Title: A Man's World

Author: Crimson Coin Crimson_Coin@yahoo.com

Summery: After the infamous backstage RAW meeting, Trish reacts to the attack on her credibility.

Rating: PG 13 for harsh language and sexual situations

Disclaimer: Trish Stratus and any wrestler, the WWE none of that belongs to me. I'm simply writing a fictional story ... Entirely fictional

Archiving: Be my guest, simply e-mail me first.

Timeline: January 2004

+++

Trish quickly closed the door to the women's locker room, flicking the lock. Did she care if anyone was ready? No. She didn't care that the other women needed to get changed for the night's matches. She didn't care about a goddamn thing that this company needed.

Furiously wiping her eyes, she desperately tried to keep the tears back. She wouldn't cry. She couldn't. She wouldn't let them get to her. She wouldn't let them make her cry.

There was a knock on the door and Trish turned, listening.

"Trish, sweetie."

Trish ground her teeth. It was Amy Dumas. And Trish wasn't in the mood to be pacified. "No, I'm not letting anyone in."

Amy sighed. "We have to get ready. We have matches and we need our things."

"Fuck the matches!" Trish yelled. Her voice was shaking, her body tense and strained. The tears flowed freely; she simply couldn't stop them.

"Honey," Amy cooed. "It's not the women that made you upset. We all agree with you."

"That's right, sweetie."

Trish wiped her eyes again, the tears slowing. She recognized the new voice. It was Nora Greenwald.

"Honey, please open the door." Nora said. "It's only me and Amy and we have to get our things. Look, why don't you just let us in ... we'll get ready and then we'll leave. We won't even talk to you."

"All anyone cares about is the fucking matches!" Trish spat. "I'm right. My ideas are right. There should be more continuity between the televised shows and the house show."

"I know." Amy answered. "You're right. There should be. Now, can you let us in?"

"No!" Trish hollered. "You're only saying that cuz you want me to let you in."

"No, no." Nora said, gently. "Yes, we want to come inside but we're not only saying it. We mean it too."

Trish stalked to the door. "You don't understand." She snarled. "You wouldn't understand. You two were always respected as wrestlers and athletes. Not me. I was eye candy. I was a pretty face and a sexy body and that was it. And I knew it too. I thought that over the last two years I proved that I can be just as good as you two. I thought that I proved myself as a valuable member of this roster. I thought that I moved passed just being something hot to look at. I put blood and sweat into this company. I gave them everything I have, and still I'm nothing more than a fucking lapdog."

"Trish ..."

"Don't you try and pacify me, Amy." Trish cried, her tears more than evident in her voice. "Don't. Because you don't understand. You can never understand."

"Trish." A sweet southern drawl called.

Trish furrowed her brow at the voice. It was a voice she recognize. It was a voice that she somehow knew but she just couldn't pin point.

"Trish, Darlin, please open the door. The girls are gone and it's only me. Come on, Sweetheart, let me in."

She placed a hand on the door, slowly flicking the lock and she opened the door, her eyes widening. "Jeff?"

Jeff Hardy smiled, sweetly. "Hi, Sweetheart. Chris told me what happened in that meeting room and he and Jay are worried sick about you. And I came because I'm worried about you. They said you charged outta that room like a bat outta hell." He reached out, brushing his thumb over her tear stained cheeks. "And it looks like we're right to be worried about you."

Trish hurriedly wiped her eyes, trying her best to swallow her tears. "Jeff, what are you doing here?"

"I told you." He said, softly. That soft, sweetly soothing voice; it could still melt her heart. "I was worried about you. As are Chris and Jay. And Matt even told me that you looked upset. And it looks like we're all right." He extended his arms. "Do you need a hug?"

Trish ducked her head, her face scrunching up as she tried to hold back the tears.

"Sweetheart." Jeff cooed, stepping into the locker room and letting the door close behind him. He wrapped his arms right around her, pulling her into his arms, simply holding her, rocking slightly as he rubbed his hands over her back then combing gently through her hair before caressing her back again. "Shhhh, Sweetheart. It's alright."

