Author's Note...This story is set during both current time and flashbacks of incidents happening between 2002 and the present. It's mostly based on Punk referencing things that happened during the time in 2003 and 2004 when Punk and Mickie were both in TNA, as part of Raven's flock.

Flashbacks will be denoted by italics. The song lyrics that inspired this story will be included at the very end. The song used is "How Do You Keep Love Alive?" by Ryan Adams. The story is told from CM Punk's point of view. This is nothing but a work of fiction. Names and song lyrics are not mine and are used without permission. I am making no profit from this story. Enjoy!

I'm standing backstage preparing for the biggest match of my career. I'm at Wrestle-fucking-mania. I'm about to go out there with the greatest group of guys that you could possibly ask for in the WWE for an ensemble type of match like Money In The Bank. I'm nervous, to say the least. Maybe a little hesitant, even scared if you want to call it that. But more than that, as I watch her pass me by as she breezes through the curtain to the backstage area after the Women's title match, I begin to feel that familiar gnawing ache flow through my body. "Great. Fucking great." I mumble as I see her cast a wayward glance my direction. I look down. I can't return the eye contact for more than the second that I did. I just can't. Not after three and a half years...probably not even after ten years Will I be able to. This will always be with me. It'll never cease to haunt me, her and her wretched decision.

"I don't think I've ever wrestled in Virginia...looks kinda boring." I say to Joe as we unload our bags from the trunk and start walking to the venue. My tongue toyed with my lip ring as I tried to remember what the name of the independent wrestling organization we were wrestling for that night was. Damn, I wish my memory was a little better. I couldn't even remember if I'd brushed my teeth this morning.

"Looks like a lot of farm land...and it's hot." Joe mumbles as he throws his bag over his shoulder.

"Yeah..." I say as my eyes, and I'm sure Joe's too, wander over to a girl across the parking lot. She had long brown hair and was wearing the shortest skirt I think I'd ever seen in my life. She was a short little petite thing and she looked friendly, so I decided as I said to Joe "I'll meet you inside..." that I would help her with her bags.

"Hey...uh, can I help ya carry something?" I asked, leaning against her car. She looked up, her eyes meeting with mine, smiling at me. Her face was warm, welcoming. Her body was all curves, the epitome of what the word 'womanly' should look like, in my eyes.

"Sure." she said cheerfully. I smiled as she piled her bag on my empty shoulder and we began walking together. "Isn't it beautiful?" she asks.

"Isn't what beautiful?" I ask.

"Virginia." she replies. "It's my home. My grandpa owns a farm up the road. It's the most beautiful place on earth, as far as I'm concerned." she continued. "Animals, land as far as you can see, flowers, just life all around you...that's what living is."

"I'm a city boy, myself. I'm from Chicago." I say.

"Ugh. How can you breathe there?" she asks. I pretend not to be offended and stifle the urge to ask her how she could live with the stench of cow manure on a daily basis. Instead I asked for her name. "Mickie." she says, holding out a hand for me to shake. I accept it, Mickie holding my hand in both of hers as she smiled up at me and squeezed enthusiastically.

"So, what do you do? You a valet or a wrestler or what?" I ask her.

"I wrestle." she replies. "And I do it well...among other things."

"You ready, kid?" Booker T asks me as he pats me on the back. "You feeling alright? You look a little pale."

"Yeah, I'm fine." I say softly. "I just need to stretch, maybe walk around a little bit." I don't want to say that the feeling of regret that's been my most faithful companion over the last few years is taking over me. I don't want to let on that I'm upset just by her presence in the same building as I am. I don't want anyone to know how angry this makes me. I just want to push it all away and wrestle. I wish it were time for our match.

"Don't let the word "Wrestlemania" overwhelm you." he says as he walks away, patting my back one last time before he does. I wish it were just a word that was currently overwhelming me. It's much more than that. So much.

"Because it's disrespectful to you, it's degrading! It's not the way, Mick!!!" I argue.

"What if I don't see it that way, though, Phil?" she retaliates. "What if I actually enjoy stripping? Maybe I like having my photos taken when I'm nude!?!?" she yells, pausing shortly as I stare at her. We'd been having this argument over the last four months, since we'd started dating. I wanted her to quit her job stripping and being an adult magazine model and instead wrestle full time. I had even gotten her a tryout with TNA wrestling, where I was about to start wrestling part time. "No other man I've ever dated has had a problem with it."

"Well, I'm NOT any other man you've ever dated." I say, standing up and walking over to where she stood. "I'm not any other man. I'm just me. And I'm thinking about what's the best thing for you. There are plenty of other ways to pay for college, Mickie. Besides..." I whisper as I wrap my arms around her waist. "...I know you. I know that deep down, that's not you and that's not what you really want to do with you life." I kiss her neck gently like I know she likes, hoping it will help persuade her.

"I know...I know." she whispers as she leans back against my body.

"Come to Nashville with me, then." I say as I tighten my grip on her. "Have your tryout, baby. You're a tiger in the ring. They'll take you." I say as I turn her around and pick her up into my arms, carrying her to my bed. "And if they don't...I'll choke them all out." I exclaim as I set her down.

"Phil..." she whispers as she kisses me.

After aimlessly wandering for a little while, I find an empty hallway and pace down it a few times, back and forth. I tell myself I have to push her out of my head for the night. It's not like I haven't done it before and I won't have to do it again. Tonight though, I'm feeling the sting of it a little more than usual. Maybe it's my unusual case of nerves combined with that generalized feeling of heartbreak and betrayal I associate with Mickie that's making my pulse pound and my head throb.

