Summary: Written for Harley-Hardy01. A childhood prank. Two broken hearts. A friendship ended. The last day Imari Clapp ever saw her best friend was the day she left Cameron. Eleven years on and her grudge still burns strong. What happens when she lands her dream job with the WWE as a writer and wrestler for its Smackdown! brand. She finds that even after all these years; love and pain still exists and she is ready to do whatever it takes to prove herself to not only the Charismatic Enigma, but also to the world.
Theme Song: Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis.
Rating: M for language, adult situations, violence, and later chapters.
Disclaimer: The names of all World Wrestling Entertainment televised and live programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans and wrestling moves are trademarks which are the exclusive property of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and I don't try to take any claim on anything. I only own the original characters in the stories. These stories are in no way related to me, nor are the original characters.
Feedback: Greatly welcomed, this fic starts off pretty quickly, but there is a reason why, and it will be revealed why later on in the fic, just to clear things up now. Would love to know what people think, this just popped into my head a few weeks back and I just got idea after idea.
- - -
They had decided to celebrate Shannon's birthday in the only way they knew how whilst on the road- finding a local club and bringing everyone with them. Drinks were on the Hardyz and didn't a lot of the superstars take the opportunity to get drunk off their faces. The group took up the entire V.I.P lounge that was upstairs and even a few of the downstairs tables.
Currently the core group were trying to get down the stairs and to the dance floor, ready to show off with some of the women hanging off their arms.
The man in question turned around on the stairs to look at his friend. "What is it, Prince?"
"Thanks man, for this!" Shannon shouted over the music. Jeff grinned and shook his head, his multi-coloured hair changing colours in the hue of the light.
"No worries," he replied, looking at the blonde hanging off his friends arm. He had didn't have anyone to dance with, but that was usually how he liked it, he had Beth back home and he preferred to dance alone anyway. "Don't thank me yet, the night is far from over."
- - -
She breathed in heavily, looking over her figure in the mirror. Why she had agreed to perform tonight she had no idea.
Everything around her had fallen to pieces in the last few months, that she didn't even know where to start about cleaning up the mess that was currently her life. Her dad passing away, her boyfriend leaving her and to make it all worse her younger brother Bobby had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He should've quit smoking when she had, it might have saved him.
"Girls you have five minutes, they are clearing the dancers off the floor, so better hurry up." All six of the women who were performing, all quickly hustled and fixed up the last of their appearance.
"Hey Ima." She smiled, hugging her friend Danielle when she appeared beside her. "How's Bobby doing?"
Imari lowered her eyes to the floor and shook her head. "He is getting worse. I'm gonna go and visit him later, wanna come?"
"Hell yeah, anything for the little guy. So, you gonna sing tonight? I heard Eric was here. Payback is a bitch, Ima. You could so easily pick a song to get back at him."
She smiled at her friend and shook her head. "Nah, I got to learn to live and let go. He was a piece of work anyway, and I don't feel like singing. I'm just gonna do this and then I'm out of here."
Dani pulled back and looked over her friend. She was thin, a lot thinner than she usually was and she looked tired and it was easy to see considering she was only wearing her lead signature attire for their performance; a pair of black knee length high tops with hot pink laces, a plaid black and five shade pink pleated lace-up skirt, black boyshorts on underneath, fishnet stockings, hot pink fishnet gloves and to finish her outfit she had on a black spaghetti strap top that was cut off to reveal her stomach. All the girls had on the same just different colours; Danielle had on black and a pale green; Miranda had on white and bright yellow; Kimber had white and blue; Stacey had black and purple; and Casey had white and red. They had picked their colours the first time they'd formed the group.
Since her father had passed away, she had been looking after her little brother. Imari had basically become the mother of the family since their mother had left them all those years ago. Though she was strong, Ima didn't always look after herself especially when her family was in trouble.
"Girly, when was the last time you ate?" Danielle questioned.
Imari looked at her friend and sighed before looking around at the rest of the girls. "I had lunch."
"Really? Listen, we are taking you out to lunch tomorrow, no arguments either. Bobby wouldn't want you to be disregarding your own health, just because you're worried about him," Dani remarked. "Right girls." A chorus of replies made Imari smile softly and nod.
"Alright," she said, putting her hands up as 'Fighter' by Christina Aguilera started up, signalling that they needed to get out there.