"No, Jeff." She cried, burying her face into his chest. "It's not alright."

"Yes, it is, Darlin." He glanced around the locker room, spotting one of the couches. "Come on, let's sit down over on that sofa, ok?"

She sniffled, nodding and she grabbed the hand he offered, following him to the couch. When he sat down, she crawled into his lap, cuddling against his chest, hiding her face in the fabric of his shirt as if she was afraid of the world seeing her cry.

Jeff wrapped his arms around her again, holding her, protecting her and rocking slightly. "Now, Sweetheart, why don't you tell me what happened?"

"I thought Chris told you."

"I wanna hear it from you." He drawled, softly, running his hands over her back.

Trish sniffled, settling further into him, grabbing his arms to wrap them more tightly around herself. "Well, we were in that meeting thing. And Vince asked if anyone had any suggestions of how we can improve house show attendance. And I suggested that maybe we should make the house shows more continuous with what happens on RAW every Monday. That way the people who are going will see what they see on RAW and be more likely to attend. You know, making the house shows on the same level as RAW."

"That sounds like a wonderful idea." Jeff drawled.

"Well, nobody else did." She growled. "They called me stupid. Said that it was a dumb idea and laughed. And ... and ..." she wiped her face on his shirt, hiding as best she could, mumbling into him. "And someone even said that I should keep to what I'm best at and that's looking good. And let the boys decide what's best for wrestling. Cuz they're respected wrestlers. And I'm just a pretty face."

"Honey,"

Trish pushed away from him, looking onto his face. "I thought I've moved past all that. I thought I've proved myself more than enough that I'm willing to put my body out there just like the men. All the Hardcore matches and the chair shots I willing took. I ... I thought ..."

"Darlin," Jeff cooed, wiping the tears from her eyes. "Darlin, who said that? Who said those mean things to you?"

"It doesn't matter."

"It matters to me." His voice deep and intense though far from raised.

Trish was taken aback by the emotion she heard in his voice. It was rare when Jeff Hardy was intense, even remotely angered like this. She sniffed, ducking her head and fiddling with the hem of his shirt. "It ... it really makes no difference."

He hooked a finger under her chin, forcing her eyes up. "It makes a big difference to me. Tell me, Darlin. Who said that?"

She blinked a few times, unable to tear her eyes off of his, off of those comforting soft green eyes. "Hunter, Steiner, Shawn, most of the locker room. Everyone laughed. Well, the girls didn't ... neither did Chris, Jay, your brother. Well, Bubba and D'von didn't laugh. But everyone else laughed. Laughed like it was a stupid idea."

"It wasn't stupid." Jeff said, raking his blonde hair back out of his eyes. "It's a great idea. Don't listen to them. And as for not earning your place, that's bull. No woman has done as much for this company as you did in the last year and a half. Amy has said it to me. And I actually came here tonight to see you all. I just wanted to visit, to see my best girls."

"It hurts, Jeff." Trish choked. "It hurts that the locker room still feels that way. That they still think I should just be strutting around in lace lingerie and doing nothing but hanging off of a man's arm."

"Are you bitter about your angle with Chris?"

"No," Trish shook her head. "No, I love working with Chris. I'm helping his career and it's giving me a lot of exposure. I think we work well together and we have such great chemistry. And I know that Chris respects me and he cares about me." She closed her eyes. "But it hurts so much."

"Come here, Sweetheart." Jeff cooed, pulling her head down and tucking her into his neck, just hugging her as closely as he could. Holding her tight, rocking slightly as he felt the moisture of her tears sliding along the skin of his throat. "Shhh, Darlin." He nuzzled her, his lips by her ear. "Don't cry, Darlin. They're not worth your tears."

"I can't help it." She sniffled. "I still feel so ... so ..." she paused a few moments, trying to force the word up past her lips. It was hard; the tears and unsteady shaking of her throat adding to the difficulty. "So ... worthless."

