I know, I'm bad I've started another fic and have SO many unfinished ones left... but I've really been dying to write about Drew McIntyre for quite some time now. There's a few things I should point out regarding this fic. First, yes, I'm fully aware that Maryse is not part of the SmackDown roster anymore. Let's pretend she is, please :D It'll all make sense as the fic goes on, I promise. Second, the main OC had a sister who's name may look like it's misspelled, it's not, it's the Finnish form of the name and I thought it looked really awesome spelled that way. Last, I used Google Translate for the lines in French throughout this fic, so if there are any readers who are French speakers and it makes no sense, I'm terribly sorry LOL! I checked and double checked and cross-referenced with Babelfish to try and get the most accurate form of what I was trying to say.
"No. Absolutely not."
Three people sat in Vince McMahon's office, the chairman himself included. One of others was Drew McIntyre, SmackDown's fastest rising star. The third, was me, petite brown-haired with dark blue streaks coursing through it and blue-violet eyes. I sat in the chair parallel to Drew, my hands folded in my lap, my eyes slanted towards the tall man beside me.
"Mr. McMahon, with all due respect, I don't need a woman on my side to prove myself," Drew was saying, leaning forward and gesturing over at me. "I'm quite sure she's more than capable of managing someone else."
McMahon waved off Drew's statement. "I assure you, Miss Lahti is, like yourself, a rising star. Putting the two of you together is a no-brainer. You have dominated the roster of superstars and she will do the same within the roster of divas. Now, with all due respect, Mr. Galloway," McMahon said, almost mockingly. "I suggest you take the opportunity in front of you. If you indeed desire to continue to climb the ranks as quickly as you have."
McMahon gave Drew a pointed look. The Scotsman's jaw tightened and he seemed to work very hard to relax it before replying.
"Fine. It'll be an adjustment, but I suppose I'll have to endure." Drew murmured.
"Good man," McMahon said, clapping his hands together. "Now, why don't the two of you go and get to know each other. We'll see what type of chemistry you two can cook up."
Clearly dismissed, Drew and I rose and headed out the door. I crossed my arms and followed next to him. Seeming to only now realize my presence, Drew looked over...and down at me. How embarrassing.
"Are you following me?" He snapped.
"We were told to do something, weren't we?" I said.
Drew raised an eyebrow at my voice, and I knew he'd picked up on my accent. "Where are you from?"
"Does that matter?" I asked. "Wouldn't it be a bit more astute to ask my name?"
"Fine. What is your name?"
"Alise Lahti - or Irena Ryland, my ring name," I replied. "And I'm from Finland, since you're curious."
Drew nodded tersely. "I'm not sure what type of chemistry they're expecting us to have, but I will let you know now. I'm not exactly...pleased, with having a valet."
"No? I wouldn't have guessed," I said sarcastically. "I'm not exactly looking forward to having to trail you, but if it means exposure, then I suppose I can endure working with you. Oh, and let's be clear, Drew. I'm not just your valet, alright? I'm a wrestler, that's what I came here for."
He smirked. "Have fun with these females. If you've got any sort of talent you don't belong among them."
"Do you have a problem with female wrestlers?" I asked.
"No, not at all. I've got respect for any athlete that's good at what they do. To be honest, not a lot of these girls fit that bill as far as I'm concerned."
"You must have awfully high standards," I flicked my hair as Drew and I started walking again. "However will I meet them."
"Is sarcasm your only defense," Drew said. "Because it does get old after a while."
"No, it's not. But thank you for noticing, apparently people have a difficult time identifying my sarcasm and just think I'm a horrible bitch," I said, smiling dispassionately at Drew. "Now, what's the reason for your...underwhelming attitude?"
"Your stage name is unusual," Drew said, disregarding my statement.
"You think? Irena is my middle name. Ryland was my Mother's maiden name. It's a tribute of sorts, to her. She passed two years ago," I said. "She supported me more than anyone. In this whole wrestling thing. She always told me to follow my dreams."
Drew's icy exterior seemed to thaw slightly. "That's a lovely memorial to her, then. It's nice the name means something to you."
