Disclaimer: The characters and real people don't belong to me. The characters belong to WWE and the real people own themselves. There is mild swearing in this story and maybe some adult situations later on.
A/N: So I was talking with Jodi (StephanieIrvine) about her story "Photograph" (go read it) and I said it made me want to write, so here it is. I guess I'm throwing my hat in the ring with a story about the picture between Chris and K squared. It's not really about them or the picture per se, it's totally different. Anyways, let me know what you think, I was really undecided on whether to post this so let me know if you want it continued, I hope you enjoy. Please leave a review. :)
She should've acted faster.
She should've leapt as soon as she heard, but she hadn't. She'd been trying to wait for the right time, whenever that was. She was all about timing. She wanted things to be perfect and right and she really believed they would be, but how could she have known that other people would leap at the chance too? Of course she'd known deep down that Chris was an extremely handsome man, but she figured he'd need time, that grieving period at the end of a serious relationship. She'd needed it when she'd divorced Paul. Hell, she still needed it and they'd been divorced for seven months already. It didn't help that her father was forcing her into a storyline with him.
She still wasn't completely over it, mostly over it, sure, but completely over it, not so much. It didn't help that she had two children with Paul, two children they shared custody with. There was another obstacle she'd had to think about, what was best for her daughters? Murphy wouldn't know any better. They'd separated before she was born so she would never know her parents together and that was for the best. She and Paul had been on steady decline since they'd become a couple. It had started off well and then every year she would assess and somehow they'd decline and decline. She didn't want to believe that her children were a way to save her marriage, but they had been. It wasn't them that failed though, it was her and Paul that failed.
She didn't think she wanted to jump into the world of dating so soon. It wasn't too long ago that she'd been dating around, but after a divorce, it just felt different. You had different values and different needs. Plus she had two very young daughters to worry about and not a lot of men would want to date her with two little girls in tow. Some men surely would, but now she had to preface every encounter with an "I have two daughters under the age of three." That could get awkward.
She'd always had a thing for Chris Irvine. It was difficult not to when they worked so closely together for so long. She'd often thought they had moments, moments they didn't let themselves give in to. Sometimes they would finish a scene and when they were commending each other for a job well done, they'd just smile and it was like a secret smile, holding in something for the future. They'd never given in, but she could tell, she could just feel that sometimes they wanted to. Sometimes their hands would reach out just the tiniest bit, but then would snap back and get back where it belonged at her side. His hand wasn't hers to hold.
They were friends, she'd at least say that. He was kind enough to include her in the acknowledgement part of his book and she had been the one to bring him back. It hadn't taken much of a stretch either, she'd asked him, told him they wanted him and while he wasn't exactly jumping at her for the chance he hadn't turned her down off the bat either. He'd taken a couple of days and agreed. Her father had been most pleased by that and she felt like she'd accomplished something. Plus, it allowed her to go out to dinner with him and he had been as much of a gentleman as she figured he would be.
Still, nothing could ever come of it because she was married and he was married and they ascribed to the rules. She had seen what adultery did to her father and she didn't want to travel that road. So she'd just figured never was the answer to her and Chris. It wasn't that she thought they were soulmates, but she wondered. Whenever they touched in a scene or talked backstage or laughed together, she wondered. Wondering could only go so far though, but then she'd heard he was getting a divorce and it piqued her interest. Maybe her and Chris could actually be an actuality and that excited her. Surely he'd think of her when he was single, maybe for just a moment that would turn into moments that would turn into him asking her to dinner or coffee or just to catering, she'd take it.
Then one night she was on the internet and decided to see what the gossips were saying today. She'd read something about how Vince had been the one to instigate this storyline with her and Paul and it was accurate so she wanted to see what other things people could dig up. It had to be common knowledge that she and Paul were divorced, but she wondered if anyone was saying they were getting back together. She'd laugh at those rumors if people were saying them.