"Now don't you say that." He said, his voice laden with concentrated emotion. His words precise, exact. "That is the biggest load of garbage I've ever heard. Sweetheart, I don't ever want to hear you say that about yourself again."

"But Jeff ..."

"I mean it." His southern drawl soothed and he eased her back, cupping her face in his hands to look in her eyes. "Darlin, look at me."

Trish shook her head, her eyes focused on his shirt as her hair hung into her face.

But Jeff would have none of that. With a gentleness not common to a man, he lifted her chin, tilting her face up and locking eyes with her. "Trish ..."

Her breath caught high in her throat, a familiar feeling rising from her core at the look in his captivating green eyes. A feeling that had been dormant for months. A feeling she spent those months trying to forget.

Jeff smiled, easily, brushing his thumbs over her cheeks. Her eyes glassed and wide, the slightest trails of mascara trickling down those cheeks. Her lips full and quivering as she desperately tried to restrain from crying. "You're not worthless."

She sucked her lower lip into her mouth, nervously chewing on it a few moments.

But Jeff's smile somehow managed to soften even more, his voice ever so genteel and melodic. "You're far from worthless. And don't listen to what those other people say. They don't know what they're talking about." His pulled her a little closer, resting his forehead to hers as he spoke just above a whisper. "A lot of them are only in this for there own good, they don't care about anything else. So if you had a good idea, not only are you a woman but you're lower on the hierarchy and they were threatened. Plus ..." his smile stretched wide, eyes slightly closed in amusement. "Vince is completely senile and everyone knows it. So take anything he says with a grain of salt."

Trish sighed, unable to stop herself from nuzzling into him, draping her arms over his neck. "It still hurts. Everything ... still hurts."

Jeff paused a few moments, then wrapped his arms around her waist. "Somethin' tells me we're not talking about Vince anymore."

Trish didn't answer.

He nodded, pulling her a little closer, still keeping his forehead pressed to hers. "I'm sorry I hurt you." He whispered. "I ... I never thought that me leaving the way I did would hurt you so much. And I know that I ran out just when we were getting to be ... well, more than friends. But Darlin, please understand that I had to sort so much out."

"I know, Jeff." She responded softly. "I know and ... it all sucks. It sucks that I'm living in a man's world where everything I think and feel is put to the sideline with men. From the locker rooms vision of me as a joke to ..." her voice shuddered, softening as it shook with emotion. "To me spending so much of my life depressed because you left. It's ... it's always men that rule my life and it hurts. It just ... hurts."

"Being on my own for so long, I've got to thinking." Jeff eased her back, brushing his fingers over her cheeks as he looked into her saddened eyes. "I was thinking a lot about me and about everyone else. And ... and I couldn't stop thinking about you. Thinking about how it felt with you, how much I liked being around you ... and I realized then, probably way to late, that I loved you."

Trish's eyes widened, her lips parted in a soft gasp.

But he only smiled, gently. That sweet everything's-ok kinda smile that he always had; the smile that she couldn't help but adore. "Yeah, Sweetheart, I love you and still do. But you see, we don't have to live in a man's world. Cuz that's not what it is to me." He licked his lips, his nerves twitching in his stomach. "To me? Well, you're my world. And as far as I know, you're not a man."

Trish giggled, ducking her head slightly embarrassed. "No, I ... I'm not a man."

Jeff's smile brightened. "That's good, or else we'd be in some serious trouble." He paused, letting the atmosphere settle and his tone became serious again. "And if you're my world, then we're not in a man's world. Cuz then you're in control of everything and you're not a man." He cupped her cheek, his warm palm comforting. "It can't be a man's world as long as I ... a man ... am willingly submissive to you ... a woman."

Her brow furrowed. "You'd submit to me?"

"I already have."

She didn't respond, but ducked her head. Why is it that he was the only man that could make her feel shy, embarrassed?

