Hello and welcome to ?The Rise and Fall of an Underdog: The Story So Far?. It’s been six months of chapters of Jake’s journey into the world of professional wrestling. So I thought I?d bring everyone up to speed with the story so far. Over the next month I will be posting all the previous chapters so you can catch the bits you missed or get on board for the first time. We now continue with chapters 13-16. You can always send any comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading and enjoy!
Big Ben had been nothing but understanding when Jake told him the news. He actually gave Jake a big bear hug and wiped away a tear as he left. Jake knew that anytime he wanted to return to Winnipeg Big Ben would welcome him with open arms, literally. Jake’s goodbye with Alana had not been as easy. He understood that they had only known each other all of 10 hours, and he felt silly as he welled up as they parted, but inside Jake knew that this was something special. They had exchanged addresses and phone numbers and Jake knew that he would be calling her as soon as he got the chance. As Jake headed to his father’s funeral his heart was breaking in more than one way.
The bus ride was a torturous affair. Jake had never thought he would prefer to be in a stinky van with a bunch of wrestlers but cramped into that bus destined for home Jake welcomed the thought of those frozen trips. Jake’s mind was racing and he didn?t know what to feel. He knew he was hurting but he just felt numb. He had never been to a funeral before and the prospect of his first time being his father’s made his stomach churn and his eyes sting.
Jake headed home first and was greeted by a monstrous hug from his mother. Jake then felt comfortable enough to cry. As his mother held him and rocked back and forth they cried together. His father had put them through so much and yet they both felt lost and alone. But as it had always been, they had each other.
Jake showered and dressed. As he walked across his basement hideaway he noticed the tattered old wrestling poster that his father had bought for him at their first match. Jake had been through a lot in wrestling but he never thought that a poster could make him cry. He headed upstairs and got the address of the funeral home from his mother. Jake was surprised to see that it was only down the road from his house. Little did he know that for all these years his estranged father had only lived 20 miles away from Jake and his mother. Sadness was replaced with anger and more questions than answers as Jake made his way to the funeral home.
Jake took a deep breath as he entered the funeral home. He hadn?t seen any of his father’s family since he was a young boy and the circumstances didn?t make it any easier. His mother had said she would go with Jake for support but he had wanted to do this on his own; he needed to face this on his own. Once through the doors Jake was bombarded by family members he didn?t remember and some he?d never even heard of. He remembered his grandparents and their hugs were the most genuine of all. Being good Irish Catholics, Jake’s family regarded the wake as an important part of the grieving process. As Jake approached the casket he wondered why anyone would want to put themselves through this, Catholic or not. He hadn?t seen or spoken to his father in years and now he was going to stare at him in a box. Looking down on his Dad Jake was overcome. His father was a shell of his former self. A yearlong battle with cancer had left him no more than a skeleton. Jake barely recognized his father but as he looked at his face, a face that so closely resembled his own, Jake knew it was his Dad and that he was gone.
Jake made a hasty retreat from the funeral home and avoided as many hugs as he gave. He reassured them that he would see them at the funeral the next day at noon. But he had no intention of going. Jake had placed a call earlier that day to the Crusher and found out that there was an all ages? family show taking place the next day at a local junior high school at noon. All Jake wanted to do now was to forget all this pain and to escape. And what better way to do that than in the ring. Jake’s father had introduced him to wrestling and now Jake would wrestle for him and his memory.
So the next morning Jake awoke early and headed to the venue. The Crusher spotted him as soon as he entered the building and greeted Jake with a sombre handshake and an unusually light pat on the back. Jake told the Crusher that he had avoided the funeral and all he wanted to do for his Dad was to wrestle.
?Kid? the Crusher raspily said ?It would be an honour to wrestle you tonight in remembrance of your Dad.?
Then the Crusher did something Jake would never have expected. He took Jake in his arms and hugged him. Jake tried not to, but he cried. This man had become like a father to him and under the circumstances it was a bittersweet thing for Jake to realize.
Jake and the Crusher went on last and wrestled a flawless match. Nothing was planned and the Crusher let Jake call it. They danced for almost twenty minutes and the crowd hung on their every move. At one point the Crusher smiled and winked at Jake; he knew why they were doing it and that it was working. Jake won the match with his signature moonsault. Jake pointed to the air before he executed the move; as if to say ?This one’s for you Dad?. A tribute Jake would repeat for the rest of his career. When the ref had finished counting Jake sprang to his feet and did something he?d never done before. He called for a microphone. Jake was not a talker. He?d had some training in mic work but was by no means polished. But none of that mattered now.
