Title: By My Side
Author: Crimson Coin I do not own the WWE or any mentioned wrestlers. They are merely used/borrowed for the purpose of this fictional story.
Rating: PG 13 – R, depending on the chapter
Summery: Continuing from Unstoppable and Endless Love. Will friends and love still flourish?
Timeline: October 2004 – present
February 21, 2005
Randy Orton narrowed his eyes, focusing intently on the woman across the catering room. Her eyes ... he couldn't tear away from her eyes.
Stacy chattered on next to him, speaking of the weekend and the coming events and what to do when and where. Randy paid little attention as his thoughts swirled with possibilities and the more prominent one was quite disturbing.
The catering hall was fairly empty. Randy and Stacy sat at one of the tables and Trish Stratus at the other. His eyes glared as another man walked into the room and sat opposite Trish.
Chris Jericho reached across the table, his fingers gently touching Trish's cheek and then his thumb brushing over her swollen blackened eye.
Trish shuddered, turning away from him at the touch and he lowered his hands, clasping them on the table as he spoke to her. She shied away from him, her head bowed and eyes closed.
Randy clenched his teeth. "Bastard," he muttered.
"What?" Stacy asked him, her eyes naïve as she glanced at him after being interrupted.
A snarl pulled at his lips and he slowly shook his head, her words not even registering. "He hit her again. I'll kill him."
But Randy didn't listen. His teeth clenched, he stood from his seat and stalked the distance across the catering hall.
Chris Jericho took a seat in front of his girlfriend. "How are you?" he asked softly, his eyes gentle as he reached out to brush his fingers over her cheek.
"Scared me half to death when you called me this weekend." He said. "When you told me you were helping your Mom with the stuff in her attic ..."
Trish shook her head. "Do you know how embarrassing it is to have this black eye, knowing how I really got it."
Chris reached up a little further, brushing his thumb over her bruised skin. "It looks horrible ..."
"No, but ... when I first saw it, I nearly had a heart attack."
She shrugged away from him, her head ducked. "It's still tender. And don't look at me. It makes me so ugly."
He chuckled softly. "Sweetheart, you're never ugly to me."
A soft smile tugged at the corners of her lips as she looked into his eyes for the first time, his crystalline eyes shimmering with gladness and affection. "I ..."
She jumped when a pair of hands slammed onto the table and her head spun to the side.
Randy glared, his expression one of anger and fury as he snarled at Chris. "Just couldn't help yourself could ya. It's never just one time. It never is, you fucking dirtbag."
Jericho's eyes flamed, his body suddenly tense. "What exactly are you implying?"
"You know what I mean, you Son of a Bitch!" Randy roared and recoiled.
Jericho fell back out of his chair at the impact, his cheek throbbing with the punch at too shocked to react, he held a hand to his cheek, and look up at his attack with unsure and surprised eyes.
"What?" Randy taunted. "Man enough to hit a woman but not someone your own size?"
"No, Randy." Trish called out, rushing to Randy and placing her hands on his chest. "Don't."
"Hey," Stacy called. "Get your hands off him!" She quickly approached the quarrel and shoved Trish away from her boyfriend. "He's mine."
Randy ignored all but his own mind and he turned to his one time girlfriend. "Maybe you don't remember, Trish, but I certainly do. Remember a long time ago ... less than a year. Remember when you came to me. To my bed. To a real man."
"What?" Stacy gasped.
Randy paid no heed. "Remember when he struck you and you left. And now what? You're not strong enough to leave on your own. You can't ..."
"He didn't hit me, Randy," Trish spat, her eyes venomous and she stalked up to her former boyfriend. "He didn't do this to me. And who the hell are you to even accuse him of it?"
"Oh, I'm sorry," Randy responded in a tone of devilish mockery. "Forgive me for being concerned. Especially considering the way he's treated you before. How could I help but assume he slapped that black and blue onto your face."
Jericho, having heard enough, pushed to his feet in a flurry of rage and lashed out, his fist impacting the other man's jaw. "Son of a Bitch."
Randy stumbled slightly but his focus quickly returned as his heated gaze met that of his attacker. "Why you ..."
"No," Trish demanded, placing herself between the two men. Her back to Chris, she placed herself as close to her boyfriend as she could and her eyes glared dangerous daggers. "Don't come near him. And Chris, just stop it."
Chris easily obeyed her, his stance defensive and his eyes never leaving the other man. "I should rip him apart for what he's insinuating."
Trish again shook her head, this time turning towards Chris. "Baby," she whispered, reaching up to touch his cheek, knowing it would draw his eyes to her. She was right. "Baby, I want to get out of here."
Chris sighed, his thoughts solely of the woman before him. He finally felt the swelling of his cheek, the thick pulsating pain that throbbed with blinding annoyance and he closed his eyes, reaching up to place his hand over hers, holding her touch to his injured cheek.
She smiled sweetly, adoring how easily she could sooth him with nothing more than a whispered word and a calming caress. "I'm tired. My head hurts. I just want to leave."
"Alright," he sighed with a slow nod and he turned his head slightly to brush his lips over her palm. "Let's get out of here."