- - -
Jeff stood next to Shannon and the blonde on his arm as they were asked to leave the dance floor. They stood in the front row around the large square. He looked over the heads of a number of people when the DJ announced a group of dancers known as the Dangerous Angels. Quirking an eyebrow as the six women appeared Jeff grinned.
"Oh hot. Mini skirts," Shannon hummed then looked down at the blonde hanging off his arm. "Now that is certainly more nicer to look at then jeans." Jeff shut his eyes as he heard skin meeting skin. She'd slapped Shannon. Admittedly, Shannon deserved it after that remark- but still.
Once she had walked off, Jeff started to laugh at his friend's hurt look. "What'd I say?"
Wrapping an arm around his friends shoulders, he pulled him close. "I think it was the part where you commented that you'd rather see her in a mini skirt than jeans." He chuckled when Shannon shrugged and looked at the dancers. Turning his attention to the dancers, Jeff didn't realise that they were pulling people from the crowd and wasn't expecting to be grabbed by the shirt and pulled out onto the dance floor. Though he didn't mind dancing, he really didn't know what he was doing.
"Come on buddy, dance!" one of the women told him as she stopped beside him. He looked up into a pair of piercing ice blue eyes and froze.
- - -
Imari's eyes nearly fell out of her head at the sight of the man standing next to her. Pursing her lips, she smirked. "Come on, Jeffery!" she challenged. Seeing him glower, she chuckled and motioned everyone else off the floor and grabbed a microphone from the DJ table. Jeff simply stood there and watched her. The music cut off suddenly and everyone's attention went to Imari. "Ladies and gentlemen! Please welcome World Wrestling Entertainment's own Charismatic Enigma, Jeff Hardy, who is going to face me in a dance-off- right now!" she said into the microphone, earning cheers from the crowd. "If he chooses to accept, that is?"
- - -
Despite that he didn't like the idea of this dance-off, he couldn't nearly turn down the challenge, otherwise he'd look like a wimp in front of all his friends and co-workers, who were most likely watching from up in the V.I.P. section. He sighed and started to peel off his jacket, earning cheers from the women in the crowd as it revealed his white-button down. "You're on, Imari!" he shouted over the cheers and tossed his jacket at Shannon, who surprisingly even in his drunken stupor managed to catch it. He shrugged and folded his arms over his chest, as Imari handed the microphone back to the DJ. "Let's see what you got."
- - -
Imari sneered at him as she walked past him, pushing him backwards and knocking his larger frame into a group of guys, who shoved him back onto the dance floor laughing. "Uh-uh. Both," she told him.
Jeff nodded and stepped up close to her. "I-"
"Don't say a word to me, Hardy," she snapped as they slid back away from one another. She glowered at him and grinned as 'Low' by Flo-Rida and T-Pain, the remix started up. She swung her body to the beat and saw him doing some insane move that was purely a Jeff Hardy original. How could she not recognise him, she was a wrestling fan and watched Smackdown!, RAW and ECW every time it was on. Dancing on her side of the floor, she turned her back on the Hardy Boy, knowing if she kept watching, she was going to lose her footing, the man was wild when it came to dancing and she was talented, but could be clumsy at times.
Ima jumped when hands landed on her hips and turned her around. Her eyes went to Jeff's face. It never lost the dead seriousness as he pulled her in close. "You've changed." She ignored his comment and ground her hips into his, earning a startled look from him.
"Come on, Hardy, enough talking or you'll lose," she told him, sliding down his body, her fingers tingled as she felt the muscles beneath his clothes move underneath the pads of her fingers. Looking up at him, she wasn't excepting him to pull away quickly and go back to dancing. Grinning, Imari hooked her hand with his and pulled him to her, only to have him lose his balance. He pulled her down with him and it ended up with him landing on his back with a thud, and her straddling his body.
The music ended and people crowded them, only problem was, Jeff wasn't letting go of where he had hold of her hips. She forcefully pushed his hands away and stood up with a smirk. "Guess I win cause you ended up on your back first."
- - -
Jeff caught onto the double meaning behind the word and jumped up when she walked off. He looked around for her as he tried to navigate his way through the crowd. A hand grabbed his arm and Jeff turned to find Shannon, holding his coat out for him. Clearly he hadn't realised just who had challenged his friend, probably because he was beginning to feel the effects of all the drink he'd consumed.
