A/N: Okay, caught up, finally! Read, enjoy, review, like, favorite, read some more, whatever it is you want to do, go for it. :)
"Steph, hey, I just need to let you know that Phil isn't going to be here tonight."
"Is he okay?" Stephanie asked a harried-looking Britt. "Are you okay?"
"Not really, rough night," Britt said, pushing some hair out of her face. She'd pulled it up into a messy bun, not caring what she looked like tonight. There was that air to this show, like it was a release after the opulence that was WrestleMania. It didn't mean they didn't care about this show, but that it wasn't as heavy as WrestleMania was.
"Did you sleep?"
"Not really, the loss, it just, it took everything out of Phil," Britt rubbed at her eyes. "He was sore and tired, and he was just, he's not in a good place tonight and I know I don't have the authority to do so, but I just told him to stay at the hotel. I'm not sure being here would be good for him right now."
"Is he that bad?"
"He put all his eggs into one basket so to speak. He does that," Britt sighed, "He thinks he's so much better that when something doesn't work out, he kind of internally freaks out, and he's there right now. He's just really upset, and I didn't want him here where he's bound to go off on someone."
"Yeah, well, I mean, if he's that bad, I don't really want to have him here if he doesn't want to be, but I mean, thanks for telling me," Stephanie said, "we have a lot of stuff tonight so his absence probably won't even be felt."
"Thanks, Stephanie, I appreciate it, this will be a personal favor to me, and I will repay you back. I just, the loss really took it out of him, he really thought he was going to win, and I think he really banked on being the one to break it."
"I understand," Stephanie nodded, "I think I would be the same way. Chris is actually taking the loss a lot better than I thought he would. He's not even that angry, bemused, really, but not angry necessarily."
"So he's not going to do anything retaliation?"
"Oh, I wouldn't say that."
Chris chuckled as Christian recounted watching the match last night, "I should have gone out there and helped you, if I would have known you couldn't even beat a rookie, I would have."
"Very funny," Chris said, "it was a lucky win, a fluke even, he won't be getting another win if I can help it. And to think, this is all because I refused to say his damn name. It's stupid anyways, who the hell or what the hell is a Fandango?"
"Someone who beat your ass last night," Christian said.
"Shut up, you don't get say around here just because your wife is a Hall of Famer, I do get my say because my wife runs the company."
"She couldn't run into your match last night so you could win?"
"Just shut your mouth," Chris said, "I'm leaving."
"Oh, come on, are you that mad, do you want to tango it out?" Christian asked as Chris shoved him in the shoulder. Christian's laughter was the last thing her heard before he stalked back to Stephanie's office.
"When is Fandango going on?" Chris asked his wife.
"Not until later, why?"
"Just making sure I know when his act comes on," Chris told her.
"So you can…"
"Give him a taste of his own medicine."
"Talking in clichés now?" Stephanie asked. "You're bitter you lost. You've been playing it up like you don't care, that you know it was a fluke win, but it really bothers you that he got one over on you, doesn't it?"
"Of course it does," Chris told her. "Do you know how angry it makes me? I'm a seasoned veteran, I'm a 6-time World Champion, and I let some rookie beat me, God, this feels like Cena all over again."
"Oh yeah, that was before the two of us started dating, and it was while you were gone from the company. Cena, I had to fight him when he was a rookie and he got the better of me, and I hated it. I think I might have done something to him, but I don't remember. I'm not letting this go, I'm going to fight for it, I'm going to fight him tonight."
Stephanie just nodded as she looked at something, "I know you will."
"You're not even paying attention to me," Chris said.
"I run a company, do you expect me to hear every wrestler's complaint?" she asked, looking back up at him. She was wearing her glasses and she pushed them up her nose as she stared. He couldn't get mad at that face though. When she wore her glasses, she just looked adorably his, and it was difficult to get mad at that.
"I'm not just any wrestler though."
"Oh, I know, you're the guy who lost to someone who has never been to WrestleMania in a match before," Stephanie shrugged her shoulders as her husband fumed. She giggled a little bit. "I'm tempted to go overseas with the crews just so I might cross paths with Fozzy, how pathetic does that make me?"
"Groupie," he told her, coming over and hugging her shoulders, leaning down to do so.
"I believe the term is Floozy."
"And in all the time I've known you, you have always, always lived up to that word."
Stephanie elbowed him in the stomach and he grunted as she made comment. He laughed and stood up, ruffling her hair a little bit. "I shudder to think what you would have done with a normal wife, one who stayed at home and cooked and cleaned for you. There's no way she'd put up with you."
"I wouldn't be around enough for her to bug me, that's why I married you," Chris said. "So I don't believe I got the exact time when Fandango is coming out…"
"Because we don't have schedules lying all over the place."
"You're awfully catty tonight, I don't like post-WrestleMania Stephanie, she's kind of frigid. Pre-WrestleMania Stephanie is hot as hell," Chris told her with a wink.
"Yeah, well that's over," she laughed, "and it's back to business, and it's back to being a single parent for a while."
"I know, I know," she told him, "you had this planned, but go ahead, go out there and beat Fandango or whatever it is you plan to do with him so I can get some work done."
Chris grabbed a stray schedule she had lying on her desk. "He's not even on until later in the show. Whatever shall I do with my time until then?" Chris set down the piece of paper and lifted a protesting Stephanie out of her seat, taking it in her stead and pulling her into his lap. "Much better."
"I'm doing work here," she said as he nuzzled into her neck. She wrapped her arms around his neck nonetheless as he kissed her just under her chin. "I'm trying to run a company and my husband can't keep his hands off me."
"Would you rather I be one of those husbands who can keep his hands to himself?" Chris asked against her. She rolled her eyes though he couldn't see and ran her hands through his short hair, letting her fingers massage his scalp.
"I suppose not. But once you're done with Fandango, what then?"
"Oh, I don't know, I mean, I'm not going away forever, maybe I'll challenge Del Rio or Cena for their titles, become a 7-time champion."
"I would love to see the gold back around your waist," she said, "and the kids would love to see that too, you know they love when you're the champion."
"It's something to think about, I think I have a few good runs left in me, I feel better than I have in years, but it'll have to come until after the tour, not sure I want the same flak Rocky got when he was champion and not showing up."
"You're different, everyone knows you're pretty much here even if you're not wrestling," Stephanie pointed out. "That's different. They know you still love it here, and that you're all about the business."
"Be that as it may, people will always find something to criticize. It's something to think about anyways, kind of like that other kid issue…"
"We're not going back there, are we?"
Chris laughed, "I guess not, it's just with Trish and Christian finally coming out about their pregnancy, it was making me think about how another little boy would be really cool, I mean, our son is turning seven in less than a month."
"Don't make me think about that because then I will want to have another baby. And there wouldn't even be a guarantee that it would be a boy, we could have another girl, and then you'll have four girls who can get you to bend to their whim."
"Four? Since when are you included in that?"
"Um, almost eleven years I'd say," Stephanie told him, pulling back and tilting his chin up. "Kiss me."
"Oh, so now you're ordering me to do things?"
