"Ms. Landon, are you listening?"
The blonde-haired woman nodded intently as her attorney droned on and on and on, "I'm listening, George."
"Good," the balding man sighed. "Because you need to pay attention. There's a lot on the line…"
Danielle ground her teeth together, locking her jaw tightly.
Thankfully, Vince took notice of this, "I believe she understands what's on the line here, George. Get on with it."
She exhaled deeply and turned her head towards Vince, mouthing silently, "Thank you."
The eldest McMahon bowed his head for a brief moment and turned his attention back to the panel of attorneys in the room.
Danielle couldn't help but sigh and look at the empty chair beside her.
At least someone was there for her today.
The blonde stormed through the door of the hotel room and slammed it shut behind her, causing the walls of the room to reverberate in its wake, "Care to tell me where the hell you were today?"
With her hands on her hips, she stared at the bed where John was slowly shifting around in only a pair of dark blue boxers, "What?"
"I asked you where the hell you were today?" she yelled at him, advancing towards the bed. "I had an advisory meeting with my attorneys this afternoon and you were supposed to be there, seeing as you are going to be called to testify!"
The muscular twenty-nine year old turned over and rubbed his hands over his face, "I thought it'd be better if you sat in on this meeting by yourself. I didn't want them to hold back just because I was there."
"How kind of you," she spat at him. "I'm fighting for my career and for us… the least you could have done was been there."
"I told you, Danielle," he sleepily rose to a seated position, "I thought it was for the best. I was wrong, okay? I'll go next time."
"John, when's the next time we're going to be in Connecticut?" Danielle tapped her foot impatiently on the dark red carpet, lingering over the bed.
"Um… I don't know. When?"
"December," she stated bitterly, staring him down. "Today's August 20, 2006. Do you know when the hearing is?"
John sighed and rolled his neck around on his shoulders, "Maybe…"
Danielle snarled at him, "October 7, 2006… and despite the amount of concussions you've sustained in your life, even YOU know that October comes before December. So basically, John… you just fucked us over. Royally."
"Alright, listen," he stood up from the bed and walked over to his business-suit clad girlfriend, "I'm going to call Vince and get the number for the law firm. Then, I'm going to call up the office and beg them for an appointment. I will miss next week's RAW if I have to wait until then to get an appointment, okay?"
She bit down on her lip and then raked a hand through her hair, "John, I know you're trying… it's just hard for me here. I don't have anyone else anymore, I only have you."
"I know," John nodded and rubbed his hands along her upper arms, "And I suck for what I did today. I should have been there. I just don't want to screw this up for you, Danielle. I don't want to be the one who shoots it all to hell."
"Listen to me, okay? I took classes in college, I've sat in on civil trials. I know how this is supposed to go. They're going to prepare you…"
He tried to search for a few words before continuing, "I'm a wrestler, Danielle. I'm not a lawyer, I'm not an intellectual. I'm not the type of person who is going to be able to go up there and know exactly what to say."
"You're not supposed to," she assured him. "You're supposed to go up there and tell the truth. And the truth is that I love you very much… and I think that you love me too. Nothing else matters."
"You think that I love you?" he pulled back from her slightly. "You should damn well know that I love you."
"I love you too," she smiled at him weakly. "I just hope that the judge understands that."
John took her hands in his, "It doesn't matter what he says. No matter what, I will find a way to be with you, whether your mother likes it or not. You are twenty-three years old and entirely lucid. Not even Maria would be dumb enough to not take notice of that."
"Sometimes I wish Maria was the judge," Danielle finally managed to laugh. "I don't care if she was biased, at least I'd go in there knowing what would happen."
"Part of me wants to tell you that I know everything is going to be okay, but I don't know that. All I can tell you is that I'm going to be there for you every step of the way, we all are… and I'm not going to let some disillusioned woman take you away from me. Not now, not ever."
As the phone vibrated off of the nightstand, Danielle caught it quickly, not wanting it to wake up her slumbering boyfriend.
Miraculously, her council had agreed to meet him for a late-night session and he'd just passed out upon his return to the room an hour ago.
Unfortunately, she had failed to check the caller ID on her cell.
"Hello?" she whispered into the phone.
"I can't believe you're really going to go through with this."
She froze upon hearing the words on the other end of the phone. Soon though, the anger in her veins boiled over.
"I should say the same to you," Danielle shot back icily, still in a hushed tone.
"Why are you whispering?" the voice asked.
"Because John is asleep. He was with my attorneys until late this evening, preparing for the hearing in a few months. You know John, of course. He's the one you're trying to rip me away from, right, Mother?" she asked her, the last word laced with pure disdain.
"Danielle, you can end this rather easily," Susan sighed into her daughter's ear.
The younger Landon shook her head, "How? By leaving John? By leaving the WWE? Or both? Oh… or better yet, convincing your husband to come back to you?"
