A/N: Thank you to all who have stuck by this story for the last bajillion years. What started as a one-shot has progressed to slightly more, and I'm thankful for all of you. :)
"I'm not sure I'm into the blindfold thing."
"Surely I've blindfolded you before," Chris said.
"Covered my eyes, yeah, I think so, but actual in the car blindfolded, I don't think so," Stephanie said. "It's kind of weird. If this had been our first date, I think I would have hopped out of the car whenever we stopped and made a run for it."
"Luckily for me, I didn't think of that, but you knew me back then already, it wasn't like I was some blind date."
"Um, do you remember what it was like before we got together?" she asked, turning her head towards him, but with the blindfold it wasn't like she could see him or anything. "We kind of didn't like each other, it could have been a trap."
"Daddy liked you though!" Flynn yelled from the backseat. She could hear giggling from behind her as well, and she smiled and turned towards their laughter. Apparently, whatever was happening right now was a family affair. All she knew was that Chris told her that they would be gone for the entire day and night, so to pack accordingly. At first she thought that it would just be the two of them, but when she came downstairs, the kids's little bags were sitting by the door, and they were all waiting for her.
"I did not, stop it, Flynnie," Chris said good-naturedly.
"But you did," Flynn laughed.
"So do you guys know where we're going?" Stephanie asked, hoping to get some information from her little troops. She was their mother, they should tell her what was going on.
"I know," Sawyer told her, but she knew Sawyer would never tell her.
"Nope," Kensington told her.
"Daddy wouldn't tell us because he said we would give it away even though I wouldn't," Flynn said, emphasizing how much she wouldn't have told anything if she'd been told what they were doing.
"You're going to like it, Mom," Sawyer told her, but that was all he'd give her. It'll be fun, and I think we'll all have fun. I kind of helped Dad with it."
"He did, I couldn't have done it without him," Chris grinned at his son through the rearview mirror. "We have a whole day to spend together, and night, and it's just going to be the five of us, I actually didn't want Kensington to come, but she overheard me talking about it."
"Daddy!" Kensington yelled from her booster seat.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Kensy-bug, I didn't think you could hear me," Chris joked, but she gave a huff and folded her arms like she was genuinely angry, but then she started laughing again.
"How long is it going to take to get wherever we're going?" she asked. "Are we going to the airport? Because if we are, I think the blindfold thing is not going to go over well for anyone, least of all you."
"No, we're not going on any planes. Also, we're not going too far to get where we're going, but after we get there, it's a little bit more of a trip."
"So we're staying in Florida," she deduced.
"Yes, we're staying in-state, is that a problem?"
"No, I'm just trying to think of what we could do here that would require you to essentially kidnap me," she told him, groping for his hand. She felt it a second later and he squeezed it. She let herself smile, and they went silent for a moment, the only sound their children chatter in the background.
She reflected on the last 12 years of her life, all the changes, all the work she and Chris put into their relationship. People said they made it look easy, but no relationship could be termed easy. She and Chris had their ups and downs like any other couple, and they were always realistic about how their relationship could turn out, but it always, always seemed to get better.
Every year, she was more thankful than ever that she refused to hug Chris that first night. She was a broken woman then, a divorce in the process of finalizing, and a man she liked who she thought would never give her a second glance. Then he showed up, and she was terrified of her feelings because this man, this man who showed that he could be wonderful, could turn around and be the one who hated her again.
Then he hugged her, and he kissed her, and everything in her life started to make sense. Now here she was, being led somewhere crazy by her husband and children. She felt the car come to a stop, and she could feel her heart pounding. It was so strange to be somewhere and not know anything about where she was at all. She heard Chris open his door then open the back door and help Kensington out of her booster seat.
It seemed like Sawyer and Flynn were getting out of the car as well, and she waited for her turn, unless her husband wanted her to get out by herself, trip over something, and spend their anniversary in the ER. But then her door opened and she felt Chris's gentle hand on her shoulder. He grabbed her hand and helped her out of the car. She immediately knew they were near water because she could hear the gentle lapping, but there wasn't sand under her feet so they must be at a marina or something.
"Are we near boats?" she asked as she could hear the creaking sound of boats on the water.
"Maybe," he said. "Kensy-bug, can you grab Mommy's hand on the other side, and Sawyer, can you hold Flynnie's hand for me?"
