Four months ago Jessa reopened the box of old scars hidden beneath her bed. In the short time span, everything seemed like a dream. She was baffled by how things had come to feel like they did almost two years ago. She, Petey, and Alex were hanging out together again. The first few times they were together were awkward at best, but things had started to change. Jessa was in heaven, her husband and her restored best friend were getting along and Alex was being the man that she knew. The sweetheart practical joker that she all but grew up with.
Despite how hard she fought it for so long, having Alex back in her life made things feel right. Beyond all the hurt he'd caused her, he was a huge part of the person she was today. He taught her things about life and her career that she never would have known otherwise. For the good things that happened between them, she was grateful, for the pain, she was ready to let go.
Even inside the ring, things were looking better. Though there was no longer a paparazzi tag team, as Johnny had moved along to take part in Raven's eclectic stable, Serotonin (and Jessa got to tease him for having to wear some god-awful makeup) Jessa liked managing Alex. He was as much of a ham inside the ring as he was out of it and their matches were always fun.
For four months she'd been trying to swallow down the feeling of history repeating itself. She had no intention of anything but friendship coming from this renewed relationship with Alex. Though she would admit to only herself that even being married to Petey, part of her still loved Alex. There was no doubt inside her that she also loved Petey or else she certainly wouldn't have agreed to marry him. The battling emotions inside her were too much to think about at once.
Particularly now that her birthday was coming up and she was in the midst of making plans with Petey, Johnny, Christy, and Alex.
"So Jes, twenty-three whole years old, what are we going to do to celebrate this monumental occasion?" Alex grinned, flopping into an empty seat beside her in their lockeroom.
The blonde shrugged. "I dunno. Petey wants to take me out to lunch or something but I really wanna do something with everyone later on."
"So do it. We'll all go out clubbing or something."
"I guess that could work, I've got nothing against it."
"Sounds like a plan."
Alex grinned and kissed Jessa on the head. The closeness of him and his shameless display of affection made her try to hold down a shudder. Ever since they'd reformed their friendship, Alex had no problems in treating her like a little sister, though she couldn't help but assume he had an ulterior motive in his seemingly innocent touches and friendly kisses to her forehead.
Jessa shifted to draw one of her feet up underneath her. "Do you have a match tonight?"
"Nope," Alex rolled his eyes. "I get no TV time, yet again. Though we do get to unleash the new Paparazzi productions video."
Jessa frowned. "That kinda sucks. I was hoping to get to do something tonight."
"Yeah, you and me both. But do we, no, not at all. I feel neglected."
The girl giggled and patted Alex's knee. "Don't worry, there's always next week."
He shrugged. "Yeah, I guess. But that just gives us some more time to plan for your birthday. Which, by the way reminds me, what do you want?"
"I don't know. I really don't. I've got so much already, there isn't anything I can think of that I want." Jessa said.
"You're kidding. Nothing at all?"
"Nada, Alex. Nothing. Surprise me."
"I thought you hated surprises."
"I do. But only the bad kind of surprises. Like... those you've just found your significant other cheating on you surprises. I don't like those."
Alex laughed. "Nobody does, dollface."
"I know," She stuck her tongue out at him and stood up. "Shut up. I'm gonna go find Petey. I'll talk to you a little later."
Jessa smiled and headed out of the room, going straight towards the ring. She knew Petey would be there preparing for his matching against James Storm later that night. She greeted a few fellow wrestlers on the way down and dropped down into a chair next to Gail Kim who was following the warm-up matching intently, picking her best spots for interference. Jessa watched silently until they finished and Petey spotted her sitting outside the ring. He verbally finalized things with James before sliding out of the ring and planting a kiss on his wife. She stood up to wrap her arms gently around his neck. Petey pulled back and smiled at the petite girl.
"What's up, beautiful?"
"Nothing. Waiting for you to finish up out here. Alex has apparently been plotting what to do for me for my birthday."
"Yeah," Petey asked, sounding skeptical. "What?"
"He wants us all to go out clubbing, like we used to. After you and I go out. He asked me what I wanted and I don't even remotely know, so don't you even ask."
