Ezra takes his brother and sister away to the city for the weekend following a huge fight at home. He meets Jack Lièvremont and the two compete in the ring in front of a talent scout, and he misses his boyfriend too much to continue fighting with him.
Friday, March 1st
"You're not going anywhere," Glennys, now able to walk without aid but seemingly only when it was convenient for her, had actually hidden her son's car keys to keep him from getting to Minneapolis. Ezra had a match at MCW the next night, but he and Eamonn were going to spend the whole weekend there. "I've indulged this ridiculous idea for far too long. If you want to go to the high school and put on a show once in a while, then that's your prerogative, but I will not watch you throw your life away on this ludicrous fantasy of yours!"
"It's not your decision!" Ezra shouted back in her face. Eamonn and Celeste were frantically searching in every conceivable hiding spot while Ezra grilled their mother. "When are you going to stop being a complete bitch to me? Did you go to the effort of saving my life just so you could have the opportunity to ruin it?"
"Wanting the best for my little boy does not make me a bitch!" Glennys poked him in the chest with a bony finger. "I'm trying to protect you! If that means you have to hate me, then so be it."
"Oh, we're long past that," Ezra flared, raking his fingers through his hair. "You're a useless, pathetic, manipulative waste of space and you're the reason Dad started drinking."
Glennys slapped him in the face for that diatribe - hard enough to make his eyes water. "Get out of my sight!" She screeched, shaking with rage and distress, her teeth bared.
"Give me the keys and I will!" Ezra held his cheek, tears welling in his eyes. "Because if you don't in the next three minutes, I'll take the bus and I won't ever come back."
Glennys defiantly threw herself back into her recliner and grabbed the television remote, throwing it at the wall and causing batteries and debris to fly all over the place. In response, an angry series of bangs on the other side of the wall from the neighbours let Ezra know they were probably going to be reported to the landlord for their domestic problems again.
"Got 'em!" Celeste squealed with joy and excitement, and Ezra's heart leapt in his chest as his little sister poured out the half-gallon milk carton and the keys dropped out into the sink. She hid the keys in the milk?? He was glad Celeste had the cunning their mother did because neither he nor Eamonn would have ever thought of that in a quadrillion years.
"You are actually the best sister anyone has ever had!" Ezra gratefully squeezed her with his arms and kissed her repeatedly on the cheek. "I owe you big for this. Legit, anything you want! Oi Eamonn! We can go!"
"Can I come tonight?" Celeste asked, eyeing off their defeated, shaking mother. "I want to go Minneapolis."
"No! Absolutely not!" Glennys shouted, standing up with her fists clenched. "You are not taking my children away!"
"Oh shut up, you miserable cunt," Eamonn snapped at her as he passed her, his travel bag in his gloved up hands. "I was gonna change the WiFi password back once you gave Ez his keys, but since you didn't, so you don't get internet for the weekend. Bye, have fun." He blew a mocking kiss at her.
"Eamonn!" Glennys grabbed her glass this time and threw it at the wall, where it shattered. Holy balls! What's with the tantrums?? Eamonn didn't seem to be affected by the violent outbursts, but Ezra was alarmed! Glennys then pointed at her daughter. "Celeste, you are not going anywhere!"
"Yeah I am," Celeste took Ezra's hand. "I don't want to be here with you. I'm so sick of you, Mom! Ez cares about me like Dad used to. You don't. You only care about yourself."
"Atta girl!" Eamonn gave her a smug pat on the back. Any time he corrupted his siblings into inconveniencing their mother, he took it as a personal victory.
"Go get a change of clothes," Ezra instructed her, and she gladly shot off to the bedroom she shared with their mother.
When Glennys shook her head and went to follow, both boys moved to block the doorway. Glennys tried to shove her way through, but she was smaller than them and stood little chance of overpowering them.
"Celeste! Don't you dare!" Glennys shouted, trying to force her way through. but Eamonn pushed her away. When Glennys moved to strike him as she'd done with her older son, Ezra caught her by the wrist.
"Mom, you can hit me all you like, but if you ever try to hurt my brother or sister, I will deck you," he warned her dangerously, and she gave in.
Glennys wrenched her arm free, then she retreated and slumped back in her recliner. Ezra looked at Eamonn, whose expression was too difficult to read. Celeste, however, was crying as she stuffed her clothes in a purple backpack.
"You ruined everything," Glennys moped, her words hitting Ezra where she knew it would hurt him. "Everything that happened was because of you. I wish you died."
"You won't be seeing me again, so I suppose that's close enough to getting what you want," Ezra replied to her as he fetched their toothbrushes and made sure he had his wallet, phone and chargers with him. "Bye, Mom. Enjoy knowing that you just lost the respect of the last people who care about you."
The second they left the apartment and closed the door behind them, Joseph from the place next door was out on the landing to confront them.
"What the hell is wrong with you all?" He shouted, flecks of spit flying everywhere. "Every other night it's a circus! I'm just trying to have a peaceful evening! Is that too much for you?"
"Don't worry man, we're gone," Eamonn passed him and began to walk down the staircase with Celeste.