?I just wanted to say thank you to all my fans and to each and every one of you for coming out here today and supporting your local wrestlers.? The crowd erupted as Jake continued. ?And on a personal note I?d just like to say that I recently lost my father. He took me to my first match many years ago and it’s because of him that I?m in this ring today. And I?d like to dedicate my win tonight to my Dad. Thank you.?
The crowd now erupted in a standing ovation. Jake could see parents holding their kids tight, a few of them crying, all of them proud of the young man in the ring. The entire roster appeared from backstage and lined the ring clapping for Jake and for Jake’s Dad. This was the moment Jake needed. And as he stood in the middle of the ring he felt closer to his Dad than he ever had before.
Jake went out for dinner and drinks with the boys and arrived home as it was just getting dark. As he approached his house he noticed that someone was sitting on his front porch; it was Alana! She ran up to Jake and put her arms around him.
?What are you doing here?? Jake said into her sweet smelling hair.
?I just had to see you. I didn?t want you to be alone. It’s impulsive I know. Maybe a little crazy but I got on the next bus and headed here. I hope I?m not intruding. It just felt right.?
?You?re not intruding and you?re not crazy. I?ve never needed someone more in my life. I want you here. I?.I love you.?
?I love you too.?
Maybe it was emotion or infatuation but Jake knew that he was being truthful when he confessed his love to Alana and he knew she was being truthful too. They were in love and Jake needed that more than anything. It wasn?t going to be easy for them to stay together. First off Alana was Canadian. But luckily her grandfather was an American farmer and so she could apply to stay with Jake in the States. Then there was the fact that Jake’s wrestling career was taking off and he didn?t know where it would take him next. And then there was his mother to contend with! None of these things mattered to Jake as he stood outside his house holding the woman he loved in his arms. It had been a roller coaster of a day for Jake. From the overwhelming sadness of losing his father to the euphoric feelings he had now. Jake had lost and gained in the same day but he felt content. He felt at home. And in Alana’s arms he was.
Jake had never had a serious girlfriend before. He dated a bit in high school but had been lacking in the female companionship department since then. Wrestling had been his only mistress for over a year now and he had enjoyed it that way. This was no longer the case and Jake had barely enough time to realize this before Alana had moved in. It wasn?t an ideal situation. Jake’s mother was a neat freak with a need for control so having another person under her roof made life a bit of an eggshell walk. But she was trying her hardest to be an understanding and flexible mother/landlord and Jake appreciated it. His life had taken a huge knock when his father died and both Alana and his mother knew that what Jake needed above everything else was love and support.
This didn?t stop the nearly instantaneous bickering though and Jake was caught in the middle.
?She doesn?t rinse the dishes before she puts them in the dishwasher.?
?She watches me like a hawk!?
?She leaves her hair all over the bathroom.?
?She keeps pestering me to get a job!?
Jake was more than relieved to get momentary respite from all of this when he answered a call from the Crusher.
?Hey kid how you holdin? up?? the Crusher asked in a gruff voice. Jake thought to himself that the Crusher sounded even sterner on the phone.
?I?m doing okay. Dealing with Dad’s death the best I can.?
?That’s good to hear kid but what I really meant was how are you doin? livin? with two women. The guys told me your old lady from Winnipeg moved in with you.?
Jake chuckled. ?Old lady?, what a phrase. ?Well that one’s a bit more difficult.?
?Tell me about it. Well I?m just callin? to see if you wanted to take a job with UCW. They want to use you for a few months. You?ll be on the road most of the time; all over the state. You?ll probably have to give up that job at that crappy electronics store. But you?ll be making enough money to support yourself now. What do you say??
UCW was the premier independent wrestling company in the area. The Crusher’s outfit was a sturdy one but where they did shows in church halls, UCW was selling out small arenas all over the state. This was a no brainer for Jake and the thought of also getting to finally quit at the Electronics Emporium just sweetened the deal. The thought of never having to see that little weasely faced snot of a manager Brad for the rest of his life made Jake smile to himself. He had been dreaming about making a living wrestling from the first day he had started training. And this was it.
?Do it, sign me up? Jake replied.
