Xavier Cold

Page 2


I furrow my brow. “You didn’t?”
“No. I fully intended to, but by the time I went to the hotel room to pick up my checkbook and clothes for you, the bail was already paid when I arrived at the jail.”
My mind races with the possibilities of who could’ve paid my bail, but as soon as we step foot in the parking lot and I spot the black stretch limo, I no longer have to wonder.
Oh, fuck. This isn’t good.
The back window slides down, and Mr. Silverman leans forward, so he can make eye contact with me. “Get in.”
My heart races inside my chest. Going to jail for what I did to Rex was just the beginning of the punishment heading my way. My boss isn’t going to allow my actions to slide. For all of his staff at Tension, he has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to fighting outside the ring, so fighting on national television was a sure way to get my ass fired right here on the spot.
I lead Anna around to the other side of the car and swallow hard. This is the end of my fucking dream right here. Without wrestling, I have nothing, other than Anna. How long can I possibly expect to keep her in my life if I don’t have a way to support her? It’s not like there’s a shit-ton of great paying jobs for a man with my background. Felons aren’t likely any employer’s first choice.
Anna lays her hand on my stomach. “No matter what he says, I’m with you.”
I place my hand on top of hers and silently pray to God that she means it because there’s no way in hell I can give her up now.
I open the car door for Anna and then slide in after her. The inside of the limo has lights around the top of the interior, making it easy to see Mr. Silverman’s face as I sit across from him with Anna by my side. She takes my hand and gives it a small squeeze, reassuring me like she always does that she’s here for me.
The boss presses a small red button on the console next to him. “Back to the hotel to drop Xavier and Anna off, please.”
“Right away, sir,” the driver replies. The car begins to move.
He adjusts the gray tie he’s wearing and then locks eyes with me. “A couple of shows ago, I seem to recall having a discussion with you about following the script to a T and reminding you that I don’t like lawsuits. It appears, that discussion fell upon deaf ears, seeing as how I just came down to bail you out of jail because you’d beaten one of my other employees unconscious during a live show.”
There’s no denying what he’s saying.
I square my shoulders and lift my chin, ready to face the consequences of my actions head-on. “Yes, I did all those things, and while I’m sorry that it’s landed me in some deep shit, I’m not sorry that I did it. Rex had it coming. He got personal and took it to a level that it should never have gone to.”
“While I don’t doubt that Rex was a son of a bitch to you, the cold, hard truth here is that we have rules in place for a reason. No matter what he said or did, you should’ve kept your cool.”
“I know. I’ve been trying hard to work on my temper.”
“You’ve put me in a predicament here, X. Both you and Rex are the future of my company—you, in particular. You’ve been the topic of a lot of marketing strategies now that Brian wants to step back and spend more time with his wife and little girl. We need someone who can takeover his role, someone the crowd will really get behind. I’m struggling with going against my company policy and trying to make all of this go away for you. I need to work it so that the company can still benefit from you.”
My mouth drops open a bit. “Are you saying that I’m not fired?”
Anna bites her bottom lip, trying not to smile, like she doesn’t want to show any excitement until it’s confirmed that my dream hasn’t been crushed.
“I’m saying that you are too valuable to fire. Your popularity means money for Tension, and that’s good for business, which is why I bailed you out. I’ve got a meeting with some local connections tomorrow. I have to put a spin on this situation, saying that it was a match that got out of hand, that everything was actually a part of the show, and that the cops intervened when they weren’t needed.”
I roll my eyes. “Rex will never go along with that. He’ll press charges just to see me suffer. That motherfucker hates me.”
“I’ve already worked things out with Rex. He’ll agree to save your ass, if I make him the next champion.”
I should be grateful for this easy out, but I can’t stop myself from being pissed.
The muscle in my jaw flexes beneath my skin. Rex getting the belt this way is soul-crushing. That championship should’ve been mine, and had I not lost my fucking head, I would be on my way to wrapping that gold around my waist. Instead, I practically handed Rex the belt on a silver fucking platter.
I always fuck up everything good in my life, which is why I’m holding on to Anna with both hands and doing my best to do right by her. If that means allowing Rex this short-lived victory to keep me from being behind bars, then that’s the way it has to be. I need this job more than anything to support Anna and to prove to her that I can take care of her every need.
“The problem is”—He rubs his chin—“it doesn’t seem like the mandatory vacation I sent you on was enough distance between you and Rex, so I’m suspending you, X. I have to make an example out of you, so the other employees see that, no matter who you are, they cannot pull stunts like this and walk away from this matter scot-free.”
I hate the idea of not being able to work, but it’s a hell of a lot better than rotting in jail or spending all my time on probation. My boss will get no argument out of me on this one.
I sigh. “For how long?”
“Three months,” he answers matter-of-factly. “And during that time period, you will not be permitted in any arena where we hold shows. Hell, I don’t even want to hear about you being in the same city as Tension while you’re suspended.”
I nod. “Fine. Stay the hell away—I got it. Anna and I will head back to Detroit until this is finished.”
“No, only you. This suspension doesn’t apply to Anna. She’ll still be required to show up to every show as scheduled.”
The thought of Anna being alone where Rex and Deena can get to her while I’m not there to protect her is more than I can fucking handle. I can’t allow that to happen. I’m supposed to watch over her. How am I supposed to do that if I’m hundreds of miles away in another state?