Disclaimer: I don't own the WWE or Charlie or Becky.
A/N: A gift for Charlie, It's me, metaphorically giving you Jeff for your birthday. Charlie is the ONLY person I will write/read with Jeff. We have an understanding haha. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHARLIE, even though it's a tad late.
Rehab is for Lovers by Cara Mascara
It definitely wasn't the classiest place to meet the man of you dreams. But rehab was the best thing that ever happened to me.
I reluctantly checked myself in six hundred and twenty nine days ago. How do I know? That's how long it's been since I've felt the bitter, burning sensation of whiskey flowing down my throat.
Trust me, it feels way longer than it sounds, and it sounds long.
To a recovering alcoholic, that feels like a lifetime.
But anyway, this isn't about me becoming sober. It's about me meeting the perfect man, in my eyes at least. To a lot of people, he looks flawed. The multi colored hair, strange facial hair design, tattoos and piercings may throw a lot of people off, especially down here in the NC.
But me, I was hooked right from the start.
You'd totally understand if you looked him in the eyes. Or listened to him talk about his art. Or wrestling. That's what he talked about the most. His eyes would light up and you could feel the passion in his voice. And the regret.
He was sent here by the company, WWE. I knew what it was but I wasn't an avid wrestling fan. Apparently, he failed a few drug tests, and he couldn't get back in the ring until he completed rehab. He said he'd done it moe than once, and every chance he got, he messed up. It made me so sad to hear him talk about things like this.
He's one of those people that can make you feel for them without even trying to. Your heart just aches for him, despite your own problems.
Of course, at the time when I fist discovered all this information, I'd never actually spoken to the guy.
"I hate her," I mumbled to Becky during the lunch hour. She sat across from me at the table, a recovering alcoholic like me. I noticed most of the people with the same problems hung out with each other. Most of them.
"I know Char, you tell me every day," Becky said, shaking her head as she picked at her plate of not so appetizing food. "I'm pretty sure if you went over and talked to him, he wouldn't tell you to get lost. Why don't you just start up a conversation?"
"Because she's over there with him." How many times do I have to tell Becky that?
"So? It's not like they're together. Just because they're friends. She's probably nice." I glared at Becky then back towards the two at the next table.
I know her name. It's Cara. And she's a recovering heroin addict. That part I figured out on my own. It wasn't too difficult. The track marks and the mindless scratching at her arms kind of gave it away.
They always sat together at lunch and outside. She totally made it impossible for me to get anywhere near the object of my affections. I mean, I could go over there and talk to him while she was there but... it's just awkward.
A few more weeks passed, and I noticed after a few days in a row, the two had stopped sitting with each other. In fact, Cara had disappeared all together.
"Now's your chance" Becky hinted at me as we stood outside in the courtyard. Okay, so I was big talk, planning on going over there and just starting up a conversation with him. I'm way to nervous. I'm freaking out here! I need a beer!
"I can't do it!" I whispered, shaking my head and trying to turn and go back inside. Becky planted her hands firmly on my shoulders and spun me around. "Charlie, if you blow this opportunity, I will plant a bottle of vodka under your pillow." She gave me a shove forward and I stumbled a little, but then kept going towards the man, sitting there against a tree, drawing something in his sketchpad.
As I made my way over to him, he glanced up causally, right at me. A look of panic flashed over his face and he quickly closed his sketchbook, fumbling with the thing. "Um, hi, Jeff is it?" Yeah, I'm playing dumb. Like I don't know his name by now.
"Yeah. Charlie, right?" I think I just died.
He knows my name! How does he know my name? We don't have any group together! Maybe he asked about me!
"Yeah. Mind if I sit?" Play it cool Char, good job. He patted the grass next to him and I fell to the ground, Indian style. I glanced back at Becky who winked before going inside. "So, what were you drawing?"
His cheeks flushed a little at my question and he out one of his hands on the cover of the sketchbook, which was sitting next to him on the ground, as if the wind was going to blow it open.
"Uh, nothin' really." His voice is making me melt.
"Can I see?" A nervous look covered his features before he reluctantly nodded, and handed the book over to me. I slowly flipped though the pages, recognizing a lot of the people and settings he'd drawn from around the rehab center. "Did you start this when you got here?" I asked.
"Yeah," he replied. I could see him watching me as I observed his artwork. His intense green eyes stared under a raised brow, unblinking.
