Author's Notes: My stories are acting all screwy with how they are posted in my account. So, to fix them, I'm having to post new chapters to each. And since I can't just post author's notes, I've written an epilogue of sorts. I don't like to wrap things up so neat and tidy as to have my couple get married at the end (yes, I've done it before) but a great friend of mine Clare (her pen name is WandaXmaximoff; user id 747588) borrowed Cheryl for her Fine Line Between Love and Hate (It's a Cena fic, ladies! Go read it! There's a sequel coming!) and I've been dying to write something else with Cheryl and Dave but haven't come up with a sequel yet (plus, I'm working on the third part to my Loyalty series). Since Clare wrote the two of them as being married, I wondered how exactly that engagement and wedding would go given Cheryl's past. So, here's a bunch of sappiness and fluff. Btw, Samantha Edwards from Fine Line makes an appearance in this. I don't own her but you know who does (see above). ;)
Cheryl Leigh stood in front of the full length mirror as five women fussed about her, smoothing down imaginary wrinkles on her dress and twisting her curls before patting them back in place. She was oblivious to the cooing and praising going on around her by the four women dressed in identical red satin gowns and her mother, attired in a pale pink fitted dress suit. She was moments away from walking out that door and becoming Mrs. David Michael Batista. The woman shivered at the thought and Roslyn immediately asked if she was alright. "Just nervous, momma," she replied with a slight smile.
Nicole Leigh, her sister-in-law, waddled over with a bouquet of pink roses tied with a red ribbon and handed them to the bride. "Are you sure you can do this?" Cheryl asked of the woman who was now eight months pregnant. Her dress hadn't been intentionally ready until four days earlier.
"I feel great," she gushed. "I'm just so glad that I could be in the wedding. Afterall, you were in mine and Craig's." Nicole waddled off again and brought back the bridesmaids' bouquets of white roses, tied with pink ribbons.
Cheryl's mouth suddenly went dry when a knocked sounded at the door and she heard her brother, Craig, calling from the other side. "Are y'all ready in there?"
All the girls stopped, staring at Cheryl in anticipation. She nodded but then said, "I need just a couple of minutes alone, please." Nidia, Lita, Victoria, and Nicole filed out along with the bride's mother.
The diva carefully arranged her dress to sit on the stool that was in front of the vanity. She closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath before reflecting over the events of the past six months that led up to this moment.
Right after Christmas, Dave had begun acting strange, hiding from her to make phonecalls and making sure she couldn't read his e-mail while he was checking it. Then he suddenly announced that he had a surprise for her but that it was a secret. She would find out that weekend, he informed her. This New Year's Eve they would have been together for three years—the couple had chosen that date since it was the first time that Cheryl had told Dave that she loved him.
That weekend, RAW had houseshows in California and would kick off the new year in Honolulu. When they landed in San Diego, Cheryl was surprised when Dave steered her in the direction opposite of baggage claim. "We have a connecting flight," he smirked. She stared at him dumbfounded until he stopped before a terminal that indicated that the next flight was going out to Honolulu. When Cheryl tried to form the question of what in the hell they were doing, he grinned and replied, "We have the weekend off and we're spending it in Hawaii."
"Oh, Dave! This is a surprise," she squealed and flung her arms around him.
"That's not the surprise," he replied, rubbing a hand over his chin. Cheryl paused, at a loss for what could be coming next. Maybe he had gotten them a room at a resort or a spa and he had a weekend packed full of things to do together.
For the most part, they slept late, swam in the ocean, snorkeled, toured the island by bicycle and helicopter, and then imbibed a little too much in the evening. On New Year's Eve, they had a romantic dinner in a fancy restaurant but then retired to their hotel room afterward, ripping off clothing before they were barely in the room. Minutes before midnight, the couple had turned the television up to hear the countdown to the new year while they sat out on the balcony to watch the fireworks that the concierge had informed they could see from their room. Clothed in complimentary terry cloth robes, Cheryl sat on Dave's lap, leaning back against his broad chest.