"I'm really sorry about that," Ezra felt the need to explain, however. "Mom and I have a lot of issues, but I won't be coming back after tonight."
"Issues? You're throwing things all over the place," the middle-aged man eyed him off. "I'm this close to calling the cops."
"Next time it happens, can you actually do that?" Ezra asked him quietly so Eamonn and Celeste would not overhear. "Mom's losing it and she got really violent tonight, and I can't just take my brother and sister away forever. So if you hear things getting heated, please call someone. I don't want Eamonn and Celeste getting hurt."
"Seriously?" Joseph looked stunned by the revelation. "Sorry to hear that. I thought it was just you kids getting rowdy. I think I'll make a call now if that's what's been going on. You'll be okay?"
"Oh, yeah," Ezra swallowed the doubts and fears he had about the course of action he was taking. To hell with Mom and her blasted tantrums! "We're going to Minneapolis for the weekend, so it should be all quiet now. Sorry."
Joseph spoke again, but Ezra didn't hear him. I've got things to do. I need to perform tonight and not let her get under my skin. Or Beau. When he saw Eamonn and Celeste waiting patiently for him by the car, his spirits soared, however. Maybe Beau and Glennys doubted him, but these two looked up to him. They believed in him! How could he let them down now?
"So... what now?" Celeste asked when they bundled her into the back seat. The shotgun was in charge of the sick beats, and Celeste was in no way up to that task! "Are you really never going to come back?"
"I dunno..." Ezra sighed unhappily, waiting for his trash heap car to warm up so it would run in the cold weather. "I'm not abandoning you if that's what you mean."
"Good!" Celeste leaned forward and hugged Ezra from behind, and he smiled while Eamonn smirked and scrolled through his phone. "So we're going to stay in Minneapolis? Awesome! I never get to come on adventures!"
"Yep yep yep," Ezra smiled at her in the rear-view mirror. "I'm not working Sunday. I've been saving up my pennies! What do you reckon? Country bumpkins spending a weekend in the big smoke??"
"Hell to the yes!" Eamonn locked his fist with Ezra's, and Celeste applauded that decision.
"I wish we never had to come back," she brought the mood down pretty quickly. "I'm sick of Litchfield, and I'm sick of Mom. Can we get KFC?"
"Just this one time," Ezra promised her. She was dieting under Glennys' orders, but he didn't see the problem in giving her a treat. Whenever Glennys let Celeste have something unhealthy, he was sure it was so she could shame her with it later.
Eamonn succeeded in flooding the car with music, and everyone recognised the beat immediately.
"Yes!" Ezra cheered at the same time Celeste cried out "No!"
"Sorry, baby sis!" Eamonn snickered. "You choose the drive-through and I choose the tunes. Luczynski car rules."
"Preach!" Ezra whooped next to him.
"If you see a faded sign by the side of the road that says fifteen miles to the... love shack! Love shack yeah!" The boys sang together while the older boy accelerated down the icy road and Celeste wailed in agony in the back seat. We're off to Minneapolis!
Saturday, March 2nd
The event started at seven, so Ezra needed to be there at least by six o'clock. That was where being the responsible big brother lost its lustre as far as he was concerned. LEW and MCW had an agreement which meant talent from either company could appear at either event, but MCW had enough wrestlers to consistently fill out their show. Ezra was a guest tonight, and it was a privilege, so he wanted to make the best impressions he could. This meant that they had to eat dinner at five-thirty, which Eamonn suffered through without too many arguments, but Celeste was not impressed with. He slipped them a twenty, telling them if they got hungry or thirsty, they could stroll by the concession stand. He didn't want to leave them in the little hotel room. He could trust Eamonn, but Celeste was adventurous, naive and impulsive. They weren't in little old Litchfield, where she was safe to roam the town with her friends after dark. This was the city!
"How old is the girl?" A snippy looking woman asked backstage when Ezra, Eamonn and Celeste made their way through.
"Nearly twelve," Celeste replied, but the woman shook her head.
"Too young. She can't be here without adult supervision, and I don't mean you," the woman decided, pointing to Ezra. "You're wrestling. She needs someone with her out there." Ezra pushed Eamonn forward.
"He's eighteen in a couple of months," he lied, but with golden whiskers untamed and filling out his face, Eamonn looked older than Ezra did. "Isn't that close enough? Please? Mom couldn't make it tonight, and I can't just leave them at the hotel room."
That was good enough for the grumpy woman, who gave a curt nod and vanished to go and disapprove of something else, Ezra imagined.
"You're Ezra Luczynski?" Another woman approached. This one was black, heavy-set and attractive in her own way, with long, bleached-blond curls framing a pretty face. "I'm Diana, I'm here on behalf of KADA Wrestling."
"Ooh! Hello!" Ezra quickly shook her hand happily. "Hi! I'm Ezra--" Blast! She already knew that! "Pleasure to meet you, Diana! These are my biggest fans! My brother Eamonn and sister Celeste."
Please don't do or say anything dumb, he pleaded at them with his eyes. Eamonn and diplomacy did not mix, and Celeste was prone to oversharing.
