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Our story begins on December 26, 2015; approximately a year after the Shield disbanded. Most of the Christmas crowds were winding down, and it is now that we find ourselves in a casino on the Strip.

 

A year ago, Charlotte Flair was essentially a nobody. Her father had disowned her (something about refusing to continue the not-so-legal family business), and she was looking for a fresh start.

She had come to “Aces & Spades” with every intention of getting that fresh start, but nothing had come to fruition. The job didn’t pay well, her apartment was a ten-minute walk from the busiest part of the Strip, and poor Charlotte was stuck offering the most uninteresting game: Casino War.

But it would seem tonight, luck was finally in her favor. The last ugly Christmas sweater family had just left, the parents and grandmother drunk beyond belief. Flashing them a smile, Charlotte leaned back in her chair and scanned the crowd. There weren’t too many people left in the casino...except for one.

A young woman was making her way over. Her hair was platinum blonde, a pink ribbon holding it in a ponytail. Her pink pullover was pretty and put together, a simple silver chain dangling from her neck. And for some reason, Charlotte found herself smiling.

“You still open?” the woman asked, already parking herself on one of the stools. Nodding, Charlotte leaned forward and tried to look professional.

“Until they shut the building down.” Inserting a deck of cards into the shuffler, she turned back to the woman and smiled. “What’s your name?”

“Lexi.” She instantly rolled her eyes. “Actually, my real name’s Alexa Bliss, but honestly?” Charlotte stifled a chuckle.

“Your parents pick that name?” Lexi nodded with wide eyes.

“The last name wasn’t their choice, it’s just… I’m not a cutesy person, you know?”

“I never would have guessed.” Lexi chuckled as Charlotte started dealing cards.

 

The two ladies chatted as they played; Charlotte had learned the art of charisma from her father, and Lexi loved to talk. The latter’s mother had the last name Kaufman, and she was considering changing it to that. Other then that, it was mostly just small talk up until the third game.

“You sure you’re not cheating?” Charlotte chuckled as Lexi collected her third win. Her opponent laughed,

“As surprising as it may seem, I’m not one of the bad ones.” When Charlotte rose an eyebrow, she quickly explained, “I’m a cop.” Leaning back, Lexi drew back her pullover to reveal a shiny badge clipped to her waist.

“So...what’s a cop doing in a casino?” Lexi shrugged.

“Just trying to blow off steam.” Rising, she smirked, “And unlike most people on the Strip, I know when to stop.” A small smile appeared on Lexi’s face. “It was nice meeting you, Charlotte.”

“You too.” And as Lexi walked out of the casino, Charlotte found herself smiling. Suddenly, the walk home to her mysterious boyfriend Jericho didn’t seem so bad.