The Corporate Cunt
event: thursday night empire 1/17/19 edition
promo number: one
participants: chelsea crowe versus constance blevins
The room is quiet, still. Darkness entrenches the bedroom of Chelsea Crowe's Calabasas apartment, the shadows a black veil that hangs over her white-sheet-covered body. Time moves so slowly. She keeps looking at the clock on her bedside table, staring at it until the minutes pass. And though she is in her home, lying beside someone who puts her at ease at most times, she feels a pressure in her stomach. The t-shirt she wears – Jael's own merchandise – feels more like a trap than the small comfort it was just a few hours ago. The soft covers she holds onto feel like a cage, and she reaches out from the bars to grab the alarm clock, turning it away from herself.
It had been so long since she couldn't sleep properly. She remembered with great bitterness that the last time she struggled with sleeping was back in August, maybe even earlier than that. Back when everything fell into nothing, when despite the FOX contracts and the title shots and the bright future, she was left with little but a bleak doubt – a sense that she had nothing left to do. She hadn't peaked back then, but she had made her money, and at that point in time that was all Chelsea cared for. She cried for her lost opportunities and wiped her tears with her pay cheques, and then pushed it all into the recesses of her mind in place of dreams of Europe.
For a moment, as she struggles to sleep, she wonders if this time is any different from back then. When EAW came calling with offer after offer, each increasing in amount, she was disinterested. The money they were offering her now was nothing to turn her nose up at, but was it the reason she was there? The pressure in her stomach spoke for her: no. She was here for something more. There was a reason she had been so cold to Jael earlier that night, a reason why she needed motivation going forward – because this time, this run, was about more than just cashing in a cheque. It was about success, domination, and recognition. It was about more than just her.
Chelsea turns in her bed and props herself up on her elbow, looking over at the sleeping Jael. In the scarce light of the bedroom, she could just make out her love's form, and a subdued smile crept across her face.
“I'll make you proud,” Chelsea whispered. “Because I have more than just a few tricks up my sleeve.”
She laid back down on her pillow, the feathers now feeling soft as they should and not concrete as they had previously seemed. The sheets and her t-shirt cocooned her instead of suffocated her, and that pressure in her stomach had quelled finally. When she had returned from Russia, she was scrambling for motivation, for a reason to continue. And she had found it. One loss was not the end.
It was only the beginning of something better.
From one heart of darkness to another. Chelsea sits at her desk in her office at the Crowe's Nest HQ, the blinds drawn completely shut behind her. With her black, mournful attire on, she fades into the shadows, though is pronounced enough in her presence to be seen. Her eyes are downcast, looking towards her desk, where an empty bottle of wine sits beside a lone glass which is filled with the last few drops.
“A tragedy – that's all I am now.”
Chelsea looks up. Streaks of black mascara run down her cheeks, her eyes now dry.
“That's what last week showed. My big solo return and I lose. If last week proved anything it's that I'm fucking hopeless. I can't win with a distraction, I can't win with people by my side, I can't win one-on-one, so hell, I might as well leave. I really don't have a place here, right? I guess everything Tyler said about me is true: I'm nothing, I'm irrelevant without my friends, I'm talentless, I'm a coward, it doesn't matter if I'm smart because I can't compete in the ring. Let me book a flight back to France right now because clearly I don't belong here. I should either relegate myself to being in the shadow of my successful sisters, or I should just go and let them thrive without me. Because after all, what do I have now that I've suffered a loss at such a crucial stage? Nothing. I truly am nothing, aren't I?”
Chelsea's head falls downcast again as quiet sobs echo out from her. They grow louder, bolder. And then they become laughs. She looks up, smiling.
“I bet some of you were practically fucking yourselves at the prospect of hearing me say that. “Oh, the big bad Chelsea Crowe is admitting she's trash, oh fuck I'm so close”. Well I'm sorry to leave you hanging, girls, but I'm not a weak woman. Am I irritated by my loss, by that fucking ridiculous referee's mistake? Of course. If you were prepared to win, had done everything to ensure it, and then were screwed out of a win by some incompetent official, would you be upset? It's natural. However, I am not letting that ruin my rise to success. In my mind, I didn't lose that match. I have made my thoughts about that referee known to the EAW officials and hell, maybe after this weekend is over, I'll still have only three singles losses on my record. The only way that superiority-complex little bitch 'won' was via oversight, and that's nothing to brag about. It'll be fixed one way or another, so I'm not concerned. My only concern now is asserting dominance over this brand in a way I should have last week if the referee were capable of their job.”
“I have more important matters to be focused on right now. My match with Constance Blevins, for example. Sorry I exposed your poor, God-fearing ears to my little tirade, Constance. There's much more where that came from, unfortunately. You see you might see it as vulgar or rude, but for me it's passion. It's drive that just rips out of me and I can't control it. And this week especially, I can't hold back. I won't. After last week, I don't want there to be room for an oversight or a mistake – I want complete fucking control.”
“I suppose this is...a second chance for me. A reoccurring theme in my career, it seems. This is my second run here, technically; my Specialists title win was my second shot at it; and now this is my second chance to prove that I can stand tall on my own as well as with my sisters. And history shows that I've never needed a third chance to get what I want.”