Randy clenched his teeth as he was being outright ignored. Hadn't anyone noticed that he still cared, even if just as a friend? His concerns were truly warranted and there was no reason to be utterly dismissed.
"I didn't know."
He turned his head to the voice, finally noticing a sad-eyed Stacy Keibler. "Didn't know what, Sweetheart."
Stacy sniffed as they were left alone and she slowly shook her head. "I didn't know you were with her. I ... I didn't know you still loved her."
He sighed, his own head shaking as he pressed a hand into his eyes.
"You do, don't you." She said, taking a step back from him. "Do you care about me?"
"Of course I do," he answered as his eyes met hers. "It's not like you think it is. I mean, yeah, I was with her but I ... it's over between us."
When he reached for her, Stacy took another step back, making sure there was suitable distance between them. "Do you wish it wasn't?"
He shrugged, casually. "Not really. I mean, I'll be honest with you. I loved her, yeah. But not like that anymore. It's been many months and I got over her. As much as you'd expect me to in that amount of time. It doesn't mean that I don't care about you."
"Do you love me?"
He silenced, her question catching him off guard.
Stacy sniffed, her eyes looking to another part of the room. "My heart moved too fast."
But her words were so soft, he couldn't hear them. "What?"
"Nothing," she answered with swift dismissal. "Nothing, it's nothing."
Randy did not accept her answer and in response, he closed the distance between them, reaching out to cup her face in his hands. "I don't know what words you want from me and I was never good at them. But listen to me when I tell you that when I'm with you, I'm not thinking of anyone else."
She nodded, weakly.
"I'll be honest." He continued. "It'll take some more time for my heart to be where you want it. Give me time, Stacy." He leaned down to press his forehead to hers and when she sighed at his touch, he slipped his arms around her waist. "I want to love you."
Stacy smiled at his words, knowing that he was sincere. And though she wished for more from him, she could not push it. "And I will wait for you." She responded and his lips descended upon hers. Why, again, was she angered and upset with him? She could not remember.
Chris sighed as he closed the door to their hotel room, cautiously sliding the lock to keep any unwanteds away.
"Mmm," he acknowledged, turning his tired eyes upon the woman in the room. He smiled as she already lounged on the bed, her shoes discarded to the floor and her one arm tucked under her head for elevation. "Do you have any idea how delicious you look right now?"
Trish smiled in return, a slight flush accentuating her cheeks at his words. "Come. Lay with me."
His eyes flickered darkly at her suggestion, despite the innocent connotations behind her honey-brown eyes. With another content sigh, he sprawled onto the bed, facing her. Reaching out a single hand, he tucked some stray fibers of hair behind her ears.
Her response was to duck her head, cuddling against him as she draped a single arm over his waist. As his breathing slowed, she knew he calmed. "Chris?"
"I've been doing a lot of thinking and after what happened today, I think I figured it out."
"What are you talking about?" he asked softly, his lips brushing along the side of her head. He inhaled, the rich scent of vanilla invading his senses. "Mmm, you smell good."
She placed her palms on his chest, pushing back to look up into his eyes. "You dream about me, don't you? About what happened between us and about ..."
His expression dropped, his eyes clouding as terror clouded him.
"Chris," she cupped his face in her hands, forcing their eyes to meet and she shook his head gently to grab his full attention. "Chris, I can't help you if you won't let me."
His eyes hardened. "And I can't heal if my mistakes are always thrown in my face." The moment he said the words, he felt guilty and he groaned at himself, pushing away from her. With a drawn sigh, he sat on the bed, his knees pulled up to his chest and his head turned away from her.
Hurt by his sudden withdrawal, Trish sat up as well, curling into herself and mimicking his pose. "I'm sorry, if that's what I've been doing. I ... I haven't ..."
"Not you," he clarified, his voice harsher than he would have liked. Again he scolded himself with a soft swear and he bowed, pressing his forehead to his knees. After gathering himself, he turned his head slightly, looking at her through half focused eyes. "Did you ever do something that you totally and completely regret?"
Trish considered his question for a moment, her entire past whirling through her mind. "Yes."
"And were you ever haunted by it?"
"All the time," she answered without hesitation. "But we have to live with our pasts. I think ... I think that's why we appreciate the present more."
Chris fell silent, his eyes showing the tirade of emotions swirling within his thoughts. "And perhaps that is why I love you more now than before."
"Perhaps," she responded with a nod and then a sly smile spread across her lips. "Or perhaps you are just a lovesick fool."
He chuckled at her statement and a glittering light flickered in his eyes. "Perhaps indeed."
Trish reached over, brushing her fingers through his hair. "Randy's words bothered you tonight, didn't they?"
Chris nodded. "Reminded me of my mistakes, my faults. The dreams I have. I do not like these dreams and sometimes I just wish they'd go away."
She carefully clenched her fist, taking a strong hold of his soft golden hair. "Then perhaps we should make new dreams for you."
He sighed as she pulled at him, both laying back onto the bed before their lips met in a sweetly passionate kiss.
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