16th of February – Season 1
Rosemary Lekota was not a big racing fan. But she knew that she hadn’t been invited to this pay-per-view to watch the motorsport. She hadn’t been invited to be entertained by these sports entertainers. No… she had been hired to be the entertainment. She was a singer. As one of the newest exports from Lesotho, she was eager to make her mark all over South Africa.
Despite being one of the hottest acts in her home nation, Rosemary knew that the main reason that she’d gotten this gig was because of her nickname “Valentine” which fit perfectly with the theme of this pay-per-view: Valentine’s Day. She was to be the night’s entertainment for the V-Day Ball.
While there was no reason for Valentine to be there until the V-day Ball, she’d found herself unable to resist the V.I.P. treatment she’d been offered which included great seats, tasty food and a chance to meet some of the racers with a special backstage pass. While Valentine didn’t have any high expectations, she was surprised to find herself smitten with the very first F-X racer she met.
“Why hello there,” said the prettiest Caucasian boy that Valentine had ever met. “You must be Rosemary Lekota. I’m Jim Kieck.” Jim immediately kissed her hand, sending chills down Valentine’s body. And she noticed Jim looking at that body.
Valentine wasn’t shocked. She was a pretty woman. As a beautiful, light-skinned Sotho woman in her early twenties, she knew that one of the reasons she was Lesotho’s hottest acts was because of her looks. And while ordinarily, she would shrug off men looking at her like this, she found herself not minding with this pretty boy.
“Uhm, it’s Valentine. Everyone calls me Valentine.”
“Valentine,” said Jim, smiling a pretty smile. “What a coincidence: Valentine’s Day is my favourite day of the year.” Valentine could just imagine. She could tell this man knew how to please a woman. “So, you a fan of Formula-X?”
Valentine suddenly felt guilty now. “Actually, I haven’t watched a race before.”
Jim wore a playfully shocked look on his face. “You haven’t watched any race before?” He watched Valentine shake her head. “Monday Night Fuel doesn’t ring a bell?” Another shake of the head. “Wow.” Instead of being insulted, Jim used his natural charm to improvise his game. “Then I guess you could use a guide for the night. Someone to orientate you through all the action.”
While Valentine knew that Jim was just trying to impress her, she was kind of enjoying it. There was just something about how charming he was that intrigued her. “Okay, sure.”
PENNY, DUCHESS OF DRAG VS. DIME
When Jim described the history between Penny Potgieter and Dime, Valentine was admittedly taken aback by how interesting it was. It sounded like a soapie. “So,” said Valentine, “Dime turned on the Duchess because he was afraid that she was going to turn on him?” Jim confirmed this by nodding. But Valentine was doubtful. “No, I don’t buy it.” When Jim gave her a look, she continued. “No, I think that’s just an excuse. I think Dime is jealous.”
“Jealous? What, because she’s got the Duke of Drag title?” Jim continued when Valentine affirmed that this was exactly what she thought. “Okay, but that doesn’t explain why he stole her man.”
Jim had explained that the biggest news two weeks ago came when Dime came out of the closet by asking Penny’s mechanic to the V-Day dance knowing she intended to do the same thing. “Well technically,” said Valentine, “the mechanic wasn’t her man.”
Jim had rolled his eyes at the comment but said nothing to retort. Valentine watched in earnest as Penny and Dime stood at their marks, ready for their drag race. She found herself thrilled by the contest from the word go as the two vehicles sped down the straight section of the racetrack. It was a frenzy in the crowd as they watched on and from what Valentine could tell, fans were on the side of Penny.
In high contrast, Valentine felt herself rooting for Dime. The reason for that was because she didn’t see him as the bad guy in this situation. She felt that Dime had made an adult decision, not dissimilar to the one that Penny had made when she sacked Brenda as her partner. It was pre-emptive. Unfortunately, no amount of support from Valentine helped Dime as the Duchess of Drag managed to retain her title.
