Alex Shelley whirled around and spied the speaker with a smile. Coming towards him was a blonde girl with a shaggy haircut. He knew her blue eyes and petite stature. She had on a white knee-length tiered skirt and a pink t-shirt. Alex stepped towards her, and grabbed her up in a hug as she reached him.
"Jessa, Jessa. What can I do for you today?"
"I've got news for you!"
"What's that, dollface?"
"I get to manage The Paparazzis," She exclaimed, throwing her arms around his neck. "Cool, huh?"
Alex raised an eyebrow, forcing on a smile. "Sure is!"
"You don't sound too convinced." Said a voice from behind.
Jessa unraveled herself from Alex and grinned at Petey Williams, who was smirking behind the pair. She wiggled over to him and threw her arm around his shoulder. Petey laughed, she was fresh-faced and youthful, almost pixie-ish. It was irresistibly cute.
"Hey Pete! You think it's good I get to manage them, don't you?"
Petey frowned. "I heard. But that means you won't be a part of Team Canada anymore."
"Hey, uh, Petey... Team Canada is a thing of her past now, my friend." Alex said.
He shot a sort of 'shut the hell up' look at Alex. "You didn't have to remind me," Petey turned back to Jessa. "I think it's cool. It'll be a different experience for you."
"Thanks! See Alex, Petey thinks it's a good idea. Plus, the Paparazzis need a little genuine femininity... Johnny isn't cutting it."
"Ha-ha-ha, dollface. Listen, I've got some things to do. I'll see you crazy cats later." Alex said, waving as he headed off.
"Ditto for me, Jess. I've got a match to prepare for tonight."
"Alright. I'll see you later?"
Petey smiled as he headed away, leaving Jessa to herself. Now, the story behind Jessa goes as follows. Jessica Ace, better now known as simply Jessa, was a wrestling fan growing up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She grew up with an under-involved single father with an alcohol problem and was turned onto wrestling at the tender age of four. Wrestling was her escapism when things got rough. She dreamed of one day being a part of the companies she watched. As she got older and life got harder, she saw her dreams slipping away until one day she managed to thieve her way onto a bus with everything she could fit into a duffle bag she carried on her back. With the little money she salvaged stuffed in her pockets, that bus she boarded was on its way to Windsor, Ontario. At the still impressionable age of just seventeen, Jessa shuffled off the bus and into a new city. She flopped down some of the change she had on a cheap hotel room for two days. During the day she wandered the city taking in the sights and trying to find her way around. At night she curled up in the safety of her hotel room... safety after the dresser was shoved in front of the door, and tried to suppress her urge to flick on the television for fear of additional charges she couldn't afford. Her second day she headed back into the city. She walked the familiar routes she'd mapped out the day before until hunger pangs jabbed at her stomach. She stopped at a convenience store for a cheap sandwich and a bottle of water, sitting outside on the curb to eat. A ways across the street, she spotted a large building branded on the side with three large letters. BCW, and underneath read 'Border City Wrestling'. Wide-eyed, Jessa swallowed down the rest of her sandwich, washed it down with a swig of water and headed towards the building. Dashing across the highway, dodging cars on the way, she came to a stop in front of the BCW building. Her eyes glinted as she stood on her tiptoes, straining to glance in the windows on the front doors.
"Hey! What are you doing?" A male's voice yelled from behind.
Jessa whirled around, plastering an innocent smile on her face, shoving her arms behind her back.
"I'm sorry! I'll leave... I didn't mean to disturb anything... I was just across the street and... well I love wrestling and it caught my eye..."
The man squinted at her. He was pudgy with brown hair and glasses. "So you took it upon yourself to think you could interrupt one of our sessions and strut in our door?"
"No, no sir! I'm sorry, really! I've just always wanted to see real wrestling up close. I've been watching since I was four and ... well I always wanted to wrestle. I didn't know it was a school or anything. I'm not from around here. I just got here yesterday."
He raised an eyebrow. "Always wanted to be a wrestler? How old are you?"