?Alright, I?ll talk to my connection there. He owes me a few favours so I can probably sweeten the deal a little. We?ll miss you on the card kid but I really think you?ve got it. You deserve it kid.?
Jake held back the tears. Was this a tender moment with the Crusher? ?Thanks Chris. I just wanted to say that I appreciate everything you?ve done for me. You?ve really made me feel welcome and a part of the family. I don?t know what I?d do without you.?
The Crusher groaned. ?Ah kid, don?t go goin? all queer on me now!? Tender moment with the Crusher over.
Jake ran upstairs to tell Alana and his mother the good news. They both mustered half hearted smiles and Jake knew that there was more bickering to come. His mother began.
?That’s great Jake honey but do you really think it’s the wisest thing to give up your job. I mean you were lucky they gave you the time off to go to the middle of frozen nowhere.?
Alana gave her a sideways glance to show that her jibe at Winnipeg, and at her, had registered but didn?t matter. She then jumped on board the guilt train. ?It is really great Jake but we?ve only just moved in together and we really haven?t had any time together. Can?t it wait??
?This opportunity might not come up again. And I won?t be gone all the time or even that far. I can still get home every few days and we can spend all of that time together. And I know it won?t be the best money in the world but this is only the beginning Mom. The big bucks are only a few steps away and more importantly I?ll be doing something I love. Something I?m good at.?
There was a moment of silence as the two women in Jake’s life realised how passionate he was and that there was no changing his mind. His mother sighed, shook her head and gave Jake a big hug. Alana followed suit and added a kiss that Jake felt was a bit to passionate for standing in the kitchen in the early evening. With the objection fires extinguished Jake turned his focus to getting ready for a lengthy road trip. But before that there was the small matter of the weekend’s upcoming match; which would be Jake’s last in the company for the foreseeable future. He wanted to make it special and he knew just the tool he needed?.. a ladder.
The rec centre was packed to capacity. Almost 200 people had come out to see what would turn out to be the farewell match of Jake ?Rocket Kid? Reynolds. His opponent was a green trainee that the Crusher was pushing as the next big thing. Jake had only been in the business for around a year and he felt like he was already passing the torch to the new blood. Jake understood that he was no ring general but had more faith than ever in his ability in the ring and his ability to make it as a star in the industry.
For now though Jake had to put all of these things out of his mind and focus on the ten foot piece of aluminium that he was precariously balancing on. Hanging above the ring was a briefcase containing a wrestling contract. The winner of the match would be the person who successfully climbed the ladder and retrieved the briefcase; their prize would be the contract inside. The loser would have to leave town and the company. This was all a work of course. The ?contract? meant nothing and was actually just a piece of paper pulled out from an old dictionary in the Crusher’s office. But to the fans it was a lifeline for their favourite star. Little did they know that the ?Rocket Kid? would be losing the match and leaving them.
Jake soon found out that the Crusher was right and that this new kid was good. He didn?t have a gimmick yet and came to the ring under his surprisingly wrestling friendly real name Austin Shields. Austin flew around the ring like a bat out of hell and Jake was okay with leaving most of the high spots to him. They did the usual bits; sunset flip onto the ladder, slingshot into the ladder in the corner, slamming the ladder down on each other’s legs and the dreaded spear from top rope to top of ladder. The crowd was into it and baying for blood. They got some too when a mistimed kick sent the ladder flying into Jake’s face. There was no blading required as Jake’s forehead burst open in a crimson mask. The blood was warm and stung Jake’s eyes with every blink. There’s nothing like competing in one of the most gruelling matches in the sport with one blind eye Jake thought to himself as they headed for home. Austin had worked out a great spot for the finish. He and Jake would get into a fist fight at the top of the ladder and Jake would fall back, catch his leg between two rungs and helplessly hang upside down as Austin retrieved the briefcase and his future with the company. As Jake hung upside down, more and more blood flowing from his open wound, he chuckled to himself as he realised how much he enjoyed doing this.
As the bell rang Austin helped Jake down from the ladder and they hugged in the middle of the ring. The crowd cheered as they raised each other’s hands; Austin in victory and Jake in acknowledgment of the crowd. Austin handed Jake a mic and the ?Rocket Kid? addressed the fans for one last time.
?Thank you all for supporting me and believing in me. You guys are the real deal and you?ll always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you to Austin for a great match. I couldn?t think of a better guy to have to lose this way to. Keep an eye on this guy. Thanks to all the guys in the back and all the guys in the office. You make this thing work. Thanks again to all the fans and all I can say is, keep a look out for the ?Rocket Kid?.?