"I'm proving a point, kiss me," she ordered again. He obliged this time, leaning up just that tiny bit to kiss her. She moaned against his mouth in pleasure while he smiled into the kiss. She pulled away and opened her eyes to look down at him, a soft, loving gaze hazing over her eyes. "No more kids right now."
He breathed a laugh, "Okay, okay, I guess I'll have to find someone else to have a son with me, but that's fine, I mean, I'd prefer it with you."
"I have to go."
"Oh, so I'm free to go find that woman now."
"No, you're not," she tapped the bottom of his chin with her index finger. "But the show is about to start and I have to get to the production table, and you…well, you don't really have to do anything since the kids are already out in their seats, right?"
"Yeah, I think my dad mentioned getting them nachos or something."
Stephanie frowned, "I hate when they eat junk food, why didn't they go to catering, there's plenty of food there and they don't have to pay for it."
"I don't know, they're grandparents, they spoil their grandchildren, it's like when your dad tries to give our kids hundred dollar bills whenever he sees them, I mean, who does that? I was lucky if I got a quarter from my grandma when I saw her."
"You know how my dad likes to show people up, this is just an extension of that. He wants to be the best grandfather."
"And of course, who thinks of giving the money to people who need it?" Chris said. "Our kid is so thoughtful, I wonder where he got that from, maybe he had a personality transplant when he was born, like, we got the right kid, but the wrong personality."
"He told me the other day that he wants to get presents for kids that don't have any for their birthday," Stephanie said, "that kid is going to change the world, and we're just going to sit back and act like we actually played a part in it."
"Oh yeah, I'm definitely going to revel, gloat, tell everyone that's my kid," Chris nodded. "This is all while denying that I even know Flynn. Kensington, she's still developing so we'll see."
"Yes, like Flynn is going to be anything but kick-ass."
"Okay, yeah, she will," Chris nodded. Stephanie got up off his lap and he pouted. "Now my lap is all cold, who will I get to sit in it?"
"If it's all about warmth, I'll go get Mark Henry."
"And I'm up, and I'm gone, I've got to…I don't know, plan my attack."
"Um, how about running out there and beating him up? That usually seems to work when someone wants to attack someone," Stephanie grinned at him before she slipped out the door. Chris just shook his head as he watched his wife leave.
Dolph slapped E on the shoulder, "You're going to break Bryan in half. It's not even going to be a match, you're going to tear him limb from limb."
"Make sure the first thing is his beard," AJ laughed.
"I'm getting revenge for last night, we should have won," E scoffed. "It's just a shame we didn't. Maybe I'll grab the belt and beat him with it."
Dolph laughed, "He deserves it after everything, I'm just sorry I didn't get you a little bit of revenge, babe."
"It's okay," she told him, brushing her hand over his shoulder. "I got a WrestleMania moment finally, it wasn't the best, but I got to take it all in. I got to stand there and listen to 80,000 people and hey, some of them were cheering for us." Dolph kissed her forehead.
"Don't worry, AJ, tonight, it's going to be all about us," E told her and she smiled and nodded.
"Yeah, tonight, we're going out there, E is going to win, and we're going to look stronger than ever. Hell, maybe we'll challenge them for the belts again, who knows."
"That'd be nice," AJ said, "that'd be really nice."
Soon enough, it was time for E's match where Dolph and AJ would be accompanying him. Dolph's music hit and E made his way out first (a new one for the three of them since Dolph usually led them out there) while Dolph and AJ followed. They stopped at the top of the ramp to pose for a second and Dolph's hand sought out AJ's. She smiled as she took it, loving that for once, she could just hold hands with her boyfriend while out there (not that she minded the Ziggle Wiggle).
They walked down the ramp, right behind Big E, maybe a little too close to Big E as he flung his arms back and hit her right in the sternum. She was thrown back about a foot and Bit E looked guilty for a moment before he patted her on the back. Dolph was horrified as he heard the loud smack and looked over to see his girlfriend shaking it off. He pulled her into his body as if to shield her.
"I'm okay," AJ told him, but that didn't stop him from worrying about her. She seemed okay, but he was going to keep a close eye on her.
Big E climbed in the ring while Dolph and AJ stood on the outside. Dolph stayed close to her for a moment, wanting to make sue she was okay. "I'm fine," she insisted.
"He hit you hard, and I have to imagine that's like getting hit by a mack truck."
AJ threw her head back and laughed, "I'm fine," she told him, and he let it go for now as the match started.
Big E hardly needed their help, and they knew it would be the case. He was a lifting champion, and he tossed around Bryan like he was a little kid trying to play with the older kids. Sure, Bryan was able to get in a little offense, but barely, and he was always rebuffed. The one time he did manage to get somewhat of an upper-hand, Dolph and AJ were right there with the assist. AJ jumped on the apron like she would have for Dolph, while her boyfriend ran over to Bryan and tripped up his foot so he cam crashing down onto the turnbuckle.
Dolph laughed as he sauntered around the ring, unaware that Kane was stalking towards him. He turned around, and Kane was right there with a hand clasping around his throat. Dolph knew he was in trouble, but it wasn't for long as Big E literally threw Bryan at Kane, causing them both to fall down and Dolph to scamper away. Seeing that Kane was incapacitated, Dolph grabbed Bryan and threw him into the ring. This allowed Big E to hit his finisher (not that it was necessary really) and get the pinfall as Dolph and AJ celebrated on the outside.
That wasn't how things were backstage, however, because as soon as they got there, Dolph grabbed AJ's hand again and started pulling her down the hallway, "Wait, Ziggy, where are we going?" she asked.
"What?" she said, following him because he had a death grip on her hand as Big E trailed behind them. She looked over at her friend, but he just shrugged and followed Dolph. "Why?"
"I just want to make sure you're okay."
"Ziggy, I told you I was fine."
"Better safe than sorry."
"I'm sorry for that AJ, I mean, you took that like a champ, but I didn't mean to hit you."
"I know you didn't, if anything, I should have hit you back, I think that's only fair," she told him with a laugh. "I'm going to have a wicked bruise tomorrow though, but I'll wear it proudly."
Big E smirked, "You're going to take pictures and never let me live it down, aren't you?"
"Oh yeah, definitely, for sure," AJ nodded even as Dolph continued to pull her down the hallway. "Then I'll bring it out every once in a while to guilt you into things."
"Why don't I just offer to be your butler right now?" he asked. "I'll even do laundry, but if you find some bras missing…"
"Please, like you could fit into my bra," AJ said as they reached the trainer's room.
"Yo, Jim, can you look at AJ, please," Dolph said, pulling her forward.
"He's just being paranoid," AJ explained, "it wasn't even that hard a hit."
"I wasn't even looking at you and I heard it," Dolph said, "it was an accident, of course, but I just want to make sure she's okay."
"I've taken worse in the ring, I promise," AJ told him, but her boyfriend wasn't about to be deterred. She gave him a look, but he just shrugged and shook his head. They were at the point in their relationship where they could just talk with their eyes, and he wasn't about to lose this argument. AJ finally sighed and got onto the trainer's table and sat there, her legs swinging back and forth. "I still think he's being ridiculous."
"I'm being precautious, sue me," Dolph folded his arms as he watched.
"Well, you're probably going to have to take your shirt off," Jim said.