I smiled gently. "Thanks. But you never answered my question."
I walked in front of Drew, heading into the catering room. Grudgingly, he followed and sat with me at a table. I rested my chin on the heel of my hand and looked over at him expectantly. Drew rolled his eyes and sighed.
"I don't mean to be... underwhelming, as you put it. It's just that I'm not entirely thrilled..."
"With being teamed up with a female. I understand. Us girls aren't good for much in the male eyes of the wrestling biz anymore," I said nonchalantly, waving my free hand. "All we want is to be taken seriously and people tend to piss all over that. Just because we're pretty, and some of us wear skimpy costumes means we can't be taken seriously. We're just eye candy to a lot of people. I'll be completely honest with you, mainstream Women's wrestling has gone down the drain since the days of the 2001 or so. But what can we do, restoring credibility to an entire division is more than a one woman job."
Drew blinked, his jaw dropping slightly. I smiled mildly at him and tucked my hair behind my ear.
"If that's what you really think," He said once he'd recovered. "Then what are you doing here?"
"I said it's more than a one woman job, but I didn't mean that I wasn't part of the workforce. Wrestling has been my dream for longer than I can remember. Forgive me for tooting my own horn but I know I'm beautiful and talented. I'm going to do whatever the hell it takes to be taken seriously in this sport. And if it means being teamed with a talented bloke such as yourself, then I'm not going to object to a good opportunity when it's laid out in front of me. You don't get many chances like this, and I for one don't plan on messing it up."
The Scotsman sat back, looking impressed. He gave a small smile. "Well. You'll have to forgive me for misreading you, Alise. That wasn't at all what I expected. You sound very passionate...I'm looking forward to seeing you in the ring now."
"See, all you had to do was give me a chance," I smiled winningly at my new partner. "I'm not such a bad girl."
"Indeed," Drew said. "This could be an interesting partnership after all."
I stood, smoothing out the back of my dress. "Well Drew, I hate to cut this short but I've gotta be going. I've got a match to get ready for," I smiled at him and started for the door. Pausing, I turned to him, biting my lip. "I look forward to working with you."
I gave him the barest of winks and headed out the door. Walking to the lockeroom, I had to admit to myself that - in the beginning - I wasn't exactly excited about teaming with Drew either. However, I'd seen his in-ring performance and was definitely impressed. Drew was aggressive, talented, and just about ruthless. I appreciated all those things about him.
Heels clicking, I turned the corner and opened the door to the lockeroom and slipped inside. There was a tall blonde in the room, speaking rapid-fire French into a cell phone. Surprised, being half French (and half Finnish) myself, I smiled and sat on one of the cushioned folding chairs as she blonde hung up her phone with a frustrated sigh.
"Bonjour, comment allez-vous?" I said.
The blonde jumped, spinning towards me. "You speak French?"
The surprise and slight annoyance was high in her thickly accented voice. I nodded. "Oui, quel est votre nom?"
"Mon nom est Maryse. Qui êtes-vous?"
"I'm Alise. Nice to meet you, Maryse." I replied.
"Are you new here?" Maryse said, pulling a face.
Maryse outright laughed, flicking her hair. "You're Irena Ryland? I'm terribly sorry for you. You have to wrestle Maria tonight."
I raised an eyebrow as Maryse pulled up a chair in front of me. "Why do you say that?"
"Because. Maria is... a complete mess in the ring. She's not exactly as...skilled, as the rest of us. Not to mention... she's pretty stupid."
"Glad to see you have so much... faith in your coworkers." I remarked, crossing my arms.
"Oh, I have faith in the ones who deserve it. But everyone seems to think Maria," Maryse spat her name like it tasted bad. "Is the golden girl, is the best thing to happen to the Woman's division since Trish Stratus. No, she... tries but... there's just so much about her that isn't... genuine."
I raised an eyebrow, tilting my head. "So is this born of fact, or jealousy, Maryse?"
The blonde barked a laugh. "Jealousy? No, no, no. Just wait until you meet her, there's nothing to be jealous of. Just be careful not to get hurt in the ring with her..."
