Disclaimer : Don't own any of the characters mentioned herein. This is pure fiction, written for entertainment only.
This is it! It's the last chapter and I thank all those who have stayed with me till the end. Thank you for your wonderful reviews and comments, I appreciate all of it!
I'll be starting a new fic after this, a Jeff/Batista pairing. Haven't got a title for it yet. Hope you will continue to read and review. Love you all!
Please check out "Never Be The Same Again" by Libby-Lee, "A Savior" by msnooky and "Last Night" by magz86.
It had been a long and eventful day. After the shows, Shawn and his family decided to fly back home but not before telling Mark to keep him informed.
Shawn had pulled Jeff aside, "Jeff, I need you to stay calm through all these. I know what you are thinking. You don't want Mark to go through the pain of losing his kids and you are contemplating of letting Mark go."
Jeff looked at Shawn in surprise, "How did you …?"
"You love each other. If you want to do the right thing, stand by him. At least he has you if he loses the kids. I know Mark, he will not give you up and he will fight Sara on this. Just let him handle it. You just stay strong for him."
Shawn then pulled him into a hug before bidding the others goodbye.
The guys checked into the hotel and arranged to meet at a local pub for dinner and drinks. Mark opted to stay in his room, telling Jeff to go with Matt as he had some private business to deal with. He would join them later.
Pressing a kiss on to Jeff's lips, he told him firmly, "Don't fret now, I have things under control. I can't tell you yet but as soon as I've got everything settled, I'll let you know."
Despite Mark's optimism, Jeff couldn't help worrying. He wanted to just stay in with Mark.
Matt pulled him along against his will, "Mark's got business to attend to. Leave him be, he'll join us later."
They met up with Randy, Glen, Chris, Kelly, John and Oscar at the pub and proceeded to order dinner and drinks. Glen immediately noticed that Mark wasn't around. He watched Jeff closely and noticed that he looked listless. Chris noticed too and both guys looked at each other, wondering if something had happened between the two.
Not missing a beat, Matt's eyes narrowed, Are those two teaming up together, that can't be possible, can it?
He leaned towards Randy, whispering, "Watch Glen and Chris, I think they are up to something! Don't let them get too close to Jeff!"
Randy gave a slight nod and glanced casually at the two. They were seated together. Now, that is odd, those two are usually at each other's throats! Frowning in confusion, he continued his observation and realized that they were watching Jeff like a hawk!
He kicked Matt discreetly under the table and turned his head slightly to one side, covering his mouth slightly with one hand to mutter to Matt, "They're watching Jeff closely. Be on your guard!"
They finished dinner and yet, Mark had not made his appearance. Jeff was getting restless, he really couldn't eat a bite and all he wanted to do was to go back to be with Mark. His demeanor didn't escape Glen and Chris' inquisitive eyes.
Jeff suddenly stood up, he wanted to leave but Matt pushed him down gently, whispering comforting words. He fought to stay calm but his nerves were on edge. He found himself starting to cry. Getting up, he dashed blindly towards the washroom, he didn't want anyone to see him break down.
Glen and Chris took off after him and were just a step ahead of Randy and Matt. They ran in and locked the door from the inside. They wanted to know why Jeff was so upset and knowing Matt and Randy, they would not get their answers without taking matters into their own hands.
Matt and Randy hammered furiously at the door, yelling at them to open up. Ignoring the commotion outside, both turned to look for Jeff but he was nowhere to be seen. He must have locked himself in one of the cubicles. Following the sobbing sounds, they stood outside a locked cubicle and looked at each other anxiously.
Chris was the first to speak up, "Jeff, it's me, Chris. Glen is with me. What's wrong Jeff? Why are you crying?"
Jeff sobbed even harder, he wanted Mark, only Mark. He didn't want to lose Mark, he couldn't! He wouldn't be able to carry on if he did!
Chris and Glen started to panic, they could hear how distressed Jeff was, but how were they going to get to him?
"Just let me break the damn door down!" As usual, Glen opted to just use brute strength to solve the problem.
"You dumb ass! The door will fall in and hurt Jeff! Idiot!" Chris wanted to strangle Glen for his stupidity.
"Watch your mouth or I'll shove my fist down your throat!" Glen growled at him.
Both gave each other frustrated looks and turned back to the problem at hand.
Glen decided to try one more time before he took drastic measures, "Jeff, please open up! Whatever the problem is, you can talk to us, we will try to help."
When Jeff continued to sob and it looked like he was not coming out, Glen made a decision and called out to Jeff, "Jeff, I'm going to rip the door off by its hinges. Stand back, you hear?"
Before he could enforce his decision, the door clicked and swung open. Jeff stood there, his face tear-streaked. He looked wretched and lost.