Dolph turned to Big E, "Sorry, big man, this is probably where you have to wait outside. I like you, but I don't want you seeing my girlfriend in her bra."
"Like the whole world hasn't seen that," AJ said.
"It's the principle of the thing!" Dolph argued.
"Don't worry, I'll go stand outside, look intimidating, see how many people run by me, it's fun when I intentionally start to go after them a little to see how fast they start going."
"That's what we pay you for," AJ said as Big E left the room. AJ took off her top and there was redness along her collarbone, it was faint right now, but it would probably develop into at least a small bruise tomorrow. Dolph looked at her appreciatively for a moment, licking his lips unconsciously. AJ caught him though and gave him a disgusted look. Jim poked and prodded along her skin and she winced just a tiny bit.
"It's just bruised," Jim told her, handing her, her shirt back. AJ slipped it back over her head. "If you want you can ice it later, but there's really not much you can do for bruises except to let it go away."
"So nothing is broken or anything."
"It was an arm, Ziggy," AJ hopped off the table, "thanks Jim, but I think we're done here, and my overprotective boyfriend thanks you too."
"What's so wrong with being protective of you?" Dolph asked as they walked out and met up with Big E again.
"Nothing, it's sweet," she leaned up and kissed his cheek, "but I'm fine, both of you, fine, totally fine."
Britt rubbed her forehead as she yawned. Today was just tiring, and with the lack of sleep, it only meant the night was dragging on. She passed by a hallway to the parking garage and saw Hunter just entering. He was limping a little bit and his hand was completely wrapped up and looked to be in a splint. She'd watched his match last night, and it was brutal to say the least. He'd gone through the gauntlet, but he'd come out on top, and that had to be great for him.
She'd been dealing with Phil most of last night, so she'd had no time to congratulate Hunter on his win, but this was a new day so she wandered over to him. "Hunter, hey!"
"Britt, hey," he smiled at her, walking over to her slowly, "you look…tired."
"Wow, when you're commenting on it, I must look bad," she laughed self-consciously. "It's been a long night, what with Phil losing and everything, I mean, you've been there with the Undertaker, you know how it is, I mean, we know how it is, I guess…man, I'm tired."
"Yeah, kind of makes you question yourself and why you ever thought you could beat him," Hunter chuckled.
"God, and I'm so mean, but how are you?" she asked, looking at him critically. "Last night was crazy. I heard that you really got hurt from your entrance."
"Yeah, I was burned, second degree," Hunter turned and lifted up his shirt a little, showing the gauze taped to his side. Britt's eyes widened as she took it how much of him was covered. "My God, Hunter."
"I know, it was a bitch trying to sleep on this," he said as she reached out and ran her hand over the gauze. It was such a soft touch he didn't even feel it really, but the fact she was touching him still did get him going."
"Oh, remind us to never try an entrance like that again," she told him, looking up at him. "Or at least to make sure that you're safe."
"It'll be fine, I have instructions on how to care for it, and my sister is actually staying with me for a while so she can help and all that."
"Good, I'm glad Lynn is there to take care of you although I'm surprised it wasn't your mom," she said.
"Oh, she wanted to, but she and I kind of had a fight over the weekend, and I'm not in the best place to deal with her right now."
"Is everything okay?" Britt asked. Hunter was one of the biggest mama's boys she'd ever seen so for something to go wrong in that relationship, it had to be pretty big. Pat had never liked her very much, that didn't stop her relationship with Hunter.
"At the Hall of Fame ceremony, Flynn came up and she was introducing herself and she's four so she has no filter and she was just saying how I used to be married to her mommy, but now she was married to Chris because he loves her, and my mom was convinced that Stephanie degrades me in front of her children, and it was this whole thing, and my mom just can't stand the thought of anyone not wanting to be with me."
"Oh, well, I hope everything gets sorted out soon," Britt said, "what about your arm, I heard that you were going in for an MRI soon?"
"Yeah, they want to see if I did any damage, it's painful, but it's more of a dull ache, hence the splint, they want to keep it immobilized as much as possible before I get it done."
"Are you happy you won though?"
"More than happy," Hunter said, "I know it's probably not over, I know that Brock is probably going to retaliate somehow, but I won this round."
"Yeah, I'm glad you did, it'd be weird without you," Britt shook her head, "since I don't know the extent they would have made you carry out that mandate, and I like having you around."
"I like being around, believe me."
"Well, I hope that you feel better, and I hope that nothing is seriously wrong with your arm, but if there is, let me know, I like to keep tabs on you," she said before her radio buzzed. "Such is life, gotta go."
Hunter was definitely getting used to this friends thing, and it was actually easier than he thought. The dull ache he got whenever she was near was starting to fade, and with time, he knew it would heal over and there would be no ache. He was proud of his progress, and though his body felt beaten and torn, his spirits were high, and he was taking today as a victory.
Dolph watched the match between Del Rio and Swagger carefully, just like he did every match Del Rio was in. He never knew when an opportunity might strike, and with time running out on his briefcase, if he even saw the smallest window for victory, he had to take it. He could hear the fans yelling, "We Want Ziggler," during the match, but he wasn't about to cow-tow to the fans, no matter how hard they yelled for him.
AJ was hung off his arm at the moment, her cheek pressed against his shoulder as she watched. Big E was perched on the arm of the couch in their locker room, and they were all silent as they watched the match. He could feel AJ's fingers running up and down his arm. She probably wasn't aware she was even doing it, but it distracted him from the match. The night before, right before they went to bed, she'd whispered to him that something good was going to happen for them, that their time would come, and her words were playing on repeat through his head.
Then it happened, the moment he'd been waiting for happened as Swagger twisted Del Rio's ankle like he wanted to rip it off. When the match was over, it was clear that Del Rio was hurt. Dolph pulled away from AJ's grasp and grabbed his briefcase. The other two people in the room stared at him and he turned to them, "Let's go, it's time."
"Are you sure?" AJ asked anxiously and he nodded. This was their moment. This was going to be their time to shine, he could feel it.
"You told me last night something good was coming our way, it's right now, babe, let's go."
They walked down the hallway with purpose. Eyes were all on them as they walked past, Dolph leading them as AJ and Big E trailed behind him. This was ultimately his moment. AJ hadn't been with him when he won that briefcase, but she knew how much it meant to him to win it, how it had really cemented him as a future champion. They walked past and AJ could hear Stephanie yelling to play Dolph's music, and she happened to glance over, and even Stephanie was smiling. Dolph deserved this.
They walked out and Dolph strode down the ramp. All he could see was Del Rio lying in the corner of the ring, vulnerable and ripe for the picking. He sped up as he got closer to the ring, not wanting to waste a second that could be spent winning. He didn't know the severity of Del Rio's injury so he had to take advantage quickly. He shoved the briefcase towards the referee and demanded his match.
The briefcase, long in his stead, was finally removed from his custody as Justin Roberts took it from him. He was not sad to see it go because he wanted the other object in Justin's arms, the World Heavyweight title. He wanted it and he stood back, beckoning, taunting Del Rio to get up. Del Rio struggled to his feet, unable to really find any solid ground, but when he took that first tentative step, the referee called the match, and Dolph immediately targeted the injured area.
