Chapter 35:

Later that Night…

Soraya lay awake, staring at the ceiling. Normally after a pay-per-view, especially when she competed, she would bee exhausted enough to fall asleep before her head fully hit the pillow. Tonight, however, she seemed to have developed insomnia, plagued by the inability to sleep. She suspected part of it was due to the fact that it had been over a year since anyone had shared her bed, even in the most innocent of ways.

The soft snore coming from her right had her turning her head to regard the rangy frame that was currently stretched out beside hers. Randy Orton had been exhausted and devastated over his loss of the World Heavyweight Championship that night and he spent a good portion of the night venting to Soraya about it until he had finally drifted off to sleep sometime around three in the morning. That was an hour ago and beside him, Soraya wasn't having the same luck. So she chose to study Randy instead. He looked so peaceful in sleep, younger, almost boyishly handsome. And he smelled of laundry detergent and Irish Spring soap from the shower he had taken before leaving the arena.

"I shouldn't want you." She murmured quietly. "I never wanted to feel this way about anyone ever again. It hurts to let someone in, make yourself vulnerable. I promised myself after Mark that I'd take better care of my heart, but then you had to go and get under my skin. I want to hate you for it, but instead I find myself falling for you a little more and more every day."

She rolled over onto her side to face him, saying all the things she was afraid to say when he was awake and could hear them.

"I didn't want this." She continued. "I wanted to focus on my career, on taking down Evolution and then you needed me to be there for you as a friend and everything changed. I know Stacy's gorgeous and she's into you, but I want you to pick me instead. I just don't know how to tell you."

Feeling a little less burdened now that she had finally said it out loud to him, even though he wasn't conscious to hear it, Soraya's eyelids began to grow heavy and her breathing evened out for her to finally fall asleep.

Moments later, Randy's green eyes blinked open and a small smile crossed his handsome face. "You just did, Sweetheart." He said quietly. "You just did."


The Next Morning…

The alarm clock on the nightstand erupted with harsh buzzing. Randy opened his eyes, and hit the "Snooze" button with a well-practiced open palm. Yawning, he sat up, trying to get his bearings in the dim light. He smiled as he glanced down at the sleeping form of Soraya beside him. She looked so peaceful lying there, her blonde hair loose upon the pillow, one hand curled up beside her face. She must not have heard the alarm because her breathing remained deep and regular. It seemed such a shame to wake her. All that would do was bring her back to reality, where a whole new set of problems waited.

Last night, due to the aid of Ric Flair and Batista, Triple H had regained his World Heavyweight Championship. That gave Evolution the power they needed to once again be the most dominant force on the Raw roster. And though Randy had a rematch clause stated in his contract, he would have to start making moves tonight. He would need the help of Benoit, Jericho and Maven, and yes, even Soraya. And though he did not want to drag Soraya into this mess with Evolution, there wasn't much he could do to keep her out of it. She had been brought into it long before Randy had switched teams; she had been involved the moment Triple H decided to use her as a pawn against Benoit. And after what he'd heard her say last night, Randy shuddered to think Triple H would use her as a pawn against him. But if he decided to make the tiny blonde his, which he planned on doing, Triple H was bound to use her against him. Triple H had no morals. He played mind games to weaken his opponent. And the thought of him using Soraya made Randy want to plow his fist repeatedly into his former mentor's face.

To calm himself, he reached over and gently stroked his hand over her feather soft blonde hair. She stirred beneath his touch, blinking her hazel eyes open and offered him a sleepy smile. "Good morning."

"Morning." Randy replied. "Alarm went off a few minutes ago."

"It's morning already." She burrowed deeper into her pillow. "Make it go away. Make it be night again so I can go back to sleep."

He chuckled, pulling her close against him and nuzzled into her hair. "I'll drive. You can go back to sleep in the car. We have to be at Raw tonight."

"Stupid traveling schedules." She mumbled.

"Come on, Sleepyhead. It will be worth it once I figure out a way to get the upper hand on Hunter tonight." He assured her.

She pulled back enough to look at him thoughtfully. "What are you going to do?" She asked curiously.

"I've got a couple ideas in mind." He assured her. "If I know Hunter, he'll be planning some kind of celebration tonight. I'm going to find a way to spoil his fun."

Soraya grinned. "I like that idea."

"So do I." He nodded. "But I can't do that if we stay in bed all day. So you're going to have to get up."

"All right, all right." She sighed resignedly, yawning. "I'm going. You're worse than Benoit in the mornings."

He chuckled. "But I'm nicer to look at."

"Only because you have no gaps in your teeth." She teased, pushing back the covers. "You're going to want to go back to your room and get your belongings."

Randy nodded in agreement. "I will. I'll be back to get you in forty-five minutes."

She stretched and rolled out of bed. "Sounds good, that'll give me time to shower and change."

Randy got up himself. "And we'll grab breakfast on the way. Forty-five minutes." He reminded her as she headed for the bathroom.


Forty-Five Minutes Later…

Down in the hotel lobby, Soraya checked out of her room, dressed in faded boot cut jeans and a snuck black v-neck t-shirt, honey colored leather jacket on to ward off the fall chill in the air. Randy was leaning against the counter beside her, also wearing jeans, t-shirt and leather jacket. He was spinning his aviator sunglasses around in his hand, looking bored when suddenly he straightened and took on a serious expression.

Soraya glanced over her shoulder at Randy's sudden change in posture and frowned as well. "Ignore him." She advised lowly.

Dave Batista had paused upon stepping out of the elevator and was staring back at them, his expression a cross between annoyance and a touch of guilt.

Randy pivoted his body just enough for the other man to take note of the now protective stance over the petite blonde. "Let's get out of here."

Soraya turned back to the concierge and passed over her room keys. "Is there anything else you need from me?"

"No thank you, Ms. O'Toole. We hope you enjoyed your stay at the Comfort Inn and will come back and stay with us again in the future." The perky redhead replied brightly.

"Thanks." Soraya readjusted her purse strap and went to reach for her suitcase, only to have Randy beat her to it.

"I've got it." He said tightly, shouldering his own bag. "Let's go."

"Right behind you." She reached for his forearm with the idea of rubbing in a soothing motion, but he changed the angle and linked his hand with hers instead.

She smiled at the contact and followed Randy towards the exit, barely looking back at Dave, who had not moved since spotting them together.

Once they were outside in the crisp fall sunshine, she decided to break the tense silence that had fallen over the young superstar. "Was that some macho display in there?" She asked, referring to the hand he held in his own.

"Huh?" Randy paused mid-step and looked down at her in confusion.

"The possessive hand holding." She explained. "Is that for Dave's benefit, or mine?"

Understanding dawned in Randy's eyes and he looked down at their joined appendages. "No. Well, I wanted to have a hold you know, to get by Dave so he didn't…" He stumbled over the words. "But it's not just for Dave. I…"

"It's okay." She assured him, her smile softening. "I just wanted to make sure you weren't just rushing me out of the hotel."

"No. I just…" He sighed, shooting her a sheepish grin. "I wanted to."

"Well, that's a different story then." A pleased smile crossed her face as Randy tugged her forward toward the rental car again.