls his weight at the gym!! 😤
Ezra's face filled out the entire camera, and there was the unmistakable sound of someone using the treadmill. Ezra panted as he spoke, sweat covering his face and his blond hair a mess.
"Jack is an absolute athletic FREAK," Ezra gasped, out of breath and clearly exhausted. "Luckily, I've found a way to keep up with him in our workouts!"
Ezra drew the camera away to reveal Jack speed-walking on the treadmill with Ezra clinging on to his back, legs around his waist and arms over his shoulders. Jack rolled his eyes at the camera with a goofy grin on his face while Ezra shouted orders.
"Faster! Faster!! I wanna feel the burn!!"
5/14 - 4:18 pm EZLuczynski shared a video uploaded by wayathefox If you get stuck don't rely on SEAN FOX TO HELP YOU OUT!!!!! 😖until after he takes a video 🤣😘
Sean was red-faced and looked like he had completely run out of breath as he continued to laugh.
"Stooop!" Ezra cried out in the background.
"Hahahaha! Hehehehe... Ezrahaha... Ezra wanted to climb the loft, ahahand he-- heeheehee, he got stuck!" Sean wheezed, his eyes leaking tears.
Ezra began to laugh in shame and attempt to hide his face as Sean turned the camera to reveal Ezra nearly neck deep between two rectangular hay bales, one of his bare feet sticking out at an awkward angle underneath another bundle of hay.
"How--hahaha! How? How the hell did you manage to do that? AHAHAHAHA!!" Sean continued to cackle breathlessly as Ezra tried to squirm and shove the bale off him. "I don't underst--"
5/22 - 3:13pm EZLuczynski uploaded a video, 3:13 pm He's turning her against me!! 😔😂 She's so precious!!💖😊
The camera showed Ezra on Jack's couch, a content smile on his face as he pointed to the baby lazily suckling her pacifier, head against his chest as he cradled her.
"Here is my baby..." Jack explained softly and lovingly. "Holding my daughter for first time," he added cheekily.
Ezra scoffed, slicking his bangs back over his head with one hand as he glared good-naturedly at Jack. "Wow. Are you proud of that one?"
Amélie shifted suddenly and poked Ezra right in the eye with a flailing hand, causing a stunned "oof" from the boy and laughter to erupt from both.
"No, I'm proud of that!" Jack reached over to tweak her ear.
Thank you all for your patience. Heart was taking up most of my writing inspiration, but that project is more or less done so I'm happy to return to TTS! We have a television debut to experience! ❤️