The end you guys, thanks for all the reviews and for sticking with me throughout this fic even when i wasnt feeling it for a while. hope you like it :)
Silence filled the room, Chris just didn't know what to say. But then, as if on some divine cue, his cell phone vibrated across the night stand for the second time that evening...causing a distraction for the two Canadians. "Are you going to get that?" Jay asked, stuffing his hands in his pockets in the awkwardness of the situation.
Picking up the phone Chris flipped it open, realising that it wasn't really a call at all, but just a reminder that he had yet to answer his voice mail. He still wasn't sure he was ready to hear from Stephanie, but weighing the other option it seemed like he would rather hear her out then have to decide what to do about Jay at the moment. Punching in his security code and then the few more buttons required, the message began to play.
"Chris?" She began her voice questioning, she was obviously trying to figure out if she was talking to him or a machine. He could hear her sigh on the recording, when she realised that it was the latter of the two.
There was a moment of quiet in the message before she continued."It's me...Stephanie. I know you don't want to hear from me, but please listen to this. I truly am sorry Christopher, I love you, and I never meant to cause you any more pain and heart ache then I already have in the past. But right now I just need you to know that last night wasn't a lie...I meant every word I said to you. It was wrong for me to stay with Paul, and I was wrong not to tell you upfront that I still hadn't left him. I just missed you so much, and it broke my heart into a million pieces to see you with Trish...But if she makes you happy...then I'm happy. I just hope that I haven't ruined everything for you with her, because all I really want is your happiness Chris."
There was another long pause, "I know I certainly don't deserve you're forgiveness, I just really needed you to know that I truly do love you. And that I would give my own life for yours any day of the week...that's my true definition of love Chris...caring more about someone else then yourself. My heart knows that I would never do that for Paul...he was a terrible mistake on my part, I thought that doing what my father wanted would be better for me. And I also thought I could mould him into someone to love, someone like you...."
She paused again for a moment and Chris could tell that she was crying now. "When I didn't leave him Christopher, I was being selfish. I was afraid that maybe you wouldn't want me back anyway, and I couldn't bear the thought of being completely alone... so I waited. That wasn't fair, and I'm really really sorry."
Her voice was breaking through her tears, and he could hear her trying to hold back from sobbing loudly into the receiver. "Not that it matters now," She continued, "...I don't expect you to come running back to me, but I did leave him. I know now that staying with someone because you feel obligated, or alone...is stupid. I just wish I would have seen what was really important before I made the worst decisions of my life." The brunette stopped again, seeming almost unsure of what to say next, "Well I better go, how pathetic is it to poor your heart out to a machine? Especially since you've probably hung up already, but if you're still listening I'd like to say thank you for every happy moment you gave me, I'll cherish my time with you forever."
The sound of a click brought Chris out of the daze he had been in while listening. He looked over to see Jay completely stunned, and knew that it must have been loud enough for him to hear her.
"Wow." The Ontario native blurted.
Chris ran his hand back through his hair, "Uh, yeah."
"So what are you going to do here bro? Keep Stringing Trish along, or finally be with the woman of your dreams."
He sighed in response, "Do you really think it's that simple, I want it to be real, but do you really think Paul is out of the picture this time?"
Jay smiled, "After that message? I'd say he's a goner," His newly serious expression turned back into a gentle smile as he patted his friend on the shoulder, "Better watch your back bro," Jason told him, "But I think you know what you have to do here."
"I think I do."
The Winnipeg native came to a stop in front of room three thirty five, he sighed as his hand connected with the door.
He scuffed his feet around a little as he waited anxiously for her to answer, he knew that he was doing the right thing.
Soon enough he was met with her warm smile, "Chris..." She said cheerfully, watching as he walked into the room. "I really wasn't expecting to see you."
Taking a seat he just looked up at her, this was going to be hard.
"So you've thought about what I said?`` She asked, sitting down beside him and grabbing his hand.
"Yeah, I have," He told her, finally turning to look in her eyes, "And I know that you really love me, and I'm blessed to have that...because I really don't deserve it."
She smiled again, thumbing the back of his hand, "Sure you do."
