Chapter Thirty-Seven: With or Without You

"Damnit!" Randy yelled, smacking his hand against the horn as the traffic in front of him came to a halt. The night before, a few cold ones with Cena turned into a few more…and a few more, causing him to oversleep and catch mid-day Saturday traffic. There was no way he was going to make it to the signing on time, and for that, Vince was going to kill him.

He sighed, leaning back against the head rest. The cars ahead of him didn't look like they were going to move any time soon which allowed Randy's thoughts to drift to the previous evening and his incessant questioning of John for information about Colby.


"So…" Randy began as he handed John a bottle of Bud Light. "Did she call you first…or did you call her?"

"Listen, man," John sighed. "I told her that I wouldn't say anything to you. As a matter of fact, I've already said too much."

"At least tell me how she is, Cena. That's all I want to know."

"Obviously, she was upset and confused, but as time went on, she got better. Like I told you earlier, the last time I talked to her, she seemed pretty sure of herself."

"Did she go back to school?"

"I thought all you wanted to know was how she was," John replied as the two men made their way down to the basement's game room.

"Can you blame me for wanting to know more?" Randy asked, setting his beer down on the pool table.

"No, I can't. But I also made a promise that I wouldn't say anything to you. I've told you how she is and that's all I'm going to say. Now, are we going to play pool or what?"


Randy would continue to badger John the rest of the night, hoping that pumping beer after beer after beer into Cena would eventually open his mouth about Colby. But even in his drunken stupor, John would not budge.

He stared at the stationary cars in front of him for a few moments before deciding that the silence surrounding him was deafening and turned on the radio. He immediately recognized the song that was playing to be U2's "With or Without You"; a song that had been played quite frequently over the past few months. He moved his hand to a dial and slowly turned the volume up.

See the stone set in your eyes

See the thorn twist in your side

I wait for you

Sleight of hand and twist of fate

On a bed of nails she makes me wait

And I wait without you

With or without you

With or without you

Through the storm, we reach the shore

You give it all but I want more

And I'm waiting for you

With or without you

With or without you

I can't live

With or without you

And you give yourself away

And you give yourself away

And you give

And you give

And you give yourself away

My hands are tied

My body bruised, she's got me with

Nothing to win and

Nothing left to lose

And you give yourself away

And you give yourself away

And you give

And you give

And you give yourself away

With or without you

With or without you

I can't live

With or without you

With or without you

With or without you

I can't live

With or without you

With or without you

Randy connected very strongly with the words Bono sang. For the past three months, he waited on a decision from a woman who wasn't sure whether or not she wanted to be with him, yet she so readily gave herself away to two other men who were dicks.

It was true that Randy had his dick moments; he wasn't about to deny that, but surely he had proven himself better than either Elijah or Brad, right? The thought pissed Randy off to no end. How much time did a person need to make the decision about whether or not to date someone? It wasn't like he was asking her to run off to Vegas with him and get married in a drive-thru chapel.

Randy took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. He could feel his temper starting to rise and the last thing he needed on top of being late for a signing was being pissed off at it as well. Thankfully, the cars in front of him began to move and caused him to focus more on maneuvering through traffic rather than the thoughts swimming around in his head.

Surprisingly, Randy was only a half hour late to the singing. However, as soon as he stepped foot in the door, he was bombarded by one of the coordinators from headquarters.

"Mr. Orton, the signing was supposed to start at one. It's one-thirty, sir," he said, tentatively.

"You don't think I realize that?" Randy grumbled as he grabbed a bottle of water.

"But, Mr. Orton, we won't be able to allow the fans to take photos with you now. A lot of people are going to be upset."

"I'm sorry, okay? I got caught in traffic. There's not a whole lot I can do about that. Just go out and tell the people that there isn't time for pictures."

The squirrely man nodded anxiously before walking to where the line of fans had formed. Apparently, this guy was new to the job. No experienced coordinator would be so uptight.

Randy sighed before following in the man's footsteps to the crowd. He plastered a fake smile on his face and waved as the fans began hollering at him. He stood there a few seconds longer before taking a seat at the table that he would be at for the next couple of hours.

The fans began pouring in and started filing in front of him. Faces of men, women and children began to blend together as Rand's signature became more and more sloppy. He signaled to the security guard to pause the line for a moment to give him a chance to regain the feeling in his hand. As he brought his bottle of water to his lips, his eyes scanned the line. Scanning…scanning…stop.

Randy's eyes grew wide, his heart stopped and he froze. Those eyes. She was there. He stood up, his eyes not leaving that spot, and made his way to her. But his attention was diverted when a young woman jumped from the crowd and latched onto his arm. He quickly tried to back away and free himself, but the woman had literally dug her claws into him and was screaming her adoration for him.

It didn't take long for security to pull her off and remove her from the building, but that's all it took for Randy to lose her in the crowd.

