"Punk, man it's been too long!"
A minute later and they'd hugged and sat on the worn sofa. The interview was taking place at Colt's apartment and although it was nowhere near as nice as anything Punk could afford he knew his friend wouldn't judge. As the day had worn on he'd tidied and re-arranged his living space more times in three hours than he had in the three years of ownership. On the table nearby sat ready a digital recorder and a mic, a list of questions and, of course, a bucket full of ice and Pepsi cans.
It was a shock to Colt that his friend had even agreed to do the interview, let alone got company clearance to just shoot the breeze about his career before the big time. Days of careful thought had gone into the questions, balanced somewhere between comedic and journalistic, neither too high or too low-brow. He wanted to get some interest for the podcast but not make it seem like he was using a long time buddy for a leg up and some quick fame like others might surmise.
"So, my friend, shall we do this?"
"I think we should, its what you asked me here for after all. That and the fact that the show tonight is across town at the Allstate. You want a ticket?"
"Yeah, that'd be great. I haven't been to an 'E event for years. Last one I was at I wrestled it..."
The awkward and forced sounding laughter echoed in the obvious gulf that seemed to have developed between their careers. Both men knew they could hold their own with the best, knew they were destined for better pay than the indies and to wrestle where an audience of fifty was an abbreviation for the tens of thousands and not the actual figure. They'd both been gold for ROH and ideal for WWE. It was just a shame that their paths had taken such different twists.
Shaking his head Colt got his thoughts back in order and reached over for the mic and the questions. He threw a can of Pepsi to Punk and cleared his throat before starting to speak with just enough time for a quick half prayer for help to keep his shit together.
The half hour of chat passed surprisingly quickly and soon after came the call from the talent handler in the car outside that it was time to get going. Walking Punk to the door was a surreal experience for Colt. It felt like the walk of shame of the morning after, as if the quietly called taxi was outside and neither party knew if there would be a call or text to follow. Punk told him where to go to at the arena to collect his comped ticket but Colt was barely listening to the words. The glint of the silvery lip ring caught his eye and all he could think of was how he'd watched that ring back in the day, spellbound by the voice and the lips but rarely ever hearing the words.
He'd often wanted to reach out and touch it, something he'd finally found the courage to do on their last night before he was left behind and Punk went on to OVW. They'd spent the evening talking and he felt wasted despite not having drunk a drop for weeks; one of those nights where the darkness had faded to a pale dawn and that seemed to be enough to space them both out. He was sprawled on the sofa, Punk on the floor beside him and some shitty late night motown session on the radio. It was in the days before the heavy beard, when most of the hair was on his friend's head and coloured a horrific peroxide blonde. Colt stared down and, finally finding the words, asked if it ever hurt when he got hit in the mouth. A simple shake of the head was his answer. He asked how it fastened and if it ever came loose, his excuse being that he'd never had more than his ears pierced so he had no idea how that kind of thing worked. Staring straight up into his eyes Punk had invited him to grab it, in fact even pulled his lip down to show the fastening as he muttered for Colt to pull it. He didn't need telling twice but immediately felt the clumsy fumbling of his sausage fingers when the soft breaths brushed against the back of his hand.
The fleeting memory of the cool metal skipped across his fingertips and he rubbed them together as if sprinkling the sensation on the ground. Eventually brought back into the room by the soft calling of his name, Colt looked around and saw Punk standing in the doorway waving wildly to attract his attention.
"I gotta go. Pick your ticket up and then boo me. Lots of booing. That's how it's still done in case you forgot face-boy. I can't get you backstage after but I'll catch a cab over later if you wanna talk some more crap before I have to fly out?"
"Sounds good. Have a good match wrestling that giant pile of shit man. I wish you well!"