"Welcome to MCW!" Diana smiled down at them, shaking their hands too. "Are you big wrestling fans too?"
"Well, not really," Eamonn replied to her frankly, and Ezra could have slapped him. "But if you like watching Ez perform half as much as I do, then you're gonna sign him on the spot. Guaranteed." Oh, phew. Good save! Amen for Eamonn!!
"I look forward to it!" Diana laughed. Thankfully, she was an easy-going person, it seemed. He could have been stuck with that sour-faced trout that cornered them earlier. "Why don't you two find your seats and let me have a talk with your brother, alright? I hope you manage to enjoy the whole show and not just Ezra's match." She winked, and Eamonn shrugged, grabbing a bored Celeste by the shoulder and leading her out to the arena.
"I'll see you guys soon!" Ezra waved at them, but they seemed embarrassed to have their brother acting like a soccer mom.
"So, you already know that KADA wants you very much to attend a tryout match later on this month," Diana talked to him softly, pulling him to a quieter area of the room backstage so they could speak privately. "Unless you screw up in some major ways," she chuckled, but Ezra was not remotely comforted by that remark. It could happen. He remembered how far he fell back in January because he misstepped. Accidents can happen! "But we're also scouting Jack and Sarah Lièvremont, so that's why we made sure you guys are competing against each other tonight. The most important thing is to forget that I'm here and just do your best, alright? If everything goes well, all three of you will go to Boise, Idaho together in three weeks and do your tryouts. Good luck."
The backstage environment was little more than a blur for Ezra. It was a bigger place than the high school gym. This was a rented hall - still not a bigtime arena, but MCW was a growing company with some of its talent making their way to larger, televised promotions. Ezra intended to be one of them! He changed into his ring gear in the locker room - white elbow pads, white trunks with red trim, and long red boots that pulled up over his knees.
Ezra recognised Jack Lièvremont on the spot. A French-Canadian wrestler, very tall, quite pale and insanely muscular with short black hair and grey eyes in his early twenties. He had multiple piercings in both ears and a big tattoo on his chest of a bunch of flowers in every conceivable colour. He had a tattoo sleeve on his right arm that appeared to be tributes to a plethora of video games. His pecs and abs were so prominent that Ezra imagined he might cut his finger on them if he dared to touch them. He was six foot three and a little under three hundred pounds of muscle!! This is the guy who's gonna squash me today?? Eep!!
"Yeah, I'm Ezra!" He tried to correct the man without sounding like a douchebag. From what he knew, Jack Lièvremont had only recently begun to learn English despite branching out from Quebec a while ago. His accent was thick, and his words were few. Jack's wife Sarah came with him when he wrestled in English-speaking places. Where Jack spoke only French for most of his life, Sarah grew up bilingual and often translated for him and cut his promos in foreign cities. This meant she always accompanied him to the ring. "Pleased to meet you, Jack! I've watched you perform here a few times!"
"Ezra, okay." Jack broke a slight smile. He was quite the cutie, Ezra thought with a blush. Shame I'm still committed to that jackass Beau! I miss that jackass, even if he is a jackass. "Are you Canadian?" Jack pointed down at Ezra's ring gear.
"Hmm?" Ezra looked at his outfit and then at Jack's. He was wearing white tights covered in small red maple leaves. "Oh!! No, I'm representing the Polish flag! But we both have great taste in colours!!"
"Poland, okay!" Jack gave a grin of approval. "I like the colours - yours and mine! So, you and I wrestle? Is KADA looking to you too?"
"Yep! Diana!" Ezra began to bounce up and down in excitement. "If we nail it, we can go to KADA together!"
"Errr yes," Jack agreed with him, but Ezra didn't think he understood. Still, the bigger man offered a high-five, and Ezra jumped up high to take it. There was a huge height difference between them. "Come. You to see Sarah!"
Ezra packed his clothes into his bag and hung it up on one of the hooks, then he followed the much taller man out of the locker room and into the backstage area. He knew who Sarah Lièvremont was, and he recognised her when he saw her. She didn't look at all approachable. There was something so cold about the way she hid behind her shades indoors and frowned with maroon lips that made Ezra shiver. Even without seeing her eyes, he felt like she despised him on sight. She was dressed in long, leather boots, black jeans and a fur coat over a tank top. Her hair was long and dyed dark purple. She was pretty in a goth kind of way - similar to her husband. They looked like they belonged together!
"Mon trésor," Jack greeted her with a peck on the lips. "Here is that Ezra."
"Hello," Sarah stood up and towered over him on the heels she stood on. "You're way shorter than I thought you'd be."
"Cheers?" Ezra took that emasculating hit right in his pride. Blast! Foiled by my height yet again!! He chose to see the funny side. If Ezra took every shot at his height personally, he'd end up like... like his mother! No!! Never gonna happen! "Jack's way taller than he looks from the crowd!"
"Six foot three," Sarah informed him, folding her arms. "He's got a real shot to get into KADA Wrestling tonight. Don't screw it up for him."