"Mr. Orton? Are you okay to continue?" the security guard asked once he returned.

"Yeah…yeah, I'm fine," he replied, absentmindedly walking back to his table.

Was his mind just playing tricks on him? Was he just that desperate to see her that her image was following him? Or was she really there and just got lost in the crowd? He was really hoping it was the latter, but as he continued signing 8x10s and the line dwindled, so did his hope. He slid the final photo back to the nine year old boy named Wyatt and said goodbye before standing up from the table.

He glanced around the now empty store and sighed disappointedly. Apparently, he was going crazy. However, as obviously wrong as Randy appeared to be, he couldn't help but feel, deep down, that he was right.

He pulled his cell phone from his pocket, dialed John's number and waited for him to answer.

"Hey, Orton," Cena answered, sleepily.

"Have you heard from Colby today?"

"I just woke up, dude."

"Well, check your phone, damnit."

"Chill out, Randy. Geez…" There was a few seconds of silence as John scrolled through his texts and missed calls. "I got nothing, bro. Why?"

"I swore I saw her. Here at the signing. I just wanted to know if she said anything to you."

"Sorry, man. I haven't heard anything. You're sure you saw her?"

"Yeah…I mean, I'm pretty sure I did."

"Well, what happened? Where'd she go?"

"I don't know. A fan latched on to me and I took my eyes off of her and then she just vanished."

"Are you still drunk?" John asked, suspiciously.

"No, I'm not still drunk, Cena."

"Then I don't know what to tell you except that maybe you just saw someone who looked like her."

"Yeah, maybe," Randy replied, but he knew better. He had only ever seen one pair of those beautiful gray eyes. There were no others like them. He just hoped he would see them again…and soon.


This was crazy. She was crazy. What was she thinking, showing up at his signing? Better yet, what was she thinking standing in the parking lot by his vehicle? This was surely not the way to go about seeing Randy. She knew she should have called first, but when Colby had seen that Randy was having a signing earlier that morning, she knew that she didn't have much more time before he went back out on the road. So, she had packed a bag and caught a bus down to St. Louis.

But really? Her gut instinct had told her to surprise him there? A public place? It was the most ridiculous thing she had ever thought of. At least she had had enough common sense to do it away from the crowd.

She sank down to sit on the asphalt and up against his Escalade, her bag falling to the ground beside her. He should have been done, which meant that he would be walking out to his SUV at any moment.

Then out of nowhere, she heard his voice. "So what's the plan for tonight?" he asked to some unknown person. There was no audible response so Colby assumed he was on the phone. One thing she knew for certain, however, was that whatever plans he was making was making were about to be blown out of the water. "Honestly, man, I don't really care if we just stay in and watch the game," he sounded hurt, disappointed.

Colby tensed as she heard his heavy footsteps coming closer. It was then that it hit her how crazy she looked, crouched down by his car. She quickly stood up and took a step, running right into a toned chest and falling back toward the ground. She prepared herself for the impact of the asphalt, but it never came. She immediately recognized the warmth and security of Randy's arm around her and opened her eyes to see his staring down at her, cell phone still pressed up against his ear.

"I'm going to have to call you back, Cena," he said, hanging up the phone before John could manage a reply. He slid the phone into his jeans pocket and stood Colby up straight, letting go of her waist.

The two silently stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. Every word that Colby had planned on saying to him had flown out the window now that she stood in front of him. He looked exactly as she had remembered him, but for the exception that he had tattooed both of his arms completely; something that she found to be extremely attractive.

"Hey," he finally spoke to her.

"Hi," she spoke back, unable to think of anything to say beyond that.

"I…ugh…I was just heading back to the house. Want to come with me…and talk?" he asked, his eyes making contact with hers briefly.

"Yeah, that would be great," she replied, picking up her bag from the ground. She sighed as she walked to the passenger side of the SUV. This was turning out to be a lot more difficult than she had hoped.


The silence in the car as Randy navigated it through the streets was incredibly awkward. When he had seen her in the parking lot, his heart had dropped to his stomach. She was there and it was proof that he hadn't been going crazy. But when it came time for him to speak to her, he suddenly felt like a teenage boy who was face to face with the girl he'd been crushing on. So much for his reputation as "The Lady Killer".

He stole a glance over at her and saw that she was just as uncomfortable as he was; staring out the window, her leg bouncing up and down and her hands twisting around each other.

This wasn't how they were. They were never nervous around each other which led Randy to believe that something had drastically changed over the past three months.

"So…where's your truck?" he asked, attempting to alleviate the silence between them.

"It's at home…broken down at the moment. I won't have to drive it anymore, anyway," she replied, keeping her eyes on anything but him.

"Why is that?"

"I'm buying a car. I found it yesterday and the dealership is in the process of getting the loan approved."