The fans erupted as Jake made his way to the back. One of the guys, a successful student nurse, did a decent job of stitching Jake up. It hadn?t been as bad as he had expected but his head still throbbed and the sticky blood lingered in his hair and eyebrows. Jake did the rounds for one last time, shaking every guys hand just like he had been taught to do. Jake searched for the Crusher until one of the guys told him that he had seen him duck out early. This was definitely unlike the Crusher and Jake wondered if it was because he hadn?t wanted to say goodbye. That seemed too mushy for Jake so he shrugged it off and headed out.
As he exited the rec centre he was bombarded by fans wanting autographs. He graciously signed everything thrust in front of him and made it through the mob. Standing on the corner under a street lamp patiently waiting for him was Alana. Jake threw his arms around her and kissed the long line of her neck.
?You were amazing tonight!? she cooed.
?Let me hear you say that again later tonight!?
They both giggled like school children as they headed home. Jake had competed in countless matches at that rec centre and was hopeful that this wouldn?t be his last. He was yet again heading out into the unknown and he was excited. Jake knew that he would miss all the guys and his mother and especially Alana. But he understood that this was a crucial point in his career and that this could be the start of his assent to new heights in wrestling. He knew in his heart that the Rocket Kid was about to take off.
Jake lay on the lumpy mattress staring at the lumpy ceiling. The pink floral print sheets had a definite aroma about them as did the rest of the room. Jake craned his neck upwards and took inventory of the room; worn down desk, shadeless standing lamp, a three-legged chair and a television that was chained down tighter than Fort Knox. And in the bed next to Jake, snoring away as usual, was his new travel partner Mike ?The Machine? Mahoney.
UCW gave its wrestlers a tiny travel allowance so it was common practice to buddy up with a travel partner. This way you could share the driving as well as all of the costs incurred along the way. Mike and Jake were both newcomers in UCW and as such were paid a fair but obviously entry-level wage. This is why out of necessity they ended up in lovely establishments like this one; Barry’s Budget Hot. It was actually ?hotel? despite what the damaged sign said. For the most part Jake enjoyed travelling with Mike. They discussed and endlessly critiqued each other’s matches and solved all the problems in the industry on their long drives. Jake enjoyed the camaraderie and good humour but did not enjoy the snoring, belching or farting. Three things that Mike liked to do at random points in the day?or at the same time! Jake was both disgusted and impressed by this little gem.
Mike’s bodily functions aside, Jake was learning to love life on the road. He enjoyed meeting up with the boys in a diner on the highway or in the next town. He enjoyed going for drinks in random bars and the strange looks they would get from the locals. The more brazen of the group would always end up in some form of strongman competition with these grizzled truckers and steelworkers while Jake and the others laughed and egged them on. And he loved working a different crowd in a different arena almost every night. He had been used to having a following at home and performing in the same couple of venues each time. But getting over with a crowd that knew nothing about you was a challenge that Jake was always up for. You had to work that little bit harder, sell a little more and amaze them in new ways each night. To his credit Jake didn?t have trouble getting over with any crowd; especially the women.
Ring rats were a way of life on the road. There were guys on the roster that would pull into a new town, open their little black books and be on a date before, and after, their match. A couple of the guys even had children that their wives and partners back home didn?t know about. This wasn?t a part of the business that you learn about in training or that a lot of the guys were proud of. It was more of an occupational hazard. The monotony and loneliness of the road proved to be too much for some guys. Jake was hoping that he wouldn?t become one of them.
Considering how he had met Alana Jake was quick to leave the arenas and avoid the rats. His relationship was so new and special to him that he didn?t want to slip up and let a momentary lapse of judgement ruin it all. But the rats were persistent. They didn?t just hang out at the arenas afterwards. They could be seen at the local bars hanging off the arms of the wrestlers or standing outside hotel rooms, barefoot and ready. Jake had never had it so easy. Mike harassed him each night about how if it were under different circumstances Jake would be like a kid in a candy store and that he didn?t know what he was missing; this coming from the guy who was in bed early every night, alone.