"Sure," Sawyer said.
"Sawa, where are we going?" Flynn's eyes widened as she looked around.
"You'll see, Flynnie."
Chris started leading the way, and Stephanie followed, pulling along Kensington. They walked for a bit, and Stephanie knew they were going on a boat, but other than that, she was clueless. They stopped finally, and she prepared herself for whatever was coming. "Are we ready now?"
"Almost," he said, letting go of her hand and she could feel him walking behind her. "So…for today and this evening, may I present to you…"
He took off her blindfold and in front of her was a yacht, a beautiful, gorgeous yacht. It wasn't nearly as big as her father's was, but it was still huge, and expensive looking, and obviously top of the line. She looked at it then noticed the name of the boat, confirming her suspicions. It's name said, "The FDDBSBFTBH," and she shook her head.
"You did not buy me a boat, tell me you did not buy me a boat."
"I bought you a boat," he confirmed.
"Oh my God, Chris!" she turned to him. "Okay, what did I tell you about huge, big purchases? I have told you a million times not to—"
"Spend our money without consulting with you, well, it's a good thing I paid for this with my money. You forget that I'm worth almost 19 million dollars, so if I want to buy my wife a yacht, I'm going to buy my wife a yacht."
"Chris, this is too much."
"It's never too much, besides, it's not just for you. It has a deck in the back for fishing, so Sawyer and I can go out when we want to, and it's not far from home, so when we want to get away, we can, and I just recently got my boating license, so why not use it. It's not just for you."
"You named it after me."
"I feel like it's far classier than 'The Sexy Bitch,'" he whispered, and she had to concede that point. "Come on, let's get aboard. We're headed out for a day of fishing and family fun, and we're going to spend the night on the boat."
"We're gonna sleep on a boat!" Kensington asked in amazement.
"Is there enough room?" Stephanie asked as Chris started helping the kids onto the boat. He handed Sawyer a life jacket, which he put on immediately then Chris helped Flynn onto the boat and hooked a jacket on her. Stephanie lifted Kensington, handing her to Chris before he helped her with her life jacket before Stephanie got on the boat herself.
It was a gorgeous vessel. Everything looked really luxurious, and she walked around the back deck a little bit. Chris had already put some tackle boxes and rods for fishing, so it was something he could enjoy with Sawyer. "Hey, Steph, I'm going to go get our things, can you watch the kids?"
"Yeah, of course," she said, "I think we'll explore the boat."
"Great, cool," he nodded, "go for it."
They walked around to the bow, and saw there was a seating area with cushy seats, and there was a spread of food already sitting there, fruits and pastries, and the kids ran to jump on the seats and grab something to eat. "Okay, you guys, I think we should wait for Dad to get into this stuff, let's go see what's inside."
Inside was a living area and three bedrooms, one for her and Chris, one for Sawyer, and a room for Kensington and Flynn to share. Chris thought of everything, and it was when the kids were jumping on the bed in the master bedroom that he came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist.
"What do you think?"
"It's too much, but I love it. God, I shouldn't love it, but I love it. It's beautiful, and the perfect size for us, but I do worry about the kids getting in and out of the cabin without us knowing it at night."
"That's why I installed a touchpad to get in and out, and only we'll know the passcode so they can't get out unless they're with us."
"You did think of everything," she grinned. "I love it, I really do, and it's so modern inside, and…I like this gift, even though I can only imagine how expensive this was."
"Don't worry about it, it's my expense to pay, not yours, I'm just really happy you like it." He wrapped his arms around her waist, and he leaned in to give her a kiss, the kids running around, looking at everything there was to see, which was a lot. The rooms were a good size, and there were TVs everywhere, and it was so modern-looking. "I was hoping you wouldn't think me crazy for it."
"No, well, a little, but it's close to home, so it's actually something we can enjoy on a regular basis, unlike the house in California."
"We rent that out so it's not completely going to waste."
"Dad, can we go now!" Sawyer asked excitedly. "I want to try fishing!"
"Yeah, sure," Chris said, pulling away from his wife. "I guess we'll have to pick this up later?"
"Yes, we'll pick this up later."
