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Higher profiles and bigger targets.

Post by Fourth » Thu Mar 06, 2014 7:31 pm

There were some things Melanie's still didn't understand about walking in the public's glaring eye. As she left the hospital, the first visit she'd paid to her rather damaged team mate, she quickly was hit by yet another revelation.

The meeting had been fine, strangely. She'd not expected the woman to be more concerned and worried that she, herself, had fought injured. She'd not expected friendship to patch over something so harsh. She'd thought this had been a good day. Yeah, about that. When she'd first signed, Apple had given her brief instructions on how to handle a media shit storm, and while she'd dealt with some small explosions, the top was about to come out.

She'd just come from the gym, her eyes and expression were hidden behind polarized Oakleys. The very second those stylish, slim sunglasses reflected the mid day glare, her ears were assaulted by a wave of shouts, all of them in her direction. Men and women, young and old, reporters and simply just fans, had kept up a slight vigil outside of the hospital.

What the f*ck, Melanie?

Did you come to gloat?

I hope you're happy with yourself!"

The fans were mostly saying those things, the ignorant ones, arm chair fighters and Sunday morning quarterbacks. The crowd, stretched out across both sides of the road she was walking, clearly wasn't happy with Beat Down's newest gun. Empathetic to a fault, though she rarely cared enough to act on it. She also knew she was contractually obligated to answer these sorts of questions so long as a reporter asked them. She quickly realized, when she was first signed, that the massive, massive media hype that followed such a huge personality, such potent charisma and such dangerous skill created. Frankly, she demands attention without even trying.

Just as she thought she'd made it past the crowd, she saw light flash off of a camera lens. Oddly enough, the flash reminded her of a laser, a target seeking device, aimed right at her. A man she'd seen before, a man who worked for the local television sports station, smiled down at her, a mean little smile, and gestured over his shoulder.

"So, Melanie, mind if we ask you a few questions?" He was clearly enjoying this. Who wouldn't enjoy knowing they had the media's darling, someone miles and miles apart in every manner except distance, with her back against the wall?

"Sure can, champ." She knew how to play this role. Haughty in her beauty, proud of her lineage, she'd not shame them or her employers. She didn't bother looking into the camera. She was speaking too, and for, this man.

"So, what was that all about? You two are on the same team, you know? Did you forget that?"

"No, dumb as*, I didn't." Apparently Melanie had absolutely no issue with cussing at reporters on live television. Again, she's a media bonfire.

"Well, want to explain that little stunt then?" She could see the smirk, she knew he wanted to laugh, he wanted to find more buttons to push, knowing full and well that there wasn't a thing Melanie could do but stand here and take it.

"What stunt? We fought, I won. End of story." Her top, a rather filmy black thing that left one shoulder bare, rose and fell in a lazy shrug.

"Melanie, come on now. Don't beat around the bush now. There was no reason for that, really. What, half way through the second fight you just decide you're going to start railing on your team mate? That's what we all want to know, really. Why, Melanie, did, during a team fight, you have such obviously ill intentions with every single shot taken?" He gestured to the now silent crowd all around them. "That's what they want to know. Something wrong in the locker room?" The man's smirk only grew wider and wider. "Maybe something's wrong on the home front. I know it must be strange, being on the same team as your girlfriend but working out almost exclusively with another woman. Was that why? You and Terry do spend a lot of time together, maybe it went south?"

This, really, was what Melanie had been afraid of. That question. She could handle the rest, but she could also draw logical lines. Anger, for a moment, sparkled along the defined, high planes of her cheeks. It touched a sharp jaw line, it twitched in veins along her neck. "No, f*cker, that is not the case. Look, we fought. Nothing's wrong with the team dynamic, nothing's wrong on the home front. Beat Down's united, it's strong, it's as good as it's ever been, maybe better. Get that sh*t out of your head right now. As for the first part? We fought, Bobby, that's it. Frankly..." She knew this was going to sound bad. It was the truth, however. "She knows me better than anyone. She knows that, when in the ring, there's one thing that matters. I'm not going to disrespect someone by pulling punches, I'm not going to waste people's time by not giving all of my effort. She and I are paid fighters. We get paid, more or less, by you idiots, to put on a show. We put on a show, didn't we? Of all the people here, Terry probably does know me the best, in terms of how I fight. She knew that when she walked in that ring with me, she knew it when she got taken out of it. I don't pull punches, ever. Sh*t happens."

When the crowd heard that, they exploded again. Loud, once more, the yelling started anew.

Why's everything about winning?

What happens if she can't ever fight again?

Melanie's eyes rolled as Bobby laughed under his breath. "Well, there's a good question."

"If that's the case, that' terrible. All the same, when we step into those rings, we accept certain risks. She knew that." Inside, she knew she was doing this all wrong, she knew this was only going to get worse.

"Well, how about this, ShadoWeaver. What's up with the bruise on your side? Looks bad. What's up with you throwing up blood all over the ring?"

"A week before she and I fought, I took a bad shot at the Arena, no names are needed. The medical bill says I've got six broken ribs and internal bleeding."

At this, the crowd fell silent. Bobby simply stared for a long, long moment. "Jesus, Melanie, what do you have to prove to everyone?" This time, when he spoke, his voice bordered on something filled with horrid fascination and morbid disgust.

When she heard those words, Melanie stared directly into the camera and formed a single word. "Everything." She turned her head back towards Bobby and waited for an answer. The poor man, stunned into submission by such a simple fact, couldn't speak at the start.

"Uhh..are you seeking medical attention for that? What's the time line on it? Never mind, ShadoWeaver. You fought last night...." He wasn't sure yet how to take this all in.

"No. We're done here."

"Wait! Explain everything! Come on, Melanie, this is the story of a life time. What drives Melanie Rostol, Mandalorian elite, three time title holder in eight months, Beat Down's newest super star, to go to this length? Jesus, girl, you're fighting on an injury that's known to be fatal. You're taking shots to broken ribs, you're pouring blood out. That pool was half red when you two stepped out. What's pushing you so damn hard?" He'd forgotten himself, he'd become yet another asteroid caught in this most deadly, most glorious sun's harsh orbit.

"The answer doesn't change. Everything." She carried the weight of worlds on her shoulders, not just one world. Those shoulders, as she walked away, were held high. They were proud.
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Post by Fourth » Fri Mar 07, 2014 1:57 am

Later that night....

When Melanie wanted to drink by herself or when the Inn wouldn't work, this was where she came. Simply called 275, the bar settled on the, logically, 275th floor of a tower deep in Rhy'Din's most posh area, served a select few people. As a matter of fact, it really only served one group of people. Here, while leaning along an old bar, while listening to the sultry tones of some husky bar room singer that never made it in Hollywood, Melanie rubbed elbows with a group she'd come to know rather well, though she'd not formally met any of them. Here, Rhy'Din's white collar criminals, board room thugs and made men drank and spoke of everything but what they did. Such secrets, however, are never very well kept.