JOHN KLOOF VS. DARCY STEVENS
Valentine noticed how Jim’s mood had changed when she saw John Kloof make his way to the racetrack. However, it hadn’t changed enough for Jim to explain how this match race came about. This was all about John Kloof trying to break into the top tier of Formula-X but being denied entry by two top racers already there: Solo Magubane and Stevie. This has culminated in Solo and Stevie both wanting a piece of John Kloof for this pay-per-view and John Kloof being forced to chose between the two as to who would be his opponent.
After seeing a drag race, Valentine was as interested as ever in seeing this match race. Ironically, Jim’s silent demeanour allowed Valentine to concentrate on the race and what a race it was. Even though Valentine didn’t know much about racing, she knew that she was watching a classic right now. If there was a race that could serve as a gateway into Formula-X’s unique match racing, this was it.
While Stevie – who was called ‘The Diamond in the Rough’ – dominated the early laps of the race, Kloof had kept close by. While Stevie would expertly block Kloof’s attempts of overtaking, Kloof would continue to build pressure on her, with the crowd getting louder with every attempt. So, when Kloof managed to make the pass through a narrow gap on the inside lane, the crowd became completely unglued with cheers. Even Valentine found herself excited as the end of the race neared.
When John Kloof eventually got the victory, Valentine found herself wanting to cheer but refrained upon seeing the look on Jim’s face. She asked what the deal was, and Jim simply said that there was history between them and left it at that.
BRENDA KOEK VS. TOUCH MKHIZE
While the next two racers got ready, Valentine decided to pry into Jim’s mind to find out what the deal was with him and Kloof. It took a moment for Jim to finally explain the storied history between the racers. “Wow, so you couldn’t go on a date until Valentine’s Day?”
“Technically he can’t go until tonight.” It wasn’t Jim that spoke the words but rather Solo Magubane and he had a beautiful woman on his arm. Instead of wearing his patterned biker jacket over Henley, Solo was dressed in a smart suit, already ready for the V-Day Ball.
Jim smiled at the man. “How’s it going, Solo. You’re dressed smartly.”
Solo shrugged. “I’m on reserve tonight, like you. So, I might as well be dressed for the ball tonight.” Jim shrugged in passive agreement. “Speaking of which, who’s your date for tonight?”
Jim gave Solo an amused smile and shrugged. “I don’t know yet. I haven’t decided.” Jim then gave Valentine a cocky wink just before the race got on the way. While Valentine didn’t know Jim that well, she got the feeling that this was just in his nature.
The race itself was very good, but the crowd was not as into it as the previous race. Jim had explained that the race came about from Brenda challenging Touch this past week on Monday Night Fuel. Valentine then asked why Jim hadn’t challenged someone to a race and Jim said that he was playing reserve, meaning that he didn’t have a race tonight. Luckily for Jim, he didn’t have to continue in the topic as the race came to an end and Jim said it was time for the main event of the night…
KING MANDLA XULU VS. THAWN OBERHAUSER
“Now the Formula-X Throne is the crown-jewel of the series. Let me tell you something, Valentine, if you’re an F-X racer and you’re not obsessed with capturing that Crown, then you shouldn’t be an F-X racer.”
Valentine’s eyes widened. “Wow, that big a deal, huh?” Her eyes narrowed. “What about the other titles?”
Jim shook his head. “Don’t matter,” he said simply. “Not next to the Crown. That’s the one you want.”
“The others don’t matter?” Longitude had just walked in with his brother Latitude, carrying their gold-accented helmets which represented their titles. “Did we just hear you say that the other titles don’t matter?”
Latitude laughed. “That’s easy for a guy who doesn’t have a title to say. Tell us something, Playboy: when are you going to step up and become a feature-racer?”
“All in due time,” said Jim. Before he could be asked any more questions, the title race got on the way. After Jim’s build-up of the title, Valentine found herself engrossed by the race. She’d just been told the history of the racers including how their previous encounter resulted in the title changing hands. Once again, a contrarian, Valentine found herself rooting for Thawn rather than the reigning King.
She was impressed with Thawn, his racing ability and the idea that he was comfortable in his own skin and not needing the approval of people in order to be the best at what he does. Lord knows it was an ability that musicians needed in order to perform in front of tough crowds. Unfortunately, Valentine seemed to have chosen wrong again as Thawn failed to recapture the gold, leaving a very happy crowd. But Valentine didn’t have any time to contemplate the loss because now it was time for her to get to work.