"It's almost time," she whispered, carefully turning around and straddling him to receive her new year's kiss.
"You know that surprise I mentioned?" She nodded, vaguely hearing the shout of "ten" on the television. His hand snaked down into the folds of the robe and produced a black jewelry box. "You are my entire life and I can't ever imagine being without you. Cheryl Leigh, will you marry me?" He flipped open the box to reveal a diamond solitaire flanked by two smaller rubies. He had wanted to ask her at dinner and had it all carefully planned out. He wanted to do everything different than when Pierce had asked her. But she had knocked over her wine at the table, shattering the glass on the floor. The woman had been so embarrassed that he hadn't want to call anymore attention to her by getting down on one knee and proposing in front of the whole restaurant. Looking back on it now, he knew it was a stupid idea as she was such a private person and was glad she had foiled his plan.
Cheryl blinked at him, completely at a loss for words. "One" rang out on the television and fireworks burst behind them. The different colors lit up his expectant face, reflecting the anxiety in his eyes, and she nodded before exclaiming "yes" and throwing her arms around his neck. She pulled back to kiss him and he slipped the ring on her finger before placing both of his hands gently on her cheeks. The fireworks illuminated her red hair and he thought she had never looked more beautiful. "I love you," he said and she returned the sentiment.
"Let's not wait. Let's have an island wedding. Just the two of us out on one those boats. You know that boat captains can perform weddings just as well," she excitedly gushed.
"You don't want a huge church wedding or something?"
"Been there, done that, don't need it," she replied, waving him off.
"You at least want your family there?"
Cheryl stopped and realized how selfish she was being. Dave had never been married and it wouldn't be right to deny him his wedding with his family and friends. "You know what, baby, we'll do whatever you want. This is your day too. It's just that I've been through it all before and…we'll make it your day."
"I've got an idea," he replied, "you know those shows we're the groom has to put the wedding together with the best friend and all. Let me do it. You kick back and let me put it together."
"Oh, Dave, that's just too much to ask."
"But I want to do it."
"Alright, but just remember that I can't wear white since I've already been married," she warned with a grin, slipping off his lap and tugging him back into the hotel room.
Dave nodded at her comment, completely unaware that that was part of wedding etiquette. He'd talk to Nidia to make sure he didn't commit any more bridal faux pas.
The affianced couple agreed that six months would be enough time and set the date for the Summerslam pay-per-view, which was actually in Charlotte, North Carolina, a nice in-between location for both families, as well as allowing all the wrestlers and staff to attend who wished to do so. They were both granted the weekend and the following week and a half off and the story lines were written to include their absence.
Knowing Nidia was involved with the plans, Cheryl was hardly worried about what Dave would come up with. The only thing she didn't like about giving him full reign was that he spent a lot of time hiding from her to make the arrangements. Since they had moved in together two years earlier, the two were practically inseparable. They stayed in DC at Dave's place during the hot months of the year and then at Cheryl's in Hilton Head when it was cool. It was like having a vacation home and they loved the change of scenery throughout the year.
The most involvement Cheryl had in the wedding was the ability to choose her dress. Three months before the wedding, she still hadn't found one she remotely liked and Daphne, Dave's cousin who had been obsessed with him and had finally warmed up to Cheryl, offered to design and make her dress if she would model it for an upcoming show and allow her to keep the design as her own to maybe market later. The two worked together, Daphne convincing her to that she could indeed wear white if she wanted but the bride only conceded when they added a splash of color.
Six weeks before the wedding, Cheryl felt she had to make one particular visit. She and Dave stayed in South Carolina that week at her request. The morning before they were to fly out for the weekend for the houseshows, she rose early and quietly dressed but, as she was reaching for her keys, Dave appeared at the top of the stairs and asked where she was going. The woman was horrible at lying and muttered, "Nowhere in particular."