"Sarah, no," Jack frowned at her, putting a big hand on her shoulder. He spoke to her in their native language, and Ezra did not understand, but Sarah only folded her arms when she replied to him.
"Okay," Ezra tried his best to grin, but he was put off by the young woman's sudden hostility.
It was a high stakes environment and opportunities to make it into the big leagues were all too rare. It was natural that Jack and Sarah would want it every bit as much as he did. He didn't know that it could be so personal, though. Everyone in the LEW locker room supported each other Litchfield style. This type of competition didn't feel so good.
"Ezra Luzcynski and Jack Lièvremont," Gordon Kenna summoned them, and Ezra checked the board once again. They were still up fourth. He didn't anticipate any changes, but it was always good to know what was going on! "You guys have ten, twelve minutes. You're mostly on the fly tonight, but Jack needs to look strong in case we go through with his push. So, Ez, you're gonna take most of the offence, but make a few comebacks. At one point, we want Ez to run the ropes at Sarah's side so she can trip him up. Now, that diving somersault takedown is a crowd pleaser, so Jack, you're gonna counter it. Do you think you can catch him on your shoulders?"
Ezra stood there awkwardly while Sarah relayed Gordon's words to her husband. Jack shrugged and asked her a question, then she turned to him.
"How much do you weigh?" Sarah asked, and Ezra's eyes bulged.
"One-thirty-five?" Ezra replied shyly. He wasn't a big fellow.
"Oh, easy!" Jack laughed merrily, but when Sarah laughed, it felt to Ezra like she was mocking him. She's rude!
"Good! Ez, you'll land on Jack's shoulders, then he'll transition to La Disparition," Gordon scribbled in his notebook as Sarah continued to translate for Jack. La Disparition! That was what Jack called his finishing move! Translated, it meant 'the demise' or 'the extinction' or something similar, and having seen it from the crowd before, it was a fitting name! I'll make it look lethal!! "That's a Gory Neckbreaker, Ez. You know that, right? Sell it like a champ."
"I sell everything like a champ!" Ezra bounced between his feet, a cocky smile on his face. "I'm gonna make La Disparition look so real they'll be calling for 911 in the crowd!!"
"Knew I can count on you, little buddy. You guys got it? Knock 'em dead," Gordon grinned, chewed his gum some more and moved on to the next people on the card.
"Sooo you're gonna kick my ass. Coolio! That's coolio!" Ezra was a little starstruck next to Jack. The Canadian man was an up and coming star in the independent circuit! He'd competed in several countries and had a short stint as champion in Quebec.
"Coolio?" Sarah remarked, holding her man with both arms. I don't like you very much, Mrs Sarah!!
"Or not?" Ezra feebly grinned, feeling like he was the biggest moron in the world. Jack leaned over and whispered in her ear, and Sarah spoke to the little guy.
"Jack says to follow his lead, and you won't have any problems," Sarah repeated to him slowly, then she sighed in frustration, snapping a reply to Jack, and then waved goodbye to Ezra. "See you in the ring."
When it was time, Ezra came out first, and the crowd rumbled with approval. Around one thousand people turned out for this event - much more than he was used to. Ezra was a hero in Litchfield, but the Minneapolis crowd was less familiar with him. He bounced around, so full of energy that if he didn't find some way to assuage it his heart would likely explode. He sprinted down the hall and did a lap of the ring, tagging hands with everyone who reached out to him and making sure to give Celeste a kiss and to lock his fist with Eamonn's when he found them. He launched himself over the top rope and somersaulted forward before standing tall - so to speak - and posing like a superhero, hands on his waist and a determined expression on his face as he stared at the ceiling. Jack entered next with Sarah in tow, and the crowd was much more interested in him. Fair enough, Ezra thought. He's kind of a big deal! I'm just a country bumpkin! Heh.
Jack was pretty intimidating when Ezra stood chest to chest with him. He was so big! And broad! And muscly! I'm a wiry little twerp. As if to prove their physical differences to the crowd, Jack shoved him hard and Ezra flew backwards and landed on his butt. Jack taunted him in French, then beckoned. Ezra ran at him and tried to push him too, but the man didn't budge. The crowd was entertained by the David and Goliath story. After being manhandled by Jack a few times, Ezra had to get creative and attacked the tree trunk legs of his opponent, then began launching himself off the ropes, but he never succeeded in taking Jack down. The big guy caught him midair with ease and slammed him down. Ezra did his best to sell Jack's offence without getting carried away. Good thing Beau isn't here, he thought. He'd be freaking out right now.
"Let's go, Ezra!" Celeste chanted from the crowd after Jack locked in a submission hold on him, giving the two a moment to catch their breaths. "Let's go, Ezra! Let's go, Ezra!"
"Shut up!" Sarah yelled at her. Although she was acting in character, Ezra didn't appreciate Sarah talking to his little sister that way.
"I wasn't talking to you, slut!" Celeste replied and flipped her off. The nearby crowd laughed at the feisty youngster, and both Ezra and Jack almost broke character. Sarah didn't seem impressed, but when Ezra found Eamonn, the boy looked like he was about to cry from laughing so hard. Celeste had never been so interested in... anything! It was remarkable to see that kind of fire from her!
