** I don't own any of the following characters. The characters are owned by WWE, Inc. and the
real people's true identities are their own.**

Author's Note: Jetderk...thank you for reading and reviewing my story!! I am honored! I've read
your stuff and I LOVE it! Thanks go out to everyone for their reviews... please keep 'em coming!

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Paul had gotten to Vegas before any of the other wrestlers. After a short workout, he had a quiet
lunch and decided to head out to the arena a little earlier than usual. He didn't feel like waiting
around for Stephanie to arrive at the hotel. He knew she'd be pissed off about having to rent
another car and drive in by herself.

As he drove to the arena, he started wondering what had gone wrong in their relationship. They
never did anything together that didn't involve work. Actually, they had never really done much
of anything together, but that was mainly his fault. He'd kept her at arms length when it came to
fully including her in his life because he needed to remain in control. With Stephanie, it was all
too easy to lose himself entirely.

He had never told her that he loved her. Not even once. Paul could never bring himself to do it
for that would mean he'd have to admit that she had power over him. And power meant control.
Maybe if he had told her the truth, they wouldn't have grown so far apart. Sure, they still had
incredible sex, but there was no emotion in it at all and it hurt him that she could detach herself
like that. Women weren't supposed to be capable of having sex just for the sake of having it.
They were supposed to cling to you and smother you to the point where you had to push them
away - but Stephanie wasn't like that at all.

Stephanie was like fire and ice. One minute she was cold and aloof; the next she could be the
most affectionate person in the world. Sometimes, she even had him convinced that she really
cared about him... but she had never told him that she loved him either. At one time, he was
going to tell her how he felt; but he was afraid she'd reject him.

Lately, they hadn't been spending much time together. When they did, they almost always ended
up fighting and the fights were getting worse. He spent most of his spare time pursuing his own
interests and had even started going out after the shows without her. This enraged her to the point
where he'd return to the hotel only to find out that she'd checked herself into a separate room.

The distance between them had been growing steadily and he wondered how long it would be
before she wanted to leave him. Deep down, Paul wanted nothing more than to cross the
expanse that divided them and draw her to him. He wanted her to love him again, if she ever had
in the first place. Yet, instead of trying to bridge the gap between them, he widened it. Last night
he had taken it too far and he knew it.

Paul sighed heavily and felt guilty for having kept his whereabouts from her. He didn't know
how she'd react if he'd told her the truth. She'd probably go off the deep end and he hadn't
wanted to deal with that. He still didn't. The last thing he wanted was to hear that shrill voice
piercing through his skull. As much as he wanted to try to hold things together, he was
finding it increasingly difficult to stomach her outbursts.

The worse thing about all of this was that Stephanie was exactly the kind of woman that he
wanted. She was power hungry, knew what she wanted and was determined to get it. She
also wouldn't take much shit from anyone - especially him. He loved that about her. Joanie,
despite her outward appearance, had been too passive for him. She never fought back and pretty
much let him do whatever he wanted. Stephanie was feisty and he craved her attention. She had a
set of brass balls and could be very dominant, which was an incredible turn on for him.

It pissed him off that lately, Stephanie seemed to be going soft. She just didn't seem to care one
way or the other and that bothered him. He was sure that Stephanie wasn't cheating on him; at
least he liked to believe that she wasn't. She was too honest and straightforward for that.
Nonetheless, he did wonder about it sometimes.

Paul had seriously considered ending their relationship several times, but couldn't bring himself
to do it. He just wasn't ready to leave her. A small part of it was due to the fact that she was a
McMahon, but that wasn't what kept him around. He couldn't imagine his life without her
because somewhere along the way, he'd fallen in love with her.

* * *
Stephanie and Chris sat in silence once they'd arrived in the hotel parking lot. There was no
awkwardness between them, but something had changed. They could both feel it. Chris removed
his sunglasses and placed them on the dashboard before turning to face her.

"Thanks for letting me bum a ride." Stephanie said, smiling gratefully. She absentmindedly
wrung her hands before letting them settle on top of her purse.