After a shared smile he saw the doorway empty and heard the footsteps hitting then skipping down the stairs towards the door three floors down. He closed his door and there was the click of metal then back to silence. It had been a while since genuine fun and laughter had filled his apartment like that. Colt was glad of it and even more glad that he'd had the chance to kick back with his friend. His best friend and the man who's very presence made his heart come close to stopping. He'd never understood where the feelings had come from or how they stashed themselves away from time to time. All he knew is that he had them for no other.
He planned to shower, eat and then go to the show. Things that didn't sound half as exciting as his heart rate was telling him they were.
The show went off without a hitch. Being in the crowd at such a big event was nice but made him feel down about the fact that one different gimmick could've made him the Luke Gallows of the piece, hell, even the Santino rather than a member of the extensive future endeavoured stable would've been okay. Punk had unceremoniously been laid out by Paul but although it was a filler match it was still airtime so not all bad Colt figured. He'd left as soon as the main event ended, beating the traffic by walking a few blocks before hailing a taxi home. On the way he called at the 7-11 to grab their snacks of choice back in the day, Cheetos, hummus and Reese's Pieces. Just buying them made him smile, knowing that they were partly the reason he still wrestled in a singlet.
Back at his apartment he chastised himself for being so optimistic. He knew how WWE worked. Punk would get called backstage to go do some signing, promo work, meetings with creative; whatever bullshit they had hanging around for him to do. After experiencing the schedule of a day's travel, work and publicity Colt knew he was getting his hopes up that there would be time for them to finish their chat.
A loud buzzing sound woke Colt and he looked around, startled when he glanced over towards the window and saw that it was still dark. He grabbed his cellphone off the table but there was no message, no missed call. Tossing it on the couch beside him he used both hands to rub at his tired eyes, his phone display announcing that it was 1am already. Standing up he stretched his arms out wide, catching a glimpse of the bag from the store sitting on the old fashioned sideboard as he rolled his neck. Disappointment was just getting the better of him when he heard the buzz again.
It was then that he realised that it wasn't his phone that had made the first noise. Dashing over to the door he pressed the intercom.
"It's cold. Are you going to let me in or shall I just walk half an hour back to go sit and hold hands with Bryan. I'd even let you watch..."
"Fuck you Punker!"
Pressing hard on the button he heard the static fizz as the intercom went dead at the other end. He pulled his front door open and heard the dull thud of footsteps as they approached. For his trouble he soon saw Punk rounding the last flight of stairs, a bag in his hand and a smile on his face.
"And to think I brought you a gift you ungrateful..."
"Don't say Jew. And hey, I never said I didn't want the gift. Besides which I'm guessing what you really mean is 'Colt, here's the free shit they were giving away to the VIP comps that got a box and not a shitty seat 45 rows back.' Am I right?"
No words were needed, the bag merely being slung onto the sideboard and the gift accepted.
"Of course. I need a glass though if you got one. Paul bust my fucking lip again. He's a liability, don't know how he's even still got a job."
Colt was still listening as he walked away, thanking his lucky stars that he'd stolen so many glasses from his mother last time he went home. Finding a non-beer branded one was tough but he dug out a plain one, rinsed it and grabbed some cans of Pepsi from the fridge. Heading back into the lounge he saw Punk had already taken the opportunity to make himself comfortable, sneakers kicked off and his feet crossed and perched on the coffee table. The loose fitting jeans did nothing to enhance or show off the defined figure but were a staple of a limited and thrift store driven wardrobe. Money still hadn't managed to change the man.
"Good crowd tonight. I enjoyed it."
"Yeah, they were okay. Kinda dead for some of the night but who wouldn't be watching Ste-sorry, Sheamus. That guy has less charisma than Claudio."
"Not easy done buddy, Claudio can be a real miserable asshole."
They laughed a little and went on to share stories about how Claudio had legit made them both miserable, how they'd kicked his ass and stiffed him every now and again just to repay his many kindnesses. Colt got the snacks and they shared them as they drank soda and talked, hours passing and the sun threatening to come up before they even realised the moon was leaving. One topic led to another; they played talk tennis with funny stories, catchups and tales of chance meetings that had long since been forgotten until that night.
