The house show had been an annoyance and for more reasons than it falling on a day they were supposed to have off. All six of his babysitters had seemingly made it a point to check in on him. That confirmed his suspicion that they found out about his night of over-indulgence. He decided not to deny it and offered an excuse to make it seem like it was nothing more than a celebration that had gone a little too far. Thankfully, that worked and got them off his back for the rest of the night.
Jeff couldn't wait until the morning. After flying home, he could drink himself into a stupor if he wanted to and not have to worry about anyone reporting him or giving him a lecture about it. If not, he'd climb into his king size bed and listen to his Ipod until it was time to go back on the road. And again, there'd be no lecture or disapproving eyes cast upon him. Because Matt was leaving late in the afternoon for the Smackdown house shows that started on Thursday.
He headed out into the parking lot, head down and mind on other things. Vaguely he heard his name being called but didn't look up at the sound, fearing it was one of his babysitters. Someone touched his arm and he bit back an aggravated groan.
"Hey, didn't you hear me calling you?" Maria's tone was concerned.
"Oh, uh, sorry. I was lost in my head."
She smiled, "I wanted to see if my cure worked."
"Yeah," He nodded slowly and gave her a half-smile. "About a half an hour after I finished drinking it, I stopped begging for my head to explode and end my misery."
"I'm glad." But she seemed distracted, her gaze drifting back toward the arena door.
"You waiting for someone?"
"Torrie." She rolled her eyes. "As usual. I swear she's going to be the first person to ever be late to their own funeral."
He frowned, "I think she left already."
"After the lingerie pillow fight, while I was stretching for my match, I saw her heading down the hall with her dog and bags."
"No, she couldn't have." She reached into the pocket of her jacket and her hand reappeared with her cell phone. Her eyes widened slightly and she hit a button, bringing the pink device to her ear. As she listened, her face fell in dismay and hung up with a muttered "damn.".
"You need a ride back to the hotel?" He didn't really want to offer. But a combination of manners and conscience forced him to. Plus, he did owe her for last night. "I'm not leaving until one in the afternoon so it's not a problem."
She looked hesitant, like she knew that he really didn't want to. "Are you sure? Because I could always take a cab…"
"You're a lifesaver." She squealed, shocking him by throwing her arms around him and hugging him tightly. When she left him go, she grabbed the handle of her bag and offered him a beaming smile that was almost blinding. "Since I'm not psychic you can lead the way to the getaway vehicle."
Chuckling at her enthusiasm, he cut across the parking lot to the rented black Nissan Maxima. Unlocking it, he tossed his bag into the back seat then took hers and repeated the action. Slamming the back door, he got into the driver's seat as his companion climbed into the car. He started the car but let the engine idle for a few minutes, warming it up. Absently, he played with radio buttons and cast looks at her out of the corner of his eye.
Maria busted him, a small smile on her lips. "Go on Jeff. You can ask."
"H-h-how," He was surprised that she knew his mannerisms so well. "How'd you know that I wanted to ask you something?"
"Other than the fact that you keep looking at me when you don't think I'm looking and playing with the radio?" She rolled her eyes, "I've had to answer a lot of questions the past few days and expect more to come."
"Your breakup was bad-"
She giggled at that. "Being generous huh?"
"Ok, so it was one of the worst breakups to have to go through. But you don't seem all that destroyed over it." His eyes squinted as he looked at her and his head tilted to the side in study. "How do you do it?"
"It hurts. I have moments where it feels like I'm going to break down and cry or scream. Sometimes, I want to hit something. But then I realize that moping and destructive behavior isn't going to help. At some point in time, I will fall in love again and could possibly feel this way if that doesn't work out."
He opened his mouth to refute that notion but closed it without one protesting syllable being spoken. To tell her that it did would be a lie. And while it would feel good to have a partner in pained longing, he couldn't do that to her.
"So even though it's hard, I try to find the positives in the situation to concentrate on. It helps combat the anger and hurt."
She took a deep breath and released it slowly. "Like the fact that I found out that he was a no good, lying cheater before I married him. That I made the intelligent decision to let him go instead of hold on and end up miserable. Or the fact that I can focus all my attention on my training and not on him and his needs."
Jeff digested that in silence. But the idea that you could get through a broken heart was absurd to him. He sighed and shook his head. "I wish I could be half as positive as you are."
"Just let go of the pain you're holding onto and you will be."
He wanted to tell her how wrong she was, how he'd never again be able to be the type of person who saw the glass as half full. But it was better if he didn't respond because inevitably, he'd only end up hurting her feelings. Putting the car in drive, he headed off toward the hotel so that this night could end.