There was a slight commotion outside the door. Loudly laughing voices, one clearly female, and one male. The doorknob turned and Maryse wrinkled her nose in distaste, sitting back in her chair. The door opened and a petite redhead walked in, she was laughingly bidding goodbye to her companion as she drug a pink bag through the door with her.
"Oh, hey Maryse!" She beamed, patting the blonde's shoulder as she passed.
Maryse pulled a face the redhead couldn't see but plastered on a smile, looking pointedly at me. "Hello Maria. Won't you say hello to our new diva?"
Maria grinned, and bounced over. Her energy made me pull back from her slightly. "Hey! I'm Maria Kanellis, nice to meet you!"
"Nice to meet you too. I'm Alise Lahti."
"Ooh, gorgeous name! Very exotic sounding," Maria giggled, grabbing a chair and pulling it up to the two divas. "What's your background?"
"Ah, I'm half Finnish, half French-Canadian." I said.
Maryse made a lightly interested noise beside them while Maria beamed even brighter.
"That's so cool! So are you wrestling on the show tonight?" She asked.
"Yes, I'm wrestling you, actually." I said.
Maryse stood suddenly. "I think I'll leave the two of you to get acquainted. I've got to meet Nattie for lunch anyway. Ta-ta ladies," Maryse headed for the door, then turned back to me and said: "Bonne chance ce soir. Vous aurez besoin de elle."
Maryse chuckled and spun out the door. Maria shrugged in the blonde diva's wake and turned back to me. I didn't see much of a problem with Maria. She was a bit overly chipper but that wasn't exactly an outstanding fault. I thought over Maryse's assessment of our fellow diva as she babbled at me about our match later on. I dropped nods and interested hums in appropriate places as my thoughts wandered back to the tall, lean Scotsman that I was going to be teaming up with. A small smile overcame me, I couldn't deny that he was attractive with his long brown hair and blue eyes. I tuned into Maria for the first time since Maryse left the room, interrupting her current sentence.
"Hey Maria. What do you know about Drew McIntyre?" I blurted.
Surprised, Maria blinked rapidly several times before replying. "Oh, Drew's pretty nice. He's kinda quiet though. He's super cute and that accent is to die for. He kinda keeps to himself but he's really good friends with John Hennigan..."
"That's Morrison, right?" I asked.
"Yup. You know McIntyre isn't Drew's real last name, right? It's Galloway, which I think is totally cuter than McIntyre," Maria babbled. "Why do you ask? Oh my God are you into him because that would be totally amazing! We've been trying to get Drew a lady for months. It's like he's waiting for fate or something and if he keeps that up he's going to be a lonely guy for a while."
"There's nothing wrong with waiting for the right person," I said, pushing a little attitude into my voice. "That doesn't mean he's going to be lonely. If you're not interested in dating someone there's no shame in that."
Maria went tight-lipped for a second but her smile returned in an instant. "I didn't mean anything bad by it. It's just that... it seems like he wants someone but he's not going for it. It's a shame cos he's a real sweetheart..."
"Listen, Maria I don't want to sound rude or anything but I don't care about Drew's personal life. I only asked what you knew because I'm going to be managing him." I said.
Maria deflated slightly. "Oh man, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to jump to conclusions or anything. I just thought..."
"It's okay, Maria. Thanks anyway."
A few hours later, I was back in the lockeroom after going through my match with Maria and my appearance with Drew after his match, I was suiting up for said match. My ring gear consisted of short red shorts and a white midriff bearing halter top that had red pyramid studs along the neck and around the arms. My brand new boots were pristine white and were covered with red kick-pads. White elbow pads and a long red jacket with 'Ryland' printed on the back finished off the outfit. I fluffed my hair as I headed out the door towards the mark where I was to meet Drew following his match. There was a monitor nearby and I watched as Drew positively demolished R-Truth and picked up the win. Cameras were quickly positioned in the spot where I stood and I took my place as my spied Drew entering the scene.
