Four months later, Stephanie returned to Smackdown and she wasn't alone, she had brought Andrew along with her. She knew it wasn't the usual practice to bring a four month old baby to an arena, but she just could bear to be parted from her infant son for any length of time. Luckily Shane had offered to stay on for the next few weeks to aid in her transition back to work. Although she did have the sneaking suspicion it had less to do with the company and more to do with over protective brotherly feelings that kept him around.
Shane had been acting like an over protective madman since Stephanie had insisted on watching Kurt's performance - and subsequent gold medal win - in the Olympics. Then the day before her father grudgingly admitted that in less than a month, just after the next pay-per-view, Kurt would be returning to Smackdown. Shane was not impressed, but Stephanie wasn't sure how she felt about it. She didn't know how she was going to handle being so near and yet acting with nothing but professionalism towards him, but she was going to do it.
From the moment she walked into the arena on the night of her return, Stephanie was inundated with well wishers and superstars who wanted to see and/or hold the baby. Not that Stephanie was in any way complaining about it, it was extremely nice to know that people she worked with cared about her and Andrew. The worst moment came when she let the last two wrestlers hold Andrew, Edge and Benoit. The second that the two ex-adversaries of Kurt's laid eyes on her son they gave her knowing looks.
"Hey Steph," Edge said smiling at her. "Welcome back."
Benoit jumped straight in, "Why isn't Kurt here?"
Stephanie tried to keep her voice and expression neutral. "He has a month's vacation before he returns."
Edge and Benoit exchanged another look. Edge chose to speak, "Stephanie... he should be here taking care of you and the baby."
Benoit threw his hands up into the air in frustration, "For God's sake, Steph. You would have to be bloody blind not to see that this is Kurt's son. Hell, he looks just like him."
Stephanie paled with shock and fumbled her way down into her executive's chair. She wondered how many of the other superstars were out there laughing at her and her rampant stupidity over being duped by Kurt Angle.
"Do you want me to beat him up for you? It would be my pleasure to do it," Benoit offered.
Edge elbowed Benoit in the ribs, "Are you okay, Stephanie?"
"I'm fine. Perhaps both of you should go and get ready for your matches."
"Okay," Edge told her leaving the office.
"Remember, all you have to do is say the word and I'll break him in half for you," Benoit replied following Edge out.
Stephanie sighed and sank back as far as possible into the extra large leather executive's chair and tried to regain her composure. She was relatively successful and after a few moments she went next door and deposited her son into her brother's arms, before she headed out to the ring to give her return speech.
Exactly one month later Kurt Angle walked slowly into the arena where Smackdown was being held, all the time his heart was clenching in fear over seeing Stephanie again. How would she treat him now? Like they had never been more than friends or would she ignore him? Sighing he headed back to the locker room area.
The second he pushed open the door to the locker room that he had been assigned to, a deadly silence descended over the other superstars in there. Putting his bag down on one of the wooden benches he surveyed his locker-mates, Edge, Benoit and Rhyno.
"Hey guys," Kurt said trying to be friendly and overcome the icy glares they were shooting his way.
Rhyno stood up and walked over to in front of Kurt, he snorted in Angle's face before storming out of the locker room without uttering a word. The other two simply sat there glaring at him still.
"So... how are you guys? Anything happening around here?"
"Bite me, Angle. I can't believe you actually had the audacity to show your face around here," Benoit told him.
"Huh?" Kurt replied confused. He and Benoit had never actually been friends or anything, but right now Benoit was more hostile towards him than ever before and he had no idea why.
Edge cut Benoit off, "Kurt just get your butt over to Stephanie's office."
"Just do it," Edge said as he dragged Benoit out of the locker room.
Kurt sat down on the clod hard wooden bench and wondered what the hell was going on. Everyone was extremely hostile towards him and he was clueless as to why. Getting up he decided that Edge was right and that he should go and see Stephanie, no matter how heartbreaking it was going to be.