When Jack set Ezra up to take La Disparition for the finishing blow, Ezra made his final comeback. He rolled through, dropped to the canvas behind Jack and grabbed him by the leg, dragging him down to the floor and bouncing on him for a pin attempt that excited the crowd, making sure to send himself flying when Jack threw him off. He ran at the ropes, ducked Jack's clothesline attempt to bounce from the cable on the other side - but Sarah was getting up on the apron! What the hell is she doing?? Ezra panicked and ran off course. His feet slipped from under him when he landed on the rope, and he fell back clumsily on the canvas. Blast! Blast blast blast damn balls bloody shit shit fuck!! Diana is watching!! Grrr!! He lay there for a second. Okay. I can make myself not look like a total loser! All is not lost!!
Ezra began to realise how awkward working with Jack could be if they couldn't fluently communicate. When Jack, confused by the botch, approached him, Ezra swung his foot over his head and clipped Jack on the crown. If anyone asks, I was playing possum, he thought. It was all a ruse! I wouldn't actually botch a springboard! And I wouldn't have anyway if that daft woman didn't get in the way!! That's the story we'll tell them! It's not like Sarah was trying to be dangerous and irresponsible, right?? When Jack reeled back, Ezra wound himself up and sprung up with his hands to land on his feet. He continued his comeback. This time he chose the ringside that Sarah wasn't lurking around and bounded from the ropes at his opponent, who sold it perfectly, tumbling backwards. Okay! We can salvage this!
When Ezra jumped up to the top rope, he somersaulted forward for his finisher move and comfortably landed with his legs over Jack's shoulders as planned. Jack caught him, and Ezra was impressed. He'd feared this spot since before the match started, but Jack insisted it would all be fine. And it was! Let's sell the heck out of this Disparition! Jack grabbed Ezra's buttocks and cautiously tossed him over his head, catching him by the arms so that the two were back-to-back, Ezra suspended in mid-air. Ezra hooked his toes around Jack's thighs, and while he was safely holding up his own weight, Jack was free to grab Ezra's head and position it over his shoulder. The giant then leapt up and landed on his butt, and the move looked devastating because when the boys landed, it seemed as though Jack's shoulder broke his opponent's neck. Ezra recoiled and slowly fell motionless onto his face. Jack pinned him to win.
"The winner of the match is Jack Lièvremont!" The ring announcer declared, and Ezra, still selling the effects of La Disparition, rolled groggily out of the ring to hear his sister throwing some words at Jack and Sarah so vile that Glennys would have had a heart attack had she heard them.
Backstage, Jack was quick to hunt Ezra down in the locker room and grin at him.
"You wrestle very well!" Jack complimented him, a little out of breath. Ezra was still panting. They'd given all they had! Diana would hopefully understand that!
"Me? You're a demon!!" Ezra laughed, offering a high-five and Jack was happy to slap his hand. "Look out KADA! We're coming to steal the show, baby!!"
"To Kada!" Jack agreed, but he ran his fingers through his hair and stared. "On ropes with you, what happened? You fall?"
"Oh," Ezra had tried to forget about that. "I wasn't expecting Sarah to get on the ropes. I panicked and botched... sorry, man! I'm usually better than that!"
"It is okay, I ask for seeing if you are okay," Jack's concern was sweet, and Ezra couldn't help but smile bashfully.
"I'm great! We're great! Life is great, and everything is great. Thanks, though!" Ezra reassured him, ready to take a brief shower to rid himself of the sweat. If he stank of body odour, Eamonn wouldn't hesitate to make a song and dance about it.
He couldn't help but take a couple of glances at Jack. Not just because he was muscular and pretty!! He had some neat tattoos on his legs and feet, even a pair of red lips on his firm butt! Ezra spotted the Big Daddy from Bioshock and the 1-up mushroom from Super Mario. Then he thought of Beau. He missed Beau terribly, but the two of them were still spending some much needed time apart. Ezra sent him goodnight messages every other day, and Beau occasionally sent him memes, but aside from Beau borrowing his boyfriend's car, they were keeping their distance. Neither one liked fighting with the other. As much as Beau seems to love drama, I know he doesn't. He's so lovely most of the time. And so handsome. And we'll work things out! We always have in the past so we can do it again now!
Ezra changed back into his street clothes and hoped that his wet hair falling over his face wouldn't make him look twelve as he packed up his bag and headed backstage again, and Diana was waiting for him. Wow, they don't mess around, he thought. Diana wasn't even watching the other matches or the main event. She was here for him, Jack and Sarah and nobody else. It's a pretty rough business. Maybe I'm not as well suited to it as I thought I was.
"You're going to Boise!" Was the first thing she said, and Ezra squeaked in exhilaration, bouncing on his feet and hugging her before he stopped to think that maybe it was an inappropriate reaction.
"Sorry! I'm sorry!" He backed off, covering his mouth. "You approve? What about Jack?"