He was relentless, making it so Del Rio couldn't even get up. That didn't matter to Dolph; he just grabbed Del Rio and hauled him up to his feet, hitting the Fame-asser. He covered Del Rio for the pin, hearing the entire crowd counting, he felt like he had it, but Del Rio kicked out at the last moment. Dolph sat up, angry that it hadn't been enough. Del Rio was going to put up a fight, was he? Well, Dolph would just have to go all out then.
AJ shook out her hands because they were shaking so hard. She'd never felt like this before, like she might have a heart attack or something. Her heart was pounding so hard in her chest, and it didn't feel like it was going to stop any time soon. She wanted to help Dolph, she wanted to grab Del Rio and hold him down so her boyfriend could get the pin, but she knew he wanted to win this on his own, and she understood his need to do that. It didn't make this any easier though. Her heart was with him, pounding in time with him, hoping against hopes that this night would render last night moot.
Dolph ran at Del Rio, trying to hit him, but Del Rio moved at the last moment, making Dolph hit the turnbuckle. He turned around, trying to get his bearings, but Del Rio mustered up whatever strength he had and hit an enziguri as Dolph dropped to the mat. But Del Rio was too injured to make the immediate cover, and by the time he got over to Dolph, he was able to kick out. Dolph struggled to his feet, as did Del Rio, but before Dolph knew it, he was locked into the cross armbreaker.
Dolph couldn't let it end like this. He couldn't let the briefcase he'd worked so hard for, the one he'd worked so hard to keep, he couldn't let it go to waste. He could hear AJ screaming for him, cheering for him, and he couldn't let his team down either. He couldn't let AJ leave New Jersey again with a bad taste in her mouth. He could not let the last nine years, the times when he'd had to be a caddy, when he was a cheerleader, he couldn't let that be for nothing. He'd worked too damn hard for this for too damn long.
He mustered up his strength and wrenched Del Rio's ankle, making the other man scream in pain. He did it again, freeing his other arm so he could twist Del Rio's entire leg. He got out of the hold, Del Rio staggering again. Dolph got up, breathing hard, all this attention on Del Rio. He was beckoning him to get up, to give him his chance. It was coming, he could feel it. It was so close. The dream was about to come true, everything he ever wanted was about to be right in front of him, and the tears of nine years were pricking at his eyes. Del Rio finally got up.
World Heavyweight Champion.
AJ started crying the second he broke the hold and she stood back, almost near the barrier as he hit the Zig Zag on Del Rio. When the referee called the match and Dolph won, she jumped up and down, her hair flying around her as she flew into the ring. She covered her eyes for a moment as she watched Dolph drop to his knees. The crowd was going wild around them, a mishmash of sound that enveloped the three of them in the ring.
Dolph grabbed the belt he'd strove for, for so long and he looked at it. It was beautiful, it was historic, it was a hundred different champions rolled up into one and it was his, it was all his. He couldn't believe it, and he climbed up on the turnbuckle to celebrate. When he turned around, she was the only thing he could see, the only thing he wanted. She opened her arms, and he nearly ran into them.
He lifted her up as she cried into his shoulder, whispering nonsense words of praise that neither one could really ascertain. Big E hugged the both of them, getting in on the moment, but AJ and Dolph were too wrapped up in each other. E, recognizing they were having a moment, broke away from the two, and he was feeling emotional in his own way. AJ didn't want to let go of Dolph. She just wanted to hold onto him forever.
"I love you, I love you, I love you," she whispered into his neck.
"I love you too, this is our time, babe, ours," he told her as he pulled away to stare at the belt. AJ didn't want to let him go though, and she held on for as long as she could, leaning up to impulsively kiss his cheek because she was crying and proud.
They showed a replay on the Titantron and they turned to watch it again. AJ still couldn't believe it. So many times, being in New Jersey resulted in disasters for her, but they were all gone now, every bad memory of this place was instead replaced by this one, singular moment that she was sure to tell her grandchildren about.
Dolph couldn't believe this was real. He kept looking at the belt to make sure it was really his, and this time, nobody could strip him of it. Nobody was going to come in eleven minutes later and tell him that it wasn't his any longer. He walked back over to AJ and took her in his arms again as she cradled his head. They shared a moment right there in the ring and neither one cared that this was an intimate moment that everyone could see.
He finally broke away and hugged E as well. He never wanted to leave the ring, but there was still show to be had, and so he and his crew finally left and walked backstage. He wanted to celebrate with AJ, but everyone was actually standing back there and clapping for him, a response he never expected. But he'd worked hard for this, so hard, and they all knew it, and they could appreciate that.
He was about to celebrate with AJ, but she was being pulled somewhere and she gave him a wistful glance. He stood around as various people, including Stephanie of all people, came up to him to congratulate him. He wondered where AJ had been whisked off to, but before he could think about it further, he was being called into an interview with Matt Striker.
He walked over and started to give it, but out of the corner of his eye, he could see movement, and he was distracted as he saw AJ come running over, "Get in here, babe," he told her, and she squealed as she buried herself into his embrace. He took a moment to cradle her body against his and revel in the moment.
AJ could not contain her happiness and pride. She'd just given an exclusive interview of her own, and she planned on letting Dolph do this interview, but when he beckoned her over, there was no chance she wouldn't go to him. She wanted to hug him forever, but she eventually pulled away so he could talk. They were pulled away in the middle of the interview for another interview and Dolph tucked AJ into his side. He just wanted a moment alone with her, but it would just have to wait.
After his interview, and another interview, another body came into view and he smirked, "So how insufferable are you going to be at family holidays now?"
"Twice as insufferable as I am now," Dolph told his brother.
"I bet Mom and Dad are freaking out right now," Briley laughed, coming over and hugging his brother once AJ let go of him, which she didn't seem to want to do. "Don't worry, AJ, I'm not going to whisk him away."
"Shut up," AJ said good-naturedly.
"I'm proud of you," Briley said, "you may be a jerk brother sometimes—"
"You're my younger brother, it's practically the law that I treat you like crap," Dolph said as he pat his brother on the back. "One day, this is going to be you, except with another title because I'm not going to give this one up any time soon."
AJ beamed beside him as Briley rolled his eyes, "I'm glad I got to be here to see you win it, I may have gone a little, you know what, the thing that your girlfriend isn't."
"Don't say it around her, she's a little packet of dynamite," Dolph turned to his girlfriend.
"Oh, I know, and I'm getting the vibe that if I don't end this conversation soon and let you go off with your girlfriend, she's probably going to maim me."
"It's true, I'm going to, I'm thinking over the scenarios right now," AJ nodded.
"Okay, but after this, I'm buying you two dinner," Briley told them, "as long as it's under five dollars."
"Fine," Dolph said, as AJ started to pull him away.
"You're all mine now."
Chris waited patiently for his moment to arrive, and it didn't disappoint. Fandango hadn't expected him, and that made for the perfect ambush. Chris just couldn't let the upset last night be the lasting image of him against this man. He was going to get his revenge and it started tonight. He beat Fandango all around the ring, even taking the time to put JBL's hat back on. It was fun, and it was merciless, and that was just how he liked it. When it was over, he walked up the ramp, looking at the heap he'd left behind. His smirk was smug when he walked backstage and saw his wife sitting there. His children were with his parents again, watching the show from the audience and she just beckoned him over. He plopped down next to her and kissed her cheek.