"You don't have that to worry about, hon. I've already got your birthday present out of the way."
"Liar," Jessa teased, poking him in the chest playfully. "Where exactly do you plan on hiding anything from me in our house?"
"That's because I know where to put things, babe! Trust me, I've got you covered already."
Jessa's twenty-third birthday came around faster than she'd expected. In the morning Petey made her breakfast in bed and handed her the gift he'd gotten for her. A bracelet to match the necklace he'd bought her for Christmas. After breakfast, a shower and a change of clothes, the couple went out for an afternoon together. They had lunch at an outdoor cafe before heading back home. It seemed, as soon as the pair entered their house, both Jessa's cell phone and their landline phone began to ring at the same time. Petey grabbed the home phone while Jessa stepped out the front door to answer hers.
"Happy birthday, dollface!"
"Thanks, Alex! What's up?"
"Not much. I just talked to Christy and she says that we all are gonna swing by to yours in a couple hours to pick you guys up."
"Okay, that's cool. Petey and I just got in so give me a call when you guys are on your way."
"Yeah, of course, babe."
Jessa started to make a reply to Alex's last statement when the door opened behind her and a very distressed looking Petey stuck his head out the door, the phone pressed between his ear and shoulder.
"Alex... hey, hang on a second," Jessa pulled the phone away. "What's wrong, baby?"
"My Dad... I can barely understand a damn word my Mom is saying but something happened and he's in the hospital at home. She really wants me to get up there ASAP."
"Oh my God... is your Dad okay?"
"I don't know. Mom's freaking me out talking like this. But I really don't want to leave you, Jessie."
"Pete, it's your Father. The only one you have, honey. Go see him. I'll come with you."
"Jes you don't have to... I don't want you to have to spend your birthday in a hospital."
"I'll have other birthdays, Petey... this is important."
"You really don't have to..." He sighed and spoke into the phone. "Mom please calm down!"
"Don't worry. I promise it's not a big deal. I'd rather you be down here with friends having fun on your birthday then on a plane and in a hospital... plus, it'll give me a chance to take the brunt of the ranting my Mom's gonna give me about our 'situation'."
Jessa seemed to laugh and sigh at the same time. "Are you positive?"
"One-hundred percent. Please don't worry..." He kissed her forehead quickly before disappearing inside again. "Okay, Mom! I'm booking the next ticket I can get..."
"Alex? You still there." Jessa said softly.
"Yeah, what's going on?"
"Petey's Dad's in the hospital. He's not sure what happened but he's taking the next flight out to go home. He said that he'd rather have me stay here and enjoy my birthday but... I can't help but feel really bad."
"Dollface. Don't worry! Petey wouldn't say something to you if he didn't really mean it. I mean, I can totally understand that. It's your birthday and hey, no one wants to spend their birthday in a hospital, that's depressing."
"But... it's my husband's father, Alex," Jessa sank down onto the front steps. "I just feel like I should be there."
"Jes. If Petey said don't worry, then don't worry. Maybe it's something about the hospitals he doesn't want you around, but I'm sure he's got a good reason for letting you stay behind. Petey's like that, y'know?"
She sighed. "You're right."
"Don't beat yourself up. It's not your fault."
"You're right. You're right. Thanks, Alex."
"Not a problem. So I'll see you in a couple hours?"
"Yeah. See you then."
"Hey. Cheer up, kiddo."
"I'll try. See you in while."
Jessa snapped her phone shut and sighed, pushing up from her seat. She pulled open the front door and stepped inside. Petey was still on the phone with his mother, furiously trying to find airfare to Canada leaving as soon as possible. Jessa came up behind him, gently resting one of her hands on his shoulder, letting the other play with his hair. He turned slightly and smiled up at her and she placed a kiss on his cheek.
Before she knew it, Petey was packed and heading to the airport, leaving her standing depressed at the front door. Once his car pulled out of sight, Jessa headed back inside, wiping away a tear that dribbled down her cheek. Her birthday just wasn't going to be the same without him, but before he left, he told her to make the most of it, and he'd make it up to her when he got back home. Finally she headed upstairs to shower and change for the night out she knew her other friends wouldn't let her miss. She was just putting the finishing touches on her makeup when she heard a commotion outside through the open window, a chorus of loud voices singing happy birthday.
