Day 19 - Story Advent Calendar.


Advent Calendar 19th December.

It's now or Never.

By Lucy Knott.

            My heart is rattling against my chest. Salty sweat is dripping down my nose, leaving a small puddle at my feet. I crouch down in the corner of the ring, with my hands on my knees. I steady my heavy breathing for, maybe, ten seconds before my sister grabs me in a headlock.
“Come on slow coach, there’s no time for rest,” she says, with a playful tone in her voice as she drags me to the center of the ring. “This is our last training session before the big day, you gotta keep up,” she adds, whilst cranking on my head, making the beads of sweat on my forehead fly off in every direction.
“Oh, I’m aware of that Kenzie, just give me a second, that last bump knocked the wind out of me,” I reply, “Then we’ll see who has to keep up with who.” With a little more energy now coursing through my veins, I twist out of the headlock, apply one of my own on my twin sister and take her down to the mat. Another hour later and we each peel off our soaking wet knee pads, unlace our boots and lay on the sweat stained mats to allow our heart rates to return to normal.
The door to the gym creaks open and the murmurs of the next class fill the air. Young boys, teenagers and even the odd thirty-year-old traipse in, all chatting about what they want to practice today. I smile at their trainer, Cole. With his 5ft 8in muscly frame, he looks like a wrestler, but his curly mid-length brown hair and chiseled features make him look like a movie star, in our world you would say he has ‘it’. He is incredibly talented to boot and has travelled the world wrestling; England, America, Japan, Italy, but he’s still waiting for his big break.
“It smells delightful in here,” Cole says, sarcasm in his tone as he sends a smile my way. “Is that a new perfume, BO with a hint of rose?” I throw my water bottle at him and he catches it with little effort.
“That’s the smell of champions,” Mackenzie replies without missing a beat, as she gets up to pack her things, she gives Cole a gentle shove as she walks past him. The class moves towards the mats and begin stretching. I stand up and wince as my lower back spasms, just a perk of the job. Cole closes in on me and places his hand where my body is betraying me,
“Does someone need a candle lit bath and a massage?” he says, with a twinkle in his eye and low enough so that only I can hear.
“I’ll hold you to that,” I say, smiling up at him. Looking into his flirty but kind eyes releases a swarm of butterflies in my stomach. He has this effect on me every time.
“How about tonight then? I promise I won’t let class run long and I’ll give you my full attention, no shop talk, ok?” Cole’s silvery voice is sincere, I know he means it and I can’t blame him for always having wrestling on his mind, I can’t exactly fault him for having a passion, especially one I understand and share.
“Sounds good,” I reply, giving him a quick peck on the cheek, not wanting to draw the class’ attention.
“See you tonight, my love,” Cole says, giving me a kiss on my forehead, not at all bothered at the idea of the others seeing us. Yes, this tough as nails, dynamite pro wrestler also has a heart of gold and happens to be my boyfriend but I don’t like showing affection around other wrestlers. Back in the day girls would get called names and be given a bad rap for dating one of the boys. People would think they were getting into the business for all the wrong reasons, but Kenzie and I aren’t about that. We have worked hard to prove ourselves, we love this business as much as, if not more than, any guy out there and I am grateful Cole knows this. Some of Kenzie and I’s most challenging sessions were ones he put us through, he helped us step up our game and treated us like one of the boys. Mine and his relationship sort of blossomed. Ten years of blood, sweat and tears in this business and I shouldn’t care what others think, but old habits and all. We shout our byes to the class and head for home.
My body feels drained, but it’s a feeling I’m used to by now. My sister and I have spent almost every week night over the past ten years pushing each other’s limits in that tiny dingy room that is home to our favourite thing in the world; a wrestling ring. Weekends would consist of shows; travelling up and down the country performing in front of crowds varying from twenty people to hundreds of people. From the moment, we saw wrestling on TV at eight years old, we knew that’s what we wanted to be. The larger than life characters caught our eyes but it was watching the tag teams, working together, tagging in and out, their crisp movements, their matching outfits, their sharp, smooth double teams and they’re in this together attitude that kept us tuning in every week, wanting more. After all, since day one we have been in it together. You could probably take every twin stereotype and apply it to Mackenzie and me. We are attached at the hip and rarely go anywhere without each other. It works for us.
“How are you feeling Mads?” Kenzie asks, as we walk in to the kitchen. I immediately switch the kettle on as she reaches for the biscuit tin.
“I think I’ll feel better after a hob nob or two,” I reply, knowing there will definitely be a third hob nob consumed. Kenzie laughs.
“I feel good about it this time, you know Mads. I really think this is it, this is our time to shine,” she says, settling herself at the kitchen table and playing with the hob nob in her hand, “We’re finally going to get our shot at the big leagues,” she looks at me, her eyes wide, searching for a confident conformation.
“And, if not we’ll always have tea and biscuits,” I reply, with wink.