Six loud claps brought Drew's attention around. Behind him was a woman dressed in red and white. She was smiling as she placed her hands on her hips and swayed towards him. The Scotsman raised an eyebrow at the petite woman as she only continued to smile at him.
"Can I help you?" He asked.
"You're Drew McIntyre, correct?" She asked, her voice sultry.
"That's right," He said. "I'll ask you again, can I help you?"
"No, no. I've just been... observing you," The brunette said. "My name is Irena Ryland, and I'm very impressed with you, Mr. McIntyre. You're going to be a champion very, very soon."
Irena walked up to Drew and touched his chest, drawing her finger down the center of his toned abs. He flinched slightly and Irena smiled.
"May I ask, Miss Ryland, what exactly is your interest in me?" Drew said, catching her wrist and pulling it away from him.
"You're a walking success story Drew. Who wouldn't be interested in you? You're strong and talented and absolutely ruthless," Irena smiled, sliding her wrist out of Drew's grip. She walked a slow circle around him as she spoke. "I find those admirable traits in a young superstar. You're better than everyone you've faced. You're unbeaten, and it's only a matter of time before they realize that your potential is limitless. You've bulldozed through every pathetic opponent they've put in front of you. That's certainly a feat worth taking note of. And trust me, I've taken note of a lot of things about you. Now, like I said earlier. I'm very impressed by you and I daresay that I'm positive you'll be impressed with me."
Drew grabbed Irena by the elbow as she rotated around him again, he pulled her in front of him and scowled at her. "What makes you so sure of that? You could be just like every other diva around here..."
"But I'm not," She cut in. "I'm like you. I've got what it takes to be the best. It's only a matter of time before these divas know to stay out of my way. I'll be Women's champion before you can blink, and that's something you can count on. Now, I have a proposal for you, Mr. McIntyre."
"Do you now? I suppose I'll humor you. Let's hear it."
"You and I could be the greatest superstar-diva tandem to ever exist on SmackDown. We are the biggest stars on this brand, on any brand. Together we'd be unstoppable, and completely dominant. We could help each other and stand on top of this business together."
Drew raised an eyebrow at the girl in front of him. She had a mischievous smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye that promised her words were true. McIntyre scrutinized the diva for a long moment before finally replying.
"You've got a lot of proving to do, Miss Ryland. If you are everything you say you are, we'll see about this little proposal of yours. But let me establish this now. I don't need somebody getting in my way, and I'm not a babysitter. I'm not here to look after you and I don't need you to always be at my heels."
"Trust me, Drew, you won't have to worry about any of that. I'm positive you'll like what you see. If you don't already, that is," The brunette winked and twirled her finger around Drew's loose ponytail. "By the way, you can call me Irena. Now that the formalities are over, that Miss Ryland business has got to go."
Irena pulled her finger loose from Drew's hair and brushed past him. Drew turned as she headed off, swaying her hips as she walked. Drew shook his head, walking in the opposite direction as SmackDown cut to commercial. When the program returned, an unfamiliar theme music was playing across the arena and the petite brunette that was seen talking to Drew McIntyre before the break was making her way down to the ring.
"The following Divas contest is scheduled for one fall. Making her way to the ring, from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Irena Ryland!"
Irena smirked as she headed down the ramp and pulled herself gracefully onto the ring apron. She ducked into the ring and posed momentarily for the crowd before waving them off and Maria's theme began to play.
"And her opponent, from Chicago, Illinois, Maria!"
Maria blew her kisses and bounced down the ramp, posing as she got into the ring. The bell sounded and Irena shrugged out of her jacket, tossing it to the outside of the ring. Maria stood her ground as Irena walked up to her looking unimpressed. Maria baited the new diva and earned a strong slap across the face for her effort. Maria stumbled and Irena took advantage with a kick to the midsection. She took Maria over with a fast arm drag and rolled into an armbar, pulling back.
"Irena Ryland is our newest Diva on SmackDown and she's starting off pretty impressively against Maria here." Matt Striker said. "She's quite the beauty of Finnish - that's Finland Todd - and French-Canadian descent and I hear she's fluent in three languages."