“You know, Constance, you show a lot of promise. You arrived near the end of my first run, I believe, and yet I still remember people whispering about what the future could hold for you. Now it's been four months – four months for you to metamorphosise into a star and realise your potential. Some of the biggest stars in Empire history – hell, even EAW history – took only a few months to make their presence known and establish themselves. And what have you done? You've won matches, beaten other newcomers and made yourself known as a top-tier rookie, but...I don't see much else to your name yet. In fact, I see less of your name, and more of the Pride's. It's only been four or five months and you've fallen into someone else's shadow.”
“Being new is no excuse for failing to stand out. I've proven that. When I was in your position, so early in your career, I was achieving much more than you. You have to take every opportunity you can get. When I joined EAW, the first thing I did was eat the weak and make my mark on this show. I fought and defeated top-tier talent within a few weeks of signing my contract. I was in title contention almost constantly, from the Specialists title to the World Championship. And sure, I had my losses, but when you fight the big dogs, sometimes you take big losses. I bounced back from every single one looking more dominant than before. It's a pattern, one you should fear considering the circumstances.”
“Instead of doing what the likes of I and some of the Empire greats have done – making their mark early – you have aligned yourself with a group that's already under the boot of the Crowe's Nest. A group that has had changes in leadership despite being in its infancy, a group with members and even a leader who have crumbled at my feet several times. The question has to be asked of why you chose to align yourself with those people when you had all the makings of being a success on your own.”
“Or...did you? Did you believe you did? People can sing your praises, but if you don't think you're capable of fulfilling the prophesies they set out for you, then you never will. Did that loss at Manifest Destiny hurt your confidence? Perhaps it did. It was your moment to cement yourself as the best rookie on Empire – by winning the Young Lioness Cup, a cup that practically already had your name written on it – and yet you failed. I know that when I lost in the Empress of Elite tournament, it hurt me, and that wasn't my first big loss. So to lose out on your first huge opportunity, especially one as early in your career as the Cup was, must have devastated you quite a bit, Constance. Perhaps that's why you've joined the Pride, why you now hide away as a subordinate in that group. After all, it's easier to be led than to lead yourself. And that's it. There is a clear difference between us, highlighted by our career paths thus far: I have chosen to lead, and you have chosen to follow.”
“And it's the leaders who make history. It's the leaders who are the success stories, who go on to be recognised. You could have been a leader, Constance, you were very well slated to be the leader of the next generation. Now you just follow a well-trodden path and it's led you to where some of your other Pride stablemates have met their demises: it's led you to me.”
“You asked what inspired me, and it's very simple: money, fame, success. For myself and for my sisters. And to get those prizes, I need to win. You ask why I left, it's because I had no reason to be there in that era of Empire. You ask why I returned, it's because I have all the reason to be here now. I have more drive, more reason to succeed, more people depending on me to do well. And I aim to be the leader they want. I need to prove my worth on this show, and I aim to do that against you. In a way, this is a perfect setting to do that in. You and I were both looked at as potential stars early in our EAW careers, we are members of opposing teams – I'm practically the reason you can call yourself a part of the Pride. Your God isn't the one who gave you purpose here – I am. And now you have to face the God you love to talk about.”
“Even in life, you're a follower, not really taking the reins of your future like I have. You talk about “His plan”, “His” path for you...are you not confident enough to do anything without 'Him'? You don't have confidence or strength in yourself, on your own, so you have to ask 'Him' to give you it. A follower at heart. See, I don't need to do that. Even with the loss last week, even with my break, even with all the comments that I'm a coward and a talentless cunt, I still have self-confidence. I don't need a god or faith or a group to give me the strength to fight for what I know I deserve. The Crowe's Nest are my sisters, not my crutches. Everything I have, I earned without the guidance of others. It was all me; my talents, my brain, my tactics, my ambition. I have always been a leader. And even as part of a group, I have always been an individual. I am not afraid to stand on my own.”
“You, Constance, seem to be in need of support. You had God during your early days, and when he didn't help you win the Young Lioness Cup, you found the Pride. A lioness is supposed to be a symbol of inner strength and courage. A lioness supports those around her. Without one, a lion can't survive, nor can a pack of lions. And yet you're the one who relies on a pack to survive, you're the one who needs support to find strength in herself. I hear you roar, Constance, but I don't see a lioness.”
“And I don't see this as your “Den” either. To think that you own this ring is arrogant – and people want to brand me as such. You may feel at home in this ring, but you don't own it. If I've proven anything, it's that when you step into a ring with me, it's nothing like you know it to be. It's not just four corners and three ropes on either side – it's a realm of unpredictably. You've already shown you can't handle the chaotic and the unknown, and you don't have the Pride to rely on in this match like you did last week with your victory. The ring isn't my home, in fact it's burned me a few times in the past – but I will be kicking the door down and making myself known in it on Thursday night.”
“I spoke about second chances earlier, and the fact that this is a second chance for me is all the reason I need to win. I don't like losing out on opportunities, and I don't want to come back to Empire being seen as weak in comparison to who I was before. I have to show that I am not the same woman from the Empire of the past, and that I am more than capable of claiming the Empire of the future as my own. So I need to beat the perceived 'future' to do just that. I need to be more than whatever people saw of me last week. I need to ascend to my place at the very top of this show. Empire isn't your Den, it isn't His house, no – after this week, you won't even be following Him at all.”
“You'll be following Her.”
Fade to black.