Deep within a sea of black jackets and black ties, Melanie stuck out like a sore thumb. She'd left the trappings of a professional fighter behind her in some vain attempt to find a way to spend a normal night. Here, wrapped in denim skinny jeans that hung low on her hips and a white, flimsy top that left one shoulder bare, she may have looked to simply be a whore for the rich, powerful and dangerous. This, however, was her sanctum. In this place, she wasn't a Mandalorian. No one knew that, no one knew of her past. In this room, swimming with smooth talking sharks, she was simply another one in a pack. She'd picked thi spot, however, for a particular reason. While she didn't have to speak much, most nights, people like these men and women, professional liars and killers with clean hands, can smell someone with blood in their foot steps. It'd taken all of one failed attempt to proposition Melanie before each and every soul in this room, corrupt in their own right, understood there was a sleeker shark, a more effective killing machine.

As she leaned against the bar, idle and graceful, glorious and haphazard, she could feel the eyes tracing her form. From her hips to the curve of her back, she knew. Each stare was another intrusion on the tanned arch of her neck, showing here and there through dark, dark layers and waves. She'd always drawn attention, she'd always been a lightning rod, but not here. Tonight, something was different. The air felt tense, the air tasted wrong. After she ordered her seventh Manhattan, a stiff drink, she finally turned over her shoulder and returned some of the stares. Instantly, as the bar keep shrugged, the men and women when back to precisely what they'd been doing.

Time, even blurred by alcohol's cloying touch, seeped through the cracks. The night passed slowly, she found herself staring at a clock. Waiting. She didn't know what she was waiting for, but she understood enough.

In time, the room began to think out. Cigar smoke became less concentrated, the murmur of voices became even more quiet. Across the wooden floors, however, Melanie heard polished shoes click on polished wood. Someone was coming near.

A man, someone she didn't know, another face above a tie, slid against the bar mere inches away from her. In one hand, something was rolled up. A paper, something of the sort.

A young man, barely into his twenties, the man nodded at her and gestured towards the bar tender. "Whatever she's having, get her another, Jess." He was trying, at least. Melanie couldn't fault him for that. As he ordered, he glanced at Melanie through the corners of his eyes. Apparently, she was supposed to say something.

"Hi." As always, her social skills only blossomed when there was a need, when there was some gain for her.

"Sentori. It's my last name, but, well, that's what people call me." The poor man looked nervous, he looked confused. Melanie's secrets, some of them, weren't safe in this place. They'd all heard stories of the beautiful woman, dark hair and darker eyes, with the distinct tattoos. In this sector, she'd become a shadowy figure of the night, a threat and a promise all at once. No one knew for sure, but Melanie did have rather unique tattoos.... "You're Melanie, right? Melanie Rostol?"

She blinked, hard. As she focused her stare on the man, a shoulder, the bare one, rose and fell a single time. "Yes." This was strange, this was new. "What do you want?"

"Melanie, you're the f*cking news today." Sentori wasn't drinking. He wasn't about to play with fire while holding a liquid so easily burned. As he spoke, he spread the tabloid out in front of her. As she stared down, mildly amused, she saw something that she wasn't prepared from. The scene from before was plastered on the late edition of the magazine. Her back was evident, there was no mistaking her form and figure. As the reporter stared after her, the crowd outside of the hospital, stood still. Shocked.

"F*ck." She finally moved, her lean faded as she grasped the paper and began flipping through it. Center fold, the top dollar spot. She shoved it back to the man, impatient. "I can't read very well. Read it to me."

He seemed to want to protest. None of these men were used to being told what to do, much less by women who were backed by no powerful criminal family. His ire rose, words climbed up his throat. As he looked back at Melanie, as he looked into her eyes, his breath caught and his words died. Beaten back by a single look, he realized he sat in front of a monster. Her stare, far more dead than alive, glittered with all the poison of a coiled viper.


Slowly, the man began to read.

In this city, we get all types. We get the best, we get the worst. And, sometimes we get the ones we just can't understand. Sometimes we get the ones who won't be understood, the type that just make us stop and stare. You've all seen her, but apparently no one really knows just who or what she is.

She's a show stopper in and out of the rings. A former lingerie model (God, why'd she quit?), she's got the looks. One of the Outback's elite strikers, she's got the cred. Beat Down's newest fighter, she's got the respect, if not the adoration, of the fighting community there. That's what we do know. What we don't know, however, is about.....everything else. Who and what is she? Why's she here? What's she running from? Let me tell you, our little princess, people, is running from something. She's doing it fast.

The question is, why and where? Is this a bad sign for a power house fighting team? Is she polarizing enough to force a split in the fabled Team Beat Down? It sure looks like there's a chance for that. After an interview, the video is on our website, that was anything but what we expected, that's all we can assume. There's some logical lines here, folks.

Alright, check this. We all know about the ShadoWeaver challenge she fought against Terry King, team mate and good friend, by all accounts. In Melanie's words, sh*t happened. Terry knew the risk in fighting her. As arrogant as that is, it's sort of true. What doesn't make sense is....any of it. If those two are friends and if those two are on the same team, why did Melanie explode on her late in the second fight? I love the fights, I do. Melanie's always had bad intentions with her fights, but that was brutal. At times, it was clinical. Sure, Terry got her shots in, she probably did more damage to Melanie, who was fighting with six, count 'em, six broken ribs. Those body shots? God, girl, we love you, but don't die! But here's the shady part. Well, the first of many shady parts. Melanie walked away from a knocked out Terry. Clarice, also on the team, ALSO MELANIE'S GIRLFRIEND AND TERRY'S BEST FRIEND, didn't even go to see if she was alright. Now, that's odd. Terry left alone, and word has it, other fighters went to go see her before the person who, you know, actually sent her into the hospital, took her sweet time in making sure Terry wasn't, you know, about to die. So....why?

Here's what we think. This might take a second. Peaches. God, she's sexy. Peaches and Melanie spend a lot, a lot of time together. This isn't confirmed, but sources say Melanie spent time and effort lobbying for Peaches to get her job as the team's official cheerleader. Sounds fishy? What's worse? Sources also confirm, sort of, that there's prior experience, if you know what I mean, between these two. They sure have that sort of chemistry you only get in one place, you know. So, that's strange. Clarice, Melanie's girl, is also on the team. Who does Melanie train with, exclusively, when at the gym? Terry. Terry f*cking King. Who did she blast? Yup. Terry King. Who else does Melanie train with? Charlie. He's random, but he's single, he's hot. Her other sparring partner? This kid named Maverick. Now, he's got a weird girlfriend, a troll. Yeah, you read that right. Good job, you can read! But, yeah. Those two, Charlie and Maverick are Melanie's mentees, so I guess they have to fight. But! BUT BUT BUT! We have photos of Melanie and Maverick out to lunch and dinner, not just once, and the poor kid, he's not in her league, eats out of her hand from what we can tell. Shady! Why isn't Melanie rolling around, all sweaty with her hot little thing, Clarice? Instead, she's doing that with not one, not two, but three other people. So....what caused this.