"Jeff …. ?" Both men spoke in unison. With a loud sob, Jeff ran into Glen's open arms.
Glen rubbed his back and spoke gently, "Hush now, what's wrong? You can tell us."
In between sobs, he related the incidents with Sara. Jeff poured out his innermost feelings, "He will be devastated if he can't get to see his little girls! I don't know what to do! I don't want to see him hurting but I can't bear the thought of losing him! He means so much to me! God! Why? Why is this happening?!"
Glen let him ramble, Jeff needed to let it all out! He held Jeff tightly against his chest and let him cry until he was near exhaustion. The long tedious day and the sleepless night before had finally taken its toll. Jeff sniffled as he rested against Glen, both his hands clasped against his chest.
Glen continued to hold Jeff, unwilling to let go. His heart ached so badly that it hurt. What Jeff had just told them in his emotional outburst revealed just how much deeply in love he was with Mark.
Chris knew that Glen was hurting, but they had to focus on Jeff now. But, where was Mark?
The main door to the washroom opened. It looked like Matt and Randy had got the management to open the door for them, and from the looks of it, they were enraged.
"Jeff!" Matt took in the sight of Glen holding on to Jeff and moved quickly towards them. Glen reluctantly released Jeff, but to his surprise, Jeff did not move away but clenched his shirt front tightly in his fists instead, refusing to let go.
"Are you alright, bro?" Matt looked confused when Jeff continued to cling to Glen.
Glen rubbed Jeff's back to comfort him and spoke soothingly to him, "Come on, Jeff, I'll take you to Mark."
Matt hesitated for a moment but finally stood aside to let them pass. The group left the pub and they took separate cabs back to the hotel. Needless to say, Glen had Jeff with him, together with Chris and Matt. Randy, Kelly, John and Oscar took the next cab back. Randy was taking in the news of the fight that broke out between Glen and Chris and was astounded to find out the reason for it from Kelly.
Hell! What a predicament! What is Jeff going to do? He was more than surprised that Glen didn't bring it up when they met earlier before the show. Why was that?He would have thought that Glen would be anxious to set things straight with Jeff. It suddenly dawned on Randy why Glen kept silent. He didn't want to put Jeff in a difficult position! That big lug is still in love with Jeff! Randy groaned, slapping his face with his hand. With the dilemma that Jeff and Mark were facing right now, the latest development only complicated matters for everyone! What a goddamn mess!
Mark was finalizing some details over the phone when there was a knock on his door before it opened. The instance he saw how distressed Jeff was, he ended the call and moved to take Jeff in his arms, asking anxiously, "What happened Jeff?"
Jeff wrapped his arms tight around Mark and big tears rolled silently down his cheeks. He was glad to be back in Mark's arms but was too emotionally upset to voice his thoughts.
"Calm down, sweets, don't cry, things are going to be fine," Mark reassured him. He waited for Jeff to calm down and placed a tender kiss on his forehead.
"I'm so sorry for neglecting you but I have been gathering information and consulting my solicitor. I think it's time to tell you what I have been up to."
He moved Jeff towards the bed and sat on it, pulling Jeff to rest against him comfortably. He smiled tenderly when Jeff cuddled closer and rested his head on his shoulder. Mark looked up and thanked everyone for taking care of Jeff. The guys knew they wanted to be alone and mumbled their goodnights and prepared to leave.
Mark stopped Glen and Chris as they were about to leave, "Glen, Chris, I want you to stay. Matt, Randy, I want you here as well."
Once everyone made themselves comfortable, Mark told them briefly what transpired between Sara and him at the ranch, "Sara gave me an ultimatum, either I agree to take her back or she will stop all visitation rights to see my children."
He paused to gather his thoughts before continuing, "When she told me that she wanted us back as a family, she wasn't excited or happy about it. That got me suspicious and I called her mother whom she visited a couple of days ago. I found out that she asked her parents to help her out with 3 million dollars!"
Everyone gasped, that was a lot of money!
Mark continued uninterrupted, "Sara told them that she had made some bad investments and needed the money to recuperate her losses. Her mother said that Sara was desperate but they simply do not have that kind of money on them. She asked me if I could help Sara out. I got someone to check on her claims and found that she lost almost 5 million dollars altogether!"
Mark sighed heavily, running a hand through his hair. Sara had got herself into deep trouble!
"She put up the house, the land and her brood of racing horses as collateral but they only fetch her 2.5 million dollars. She has a month to raise the rest or she will lose everything and made a bankrupt."
Randy interrupted at that juncture, "But this will work in your favor, Mark! When she becomes a bankrupt, you can file for custody of the children. The court will rule in your favor!"