"I'm giving my recommendation for a tryout match to Jack Lièvremont as well," Diana smiled and nodded, a little taken aback by his sudden display of affection. "I enjoyed the match between the two of you. It wasn't the cleanest match I've ever seen, but it was solid. You covered up your botch fairly well. Good job." Yeah, the botch that Sarah caused! What was she thinking? "That's all from me. Congratulations, Ezra. I think you've got the potential to make it onto KADA's main roster - in time. Have a great night." She smiled and waved as she walked past him, presumably looking for Jack or Sarah.
I did it. I did it! I fucking did it!! Ezra was overjoyed and had no idea how to react. He bit his finger and spun in circles, punching the air with gusto. For the rest of the night, Ezra watched the show from backstage through one of the side entrances, but he didn't take much of it in. All he could think about was his match with the French-Canadian man and how much he enjoyed it. Maybe I'm not well-suited to professional wrestling, but it's precisely what I want to do! Ahh!! A cruel world.
"Hey, good job," Sarah Lièvremont surprised him, catching him off guard. "You're inexperienced, you're a spastic in and out of the ring and you screwed up! And you still got the call? What's with that?"
"What?" Ezra remembered that Michelle Peterson forbade him from talking about his almost guaranteed call-up to the KADA show in Boise later that month. "I got the call because I'm good! What about you? You had one job, and you still got in the way!! Were you trying to make me botch??"
Sarah did not dignify his accusation with a response, but her frosty demeanour told him everything he needed to know. She was hoping that if she made Ezra make a fool of himself, Jack would look better by comparison and increase his chances of getting a thumbs up from the talent scout. The light caught her shades as she turned her head, and then she left without so much as a goodbye. Wow!! It was lucky for Ezra that he'd passed the test in advance because mistakes like that cost people opportunities. Sarah knew that, of course! Grr. Ezra was thrilled that Jack earned his chance to try out with KADA as well, but that meant Sarah would be joining him. Celeste was right. She is a slut!!
He had to wait for the show to end before he could leave - as a show of good faith to MCW and to prove he had a good work ethic. He didn't know everything about Diana's role in getting him from Minnesota to KADA's shows, so he wanted to leave the best impression he could with her. Eamonn and Celeste were keen to get the hell out of there and go get some fast food. I spoil them, Ezra thought. But at least they're having fun!
Sunday, March 3rd
On second thoughts, maybe this weekend was a terrible idea, Ezra thought as he helped Eamonn and Celeste strip the hotel room and clear up any mess they created. He'd seen Celeste have a blast and Eamonn seemed to like it in the city, but Ezra had nearly bankrupted himself. How was he supposed to get all the way to Idaho with no money? Better yet, if he secured a KADA contract, how could he travel, eat and find accommodation? He'd have to leave his job at the diner. It wasn't as though he could ask for help from his mother - even now, Ezra had not come close to forgiving her for what she tried to do. He did not intend to, either. He put his life on hold for her to help her recover and look after the family when she broke her hip only for her to show what a manipulative, egocentric bitch she really was. Eamonn had been telling him so for a long time. Celeste was finally working it out for herself, and she wasn't twelve yet! Why did it take me forever? The next time we see each other, Ezra vowed, it's going to be at the other's funeral!
"Do we have to go home?" Celeste asked, and Ezra laughed at her.
"Baby girl I work at the diner across the road from the gas station," he reminded her. "Do I look like I can afford to keep us here? Plus, you have school. I can't exactly kidnap you."
"Yes, you can!" Celeste insisted, bouncing on her butt on the end of the bed. He and Celeste shared the bed while Eamonn slept on the couch, and it looked very much like Eamonn was regretting that decision. "It's not kidnapping if we want to live with you and not Mom! Can you and Beau adopt us when you move to the city?"
"It's not that easy," Ezra told her quietly, thinking of their mother and what he asked Joshua next door to do for him.
They should be okay so long as I'm not there, right? All this crap started because of me. But he looked to Eamonn. He was taller and skinnier, but he looked much like Ezra did - taking after their father. He brazenly disliked their mother without giving a thought to how that might make her feel, and with Ezra gone, he might have to absorb twice as much heat. Well... maybe she won't be so mad if I'm not there. Glennys had never been an easy woman to live with, but Ezra had fond memories of the way she looked after him when cancer ravaged him time after time. It wasn't until Jakub died that she became incessantly needy and demanding, craving sympathy and attention. She couldn't bear the thought of being alone. Hopefully, this weekend taught her a lesson about catching more flies with honey than with vinegar! Especially since Eamonn changed the Wi-Fi password before he left. Ezra felt terrible about that. Eamonn had intended to blackmail their mother into surrendering the keys by taking away her ability to use the internet at all but didn't bother to set it back up for her.
"Do we have to go home yet?" Celeste then asked, and Ezra shrugged.
"I'm a bit low on dough, but we can hang out for a while longer, as long as you guys are home by sundown," he decided. "You have school in the morning. What about you, big little brother? What do you feel like doing?"
"I miss my computer," he replied flatly. "I wouldn't mind going home."
