Disclaimer: The characters and real people portrayed in this story do not belong to me. The characters are trademarked to Vince McMahon and WWE, and the real people belong to themselves.
This is just a short one-parter that's been pinging around in my brain for a while, thought I'd write it down. I hope that you enjoy and as always, reviews are greatly appreciated. :)
How much more simple could it be than that? Ok, so it wasn't as simple as that, no, not really. She had to stay, she had no other options. Sure, she could leave, she could seek another life, a simpler life devoid of plane trips and wrestling, but how could she? She was such a part of this company that she just couldn't leave it, couldn't leave this place. Maybe it had to do with safety.
Maybe this was her safe-house, a place that she could go when things just weren't turning out the way that she planned. And nothing was going the way she planned. Well, sure, she could make the argument that it was exactly the way she planned, running an entire department, having career success, but then she looked at her personal life and it was in complete shambles. Nothing there had turned out quite the way she wanted it to.
She and Paul had been officially separated for months now and had only put up a ruse in order to keep the spotlight off of them. They didn't even live together anymore, but usually met up at the airport so people would see them together. It was a mistake, their marriage. You'd think after being together for so long that marriage would work, but it didn't, and they were just keeping up appearances. But they were both fine with the separation, there was no animosity, no nothing, they were just kind of floating together along the same river, but on separate rafts.
But that wasn't who she was thinking about, no, she wasn't thinking about Paul at all. He was just a friend. The person she was thinking about, he was more, definitely more. Or at least that had been the impression that she had been under until about a month ago. Until he had decided to leave the company altogether, leave her behind. She hadn't asked for much from him, hadn't asked for affection, not even a flower, but she couldn't help but think she drove him away.
Chris had separated from his wife as well; she had first noticed it when he stopped wearing his wedding ring. One day there it was, the next, it was gone, never to be spoken about again. She knew that he was suffering from being away from his son, but he had confided in her that he just couldn't stand his wife anymore, and had to be away from her or risk his sanity. She had convinced herself that it was over her, but thinking now, it probably wasn't. Nothing had to do with her apparently.
She didn't know where he was, though she figured that if she actually sought him out, it wouldn't be too hard to locate him. She bet that someone around here knew, hell maybe everyone knew but her. Maybe she had isolated herself so much that she just didn't hear anything that regarded him. Maybe she was just turning a blind eye to mask the hurt that started to creep into her stomach whenever the thought of him came up. That hurt was bubbling inside her at the moment, almost reaching a fever pitch.
She knew the most broadest of terms as to where he was at the moment. He was traveling the world with his band, the idea behind this whole leaving thing. Maybe. She didn't know exactly. He had spoken to her father, not to her. One day she thought things were going to be alright, and then the next day, he was saying he was leaving…for a while. That was the word that he used, "for a while," and she had no idea what that even meant, if it meant anything at all. How fast could a person's mind change? In an instant, like a light switch, that was how it was, fast and sudden, and sometimes, like the lights going out on you, it was sudden.
The words were swimming on the page in front of her, and at first she would think it was because of exhaustion, but it wasn't. She was blinking back tears, feeling the sting of them in the corner of her eyes. She was trying valiantly to blink them back into her body; they felt like a film over her eyes, distorting her view of the world. She really shouldn't miss him this much, why did she have to miss him at all? It wasn't a big deal, he wasn't a big deal.
They had had a short relationship, mostly fun, mostly rebounding from their now insignificant others. Contrary to popular belief, they had never had an affair, though rumors were constantly circling around that they were. No, they had both been officially separated from their spouses before they started seeing each other. Even though nobody really knew that she was separated from Paul, but they were sure to find out since he had filed for divorce a few days prior. She was fine with it, and Paul was too, and they were still friends, they just knew that it was over for them romantically. Chris had confided in her that it had been the same way with his wife.
Then he had left and she had no idea why. She wanted to know why, maybe it would help her. Maybe she could move on if she just knew why he had upped and left her like he had. She had thought they were having fun, they had great chemistry, and they were great in bed if she did say so herself, and she did say that. She missed that…not just the bedroom stuff, but all of him. She just missed all of him, but how could she find him, how would she know exactly where he was, she couldn't call him, she didn't want to sound needy. Maybe that had been the problem, maybe she had been too needy and clingy and he had left because of that. She was stricken at the thought.