"Trish, this is the hardest decision I've ever had to make," Chris confessed, squeezing her hand tighter, "But I can't be with you." It wasn't hard to tell that she was on the verge of tears, "I love Stephanie, and it wouldn't be fair to you to pretend that I didn't. You're smart, and funny, and beautiful...and god Trish you're so many things that any man would want."
She looked down, "Just not what you want..."
He tilted her face upward, "If my heart didn't already belong to someone else, then I'm sure that in an instant I could love you." Trish did her best to smile at the sweet gesture, "You deserve to be put above everything else Patricia, I can't do that, but I really think you should give Jay a chance to."
"You know about me and Jay?"
Chris smiled back at her, "Yeah, and I really think he's the better man for you."
Trish knew that there was no changing his mind, no matter how much she wanted to. But maybe he was right, maybe she could find happiness with Jason.
Kissing her on the cheek Chris got up to go, "Friend's?" He asked.
She stood up beside him and hugged him tightly, her face nuzzling into his shoulder, "Always."
Not wanting to drag out the awkwardness any longer he left, besides...he another stop to make.
Taking his time he drove down the highway in Tampa, making his way to the Arena where that afternoon's show was being held. He knew that even thought it was early she would already be there, fretting over the line up and the production in general. Chris thought about waiting till after the live event to see her, but he couldn't...this just couldn't wait.
He parked his car and headed inside, starting his search for her. Deciding that there was far too much ground to cover in the arena on his own Chris instead opted to find the nearest backstage assistant and ask if they knew where Stephanie might be.
It was extremely frustrating when no one around seemed to have any idea where she was. He was just so damn anxious to find her, but then again he'd waited this long...he could manage a few more minutes. Pacing back and forth he waited for one of the production managers to find her location via walkie talkie, and when at last he found her Chris took off like his life depended on it.
But when he found himself outside of the room, just a door separating him from the one he knew was the one he couldn't seem to find the strength to knock. He had been waiting so long for this moment that he was so scared that at any minute he would wake up, and it would all just be another dream.
His hand ran down over the window in the door, peering inside he could see her sitting at her desk, berried in paper work, looking stunning with her hair pulled up tight, in the glow of the lamp light. Instead of stirring the image of perfection he slowly turned the metal knob and crept carefully inside.
She didn't look up until he sat down in the chair across from her, "Working hard or hardly working?"
Startled she gazed up at him in awestruck wonder, "Chris?" She whispered, seeming to be just as afraid as he was that this was all just some dream, that he wasn't really there in front of her.
His face was instantly taken over by a smile, "Stephanie," He said back, slightly mocking her.
"What are you doing here?" She asked, still sounding completely bewildered at the sight of him.
Chris just kept smiling as he stood up and walked around the wooden structure to get closer to her. "Well this pretty amazing girl left me one hell of a message last night..."
He cut her off, "I love you."
She stared at him, "You what?" She questioned. She was expecting him to tell her that he was going to stay with with Trish, not make that kind of admittance.
"I love you," He repeated, "Everything you said to me realise that no matter what, whether you ever left Paul or not, that it wouldn't change the fact that I can't live with you."
Pausing for a moment he tenderly touched the side of her face before lingering his finger down over her cheek before tracing the outline of jaw, "When you told me how you knew that what you felt for me wasn't the same as what you felt for him, how what you were doing wasn't fair...it just made me realise that I was doing the exact same thing. I was trying to make her into someone I could love, when I already love you. And as sweet and as wonderful as Trish is...I do not, and could not, ever feel for her... the way that I feel about you."
It was her turn to smile widely as she jumped up to wrap her arms around him, "The divorce papers have been sitting in my desk for forever, I signed them when I left your hotel room. And Paul was served with them this morning...soon enough I'll legally be single."
He squeezed her tightly, "You'll never be single with me around."
She pulled back to lock her lips with his, "I love you Christopher."
"I love you too Sweet cheeks."
Stephanie just continued to smile, adoring the sound of the nickname rolling of his tongue. Even if way back when he had dubbed her that she had hated, it was now the sweetest sound in the world.
Two women, one man, both had shared his bed, but only one had truly held his heart. One was practical, the other filled with passion, one was for comfort, the other fueld by intensity. Trish was a friend, and Stephanie was forever. Both of them were incredible, and both of them were different...but at the end of the day, he knew exactly where he was supposed to lay his head at night.