"Why'd she have to do it the way she did...why?" I ask myself. "Goddammit!!!" I yell softly as I kick the doorway. I'd give anything right now to alleviate this sinking feeling of disappointment coursing through me.

"C'mon, Phil. Aren't you going to at least come out with us for a little while?" Mickie asks me as I recline on our hotel room bed.

"Nope, not tonight." I say. "I'm sore, Mickie. My knee is killing me. Not tonight. I just want to rest. Besides...I have to catch a plane to Jersey after the show tomorrow night. I want to sleep tonight." I grumble. She's standing there, that demanding look on her face, her hands planted firmly on her hips.

"Dammit, Phil. I swear, sometimes you're just no fucking fun." she says as she pulls on her coat.

"Sorry." is all I can think of to say, although I don't think I should be apologizing.

"Fine." she sighs. "I guess Scott, Julio and the rest of us will just have to have our fun without you." She kisses me on the forehead and walks out, leaving me wishing that she would have just stayed here with me instead of going out with the others. Something about it upset me. I didn't know what. A chill crept up and down my back as I tried to settle into bed. I went in and out of sleep for some time, laying there and closing my eyes but not being able to turn off my mind. I turned over and glanced at the clock. It was almost two am already, and no sign of Mickie yet. I scratched my head, wondering where she could be as I dialed her cell number. "Her phone's off...great." I say.

I've never told anyone. I don't think Mickie has either, but if she has, then it's remained private. Three. It would be three years this month. Yeah...would be. When I think of everything I have missed out on...I wouldn't know how to start listing the things because I can't even imagine what they would all be. Steps. Words. Milestones. Missed life. An entire missed life. Just carelessly thrown out. Gone, gone forever after just a few minutes. I'll never understand.

"When...?" I ask her, shooting her a gaze that I thought would surely have killed her.

"My appointment is Thursday afternoon." she says, choking up as she looks away from my eyes.

"No." I whisper.

"No, what?" she yells. "Phil, we can't do this. I'm not aren't either. It's just the best thing for us both if I go and get it over with." she says, beginning to cry.

I let my head fall down into my hands as I sigh. "Oh, yeah. This is what's best." I say sarcastically. "How could you even think of doing such a thing, Mickie? I...You...I love you, but sometimes lately I don't even know you."

"Phil, I don't care right now if you love me or not, or if you know me or not. That's not what this is about. It's about my body and my life and what's best for both." she says coldly as she packs up her wrestling gear in her bag.

"And what about mine? What about my life?" I ask, raising my head up and staring at her.

She sighs and walks over to where I sit on the bed. "It'll be just fine, you'll see." she whispers to me, taking my face in her hands.

I push them away, asking "Why not just have it and let me take care of it. You don't have to do anything, Mick. I'll take the full burden. I'll raise our kid. Just please, don't have this abortion..." I say, feeling myself begin to beg.

Her back to me, she replies "No. No, Phil. I can't."

"WHY NOT!?!?" I yell, Mickie visibly shuddering as I do.

"Because there's a good chance it might not be yours!!!" she yells back at me, turning to face me. I don't know how to respond. I want to take her in my arms and shake her. I want to yell until she changes her mind. I want to die. I do none of these things, though. I just sit, falling silent as she finishes. "But I guess we'll never know, now will we. I'm getting this abortion, Phil. There's nothing you can do about it."

I'm sitting on the floor in the hallway when Jeff Hardy finds me. "Punk? There you are. We've got about five minutes, man." Jeff says as he reaches out an arm to me. "Come on." he smiles. I let him help pull me up from my sorry spot on the ground and we head back to the curtain. "You ready?" Jeff asks as he puts his arm around me and smiles, his eyes locking on to mine.

"Ready." I nod, trying to push the knot in my stomach away for the time being. There's always going to be a part of me that's missing. It's a big part, maybe the biggest. I feel empty tonight, as I do most nights. I wrestle because it makes me feel, it always has. I started wrestling because I had this fire inside of me, a burning passion I had to get out. Nowadays, I feel the fire has gone out. But, I keep on. I have to wrestle. I have to. It's the only thing that still makes me feel like I'm alive. The one thing that makes me feel anything at all.

I'll never know what could have been. I'll never know if her kid was mine, what it would have looked like. How it would have changed my life to have been a father. I'll never know. All I know is that, even as my music hits and I cross through that curtain, part of me died right along with that child...mine or not.

Lord, I miss that girl

On the day we met the sun was shining down

Down on the valley

Riddled with horses running

Crushing them with flowers

I would have picked for her

On the day she was born

She runs through my veins like a long black river

And rattles my cage like a thunderstorm

Oh my soul

What does it mean?

What does it mean?

What does it mean to be so sad?

When someone you love

Someone you love is supposed to make you happy

What do you do

How do you keep love alive?

When it won't.

What, what are the words

They use when they know it's over

"We need to talk," or

"I'm confused", "maybe later you can come over"

I would've held your mother's hand

On the day you was born

She runs through my veins

Like a long black river and rattles my cage

Like a thunderstorm

Oh, my soul

What does it mean?

What does it mean?

What does it mean to be so sad?

When someone you love

Someone you love is supposed to make you happy

What do you do

How do you keep love alive?

When it won't

How do you keep love alive?