"Everything going ok for you little sis?"
Stephanie looked up and saw Shane with a stack of papers that he dumped right onto her desk. "From the man himself."
"You bet," Shane said. "He's nothing if not demanding."
"I know," Stephanie sighed.
Shane sat down in the chair across from her desk and studied her for a moment. "It's not like you to come into work on your off-days, what with you traveling with the company, why are you working so much? Things go sour with Paul?"
"Shane, you know Paul and I aren't together anymore."
"Yeah, I know, but I figured that situation might have changed or something," Shane explained. "Did he finally file?"
"Yeah, he wanted to be the one to do it, I said he could, it should all be over fairly soon, thank God. I just want it to be done with. I don't care what the fans think, I just want my life back."
"Still, that doesn't explain why you've come into work so much."
"Is it a crime to want to come into work?" Stephanie asked snottily. "I don't see why it's so bad to come to work and get stuff done. The more stuff I get done now, the less stuff I have to work on tomorrow or the day after that."
"I was just mentioning it."
"Don't you have a wife and son to go home to?" Stephanie asked sarcastically.
"Yes, but you're my little sister, and I've known you longer, so I'm inclined to worry about you a little bit more. I've been worrying about you for the past twenty-nine years. It's a long, thankless job, but I don't see you having any other brothers to do the job for you."
"You don't have to worry about me Shane, I'm fine."
"You're not fine and I know it. You look fine, sure, anyone who doesn't know you would think that you're just fine and dandy, having a great birthday, doing well in work, but you're not, your face gives you away. But what gives you away the most is the fact that you zone out all the time. The Stephanie that I know and I love wouldn't be the daydreaming type, not when there's work to be done, so obviously something is weighing pretty big in your brain."
"Maybe there is, but I hardly see how it's any business of yours."
"It might not be, but you're still my little sister."
"And I appreciate your concern."
"Fine, I'll drop it."
"Yes baby girl?"
"You're friends with Jericho right?"
"Yeah, we're friends, why do you ask?"
"Well, I was going over some of the accounting and got some of the stuff from payroll mixed in here and saw his name and started thinking about him," Stephanie lied.
"I talked to him a couple of days ago actually," Shane told her.
"Do you know why he left? I never did hear the full story on that one." She tried not to sound so eager, and kept her voice even.
"Just needed a break, it happens," Shane shrugged. "Plus, he hadn't gotten to spend a lot of time with his son and with him and his wife getting a divorce, he doesn't know how often he's going to get to see him, so he just wanted to spend some time with him."
"Oh, that sounds reasonable," Stephanie said, trying to convince herself that it was indeed true and had nothing to do with her.
"Yeah, plus he mentioned something about being confused about his life, but come on, when isn't someone confused about their lives."
"Did he mention when…or if he's coming back?"
"Nothing yet, but I'm sure he'll keep me posted, why do you WANT him to come back?" Shane asked curiously.
"Well sure, he's always been really nice to me, and the fans love him. I don't even know where he is right now though."
"He just got back from Australia, or at least I think he's back. You know, you can go on his website and see where he is, or here's a novel idea, you can call him and ask him where he is if it means that much to you."
"Nah," Stephanie said. "I was just curious. Like to keep tabs on our guys."
"I'll see you later baby girl, come over for dinner sometime, I know that Marissa would love to see you."
"I'll take you up on that offer soon," Stephanie said, standing up along with her brother so that she could give him a hug. He had provided her with some invaluable information about Chris, and for that she was thankful.
She sat back down once her brother had left. She thought for a moment, tapping her chin. She turned to her computer and scanning quickly to see if anyone was around, she typed in Chris's website, just to see if maybe it said where he was. She couldn't possibly call him. She looked on his site and saw that he had a show in North Carolina. Well, that wasn't too far by plane and if she asked her father now, he could probably have the private plane up and ready in an hour, but that would also raise suspicions and she couldn't have that
She called up an airline and asked for tickets to North Carolina, specifically Raleigh. She was able to secure seats and now she would just have to get into the show. But how hard would that be? She figured that it wouldn't be too difficult and so with that thought, she gathered her things together and got the hell out of there.