She was just idly surfing when she saw a headline about Chris and Kelly Kelly, or Barbie as her real name went. They were out partying? Well, that wasn't unusual. She'd seen a clip of Chris karaoking with a bunch of wrestlers and divas a couple weeks back. She looked at them and they didn't seem out of the ordinary. She wished later she hadn't pried more, but she had and that's when she saw the picture of them kissing. Her heart dropped to her stomach and if she could vomit, she would, but she was more speechless than anything.
It wasn't like he was Stephanie's, he wasn't, but realizing that her chance had passed was a hard lesson to learn indeed. She should've swooped in when she had the chance and now she was stuck here looking at this picture and he was so obviously with Barbie and what chance did she stand? It was clear now that Chris had a type, blonde, petite, thin, very, very thin. Stephanie was brunette, tall, and she was thin, but not very. She'd had a difficult time losing the weight from Murphy and she was just getting to the place where she felt comfortable in her own skin again. How could she compete with Barbie? The girl was picture perfect.
There was a blown shot at something she'd wanted for a while. Oh well, time to move on and hope that she could find someone else. The sad thing was she never had Chris in the first place. If she'd just acted on instinct, impulse, but Stephanie wasn't an impulsive person and she'd wanted the perfect moment, but now it seemed Chris was off having the perfect moment with Barbie instead of her. At least he got to be happy. Murphy started crying and Stephanie sighed and got up, ready to face another day of being a single mother.
She was at the show later that evening, working, doing her job, all those good things that came with being the boss. She was subdued tonight. Her alliance (she wasn't going to call it a marriage) with Paul was really ramping up tonight. That meant that Paul would try and be all over her and she would try to get him away from her. He hadn't taken the divorce as well as she had and was still clinging, God how he was clinging.
Stephanie looked up from her desk and saw that Chris, of all people, had walked in the door. She gave him a smile. He was still her friend after all, "Hey, Chris, what can I do for you?"
"I was told you had the script for tonight, I know what I'm saying, I went over it with one of the writers, I just forgot how much time I get with it," Chris said, taking a seat across from her.
"Oh, I don't have the script right here, let me look for it, hold on a second," she said, fishing through her papers.
"How are the girls?" Chris asked.
"They're good, very good, Murphy's a handful, but I think I'm doing okay."
"Is it hard with just you most of the time?" he asked.
"Yeah, but I'm handling it. How are you doing with yours?"
"When they come over it's hard because Chey and Sierra are rambunctious, I'm sure you have the same thing with Aurora," Chris said, since Aurora was the same age as his twins. "Ash is really starting to get the hang of helping out. He's great with them."
"It must be great to have that extra set of helper hands," Stephanie replied. "Aurora tries to help sometimes, but she's a little bit flighty, which I think is typical for a three-year-old."
"Definitely typical," Chris chuckled. "Cheyenne thinks she's a different animal every day and you have to remember what animal she is that day or else she gets really angry. So where are your girls right now?"
"My mom's been helping me out with taking care of them. When I was with Paul, he liked having a nanny at all times and he talked me into one, but I never really wanted my kids raised by a nanny, you know, I'd rather raise them myself. I think he still has one when they're with him, or at the very least some kind of babysitter/nanny type thing, but I want to be as hands-on as possible so my mom has been helping with them."
"That's really nice of her, she's a busy lady."
"I know, but she'd do anything for her grandkids."
"They are adorable though. I saw Aurora running around with you earlier."
Stephanie thought back to earlier. She'd been in the parking area just outside and Aurora had desperately needed to stretch her legs after being in their car for such a long time. Stephanie had let her run around until she was tired. She'd even played a game of catch with the girl. Then Paul had come to spend some time with her and she had run to her daddy and left with him, leaving Stephanie sunning on the steps with Murphy.
"Oh, you saw that?"
"Well, she was kind of near the entrance," he laughed.
"I didn't see you."
