Part XXXIII: Saying Goodbye
Punk and AJ arrived extra early for Raw the next day. They didn't sleep much anyway the night before and they had contacted Vince last night to let him know they had to see him before the script for Raw was complete.
"Are you sure about this?" Punk asked AJ one final time before they knocked on Vince's office door
"Yes a thousand times" AJ smirked "Are you sure? You're not getting cold feet on me are you?"
"Not at all I just want to make sure this is what you want. I don't want you to regret this" Punk told her
"I want to leave with you" AJ told him firmly "And it's not necessarily the end maybe we could come back down the road at some point but right now I need to focus on my life, our life"
"Alright" Punk said "Just know this might not go well. He might throw a fit and refuse to let us go and we'll have to walk out anyway"
"As long as you're by my side I'll be fine" AJ assured him. Punk nodded and knocked on the door and half a second later Vince opened the door.
"Come in" Vince said nodding for them to enter and noticed Punk had his belt in his hand "How are you both doing?" he said gesturing them to take a seat across from his desk and he did the same
"Good" AJ told him politely
"Last night must have just been horrific" Vince told them "I am very happy that you two walked away from it"
"We didn't really walk away unscathed" Punk told him honestly "Those images will last a lifetime"
"I'm sure they will. But time heals all" Vince told him coolly "So what is this about? Even though I think I already know"
"We're leaving" Punk informed him "We booked a flight for tomorrow morning and we're not coming back"
"I'm having a strange case of déjà vu" Vince said to him but Punk kept a serious face on "The business man in me is devastated and wants to sue you for every dime you have, the husband and friend in me understands completely"
"I bought the belt" Punk said placing it on his desk "Do whatever you want with it"
"I'm not taking the belt" Vince told him "You hold onto that"
"We don't need a few weeks off" Punk informed him "We're done, we need to get away"
"Running away is going to solve everything?" Vince questioned
"I'm tired" AJ informed Vince cutting Punk off "I'm tired of flying around and missing things. I love it here and I will always be grateful for everything you and this company has done for me but it time for me to focus on my own life and doing the things I want to before I can't anymore. I've almost died twice in the last two months and if that's not a huge wakeup call than I don't know what is"
"I'm not going to fight you AJ" Vince assured her "Or you for that matter" he said glancing over to Punk "Even though I swore if you did this to me again I would make your life very difficult"
"Trust me after the last few weeks I've endured I can take anything you throw at me" Punk smirked
"You were really hurt last night after the match" Vince admitted to him "I was concerned for you and I knew right then and there you were working through pain again. I didn't get many details about last night but I'm sure your body took some more hits after the match as well. If you both feel you need to leave then I will legally release you on good terms"
"Thank you" AJ said letting out a breath and he offered her a smile
"You're welcome back anytime" Vince told her "Both of you" he said glancing over to Punk "I like you both and not just because you two make me a lot of money and are the best at what you do, but personally. I wish you both the best of luck"
"What are you going to tell everyone?" Punk asked
"Nothing" Vince said simply "You're going to tell everyone. Don't do what you did last time. You want to hand over that championship you go out there tonight and tell everyone why" he said to him "Don't leave the people hanging again"
"You're intrusting me with a live mic on live TV?" Punk laughed
"Yes" Vince said to him "Do what you have to do"
There was already news circulating around the back about Punk dropping his title tonight. The script had many holes in it and most people were already assuming Punk and AJ were both done, a lot didn't blame them only a few seemed surprised.
"So is it true?" Paul Heyman questioned walking over to Punk
"Is what true?" Punk asked not really bothered by Paul this time. He was far to anxious to get out of the company for good tonight. He was also trying to decide on what he was going to say
"You're dropping the belt and leaving…again?" Paul asked
"That's right" Punk confirmed "I suggest if you have some sort of comment you should say it now because I once I step out of that ring at 8:20pm I'm not coming back and you will never see me again"
"I just wanted to say good luck" Paul said to him "I also happen to think you're making a mistake but that goes without saying. If you stay you'll be making more money than you could have every imagined"
"I don't want the money" Punk told him "I don't need it either even though Vince is giving AJ and I a very lucrative bonus for all of our hard work" he informed him with a grin
"Of course he is" Paul mocked "Think about Punk, if AJ wants some time off I respect that and I understand but let her go off. She's a lot younger and can come back you don't have that much time"
"I have zero interest in being here without AJ" Punk told him "And you know I only came back to be with AJ and now she's done so I'm done too"
"You've wanted this your entire life" Paul insisted
"I wanted to headline Wrestelmania and I did that last night" Punk shot at him
"Ok" Paul said slowly "Well I don't agree with it but I guess I can't talk you out of it. As for the Corey Graves thing….I do want to apologize for that"
"As much as I blame you for a lot of things I can't blame you for him" Punk admitted
"I remember when he called you and told you he'd be working with AJ and how paranoid you got. You called me up right after you hung up with him and told me you didn't trust him with AJ and I said you were nuts" Paul reminded him "You were right and I am happy you both weren't hurt last night"
"I was wondering last night if I had never come back this all could have been avoided" Punk admitted to Paul in a surprisingly friendly tone "But then I started to think that if AJ and I had gotten married when we did she would have come back to work regardless and still would have worked with him difference is I wouldn't have been around. I'm not a big believer in fate but I can't help but think there was a reason I took you word and came back when I did"
"I think you're right" Paul agreed "So can we put all this behind us now? Move on past this?"