"Fairs," Ezra pulled on a cardigan over his singlet and tee-shirt. He had a coat if that wasn't enough. "What about Minnehaha Park? Apparently, that place is neat in winter." He and Beau went there together on a day trip during the summer when they were sixteen. It was a gorgeous place! It was there they kissed in front of people for the first time. I wouldn't mind going home too, he thought. I want to see Beau. I miss him... the jerk!
"Can we see a movie?" Celeste asked, and Ezra shook his head.
"I have enough money for one more meal and a tank of gas to get us home. That's about it," he admitted, using some product to slick his long blond bangs back on top of his head and feeling his tummy rumble. His body was aching from the intense match he wrestled. I'd really like to just have a long nap in my boyfriend's bed. "If you want to stay around the city then it's gotta be something that doesn't cost money."
"Everything costs money," Eamonn remarked coolly. "That's the point of living in America."
"Yeah, well, nothing I can do about that," Ezra chuckled.
"You could get a better job!" Celeste suggested.
"Yes! That's what I'm trying to do! But that doesn't solve the problem, does it?" Ezra pointed out, but the point went right over Celeste's head. When he saw her confusion, he went on. "I work full-time at the diner for minimum wage, right? And I could never afford to live by myself! Even if I get a better job - which is not easy to do - someone has to work at the diner, and they're still gonna be struggling to live on those wages! By telling me I should get a better job, you're saying that whoever does work full-time at the diner deserves to be poor!"
"Alright, calm down!" Eamonn broke in before Ezra got carried away. "Capitalist dogs, America hates poor people, etcetera etcetera, you don't need to remind us every other day." Ezra shot an exasperated glare at him, but Eamonn raised an eyebrow. Alright. Maybe I do get carried away.
"Fine, let's just go home," Celeste decided, her spirits dampened by her brother's tongue-lashing. "Maybe Mom will only ground us for a year."
"She'll be angry with me. Not you," Ezra reassured her. At least, that's what he was hoping would happen. "Let's head back to Litchfield!"
"Where are you gonna go, Ez?" Celeste asked, hoisting her bag over her shoulder. "Are you coming home?"
"I'd sleep in my car before going back to her," Ezra replied stiffly, his green eyes looking at the floor. "Maybe Beau thinks I'm wasting my life too, but at least he doesn't actively try to stop me. I'm hoping he'll let me stay over until we get a place in the city."
"So you're leaving us?" Celeste opened the door, and Eamonn wordlessly exited. "How are we gonna do anything without you? Can I at least have your bed?"
"I don't know. I haven't worked everything out, but I'm not gonna just up and leave you guys!" Ezra wore an uncertain smile on his face. "Everything's gonna be fine."
They stopped at a truck stop on the way out of Minneapolis for breakfast. Something affordable, he was hoping, plus to refill on gas. Eamonn was in a sour mood, he noticed. He decided he didn't want anything to eat and asked for only a big bottle of iced coffee. Celeste pigged out on pancakes and bacon while Ezra, a bit sick of greasy food, found a tub of yoghurt to keep himself happy with. He thought more about his budding career. About Sarah Lièvremont and the way she tried to make a fool out of him. Grr. He wasn't exactly a fan of hers, but now he thought she was a horrible person. Jack was cool, though. Shame he and Ezra spoke different languages.
The drive was long, and both Eamonn and Celeste succumbed to sleep, which only gave Ezra more time to reflect on the changes in his life. When he looked at his brother, he forever managed to feel guilty. So many medical procedures. Eamonn's participation was always wholly voluntary, even when he was very young. Ezra's well-being meant the world to him. The kidney donation was too much though, Ezra thought. At least Ezra looked to be out of the woods for now. A little more than two full years in the clear. I wonder if God will give Eamonn a fist bump when he gets to heaven. Maybe he'll be pissed off because every time he tried to bring me up early, Eamonn grabbed on and wouldn't let go. He grinned to himself when he imagined Jesus and Eamonn being passive-aggressive to each other in eternal paradise because they were always fighting for Ezra's soul.
No matter what, Ezra always felt a sense of relief when he drove back past the Litchfield sign. Home. It's always been home. From going out to Danielle Gaffney's farm for her birthday party and hopping on the back of her pet goat to camping out with Beau by the lake. School, sports and the diner. Even the hospital. Nearly everyone in town knew Ezra by name or reputation. On average, the townsfolk were decent people. The hospital staff fudged some of the paperwork so Glennys didn't go into massive debt during Ezra's last relapse. They all rallied and supported the Luczynskis following Jakub's death. Gus was happy to employ Ezra at the diner and even give him a full-time position after he graduated, and at one point would have been all too happy for Eamonn to follow - unfortunately, Eamonn was not well suited to retail or hospitality. Haha. Not even close!
One time Eamonn was hanging around at the diner while his brother was working. An overweight lady passing through town called Ezra an idiot in front of his brother when she decided Ezra didn't bring her enough scrambled eggs. Ezra remembered the way Eamonn turned his head so slowly towards her. Nobody insulted his brother or sister - except for him, of course. That was Eamonn's job. Nobody else was allowed to.