We think it's an affair, people. We think that Melanie and Terry were fighting over Peaches' attentions. Who wouldn't? Somehow, in some form, Terry beat Melanie to the punch, so Melanie...beat the sh*t out of Terry with more than a few punches. There was anger there, there was something else in that fight that wasn't just a team based rivalry. She looked like she was out for blood. And while she's pretty violent, she shouldn't have been. Maybe it doesn't add up, but I think it does. Email us, hit us up on twitter! Think there's something else? LET US KNOW! But, I'll say it here.

This stinks of a love triangle gone badly, badly wrong.

Dead center, in between the two pages this was written on, a picture was blown up. Quite clearly Melanie and quite clearly Terry, they'd obviously been sparring. Caught in a moment, Terry straddled Melanie's hips and stared down, the corner of her tongue visible on her lips, her eyes heavily lidded.

As the man stopped speaking, Melanie couldn't even start to stare up from the bar's top. The room had stopped talking, all noise had ceased as they waited for her answer. It took quite some time.

All she could think about was 'Why?' "F*ck me." She murmured that into her glass as she tipped it back. The paper, spread in front of her, became a canvas in its own right. A single spot, formed by a single tear, slipped down and stained the ink. Sentori, witnessing something so few ever had, could only bask in the glow of this one's hazy aura.

"You're a star, Melanie. You're a f*cking super star! Lemme buy you a drink, girly." He'd gotten bold. A hand reached out, fingers sought to trap the soft curve of her hip. Seeing what he assumed was a vulnerable woman, he moved in for the kill. "I mean, if you're cheating on her, do it with someone who's got some class."

Some things would never change. They couldn't. As quick as an adder on the strike, Melanie's right hand shot out, a blur of tanned flesh and a short, sharp knife picked up from the bar's surface. Her palm slammed into the man's throat, the blade scraped against his spinal column. He stared. They all stared. Not a soul moved. Not a soul dared to breathe as Sentori choked his life out in this mobster's watering pool. Breathless, they saw her in a new light. They saw the truth.

Without a care, without a concern, Melanie wiped her hand on the man's white shirt, leaving a bloody print as evidence. "F*ck you, as*hole." With that, and with nothing more, for the tears would soon flow, Melanie padded, on graceful steps powered by shifting hips, out of what had once been such a peaceful place in her mind.
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Post by King » Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:24 am

"Terry! Terry! KING!"

The questions throbbed as much as the headache that pounded about inside her head. Leaving the apartment was a bad idea, leaving the apartment to walk a block to go pick up a magazine and a few other things -- terrible idea.

"Are you having an affair with Melanie? Does Clarice know? Is this why Team Beat Down hired that new model, Peaches? Because she slept her way into the position?!"

Terry said nothing. Not a word. Not even eye contact. That's a lie, when Peaches name was brought up, that's when she stopped. A side glance to the man; enough to tell him he hit the hammer on the nail.

"Weren't you involved with one of the China Town Elite, Daxia Xie? Is your affair with Melanie and Peaches the reason why you're never spotted with Daxia anymore?"

Worse. It was getting worse. Her blood began to boil. Fingers gripping tightly to form into a fist. Her stomach turning and knotting up. Cold sweat. With more questions still flying over her head and the ill feeling welling up inside her body; she didn't truly know how she even stood at the moment. She felt like vomiting - that's how much the stress was starting to get to her.

She pushed past. Roughly. Possibly too rough, which resulted in a few more flashes of cameras and talks of possible assault. Yet she continued on. Right into the guarded door of her apartment complex. The flashing continued on the other side of the glass, but the doorman did his job to keep the vultures at bay.

Terry pressed a quick hand against the wall to keep herself propped up. Her chest heaving and eyes closed tightly.

"Son of a b*tch.." Is all she could mutter.
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Post by King » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:58 pm

Beep. Beep. Beep...

Beep. Beep. Beep...

Beep. Beep. Beep.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Beep. Beep. Beep.

Nonstop. Her cellphone kept ringing. An ten minutes ago she may have answered, but that was before she knew her number had been leaked. Terry didn't know who or how, but it was done. Possibly a friend or a girl she had upset in the past. It's what she gets for being so free with her number.

Another chime of beeping came -- this time Terry had enough. She grabbed the phone and held down the power button. Another sound, this time a light ringing, left the phone as it powered down.

Silence filled the apartment. It made it easier for Terry to sit there and simply breathe.

Think. Think. Think.. She told herself.

"It'll blow over.. jus' relax." The young woman muttered.

She pressed hands to her face and held them there for a few seconds, all while holding her breath. She counted. One, two, three.. all the way to ten. An exhale of the held breath, along with a sliding fingers through hand. Not at all relaxed, but feeling a little better. A little better -- it's better than nothing.

Terry leaned over. Grasping hold of desk drawer and pulling it open. A mental note made during this search through the drawers content: be more organized. Lifting up note books full of drawings, along with bead-kits and finished bracelets in her search. Finally, she'd find it. The emergency cellphone she had tucked away. It isn't as new and techie as her real phone, but it will make due.

Terry's mind had blanked throughout this whole ordeal. Almost forgetting about the date she promised a certain blonde. That alone was the reason she'd be staring at the smart-phone screen as it lit up.

".. What's her number.." Another mutter. Brows furrowed and eyes closed tightly. She should know this, she knew it before. Why blank out? The stress must be getting to her.

It's times like these she wished she had those pills. If she had them, she'd be fine.

That thought alone scared her. Terry sat there, stiff as a statue in her hunched position in front of her desk. Don' think about it.. She told herself. A shake of her head soon followed. Terry leaned over the desk. Arms crossed against one another to give her forehead something to rest against. She needed to calm down and think. Focus on something. Breathing -- that's good. She'd do just that.

It was then she remembered. Or thought she remembered. No, it had to be her number. Terry reached to take hold of the phone. She dragged it close to herself, then slid it open. Texting began.

Im sorry I didnt make it there so much going on and I dont want you involved in it

She paused after sending the first. Then quickly texted another.