Laughing to herself, she pulled the curtains back and leaned on the windowsill to see Johnny, Alex, Christy, Chris Sabin, and Eric Young all on the front lawn, singing to her. Gesturing that she'd be down in a second, Jessa headed downstairs to let her visitors in.
"I think you guys have scared off all the neighbors, but thank you, anyway." She grinned.
"You're very welcome, baby sister." Johnny grabbed her into a tight hug and kissed her cheek.
The others followed suit with hugs and birthday wishes before heading inside. Christy, Johnny, and Alex left presents for her on the table while Chris settled for handing her a twenty out of pocket ("It's the thought that counts! And everyone could use twenty extra bucks!") and Eric said her birthday gift was a hug for good luck.
"Alright! Who's ready to get this fucking party started!" Alex grinned.
Jessa enjoyed her time out with her friends until one by one they started to head home, leaving it down to she, Johnny, and Alex. Neither Jessa or Alex were in any fit state to drive, let alone try to compose a coherent sentence (which put a damper on Jessa's attempt to talk to Petey when he called letting her know he'd landed safely). Johnny collected the two and volunteered to drive them home.
"Wait! Wait. Drop us off at my house. I've got something else for Jes there." Alex said, speaking slow.
Johnny couldn't help but laugh and agreed. Jessa was nearly asleep in the back seat by the time they reached Alex's house and he had to shake her awake to get out of the car. Alex waved off Johnny's offer to stay around, saying that he'd let her crash there (which caused an unsettled look to flit across his face) or call her a cab to take her home. Jessa leaned against the side of the door while Alex fumbled drunkenly to unlock it, nearly causing her to fall inside when he finally opened it. In a mess of giggles, Alex pushed the door shut and pulled Jessa towards the kitchen, telling her to sit at the table.
"So... I'm pretty sure we're both significantly buzzed but Jes... I got a bottle of the Captain that you know I'd only share with you."
Jessa laughed as Alex grasped the bottle, sitting it down in front of her and pulled two glasses from the cabinet. Jessa uncapped the bottle as Alex sat down, pouring some into each glass.
"Happy twenty-third, dollface." Alex smiled, touching his glass to hers with a small 'clink' sound.
The two had downed nearly half the bottle and three a.m. was fast approaching. Jessa had finally stopped giggling at everything Alex was saying and some very sobering thoughts crawled through her mind. Remembering the last time she was drunk with Alex. Thinking about Petey in Canada, she was hit with an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and insecurity.
"Alex... can I talk to you about something?"
"Yup-huh. Talk away, babe."
"Something serious, Alex. I'm not kidding."
He rubbed a hand across his face in a drunken attempt to straighten it. "What's up?"
"I... I don't think Petey and I should have gotten married."
Alex shook his head. "What?!"
"I-it was a bad idea. I'm not ready to be anybody's wife. Alex I'm not good enough to be anyone's wife."
"What are you talking about?"
"I've been thinking about this... a lot. I just... I don't think it was a good idea. I'm not the type of girl that guys marry. I'm the kind of girl that they just sleep with and tell them how good of a lay they were and barely wave if they seem her again."
Alex rubbed his eyes. "Why... why, why do you say that?"
Jessa buried her face in her hands, hiding her tears from Alex's view. "Because that's just how I feel. I just don't feel good enough for someone like Petey. I told everyone before we started even dating that I wasn't enough for him and no one believed me. They all think I'm just this misguided little girl and I know that's true to an extent but I also know... or at least thought I knew what I was doing with myself. Now I'm twenty-three years old, married, and knowing it wasn't a good idea."
"Why wasn't it a good idea, dollface?"
"I need something more than that." Alex said softly.