Less than five minutes later, Kurt found himself standing just outside of Stephanie's office. Taking an extremely deep breath he knocked on the door and when he did not receive and answer he headed inside. As he poked his head through the door he could hear the sound of running water coming from the bathroom and he decided to wait for her to come out. Hearing a gurgling noise come from the blue bassinet that was set up next to Stephanie's desk, Kurt - against his better judgment - headed over to it. He had to get a look at Stephanie's son, to see what might have been.
Peeking over the side, he received one of the greatest shocks of his life. The baby, Stephanie's baby was the spitting image of his very own baby photos. Kurt involuntarily took a step away from the basinet and tried to sort through the flurried images rushing through his troubled mind.
He never heard the bathroom door open, in fact the only clue that Kurt had that he was no longer alone was Stephanie's strangled cry of anguish. Without thinking Kurt ran out of Stephanie's office, blocking out the sound of Stephanie calling his name. He just had to get away to sort things out. He didn't stop running for a long time.
A couple of hours later Kurt returned to the hotel at which he was staying, going straight to his room and avoiding all the other Smackdown employees. Once he was locked safely inside, he grabbed the phone and rang his mother.
"Kurt, honey. What's wrong?" his mother asked immediately concerned.
Kurt took a deep breath, "I saw Stephanie's son."
"Oh baby. Are you okay?"
"He looks just like me."
"What?" she yelled. She didn't and couldn't believe that her baby boy had procreated with that McMahon woman. "Is that why she called here so many times?"
"I guess so. I never got to talk to her, I let Paul Heyman sidetrack me."
"Mom, I know you don't like Stephanie. However I love her and I want to be with her forever. I need to have my family."
Kurt's mother was silent for a minutes before sighing in defeat, "Then go and get your family. I expect millions of pictures of my grandson."
"I love you, mom."
"I love you too, baby."
Kurt hung up his end of the phone and got up ready to head back to the arena and to Stephanie. He opened up the door but before he had a chance to go anywhere he ran straight into the object of his obsession.
"Hi... can I come in?" she asked holding Andrew close.
"Sure," Kurt answered as he stepped back to allow them access to the room.
Stephanie quickly crossed the threshold and sat down on the couch, shifting Andrew to a more comfortable position across her lap.
Kurt closed the door and locked it before turning towards her. "Why didn't you tell me? Tell the world that it was my child? Were you that ashamed that the baby was mine?"
"That's not fair, Kurt. *You* gave me the wrong contact number and every single time I called your mother, all I got for my trouble was hostility. As to why I didn't tell the world... maybe I just didn't want them all to be laughing at me about how stupid I was to let myself get duped by the man I love."
"You love me?"
Stephanie held onto her son tightly, "Yeah."
Kurt slowly started to inch across the room towards them. "I'm sorry, Steph. I really wish that I had been there for the two of you."
"You had another medal to win."
Kurt looked at her, "You are so much more important to me than any dumb medal."
"I find that hard to believe," she told him as she shook here head.
"It's true, Steph. The entire time I was away all I thought about was you."
Stephanie scoffed, "Yeah. That's why you returned my calls."
Kurt stared, "I did... that was when Heyman told me that you were pregnant and that the father was Bischoff or Hunter."
"You actually thought I'd let Bischoff touch me?"
"Well, you did kiss him."
"He kissed me!" Stephanie corrected.
Kurt sat next to her, "I never thought it was Bischoff."
"But you figured that I was such a slut that I'd get knocked up by my ex-husband?"
"Steph, you loved him."
Stephanie looked into Kurt's eyes, "The operative word there is *loved*. All that was over a long time ago."
"Give me a chance, Stephanie," Kurt suddenly pleaded. "I want us to be a family."
"Why?" she asked as she fought off the overwhelming impulse to simply say yes.
"Because I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to be a father to our son and any other children we may have later on."
"Yes... I want that too."
Kurt leaned in to kiss he, but a sudden whimper shattered the moment. He looked down at his infant son and his heart swelled with love, he placed his arm around Stephanie and for the first time ever, Kurt felt like he was where he belonged.