While the main event of Vertigo is set to get underway out in the ring, sat somewhere backstage at the Colonial Life Arena is Lowri Moss. Not much more than an hour has passed since the Mid-Atlantic Legacy Champion and the woman she will defend her title against at Only The Strong Survive, Sadie San Francisco, defeated the team of Maritza Diaz and Pedro Gonzales, and having gotten showered and changed following that match, Lowri has then been predominantly occupied by watching the remainder of the show on a monitor.
That of course included watching on as her boyfriend and regular tag team partner, Neal Durden, put up a valiant fight in a losing effort against Seth Iser, and after being there at the gorilla position to embrace him when he walked back through the curtain, Lowri has subsequently been waiting for Neal to join her to watch the final match of the night, after first getting showered and changed himself. However, just as the main event is about to start, Lowri’s interest has been drawn away from the contest between Kol and Owen Gonsalves to an object that has been delivered to her by a stagehand, and it is at this point that Neal appears, to find his girlfriend examining the item in question.
Neal Durden: Someone actually brought an Easter egg to the show to give to you?
A grinning Lowri looks up at Neal, whose own facial expression is a combination of disbelief and amusement.
Lowri Moss: Hey, if you don't ask, you don't get.
Earlier in the day, she had tweeted that if anyone attending Vertigo felt like bringing an Easter egg with them to give to her, it would be appreciated, and as Neal pulls up a chair to sit next to Lowri, she puts her chocolatey gift down beside her on the floor. The two sit in silence for a few moments, viewing the opening exchanges of the main event. Eventually, sensing that something is not right with her other half, Lowri turns her attention away from the monitor, and towards Neal.
Lowri Moss: Gareth, is something the matter?
Neal shakes his head dismissively.
Neal Durden: No, I’m fine.
Lowri Moss: Are you sure? Because when I saw you after your match, you barely said anything to me, and now you’re being unusually quiet.
Neal does not say anything, and so Lowri presses him further, in an attempt to cajole a response out of him.
Lowri Moss: Come on, Gareth, what’s wrong? Is this just about your loss earlier, or is there more to it than that?
Neal turns around to face Lowri. His eyes had a mixture of disappointment and somewhat like anger. He looked at her and with an unusual gravitas to his voice he responded.
Neal Durden: I told you, it’s nothing - I’m fine!
He turned back to watch the monitor, but Lowri knew better. She knew him better than almost anyone else, so it was easy to detect uneasiness in his voice and motions. Things were not fine and she knew it. Lowri grabbed Neal by his arm and turned him back around to face her. She had a concerned look on her face as she took hold of his hands.
Lowri Moss: No, you’re not! I know you, Gareth. You’re not your usual happy-go-lucky self. I can tell there’s something wrong, so you can either spit it, or you can let it consume you - your choice.
Neal let out a sigh as he started to scratch the back of his head. There were a lot of things on his mind, and Lowri could sense it, but she could not pinpoint exactly what it was that was bothering him. Then, he broke the silence.
Neal Durden: Aside from the fact I haven’t mustered a double U since returning from injury, there’s this thing you said that has been stinging me…
Lowri’s eyes widen, suddenly worried as to what part she has played in contributing to Neal’s current mood.
Lowri Moss: What “thing”?
Neal took a deep breath and looked to the side. He had his eyes fixated on the floor for a couple of seconds, before he turned back to face his girlfriend.
Neal Durden: Your answer to one of Burke’s questions last time. You know the part where you said: “If that means people seeing less of Pendragon as a team in FGA for the foreseeable future, then so be it…”
He took his hands away from her, grabbing his head and looking down towards the floor as he continued speaking.
Neal Durden: You know, with everything that has been happening so far...my lack of “success” and all…our team was the only good thing happening to me career wise, and then…“so be it”, as if you don’t feel like teaming up with me anymore.
Neal let out a deep sigh, before getting his head back up and facing Lowri.
Neal Durden: I know that belt means a lot to you. I know how hard you worked for it…but…
Neal’s voice cracked up a bit as he continued.
Neal Durden: I don’t want to think you don’t want to team up with me because of it…
Lowri struggles to find the right words, her own voice now tinged with sadness after hearing everything that Neal had just said.
Lowri Moss: Oh, Gareth…
She places a hand on Neal’s shoulder.
Lowri Moss: Is this why on Tuesday you left it up to me to speak about our match in NKP - and again before our match two nights ago - because you were upset with me?
Neal takes a deep breath, while placing his hand on Lowri’s thigh.
Neal Durden: Not really upset, I needed to think and not to talk for a while. Things haven’t been going my way, and I was thinking about a lot of things.
Lowri Moss: Like what?
Lowri moved her hand from Neal’s shoulder, sliding it down over his hand on her leg. Neal brought his head up to look at her.
Neal Durden: Like, I’m not good enough, you know? Like I don’t belong.
Neal’s voice was full of resignation. It was not the first time he had told Lowri he felt he was not the best out there, but it was the first time he told her he felt he was not good enough completely.
Neal Durden: I mean, even in tag team matches I don’t factor in the finish, unless it’s to be the one taking the fall. Why do I bother then? Maybe, my parents were right…maybe I should’ve just gone to university and become an accountant like my father…
He looked sideways, defeated.
Lowri Moss: Why, so that you could spend your days sat in a stuffy office, bored out of your mind?
A wry smile crosses Lowri’s face, in spite of the awkward situation she finds herself in. Accepting that now is probably not the best time to be making such remarks, she changes tack.