"Because... because Istill love you, Alex!" She all but yelled, raising her head. "I can't stand to be with Petey and feel this way about you. When you came back to me, Alex I was relieved and heartbroken all at the same time. I missed you being in my life so much but it hurt like hell because I knew I was going to screw something up. I'm not a strong enough person for this, Alex. I can just feel it, I know it. Something is going to happen and it's going to be my fault and someone is going to get hurt. But dammit Alex I love you and I've never stopped. You hurt me, and you hurt me a lot but not even that has stopped me from having feelings for you."
Alex was certainly sober now. Jessa's words speared through the drunken haze that blocked out everything else. Processing her words was difficult at best but he knew very clearly what she was telling him.
"Jes... holy shit, Jes. You cannot drop shit like that on me when I'm drunk! Bombshells like that are not the ideal way to sober up quick."
Jessa dropped her head, sobbing. "I'm sorry."
Alex got up, rounding the table to kneel (albeit wobbly) next to her. "Don't be. Babe you can't help it. And I really meant it when I said that I was sorry for everything I did to you. I really did. I don't know how you put up with me. You are a good girl. You're smart and beautiful and I'm lucky you pity my dumb ass. I love you too, Jes but I know I can't. You're with Petey and you seem happy..."
"I am happy, Alex and that's what's making me miserable! I'm happy with Petey because I love him but I feel horrible because I love you too."
"What do you want to do, then?"
"I don't know," Jessa whispered. "I really don't know. I'm so confused, Alex and it's killing me. I miss you so much. I can't take this."
Alex frowned, his fingers gently caressing her cheek, brushing a few fine hairs out of her face, wiping tears. He turned her head to face him, staring into her tear-blurred blue eyes. With one arm around her shoulder, he pulled her closer to him. Jessa dropped her head, feeling Alex's lips, gentle on her cheek as he pressed a kiss there. She squirmed, uncomfortable. Persistent, Alex turned her face to him again, brushing his lips across hers. Jessa pushed him away hard, jumping from the chair.
"No! No! Alex stop! Don't fucking complicate this more! Don't touch me! Don't kiss me! Don't do that to me, please! Every time you put your hands on me you drive me insane! It doesn't matter how innocent it is because there's always something else with you! Here I am thinking that you want to help me sort things out and you're trying to kiss me! That doesn't help the problem, Alex, it doesn't!"
"I'm sorry, Jes. Shit, I'm so sorry. I don't know what the hell was going through my head. That was wrong. I apologize."
"Every time you tell me you're sorry something else happens, Alex," Jessa slid down the cabinet, sitting on the floor. "I want to believe you but every time you do something new."
Alex crouched down in front of her, cupping her face. "I'm sorry. I know it was wrong and I'm an idiot. But babe, I touch you because I miss you. Because there's just something so fascinating and beautiful about you to me. You're so... so..."
"You're doing it again," Jessa moved her head, forcing Alex to release his grip. "I understand you're just trying to be nice but it's weaving us deeper."
"Then how do you expect me to explain myself? The only thing I can do is tell you how I feel about you. I'm not trying to tell you to choose between me and Petey, that's not my intention. That choice is one you've gotta make yourself. I'm not trying to sway you either way."
"That's not how it feels." Jessa whispered.
"I'm sorry, then. It's not what I'm trying to do. It's completely up to you, Jes."
"I need to go home."
"Babe I'm in no state to drive. You can crash here."
"No. I can't stay here with you. If I do I'll do something I know I'll regret. I'll call Johnny or something."
"Jessa! It's late. It's damn near five in the morning, there's no way Johnny is awake. Please just stay in the spare room and I'll take you home later."
Tired, Jessa nodded slowly and Alex pulled her up from the ground. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders, helping to steady her and guide her up the stairs. He stopped in front of his spare bedroom. He sighed and cupped her face again, kissing her forehead.
"I love you, Jes... just... know that, okay?"
Jessa sniffled, burying her face in his chest. He held her closely, rubbing her back. She was going to regret this just as she told him. Jessa lifted her head, and Alex wiped the tears from her face. Jessa rested her hand on the back of Alex's neck, pushing him gently towards her and kissing him. She'd come to the dark realization that resisting Alex was all but impossible. She meant it when she said that she loved him and being as drunk as she was was barely impairing her enough to make this decision.