Im really sorry please dont be mad

The cellphone abandoned then. She left the desk behind and collapsed against her bed.
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Post by Maverick Samson » Sun Mar 09, 2014 5:44 am

What. The. F^ck.

He wanted a meal, just a bloody snack and that was it, just some subway from the join round the corner, meatballs with cheese. Simple, no? But as soon as he stepped outside from the store, mouth agape to chomp on his sandwich, there was a flash. Then another. And another. A continuous stream of the blinding white flashes, leaving him frozen in place at the door, a drop of the tomato sauce spilling onto the ground before him.

Oh f^ck no.

Maverick! Maverick! Is it true you've been seeing Mel more often!

What's your opinion on Mel's actions in the ring with Terry, do you condone her beating up her team-mate to such a condition?

Have you and Mel ever had an intimate relationship, considering the two of you are seen so often together?

Now that, that brought his mind out from the confusion. Eyes narrowed suddenly to the man that asked the question, beady eyes behind the camera as he awaited the answer hungrily, like the rest of the greedy pigs surrounding him, cameras lifted for the first words, ready to twist them around. Lips curled downwards for a displeased frown and fingers only clenched tightly around his sub...

"Right, f^ck ya all, I came for ma' bloody sandwich, not this bullcrap....Mel is jus' ma' trainer, we fight together, cause she's ma' bloody mentor, an' we don' jus' train y'know? WE hav' other lives, not jus' f^cking trainin' an' screwing, which we never hav' done...If that's what ya think we do....Morons."

At least tell us something, what's your opinion on the entire thing? Is it her fault, should she be even teaching a kid like you?

"Piss off, that's my only words for you."

He'd tear off a chunk from his sandwich, shoulders pressed forward to barge his way past the mob of people, rather harshly at times, but he ignored their protests and kept the pace. But before he trailed around a corner, he flashed the group the finger before he was engulfed into the shadows of the alleyway.[/i]
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Post by Fourth » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:57 am

Sunday the 9th.....

Melanie hadn't even gone ten steps from the Outback. Entirely unwilling to leave with Clarice, she needed nu domestic assault charges to add to the long list of disasters that swarmed around her, she'd danced within the shadows and faded into her own mind. Cold and alone, she stepped out of a pool of darkness near the back of the building. A street light lit the ground before her. The strange contrast between light and dark drew her eyes to a crumpled magazine on the ground. Before she could even begin to turn away, she reached down and glanced at the front page.




Now, we don't need to explain, but we will. The red head? That's Melanie's boss, Andrea. The brunette? DO WE EVEN NEED TO SAY WHO THAT IS?! Well, that's Melanie. Yup. The one and the same! What's missing? Or should we say who? That'd be....Clarice. As always. Actually, she's not missing. She took the pictures, we're told. That almost sort of makes this funny, doesn't it? I mean, sure Clarice is loaded, but is she loaded with brains? It doesn't look that way. I MEAN, DAMN GIRL! HOW HARD IS IT TO SEE THAT YOU'RE BEING CHEATED ON! DO YOU TAKE PICTURES OF THEM NAKED, TOO?!?!? (By all means, if you do, we will buy those.). Oh. And, well, Andrea is engaged. Can this get any worse? We sure as hell hope so. These were taken, we're told, during a Beat Down publicity trip, and while they're getting the team a ton of looks, we've got to ask this. When is enough enough? Is Melanie, undeniably a valuable addition to the team's fighting ranks, really worth all of this drama? Reactions have been hard to come by from the actual fighters on the team, but it doesn't look good. It seems like we pick something new up everyday!

Oh. And that's not all. See how much those two are smiling? See how happy they look? We heard this from the Annex tonight, just a little bit ago. You know who was there? Melanie, Terry, Peaches and Clarice. Hell, even Charlie was there. You know who really, really wasn't smiling? Even in that company, supposed friends, one likely ex lover (at least?) and her GIRLFRIEND? That'd be Melanie. Now, she's crazy, sure. With Clarice leaving through the door and Melanie just sort of fading away, this can't go well. This really, really can not go well. On the plus side, we're selling a lot of magazines and, strangely enough, Melanie's merchandise sales are way, way up. We'll keep you posted on this love triangle that just keeps on growing / volcano / suicide / murder in the making!

It'd taken her quite some time to read all of this, she's still rather lacking in that regard. In the end, long minutes later, all she could do was sit. Perched on a curb, behind the building she'd once loved, she realized she'd never felt so alone. When planets died and races went extinct, by her hand, those she trusted most had always, until the day she'd finally left her home, stood behind her back, strong and tall. They'd never walked away.

A trail of tears, slow and steady, mingled with the water at her feet, an old puddle. Unwilling to even look at her own reflection, she turned her chin to the sky and lost her eyes in the moon. She'd never felt so alone.
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Post by Apple » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:56 am

"Would you like to comment on the tabloids allegations that you may be in a sexual relationship with your teammate, Melanie Rostol?"

Andrea had been rather dressed down. Wearing nothing more than pajama pants, sandals, and a jacket. Her hairstyle of choice, a sloppy bun, looked the part to complete this early morning ensemble. The redhead wouldn't answer at first, instead finding solace in her mug of coffee while she watched those pugs do their business beach side.

"You do know this is private property, right?" She said. The reporter stood on the beach that she owned. Not the whole beach, but a part of it. Along with the rest of the land that surrounded her newly acquired beachfront property. She gave the reporter a look while taking another sip of her coffee.

"But, like.. to answer your question. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out there's nothing going on in the picture. It's innocent fun. Hell, I even have a print of it somewhere in my house." She thumbed toward the house that loomed on top of the natural seawall behind them.

"What about all the other drama going around? The talk of Melanie sleeping with King, along with Beat Downs merchandise model, Peaches?" The trespasser's words pressed.

Andrea squinted behind glasses, then finally shrugged. "That has nothing to do with me, and it has nothing to do with anyone outside of the four of them." She'd then tug a little on those leashes, urging the pugs to come back so that she could lead them while walking away.

"Surely this won't bode well for team morale.." He continued. "Wait! Can you answer a few more questions?!" As he saw the redhead leave.

"Get off my property." Would be all Andrea would answer with while waving a hand over her shoulder.
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Post by Peaches » Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:59 am

Time had become some kind of awkward stretch from reality to fantasy. The elements of what had happened in the recent week acting as a virus within the small network of friends who had chosen to depend on one another, for what seemed like more than a few drinks. She was witness to it by the bold print of newspapers, the journalists having a field day with the hit heard around the world. And between all the lines was insinuation, utter rubbish that people were being swept up in.

And then it came like a picture book for children. Pictures galore depicting them all in normal situations but with captions to capture the attention. Close encounters of all that proudly wore the Team Beat Down name. And in particular article, had torn asunder Peaches' intent to survive the turmoil.

