Xavier Cold

Page 14


Nettie must see the aggression on my face because she places her hand on my shoulder. She leans down next to me and speaks only loud enough for me to hear, “Calm down, baby. Let your girl handle this. She’s smart. She’ll make the right move.”
Her words sink into my brain, and I and take a deep breath.
“Trust her. She’s a good one.” Nettie kisses my cheek before rushing over to Carl.
Nettie gets me. She can tell when I’m about to lose my shit. Then again, she’s had years of practice with me, learning the signs.
“All right. I understand. No, it won’t be a problem. Yes, I’ll be there.” Anna pulls the phone away from her ear and stares at the screen. She blinks a couple of times and then lays it down in the center of the table. She flicks her gaze up to mine. “It seems I was supposed to be at the show tonight.”
My lip curls of its own accord as I find myself fucking appalled that they wouldn’t even give her a few days with me to get shit sorted out before they expected her to be back at work. “That’s horse shit. If they wanted you there, they should’ve made that call on Tuesday and put it on your schedule.”
Her pink lips pull into a tight line. “I didn’t really have a schedule, remember? I just officially became a part of the show when I stood beside you for that match. They probably figured that I would be there with you tonight.”
“Just because you’re with me doesn’t give them an excuse not to tell you if you are expected to be at a show. I was given my schedule long before I was sent on vacation to Detroit. It required me to be at every show Tension put on.”
She frowns. “According to the head writer of the show, Vicky, I’m to attend every show for the next month—every Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday show.”
A rush of air forces its way out of my nose as I scrub my hand down my face. “Fucking Rex. This has his name written all over it. He’s fucking Vicky, so she’s his puppet. He’s doing this to fuck with me.”
“Don’t let it.” Anna grabs my hand that’s resting on the table. “Don’t give him that power over you by losing your cool. He knew, if he pushed your buttons enough, then you’d go berserk on him and ruin your shot at being champion. He got exactly what he’d wanted, so don’t help him out any further by losing your head over this. You can trust me, Xavier. No matter what Rex does or says, you will never have to worry. You have my heart, and nothing will ever change that.”
“Promise?” I know it makes me look like a pussy, needing to hear her say that, but I’ve been through so much. I wouldn’t be able to handle ever losing her.
She sets her eyes on mine. “I swear on my life.”
The honesty and goodness shines in her eyes, and I believe she means what she says. I relax a little, but the tension is still rolling through my muscles.
I glance down at my watch and notice it’s nearly time for Thursday Tension to come on, and I wonder what the writers have planned for tonight’s show.
I glance over at Nettie, who is stacking clean glasses behind the counter. “Would you mind turning on Tension?”
“Sure thing,” Nettie answers as she grabs the remote from under the counter and flips the channel.
A few minutes later, the unmistakable promo music for Tension begins to play, and the familiar clips of me and some of the other guys who work for the company appear on the screen. It’s a wonder that they haven’t yanked me from being one of the faces on their trailers, seeing as how I’ve been giving them problems for quite a while now.
My back straightens a bit when Mr. Silverman’s music blasts through the speakers. The camera zooms in on him as he steps through the black curtain and onto the metal grating ramp leading down to the ring. His thin lips rest in an emotionless line, and his gray eyes appear hard and focused beneath his neatly trimmed silver eyebrows and hair.
This can’t be good.
“Does he make appearances often?” Anna asks.
I can’t force my eyes off the screen. “No, hardly ever. He rarely shows his face, even backstage. Typically, the only time he comes out is to fire or promote someone.”
“Oh,” she says, the surprise in her voice apparent.
I know that quick-witted brain of hers has a list of questions.
“Are you saying that we’ve been seeing him more than most of the other athletes?” she asks.
I nod. “I’ve seen him more the past couple of weeks than I have my entire career. I’ve been making a lot of waves, so I’m sure he felt compelled to check out the situations for himself.”
The crowd screaming and booing as Mr. Silverman pulls the microphone to his lips draws my attention back to the screen.
“I’m sure many of you are wondering why I’m here tonight,” he says.
I sure as hell am.
“I’m here to dispel some of the rumors I saw floating around social media after Tuesday’s show. I felt they needed to be addressed in order to end all the secondhand gossip. What you saw occur in this very ring earlier this week was in fact real. Phenomenal X did lose his head and beat Assassin mercilessly in front of a live television audience of millions of people. X was carted out of here in handcuffs, but Assassin refused to press charges.”
The crowd murmurs with confusion as he allows them to digest what he just said.
It doesn’t surprise me one bit that they are taking the truth of the situation and spinning it in a way that works with a storyline. It’s how things are done in Tension. They often use things that happen in our real lives to create stories for our characters in the ring, which is why it’s in each athlete’s best interests to keep their personal life on lockdown. Allowing a devious writer like Vicky to know any of your secrets is definitely a bad move.
Take my relationship with Anna, for instance. Vicky and Rex used it against me, and from what I’ve gathered, they are far from finished.
“Now, I know a lot of you are asking yourselves, What does that mean for Phenomenal X?” his voice cuts back through the diner. “I’ve suspended him for three months.”
The boos for my suspension are loud and clear.
“That means, until his suspension is lifted, X will not be eligible to compete in any fashion for the world heavyweight title. For the next three months, he’s not even allowed to be in the same city as Tension. I gave him strict orders to stay away while Assassin heals.” He looks around the arena and then faces the camera head-on. “To make up for the tragic accident that nearly ended Assassin’s career, when he’s ready, Assassin will be guaranteed a shot at the title.”