The day was spent fishing or teaching how to fish in the girls' case, and having fun out on the water. Stephanie had to admit this boat was fun and had so many amenities, she could probably live on it if she was so inclined. At least she knew if she ever got into a fight with Chris and left the house, she'd have somewhere to duck into, and that thought made her laugh.
Chris had the fridge fully stocked, so they had enough food to last them into tomorrow, and he cooked dinner for the five of them, which they ate in the dining room area. She was used to yachts, her father had The Sexy Bitch for years, but it felt so different when it was your own boat. She felt so accomplished and opulent, which was strange because she'd been rich for her entire life. Still, she'd never owned a yacht before.
The kids were cuddled in between the two of them. The couch on the bow of the yacht was like a giant bed, so they were all able to lie down and just look up at the night sky. Out here on the water, the sky was especially clear, and with the gentle rocking of the boat, the kids were rapidly falling asleep, even though they couldn't be that comfortable still being in their life jackets.
"Mommy, how many years have you been with Daddy again?" Flynn asked tiredly.
"Twelve, baby girl," Stephanie told her. "Why?"
"That's more than me by…um…eight."
"That is more than you by eight," Stephanie told her.
"Why did you wait so long to have me?"
"Because you wouldn't have been you if we had you earlier."
"What 'bout me?" Kensington asked.
"And you wouldn't have been you," Stephanie said, reaching over and ruffling Kensington's hair. "You all came at just the right time."
"I caught a big fish today," Flynn just completely changed the topic, "but it wasn't as big as Sawa's, how did you do that, Sawa?"
He shrugged, "I've just done it before, that's how I knew, but if you come fishing with me and Dad, you'll probably catch bigger fish next time."
"I only got a little one," Kensington said sadly.
"But you caught more than me," Stephanie said, "I didn't catch any, baby girl, so you did better than I did."
"I was very proud of you for reeling it in," Chris kissed his daughter's head. "Once you get bigger, you'll get stronger, and you'll catch bigger fish, did you have fun?"
"Uh huh," Kensington told him, "I like having a boat."
"Me too, it's so cool," Sawyer said. "We can take it out whenever we want, right, Dad?"
"Yeah, well, within reason, but since it's summer, we can go on it a lot, what about you, Flynn?"
"I like it, sometimes the rocking doesn't make my tummy feel good, but it wasn't that bad," Flynn said, referring to the seasickness she'd gotten a couple times. It wasn't so bad, but it was enough to make her feel a little queasy. "I can go off on the boat sometimes too, I don't really mind."
"Great, we're all in agreement then," Chris said, "the boat stays."
"Daddy, do you love Mommy the most of everyone in the entire universe?" Flynn asked.
"No, I love you three more than Mommy, but she is a very close second."
"Oh, sorry, Mommy, I guess I'm just better," Flynn said nonchalantly. "Daddy, are you scared of Bray on Sunday?"
"No way, are you scared of Bray on Sunday?"
"No way, he's not scary at all, he has bad breath, and he needs to comb his hair," Flynn said.
"Dad, I think you're going to win," Sawyer said, "Bray might try to scare you though. Are we going to sit in the audience?"
"With Gamps," Kensington added.
"Yes, you are, but for now, it's time to go to bed, all three of you," Chris said.
He and Stephanie helped the kids get ready for bed, and put Sawyer into his room, and Flynn and Kensington into their rooms. They were all excited to sleep in their new rooms, so there were no arguments about bedtime. They gave each kid a kiss before heading back outside to the deck. Chris told Stephanie to stay where she was, and he came back a few minutes later with champagne and two glasses.
"Our celebration can really begin," he said as he poured her a glass.
"Finally," she joked, taking it from him and sipping a little bit. Chris sat down next to her, and she snuggled into his arms, watching the moon reflect off the water. It was a half moon, so there was quite a bit of light out. She put her glass down on the table in front of them and wrapped both her arms around his waist. "Happy anniversary."
"Happy anniversary to you, so how was I the last year? What do you give me?"
"A+ because you came back," she told him with a smile, "what about me?"
"A solid B+," he joked, and she pinched him in the stomach. "What, there's nothing wrong with a B+, that's pretty good."
"You're a jerk," she told him, "remind me again why I'm still with you."
"Do you want that list alphabetized or by importance?" he inquired of her. He kissed the top of her head. "I am just as happy now as I was back then when you said you'd go out with me."
