Author: Bad Faery PM
Molly has had nothing but bad days in the weeks since WrestleMania XX. Fortunately, Eugene is good at cheering people up. Molly Holly x William RegalRated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Chapters: 9 - Words: 21,960 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 10-24-10 - Published: 04-17-10 - id: 5903278
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Molly wandered through the arena's corridors, looking for some place out of the way. Once upon a time, she'd craved the company of others. Now, she shunned crowds, looking only to escape to some private oasis. 'Might have something to do with the fact that everybody hates my guts,' she grumbled mentally. Being with others was an invitation for them to humiliate her. After the last game of Keep Away that Trish and Stacy had played with her wig, Molly was in no hurry to offer up that invitation again. The pile of collapsed folding tables she found in a quiet hallway was no oasis, but it was private and, therefore, would do nicely. Molly hopped up onto the pile of tables and curled her legs beneath her, pulling a battered paperback from her duffel bag.
Lost in her book, Molly never heard the approaching footsteps until the shuffling step reached her side. Looking up, she found herself gazing into Eugene's innocent face. "Hey, Eugene," she greeted him quietly.
"Hi," he replied brightly, giving her an endearingly goofy grin.
Molly glanced up the hallway but saw no one else. Evidently, the young man was on his own. "Are you lost, Eugene?" she asked him gently. It wouldn't do for him to wander the halls on his own. Realizing that she was concerning herself with someone else's well-being took Molly by surprise. It had been a long time since she'd been anything near altruistic. Nervously, she fiddled with a lock of her curly brown wig.
Eugene reached up towards her face. Instinctively, Molly flinched backwards, then scolded herself for her behavior. Of all the people on the roster, Eugene would have to be the last one who would hurt her. His hand settled near hers on the wig. Tentatively, he stroked the dark curls, smiling at the way they bounced when leaving his fingers. "Soft," he commented with pleasure.
Smiling, Molly leaned forward to give him better access to the curls. It was nice to know that her wigs had a positive effect on someone. Eugene gained confidence when she didn't rebuke him for touching her and began to stroke the wig more firmly. As he reached the end of the length of hair, the curls snarled around his fingers, following his hand when he dropped it to his side.
The wig detached itself easily from Molly's head, landing in Eugene's outstretched hands. With wide eyes, he took in her nearly bald head before noticing the tangle of dark hair in his hands. Shaking his hands frantically, Eugene tried to free himself from the wig that only tangled itself more around his fingers. Terrified by the clinging mass, Eugene screamed, the noise echoing down the quiet hallway.
Jumping off the stack of tables, Molly approached the young man, thinking to help. Her movement caught him off guard, and he jumped back from her, screaming again. Molly cringed at the noise and the look in his eyes. When she held up her hands to try to calm him, Eugene flinched away, evidently expecting an attack.
"Eugene... Eugene..." Molly struggled to make herself heard over his screams. "It's okay, Eugene. Calm down. Eugene..."
The sight of her wig clinging determinedly to Eugene's flailing hands was almost too much for Molly. She choked back on the hysterical laughter that wanted to erupt and continued trying to soothe the still-screaming Eugene. So much for her private oasis. She'd be lucky if only half the roster came to see what the commotion was about.
On cue, the sound of racing footsteps reached her ears during one of Eugene's pauses for breath. Oh God, who would it be? Bischoff? Christian? Please God, not Trish. Hesitantly, Molly risked a glance over her shoulder to see who would be joining their mad little tea party.
"Eugene! Dear boy, what on earth-" William Regal's voice died away when his eyes met Molly's. Flushing scarlet, Molly backed away from him before forcing herself to remain still. William had been her friend once. It would be rude not to at least greet him. She smiled hesitantly as he reached them, his eyes still locked on her. "William."
"Molly," he replied, then returned his attention to his shrieking charge. Taking in the situation at a glance, he caught Eugene's elbow, rolling his eyes when the young man tried to jump away.
"Eugene," his firm voice commanded attention. The young man stilled long enough to allow Regal to detach the wig from his hands. Pulling it away from Eugene, Regal stated clearly, "It's a wig. It's not going to hurt you."
Eugene looked down at his now-free hands, before staring at the wig. Regal continued speaking, "See? Look. It won't hurt you." He displayed the brown locks, demonstrating their harmlessness.
"You must calm down. You're frightening Molly," Regal scolded gently. "You don't want to do that, do you?"
Eugene's face twisted unhappily, guilt written clearly there as he shook his head, sucking at his fingers. "No. No, I'm sorry. Sorry, Molly. Sorry."
"It's all right, Eugene," she assured him, reaching out slowly to pat him on the shoulder. He jerked a little and she pulled back, thinking she'd frightened him, but she suddenly found herself wrapped in a tight hug, her toes barely touching the hard floor. Despite herself, she laughed, hugging back. It felt like it had been years since she was last touched like this, and Eugene's simple affection was impossible to resist.