"That's no way to talk to someone who's trying to save your fat ass from a cardiac," Eamonn snarled at her. Amy found that hilarious, but Gus wasn't very impressed. Although Gus was a friend to their late father, he still had a business to run, and the last thing he needed was a surly teenager being rude to all his customers.
I suppose the sword cuts both ways, Ezra thought as he drove into his street. I told Mom if she ever lays a hand on Eamonn - or Celeste - that I would flog her. Let's hope she remembers that. They're not naughty kids - not really. Glennys tended to bring it out of them because of who she was as a person.
"Oh," Celeste yawned and stretched loudly as Eamonn parked on the roadside. "Mmkay!"
"Wake up!!" Ezra flicked Eamonn on the ear and got a death stare for his trouble.
"If you do that again I'll tell Mom you did heroin while we were away," Eamonn warned him, snatching up his bag from the back seat and exiting the car.
"Obviously I didn't?" Ezra smirked, hopping out and giving a dozey Celeste a big hug.
"Then I'll tell her you offered it to me," Eamonn shrugged, before letting Ezra leap on him and suffocate him with his irritating love.
"I couldn't afford drugs even if I wanted to," Ezra kissed him on the cheek and Eamonn screwed up his face, but Ezra knew his brother loved him back. "Hah! You love me!" He rubbed it in, and the corner of Eamonn's mouth curled upwards. "HAH! I knew it!! Will you two be okay? Call me if anything happens."
"Us? It's Mom you should be worried about," Eamonn told him, locking his fist with Ezra's and taking their little sister into the building. Well... he's not exactly wrong! "See you around."
Ezra: < Hey cutie! Are you home? >
Beau: < errr i'm always home lol, why? >
Ezra: < Can I come visit? I miss you ❤️ >
Beau: < if you want. x >
Well, that was enough for Ezra to make up his mind. Keen to see his sweetheart again, he started up the old bomb again and drove across town to the nicer side of Litchfield. Beau's parents were decently well off - his mother was a lawyer and his father was a baker with his own shop. Beau was the spoiled only child.
"Hi Tina," Ezra greeted Beau's mother when she answered the door.
"Howdy," Tina smiled down at him. Always down at him. Not just because he was short, but because he came from an unemployed mother and a drunk father, no doubt. She had come to terms with her gay son, but she still believed he could do better than Ezra Luczynski. "You after my Beau, then?"
What the devil do you think?? I'm here to chill with you after the stunts you've pulled to break us up?? Highly unlikely, Tina. Highly!
"Yeah! He said he's in," Ezra made sure to mention that because Tina had lied to his face about her son being home only the month before. "Can I come and see him please?"
"Sure," Tina reluctantly welcomed him inside and shut the door behind him. "He's in his room. Keep the door open."
Oh my gosh, it's not like we're twelve, he thought with a private eyeroll. When Ezra stayed the night, he always slept in the spare room. That didn't mean Beau didn't sneak down the hall for a private cuddle session, though!
Although Beau had been aloof in his texts and he clearly intended to remain that way, all his resolve vanished the moment he saw Ezra in the flesh and he was visibly happy to see his him. He hopped up from his desk chair where he had been sketching on his computer, and he hugged Ezra tight.
"Big man, I've missed you oh lord!" Beau kissed him on the forehead, on the cheeks, on the lips!
"Oh good, because I missed you a bazillion times more!!" Ezra informed him, nestling his head against his boyfriend's bare chest. "Next time we have a big fight, we're only waiting a week at most to get over it! Promise me!!"
"That works for me!" Beau dragged him over to his big queen size bed, and the two fell back onto it, snug and happy in each other's arms. "I'm so sorry about all that, Ezzy. I s'pose I'm the selfish bastard. I love you too much! Can you blame me for wanting you all to myself?"
"Hah! Well, when you say it like that, I can't help but forgive you," Ezra teased him and gazed into his happy eyes. "I'm sorry too. I really have been neglecting you lately! So I don't blame you for being mad at me. I deserve it sometimes. Not all the time! But sometimes."
"So we're both assholes?" Beau giggled, and Ezra grinned. "I can live with that. I hate fighting with you. You're the only thing I have to look forward to in this shithole."
"So let's get the heck out of here," Ezra suggested, kissing Beau again on the lips. "I got my tryout match with KADA!! So I'm hoping they'll sign me to a contract and I'll have an income that isn't just praying that the cheap pricks out of town bother to tip me! Minneapolis is sounding really good right now even if we're totally broke, not gonna lie."
"My parents will help us get started," Beau reassured him, but Ezra wasn't entirely convinced. They'll help Beau get started in Minneapolis no question, but I'm not exactly their favourite person in the world. Still, Tina and Darrell were putty in the hands of their only son so long as he wasn't recklessly using their money to buy marijuana.
"Do you mind if I stay here for a bit?" Ezra asked, biting his lip. I have other friends, he thought. I can stay with them, but I want my boyfriend.
"You better!" Beau licked the tip of his nose, making him squirm away. "I've got two weeks of loving you to catch up on!"