"What time do you have to get going?"
"I got a flight at around 1, lands me into New York around 3, maybe 3.15 this afternoon. I packed my stuff up before I came across so I can go straight to the airport. Car's gonna be here around 12 seeing as we're on pre-boards again."
"Cool. I kinda miss the good travel. Not the '8 hours in a car listening to Hero farting his ass off' but the business class, the comped meal upgrades and the nice hotels."
"You know its a pain in the ass at times though. You've been there when planes don't come in and its time to go to the rental counter. You might have to put up with it again some day, you never know."
The same silence as earlier descended between them, the talk easier when it was about other people's missed chances. Punk was the first to break the quiet of the long minute.
"You mind taking a look at this lip for me? I think I really split it bad. The trainers said it was okay but I'm not sure."
Shuffling across the couch Colt moved closer and fixated back on the circle of steel. The skin at the side of it was split open and the scab starting to form slowly. He inspected it as gingerly as possible, barely touching it with one finger.
Punk let go of the sore looking flesh from where he'd been holding it and his lip dragged across the fingertip still in contact with the steel. Their eyes met and the spark in the air was enough to start a wildfire.
"Looks a little sore to me. I can go see what I have in the bathroom that might fix it up?"
Colt made the offer in earnest, his desire to help a friend as strong as his desire for anything else.
"Cabana, were you ever planning on telling me you wanted to fuck me?"
The blunt statement stopped Colt dead, his hand falling slowly back to its original resting place on his leg. His mouth gaped open and goldfished shut and then open again, no words or sounds making their way out. He realised that he should've already laughed it off or gotten highly offended about the insinuation. Instead his bluff was called and he didn't know what the hell to do about it.
"I spoke to Roddy. He called me up when you mailed him about being on your podcast, wanted to know what it was like. He said a few things, nothing you'd said to him but, stuff. Like years ago stuff that I never noticed. Made sense after though, some of the shit you used to say and do. No awards for subtlety for you Cabana. No awards at all. Real shame you wanted to fuck the most ignorant guy in the business though."
Shaking his head Colt still couldn't speak, his usual calm confidence having escaped him altogether. Running his hand through his hair was an attempt to bring some sense back, to decipher if what he'd heard was what had been said. Still nothing. Nothing other than a freezing fear that his friend now knew the dirtiest of his secrets and all through no fault of his own, more so the observation of a mutual friend. Punk was right. Subtlety clearly wasn't his thing.
"Well if you're gonna sit there all night dumbstruck I'd might as well head off. I can go be a bed warmer somewhere else, right? Gotta be some straight edge people running around my town."
The candidly spoken words were what brought Colt back into the room. He heard that part of their conversation loud and clear, the intonation alone enough of a reason for him to believe that he'd got things in the right context.
"Yeah, sure. Hold on – what? Punker are you pullin' my chain? You spoke to Roddy and now you've come to my apartment to seduce me? Get out man, you've got some tape recorder shoved in your pocket or some secret cameras set up. I'm not stupid. You got me with too many ribs before..."
Two hands came towards him, the heels of them colliding firmly with his shoulder blades and and knocking him backwards into a pile of arms and unruly legs, the one dangling over the edge of the couch being kicked further away by a stooped Punk. Almost methodically Punk stripped off his zipped hoodie and t-shirt, throwing them aside to reveal the expanse of inked skin. The patterns had expanded and become more elaborate than last time Colt had seen them up close. He wasn't a tattoo guy himself but he liked them on others, tasteful or otherwise.
"You hear any tape recorders? No." Punk paused to move to a kneeling position between Colt's spread legs. "Has it been that long Mr Colton that you forgot your moves? I gotta do all the work as per usual. I never knew you fucked like you wrestled."