"No" Punk replied simply "What I was trying to say is I'm not going to beat you to a bloody pulp for what you did but I also won't forget what you did and if you approach me or AJ outside of a WWE event I will make sure you regret it"
AJ was saying goodbye to a few fellow divas but it was mostly Paige and Trinity. When she left the Diva's locker room for the last time she ran right into Michael Hayes, a man she despised deeply.
"Hello AJ I just wanted to wish you the best on all your future endeavors" Michael smiled smugly "It's a shame you're not going to get a chance to go out there and say goodbye but I'm sure you realize now that it's always been about Punk and not you"
"You know my only regret about leaving now is that I won't get a chance to work with you on TV" AJ said to him, surprising him a bit "I wanted to humiliate you in front of millions of people so badly but I'm willing to accept that"
"Trust me AJ that's for the best. The only one would be embarrassed is you" Michael smiled giving her a wink
"But since this is probably the last time I'm going to see you for a long time if not forever there is something I have to get off my chest" AJ told him simply
"Sure" Michael shrugged and that's when he felt AJ's fist connect with his jaw causing him to jerk back "Are you insane!" he shouted rubbing his jaw
"That felt so good" AJ smiled looking at her tiny bawled fist "I should have done that a long time ago"
"You don't work here anymore" Michael hissed at her "I can have you arrested for assault!"
"AJ is employed here until the show is over" Stephanie McMahon informed Michael as she briskly walked over "And I'm sure the last thing you want is to put AJ through anymore unnecessary stress would you?"
"Oh of course not" Michael spat out "Wouldn't want little AJ to have to actually pay for her mistakes"
"I think I've paid in full for all mine and yours for that matter" AJ shot at him
"You should go clean up the show is starting shortly" Stephanie informed Michael who just glared at AJ one last time then headed down the hall "I just wanted to thank you for all the time you put in here" she said to AJ "I'm going to miss having you around"
"I'm going to miss it too" AJ admitted
"You're welcome back anytime and I don't just mean to work, to visit" Stephanie said to her "I really admire what you're doing"
"You don't think I'm a coward?" AJ questioned "That's what a lot of people are saying"
"I think you're very brave" Stephanie told her honestly "It's not easy to walk away from here and you're doing what makes you happy. I often wonder if I could take my girls and Paul and just run off into the sunset, I wish I could sometimes"
"Thank you for always being so nice and supportive of me" AJ said to her honestly "I'll never forget it"
"Just enjoy the rest of your life" Stephanie smiled pulling her into a hug
Punk opened the show and fans were surprised to see him tonight. A lot thought after the story broke with Corey he would no-show with AJ tonight but there he was. He was dressed in jeans and one of AJ's t-shirts, which made her smile as she watched from backstage. The 'CM Punk' chants were so loud that they could be heard for miles.
Once he stepped into the ring he let the fans chant loud as he took in the moment and realized why he never say goodbye the first time, it was going to hurt.
"Last night I accomplished what I always set out to do" Punk started off "I wanted to headline Wrestelmania and I walked in as champion and just like I told everyone I walked out as champion." The crowed cheered happily for their chosen champion "But like all things in life it must come to an end and tonight it's time for me to pass this on" the crowed was now silent as he continued "Daniel Bryan gave me a hell of a fight last night and my body just can't take anymore neither can my mind. Tonight will be the last time you see CM Punk in a WWE ring as champion." The crowed started to boo and he couldn't help but smile towards it "I know this isn't what you want but this is what I need it's time I move on but I promise every single one of you that this is not the last you see of me. And though it isn't easy for me to say I humbly thank the fans that have supported me, bought a t-shirt, a DVD, a figure, applauded for me or even booed me. I wouldn't be here today without you. There are some great things coming up here and believe me you all have a lot to look forward to. Thanks again for this wild ride and I will never forget this moment" a loud 'thank you Punk' chant broke out as he placed the microphone on the mat and left the belt in the center of the ring.