"Well, then you won't mind if I come," he replied and hurried into the bedroom to put on some clothes. He knew exactly where she was going and he wanted to come with her.
Cheryl nervously glanced at her fiancé as she drove down the four lane highway off the island and then pulled into the cemetery that was only a few miles away from her parents' home. She slipped out of the car but Dave didn't immediately follow—he wanted to give her some time alone.
The redhead stood at the foot of the grave and lightly tossed a lily onto the grass. She had overcome her aversion to lilies and bringing one was symbolic that she had accepted all that had happened to her. The shotglass was gone, probably taken by her former in-laws and thrown away or removed by the caretaker for the safety of others. It didn't matter to her because that was life. She shoved her hands in her jeans pocket and mouthed what she had to say. "There's no point in me telling you what I've been up to. I know you know and I know I have your blessing. I just felt as if I should, well, acknowledge you in some way." She smiled at the gravestone and turned around to find Dave watching her. He was surprised that she was done so quickly.
When his fiancée took his hand, he said, "Just a second. I'm right behind you." She nodded and headed on to the car. Dave had never been here before and it was never really his place to be so but he too felt he should acknowledge his bride's former husband. "Thanks for letting me have your wife, man," he whispered and winked at the grave before joining Cheryl.
The morning of the wedding, the redhead was collected by her bridesmaids—the only other decision left up to her—and whisked away in a blindfold by limo to an undisclosed location. The girls giggled all the way there and as they carefully maneuvered her out of the vehicle and into the building and to her dressing room. She was nervous about what her future husband had in store for her but yet so excited to see what he had put together. Realizing she had spent enough time alone, maybe too much, she gathered her skirts together and the bouquet and stepped through the door into a hallway that she was positive looked like an arena. Maybe they were indeed at an arena but some places had very nice attached gardens or banquet halls.
Craig greeted her and carefully hugged her to keep from wrinkling the dress. "I never thought this day would come," he said and kissed her on the cheek.
"Thanks for the vote of confidence," she sarcastically replied.
"You know what he means," her mother good-naturedly chided. "We all thought that," she added and her father nodded in agreement. "But we're so happy that you've finally found someone who loves you more than the world and you're so happy with him."
Cheryl smiled and blushed. "Well, then let's not keep him waiting."
The small party carefully maneuvered down the hallways that was lined with WWE equipment and cords criss-crossing the floors. Cheryl knew now that she was in the venue for the Summerslam pay-per-view and knew that this could be very interesting indeed. When they stopped before the stairs that led up to the entrance, Craig left them and she began to wonder what in the name of all that was holy Dave had done. They climbed the stairs and gathered in the small area that was the gorilla position. The soundman asked if they were ready and when Cheryl nodded, "Trumpet Voluntary" started. She cringed and hoped no one saw her. The woman had casually mentioned that she did not want that song, especially if she had to walk the aisle to the "Bridal March." Nidia saw the face the bride made and smiled to herself. Oh, she was in for a surprise. As the bridesmaids began their entrance, Dave's sister ushered his niece, Alexandra, along with Nidia's three year old son, up the stairs. They were the most adorable flower girl and ring bearer attired in their miniature dress and tux. Alexandra was taking her role watching Joaquin very seriously as she grabbed his hand and led him out at her mother's cue.
Cheryl then stepped up to the black curtain, almost afraid of what she was going to see on the other side. With her parents flanking her, they swept the curtain aside and her eyes lit on the ramp that normally sloped but was elevated from the stage to the ring. The ropes were missing on that side of the ring but the rest of them were wrapped with vines. The mat was covered with black carpet and pedestals were in the corners with vases of red roses perched on them. A wrought iron lattice was along the back, vines and roses entwined in it. On the right side, the groomsmen proudly stood—Craig Leigh, Ric Flair, Randy Orton, and Triple H as best man. None of those were a surprise to her. Shawn Michaels standing in the place where she expected to see Kathy, the priest of her parish and who had performed her first wedding, was a bit of a surprise until she remembered that he indeed was ordained. She was honored that he would be officiating their wedding as it was he who had given Cheryl the initiative to reconcile with Dave.