Who's That Girl?

We've all been reading it. We've all been frothing at the mouth to get down to the bottom of just what goes on behind the scenes on one of the most illustrious teams, Beat Down.

There are just too many pretty faces to not be caught up in the wild storm of it all, especially after the nasty hook sent to Terry King from Melanie Ristol that landed the youthful King in the hospital, sparking so much assumption that it made all our heads spin. What about Clarice Queen, the name that comes with dollar signs and stretch limo's, being Ristol's go-to-girlfriend? Where does she fall into this fun house of long legs?

And then there is the recent addition of Peaches Haggarty that carries some title of being the cheer leader and model of their merchandise.

Really? Who is that girl? And just what the hell is she doing on Beat Down aside from causing a bunch of chaos for the once close team of femme fatales?

We did a little digging and found out a good amount of juicy details that we just had to share!

Seems little miss Peaches-And-Cream and Terry King have a lot more in common than meets the eye. Not that long ago, King was admitted to New Beginnings, a rehab facility that specialized in helping King cope with an addiction to pain killers. And la-de-da, guess who also had a severe drug problem? Her newest room mate, Peaches. Did they meet there while trying to kick bad habits, only to cause even more bad habits by being so close?

A handful of other sources also have told us that they believe Peaches' break up with Ford Daniels was to help her a long a crash course between Melanie Ristol's legs. Who has this girl not been crooning to on that team? That must be why they even decided to shove her onto the BD roster. What else would she have to show credibility for? She doesn't brawl, she doesn't fight. We're pretty sure she would be oblivious to the sheer talent Beat Down has if it wasn't for how much she adores being objectified by the true-blue fighters.

Perhaps BD should rethink the credentials one needs to obtain a place among their ranks rather than trying to make it a little bit prettier. While we here at Wizard Inquirer don't blame the brazen broads for their taste in women, we sure don't think that sleeping one's way to the proverbial top should be an access point for untalented junkies. King gets a pass, if only because she has proven herself a useful asset.

We're beginning to believe the hype that Peaches is the gun powder that will ultimately bring down the daring walls of Beat Down. She's being traded around the ring and maybe emotions are running high. Our best bet is that they realize their mistake and get back on track.

Here's to hoping they dump her off curbside. Out in front of our building.

Fingers were frozen solid around the crinkling edges of the paper that was now freckled with water marks. Everything that was read stung deep enough to cause her tongue to go dry, her breathing to hiccup between the shocked sobs. It was a roller coaster of thoughts that she dealt with, and her own mind could be sharper than the devil tipped tails of all the demons riding her shoulders.

Melancholy. Grief. Confusion. Anger.

The last of the emotions seemed to be a type of clarity that lifted her into motion, flooding the kitchen with loud slams of the cabinet doors when rummaging for a frying pan. She didn't even think before she did it; the smoke alarm went off as the paper was burned into ash on the stove.
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Post by Resolute » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:06 pm

(Pt. 1)

Sunday the 9th

Who the f*** do you think you are to tell me what to do? Melanie had said to him, though her curious bewilderment had been lost on him until after his departure.

Nobody, Sa'ha. I'm expendable, really. An acceptable loss. His response had been telling, but lost in the tension of the moment. Not another glimpse of what lay beneath his smile had been given before Charlie had finally taken his leave of the Annex. Just three words and what they might have reflected: The Past. The Present. The possible Future.

The same nostalgia that had brought him to the dueling venue that night with a wooden disconcerting smile carried him back out into the night, placid despite the harder edge his eyes had taken when turned upwards to seek out the moon against the backdrop of the night sky. Anger wasn't an option. Not even remotely, with physiology and chemistry to thank. However, thoughtful displeasure wasn't out of bounds and it was just distracting enough to rob himself of a better awareness of his surroundings. The easy rotation on the ball of a sneakered foot turned him towards the familiar shadows of the alley.

Coba should have been there by...

"Charlie!" The audible pop of an archaic flash barely registered against the blinding bright light that stunned him temporarily. "Charlie, wait! A moment of your time!" For what seemed like an eternity, Charlie's vision swam with multiple dots of colors at various sizes. The need to blink away the disorientation and the unpleasant face he made did very little to deter the barrage of questions that followed.

"What's your relationship with Melanie Rostol? Are you more than just her mentee? Are you sleeping with her? Or maybe it's not her. I mean, with all of the other options to distract her, maybe you're playing the opportunist? You've been seen getting quiet friendly with Clarice Queen the last few days. Maybe she'sthe one you're shacking up with? And just who are you? The public wants to know!"

Beneath the disorientation and the surprise and the confusion of the moment, the desire for applied violence still lingered, twisting through his veins like a disease and threatening to bubble to the surface. It wasn't anger. Instead the primal urge collected itself into an all too familiar calculated malice. It was only then that the tabloid reporter, one of many hounding Melanie's closest peers of late, was fixed with the same wooden smile that had punctuated Charlie's night.

"Me? I'm nobody. And I have no comment." From just over his shoulder a purring rumbled sounded, lending an ominous air to the slow step back that allowed the shadows to swallow him up and leaving his demanding social assailant with his mouth agape.

Two hours later...

West End.

Three stories and a steepled church roof made for a good vantage point, giving a clear view of the neat row of townhouses below. Charlie's mouth twitched faintly when he saw the reporter pull up in his car and ascend the steps of one along the end to disappear inside. Confirmation of address was added to the details already jotted down within his book. The remnants of the page previous drew him away from more sinister thoughts, briefly, and to the note he'd left for Melanie on the door of her place an hour before.


I'm in your corner.


He disappeared in down a pipe on the building's opposite side some time later.

All he could do now is wait.
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Post by Resolute » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:34 pm

(Pt. 2)

Monday the 10th

There was an appreciable freedom in anonymity. Freedom from responsibility, attachment, and the harder to grasp tangibles related to interpersonal relationships that he just didn't (want to) get involved in. It was the simple satisfaction of, on his sporadic forays into the more populated areas, walking through the crowds as a virtual unknown. No names. No questions. No explanations. Freedom.


But even Charlie had to eat.

There were plenty of places for someone to make quick coin in Rhy'din, ranging from the ordinary to not and quite a few skirting (or unabashedly violating) the law. For him it was nothing more simple than a simple street hustle involving a wobbly card table, a series of neatly folded playing cards, and quick hands. Winning his supper involved the deft art of the cheat, but only as much as he needed and never enough to attract too much attention. Anyone stupid enough to gamble on a street corner in Dockside deserved to lose their money and it was a simple enough hustle to allow his mind to wander to the more important details of the day; to watch the world beyond in his peripheral vision. He'd been at since the early afternoon, building up a modest purse of coin.