"Oh, Darlin," he lifted her chin. "Don't be upset. It's not a bad thing. See all those people who are mean to you don't matter. Cuz no matter what they do or say, I'm here. And you're friends are here. And they're all that matters. I ... should be what matters."

Trish licked her lips for in that moment, she could see something in Jeff's eyes. She could see his wants, his needs, his soul. She could feel the pull of his lips, feel as he leaned ever so closer to her, but refusing to close the distance and kiss her. His brow rose, hopefully, his green eyes a clear window and she immediately understood.

He was the only man that had that effect on her. He was the only man that could make her see with the mere glance of an eye. She knew that he wouldn't kiss her. That he was holding true to his words, and submissively, patiently waiting for her to do something first.

Trish closed her eyes, leaning forward, breathing delicately onto his lips. He was so close. He was so wonderful and simply so close. She could feel his lips part with a sigh. His eyes fluttered closed and he waited patiently for the privilege of her kiss.

She closed that final distance, wrapping her lips around his lower lip in a soft sensual kiss, one that made their breaths stop, that tore at their very cores. She gently licked that lip, moistening it before pulling back slightly, taking his lip with her before letting it slide back against his teeth.

Jeff expelled a shaky breath, his entire body trembling with the emotions and sensations that single kiss kindled. His mind, his heart and soul ached for that touch again, to feel that kiss again. But she sighed, pressing her forehead to his, nuzzling him as best she could. He licked his lips, gathering the taste of her onto his tongue. "Trish ... can we try again. Us?"

She nodded against his forehead, their noses brushing together with the movement. "Yes, I want to try." She giggled. "You know something, Jeff?"

"What's that, Darlin?"

Trish sighed. "I love it when you call me endearments."

He smiled. "Ok, Sweetheart, then I won't stop." He pulled her closer, her hips right against his as she sat high on his lap, their bodies as close as he could manage. "So, are you going to believe me? Believe me and refuse them?"

"I don't know."

"Try," he pleaded. "Please, try. You're better than them. You're better because despite you being low on the card and even a woman, you are far more popular than any of them. You have a loyal fan basis and you have true friends who care about you." He sighed. "And you have me, Darlin. Not to many people can say they have claim to Jeff Hardy's heart. And that probably makes a lot of girls jealous."

She didn't answer him.

"You don't need them, Darlin." He continued. "It's only a paycheck at this point. The people that matter in your life, that you're close to ... they know what you are. They know the intelligent beautiful athlete that you are and the fans know it to." He wiped his thumbs under her eyes. "They're not worth your tears, Darlin. No man is worth your tears."

Trish shook her head. "There is a man who's worth my tears." She sniffed, wiping her nose with the back of her hand. "And ... and ..."

"And I swear, I will never bring you to tears again." He responded, his eyes locked on hers. Concerned, he reached up, wiping her eyes. "Hey now, Darlin. Don't you make a liar outta me. I just said I wouldn't make you cry again and here you are cryin."

"No," Trish insisted. "This ... I'm not upset I'm just ... overwhelmed." She smiled. "It's been so hard without you. I ... I never thought I needed a man around un ... until I met you. I ... I need you, Jeff."

"I need you too, Darlin." He drawled, easily. "There's no more man's world or woman's world. How bout it can just be ... our world? How's that sound?"

Trish smiled, her eyes dancing for him as she cupped the sides of his face. "Wonderful." She breathed, leaning down and pressing her lips to his, holding his face in place as she kissed him softly, her fingers trembling against his cheeks. "Jeff," she breathed against his lips. "Kiss me like you used to."

Wasting no more time, his need to prove himself strong, he band his arms around her, pulling her flush into him as he captured her lips. Licking softly, he slipped his tongue into her mouth, tangling and twining passionately yet tenderly with hers.

She felt her heart race, her blood pumping through her body. It had been so long since she'd been with him, been around him. And just his presence had awakened the life within her. And in that moment, in that embrace, Trish didn't care what world she lived in - as long as Jeff was there and he could hold her and kiss her like this. Then she could face anything ... and conquer it.

- Fin