Before she saw her fiancé, the stage rumbled with an explosion of fireworks and Trapt's "Headstrong" thundered into the sound system. She began to laugh uncontrollably as they proceeded down the "aisle." Roslyn casually produced a tissue and Cheryl dabbed at her eyes as she tried to focus on the ring. She grinned like a fool when she saw Dave step out from behind Triple H. For the love of god, he was the most gorgeous man she had ever seen. He was dressed in a black tuxedo, a red and gold vest rather than a cummerbund, and an English collar with a button rather than a bow-tie and a red rose was pinned to his lapel. She only had eyes for him and it wasn't until the music stopped that she realized they had an audience cheering for them ringside. Family and friends were all gathered around the ring in long rows of fold up chairs.
Dave was blown away by his wife-to-be. She was amazing in his opinion, dressed in a long white strapless gown. The hem of the dress sported red gems in large sunburst patterns and a red sash was tied around the empire waist, which formed a small bow with the ends of the red ribbon falling halfway down the gown. Her hair was now several inches past her shoulders and her loose curls lay against her neck and back, only the crown was pulled away from her face with a long white, gauzy veil with red studs nestled in the curls. She only wore a hint of make-up, none of it covering up the freckles that dotted her nose and cheeks. Seeing his gift to her, he swallowed hard as the diamond pendant fastened to a red ribbon swayed sensuously in the hollow of her throat.
Shawn gave Cheryl a moment to take it all in before he began. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today. Wait, wait, wait," he said, waving his Bible around, "we have to do this right. Are you ready?" The audience let up a cheer equivalent to a packed house. Shawn bent low and continued. "For the thousands in attendance and the millions watching at home, Cheryl and Dave, get ready to get married!" Neither of them had been expecting that and dissolved into laughter. This was by far not the most orthodox wedding anyone in attendance had ever witnessed.
When the cheering had died down, Shawn continued in all seriousness, asking who was giving the bride away and then offering up a prayer. Cheryl wound her arm around Dave's and the two stood side by side until it was time to say their vows. She handed her bouquet to Nidia and grasped Dave's hands as they faced each other. She wanted to laugh at how much their palms were sweating.
Dave spoke first and had them laughing as he recounted his story of chasing her and then thinking she was married and then believing he had lost his chance when she was dating Edge. He kept it discreet, not mentioning about the first time they made love or when he had demanded that she let Pierce go. She could see it all in his eyes. He ended with how much he loved her and how he was going to make her his princess for the rest of his life. He then slipped the accompanying jacket around her engagement ring.
Cheryl stared up in his chestnut eyes and licked her lips before beginning. "I will n-never forget…" she began to falter. The redhead only stuttered when she was talking with an unfamiliar person or very nervous. Dave had been terrified that she had changed her mind when they were running five minutes behind and now she couldn't say their vows. She dropped her eyes to their hands and he gently squeezed hers. Cheryl took a deep breath and then looked back up at him before launching into her memorized vows. She was shaking like a leaf as she slipped the gold band with embedded diamonds on his finger.
"Everything is gonna be alright from here on out," he whispered to her as they stepped aside while Lilian Garcia began to sing a song that she had personally written some time back but hadn't recorded yet. Dave wrapped an arm around his bride and she placed her hand on his chest, admiring the ring.
She and Lilian were not close and she whispered to Dave, "How did you get her to sing?"
"Well…" he began. "We dated once."
"I take it that you ended on amicable terms," she replied with a smile, realizing that even though she didn't know everything about her new husband, she had a lifetime to break that mystery that was Dave Batista. He nodded in response and gave her a sheepish grin.