She smiled, but said nothing for a few moments. "How is it possible that I'm still happy with you? How are we even still who we are?"
"We work for it."
"I think I'm finally ready to say we're meant to be together."
"Great, next year we're getting divorced."
"I'm not so sure that end we were realistic might come ever will. I'm starting to believe in the unrealistic, does that make me bad? I don't know, Chris, I think we might actually get that fairy tale."
"How much champagne did you drink while I wasn't looking?"
"I'm being realistic. I don't see us ending."
"I never did," he said, "I don't know, though, I just think once we got past who we were and became who we are, we knew. Every day, we work for it, and it gets better, and even though you sometimes infuriate me, and even though I annoy you, you're the only one I could ever want."
"So…how are you going to possibly top yourself next year?"
"I'm taking you to the moon."
"I'm holding you to that, Jericho." Every year, she fell a little more in love with this man. From his love for her and their kids to his unfailing ability to surprise her when he came back to wrestling (which he always did), he surprised her and loved her, and was perfect for her in every way.
"Please do, McMahon, please do."
Most people would be afraid of Bray Wyatt, and with good reason. He was creepy, he had a cult behind him, and he had this way with words that was the hilt of manipulation. Chris Jericho was not most people though. He wasn't afraid of Bray Wyatt, and it was that unflinching bravery that helped propel him to a win. He didn't let Bray get into his head because there was nothing there of any substance. It was easy to spew words and say that you were scary or that Chris should be afraid, it was another to step into the ring with him.
Chris had years of experience on Bray, years of facing people, knowing their ins and outs, finding their weaknesses. He'd beaten the best of the best, sometimes in the same night, so Bray was not going to best him on this night. He thought it might be difficult with Rowan and Harper being there with him, but when they were thrown out, Chris knew the advantage swung back to him.
It was a tough match, he wasn't going to say that Bray wasn't good, he was, but he was not Chris Jericho. The best part of the night wasn't the win though, it was going to ringside and celebrating with his kids and his father, who was with them. There was nothing like wrestling and knowing his kids were right there cheering him on. They were his biggest supporters, so why not celebrate with them when he could.
He knew it wasn't over though. With the loss, he knew Bray wouldn't give up on him, if anything, he probably made Bray angrier. That made Bray more dangerous. So Chris went into Raw cautiously because anything could happen, especially on the night after a Pay-Per-View. So Chris decided that the only way to fight fire was with fire. He wasn't the type to run and hide from a challenge nor was he the type of person who took a win and was settled with that. So he was going to invite Bray onto the Highlight Reel. Maybe it was stupid, but it was what he was going to do to show that he was ready for whatever he knew was coming from Bray.
"Guess what Britt just told me," Stephanie said as she walked into her office where Chris was sitting. The kids were with their grandparents until the show started because Stephanie and Chris were just too busy to spend much time with their kids, which wasn't their ideal situation, but sometimes they had to work.
"I don't know, what?" Chris wondered, thinking about what he might ask Bray, and how he could protect himself should Rowan and Harper become involved (because he knew that they would be involved somehow).
"Brie is here tonight," Stephanie said, rubbing her hands together.
"She is? I thought she wasn't allowed backstage," Chris said, "wasn't that the ban you put on her since she quit?"
"Yes, but she bought a ticket or Nikki got her a ticket, anyways, she's sitting in the audience tonight," Stephanie said, "I can't believe she would show her face, but if she's going to be here, I'm just going to show her firsthand the kind of power I have."
"So what are you going to do to Nikki then?"
"Just show Brie that just because she's not here that it doesn't mean I can't hurt her," Stephanie shrugged. "She slapped me, and she's still going to pay for that, even if I can't do it directly."
"I love you, but you're crazy."
"You love me because I'm crazy. Nothing goes without revenge, Chris. You can't just let something go when you've been slighted. She slapped me, she slapped me, her boss. I'm Stephanie McMahon-Jericho, nobody is allowed to touch me and get away with it. Think of all the people I've taken down, why make Brie Bella the exception?"
"I never said make her the exception, but what if she doesn't care what happens to Nikki in the end?"
"You're saying that you think her love for her sister won't outweigh pretty much everything?"