"What kind of car?"

"2007 Chrysler Sebring."

"Sounds nice."

"It is," she smiled, finally glancing over at him. "And with my new job, I'll be more than capable of making the payments."

"You have a new job?"

"Yeah…at a day care. It's Monday through Friday and my boss is awesome about working around my school schedule."

"That's great. How is the new school treating you?"

"Good so far. We just started classes last Tuesday."

"Well, I'm glad things are working out for you."

"Yeah, me too."

Randy sighed as the conversation came to a screeching halt. There was no way that they were going to be comfortable around each other until the big, pink elephant was out of their way.

A few minutes later, Randy pulled into his driveway and jumped out of the suffocating vehicle. He met Colby at the front of the Escalade before leading her into the house where John sat, sprawled out on the sofa watching Sports Center. He immediately looked up as the pair walked through the door.

"Holy shit!" he jumped up. "You really are here! It's awesome to see you, C," he said with a smile and enveloped her in a hug.

"It's good to see you too, John," Colby laughed and returned the embrace.

Randy watched the scene before him with jealousy radiating through his body. He would've given anything to have her in his arms again. He slowly wandered into the kitchen to grab a beer out of the fridge. How he wished things weren't so different between him and Colby.


"So, have you two talked yet?" John asked once Randy had disappeared into the kitchen.

"Not about anything of importance," Colby replied, sadly.

"But you have made up your mind, right?"

"I thought I had, but seeing him again…now I'm not so sure."

John stared at her in disbelief. "You're joking right? Please tell me you are because there's no way that you can come down here and then leave without giving him some sort of answers. You've been gone for three fucking months and my best friend has been moping around, hoping to hear something…anything from you."

"I know, John. This hasn't been a cake walk for me either, you know. You know how many nights I cried myself to sleep because I missed him so much, so don't you dare tell me that he has been the only one affected by this," Colby replied, tears beginning to pool in her eyes.

"Then you need to get your skinny, little ass in there and talk to him about it," John said before reclaiming his spot on the sofa.

Colby sighed, knowing that John was right. She walked slowly to the entrance of the kitchen and peeked inside.

There he sat at the table, his eyes trained on the beer in front of him and absentmindedly picked at the wrapper on the bottle. The look on his face damn near broke her heart. He looked so…sad. It was downright pitiful. Finally, she summoned up enough courage to walk in and sit down in the chair across from him.

When he didn't look up, she slowly reached over and gently took his hand in hers. "We need to talk."

"About what?" Randy replied, his eyes fixed on their intertwined hands.

"Don't pretend like you don't know, Randy. You know very well what we need to talk about."

"I don't know what you want me to say, Colby. This whole ordeal, I know absolutely nothing about. You are the one that needs to talk. So…talk," he said, pulling his hand away from hers rather angrily.

"Please…don't be angry with me. This hasn't been easy for me either."

Randy couldn't help but laugh. "Easy for you? It hasn't been easy for YOU? Are you fucking kidding me, Colby? Newsflash: you're the one who fucking left! You're the one who didn't bother to contact me! At least you had your work to keep you busy. What did I have? Physical therapy, an hour a day, five days a week for three months. That's it. The rest of my time was spent wondering if today was going to be the day that you would call or text or show up on my doorstep. Instead, you call my best friend and tell him not to tell me that he was talking to you, knowing that he won't break a promise. So, in case you haven't guessed, it really hasn't been all that wonderful on this end."

Colby stared at him, lip trembling. She never that he would be this pissed. "I'm so sorry, Randy. If I had truly known…I would've done something. But just so you know, I missed you every second of ever moment that I was away from you. Every night for the first month, I cried myself to sleep. You want to know why I got a new job? Because I no-showed for a week after I got back and they fired me, because I couldn't bring myself to climb out of bed. Every single day, I wanted to come down her to you, but I held back on it because I wanted to make sure I had answers for you when I did come here. That is why you didn't hear from me. As for me talking to John, it was the only way I could be close to you without being close to you. And, in case you haven't noticed, he is my friend, too."

Randy sighed as he ran a hand through his hair. They really weren't getting anywhere with use. He had to push it along and, in order to do that, he unfortunately had to put her on the spot. "You said that you didn't want to come down here until you had answers for me. Well, you're here…give me answers. Do you want to be with me or not?"


Thanks to Bingobaby, Bautista's Lil Bit, smash07, Keeper of Oz, Agnesita1385, Xandman216, CapriceCC, ParkAvenue, Enigmatic Lotus Leaf, Christina89, wibragirl, Aria and RKOsgirl92 for reviewing chapter 36.

The epilogue should be posted soon. Honestly, I have no idea which way I'm going to go with Colby and Randy. I can see it going either way. I'd be more than happy to hear what you think so please review :)

~Gabby~