"Anytime, Steph." He stated honestly. They looked at each other for a long moment before he
mustered the courage to say what was on his mind. "I really enjoyed your company."

Stephanie looked away from him as she smiled sheepishly. She felt like a schoolgirl. Since when
did she become so shy? Chris was looking at her differently for some reason and it made her
nervous - but it was a good kind of nervous. "Me too." She blurted out. Had she just said that?

Chris smiled and took the keys out of the ignition. "C'mon, I'll help you with your stuff." He got
out of the car first and headed for the trunk. Stephanie took a deep breath and grabbed the door
handle. She felt the dread wash over her as she realized she had to go back to work - and Paul.
How nice the last few hours had been. She was able to be herself around Chris and she liked it a
lot. There was no hostility, no hidden meaning behind their words... she had forgotten what it
was like to be so comfortable with someone.

They unloaded the trunk of the car together and carried everything into the lobby of the hotel.
Once they had both checked in, Stephanie stood in front of him and asked him if he'd like to
grab a bite to eat with her before they had to leave for the arena.

"I don't know Steph..." Chris said hesitantly. He really wanted to spend more time with her, but
he knew that he shouldn't. "I should probably get in a quick work out before the show."

"Oh, ok." Stephanie frowned. "I guess I'll see you backstage then?"

Chris stood there for a moment, noticing that she was disappointed. He stuffed one of his hands
into the pocket of his jeans and smiled innocently. "Most definitely." He said, nonchalantly
tucking a strand of her long brown hair behind her ear with his free hand. He could feel the
warmth emanating from her skin as his fingertips brushed against her cheek. Stephanie blushed
in response.

"Thanks again." She said, looking at him but not making any eye contact.

"Sure." Chris said with a bright smile. "I'll see you later." He turned away from her and headed
towards the elevator. He could feel her gaze burning into his back as he walked down the
corridor. He quickened his pace then waited impatiently for the elevator, not once glancing in
Stephanie's direction. He needed to get to the gym and soon. An intense workout would be the
perfect outlet for all of the energy that had suddenly accumulated.

Chris had never felt like this towards Stephanie before and it was unnerving to say the least. He
had always thought that she was very pretty but he'd been so wrapped up in Jessica that he'd
never allowed the true nature of their chemistry to fully register. Well... that wasn't entirely true.
He couldn't recall their first scripted kiss, but he did remember the second one. He remembered
it all too well. She had kissed him back that time, sending a bolt of electricity straight through
him. He had dismissed his stiffened reaction as him just being horny since he hadn't seen his
wife in a while - but that was obviously not the reason.

It had been years since he'd been with anyone other than Jessica. He'd had many opportunities
since she moved out, he just couldn't alleviate the feelings of guilt that would arise. Chris knew
that his marriage was over; the papers had been filed over a month ago. However, he still loved
Jessica and hadn't been comfortable with the idea of being with someone else. He knew he'd
have to move on and that eventually, someone would break through his defenses and literally
peak his interest again. Never in a million years did he ever think that woman would be
Stephanie McMahon. The slightest amount of contact between them had been enough to cause
that familiar burning in the pit of his stomach. He thought only Jessica had been capable of doing
that to him. It scared him a little.

Chris entered his room and changed into a pair of sweats and a T-shirt. The workout would do
him good as he hadn't hit the gym all weekend. He wondered if Paul would be there. He was the
last person he wanted to bump into right now. He never liked him much to begin with and in his
own opinion, Paul was an asshole. Chris grabbed his room key and a towel then headed towards
the gym room.

He decided that he wasn't going to pursue this. Chris was not afraid of Paul in the least, but he
knew that lusting after another man's woman was wrong. He convinced himself that this sudden
attraction to Stephanie was due to the fact that he hadn't had sex in months. Just about any
woman that touched him would have elicited the same reaction. Chris sat down on the bench and
picked up a dumbbell. "Yeah right." he mumbled to himself. He knew damn well that he'd
always been attracted to her, he'd just never been free to acknowledge it until now.

* * *