"I snuck inside," he winked and there was that thing again, that moment, that little twinge where she could feel something more, but there couldn't be anything more right now. He was in a relationship and she was not keen on cheating, even if it was against someone like Barbie Blank.
"You should say hi next time, what, are you afraid of me?" she asked good-naturedly.
"Afraid of you, Stephanie McMahon? Why would I be afraid of you?" he joked.
"Because I'm your boss," she told him with a grin.
"Yeah, but you're the nice boss, not like your dad, he's the asshole. You're the one people go to when they want to talk to someone nice."
"You think I'm nice?"
"Stephanie, we're friends, at some point I was probably going to glean onto the fact that you're a nice person."
Friends, what a stupid, strange word. It was so broad sometimes. Yes, sometimes people qualified it with good or best, but still, what about everyone else that wasn't a good or a best friend? They were just friends of varying degrees, some jumping in and out of your life at random, some staying. But there was just no real way to define a friend because every friend was different, every one was a varying degree. And what was Chris? Was he good or best? She didn't know, maybe neither, maybe he was barely a friend, maybe he was bordering on acquaintance. She didn't want him as a friend though, but that's where they were stuck.
"Yeah, we're friends," she told him.
"Wow, that didn't sound convincing at all," he said, "we are friends, right?"
"Of course, of course," she told him. "We definitely are friends."
"Good," he told her, "because I'd hate to lose you as a friend, think of all the power you could get me if I really wanted some."
"Very funny," she told him. "Oh, I'm sorry, I completely forgot why you came in here." She grabbed the script. "Okay, you've got 14 minutes in your segment with Flair tonight. That should be a good one."
"Yeah, I'm going for authentic when I kick his ass."
"You too, I heard you're going to take a DDT tonight," Chris told her. "You sure you're up for that?"
"When am I ever up for taking a move, but I can handle myself, don't worry," Stephanie told him. "Thanks for asking though."
"Well, I don't want you to get hurt or anything," Chris said. "Isn't Randy going to kiss you too?"
"Yeah, when I'm out from the DDT. Paul will struggle against the ropes and be forced to watch and I'll just lie there while he kisses me. We think that'll make it really despicable on Randy's part and we're hoping it gets him major heat."
"Wow, kissing a guy's wife while she lays unconscious and he has to watch, how could that not get heat?"
"That's what we're thinking, you should teach him how to get real heat. You're the one getting the most heat around here," she complimented him.
"Thanks, I'm doing the best I can with what I've got."
"I'm really sorry about this storyline, we thought it'd be better and--"
"Don't worry about it," he told her. "You're doing the best you can. I know stuff fell through with the storyline and that's not your fault so I can't blame you for trying to squeeze me in somewhere."
"Thanks," she said, though why she said that, she didn't know.
"Well, thanks for checking for me and good luck with your thing later tonight," he said. "So after Randy kisses you, how many guys is that from the company that have kissed you on TV? Because I'm thinking it's like six or something because that's enough for me to break out a little saying I had."
"Don't you dare," she giggled.
"Oh well, maybe I'll recommend Randy use it," Chris told him, grinning. "I'll see you around, Steph."
She looked after him longingly. There didn't seem to be any spark of interest from his side and she sighed. Why should she have expected there to be? He had a girlfriend who made him happy so she should be happy for him. Surely she would find someone when the time was right. If it wasn't meant to be with Chris, it was meant to be with someone else and it was still such a short amount of time after her divorce maybe she should wait awhile until she really started dating again. She should wait until Murphy was older, that way they were more settled than they were now. Maybe when Murphy turned a year old.
She got up and wanted to go to the gorilla so she could watch the show from there. She liked to be on top of things. Her father was there tonight, but he had to stay off camera since he was still supposed to be injured, as was Shane. She was only scheduled to come on later that night, but she had other things to do. She walked down the hallway and thought about going to meet with Randy so they could really stage how things would go when she saw Chris again.