"I'll be eighteen in September."
"Only seventeen? Come back in a couple of years and maybe we'll take you in if you're really that interested."
"Really? That'd be awesome! ... But I can't... well..."
Jessa lowered her head. "I don't really have any money. I couldn't pay for it."
The man sighed. "What's your name?"
"Jessica Ace... but I go by Jessa, most of the time."
"Jessica Ace... my name is Scott D'Amore, I own this place. How interested are you in becoming a wrestler?"
"Very much so. I've been watching since I was four-years-old, it's always something I wanted to do. I don't wanna try and feed you some kind of sappy sob story but I haven't had the best of the best in fifteen years and getting out of where I was was the only way I could ever realize any dreams I have. I know I'm just some unknown teenager from Halifax and nothing happens overnight but ...wrestling is something I've wanted to do ever since I could remember."
D'Amore looked mildly impressed by what the blonde had to say. "Jessa... I think I'm in a generous mood. Here's what I'll do for you. If you really are as interested as you say you are and that speech you gave me is from the heart, I'll take you into my school. Here's the catch. You're not old enough to start training with us. Having a seventeen-year-old under my tutelage, in my ring can get me into a lot of trouble. So this is the deal, come back tomorrow morning. 9am sharp. You're even a minute late, you're out. I want you to watch how everything goes. Learn everything. How the boys set up the ring, how they warm-up, how they train. I want you to learn as much of the technicalities and basics as you can before you step foot into my ring. When you're old enough, you can get into the ring and start training. In lieu of payment, you're gonna work your little butt off, you're run and get us whatever we need, and do it promptly. Learn how to take apart and put together the ring. No back-talk none of that crap. Do you think you can handle that?"
"Yes! Definitely, Mr. D'Amore! Thank you so much! You won't regret giving me this chance, I swear! Thank you!"
"Alright. You better be right about this. Where are you staying so if need be, I can get a hold of you?"
"Well... that's the problem. I've only got a day left in this hotel I'm staying at and not enough money for another night."
D'Amore sighed again. "You weren't kidding when you said it's been rough. ...Well come on in, we're heading on a lunch break in a couple of minutes, we'll try and find something for you."
"Thank you so much, Mr. D'Amore! I honestly can't think of how to thank you any more. I'm so grateful for you giving me this chance."
"Okay, okay. Now move it! Be glad you caught me on a good day, missy."
Jessa beamed, fighting back the urge to give this Scott D'Amore man the biggest hug she'd ever given anyone in her life. You wouldn't have been able to pry the grin off her face if you wanted to. Her saucer eyes scanned around the building, landing on the ring in the center where two men were still grappling. One was much shorter, with tight curly brown hair, and the other was tall and young looking with floppy black hair.
"The youngest guy we've got training here is nineteen... are you paying attention?!" D'Amore was saying.
Jessa snapped back to reality. She was vaguely aware of him speaking in the background, but caught little of it. "I'm sorry."
Scott sighed. "Listen. The youngest guy training here is nineteen. I suppose we could start you about the same age. But you've still got a long way to go."
"Yes, Mr. D'Amore." Jessa nodded.
Again, a mildly impressed look. "I'll talk to Alex and see if maybe he wouldn't mind taking you in for a while. I'd suggest one of the others but I'd rather have you around someone closer to your age."
"Which one is Alex?"
"Alex Shelley! Get over here!"
The man with floppy black hair Jessa had been watching in the ring earlier crawled out and jogged over. He grinned.
"What's up, Coach?"
"I need you to do something for me, Alex."
He cringed. "Is it gonna hurt?"
Jessa giggled a little, D'Amore shot her a look and spoke to Alex again. "This is Jessica Ace. She's a curious young lady that's interested in becoming a wrestler. She came here from practically across the country and doesn't have much. She's just about your age and I thought you might not have too much of a negative effect on her."
"O-okay? What's the plan?"
"Can she stay with you? Just until she gets settled enough."
Alex shrugged, looking Jessa over. "No arguments here. I could use the company."