The day and his absence from the gym had offered up plenty of time.

Charlie had to try hard not to smile when he caught sight of the reporter, fumbling in a shoulder bag as he wormed his way through the pedestrian traffic traversing the cobblestone street. The card swapping drifter pretended not to notice, right up until a recording device was thrust into his face. Dark eyes blinked and then lifted to the man wearing a greasy, self-satisfied smile and was greeted in kind with one of feigned discomfort in kind. The bearer of the microphone behaved just as he had the night previous, launching immediately into a series of rapid fire questions.

"Charlie Nobody! Are you surprised I found you? Why would you be in a place like this, like a common criminal, when you've been nestled beneath the comfort of Beat Down's wing? Isn't Clarice Queen your sugar mama? You are sleeping with her, aren't you? Or are you just another angle in the whole mess? Is this all just to get closer to Peaches? That would validate eye witness account of you whispering sweet nothings into the Brit beauty's ear one night in the Outback. Why would any of them slum with someone like you? I mean, you're kinda right. You're nobody. Look at you. Busted sneakers. Patched clothes. You don't look fit to live out of any of their garbage cans, man. What's the deal? Are you sleeping your way to stardom? Are they paying you for sex?"

Charlie listened to it all abject silence for the entire spiel, occasionally glance to one side or the other, painting an embarassed grimace across his mouth. Abject and embarassed until the last question caught the reporter by surprise when... his unwilling interviewee

It produced the first prick of apprehension in the microphone's bearer.

"No comment."

"So it's true?"

"No comment."

"Give me something."

"No comment."


Tonguing the inside of his cheek, Charlie leaned forward towards the mic. "I like all of them. They've treated me decently. Melanie is a good mentor. End quote."

The reporter's brows shot up, surprised and none too pleased. He considered the young man staring across at him and licked his lips. "So you're saying it's all true?"

The microphone was thrust back into Charlie's face. This time, Charlie's smile changed. It became emotionless. Wooden. It was then that he leaned back away from the recording device and placed his hands atop the card table.

"You want the truth? I'll give you the truth. Melanie Rostol is a fierce competitor with a heart bigger than your waistline. She's unusual, but deserving of kinder words than publications of yours have written. Clarice Queen is a pleasant person to be around, as is Terry King, who deserves no small amount of praise for her perseverance. I don't know Apple at all, but she lets me train at the gym so be nice to her too. Peaches is beautiful and charming and has nice breasts. I'm sure she'd appreciate me saying that last part, so make sure you compliment her figure in your story. And me? I'm no one. No one important, no one of note, and no one to write about. End. Quote."

The response he received was first slack-jawed and then outright offended.

"You can't possibly believe I'd print something that... saccarine!"

Charlie's smile faded. He reached across the table and covered the receiver of the microphone with his hands, muffling the sound. His tone was calm and matter of fact. Almost conversational.

"What I believe is irrelevant. What you believe is irrelevant too. Maybe immutable facts will help? You live at 875 West Beaufort Lane in West End. You and your wife sleep in the second floor northwest bedroom. Your preteen daughter in the second floor southwest bedroom. Her school bus arrives at precisely 8:05 in the morning. Your wife waits with her and watches the bus pull away."

The report had gone pale but the young man opposite of him was unphased.

"Her bus home arrives within two blocks of your home at precisely 3:15 in the afternoon, requiring a quarter of a mile walk to the front door, alone, because your wife teaches an aerobic pole dancing glass for desperate Rhy'din housewives. That leaves your child alone and in a rough neighborhood for an accurate estimate of fifteen to twenty minutes." Charlie's mouth twitched. "A lot can happen in fifteen to twenty minutes, Mister Gustavson. Larry Gustavson, office number 3B of The Informer. The slaving community has been very busy this winter."

Reaching out, he took the microphone and turned it on the man, who was paler than a sheet and sweating profusely. Shaking uncontrollably. "You... you..."

"I look forward to seeing my accurately given quote in tomorrow's edition, Mister Gustavson."

The man fled.

Within minutes the watch, rousted by a hysterical reporter, had scattered a broken table and playing cards all over the cobblestone street in the process of taking Charlie into custody for death threats and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. He went willingly, trying very hard to look surprised by the turn of events that left Larry Gustavson a little calmer and a little closer to resuming his smug little life.
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Post by Resolute » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:12 am

(Pt. 2-B)

It was well after dark when Larry Gustavson turned his key in the lock to open the front door of his townhouse. It had been hours since the street hustling amateur duelist had been taken into custody and a worried phone call had sent his family off to spend the night with his wife's sister. When all was said and done and the door was locked behind him, he loosed a sigh of relief and then a self-deprecating laugh.

It was all just going to turn out to be a crock wasn't it? A hollow threat from some homeless Beat Down groupie looking to protect his meal ticket.

The floor boards creaked a familiar greeting during his trek through the dining room and into his office, where Larry promptly poured himself a generous glass of whiskey and slumped down into his computer chair. The fingers of his free hand flexed in anticipation. There was a story to write. There was fresh debauchery to tell the tales of and an extortionist sitting in a jail cell to decry to the eager reading masses. There was money to make. There were headlines to embellish. There was...

...a box on his desk.

Wrapped in simple brown kraft paper and garnished with a small tag that simply read Larry, it could have been some innocuous little reassuring keepsake left by Maureen. She was always being thoughtful.

A generous mouthful of the whiskey was taken in before he put the glass aside and began peeling away the layers of paper. Maybe it was another one of those weird stress squeezie things. But when the flimsy cardboard box was finally opened, it revealed a simple folded over manila enevelope. Within were a pair of pictures and a note. The first picture was of a pretty little preteen girl being greeted at the front door by her mother. The second was of the front view of Maureen's sister Tammy's place.

The note read:

Story deadlines are such a pain, aren't they? Oh well. You'll do the right thing. Most upstanding family men do. Game. Set. Match.

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Post by Resolute » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:40 am

(Pt. 3)

Tuesday the 11th

The Informer

Headline: Another View- Upbeat on Beat Down!
by Larry Gustavson

What can I say that hasn't already been said about Melanie Rostol? She's been pushed, pulled, and dragged through every last bit of mud over the last week and just when you think it's all been said... Here's another view. A fresh pair of eyes.

I know, I know. We've heard the stories. Love triangles and squares and octapentatriplegons. Debauchery and betrayal. Love, lust, and violence. Melanie's shacking up with this person. Terry King's bagging Peaches who is rubbing on Apple to make a fruit cocktail or whatever. Queen's is lording over an empty nest and some guy Melanie trains just wants to eat his damned sandwich, not her pie!

I, however, have a different source with a different perspective. A source who prefers his privacy and whom I call Mr. Nobody. And what does Mr. Nobody have to say?