"Do put her down now, Eugene." There was a note of amusement hidden in William's long-suffering tone, "It's growing late, and you've not eaten yet."
Carefully, Eugene set her back on her feet, holding onto her left hand, a wide smile on his face. "Can Molly come too?"
Regal cleared his throat, looking down at the floor with curious intent. "I... I'm certain Molly has things she needs to be doing."
It sounded like a rejection, but for some reason, it didn't feel that way. Under the harsh florescent lighting, William's color was high, and she didn't miss the way he was not-quite looking at her from the corner of his eye.
Eugene grumbled in dismay, and before she could think twice, Molly blurted, "Actually, I'm starving."
She jumped a little as Eugene squealed in childish glee, clapping his hands together. His enthusiasm made her laugh, the chill she'd carried inside for so long starting to thaw a bit. She snuck another glance at William. Once she'd been able to read his carefully-controlled expressions with ease, but it had been too long since they'd spent time together for her to do so now. He wasn't scowling or making excuses, so she interpreted that as an invitation.
"Well, then. Shall we?" Regal gestured down the hall, the wig still in his hands.
Eugene's eyes tracked the movement, and Molly braced herself for another round of shrieking. Instead, he made a grab for the wig, easily getting it away from the surprised Regal, and tangling his fingers in it.
"Soft," he announced again, snuggling it like he would a pet rabbit. He shambled down the hall in the direction Regal had indicated, mumbling to himself. Molly had the vague sense that he was actually talking to the wig.
She and William watched him for a moment in bemusement, then he turned to face her, "I'm afraid you shan't be getting it back."
"That's all right," she smiled, unable to resist Eugene's bounce of happiness, "It's not like I don't have others."
She chanced another look up at him, automatically lifting her hands to shield her head when she saw him looking down at her with consideration.
"You don't need them," he informed her, arresting her movement, "You're lovely as you are." He looked away from her at once, busying himself with collecting her bag. His tone was strictly matter-of-fact, leaving no room for argument. Before Molly could find words, she found herself taking his proffered arm as he escorted her after Eugene.
Despite the kind words, it hadn't sounded like a compliment, merely a statement of the truth as he saw it. William thought she looked lovely, even shorn of her hair. It took her a moment to digest this. "It would be easier to focus on my matches if I didn't have to worry about keeping a wig on," she finally ventured.
"It sounds as though the decision has been made," he observed, catching up to Eugene to tap his shoulder and direct him down the hallway that led to catering.
Unwilling to commit to the idea so quickly, Molly demurred, "Let's see how dinner goes."
There were snickers when they arrived, malicious glances going from the wig in Eugene's hands to her bare head. Regal kept her beside him, bringing his arm down slightly to move her closer to his body. "Hold your head up," he told her quietly as Molly felt her face heat with embarrassment, "You're better than they are, and they know it. You have nothing to be ashamed of."
"I lost," she snapped, humiliation making her temper fray.
"Who's a better wrestler, the Rock or that idiot Hurricane?" he asked, guiding her towards the tables of food.
Distracted by his apparent non sequitur, Molly gave the question her attention as she automatically filled her plate with salmon and vegetables. "The Rock. Greg's good, but he's never going to be world champion."
"Yet, the Rock has lost to him. You lost to Victoria. I've lost to Spike bloody Dudley," he continued, following Eugene to a table that was off to the side. "Everyone has an off night," he concluded, pulling her chair out for her.
Molly searched for a way to argue with him, finding herself unable to come up with one. "I hate it when you make sense."
"Unfortunately, I'm cursed to do so." William pulled a face as Eugene attacked a plate of spaghetti. "You're a talented wrestler and a beautiful woman, and I can't understand why you value the opinions of a group of spray-tanned chippies who wouldn't know a wrist-lock from a wristwatch."
Taking in his words, Molly smiled faintly, "When you put it like that, I can't understand it either." For the first time in weeks, she could taste something other than her own bitterness as she ate.
"I am sorry things didn't work out between you and young Nowinski though," he said, lowering his voice, "I should have said that earlier, but there never seemed to be an appropriate moment."
Molly looked up at him in surprise, not even noticing the slurping sounds Eugene was making. "Chris? Don't be. I mean he's a real nice guy, and he saved me from going through a table and all, but... And I am sorry he got hurt, but it wasn't a big deal to me. He made me feel kind of pressured. You know?"
She thought back over her words, realizing just how vague and incoherent they had been. Trying again, she said, "I don't think I liked him the way he liked me."
Regal looked troubled at that, but didn't press her for more of an explanation. Perhaps he was disappointed she hadn't been as fond of his protege as he'd thought.
The rest of the meal passed in silence broken only by the sound of Eugene eating or exclaiming happily at the sight of a favorite wrestler, still the ultimate fan.
Afterwards, they made their way back to the dressing rooms, William walking her to the women's locker room before taking Eugene to get ready for his match. She let herself in, ignoring the deliberately audible snickers from Christy and Victoria as she approached the mirror. Looking at herself with consideration, she took in the half-inch of stubbly hair that framed her pale face.