D'Amore sighed. "Turn down your hormones, Alex. She's gonna be running for us until she's old enough to start training in a few months. We've worked out a plan."
"That's none of your concern," D'Amore smirked as Alex deflated. He shook his head then called to the crowd of wrestlers. "Alright you guys! Break for lunch!"
With that, D'Amore walked off, leaving Jessa standing with Alex. He ran his hands over his hair and smiled at her.
"Um. Well. Err, nice to meet you. Jessica, right?"
She nodded. "Call me Jessa, if you want."
Alex wrinkled his nose. "Jessa? Hm. We're gonna need something easier for these meatheads to remember," He laughed. "Got any other nicknames?"
"No... not really."
"Okay, then... lets see. Jessica... Ace, right?"
"Jessica Ace... J... Ace. Jes... hmm... Jace! There we go! Nice and easy. Four letters... like most of their favorite words. Jace. You okay with that?"
"Alright then! Jace, welcome to Can-Am Wrestling School... aka BCW aka Border City Wrestling. Most of us here are pretty cool, but you gotta watch out for the skeezy ones. You'll learn pretty quick who they are. We're having lunch about now. Most of us bring our own stuff, easy for the proper kinda... what's it called... nourishment, yeah, that. Fruit, power bars, water, whatever. We generally chill in here but some of those lucky bastards go out for a while. But when they come back late, man does Coach give 'em an earful."
Jessa nodded along and as Alex began to speak again, the short man he was wrestling earlier snuck up behind him, shoving him forward and almost into her. Jessa sidestepped and Alex stumbled forward, regaining his footing and whirled around to face his striker.
"Ha, ha funny, Petey!"
"Whose the girl?"
"Rude," Alex wrinkled his nose again. "This is Jessica Ace. She's got ...err... well I don't exactly know what, but she's here! I've nicknamed her Jace... just cos it'll be easier for these straight A's to remember. Jace, this is Petey Williams."
Petey smiled at her, extending his hand. "Nice to meet you."
Jessa gave a shy smile back and shook Petey's hand. "You too."
Alex nudged Petey, muttering to him. "Naaah dude. She's underage or something."
Petey snorted "Then put a sleeper on your boner, Alex."
He gaped. "Not funny!"
"Um guys. Standing right here." Jessa waved her hand at the two.
Both men blushed before Petey slid down against the way, shortly followed by Alex. Jessa stood, still feeling slightly shy about her new environment.
"You can sit down you know, we don't bite... hard." Alex said with a laugh.
Jessa laughed nervously, dropping down to the floor, pulling her knees up to her chest.
"So what brings you here, Jace?" Petey asked.
"It's a long story." She whispered.
A shrug. "We've got time."
"It's nothing really special."
"Stop making excuses. Just tell us, it's not like you're some kind of illegal alien or anything."
"Like you, Alex?" Petey smirked.
"Shut up." Alex gave him the finger.
"You guys really wanna know?"
Jessa craned her neck backwards to see another man standing behind her. He had curly hair, dyed red and was about Petey's size, he flopped down next to Alex and tossed a brown paper sack towards Petey, lunch, supposedly.
"What's going on, Sabin? No food for me?" Alex said.
He snorted. "Nah, bro. You know where it's at."
"Whatever. Anyway, you just interrupted our new friend here," Alex gestured at Jessa. "Loser, this is Jace...Jessa um...pick one, and Jace this is Chris Sabin."
"Hi." Jessa gave a slight wave.
"Go on, Jace. Give us a story." Petey said.
Jessa sighed. "Well... I don't really know where to start.."
"Eh? Where are you from? What's your pet tadpole's name. Wherever." Alex said.