The reddened lips pressed together at one side and the wicked grin grew closer to Colt's face until they were almost touching. He felt as clumsy and inadequate as any virgin or a groupie faced with a chance of the fuck they'd always craved but weren't ever going to be truly ready for. He hesitated, looking away briefly before looking back, clearing his throat and awkwardly positioning his hands on the bony hips, exposed now the baggy jeans had started to slip down.
"You sure about this? I mean, I'm not your type. I'm some chunky Jewish kid with a bad hairdo and a liking for too much Corona. I'm not straight edge, I tell bad jokes, I-"
The babbling was stemmed by the rough kiss that smashed itself against his flapping lips and the hands that pressed down hard on his shoulder blades. The kiss was hard, unforgiving and breath stealing; the metallic taste from the faint trace of blood tainting it. Colt was sure he felt his heart stall, the panic setting in and his mother's warning as a child that he should be careful what he wished for rung in his ears like the division bell.
He tried to protest once more but then the tongue that was exploring his mouth withdrew and flicked across his lips. That was enough to do it, to break his resolve to stop the tease and get the roughness back that he more than readily craved. He wanted to be pinned down, sworn at and fucked through the bed. And all by the guy above him who seemed keen to do it.
He awoke face down, hair stuck to his forehead and an ache deep inside the bruised area that used to be known as his ass. His eyes didn't dare open straight away, the sunlight threatening to sting them and the realisation of what had happened hiding just at the back of the clamped shut lids. It felt curiously like the last vodka hangover he'd had; no nausea or spinning head, just a vivid memory of getting totally out of control.
Pulling the pillow out from under his head he flipped it over, looking for the cool spot that might start to calm the flush in his cheeks. He listened carefully but heard nothing other than his own breathing and the steady flow of expletives that were still echoing in his ears. He'd been fucked, that was for sure. Called every imaginable name that might make him sound cheap and dirty. The snickering couldn't be held off any longer, the remembered sound of his last muttered words before collapsing into a mess on his bed would be something he'd probably never forget.
It was safe to assume he was alone, Punk never slept late and never stayed for breakfast, even as a house guest. Braving the motion of rolling over onto his other side Colt gingerly opened one eye and saw the door of his bedroom pulled almost shut, a position he never left it in. No noises broke the quiet and he contemplated the need to slap himself in the face just to make it real, to stop the illusion that he'd had one more lucid dream.
Forcing his other eye open he brought the rest of the room into focus and cleared his throat. Reaching over for his cellphone from the nightstand he flicked it off standby and checked the screen. Nothing again. No calls, no messages. Part of him felt disappointed, the rest of him relieved. If what happened had damaged their friendship he didn't need to know and didn't feel like finding out as part of the morning after. Tossing the phone down the bed he propped himself up on one shoulder and stretched his other arm that had just started to go to sleep.
It was only when he'd moved that he saw the message that made more sense than any carelessly or carefully constructed text could've done. Across the pillow on the empty side of the bed was a cross. A large, black, corner-to-corner cross. Unable to help it Colt burst into a laughter that was as deep and hearty as any he'd known. It echoed back from the thin walls and seemed to go on forever. Pushing himself up to rest his back against the bed frame he grabbed the pillow and dumped it in his lap, forgetting to care about the damage to his only good set of bedlinen. Out of curiosity he flipped it over and scrawled on the back it just said "Call me, fucker." Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn't. But maybe he would. He didn't care.
A/N: So, a curveball for me, something I really enjoyed writing for a change which means it probably sucks enormously. But meh, there's not enough Cabana love out there in ficworld. If you've heard any of his podcasts (Art of Wrestling on itunes) then some of this will make slightly more sense than it does without the prior knowledge. And those podcasts are awesomesauce – check out the Punk and Colin Delaney ones if nothing else.
So reviews are appreciated, non flames would be nice, its my first time trying to capture each of these guys in any great detail. Indy wrestlers ftfw!
And check me out over on LJ for some videos that prove these two are for real *grin*