One night Jake let himself go a little more than usual. It was after an especially gruelling match with a mat technician by the name of The Scorpion. He had stretched Jake and thrown him around like a rag doll. Jake enjoyed these contests where he got to use his aerial skills sparsely and focus on a ground match. The near sell out crowd hung on their every move and when Jake played possum and rolled up The Scorpion for the finish the crowd went wild. Got ?em. Afterwards Jake was sore from the stretching and needed a beer to relax. He did take a few muscle relaxants to go with it as had become common place. Nothing major but life on the road left Jake a little stiff. It was merely a little release from the tension; or so he told himself. As he stood chatting with a couple of the boys Jake noticed a young girl eyeing him up from across the bar. She certainly didn?t look 21 to Jake but she looked intent on getting his attention. He smiled and she made her move.
?You were amazing! Your match was the best of the night!? she half whispered as she coyly played with her hair.
?Thanks? Jake half responded as he sipped his beer. Mike nudged and gave him a knowing look. Jake ignored this.
?I know it’s kinda late but a few of my friends were going to this party and we wanted to know if you?d come along?
Jake thought about it for half a second too long and replied ?No thanks. I appreciate the offer but I?m pretty beat and we?ve got another match here tomorrow.?
She looked deflated as she leaned into Jake and put her hands on his chest. ?Please?
Mike couldn?t take it anymore ?Come on Jake. The girl said please.?
Jake gave him a glare. ?Look, you are a very pretty girl but…..?
?I?m pretty am I? she said as she leaned in and kissed Jake. He didn?t pull back. Mike cheered as Jake continued to kiss the girl. She then took Jake by the hand and started to lead him out of the bar. The crowd of wrestlers at the bar cheered as they exited.
They were making their way to the girl’s car when all of a sudden something started to vibrate in Jake’s pocket. He took out his cell phone and saw that it was Alana.
?It’s my girlfriend. I?ve got to take this. You have a good night.?
?Fine, it’s your loss.?
With that she was gone and Jake had a long conversation with Alana as he headed home to his dingy motel room. Jake had heard of the saying saved by the bell but had never actually encountered it till now. He finished his conversation with Alana, told her that he loved her, and headed to bed. His head was spinning. It wasn?t from alcohol, or the rush of the amazing match he had just had, it was from a single kiss; a forbidden kiss. Jake felt guilty and vowed that it would never happen again but a part of him had enjoyed that kiss. The desire of a woman, the power of his persona in the ring, the power of his appeal outside of the ring, all of these things whizzed through Jake’s head as he smiled and fell asleep.
The chair hit Jake’s head for a third time and blood shot out across the ring. A small piece of glass had become embedded in there and the blood had dripped all the way down to his boots. Jake was queasy from the blood loss and was feeling nauseas. He could taste the warm sting of vomit in the back of his throat. He held it back and kept going. He had to finish his first hardcore match.
When the promoter had come to Jake with the idea of having a hardcore match Jake had put up a bit of a fight. He was a high flier, a technician, not the kind of guy to do stunts and use props in his matches. But the promoter was relentless and, after an offer of a small bonus, Jake agreed to the match. He was to face Montell the Maniac, one of the most notorious hardcore wrestlers in the company. It was rumoured that he tried out everything he did in the ring at home in his garage. The thought of a grown man hitting himself in the head with pots and pans alone in his garage worried Jake a bit. But business was business.
Before the match Montell went through everything with Jake. With the meticulousness of an accountant he took stock of all the objects he would use in the match and how to use them. He graciously agreed to be the brunt of most of the attacks but warned Jake that he pulled no punches; or chair shots. Jake was okay with most of it, standard stuff really; road signs, steel chairs, kendo sticks, that sort of thing. The one thing that did worry Jake though was the fluorescent light tubes. As a rule he didn?t generally allow himself to get hit in the head with objects that would shatter into a million pieces. Montell reassured him that it was safe and to prove it cracked one over his own head. A cloud of dust filled the air and as it settled Jake could see the stupid grin on Montell’s face. Jake was reassured about the light tubes but not about Montell!
The match started out easy enough. Jake led Montell through some easy chain wrestling and even got a few basic offensive moves out of him. It was starting to look like a real match. Then Montell climbed under the ring, pulled out a garbage can full of goodies, and the fun began. Jake was okay with the road signs, they were easy to take. You just flattened your back and, provided the guy swinging the sign hit you evenly, you hardly felt a thing. Chair shots were okay too. Jake cheated a bit when he took them and would always get his forearm up just before impact. He was sneaky enough with it so that the crowd didn?t notice. Montell on the other hand would keep his hands by his side and take the whole thing right on the top of his head. What a trooper!