"Did you have fun out there?" Stephanie asked him even as she continued working. She shot him a glance and he grinned. "I'm guessing that's a yes."
"What? The guy deserved it for all the times he did the same to me, payback's a bitch, just like my wife," he told her affectionately.
"So is that going to be your swan song before your tour or what?"
"No, you know, I think I have a couple tricks left up my sleeve before I leave," he told her, "I mean, we are filming SmackDown tomorrow, right, so it'll be before the tour, yes?"
"Yes, because then the rest of the week is going to be off for the company after this hectic week," Stephanie said, "and before we go overseas to do the tour."
"Where my wife will be traveling to be with her handsome husband."
"It's only a matter of coincidence," Stephanie told him.
"Oh, just coincidence that a tour was booked months and months ago to coincide with a tour I'm doing?" Chris made a face like he was thinking very hard about all this. "Well, that is a big coincidence. I wish Sawyer could come though."
"He wishes he could too, but with summer coming up, he'll be back to traveling every week, you'll have to make do with your daughters."
"You know, we haven't sat Flynn down and told her that she can't travel starting next year because she's going to be in Kindergarten," Chris said as Stephanie started getting a little misty even thinking about two of her children being in school. Pretty soon, Kensington was going to be in preschool. Maybe that next kid thing wasn't such a bad idea after all. She missed having a baby around the house.
"I know," Stephanie said, "that's not going to be a fun conversation to have. She loves going to wrestling so much."
"I know, but she loves her friends, and I'm not really sure about the tutor thing, I mean, if she really hates it or something, I would get her a tutor, but we have to make sure she at least tries school."
"I think she'll be okay, we worried about Sawyer over the same thing and he loves school," Stephanie said, but she knew it was going to be different for Flynn. The only thing Flynn truly loved in this world was wrestling. Still, she could be around it, it was just going to be in between school. She'd loved wrestling when she was little, and she managed, although she wasn't sure anyone in the history of time was as obsessed with wrestling as her little girl.
"Yeah, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it," Chris agreed, "for now, I think we should go celebrate…after you finish your work of course."
"I don't know, we'll be cute, I'll take you out for ice cream."
"And the kids?"
"Oh, who needs them, they can go back to the hotel, and we can act like we just started dating," Chris told her and she laughed. "You think it's funny, but when is the last time we just did some silly, cute date."
"Two weeks ago when you took me out for pizza," Stephanie said, "and I got tomato sauce on my chin and you had to be all cutesy and wipe it off for me. I think if we'd been eating spaghetti, you would have pushed the meatball over with your nose."
"We watch too many Disney movies with our kids," Chris shook his head. "Okay, so you got me, we still do cute things, but indulge me, I just beat up a guy named Fandango."
"Okay, you're indulged."
Dolph sat on the couch staring at the belt that was now sitting on the coffee table. He'd lain it there as soon as they walked inside, and hadn't moved it. Big E had stayed for a while, but told them he was going to head on out so they could have their moment. He didn't leave without hugging the both of them and congratulating Dolph about a million times. Dolph was grateful, but once he left, he'd sunk into the couch. He hadn't showered nor had he changed out of his ring gear. Instead, he just sat there, his hair hanging over his eyes and his hands clenched together and held over his mouth. He hadn't said a word since E left, but it was as if he didn't need to.
AJ was next to him, her mascara smudged as was her eyeshadow. She'd started crying the second they entered his locker room, throwing herself into his arms and sobbing against him. He had black smudge marks on his chest because of her, but he didn't seem to notice them. Now she was just staring at him staring at the belt, her eyes flitting every now and then to the belt that laid before them. It still said Alberto Del Rio on it, but they'd been assured that tomorrow morning, his name would be put on it.
Nine years of hard work had culminated to this moment. Actually, no, it was more than that. It was the five year old who declared that he wanted to be a professional wrestler, it was the first wrestling class, it was working and working so hard to get better, to be the best. It was all the records he'd held in high school and at Kent State, it was all of that, and it was all the crap he'd had to wade through to get to this title. And he'd gone through a hell of a lot to be here, so much, and his journey was not marked with ease, it was with a constant chip on his shoulder.
"It's beautiful, huh?" he finally said.
She nodded eagerly, "And it looks gorgeous around your waist, like it fits there."
He laughed and turned to her, "You haven't even tried it on yet."
"Me?" she giggled. "It's yours."
"It's ours," he told her.
"No, you already had the briefcase before we even started seeing each other, and you worked so hard before we were together to get this, and you'll work hard long after we aren't."
"I'm not planning on that happening," Dolph pulled her into his side. "I'm still a little in shock. I don't…it's crazy."
"You're losing your voice," she ran the back of her hand over his stubbled cheek. She laughed and kissed his shoulder. "It'll sink in at some point. I don't think it's even sunk in for me, and I'm not the one with the belt. I just…it was all a blur, I was standing out there, so worried that you wouldn't win, but knowing somehow that you would, and just, I don't think I've ever been happier in my entire life."
"Me neither," he reached for her hand, lacing their fingers together like they were earlier that night. "Oh God, how's your chest?" He looked over at her and down at her chest, as if he could see through her shirt. She found it incredibly sweet that on a night where he was clearly overwhelmed with emotion, he still wanted to make sure she was okay.
"Fine, it's a little tender, but it's fine," she told him, "tonight is about you, babe."
"Still, you got hit, and—" She cut him off with a kiss, which he fell into easily. She pulled away and smiled lovingly at him. "Your makeup is all smeared."
"I don't care, you're the champion, I'm Mrs. World Heavyweight Champion."
"You were with Daniel when he was the champion, this isn't new territory for you," he laughed as she shook her head so violently her hair flew into her face. He brushed it out of the way so he could see her.
"It's different, he didn't even want to include me, I was just an accessory to him, kind of like the belt."
"You want to try it on?" his eyes lit up as he asked her.
"You've barely even worn it yet, you should put it on," she insisted.
"I'll get to wear it a bunch, go ahead, try it on, it won't fit you, but hey, you could try putting it around your boobs, see if that fits."
"You're mistaking me for some of the other divas," she said, staring at the belt.
"Go ahead, pick it up, babe," Dolph told her. She still wasn't reaching for it so he grabbed it and thrust it at her.
"I've held it before, it's just…different this time."
"Yeah, well, I'm not going to make you dance around me," he told her, smiling with no teeth in that way of his. She took the belt from him and it was as heavy as she remembered it, but this time she wasn't holding it above her head. She stood and put it around her waist, but even at the smallest setting it was too big on her, and she didn't have the hips to carry it. Dolph laughed as she held it in place.
"Do I look like a champion?" she asked, making what she hoped to be a tough face.
"Yes, you definitely look like a champion, in fact, it probably looks better on you than it does on me."
"Yeah right," she took it from around her waist and sat down with it, laying it in his lap as she hugged his arm. "So, you said once that when you won this, we were going to celebrate with champagne for you and sparkling cider for me, what are your plans now? Have they changed?"
"As long as you're there, babe, it doesn't even matter."
