A/N: Kayfabe. Their tension was just too much to bear any longer.
Who were they trying to kid?
Chris's sharp eyes slid across the room slowly, following the couple that excused themselves from the conversation they were having to go out into the hallway. He felt his fist clench against the table as she looked over her shoulder at the man, her eyes sizzling. She smirked as the door shut behind them.
Chris shook his head.
She used to give him looks like that. Those looks that sent his heart pumping so fast. He was so afraid of her, then. She had so much power over him – so much control. He could barely meet her gaze.
Now she was giving Randy those looks.
Chris shook his head again.
Chris barely had the energy – let alone the will power – to tear his gaze away from the closed door. But he glanced at Ted, his mouth set.
Ted frowned. "What're you staring at?"
"He's lying." Cody sat down across from Chris. "He's keeping track of Randy and Steph."
Chris leaned over, shooting Cody an angry look. He was blocking his view.
"Why don't you just give up?" Cody unscrewed his water bottle. "She doesn't love you anymore. I know it's hard to wrap your inflated head around it, but – "
"She does love me." Chris's fist clenched again. "I know she does."
"Why don't you ask her?"
Chris blinked at Ted. "Are you really as stupid as you look?"
"What's the harm in trying?"
"Everything." Chris perked up when the door opened again. "Now, shut up. They're back."
Ted turned to look, cocking his head when he saw them. "Are you even sure they're dating?"
"Yes," Chris hissed.
"They certainly hide it well."
"What do you expect them to do? Put an ad in the paper?" Chris leaned forward, pointing quickly. "See what he just did?"
"With his hand." Chris pursed his lips. "He brushed her arm."
"Oh, he's in love with her." Cody rolled his eyes, standing. He raised his brows at Ted. "If you want to sit here and poke and prod at the tiny things they do, be my guest. I'm gonna go get ready for our match tonight."
"I should probably go with you."
Chris made a hissing noise, waving his hands lowly. "Did you see that?"
Ted looked up at Cody, half out of his seat. "Another couple of minutes couldn't hurt." Ted sat quickly, moving to Chris. "What'd they do?"
"He smiled and touched her back. And she gave him... " Chris smacked his fist against the table. "She gave him that look."
Ted glanced up at Cody, who shrugged and walked away. "What look?"
"That ardent look." Chris touched the tip of his tongue to his front teeth, his eyes narrowing. "She used to look at me like that."
"We used to have so much tension." Chris kept his gaze on the couple, but his facial expression softened. "Whenever we'd cut promos, you could feel it. It wasn't just tension, it was passion. It was fire."
Ted paused, then clapped softly. "Nice monologue."
"Shut up." Chris averted his gaze away from them. "Christ. I think they saw me."
Ted shook his head. "No. They saw me."
Chris's eyes widened. "What?"
"Randy's coming over here."
Chris fought the urge to roll his eyes, his fingers cracking loudly as he flexed them. He felt a swish behind him, and he glanced back, a flowery perfume hitting his nose.
Stephanie gave him a quick smirk, heading for the door.
"Gentlemen." Randy sat in Cody's seat, leaning back. "What's going on?"
"Nothing." Ted looked at Chris. "Right?"
Chris, fists clenched and head turned, watched Stephanie's every move, from the way she flipped her hair to the way her hips swung. He could feel his heart pumping in his head, that rope of anxiety tightening around his lungs as she looked up through her lashes, directly at him, as the door closed.
Ted looked back at Randy. "He's a little stressed."
Randy shrugged. "Doesn't matter any to me."
"That's good." Ted pursed his lips, tapping his fingers against the table. "You ready for our match tonight?"
"Right. Your match."
"Yeah." Randy shrugged again. "I don't really have to prepare for it."
"Well, that's... good."
"Guess so." Randy glanced at Chris, kicking him under the table. "Chris."
Chris rolled his eyes this time, turning his head slowly. "What?"
"What are you staring at?"
"Nothing." He stood up. "I need to go."
Randy raised a brow, crossing his arms. "Going to get ready?"
"You could say that."
Sitting in the dark was annoying.
Chris sighed again and leaned back against the couch, thumping his fingers against the arm rest. He'd been in the dark for fifteen minutes, at least, and he was starting to get a headache.
The door handle jiggled. His heart dropped into his stomach.
"Yeah, I decided it was for the best." The light flicked on. "No, I don't think that's such a good idea. Yeah, well take it up with Creative, then. You know how I feel."
Chris's leg started shaking.
Stephanie came around the door, her back to him, and shut it behind her, pulling at the button of her blazer. "Listen, I don't really have time to discuss the details right now, so do what I said. Talk to the writers."
His heart pounding, Chris watched her move toward her desk, leaning back against it with her phone pressed to her ear. She still hadn't noticed him.
"It sounds like it could work, I just don't know how. Or when." She straightened, pressing her hand to the small of her back. "Just... No. No, don't do that. What? Why? Because I said so."
Chris felt a smirk tugging at his lips.