Well, let me paint you a picture. A more enchantingly simple portrait in this jumbled ball of crazy and excess that we Rhy'din. In this story, Mr. Nobody shows me the side of a fierce competitor, devout teacher, and a big heart hidden beneath a rough exterior. Of a charitable and sweet Clarice Queen, the secret benefactor of the downtrodden! And why is Terry King not getting enough credit for her spirited perseverence or Andrea Anderson for opening Beat Down's doors to teamless mentees? And Peaches! Goodness, Peaches! All that charm, a dazzling smile, AND that figure? Perhaps the conservative media of our fair realm is sensationalizing things just a little too much.

Maybe we're not having enough faith. I, for one, have certainly changed my mind.

Maybe's it IS time for another view.
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Post by Fourth » Sat Mar 15, 2014 6:07 am

A reaction to realizations about the world around her, all of it....

"No, Revan, you have no f*cking idea what I am." Prophetic, the use of a certain name rang around the dark room Melanie paced in. Every room in the place she called home, a loft deep in the heart of New Haven, was dark. Gothic in form and atavistic in function, she lingered in the residual gloom.

Who, I ask, do you think you're speaking to?
The voice, so much like her own, purred a rending path through the twilight of her abode. Lit only by the pale reflection, two red eyes, on a mask of jagged metal, a figure, barely able to be discerned, haunted Melanie's steps.

"Can I ask you that question? You think this is about the here and now?" Melanie's hands clutched at her temples, she sought some solid anchor among a sea churned by waves. She could feel her head fading under black waters.

"What did you ever have to lose? You started this, our people, but what, if anything, did you ever have to lose? You started from nothing! You could only win, you could only ever do right, Revan. Do you understand that?" So quiet, normally, her voice rang with the bell's final tolling, her accent was screamed into the spaces around. As it bounced across so many angled walls, the sound, a release sought for so long, washed over her with a cooling touch.

Child, stop. Dear daughter, contr-....

"Stop it." She'd been screaming and yelling, she'd poured her rage, her sorrow, her hurt into the world for long enough. As she spoke the pair of words, the deadly, dangerous chill raced along the paths of her throat and resulted in a murmur so cold that it could have only been born in some cave, locked within so much ice, on a windswept tundra. No warmth lived, no fires burned.

I am just trying to help you, Apsa-....

"No, no you're not." She'd long since held those words, those thoughts, close to her heart. Speaking them, allowing them to live in her mind and join the ranks of the real, no longer phantasms, shook her to the core.

"None of you ever did. I trusted you, Revan, I trusted you and my people. Never, never again, will I make the mistake of trusting a single entity again. I've learned, you see, what you never wanted me to know. I've come to realize what you'd tried to hide, so carefully, for so long. All of you, everyone who's ever been close to me. I see it now, I see it with all the clarity of a blind man just given sight. If there is one thing, I will never forget, it is this."

You babble, child, you preach ignorance like a false prophet perched upon a liar's pulpit, lofty and full of naive arrogance. Perhaps you were never worth the titles we laid at your feet, perhaps you were not the one so spoken of.

Able, at times, to release absurd levels, legendary levels, among her people, of raw emotions into the world she so hated, Melanie's anger became a living thing. With a serpent's grace, manifested rage filled the very air around her. Walls cracked, glass shattered. The wave, a pointed thing, pinned a figure, cloaked in shadow, against a crumbling wall. Never before had the figure been so under duress, never before had he been held by such an intense display of undisputed strength of will. Such were the dogs Melanie kept on a leash.

"I speak the truth, Revan. You lie. Think on this, my old friend, think deeply on this.I am not who I once was, I am not what I ever might have been. Rather, I am what you and my sick, twisted culture so desired. I was never, for a moment, given a chance to be anything but what you wanted, what you assumed 'we' needed. Did you, for a moment, stop to think what I needed, what I wanted?" Her questions, treason to her people, fell with the clamor of a ruined world falling in on itself.

The needs of the man-....

"Shut up, shut up, stop!" Back to yelling, back to screaming, Melanie's hands, once more, reached for her temples as if she could, somehow, draw the pain, draw the anger out. "You used me. I was nothing but a weapon designed to further what you needed and what you wanted. It's no different here. I was used to sell advertising rights, I am used to draw crowds. I am used to inspire others, I am used to sell merchandise and t-shirt, I'm used to sign things, I'm used to draw attention." Once more, she confessed what had become, the idea of servitude, so close to the heart that had been formed for her, yet so far from the soul she'd been born with. "You ruined me, Revan, and when I was no longer required, you set me up to fail. From the very first day of my life, you set me up to fail. You hoped I could swim against an impossible tide, and when I failed, each and every single one of you shook your heads as if you were disappointed. You killed me the very day I was born."

Silence. Only silence greeted such a statement. The silence of a man who knew he was caught, the silence of a man found in his lover's bed by an irate wife.

Anger was replaced by a hurt, a crushing weight. Truth. Reality.

"I make few promises, Revan. I am who I will be, you've twisted me to far for me to be anything but what you created. I hope, I dearly do, that you are pleased with the picture you've painted. In the same breath, I can promise you this." As the final words fell, Melanie turned, she slumped on a bed broken by her earlier dance with the devil.

"I can promise you all this, every single one of you. Never, never again will I be a pawn in another person's game. I stand with who I so desire, and aside from that, the vod'e, Sa'ha Vod'e lives with the only one of us ever strong enough to speak the truth. Leave me, liar, leave me, auretti, and come back never more. Chase another through a maze filled with ghosts and false inspiration, for I have seen the truth, I have seen you for what you are."

Beaten, defeated, the once powerful scion of a culture so feared stepped, on silent, careful steps, further into the shadows.
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Post by King » Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:48 am

Posted on the Daily Star's Tabloid Website

The video started by showing Terry King sitting across from the camera woman. Terry seemed rather uneasy with the way she shifted in her seat every now and then. The backdrop being a busy street, along with waitresses walking here and there. Obviously this was taking place in some sort of open restaurant.

"First. I want to say thank you for agreeing to sit down with me." The voice behind the camera said.

"I wasn't expectin' an interview with this date, but.. Yeah, no problem." An honest answer, though not one the viewers might understand; Terry had been duped into this little encounter.

The shifting started once more, but this time to produce a pack of cigarettes out from her pocket. "You don't mind if I smoke?" A question that didn't care for an answer; Terry had already begun lightning up the second the word `mind` left her lips. An exhale of that smoke came soon after.

"No, of course not. I'm going to get straight into this. What is your take on the reaction to your challenge match with your teammate, Melanie?"