"I'll be back," he told him as he took his coat and ducked through the crowd heading for where he had seen a number of the dancers head. Just as he went to open the door labelled 'club personnel only', a hand grabbed his shoulder.
"Yo buddy, that's only for dancers and you ain't no dancer." Turning, Jeff looked at the bouncer and grimaced. Knowing he couldn't start a fight, he put his hands up in surrender and backed away, heading for the stairs, leading to the V.I.P lounge.
- - -
Imari smiled as she pulled her skirt off when the girls appeared. "Yo girl, what was up with tossing us off the dance floor?" Danielle remarked. "All to dance with McHottie, shame on you." Her smile disappeared when Dani spoke. Looking down at the ground, she shrugged.
"Sorry 'bout that. Just an old grudge. I know it wasn't exactly the best timing," she muttered, stripping off the rest of her clothes and pulling on a pair of jeans and black corset top. She looked in the mirror and nodded before turning to the girls.
"Ima, you just took on a celebrity and practically made out with him out there," Casey said.
Imari pointed a finger at her friend and shook her head. "No. I would never make out with that lying, piece of work, son of a bitch," she told her friend in a deadly tone. Casey swallowed as she saw her friends eyes burn like a firestorm. Dani placed a hand on her friend's shoulder and said for her to chill a little. Ima sighed heavily and fell down into the chair beside her.
"Look, I haven't had the best past, especially when it comes to friends and trust. Jeff and I used to be friends- close friends, until-" she trailed off and wouldn't dare finish her sentence. It was hard enough to think about, but to say it nearly made her throw up. "Let's just say that he is the main reason why I haven't got the best temper in the world, especially when it comes to practical jokes," she said, using any excuse she could think of, "not to mention my trust towards men or my private relationships."
- - -
Jeff and Shannon leaned on each other for support as they left the club. He had drunk more than his share, but at least he was able to hold his alcohol better than what his friend could. Opening the cab door, he pushed Shannon in and turned around, looking for Matt and Greg. However, it wasn't his brother and friend that he caught sight of first. Imari. Drawing in a deep breath, Jeff walked over to where she was leaving the club behind a number of his co-workers.
"Clapp." He saw her head turn in his direction and her eyes widen. Seeing her making to leave, he caught hold of her arm, stopping her. "We need to talk."
Jeff wasn't expecting her to laugh at him. "Talk? Really, eleven years later and now you want to talk. What a joke you are, Hardy." She made to pull away, only to have him tug her back in front of him. The drink wasn't really helping him think straight at the moment, but that didn't stop him from keeping tight hold of her. "Let go of me, Hardy, right now." Before he could think, he lowered his head and pressed his mouth to hers. Maybe it was the drink that made him do it, or maybe just plain stupidity, he didn't know, but the kiss was short lived when he felt a high-heel land on his foot, making him cringe and pull away. A loud slap sounded through the now silent air. "You're a drunk fool, Jeffery Nero, and what's more I told you once before that I never wanted to see you again, or I'd hurt you," she growled before turning and stalking off.
Jeff stood there, wincing at the pain in his foot and holding a hand to his cheek as he watched her walk off. He didn't remember who had lead him back to the cab, but when he gained some reasoning, he found himself laying down in his hotel room, his shoes gone and his belt as well.
Groaning as his hangover kicked in rather quickly, he glanced around the room. At least he was alone. Crawling from the bed, he managed to find his footing and head for the bathroom, running into a table in the process.
Stripping off the rest of his clothes, he stepped beneath a hot shower, trying to make sense of what had happened at the club. Eleven years. He hadn't seen her in eleven years and now as if someone from up above had decided to make his life twice as difficult, Imari was thrown back into the mix, leaving him confused beyond words. He leaned back against the wall of the shower, running his hands down his face. And, what the hell was up with him kissing her? Well, that he blamed on the drink, but he couldn't forget the sight of her figure, revealed deliciously by the clothing she'd worn out on the dance floor. All he had been able to remember of Ima was a teenage, bookworm, puppy fat and that cute giggle of hers. Now all he could picture was a fiery woman with the most gorgeous piercing blue eyes. How could he have forgotten the grudge she probably held against him for what he'd done to her all those years ago? He had never been able to imagine his old friend hating him, but- he grimaced, who could blame her?