Lowri Moss: Listen, Gareth, I know you're hurting, but...
Unsure of what to say next, Lowri’s sentence trails off. She lowers her gaze, staring in the direction of the floor while she thinks things over. After a moment or two, she then raises her head to look towards Neal again.
Lowri Moss: I know things haven’t exactly been going in your favour lately, and I’m not going to try to pretend otherwise, but you shouldn't let yourself get too down about it. I mean, it’s not as if the losses that you’ve suffered have been one-sided; you pushed Seth Iser all the way earlier, just like you did Molly last month, or the month before, whenever it was, and there's no shame in losing to either of them - I lost to Molly too a few months ago, remember?
Neal continues to look off to the side, away from Lowri.
Lowri Moss: There was that gauntlet you had to go through, against Fenrys, Bond and Dom, and you performed as well in that as anyone could be expected to. And what about Steel Warfare? The rest of us couldn't have defeated The New Murder without you.
A small sigh escapes Lowri’s mouth, as she proceeds.
Lowri Moss: And yeah, I know that every match the two of us win as a team, I always seem to be the one that gets the pin, even when I’m wearing a mask and going by a different name, but it’s not like I’m out there winning those matches on my own - we win as a team.
With her free hand, Lowri reaches over to touch Neal’s face. She turns his head towards her, forcing him to look at her.
Lowri Moss: I’d be nothing without you - without your support, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am.
Neal scoffed at the notion of her not being able to be where she is at without him. He knows that not to be true, he has stated time and again that Lowri is the better one of the two of them. He turns to the monitor to watch the match, before turning back to Lowri.
Neal Durden: You would’ve had my support nonetheless. Maybe this thing I’m feeling, it’s just a product of my frustration; maybe it’s just that I hoped to be something more…it’ll pass.
Lowri Moss: I’m glad to hear that. I don’t like seeing you like this, even if I can understand why it is that you’re feeling frustrated. You know if you ever have something that you want to get off your chest, you can always talk to me about it, right?
Lowri smiled warmly at Neal, trying to reassure him that she is there from him whenever he needs her.
Lowri Moss: I don't want you disappear on me for several months again, like you did last year. Perhaps you ought to bear in mind something that you said to me a few weeks ago: “No one said it would be an easy road.”
Neal took a moment to look at the monitor, the match was reaching a boiling point. He then turned his attention back to Lowri.
Neal Durden: Anyways, you’ve got a big match coming up, and the last thing I want to do is get in your way.
Neal takes Lowri’s hand and kisses it before letting out a big grin - a grin like those that small children often make.
Lowri Moss: Don't be daft.
Lowri takes a glance at the monitor. As she then looks back to Neal, she lets out a sigh.
Lowri Moss: I didn't mean to sound so blasé the other week when I answered that question Spencer asked me - I didn't mean to sound like I don't care about the future of us as a team. It's just that...I worked so hard for so many months to be the Mid-Atlantic Legacy Champion. You know as well as anyone what I went through to accomplish that - you were right there with me, every step of the way. And now that the title is finally mine, I don't want my reign to be short-lived - when I lose the championship, as I inevitably will, eventually, I want to be able to look back on my time as champion with great pride. Admittedly that means I need to be a little bit selfish, and focus on myself for the time being, rather than on Pendragon - but that's only in FGA.
She pauses to take a breath, before continuing.
Lowri Moss: In NKP, we had gotten to the position where we were one win away from being the Tag Team Champions. Now, unfortunately, we'll never get our shot at those titles, and there's nothing we can do about that, but it's okay, because I know we'll get ourselves into that same position elsewhere - I'm sure of it; in UKWF, in Rebellion, and yes, one day, here in FGA.
Lowri grips Neal’s hand firmly but lovingly.
Lowri Moss: I know I probably don't tell you that I love you as often enough as I should do. And I do love you, Gareth. You're my best friend, and when the day that we win those FGA tag team titles eventually comes, I'll be so happy - so overjoyed - to get to share that moment with you.
Neal takes a deep breath and reaches for his pocket.
Neal Durden: As I said, it’ll pass. Now, to a more important thing…
He looks a bit off, his hand still in his pocket as he starts to bring out something from it.
Neal Durden: I’ve been meaning to ask you something…
He continues to slide his hand out of his pocket until it’s completely out.
Neal Durden: Lowri…Moss. Would you…
Lowri seems confused by his motions, but she also seems anxious somehow. Neal then brings up a chocolate bar and finishes up his thought.
Neal Durden: … care to eat this Nom Nom with me?
Lowri Moss: I thought you'd never ask!
Lowri wastes little time in snatching the chocolate bar out of Neal’s hand.
Lowri Moss: I mean, I saw you tweet something about it earlier, and I was beginning to think that you were playing an early April Fool's Day prank on me.
She breaks off a chunk of the bar, and pops it in her mouth. He laughs, before taking the little piece Lowri lets him take.
Neal Durden: Nah, if I wanted to play out a prank I would’ve kneeled.
He eats the piece of chocolate and takes a look at the monitor, just in time to see Kol drop Owen Gonsalves with a Kol Kutter.
Lowri Moss: If you had tried that, I would’ve kicked you. Hard.
The pair watch on as Kol pins Gonsalves, to pick up the win in the main event. Neal has a stoic look on his face, not saying anything, just feeling lucky he did not get hit with a kick, whilst Lowri continues to scoff the chocolate, not sparing much for her boyfriend, and as the two of them sit there watching what is left of Vertigo, the scene comes to an end.