April 15, 2013
Dolph lost, and it sucked, and he was champion, and this was not going to happen again.
April 22, 2013
"Your face looks cute."
"I've never seen the Eiffel Tower at night, I mean, I saw it during the day today, but I've never seen it up close and at night and…shut up," AJ said, turning her attention back out the window. "Oh, and Vickie keeps glaring at us."
"What?" Dolph said, turning to the front and seeing that indeed, Vickie was staring back at them like she wanted to kill them. "We should have just taken our own taxi there."
"No, we have to stay coordinated, especially after what happened with Rosa, not that it would happen with us," AJ grabbed his hand unconsciously as she went back to staring out the window. "Vickie's just jealous, did you see that interview she gave Striker?"
"Babe, I was sitting right next to you when we watched it."
"Oh yeah, I forgot, anyways, jealousy doesn't become her…not that much does," AJ said, in a tone that was just catty enough for Dolph to laugh. They went quiet again as the monument loomed larger and larger. When they finally parked, everyone was anxious to get off the bus and Dolph pulled AJ away from the mass of people, wrapping both his arms around her and leaning his chin on her head.
"It's beautiful," AJ said with a deep sigh, "and romantic."
"Very," Dolph said.
"Just the kind of place that you would…oh, I don't know, feel inclined to be proposed at."
"And me without a ring," Dolph told her and she giggled. "Did you know some chick married the Eiffel Tower?"
"What?" AJ turned her head so she could look up at him, "Married it?"
"Yup, it was on some documentary, she even uh…consummated the marriage," he laughed as AJ made a disgusted face. "I know, I know, at least I know the only tower you need is in my pants."
AJ covered her face with her hands and started laughing, turning around and burying her face into his hoodie as he hugged her. "You're so gross!"
"I'm just saying," he told her, but he hugged her tighter. "Come on, let's take some pictures because if I'm in the most romantic place in the world with my girlfriend, I'm going to take a picture to commemorate it."
"I just wish Nacho were here then we could take a family portrait, put it on our Christmas cards."
"A little early for that, babe," Dolph said as they walked over to where E was hanging out. They got him to take a couple pictures of them and AJ looked at them on her phone. "We're so awesome-looking."
"Yeah, we are," she said as she got an idea.
"What are you doing?" he asked, seeing her going into her Twitter app.
"I'm sharing with the world."
"I think you caused a Twitter explosion, all I see in my timeline are tweets about you, it's like I don't even exist anymore," Dolph said, scrolling through his phone. "Now everyone wants so much more of us all over the place, at least we did that photoshoot."
"Yeah," AJ said, looking over at him. "So…tonight you're going to face Chris again, you ready for that?"
"I know you want to be besties with Stephanie again, go ahead, babe, you guys can be friends and I just won't hang out with you when you're with her or if he's there, but you want to be friends with her again, so be friends with her."
"You wouldn't be mad?"
"No, I'm not going to choose your friends, that's just weird," Dolph made a face. "Be friends with whoever you want, babe, hell, if you wanted, you could be friends with your exes, but I don't know why you'd want that."
"I wouldn't," she said, "it doesn't matter tonight anyways, Stephanie isn't here."
"You kept tabs?" Dolph chuckled a little.
"She's usually in charge of these things, you keep tabs on who's going to be your boss during the evening," she tried to brush it away, but she kind of knew Stephanie's schedule, but only because Stephanie was her hero.
"You should be focusing on that battle royal later that you're in."
"I will, don't worry."
"You're at a disadvantage though with your size, I love you, babe, but you're tiny, which is convenient for me because I'm not the tallest guy, and you make me feel really tall," she made a face at him and glared. "I'm just wondering how you're going to fare."
"Very well thank you," she told him, folding her arms and sitting down next to him, looking over his shoulder at his mentions. "Wow, they do ask about me a lot."
"They love you, maybe even more than I do, which is weird because I totally get to see you naked…which means I've got more to love about you…"
"You're such a perv," she told him, shoving his shoulder and getting up. "I'm going to grab something from catering."
Chris sighed and looked at the floor, "I wish you could be here."
"I know, sweetie, I wish I could too, but you have to understand—"
"No, baby, I get it," he told her, "this is something really special for your mom, and I think it's absolutely cool that you and your mom and your grandma are there. I get it, this is important to your mom…I just miss you."
"I know, I miss you too, and I was really looking forward to seeing you, but, I mean, we'll see you soon. It's only until the 28th, and that's only about 5 days away then you'll be home, and you'll be here for at least a little while, right?"
"Yes, for a little while," he said, "I just really was looking forward to seeing my girls. You get really lonely on the road, and when you have someone like you in your life, and like Flynnie, and like Kensy, it makes it a little brighter."
"You're killing me over here, Chris," Stephanie said.
"I'm sorry," he apologized again, "I just miss my girls and Sawyer of course, but I know he couldn't come here no matter how much I wish he could. Are the girls with you, I didn't even think to ask?"
"Actually, there should be something arriving for you…right…about…now," Stephanie said. Chris was about to ask her what would be arriving when there was a couple knocks on the door.
"What is going on, Steph?" Chris asked as he stood up.
"Well, I couldn't be there, but…"
Chris gleaned onto what she meant in an instant, and the instant after that, he nearly raced to the door and threw it open. In front of him were his little girls, both of them grinning widely up at their father. Chris nearly dropped his phone as he knelt down and hugged them both to him as they threw their small arms around him. They were still in their coats so they must have just arrived and he kissed both their cheeks repeatedly.
"Daddy, we came to see you because Mommy couldn't come," Flynn explained.
"I can't believe you're here," Chris said, finally looking up to see who exactly brought his daughters. "Oh, hey, Dad. I didn't, I didn't expect you."
"It was Stephanie's idea, your mother is back with Sawyer in Florida while Stephanie is in Connecticut, and I'm retired, what better things do I have to do than to bring my granddaughters to see their father."
"We came yesterday, Daddy, but we had to keep it a surprise," Flynn explained, "were you surprised? Mommy said you would be."
"I'm so surprised," he said, hugging them both again. "I missed you too."
"Daddy, I miss you!" Kensington said, trying to push her sister out of the way. Flynn didn't like this and tried to push her back, but Chris broke it up before they could erupt in a fight.
"I missed you too," he told her, kissing her nose, making her giggle. Flynn made a very angry sound and he turned to her and kissed her nose as well, which made her brighten instantly. "I think I'm going to have a much better time tonight knowing you two are here."
"And we get to see wrestling," Flynn beamed, "and Daddy, Gamps said we can watch Fozzy and so did Mommy, but only if you want us to see you then we can."
"How long are you guys staying?" Chris asked his dad.
"Until Friday when we leave," Ted answered and Chris grinned. "Yes, yes, your wife thinks of everything, she got Flynn out of her classes before this, and she said that you'd probably like it if the girls got to stay a few extra days."
"I do," he said, picking them both up. "Have you guys eaten, do you want to go to catering?"
"Yeah, I hungry!" Kensington declared.
"Okay!" Chris said, "let me get you something before I have to wrestle!"