".. Eh," An uneasy pause followed. Terry had been about to take another drag; instead she'd snuff it out in the ashtray. "I'd ask where this drama was when Matt Simon busted my knee.. People see that as the guy continuin' his legend of IceDancer defenses, he's a hero. Melanie roughs me up a lil' and she's a villain."

"Are you saying there's a bias in the media?"

"Not jus' the media.. jus' people in general." Terry looked off to the side. Her eyes on the busy street.

"Care to elaborate?" The voice behind the camera tried to push an answer.

"Nah.. Next question." Terry said. Her body beginning to slouch in the seat.

"But, as a teammate.. Shouldn't she have shown some restraint?"

"If she did an' I won, what of it? The title would be tarnished. I ain't no cherity case. I got into that ring knowin' full well what she's capable of.. A lotta' people don't know that we spend a lot of time together practicin', sparrin'.. I knew what her punch felt like before gettin' in that ring." Terry gave the person behind the camera a flat look.

"This ain't a game.. Some lower ranked duelists like actin' like it is, like it's somethin' fun to joke about. Show up Sunday, spar a lil', have a drink an' go home. It ain't like that in Opal ranks. We're really fightin' in the Outback. There's no wards, no protection. We're takin' hits and livin' with them after the night is over. It's real, an' this is what happens in reality. People get hurt. Real talk."

"That answer.. follows up to my next question. Are you having an affair with Mealnie?" An unease heard in the woman's voice when she asked this question.

"Nah.. We're friends. Jus' 'cus two people spend time together don't mean they're bangin'."

"There's images--" The woman tried to continue, but Terry's words cut her off.

"An' they are of us durin' practice. Lady, real talk. You ever fight? I jus' goin' to don't if you're believin' the images. It's grapplin', people are goin' to get close. I'm surprised they used that shot when there's others that coulda' been way more steamy lookin'. She mounted up an' was ready to lay the smackdown. That's all that image was." Terry clicked her tongue and leaned over the table some.

"Babygirl, you come down to the gym and I'll show you a few, then you'll understand." Was Terry's follow up.

"No, no.. I'm bad, very - very bad at physical stuff." There was an awkward chuckle from the woman behind the camera.

"What about Myria Graziano of The Wrecking Crew? There's photos of her visiting you during your hospital stay."

"Easy. We're bangin'." Terry said this far too casual like. Though the smirk growing on her face said something. "You look cute when you're surprised, babygirl.. I was jokin'. Myria kinda' has this big sister vibe goin' on. She came by to see if I was okay, nothin' else. We may be on different teams, but we're all friendly with each other."

Terry then blinked and looked up some. "I do got a girlcrush on her.. but it's completely one sided. I'ma wait for you guys to spin that though." Terry settled back into her slouched posture on the seat.

"Another question, about the new model Beat Down hired. Peaches Haggarty? Is it true that she.. excuse me, slept her way into the position she's in?"

"Real talk? Nah, I pulled the strings. She was lookin' for a new job, we needed a model since our last one moved out of city. We got shirts to sell and Peaches was the type to show 'em off. It's completely professional." Terry shrugged.

"Yet, she's living with you.." The woman behind the camera tried to imply something more.

"We're roommates an' friends." There was a pause then. Terry looked to the woman, who in turn said nothing. Terry blinked a few times then shrugged. ".. An', that's it? What, should I say she makes good grilled cheese or somethin'?"

"You done with the questions?" Terry continued. Her form perking up some. She then reached to snatch at the camera and turned it on the woman. The interviewer looked in her early twenties and wore a rather hipster-esque sort of outfit. Thick, black framed glasses and all. Her hair purple and skin pale.

"Wanna play castin' couch? You ever been on cam before?"

The final seconds before the video ended showed the interviewer sporting a rather bright blush.
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Post by Fourth » Thu Mar 20, 2014 4:58 am

Melanie found herself seated, against her will, before a black screen, a faded tapestry.

So, Melanie. You're the talk of the hour, but do you have anything to say?

"About what?" Already bored, Melanie had begun shredding the paper she was supposed to answer from. So much for that.

Beat Down support? Where was that? A few people spoke out, namely Terry, the person who you fought? Where was Jake Thrash, the Diamond?

"Do you really, really want the answer to that?" She had at least asked. Her stare promised truth, it promised anger.

Absolutely! Excited to get a quote from the mouth of the sport, the reporter leaned in.

"Who the f*ck knows? Maybe if he ever showed up to fight, that'd be nice. If he was ever here, maybe we could ask him, you know? I mean, maybe I'm wrong. but I thought holding a title meant something. I make myself available to fight every single night, every single fighter. The Opals and the Diamond are the face of the sport, but where is the highest ranking fighter? Never there. Aside from that? F*cking Beat Down? Come on, man. Stay on Bad Side. Myria came to see Terry, I did. Clarice did. Apple did. Where was the rest of the team? Who the f*ck knows? And that message from the Diamond on the standings? Get real, kid. If you won't make yourself ready to fight in regulation duels, here's a message. Pray to whatever God you have that we don't get matched up in the Diamond Quest, provided you can lower yourself to show up. Let us get matched up, champ, then you'll have a real reason not to talk, a broken jaw. I don't give a sh*t about a reputation or a record, let it be me and you in a ring. Way to turn your back on a team, champ. Good job. That's what I think about him, really. If he had some nerve, he'd get back in the ring. Until then, I'll offer this as a credited comment. And I quote. 'Get out here and fight us, Jake. Until then? Shut up up on the comments. Until you're willing, today and tomorrow, to back making a joke out of your so called team mate with fists, shut the f*ck up.'

......Silence met that, there was little the reporter could say.

Is there anything else, Melanie? She knew there was a story here, she knew the volatile, dangerous star was on a roll.

"Yeah, actually. Some Opals, some Opals who don't even have the rank, some Opals who come out and fight the same person, week by week, need to, also, shut up. Have an issue with what I say? Fight me. Sure, you took Ice Dancer from me. Fight me again, don't just fight your little boy toy. That's all. Respect the rank, fight with it. Frankly, my money is on Anubis. I dislike him, but I'd sooner have a real fighter hold an Opal, not someone who got lucky. Think you're good? Fight me again. Until then? Parade around. Maybe I'll hurt your mentee, then maybe you'll get some backbone and listen when a real fighter talks. Until then? We all just laugh at you.

Are you calling anyone out in particular?

"F*ck yes I am. Come on, Lilly. Let's fight. Got an issue? I beat on your mentee enough, so come on, man up and defend him. Until you fight at your rank? No one's going to care. That's all I've got to say. You people disgust me enough as it is."

With nothing more, nothing to be said, Melanie shrugged as she stood, she turned as she walked and she faded out of the camera.

Well! You heard it from us, you heard it from her!

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