"Now, Danielle, that's not fair…"
"You want to talk about fair, Mom? Is having to run off to Boston to attend college so that you can train to do what you've dreamed about since you were seven years old fair? Or how about having to hide it from everyone you care about because you're afraid that your mother wouldn't approve?" she continued on, tears beginning to sting at her eyes. "Better yet, how about having to be the child that's the success story because no one before or after you will ever have the chance to be something great, even though you know that it's not the life you were destined to have?"
"I never pressured you to be my success story!" Susan replied defensively.
"You lived vicariously through me, Mother!" Danielle marveled at the older woman's denial. "Every gymnastics class, every dance meet… every single test grade that ever came back. That was you trying to make up for where you had failed, for where Michael had failed, and for where Samantha could never be. THAT was what you did to me for all of those years because it was what you wanted. Did you ever stop to think for just two seconds what I wanted?"
"You think that this is what I want?" her mother asked her. "You think I want to be at that hearing in October?"
You're the one that's trying to have me declared mentally unstable so that you can gain control over EVERYTHING I HAVE!"
"Only because you can't control your own life, Danielle. You left me no choice!" Susan retorted loudly.
"And now you leave me no choice," Danielle shook her head and wiped away at her tears. "If you go through with this, that's it. It's the end of the line… you will never see me again, you will never see my father again, you will never be welcome in my house. And down the road, when I'm married and have kids of my own, they will never EVER know who you are. You'll be a stranger to them… just like you are to me now."
Her blood still boiling over in her veins, Danielle's finger slid over the red button and ended the call.
Tears still streaming down her cheeks, she got back into bed and snuggled up next to the warm, muscular body that belonged to her boyfriend, the love of her life, the man she was ready to give everything up to be with.
She slid a slightly unsteady hand up and around his torso, struggling to make it all the way around.
Gently, she rested her head against his bare back, dampening it slightly with her tears.
"I just want you to know," Danielle began, her voice shaking as she spoke, "That if I had to go back and do it all again… I wouldn't give you up for the world."
Trials often took anywhere from one to four years to get underway.
Usually, a criminal was indicted on charges and had a bail hearing. That hearing was followed by a series of meetings between the charged and his or her council. After that, the actual trial would occur.
Sometimes, it'd drag on for another year.
Sometimes, it'd be over in a matter of months.
The verdict was delivered in a matter of days and a new sentencing hearing would take place if the accused was found guilty.
Even after that, it could take years through the appeals system and often, by the time all was said and done, the verdict was overturned and the individual was given time served and let out of prison.
Fascinated with both the judicial system and political system of the United States, Danielle had taken courses on both topics all throughout college. She was familiar with the criminal system, as well as the civil system.
And that was good because as of now, she was fighting the civil system for everything… her career, her boyfriend, control over her own life. Just about anything she could.
Well, that was a question that only her mother, Susan, could answer.
The Susan that Danielle had recently come to discover was not the same woman who had raised her, the woman who told her to follow her dreams no matter what anyone else said.
Apparently, "anyone else" didn't include her.
And it didn't help that she was supposed to be the success story of the family either.
Night after night, Danielle would lie awake in bed in hotel rooms, contemplating the whole situation. Washington DC, Birmingham, Beaumont, Memphis, Omaha, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and London hotel rooms were no longer used for rest, but for stress and worry.
Even in another country, the problems followed her.
They were her very own plague.
Everything spun in the web led directly back to the spider herself, Susan Landon.
What could she possibly define success as?
To Danielle, she wanted to wrestle… do what she loved. It was the whole reason she had gone to Boston in the first place. Even if she never made it big, she'd at least have plenty of places to perform on a nightly basis.
In another month, she'd have to perform in somewhere other than a ring. In another month, she'd have to perform in a courtroom.
No "Rebel," no Danielle Landon, World Wrestling Entertainment Diva, no Danielle Landon, number one contender for the Women's Title.
Only Danielle Landon, the scared twenty three year old who was about to engage in the fight of her life.
A/N: I know, I know. It's been a really, really long time.
But this story was my first story that I ever posted here on this site. Since then, I've grown into a much better writer… as is evident when you look from the first chapter of PIC to this one.
In no way am I abandoning this story, instead, I am merely informing you that updates will probably not occur as often as they do with my other stories.
When I first started writing this, I was a junior in high school. Now, I'm three months away from graduating altogether.
By the end of this year, this story will definitely be finished.
I think the only thing that really stopped this train from rolling was the fact that I came up with the idea for She's a Rebel… and that evolved into this entirely new chapter of my writing. Since then, She's a Rebel II: Unravel, More Than Words, and Only One have come along, pushing this one further to the backburner. In fact, She's a Rebel III is right around the corner and that entire series is my baby, like RAW is Vince McMahon's baby.
So in summation, updates for this might come few and far between… but they will keep coming because you've all been so loyal to me.
So without further adieu, shoutouts:
Sideways anger, ChainGangShorty54, goddessofthenite, cassymae, and miniature-hero.
Thank you for reading and reviewing… please continue to do so.
And that goes for everyone!
Hope you enjoy!