Dolph sat on the crate, just admiring the belt in front of him. He still couldn't believe it was his. Well, he could believe it because he'd held it for two weeks. Even if it was just two weeks, it still meant so much to him to even be holding it. Every time he looked at it, he was reminded of all the trouble he had to go through to get to this point. The belt represented so much, and his name being on it, being in a place where names like Ric Flair had stood, it was amazing.
He gazed at it, not taking his eyes off it. He wasn't sure where his girlfriend was at the moment, maybe warming up for her match later, but it meant he could take a moment to just tell the belt how much it meant to him. That is until his girlfriend walked up and caught him. He nearly blushed at being caught talking to his belt. She asked if she should be jealous of it, but he'd seen his girlfriend naked wearing only that belt so no, there was nothing to be jealous of at this point.
He did tell her though that he really wanted her to win her match, to win the Diva's title because there was nothing better than the thought of the two of them together and holding the belts at the same time. This company needed a real power couple and Kaitlyn was no match for AJ. He'd teamed with Kaitlyn before, albeit that was a long time ago, and surely she'd probably improved since then, but AJ was better. He saw it back when he didn't like her very much, he could see she was talented.
He started to kiss his girlfriend, but suddenly her finger was on his lips and he opened his eyes, wondering what was going on until she pointed behind him. He looked and was startled to see Big E standing there. How the hell did he just show up like that? He told E that he was trying to have a private moment with his girlfriend and to stop creeping, which made E leave, thankfully. He turned back to his girl and started to kiss her again. Ever since Paris, everything felt slightly more romantic between them. He was about to deepen the kiss and maybe cop a feel (he'd already been grabbing her ass while they were talking) when that voice was suddenly in his ear.
He should have known that Vickie would somehow ruin this moment, just like she ruined so many moments since he'd revealed his relationship with AJ. He couldn't believe how petty Vickie was, well, actually, he could believe it because she'd been petty towards others when he'd been with her, but that was always other people. Now it seemed he and his girlfriend were her number one target. Vickie's life was extremely sad if this was the only form of entertainment she had available. It made her pathetic, and Dolph wondered what her end-game was here. Did she think he and AJ would suddenly break up and he'd come crawling back to her because that wasn't going to happen.
She informed him, in the most disgusting, annoying way possible that if he should lose tonight, it would be a Fatal Four-Way for his title at Extreme Rules. Vickie really did get off on making his life hell. He couldn't help it if Vickie was in love with him and he didn't want her. He'd upgraded in every way with AJ, who, at this moment, looked like she really was about to go smash Vickie's face in.
"It's okay, babe," Dolph wrapped AJ up in a hug. "I'll win tonight, it'll be fine, I don't want you to worry about it, I want you to worry about your match. I know you've got something up your sleeve, I just know you do."
AJ took a deep breath, "Why is she so insistent on trying to ruin our lives?"
"Because she's jealous," Dolph said, "she's jealous because you're younger and way prettier and hotter than she is, and she's jealous because I chose you, and I would choose you a million times over. That's all, that's why. It's on me."
"I can't stand her, Ziggy."
"Me neither, she's annoying," Dolph shook his head. "We'll just worry about me winning then we'll worry about you winning, alright?"
"Okay," she nodded. "Okay…"
Chris was feeling high right now. Not only did he get two good luck kisses from two of his favorite girls, but they were going to stay here until Friday. To top that off, he was getting a shot at a title shot, and he couldn't be happier about that. He wanted to win and take that title home. It would look nice around his waist again. He watched as Dolph and AJ walked down the ramp. He was happy they were happy, but he was still going to beat Dolph Ziggler into a pulp and win this match.
When it finally started, it went back and forth for a while, both men gaining their footing. They were so evenly matched at this point that neither one could really get any kind of upper-hand. At one point, Dolph slid out of the ring and beckoned AJ for a kiss, a little make-up for their constant interruptions from earlier. Unfortunately, that gave Chris the chance to get in a baseball slide to the back of Dolph's head. He would have to remember to focus on his match because he did not want a Fatal Four-Way.
Chris wanted one though. He wanted another shot at the glory, and to get that, he'd have to get through Dolph, and he could, he'd beaten him before, a number of times actually. Even though he had about a decade over the younger man, Chris felt better than he had in years, and he could go toe-to-toe with him. That wasn't necessarily a good thing though because Dolph kept kicking out of everything, plus Chris had to contend with his two little accomplices.
Chris had never been one to run in packs, so he didn't really know about how a group dynamic worked. He'd been with Chyna, but that was weird and he'd never really felt totally at ease with her. Then he'd been alone for so long, only tagging here and there with different people. Then there was Stephanie, and she tried to help, but Stephanie had a way of sabotaging herself, not to mention the entire time they were falling in love so they were kind of distracted. He'd never had an AJ or a Big E so any moment, they could pounce, and E got one on him, but not again. Fool me twice and all that. Chris continued to try and get the one over on Dolph, something he knew could happen, and he almost had it…until that damn Fandango's music hit.
Chris was expecting him, which gave Dolph the opportunity to capitalize on Chris's distraction. Before he could think about getting back into the match, Dolph hit the Zig Zag on him and won the match, sliding out of the ring quickly to get to AJ, who helped him walk after the tweaked knee he suffered during the match. Chris seethed. That Fandango was getting on his last nerve, and Chris was feeling any good will he may have had towards the guy disappear.
"Daddy, you didn't win," Flynn said sadly when he came backstage. She opened her arms to him and he lifted her up. "Because Faaaaaaaaaandaaaaaaaaaaango's music played, but Daddy, it didn't happen here, Britt said so."
"She's right, Chris," Britt said from where she was sitting. "He must have sabotaged the production truck or something because the music wasn't told to be hit on my end because why would I do that."
"It's alright, Britt, I should have expected it."
AJ just need a moment to herself. Tonight was a big match for her. She'd been wrestling here and there since she'd been with Dolph, but tonight was a huge step. After Nikki and Brie were disqualified after using "Twin Magic," there was an opening for the #1 contender for the Diva's title. Dolph told her time and time again to go for it, and she'd been so scared of it, but she couldn't figure out why. Why would she be scared of a lifelong dream? Maybe it was the failure, the thought of failure that got to her, but she wanted something to be proud of, she wanted a moment like Dolph's.
He fought so hard for that title, and she wanted to fight too. She wanted to fight and get the title and wear it proudly. It would mean so much to her to get that title. She heard a camera flash and looked up to see someone taking her picture, she frowned as they walked away. She was trying to think, to get into a mindset. She caught more movement out of the corner of her eye, and like the knight in shining armor he was, Dolph came over and wrapped his arms around her, leaning his head down on top of hers.
"You smell good," she told him.
"I showered," he responded. "What are you thinking about?"
"I figured, you're going to do great, I know you are, I know you'll win."
"Such faith," she whispered.
"I've watched you wrestle, Jeannie," he told her quietly, "probably for a lot longer than you realize. It's going to be tough, but you can do it. You're better than all of them combined. Plus, how are we really going to be a power couple unless we both hold the belts?"
"I'll try my hardest."
"You always do."
Chris bided his time, and when it came, he pounced. He was done with Fandango and his stupid name and his horrible dance moves. When he walked up the ramp after his brief match against Regal, Chris went out there and took care of business. Fandango never should have even been on his radar, but the guy insisted, so Chris was only doing what Fandango wanted. He was making people talk about him, and what better way to do that than to throw him off a stage? He couldn't think of one so he did throw him off the stage.