This time he wasn't alone. Barbie was with him. It always felt like she was insulting her when she called her Barbie, but that was her name and what she preferred to be called. She kind of looked like Barbie though so the comparison was apt. They were hugging right now and she turned away, unable to look at them for any extended amount of time. He was never hers, she shouldn't let it affect her, but still, she couldn't help but let it affect her because taken or not, she had a crush on Chris, or more than a crush, she didn't feel like exploring her feelings right now.
"Paul," Stephanie said with a sigh.
"Hey, I was hoping we could talk about what we're going to do later."
"Yeah, sure," she said, though she didn't want to talk about it.
"I was also hoping we could talk about next week…maybe we could go out with the girls?"
"Paul, I don't want to do that," Stephanie told him. "I know what you're trying to do and I think it's really noble of you to want to try again for the girls, but we did try again and we both agreed that it just wasn't working. I think we need to stick to that. The girls are already confused enough. If they see us together with them, well, Aurora's going to start thinking things."
"I know you don't want to try, but I was thinking about it again and I just thought that maybe we could just try one more time."
"And what happens when it doesn't work out again? We go our separate ways, Rora and Murphy get used to it, then we try one more time. We're going to get into this weird cycle and I don't want that for them, please, I just want to do our jobs and get it over with. I don't want to confuse our daughters. We have issues, Paul, we always have. I don't want to rehash them."
"You're right," he said, looking down. "I don't know, it just seems like we gave up."
"We didn't give up," she said. "We did try, but it just wasn't going to work."
"Yeah," he said, but she wasn't sure he actually believed that or would ever believe that. They were just two very different people who had gotten married and it worked for a while, but it wasn't going to last forever and their problems weren't going to be resolved, that was just the long and short of it.
"Well, I guess I'll go."
"Didn't you want to talk about later."
"I'll find you later, we have time," he said and it confirmed that he just wanted to try and ask for another chance. She hoped that this time he got what she was saying and would leave the issue alone. They could both love their daughters, but they weren't right for each other.
She turned back around to where Chris and Barbie had been, but they weren't there anymore. Her mind conjured up quickies in locker rooms. Why had Chris been elevated to his own locker room? She was regretting that decision right now. She should put him back into the communal locker room or was that too harsh? Yes, that was probably too harsh. Like she'd repeated to herself ad nauseum, they had never been together so she had no right to judge. She did have a right to be jealous though.
She went to the gorilla and sat down, intending to watch the show. Chris was up first so she could ogle him for a bit. While she had loved him in the vinyl pants he used to wear, she thought he looked exquisite in the suits he wore now. She'd actually suggested that change for his character and he had taken it to heart and she was glad she had thought of it because there was something so hot about him in those suits. He started backstage and when he passed her, he gave her a smile since he wasn't on camera at that exact moment.
Then he went out there and did his promo to perfection. There were few guys that had Chris's skill and even those that could were not as good as him. What was he doing with someone like Barbie? She was young, naïve, she didn't have any life experience. She just had a stupid smile and perky boobs and blonde hair that was probably bleached, she'd never seen pictures of Barbie as a kid, she didn't know. God, she was jealous of a 22 year old and she thought she was so far past petty jealousies.
While Chris was out there, one of the assistants had brought a wet towel out for him and Flair to wipe themselves off from the blood. Chris came back first since he had done the beating. Stephanie handed him the towel and he wiped off his hands and sat next to her. She wasn't expecting that. She blushed a little and was thankful for the darkness surrounding them. They were only illuminated by the desk light and the monitor in front of them. But what was she doing blushing in front of him like a little girl? She was a grown woman with children and a failed marriage; there was nothing she should be blushing about.
"I just wanted to see if Flair was okay," Chris said. "I don't want to bother you while you're working."
"You're not," she said, "not at all."
"Thanks," Chris said. "I think I got him good, like legit. I didn't mean to, but well, I just want to make sure he's okay."