          “Ok, so when we go in, just be confident. We gotta hold our heads high, smile at everyone and kick some ass, ok?” Mackenzie says, her voice a touch wobbly. I must admit; my palms are sweating and my mouth feels dry. We have just pulled up to the Manchester arena. Today is the day. Our big tryout is mere hours away, there is no turning back. The sun shines high in the clear blue sky, casting a bright glow over the grand building. As kids, this building represented a place of worship for Kenzie and me. We would bow down to the wrestlers as they made their way to the ring, we would watch their every movement with intent and when we got lost in the action and the drama, we would holler and scream for these superheroes. Goosebumps would prickle our skin; our mouths would be wide open and the world around us would become a complete blur. Nothing else mattered. Today however, the building has a certain intimidating factor about it.
“It’s ok Kenzie, breathe. I’ve got your back, we got this, you know that. This is going to be a blast. We’re going to go in there and show them what we’re made of ok?” I say, focusing hard on believing in the words I am saying too. “Today, we’re channeling The British Bulldogs and The Rockers,” at the mention of our role models, a small smile appears on Kenzie’s face. I continue, “We’re going to bring Tag Team wrestling back with a vengeance and show them what they’re missing, you got that Marty?”
In my referencing one half of our favourite tag team, the lesser known half of said favourite tag team, she lets out a roar of laughter, “Hey, why am I always Marty?”
“Because there’s only one Showstopper,” I reply, giving her a playful shove while opening the car door.
“There’s two showstoppers’ in this family Sis and you’d do well to remember that, unless you want me to prove it to you again and make you tap,” I hear Mackenzie mutter under her breath as I step out of the car. Hands trembling slightly, I pull our bags out from the boot of the car, two medium black roller bags; you were officially a wrestler when you owned a wheelie bag. After checking her makeup and reapplying her lipstick, Kenzie meets me at the back of the car and gives me one last nod, which I return, signaling we are ready to make our dreams a reality. Before we reach the arena doors my phone chimes with two new messages, one from our Mum and Dad;
“We are so proud of you girls, thinking of you, go and do your best. We love you.”
And one from Cole;
“You guys have worked so hard for this opportunity, believe in yourselves and hold your heads high. I’m so proud of you both, yes even you Kenzie…” which is followed by a wink face, they are always teasing each other, “…Love you Madison, go and kick ass.”

        I can taste my lipstick in my mouth, my makeup is smeared and there is no doubt in my mind that my hair resembles a lion’s mane. When you get to the top they certainly test you and try to weed out the weak; those not cut out for the big leagues. The drills have been intense, bump after bump, hit after hit and barely any time to recover. My legs feel tight as I squeeze my foot back into my four-inch heel. The rest of the night is set to challenge me more. Standing at the monitors, face focused, to show that I respect the men and women above me and that I am ready to learn, by watching their performances for the next three hours. Did I mention all while standing straight in four-inch heels? As a sign of respect, there will be no sitting down. My feet cry but my face remains bright, a smile permanently on display. One look at Kenzie and I know she feels the same.
An hour into the show and I start getting a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. A little voice inside my head is telling me that I should be in my wrestling gear right now. Why did you change? It hisses. Trying not to draw attention to myself I nudge Kenzie, without a word she follows my lead. Grabbing our bags, I whisper as we enter the toilets, “Get ready as fast as you can, OK?” Kenzie nods and instead of seeing fear in her eyes, I see a twinkle, and instead of questioning her crazy sister, she does as I say with an even crazier grin on her face. Einstein would have been proud. Throwing our jackets over our wrestling outfits we make our way back to the monitors as casually as possible, and are met with a commotion.
Suddenly a man with a headset comes running over to us, “Are you girls ready for a match? Our Women’s champion is stuck on the runway in Manchester airport,”
My head feels ready to explode, words evade me, Kenzie squeezes my hand.
“Yes, yes sir,” she says politely and with a sense of calm, as I stand trying to contain myself and my rattling heart.
“OK, good, you’re up in twenty minutes. I’ll get your opponents,” the man says and briskly walks off.
“It’s go time,” Kenzie says, the mad scientist look back on her face.

            We walk through the curtain, after what feels like the best tag team match we’d ever had, it feels like I’m walking on air. Here in the WPW, they truly are the cream of the crop. Our opponents were on top of their game. We had chemistry, we clicked inside that ring. Everything felt smooth, we listened to each other, we listened to the crowd. I felt high on the story we told, the people’s reaction. I can’t help the single tear that rolls down my cheek as the four of us embrace, thanking each other for keeping each other safe, putting our lives in each other’s hands, working together and making magic. Contract or no contract, ten years of hard work and grafting for this moment alone feels worth it. To experience wrestling on this level, it doesn’t get much better.
“Girls,” the gruff, unmistaken voice of WPW Owner, Phil Wyatt, makes me jump. “Girls, I would like a word with you in my office,” he barks.
I look at Kenzie, fighting the emotions and the fact that I am kecking myself, she looks at me her eyes big, with that same twinkle inside and then she laughs. I take in my sister, her features, the memories from our entire lives being attached at the hip and then the past ten years, side by side training to be the best tag team the world has ever seen and I laugh too.
It is now, or never.
His make shift office for this UK tour is simple, just a giant brown desk in the middle of the room, with two chairs in front of it and one behind it.
“Please, take a seat girls,” his voice sounds kinder now. “I don’t normally do this, but that performance you just gave, well, I’m impressed. I have a feeling you girls would take our Women’s division to new heights. It’s rare you see a women’s tag team so in tune with each other, not one trying to compete with the other. I can tell you’re in this together and from watching you perform tonight, I think it’s time we got to work on a Women’s Tag Team Division.”
I am trying to take in everything he is saying but my hearing is stunted by the beat of my heart, did he just say Women’s Tag Team Division? I gulp and tug at the neck of my outfit, feeling hot.
“If you would take these contracts and look them over and let me know your answer as soon as you can, I would love to have you on board,”
Call it twin tuition but no thinking it over or discussing it is needed. Kenzie and I move to the edges of our chairs, each grab a pen from the pen pot on the desk and speak the words we have been busting our butts for the past ten years to speak,
“Where do we sign?”

The end! 

We know it isn't Christmas themed but we hope you enjoyed this story. Lucy wrote it a while ago and finally decided she was brave enough to let me share it with you today! :) Be sure to check out Lucy's debut novel 'How to Bake a New Beginning' and follow her:


and The Blossom Twins


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