"I don't think it's quite grown back yet," Victoria said with mock-sympathy, "Forget something?" She tossed a wig to Molly, hitting her in the back.
'William said I look lovely,' she told herself. It would never be mistaken for a flattering style, but at least she no longer saw failure looking back at her. 'Victoria won at Wrestlemania. I'll win the next time.'
During her time with the company, the wrestlers had met no shortage of children through the Make-A-Wish program, children who were as bald as she was due to illness, not an unfortunate three count. Molly's hair would grow back. It was the height of selfishness to act like this was the end of the world. She nodded at her reflection, her expression lightening. Turning to the still-laughing women, she said with quiet dignity, "I don't think it's all that bad."
Without another word, she picked the wig up off the floor, tossed it into the trash can, and proceeded to dress for her match, leaving Victoria and Christy staring at her in shock. To her own surprise, they made no other comments.
"Very nice," William complimented when she joined him and Eugene backstage before Eugene's match. A little judicious application of gel had spiked up the remains of her hair, giving her a look that in a few weeks could reasonably be called a pixie cut. Matched with her dark tights and black top, she looked somber, serious, and not at all like the joke she'd been since Wrestlemania.
"Are you coming out with us?" Eugene asked, shifting his weight from foot to foot, his nerves on display as he awaited his moment in the spotlight.
She shook her head, "Not tonight, Eugene. I have a match right after yours. I'll wait here to congratulate you when you get back though, okay?"
He nodded agreeably, and William turned to her. "You're good with him," he told her in a low tone.
"He's the first person to be nice to me in quite awhile," she informed him, trying not to let self-pity cloud her tone, "It feels good to be nice back."
Before he could respond to that Eugene's music hit and he escorted the young man down the ramp, giving her a considering look over his shoulder as he left. Molly judged the progress of the match by the crowd noise, smiling as they cheered on Eugene as he used the People's Elbow on Jaime Noble to pick up the win.
She ignored Victoria as the other diva joined her before their match, giving her full attention to Eugene as he returned, nearly skipping, "I won! I won!"
"I know you did. Congratulations!" she cheered, returning his hug despite the sweat dripping off of him. Looking around, she realized he was on his own. "Eugene, where's William?"
"I'm supposed to stay right here and don't wander off," he told her, clearly repeating firm instructions and not really answering her question. Molly had just enough time to point him towards a crate to sit on before it was time for her entrance. As always, the lights blinded her for a moment, and when her vision cleared, she saw Regal sitting at the announcers' table with JR and the King, set to do commentary on her match.
She held up her arms proudly, ignoring the heckling coming from the crowd. 'William thinks I look lovely.' The words were becoming her mantra. Victoria got a better reaction, but she took care of that quickly by going immediately on the offense, getting the bigger woman down on the mat mere seconds after the bell.
No longer having to worry about her wig meant that she no longer had to tone down her more high-flying maneuvers, enabling her to land a drop-kick as Victoria struggled back to her feet. To her surprise, the crowd's allegiance started to shift slightly as she continued to dominate the match, culminating in a Molly-Go-Round from the top rope that earned her actual cheers to go along with the win.
She smiled as the referee raised her hand in victory, basking in the sounds of approval. For months she been concentrating on mat-based and submission moves, finding herself less popular and effective with each passing day. Could winning over the crowd really be as simple as expanding her arsenal of offense?
For the moment it seemed it was, and her smile widened. A noise behind her made her pivot on her heel, braced for an attack, but instead she saw William climbing between the ring ropes. He gave her a half-bow of respect, then offered her his arm.
She took it and allowed him to lead her to the edge of the ring, releasing her only long enough to hold the ropes apart for her. "This is how we met the first time," she reminded him as he escorted her up the ramp.
"I remember. Although tonight we have loud, lascivious Floridians instead of loud, lascivious Canadians," he repeated his words from that night. "You're just as lovely now as you were then."
She blushed, stumbling a little at the warmth in his voice. Anything that she might have said in response was lost as Eugene nearly tackled her in glee as they got backstage. "You won too! We should be a tag team!" he enthused, raising their clasped hands in victory.
"I can't imagine what we'd call you," Regal pointed out dryly. Returning his attention to Molly, he asked, "Do you have a ride to the next town?"
She hadn't had a traveling partner since Victoria had turned her back on their friendship. "I was going to rent a car."
"Would you care to join us?" he asked, something in his tone telling her that he was offering more than a one-time car ride.
"Ooh, yes, yes, yes!" Eugene clapped, "Come with us! I'll let you sit up front."
William chuckled, "I hope you appreciate what a sacrifice he's making."
She looked at the pair struck by how different they were- the excitable man-child and the dignified Brit. Yet despite their differences, they seemed to truly care about each other. Maybe adding a bald former southern belle to the mix would work out just fine. "I'd like that."