"That's really great of you."
"You have to look out for people around here," he joked, bumping shoulders with her. Flair was helped back a moment later and Chris stood up. "Ric, are you okay?"
"I'll be fine, Chris, thanks," Flair said as Chris handed him the other towel. "I'm just going to see the trainer and get the cut bandaged up."
"Do you want me to come with you?" Chris asked, genuinely concerned that he'd hurt Flair.
"No, I'll be fine, Chris," Flair said, patting him on the arm with his free hand, "You did a great job out there."
"Thanks," Chris said, pleased by the reaction. Flair walked off and Chris sat down slowly again. "I feel really bad if I did hurt him. I might have gotten carried away…great, now I feel like an asshole."
"You're not," Stephanie said, wondering how to comfort him. He looked honestly distraught and she knew he knew that sometimes people got injured, but Flair wasn't an active wrestler and Chris must be feeling kind of bad about that fact, despite the fact that this was a planned segment. She dared to reach out and rub his arm a little. He looked at her gratefully. "He'll be fine. You looked awesome out there and you should be proud of yourself for the heat you're getting."
"You're doing great," she said. Stephanie was about to speak when Barbie came up.
"Chris, I've been looking for you," she said and Stephanie slowly took her hand off Chris's arm. She didn't want his girlfriend to get the wrong idea.
"Oh hey, Barb," Chris said and Stephanie cringed. He called her Barb. "What's up?"
"I was looking everywhere for you because I wanted to tell you what a great job you did out there. I'm like so proud."
"Cool, thanks," he told her.
"Hey, Stephanie," Barbie said sweetly. Stephanie felt the urge to smack her for stealing the guy Stephanie wanted.
"Hey," Stephanie said, but it was a strained hello.
"Well, I've got to go, Melina wanted to grab something to eat, she feels like fast food so we're going on a fast food run," Barbie giggled. "You want anything, Chris?"
"No thanks, I ate," he told her.
"Stephanie?" Barbie asked politely.
"No thanks, but thanks for asking."
"Okay, bye," she waved and Stephanie was surprised the young woman hadn't leaned over and slobbered her mouth all over Chris's. She thought they were one for public displays of affection seeing as how they had no problem posing for pictures with their lips smacked together like gross frogs or something. She'd been watching too many cartoons with her daughter.
"She's nice," Stephanie said, making idle chit-chat with Chris.
"Yeah, she really is," Chris told Stephanie.
"She's really improving in the ring too, I have to commend her for that," Stephanie said, trying to be nice. "She's young so she's got time."
"You really think she's getting better?" Chris asked, now turning fully to Stephanie.
"Yeah, I do, she's improving leaps and bounds."
"She is getting pretty awesome. You should turn her heel and put her with me," Chris told her with a laugh. "But she's really popular so I don't think she could be a heel."
"That's true, it's kind of hard once you reach a certain point, I mean, not impossible, look at Trish when she was with Jay," Stephanie pointed out. "I mean, if you wanted me to work something out, maybe we could…"
She just wanted him to be happy. They'd never been together so she just wanted him to be happy.
"Nah, she's doing really well right now so I wouldn't want to bring her over to heeldom," Chris told her. "Now you on the other hand, what is with you being a face? It doesn't suit you at all."
"Are you saying that I should turn heel?"
"I absolutely think you should, are you? Is that where the storyline is going with you and Randy?"
"You'll have to wait and see."
"Hopefully it'll go better than ours did."
"Well, Paul was the reason behind that."
"I know, I thought it could've been fun, pretending like all the time we hated each other we were really having sex. That could've been such a storyline, talk about build-up. I think I would've knocked that out of the park."
"Absolutely," he told her. "I think it would've been fun."
She thought so too…now she was stuck with Randy and Paul and she wanted neither. Randy was married and Paul was…Paul.
And neither one was Chris.