LATER THAT NIGHT: THE V-DAY BALL
While Valentine had been impressed with how Formula-X had presented their pay-per-view, she was still sceptical as to whether they could pull off this ball of theirs. So, she was pleasantly surprised when she entered the Formula-X Clubhouse recreation room to find that it was beautifully decorated with the stage looking quite welcoming.
However, while Valentine was pleased with what she saw when the racers started to arrive, they seemed underwhelmed by the ball. The first thing that bugged them was that the Ball seemed small in comparison to the Hallow’s Eve trick or treat after party or the Year End Bash after-party which was an honest-to-God bash. In comparison, this event was only for the racers and Formula-X staff. The second thing that bugged them was that the racers had a mandatory dance to kick off the event.
“I mean, what is this, Harry Potter?” asked Brenda Koek, speaking to her date.
As Valentine continued to set up her equipment, she quietly listened to some of the other complaints from the racers which included why they were having a ball in the first place. While Valentine didn’t share their sentiment, she was aware that it was probably because she had a gig tonight and if there wasn’t a ball then she probably wouldn’t be getting paid.
When it finally came time for the event to start, Valentine took to the stage and began performing her first song. Afterwards, the racers were asked to come to the floor for the dance which was when she saw Jim standing alone. Moodswing seemed to notice that Jim was without a partner and took to confront him about not conforming. But before Moodswing could tell him to sit down, Jim simply smiled. He then looked to her and asked for her microphone which Valentine gave him.
“So, I know that I have to have a partner for the dance tonight so here’s my proposal. I don’t have a date tonight so which one of you lovely ladies would like to dance with me tonight?” Valentine couldn’t believe what she was hearing. For a frightening second, she believed that he was going to ask her, but he kept his eyes on the guests.
What happened next could not have been more embarrassing as not a single woman in the room took him up on the after. A part of Valentine wanted to accept just to spare him the embarrassment but that wasn’t the kind of spotlight she liked. After all, it wasn’t her fault that he didn’t plan this out. Surprisingly, when Jim turned back around to give her back the microphone, she saw that he was still wearing his pretty-boy smile on his face. He clearly wasn’t fazed.
Looking again at the women in the room, Valentine noticed that there were actually a number of women who looked interested in dancing with Jim including Thawn Oberhauser’s date, Rebecca Msomi. It was now clear that these women might have had the same dilemma as Valentine which was that they didn’t want the spotlight either. Although she didn’t know why Thawn’s date was smitten.
As Jim sat alone watching the others dance, Valentine could sense that his epic fail was going to be the highlight of the night. She never dreamed that there would be an incident that topped it. That incident occurred a few minutes after the dance when the racers were settling in, waiting to be fed. Penny Potgieter had been getting herself some punch by the refreshments table when she was joined by Dime. While Valentine didn't hear what DIme said, she definitely heard what Penny did when she suddenly knocked Dime to the ground with a punch out of nowhere. It had been so sudden that for a moment, nobody reacted. But eventually, Moodswing took control of the situation by taking them outside, leaving a murmuring room of guests who had now all but forgotten about Jim's fail.
By the end of the night, the racers had accepted the ball for what it was and made the most of it. Valentine herself had enjoyed herself and even gotten a lot of praise for her performance. She’d decided to call it a night while the other racers were still winding down to some house music. She’d wanted to say goodbye to Jim but couldn’t see him anywhere, so she shrugged it off and decided to leave. However, before she got to her car, she walked past a couple making out in the parking lot like a couple of teenagers. It took a second look for Valentine to realize who these two were… Jim Kieck and Rebecca Msomi.
Valentine’s eyes had nearly popped out of her skull and suddenly she felt compelled to watch tomorrow night’s episode of Monday Night Fuel. She needed to know the fallout of this. She needed to know what was going to happen when Jim came face to face with Thawn. She needed to know what was going to happen when The Playboy came face to face with The Impaler.