"I was born here in Windsor, but I grew up in Halifax. I guess that's why I wanted to come back here. I don't really remember much about it here... we moved when I was about a year old. Anyway... I'm not exactly the most privileged child ever but I'm not here to tell you guys some kinda of sorry sob story. Uh, I've been watching wrestling since I was about three. After my Mom split, my Dad just kinda kept to sticking me in front of the television to shut me up. He sorta developed this drinking problem, he was in denial or something that my Mom had actually left, I guess he thought she was coming back. I can't really blame her, my Dad's an asshole. I dunno, I guess I kinda resent her for not taking me," Jessa shrugged, tucking her hair behind her ears. "I've pretty much been into any kind of wrestling the stations would pick up, it doesn't matter to me. I mean... I'm so fascinated by everything that wrestling entails. When I turned... I dunno, six, I said that's what I wanna do. I mean normal six-year-old girls wanna be ballerinas, and fairies, and princesses but I wanted to get into a ring and wrestle. I was just kinda left to my own most of the time, my Dad wasn't exactly around. He worked nine-to-five and drank five-to-nine. I found my own way to school, my own way home. I didn't do after school stuff cos I'd never be able to make it. I went to school, came home, did my homework, and put on the TV. But it started to get really crazy. My Dad got these... rages and he'd scream and yell and throw things and all I could do was lock my door turn the wrestling up as loud as I could. So it comes to a few days ago. I packed my stuff while my Dad was at work and hid it in my room, so when he came home and passed out... I... took two hundred bucks... and don't you guys think I'm some kind of thief. I'm not proud of it and I'd never do it again, it was my only choice if I wanted to survive. Well, I got a bus ticket up here and a cheap hotel and here I am today."
All three men were sitting, mouths slightly agape. Jessa drew her knees closer up to her chest, resting her chin on them.
"Well one of you say something! Quit staring at me."
"That's quite a story, Jessa," Petey said finally. "You're a tough kid, that's for damn sure. How old are you, anyway?"
Chris choked on his drink. "Seventeen? You're yanking our chains right? You've got to be kidding."
"Nah. I'm only seventeen. I'll be eighteen in September."
From then on, she'd always considered Petey, Chris, and Alex three of her closest friends. Out of the three, she'd certainly gotten to know Alex the best. She stayed with him for a year while she was training at BCW and by the time Alex signed his contract to come to TNA, Jessa had earned enough money working odd jobs between training to find an apartment of her own. A week before Alex left for Florida he helped Jessa move her things into the apartment. Just two short years later he (along with Petey and Chris) were helping her move new things down south in preparation of her coming to TNA. And now she'd been a part of TNA since she was nineteen-years-old and was having the time of her life. She was the only female in Team Canada and played the part of the "unspoken" girlfriend of Petey Williams, meaning of course, she was completely off-limits and anyone who dared mess with her was in for a Canadian Destroyer and quick. But soon she was jumping from Team Canada to manage Petey's rival X-Division superstars in the Paparazzis. Which, in essence, would ignite an X-Division feud between Alex and Petey. Jessa worked well with Petey and the rest of Team Canada because she had trained with them all in BCW, along with Alex and Chris, who she assumed she'd click with on-air just as well. Jessa was more than happy in the role she was in, she had fun with the boys of Team Canada, they were all like her older brothers. As were most of the guys in TNA, with the exception of Alex Shelley. Sure in the beginning she felt the 'brotherly love' towards Alex, but after living with him and being around him for so long, the brotherly feelings she had towards him disintegrated completely and were replaced with something much stronger.
Jessa and Alex had dated for a year. Everyone they knew said they saw it coming. However for the two involved it came out of left field. They hadn't expected it, or really once they got together, imagined it would last for as long as it did. She spent more time at Alex's house than at her own for an entire year. They were practically attached at the hip, inseparable, two-peas-in-a-pod, all that jazz. So when they broke up, it was quite the blow. Luckily for those that were close to them, the two parted on extremely good terms and remained friends. Though for Jessa, Alex was her first love and far too often her feelings flirted on the lines of strong and mild when it came to him. There was something about Alex that was just a little too irresistible. Almost a year after they decided to split, they agreed to get back together, in a sense. Not officially, more along the lines of friends with benefits. This, however, no one knew about. Except Alex, Jessa, and her closely trusted friend Traci.