He was about to walk backstage, but instead, he turned to Fandango's dancer, who was standing there, unsure of what to do. Chris walked over to her and extended a hand. She looked at him tentatively, frightened almost. It was probably a combination of him just throwing her partner off a stage and his wife being this girl's boss. She eventually took his outstretched hand, and he twirled her and pulled her in close. He winked at her before he dipped her, pandering to the crowd before he sauntered backstage.
"Daddy, you threw him!" Flynn said, running over to him and grinning this time, his earlier loss forgotten because her daddy got revenge. "Then you danced because you were a dancer!"
"I did," Chris told her. He grabbed her hand and let her twirl under his as she jumped up and down. "Wow, you're the best dance partner I've ever had."
"No, Daddy, that's Cheryl, duh," Flynn said, "Daddy, can we watch the rest of the show with you?"
"Of course you can, but it's getting late, so we have to think about bedtime and all of that," Chris told her, walking with her backstage. "You don't get to stay up all night just because Mommy isn't here."
"I know," Flynn said as Ted and Kensington came over. Kensington reached for Chris and he took his daughter into his arms, kissing her because she loved the affection.
"Daddy, you the best," Kensington told him, hugging his neck.
"For throwing a guy off a stage?"
"Uh huh," Kensington nodded.
"Okay, well, I guess I'll take that, it's not the belt, but it'll have to do," Chris laughed. He might not have gotten the title tonight, but he did get some revenge, and that would have to do…
AJ was having none of this bullshit walking down the ramp and preening like a peacock. This match was serious, and if they didn't want to take it seriously, she could use that. She was already in the ring before these other girls were even up the ring steps. Her boyfriend taught her work ethic, not that she didn't have any before, but he was the most dedicated man, and she couldn't help but pick up on that. As soon as the bell run, she sat back, hoping nobody would notice her, but there weren't a lot of people in the match to begin with.
She thought of her strategy and jumped up into Tamina's arms, looking at her like she was going to kiss her. Tamina shoved her off and instead, super-kicked her to the face. AJ dropped like a rock into water and sprawled out unconscious on the mat. Except she wasn't. She was perfectly fine. Yes, the hit hurt, she just got kicked after all, but it wasn't anything she hadn't taken before, but this was perfect. When her boyfriend said be smart, use strategy, this is what he had in mind.
So she laid there, completely aware of her surroundings. She knew when someone was eliminated when the crowd reacted, and it wasn't long before she could only feel one set of footfalls in the ring. Whoever it was, was coming towards her, and soon she was being dragged, presumably to the ropes. It wasn't Tamina because Tamina could pick her up so it had to be someone she could easily overpower. She let herself relax and become deadweight, playing up her unconsciousness.
She was lifted up and hoisted onto the rope, and she hung there before she turned the switch and stood back, seeing it was Layla who was dragging her. She promptly kicked her in the stomach and sent her flying through the ropes. AJ spun around the middle of the ring as she was declared the winner. She walked over to the ropes where Kaitlyn was sitting and blew her a kiss. Dolph was right, she wanted the title, and she wanted to hold the titles with her boyfriend, and she was going to make damn sure that happened.
"I knew you were faking!" Dolph swung her into his arms the second she was backstage. She hung around his neck as he nearly sent her flying. "For a second, I was about to run out there and check on you because I thought you really took it to the chin, but then I was like, no, my babycakes wouldn't go down that hard after a super-kick, I knew you were faking it."
"Strategy, right?" she lifted an eyebrow.
"God, there are so many reasons I love you, but right now, that win is number one," he leaned down and kissed her. "I'm so proud of you, when you win that belt from her, I'm going to be just as happy as you were for me."
Her face lit up like Christmas with joy unbounded. "I've never held it before."
"So we're with each other for our firsts," he winked at her and she threw her arms around him again. "I'm so proud of you, babe, you have no idea how much."
"I'm proud of me too, but I'll be even prouder when I hold the title."
"It's only a matter of time."
Chris yawned as he went over some song lyrics he'd just written. The light was on the lowest setting so he had to strain to his eyes to see his writing, but he couldn't turn it any brighter. The girls both wanted to sleep in his bed tonight, taking advantage of the space and the fact they hadn't seen him in a while. As a result, Flynn was sprawled over on the far side of the bed while Kensington was curled up in the middle. They were both fast asleep, but he wasn't that tired although it was technically the middle of the night. He ran a weird schedule with his tour so this wasn't unusual for him.
His phone rang, which was a little unusual until he saw the caller, "Yes, Stephanie?"
"So when am I getting the divorce papers?"
"You know, the papers for our divorce," she told him, "I hope you'll be very happy dancing off into the sunset with your new wife."
Chris realized what she meant, "You just saw, huh?"
"Oh, you mean the heat and chemistry between you and Summer Rae? Oh yes, I just saw it," Stephanie told him.
"Summer Rae, is that her name?"
"You didn't even know her name before you extended your hand to her," Stephanie cooed. "Oh, Chris, honey, that's not how you woo a girl. Rule number one, you should really know her name before you dip her like that. And did my eyes deceive me or did you almost kiss her?"
"No," he told her.
"Are you sure, I was detecting vibes," Stephanie said, "I mean, I always knew you'd want to upgrade, but a blonde, a blonde who dances with a guy named Fandango? I always thought your second wife would be a step up?"
"It's not a hard step up from what I've currently got," Chris shot back, "plus, you traded way, way up from your former husband, or is this not where I remind you that only one of us has been married more than once? I found my soulmate on the first try."
"Soulmate? When was the last time you pulled me into your arms and dipped me?"
"Do you want me to give you tango lessons?" he asked.
"No, save that for your next wife, she's pretty, do you think the kids will like her?"
"There's no room for her in my bed, it's already occupied," Chris told her, "two girls, be jealous now, baby."
"Two girls, oh man, I bet they're gorgeous, right?"
"Only the two most gorgeous girls in the world I'm afraid," Chris said. "There's no room for you anymore. You've been replaced."
"Well, I think I can make the concession if their names are Flynn and Kensington."
"Wow, you sure are good at guessing, but I think my next wife will just adore them. I'm planning drawing up those papers tomorrow, quickie ones because I'll be getting married when I'm in Paris later this week."
"Ahh, romantic city without me."
"I'll have the girls with me, they'll be enough."
"Lucky me. Thank you for that," Chris told her, "Thanks for sending them here, they were just what I needed, and just, thank you. I love you for that, but then I love you for a lot of things."
"I love you too, but don't leave me for any dancers, got it, I mean, I've got moves you've never seen, Jericho."
"No, you don't, we've been together for almost 11 years, there are no moves left I haven't seen, I just happen to like your moves the best."
"Better than Summer Rae's?" Stephanie asked coyly.
"Well, no, that's why she's the 2nd wife," he told her with a laugh and he loved hearing her laugh on the other end, even though she was thousands of miles away. "Don't worry though, I'll always think fondly of our time together."
"That's all I ask. So…are you ever going to think title again? Because I'd love it if you would."
"We'll see, baby, we'll see."