She missed the way Alex felt against her, how his hands felt and his lips knew every inch of her. He didn't fight her or attempt to tell pull away. Tonight they'd both regain the familiarity they thought was lost forever.
When Petey came back, he thought everything was normal. He hadn't immediately picked up on Jessa's strange behavior. She barely talked to him, Alex, Christy, or even Johnny. She jumped when he touched her and had a hard time being close to him when they slept. She refused advances for sex with probable excuses. He was concerned and confused by the way she was acting. She spent a lot of their time at home sitting on the couch, her knees pulled up to her chest, looking dangerously close to tears.
Jessa, on the other hand was being torn apart inside. Her will to keep her secret about Alex to herself was gnawing at her constantly, slowly collapsing. The only thing that she was happy for was that Alex had kept his mouth shut, and didn't parade their affair around like a new trophy like he would have before. She begged for his silence when he drove her home the following evening, telling him that she'd have to tell Petey on her own. She told him she loved him and Alex returned the words, kissing her so gently she thought it was their first again.
It'd taken her a month and a half to come to a decision. One day while Petey was out at the gym with a few of their fellow wrestlers, Jessa packed her things in the bags she'd brought with her. She called herself a cab with very clear instructions to arrive in one hour. Knowing that would give her enough time to wait for Petey to come home, break her news, and run. She was in tears the whole time, piling her things by the front door, constantly removing and replacing the mark of her marriage on her ring finger. She saw a train-wreck in the mirror when she stepped into the bathroom in fear of being sick when she heard Petey pull up into the driveway.
She felt like a coward, knowing the first thing he'd see were her bags by the door, but it was the only way she could be done with it. She wiped her face and forced a breath out of her lungs when she heard Petey's concerned voice call up to her. Jessa met him at the bottom of the stairs and tears sprung quickly, seeing his confusion, fear, and most of all, hurt. Her eyes immediately shot to the carpet, unable to stand the piercing depths of Petey's. She forced another breath and stepped past him, wringing her hands.
"Petey I'm sorry," She said softly. "I'm just not cut out for this. I... I can't keep up an act anymore. Please just understand that I love you and I'm so grateful for everything you've done for me. I'm sorry for hurting you but I can't be married to you. I can't date you. I can't be that ideal wife, I can't even be a decent girlfriend. I'm just... I'm a bad person. You deserve so much more than me. I'm still a little girl, Petey. I can't do this to you."
She turned to face him, tears streaming down her face. She removed the rings from her finger and took Petey's hand, pressing them into his palm. He looked so confused, so amazed.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Maybe... maybe we can try this again when I grow up."
Jessa tore her eyes away from Petey as a car horn blared outside. She gathered her bags, staggering under the amount of them and walked out the door.
In the following months during the finalization of her divorce from Petey, Jessa and Alex very quietly rekindled their relationship. They spent equal amounts of time at each other's houses but separated in public. Jessa retreated inside herself, afraid that she'd make a mistake and blurt her story to someone. Alex simply kept his mouth shut, kept everyone believing he'd turned over a new leaf. Jessa's heart constantly ached remembering the look on Petey's face when she returned the rings to his hand. She hadn't looked back when the taxi pulled away, simply cried her whole way home. Alex had been there waiting for her, like he knew she needed him.
They had - admittedly - gotten a little sloppy with their attempts at concealing the relationship. Alex snuck kisses when he could and gave her hugs that, to the naked eye would seem innocent, but to the couple meant so much more. And the day when they thought they were completely alone inside the X-Division lockeroom and Alex wrapped Jessa in his arms and kissed her, neither heard the door open, neither were aware of a presence until a voice soft, but angry and hurt sliced through the room like the sharpest of swords.
"So that's how it is then?" Petey looked stone-faced at the pair. "I see that you've grown up a whole hell of a lot, Jessa."
Author's Note: So. It's done. Yes, Lying Is The Most Fun has finally been completed! Yes, there will be a sequel because clearly, there's some loose ends that need to be tied up. I'm very proud of this fic and I hope you all enjoyed it and thank you all for reading and your reviews! Stay tuned for what's to come next.