"You sure seem to know a lot about her, Striker." Todd Grisham remarked.
"That's because I do my homework on new talent, Todd. You should try it sometime."
Maria had made her way to the bottom rope, forcing Irena to break the hold. The brunette was on her feet again in an instant and landed a kick into Maria's midsection and took her over with a snap suplex. Irena went for a quick cover but Maria kicked out after two. Irena picked Maria up and hit her with a big European uppercut. Maria hit the mat and Irena quickly hit a standing moonsault, following it with another pin attempt. Maria kicked out after two again and as Irena picked her up, she wriggled out of her opponent's grip and hit her with a forearm smash. Maria kicked Irena in the stomach and went for a bulldog but Irena used her momentum to toss her, straddled, into the turnbuckle. Irena backed up and bit Maria with a dropkick to the back, smashing her into the turnbuckles yet again.
"No matter who you are, that's gotta hurt," Todd Grisham said. "Maria's in deep trouble in this match."
"Maybe that's the reason Irena Ryland was so interested in Drew McIntyre. Aggression wise, those two seem to have quite a bit in common."
Irena pulled Maria out of the turnbuckles by the back of her hair, slamming her down to the mat. Irena went for another pin but Maria's foot was on the rope. Irena pulled Maria back and dropped into another pin but Maria kicked out again. She picked Maria up and attempted an Irish whip but Maria reversed it, sending Irena into the ropes and hitting her with a clothesline. Slightly favoring her back, Maria baited Irena up and hit her with another quick clothesline. Irena got back to her feet and countered Maria's oncoming attack with a kick in the midsection that dropped the redhead to her knees. Irena ran at her and hit her with a single-legged dropkick. Irena went for another pin but Maria kicked out yet again.
"Maria showing some serious tenacity here against Irena Ryland, who's turned out to be a quite unforgiving opponent." Todd said.
"That indeed Todd, but by the same token after this many near falls in a match up this is where a competitor starts to let the frustration set in. That, however, doesn't seem to be the case here with Irena, she looks to be calm and collected and that's a trait of a truly calculating and aggressive athlete." Striker put in.
As Irena pulled Maria up off the mat again, the redhead pushed her back into the turnbuckles. Maria moved back, going for a running attack but Irena hit her with a one-armed side slam. Maria groaned as she hit the mat and Irena drug her into the center of the ring, flipping her onto her stomach. She stood over Maria, grabbing her wrists and crossed them under her chin, pulling back on her arms as she placed a knee in Maria's back.
"What a hold! I've been told that Irena calls that the Douleur, which simply means pain in French. Trust me Maria is in plenty of that! That move is putting pressure on Maria's neck, arms, and back all at once. Maria has nowhere to go with this hold locked in." Matt Striker said.
In seconds, Maria was shouting that she quit. Irena dropped Maria's arms forcefully back to the mat as she stood upright and the referee raised her hand in victory.
"Here is your winner, Irena Ryland!"
Irena rolled out of the ring and was immediately met by Josh Mathews. Irena glanced over him, a slight look of disdain on her face.
"Irena congratulations on winning your debut match here on SmackDown..."
Before Josh could say more, Irena wrapped her fingers around his, pulling the microphone towards her. She smirked into the camera and said: "Is that proof enough for you, Drew?"
Irena shoved Josh's arm back and sauntered up the ramp as her music played behind her.
Following the match, I was met backstage by my intended partner, Drew. He'd changed after his match and was wearing a teal colored button-down and black slacks. His hair was loose at his shoulders and I had to stop myself from gasping at the sight of him. I backed up a few steps so I wasn't craning my neck to look up at him.
"Drew!" I exclaimed, looking around.
"No cameras," He chuckled lowly. "Just us. I'm very impressed with that match. You're quite the competitor."
I blushed. "Why thank you, Mr. Galloway. I appreciate that."
Drew gave me a small smile and reached out, twirling one of the strands of blue in my hair around his finger. "It's Drew. The formalities are over, remember?"
He released my hair and smiled - no, smirked - at me before walking away.