Jake pulled out a ladder from underneath the ring and executed a perfect moonsault on Montell. As planned Jake waved it off screaming ?That’s not enough.? He went under the ring again and pulled out a folding table. He placed it in the middle of the ring and then placed Montell on top of it. He climbed the ladder once again and jumped backwards as high as he could. It was a beautiful moonsault. Montell rolled out of the way at the last second and Jake came crashing through the table. It had all been planned of course; although Jake had not planned on being winded by the breaking table. He fought hard to catch his breath as Montell held a light tube aloft and played to the crowd. Jake stumbled to his feet as Montell brought the tube crashing down on his head. Everything went a little hazy after that.
Maybe it was the blood loss, or the force of the blow, or even the impact with the table, but Jake was a bit out of it as they got to the end of the match. He stuck to the script and even remembered the correct way to land on a bed of thumbtacks. Montell had said it was all mind over matter and that it was just like laying on a bed of nails. As Jake hit the mat and dozens of tacks pierced his back he cursed Montell and his loony philosophies. Despite the beating he?d taken Jake was scheduled to win the match. So with one slam through a barbed wire table Jake was victorious. He avoided his usual celebratory round of hand slaps and quickly made it to the back. He?d lost enough blood for one night and needed to see the medic.
The UCW medic was an ornery old doctor that everybody simply called ?Doc?. Doc was in his 70’s and his bedside manner left something to be desired.
?I don?t know why you guys do this sick crap.? He grumbled as he rather robustly cleaned Jake’s wound. ?Used to be that a guy would treat regular sports injuries; torn ligaments, sprained ankles, stuff like that. Now I?m just here to remove barbed wire from forearms and thumbtacks from guy’s asses!?
?This was my first time doing this kind of match? Jake meekly replied.
?Well congratulations!? Doc sarcastically declared as he pulled a needle through Jake’s forehead and finished stitching him up. Jake chuckled as he thought to himself that with the way Doc worked he could have had a good career as a hardcore wrestler himself.
Newly stitched up and ready for a good night’s sleep, Jake headed back to his motel. He?d been on the road so much lately that he didn?t even know what city he was in. Budget motels always looked the same as did the lonely roads they occupied. This current motel was by no means an exception. As he climbed the stairs to his room he let out a little sigh and dreamed of the luxurious places he would one day stay in. As he rounded the corner to his room he passed Mike who gave him a knowing glance and a pat on the shoulder.
?Sorry bro. Good luck.? Mike mumbled as he shuffled past.
?Sorry for what?? But Mike was gone.
Jake reached for the door but before he could grab the handle it swung open and there stood a rather stern looking Alana. Streaks of mascara ran down her cheeks and her eyes were red and puffy. Jake did not like wherever this was going.
?How could you do that to yourself?! That hardcore crap! It’s so stupid! I come all the way down here to surprise you and I have to watch you get hit in the head repeatedly and bleed all over the place! That’s sick Jake, just sick!?
Jake didn?t try to get a word in. He just let her go. When she had gotten most of it out of his system he began to try and reason with her.
?I know it’s stupid and I know that I?m better than that but it was a one off. The promoter paid me a little extra and I did it. End of story.?
?Oh, so that’s it is it. Just pay you a bit extra and you?ll do whatever he wants. What else will you do for a bit extra??
Jake didn?t like her tone or where this was going. He knew he wasn?t going to win so he shrugged it off and headed to the bathroom. He looked at his back in the mirror and all the tiny holes from the thumbtacks. That was the last thing Alana needed to see right now. So he threw on a clean t-shirt and rummaged through his shaving kit. He popped a couple of painkillers in his mouth and drank from the tap. He only took them as a precautionary measure. He knew he would be hurting from this match in the morning. Jake was being a little more precautious, a little more often than he liked but knew that if it got to be a problem he could deal with it.
He shut off the light and entered a darkened bedroom. Alana was already in bed with the covers pulled up high. As Jake got into bed she turned away from him and faced the wall. They had never gone to bed angry before and although couples always say they will never do that, the first time it happens you just go with it. Jake was too tired and too sore to put up a fight. Tomorrow would be another match another town and Alana would head home. Jake had had his first hardcore match and his first hardcore fight all in the same day. And he would choose the thumbtacks any day.