Shawn said one more prayer before he added that there was one more surprise that neither of them knew about. They both looked at each other in horror as John Cena climbed into the ring and proceeded to treat the audience to a special rap, written especially for Dave and Cheryl. By the time he was done, her face was red, all the way to the tips of her ears and she truly hoped that her grandmother wouldn't be as embarrassed as she was. Still, they had to put the WWE touch on it for the wrestlers and staff in attendance.
The couple once again stood in front of Shawn who traditionally concluded the ceremony. "By the authority vested in me as a minister of the gospel, I now pronounce you husband and wife, in the name of the Creator, the Redeemer, and the Sustainer. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one put asunder. Dave, you may now kiss your bride." The catcalls went up from the audience as his mouth descended upon hers. As many times as they had kissed before, this was as if it was their first one, sweating palms, trembling hands, and pounding hearts. If this was a preview to their wedding night, she wanted to skip the reception. Shawn jokingly kicked Dave in the shin and the two finally broke apart. The older man grinned at them and then announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, may I be the first to present to you Mr. and Mrs. David Batista."
Dave's entrance music sounded and Cheryl knew that it could end no other way. After his pyro went off, the newly married couple then recessed up the ramp to the stage. Behind the black curtain, they once again kissed, oblivious to the fact that the place was becoming crowded as the bridal party was filing in. They were immediately shooed back out on the stage so that the photographer could take pictures of the bridal party. After several arrangements, they were all hurried into the ring for more pictures. Then it was only Dave and Cheryl's turn as the photographer creatively worked with the decorations so that the arena melted into the background.
After it was all over with, the redhead allowed her husband to escort her to one of the banquet halls where they would have refreshments before the two left for the bridal suite of the hotel they were staying in. Dave surprised her again when he told her they would be staying in the Caribbean until they had to be back in two weeks' time.
In the banquet hall, a table was set up with a large white cake and a long table with finger foods. Everyone was expectantly waiting on them to cut the cake so they could dig in. The couple carefully cut a slice and Dave lifted the small piece to his wife's lips as she did the same for him. He knew that she had threatened Pierce within an inch of his life if he shoved the cake in her face but that didn't stop Dave and she was shocked as she turned away, snorting the cake out her nose. Her mother hurried over and handed her a handkerchief but then produced a whip cream pie that Dave didn't see. With a wide grin, Cheryl whipped around and plastered him in the face with the tin. Scrambling away before he could get his hands on her, Cheryl was shielded by her bridesmaids and a few of the other divas.
"That was my idea," a blonde said in her ear and she smiled at Samantha Edwards, the new girl who had been brought up to RAW a couple of months ago and that Cheryl had taken under her wing as the new wrestler's mentor.
"We are going to get along so well," the redhead laughed in response.
Once the newly married couple cleaned themselves of cake, they mingled among their friends and family until the wrestlers and staff could wait no longer until time to finish preparations for the pay-per-view. Even though it was early afternoon, Cheryl tossed her bouquet and Samantha caught it. The redhead didn't miss the sarcastic comment made by John Cena at the blonde or her equally acerbic retort. God knew what was going on there. Dave made way too much out of taking her garter off with his teeth but it only went to show how much he loved her and how proud he was of her. When Orton caught the red lacy garter, a collective sound of disgust echoed throughout the crowd.
The couple dashed through the bubbles their friends and family were blowing at them and then ducked into the waiting limo. "God, I love you, pum'kin," Dave said, pulling her close and brushing his lips across hers.
"I love you too, baby," she replied. "Everything was perfect."
"I was so afraid," he responded, tangling his hands in her hair and pulling her in for another kiss. Finally drawing back, he solemnly stared into her hazel eyes and added, "I meant every word I said in there, Cheryl Inez Batista."
"You remember when you made me say your name?" He nodded—it was a moment he would never forget. She leaned in very close and murmured against his lips, "You'll never have to ask again."
After the soft kiss, Dave pulled back and asked, "Is this a good time to let you know that I'm posing for Playgirl the day after we get back?"