"I'm saying that if it did, wouldn't Brie have done something already? You put Nikki in a match where she was pretty much against the entire divas division and Brie…does nothing. Tonight, Brie is here, but do you think she's going to help Nikki?"
"She knows that I would have her thrown out if she went over the barrier," Stephanie said.
"But this is her sister, that you claim she loves more than anything. If she saw her sister beat up firsthand, wouldn't she do anything to help her?"
"I guess we'll find out."
Stephanie decided that four people against Nikki would suffice for tonight. Stephanie needed to have a ringside seat for this. She wanted to see if Chris was right, if Brie wouldn't even help her own sister. She taunted Brie, almost baiting her to try and come into the ring to help Nikki, but Brie could do nothing, and Stephanie taunted her about it. She was a nobody now, someone who abandoned her sister, and now Nikki would just have to face her fate.
Brie was having none of it though, and she decided to call Stephanie out, calling her a bitch in a low voice that Stephanie almost couldn't hear. Stephanie rolled her eyes. Apparently, Brie hadn't learned anything from her sorry excuse for a husband. Stephanie turned back to her, and Brie took the opportunity to call Stephanie a bitch again. Stephanie was having none of it tonight. She was sick of Brie Bella, and while Brie had slapped her, Brie clearly didn't know what a slap really, truly felt like.
So Stephanie showed her.
"I think I felt that slap from here," Chris told her as she sauntered backstage. She had that air of superiority she always got when she came out on top. She shook her hand out playfully. "Hurt?'
"Only her, I think," Stephanie smirked. "How did it look?"
"Like it hurt, like it really, really hurt," Chris said, "and I've been on the other side of that slap, so I know how it feels to get one."
"Yeah, but I took it easy on you."
"That was taking it easy on me?"
"Hey, Chris," Tom, one of the backstage interviewers came up to him, "hey, I was wondering if I could get an interview with you after your win last night?"
"Yeah, sure," Chris looked to Stephanie, who shrugged and kissed his cheek. "I'll talk to you later."
"Don't you always?" she said. Chris winked at her and followed Tom. They went into one of the locker rooms since it was quieter in there, and they could actually hear each other while the show was going on. They sat down for the interview, and Tom asked how he was feeling 24 hours after his victory.
Chris was ecstatic to have won, but he knew that Bray wasn't finished, and he didn't know what Bray was going to do next. He couldn't predict the weather, and he couldn't predict Bray Wyatt. He knew that Bray would want a piece of him, and he invited it, but he didn't realize it would come so soon because when he looked up, Bray was standing right there, his stooges right behind him as usual.
He knew he was screwed the second he saw them, but like many things in his life, he didn't care about the odds, and he was the one who threw out the first punch, but he was overmatched as the odds were against him. Like last week, he was caught in the Sister Abigail, but this wasn't onto the grate on the top of the ramp. He was thrown against a locker, and for a long moment, things went blank.
Stephanie, having seen this because she ran the show, rushed to Chris's side to check on him, but there were already people around him. "Let me through!" she called out, pushing her way through, and she was pretty sure she sent someone into a locker. She didn't care though, kneeling next to her husband, seeing he was bleeding from his ear.
"Where are the medics!" she cried out.
"We're right here, Stephanie," one of them said, and she didn't appreciate their tone, but didn't care as they helped Chris sit up.
"Chris, hey, can you hear me? He's bleeding from his ear, help him!" Stephanie demanded.
"Steph, I'm okay, don't yell," Chris told her. "I'm fine."
"You're bleeding from your ear," she cried, reaching out to touch his face, which was a little pale.
"I think it's just a cut," Chris said, touching his ear and pulling his hand back to look at the damage. "I'll just go get checked by a trainer, and I'll be as good as new."
"I'm not leaving your side," she told him, grasping onto his arm, helping him get to his feet. He stumbled a little bit as he got to his feet, and Stephanie held onto him tighter. "You can't even stand."
"Well, I was just slammed into a locker, but I'm really okay, got it," he told her, smiling at her as if that would convince her that he was alright. She remained unconvinced. "Dan, can you tell Stephanie that I'm okay?"
"We'll get him checked out, Steph, but he doesn't look that bad, doesn't look like a concussion," Dan told her. "I wouldn't worry too much about it, it doesn't look like he's bleeding from his ear, just looks like a cut."