Chris had just finished a set with the band and went backstage to get cleaned up. After that, he might have a few drinks and call it a night. He would've liked to have called his son before he went to bed, but it was too late now, and he didn't want to wake him up just to say hello. He grabbed a bottled water from someone and chugged some down before tossing it into a trash bin. He walked into his dressing room, closing the door behind him and collapsing on the couch. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes, trying to drown out any sound.
Then someone cleared their throat and he opened his eyes reluctantly. He expected an assistant or something. What he didn't expect was Stephanie. No, he didn't expect her at all. But there she was. She was in a black leather halter top and low-waist jeans and her hair was down and against her back. She was playing the part of a vixen, he could tell.
"What are you doing here?"
"Well, paying off bodyguards to get back here for one," she said. "I wanted to talk to you."
"And a call wouldn't have sufficed?"
"No, not really," she said, entering the room and closing the door behind her. "I guess I just needed to know."
"Why you left me," she answered. "I didn't know why, maybe you left a note that I never received, maybe you left me a message that I didn't get, but to have you sleeping with me one night to having you half way across the world with no explanation the next is a little bit jarring. So please correct me if I'm wrong in thinking you just up and left."
"You're right," he told her. "I did just up and leave with no explanation."
"I know that we weren't 'official' or anything like that, but I was still under the impression that we were in a relationship," Stephanie said. She refused to feel hurt right now. She just needed to get the answers and if they were not what she wanted to hear, then she would just have to get out of here.
"Well, that's good. Care to explain you're great disappearing act?"
"Well, first, I wanted to try to get back together with my wife," he explained. Stephanie winced at the mention. That was definitely not what she wanted to hear. "But we realized that's really going to get us nowhere and it's over between us. Completely and utterly."
"That's rough. I'm sorry that you're having to go through a divorce…I know how you feel."
"I know you do…did he file?"
"Yup, few days ago, I'm a little relieved."
"I didn't want to leave you Steph, I just needed to figure things out, where I wanted to go, who I wanted to be with."
"And I'm guessing it wasn't me," she said, nodding. "That's ok, we weren't exclusive, you didn't have any ties to me, you didn't have to stay. I understand completely, it's fine, I just needed to know."
"I was falling for you…hard, and I didn't know what to do," Chris blurted out, but it was a very calculated blurting out in that it was exactly what he wanted to say.
"Well to put it simply, I was falling in love with you, and…I just needed to sort through that. I'm just getting over a marriage and so are you, and here are these feelings and I don't know, it was scary."
"Oh." To say she was stunned would be an understatement, so she didn't even think it. It was interesting though, in a good way. She had no idea this was even going through his brain.
"And I'm not saying that was the ONLY reason why I left, but to say that it wasn't one of the reasons would be a lie. It was one of the reasons."
"Yeah, and now you're here."
"I am…did you figure out what you needed to figure out?"
"Not really. I did learn that running from your problems is not the way to go."
"It never really is," Stephanie said. "So I guess I should leave and let you figure out whatever it was that you needed to figure out."
"You came," he said, patting the spot next to him. "You don't have to go yet, I'd be insulted if you didn't stay."
"But Chris, if you're trying to figure things out and you just admitted that I'm essentially part of the problem, then I should go, let you think things through."
"You came, that's all that I need to know."
"What?" she asked, confused. He was making no sense right now. Sure, she had come to see him, had flown quite a ways to see him, but still, she didn't want to pressure him into something. She had more respect for him than that.
"You didn't have to come see me, I guess I was wondering if you were feeling the same thing, and I guess that you were, I guess that you were feeling what I was feeling, at least I hope that you were."
"Well, I think that coming here pretty much answers that question don't you think?"
He laughed. "Yeah, so…this whole relationship thing is hard isn't it?"
"Yeah, it is, judging from our broken marriages."
He leaned over and kissed her. She would love to say that she expected it, that it was something she was anticipating, but she wasn't. All of a sudden his lips were on hers and she was paralyzed with shock. She felt him lift her arm and put it on his shoulder as he pulled her towards him. She needed him, and she could get over the heartbreak of her broken marriage and she could help him with his problems. They could give and take. When she pulled away, she smiled at him.