Towards the end of the book, I saw a few pictures of Cara. The first one was normal and happy, then as the next three went on, they got sadder and sadder until the last one had full-blown knees hugged to her chest and teas falling down her face. I looked up at him and asked a burning question. "I haven't seen her around. What happened to her?"
Jeff scratched the back of his neck and adjusted his seating position. "She relapsed. Someone snuck some stuff in and she completely lost it. They have her on level four now."
I raised my eyebrows and my mouth gaped a little. Wow. Level four was for people that were basically hopeless. It was the top floor of the building and that's where they all stayed. They couldn't eat with everyone else or go outside. It was like max security, so I've heard.
"I'm sorry. That sucks." Jeff nodded.
"I kind of watched it all happen. I feel guilty for not sayin' anything. I could tell somethin' was wrong with her... as you can see." I nodded, remembering I had been looking through his drawings.
I think I almost died when I turned the page. Me. He drew me. All pretty like. And I died.
I turned the next page. Me.
There were at lest seven of eight drawings of me. I looked up and met his eyes but he was looking away, obviously tying to avoid eye contact. "Wow. These are gorgeous." I played it off casually. I do not want to make him feel uncomfortable. Not now. But ohmygod! My insides were Mexican jumping beans. My heart was almost beating out of my chest.
"Yeah? Well... I uh- you don't think I'm weird, do ya?" His rushed question made me laugh. I couldn't help it.
"No, no. I don't think you're weird. I just... why me?" I asked, calming down from my laughter. Please say you're in love with me. Please say you're in love with me. Please say you're in love with me.
"I don't know- I guess- I kind of... crush..."
"What?" He mumbled everything so I only got that one word out of his sentence. Crush. Please say what I think you said.
"I guess I got a little bit of a crush on ya," he said louder, so I could understand him.
My payers have been answered.
"Are you... serious?" Approach the male species with caution. I don't want to seem to anxious or overjoyed, even though I'm ready to bust. He gave a shy nod and a crooked smile. "I always thought you liked Cara."
He made a weird face. "She's a good friend but... that girl's got more baggage than I need in my life. I ain't about to go getting' involved with someone who has more problems than I do. I don't see her ever getting' outta this place to be honest."
I think my heat just exploded in my chest.
A swift peck on the lips brought a grin to my face as I relaxed backstage at Jeff's show. Two years passes by so quickly and before I knew it, I was sharing a residence with Jeff in North Carolina. Currently, we were in Charlotte and I was glad he was home. After two months of extreme connection and conversation, Jeff and I stated a relationship. One month later, Jeff was out of rehab. Becky had gotten out a month before, and two weeks after Jeff left, I was released.
Call him my motivation I guess.
Jeff then ran a hand over my protruding belly and gave it a soft kiss. "Hey thee baby," he muttered. I rolled my eyes, but it was cute.
"We have to get going pretty soon," I told him, realizing we had somewhere to be in a few minutes. Things changed a lot since Jeff and I had been together. I no longer held that resentment towards Cara that I once had. Turns out, she's very cool, and I can see why Jeff was friends with her. I went with him on many occasions to visit her in rehab, which is where we were headed tonight.
She was finally getting out. I'd love to credit my matchmaking skills for that. Upon meeting him, I knew Jeff's co-worker Phil Brooks would have a thing for her if he knew her. It was the whole drug addict vs straight edge thing that threw it off.
So I tricked Phil into coming with us once to see her, to preach his straight edge ways to her. It went according to planned. He liked her even if he didn't flat out say it because he kept in touch with her after that over the phone. He doesn't want to admit he's falling for someone who's experienced everything he's gone out of his way to avoid. But I think he helped her out. And that's why she got better.
And once again using my amazing matchmaking skills, I set Becky, who I'd kept in touch with, up with another of Jeff's friends from work. She was engaged to him now, about to become Mrs. Rebecca Runnels in less than six months.
"Hey, ready to go?" Speak of the devil, the two walked in to the locker room, hand in hand, Phil following right behind. "Punk's about to pee his pants in anticipation."
"Shut up." I laughed at the childish exchange and Jeff grabbed his gear bag. He gave me a hand up. Standing from a sunken in couch is not easy when you're five months preggo. Lucky for me, I have a big strong man to pick me up.
We piled out of the arena, ready to pick Cara up and take her out for a celebration dinner.
"I love you Charlie," Jeff randomly announced, nuzzling the side of my neck as we tried to awkwardly walk. I giggled and nudged his shoulder playfully.
"Love you too stud."
A/N: Look Becky, we're all winners on Charlie's birthday.