"Are you sure?" Stephanie was not against thinking that they would try to put her at ease because she'd just slapped the hell out of Brie and wouldn't hesitate to do it to anyone who hurt her husband or lied to her. Bray was lucky he wasn't near her because she might have to do more than slap him.
She clenched her fists as she thought about what she wanted to do to Bray right this second. She felt Chris loosen her fingers and grasp her hand. "I'm fine, go do your job. Go do whatever it is you do around here, I'm sorry, who are you again?"
"Don't joke about that," she frowned. Concussions were serious things, and she knew Chris suffered from some in the past before all this testing and everything. She knew that he'd received concussions then went out and wrestled the next night, so head injuries for him scared her.
"Sorry, it's okay, I'll just get checked out and I'll find you, and I'll take it easy for the rest of the evening, no revenge plots for me, unlike some people we know."
"Are you sure?" she hated to leave him, and she didn't want him to feel abandoned if she left. She did have things to finish, and she was supposed to introduce Flo Rida, but leaving Chris didn't sound appealing to her right now.
"I'm positive, go, okay, go!" he nearly pushed her away from him.
"Okay," she said reluctantly, but ended up watching him the entire time before she was on the other side of the door. Once there, she took a deep breath and went back into boss mode after putting on her wife cap. The night had started so well then went downhill quick, but it couldn't get any worse, she surmised.
Except it could, and it did.
Brie, and here Stephanie had to give her a modicum of credit, called the police on her, the actual police. It was petty and childish, and so very Brie, but it was something of a retaliation, something Stephanie wasn't sure Brie was capable of, but turns out, she was more than capable. Stephanie didn't necessarily try to resist arrest, but she certainly wasn't cooperative.
The entire thing was started by Brie, and Stephanie was sure she'd get off because they had video of Brie verbally assaulting her, and that had to carry some weight, right? She tried to plead her case, but the stupid detective never let her get a word in edgewise, and soon, she was being put into handcuffs as she screamed at Brie. Brie, now brave with Stephanie's hands handcuffed behind her back, started trying to go after her.
It was easy to go after someone who couldn't fight back, and that only reinforced how weak and spineless Brie was. Stephanie was lead backstage like a common criminal with everyone staring at her. Nobody dared do anything or take any pictures because even those she was being taken away, she was still the boss, and she still had their fragile careers in her hand.
Somewhere along the way, Hunter showed up, and she pleaded with him to help her. He told her he would get their lawyers on the line, but beyond that, he wasn't much of a help. Then she thought of Chris. He probably didn't even see this because there was never a TV in the trainer's area, and she hoped Hunter would tell Chris where she was. She trusted Hunter to take care of things (she really shouldn't have because he showed why they were divorced in the first place, he never listened to her).
"Well, well, well, look at what we have here."
Stephanie looked up from the lonely, little cell she'd been sitting in. It looked grungy, and it smelled. Her husband was leaning against the bars to her cell, and he was smirking. This did not boded well. "Take a picture, it lasts longer," she snapped at him.
"I think I will," he took out his phone and took a quick picture. His ear was taped up, but otherwise he looked fine.
"I swear to God, if you tweet that or something, I will be sent to a prison with a lot more security."
"How am I going to tell the kids their mother is a common criminal?"
"Stop, I'm not going to tell the kids."
"They saw it happen, Steph, they know something's up, Kensy couldn't sleep, did you sleep or have you made anyone your bitch yet?"
"Very funny, are you getting me out of here?"
"Yeah, but they said I could have ten minutes before they let you out, so I'm thinking of any confessions I might have to make before they let you out. Hmm, no, can't tell you about the affair—"
"Chris, get me out of here!"
"No yelling, God, didn't they teach you anything while you were doing hard time," he teased. "I knew the law would catch up to you at some point, you couldn't run forever."
"Are you done?" she deadpanned.
"Nah, I could go all night, hey, how many hours you get in the 'pen?"
"Enough to kick your ass."
"Touchy," he said as she came up to stand in front of him. "I love you, even if you are a jailbird. I mean, I have to love you, you could have spent your time making a shiv, and you're going to stab me with it right now."
"I will if you don't have them let me out."
"Just one thing, since this might make you mad enough to pull out my hair or something. What are you going to do with Brie?"
"Make her wish she was never born."