He headed down the ramp and look towards the crowd that was still clapping and cheering and raised his arms up and shouted 'best in the world!' one final time before retreating to the back. Most of the superstars, diva's and employees were gathered applauding him as he walked backstage but he was looking for one person only.
"How'd I do?" Punk asked AJ as she stepped over to him
"You were great" AJ smiled pulling him into a tight hug "Are you ok?" she whispered into his ear then pulled away
"Yea" Punk said to her cupping her cheek "I'm good, ready to go"
"I know a few of the guys want to talk to you" AJ told him "You want to go say goodbye and I'll meet you at the car?"
"No" Punk told her "My bag is already in the trunk and I have nothing left to say to anyone. Let's just get the hell out of here" he said to her and she just nodded
"Ok" she smiled grabbing his hand and the two walked out of the arena and the WWE for good.
Punk and AJ arrived in Hawaii on Tuesday night and by Thursday they had their marriage license and they were ready to final get married. Punk was waiting for AJ inside the living room of the large condo they were renting while they were there. He had a nice button down shirt and a pair of jeans, AJ stepped out and was wearing a long loose fitted cotton white dress. It couldn't have cost AJ more than $50 but he thought she looked absolutely amazing.
"Do I look ok?" she asked nervously as he eyed her. Her hair was in simple waves and she wasn't wearing much makeup.
"You look beautiful" Punk smiled warmly
"It's not much-" AJ started looking down at the dress nervously
"It's perfect" Punk said to her grabbing her hands and pulling her to him "The judge is here to officiate he's on the beach"
"What about witnesses?" AJ questioned
"The overly friendly older couple next door is going to be our witnesses" Punk said to her "Are you ready?"
"Yes" she said without hesitation and a smile. "You have to wait here" AJ said looking down at Cookie who Punk and AJ sent for and she arrived yesterday "The beach is no place for you" she smiled petting the cat
"It's time" Punk said nodding towards the sunset. AJ grabbed his hand tightly and they stepped outside onto the beach barefoot and walked right towards the judge who was waiting with a smile on his face.
"Now Phil has informed you two are the most of traditional of couples" the judge smiled "So should I skip the formalities and just get straight to the point?"
"I'd actually like to say something" Punk said to him surprising AJ "You know I'm a man of many words" he said causing her to let out a small laugh "But it's going to be really hard for me to put into words what you truly mean to me. So I'll keep it short and sweet" he said with a sly smile "You have made me so happy, more happy than I ever thought was possible and I know we've had our rough patches and I'm sure there will be times where we'll be challenged but I promise you that I will fight, I will never walk out on you, I will never give up on us. I swear to you that I will love, honor and protect you until the day I die" he told her looking deeply into her watery eyes
"I know" she whispered as she he kept his hands on hers "Thank you for saving me, loving me and being with me. And I swear to you that I will love, honor and protect you too. I also promise you that I'll spend everyday of my life making you happy and supporting and loving you. And when things go south or you feel alone you never will be because I'll be right there with you, it's just you & I against the world" AJ told him as Punk used his thumb to gently wipe the tear that escaped her eye.
"Well I think they've said it all" the judge smiled "You two could exchange rings now" he told them and they did as they were asked "As long as no one objects I can officially pronounce you Mr. & Mrs. Brooks" he told them "You can kiss your bride" Punk leaned down and captured AJ's lips and the only sound was the birds chirping above in the sky and the judge and the two witnesses clapping slightly
"We finally did it" AJ smiled as he pulled away
"No regrets right?" Punk couldn't help but ask
"Never" AJ said pulling his face back down towards hers
"Hey" he said pulling away again causing her to groan slightly "I love you"
"I love you too" she smiled
"Thank you everyone" he said to the three individuals
"My pleasure" the judge smiled shaking his hand "I'm actually a pretty big fan but don't worry my lips are sealed" he smirked
"I'd appreciate that" Punk said to him
"Have a wonderful marriage" the elderly couple told Punk and AJ
"Thank you for doing this" AJ told them
"No thank you for having us" the woman smiled "We were married on the beach here forty-eight years ago and we never left" she smiled "I wish you both very well" she said lightly grabbing AJ's hand and giving it a squeeze "So what now?" AJ asked turning to Punk
"Now we celebrate" he smiled lifting her easily into his arms and carried her inside there paradise condo
A/N: That's it! I hope it was worth the wait and thank you to every single one of you who has reviewed or tweeted about this story it has meant so much to me. Follow me on Twitter broe929 to be kept update on any future stories. Thanks again everybody!