"I already told you, I don't like it. Look, I have to go. No, I have to go." Steph sighed, shifting her weight to one foot. "I have to go. Right. Okay. Good-bye." She pressed end and stared at the screen for a couple of seconds, before she sighed and shrugged her jacket off.
"Tough day for the princess?"
She yelped and spun around, her eyes wide with fright. But when she met his gaze, those beautiful eyes turned to fire. "Chris, what the hell are you doing in here?"
"We need to talk."
"Chris, get out of here."
Steph scoffed, her mouth hanging open slightly. "Excuse me?"
"We need to talk. Or... " He stood up. "I need to talk."
Stephanie's eyes followed him, watching intently as he came toward her. "What's on your mind, Chris?"
"I need to know something."
"Does the name Randy Orton mean anything to you?"
Stephanie cocked her head sassily. "In what way?"
Chris twitched his nose. "Anyway you want."
"Okay. Yes, it does."
"Does the name Chris Jericho mean anything to you?"
"Great." He stepped closer. "What are you doing with Orton?"
"How is that any of your concern?"
"I'll explain in a minute." He paused. "Well?"
She sighed. "Chris, I'm really not – "
"Answer the question, Stephanie."
She looked away.
Chris nodded. "That's what I thought."
She shook her head. "Chris, it's just... "
"Do you love me, Steph?"
Her lashes dropped to the floor, then lifted, her eyes tired. "I need some time alone, Chris."
"I understand that. Do you love me?"
"Chris – "
"Look, you either love me or you don't." He grabbed her shoulders. "Which is it?"
Her lips were trembling as she licked them. "I don't know, Chris."
"Yes, you do." He stepped away, just to compose himself. He could feel his arms shaking against her skin. "God, you... "
She looked up. "What?"
He shook his head. "You... I'm so afraid around you."
Steph furrowed her brow. "Come again?"
"You scare me."
A small laugh escaped her lips. "Chris, you can't be serious."
"I am, Stephanie." He turned away, throwing his arms out. "You just... you freak me out. You have so much control over me. I usually ask myself, 'Oh, will Stephanie like if I do this? Will Stephanie approve of this? Will Stephanie get mad? Will she judge me? Will she be disappointed?' I can't stop."
Stephanie swallowed loudly and said nothing.
"And when I realize I'm doing that, I try to stop. I stop and I tell myself that it doesn't matter what you think. That I shouldn't give a damn about you."
"Chris – "
"Let me finish." He held up his hand, refusing to face her. "Please."
She nodded. "Okay."
He sighed. "I have this cloud hanging over my head. It's always raining on me, Steph. Just... goddamn it, make the rain go away. Make the fucking sun come out."
He let out a slow breath, then turned to face her. He could feel the heat rising to his cheeks when he saw the look she was giving him.
She blinked softly. "Are you done?"
Chris shook his head. "Not even close. But I'll stop." He stepped up to her. "Just one more question."
She nodded weakly.
"Do you love me, Steph?"
She hesitated, taking a deep breath.
"Don't lie." He held up his hand. "Don't lie. Don't lie to protect me, and don't lie to protect yourself. Tell me the truth."
She pursed her lips, then took a step forward, craning her head up to him. Her eyes were challenging him. "No. I don't."
He shook his head, half-smiling. "Bull shit."
He bent down and pressed his lips against hers, holding her against him tightly, even as she struggled. She fell into it slowly, and her hands found his elbows. She clutched onto them.
"Stephanie." He pulled back. "I love you."
"Chris." She shook her head, eyes closed. "Please, let me go."
His fingers dug into her sides subconsciously. "Stephanie. I love you."
"Let me go."
"Stephanie!" He shook her frantically. "Do you hear what I'm saying?"
"Yes!" Her eyes watering, she pushed at him. "Get out of here. Just get out!"
"Stephanie – "
Chris hurried for the door, turning back to look at her when he opened it. "Stephanie... "
She picked up a paperweight from her desk, hurling it at him. "Leave!"
He ducked, shutting the door. He was out of breath and his throat was burning, but he didn't have the energy to do anything else. He leaned his back against the door and closed his eyes.
He opened one eye, then both, looking up at Randy. "What?"
"What are you doing?"
Chris glanced at the door behind him. "Leaning."
"Funny." Randy raised a brow. "Could you lean somewhere else? I need to talk to Steph."
Chris contemplated fighting him. But he just stepped aside, nodding. "Yeah."
Randy gave him a weird look as he went inside.
Chris shook his head, walking away.
He could've told Randy off. He could've told him all the wild stories he'd had with Steph. He could've said why their promos were so hot, why their eyes said things words couldn't even describe. He could've told him all the times he'd said he needed to talk to her.
But he decided it wasn't necessary.
Maybe Stephanie did love him, maybe she didn't. No matter what, Randy was nothing compared to him.
After all, he'd practically invented that line.
A/N: I was listening to Wilco while I was writing this, so it might explain all the poetic things Chris said. Review.