Mark nodded, "Yes, I know that, but I can't do that!"
"And why not?" Matt asked, it seemed the most plausible solution to their problems.
"Because, I found out that Brian, her so-called boyfriend, was her investment advisor! He is just toying with her and bleeding her dry and she still doesn't realize it!" Mark snapped angrily.
It dawned on everyone then what was happening. That asshole Brian was just using Sara to line his own pocket! What a jerk!
"I can't believe she fell for that! She should know better!" Mark was just as furious now when he first found out.
"So, what are you going to do?" Chris asked curiously.
"I'm going to settle the debt for her," Mark said quietly.
"Mark? Are you sure? It may backfire on you! Don't you remember? She wants to stop you from seeing the kids!"
Glen interposed at that stage. He didn't approve of Mark doing Sara any favors after what she tried to pull on him.
"I'm going to talk to her. I'll settle all her debts on the condition that she releases the children to my custody! I already have my solicitor drawing up the paperwork for her to sign. I know she will not turn down my offer."
He frowned, "But before I talk to her, I'm going to pay Brian a visit. He needs to learn a lesson, a painful one! I'll make sure of that!"
"Hey, count me in bro!" Glen offered his services gladly. Whatever differences they might have with each other with regards to Jeff, they were still brothers, they were family!
Mark smiled at Glen, "Thanks, I'll bear that in mind!"
"Mark, why didn't you just tell me?" Jeff finally spoke up. His mind finally put at ease from what he had just learned.
"Oh Jeff, I'm still going through the details with my solicitor on the phone and I haven't spoken to Sara yet. I was planning to tell you later tonight."
He hugged Jeff tightly to him, "I'm so sorry for keeping you in the dark and making you worry."
"Oh Mark, I'm glad our problems would soon be over!" Jeff reached up to place a tender kiss on his lips.
Mark deepened the kiss and enjoyed the feel of Jeff's soft lips. When they break apart, he ran a finger lightly down Jeff's cheek, caressing gently as he looked down tenderly at his young lover.
"Jeff, I need you to listen carefully. No matter what happens, I want you to know that I love you very much."
Jeff looked up at him, a puzzled look on his face. Why was Mark talking like he was leaving him?
"You were with Glen before you came into my life."
Glen looked at him in shock. Why is Mark bringing this up?
"Through some manipulation on someone's part, Glen ended up losing you."
Mark turned his head to glare at Chris' direction. Chris gulped but looked down, shamefaced. Mark found out! Jeff looked bewildered, wondering what Mark was talking about.
Mark turned back to Jeff, "Just remember this, when the time comes for you to choose who you want to be with, I want you to choose with your heart."
He kissed Jeff on the forehead and got up, leaving Jeff looking lost.
"Chris, Glen, I'm leaving the two of you here with Jeff. You straighten things up here. Call me when you're done. I'll be with Matt and Randy in their room."
Mark gestured to Matt and Randy to leave with him. He turned back to give an encouragement nod to Glen who was staring at him in a daze. He closed the door firmly behind him. Whoever Jeff chose, he would go along with it. He loved the boy so much that all he wanted was for him to be happy.
As they moved to Matt and Randy's room, Matt asked him quietly, "Mark, what was that all about?"
Randy spoke up, "I just found out from John and Kelly on our way back here."
Matt looked at him, exasperated, "Found out what? Will you stop talking in riddles!"
The whole truth came out and by the time Randy finished, Matt sat stunned. He turned towards Mark who had remained silent throughout Randy's rendition of the story.
"How did you know?"
"John came to see me earlier and told me the whole story. I wanted to tell Jeff as soon as you got back."
"Mark? Are you just going to let him go? Aren't you going to fight for him?"
Mark looked at Matt, "Matt, lets get this straight. I love Jeff, Glen loves Jeff. The important question here is who does Jeff love? We will both fight for him but it is a lost cause if you're fighting for someone who doesn't love you back."
Matt considered Mark's logic. He shook his head, "So, whoever Jeff chooses, someone is going to get hurt."
Mark closed his eyes and sighed heavily, "Yes and that is why this is so painful for Jeff, Glen and me."
Three months later, at the wedding .………………..
Little Gracie, Chasey and Cheyenne were dressed in white lace and pink silk dresses. They were so excited to be the flower girls. Their nails were beautifully painted with lilac polish and their hair laced with tiny sprigs of white, pink and lilac flowers. Those little angels looked enchanting!
Cameron was dressed in a cute white suit, his inner shirt was made of soft lilac silk. He would be the most important person, considering he was the ring bearer. In his hands, he held the satin pillow which carried the two identical rings, a single diamond laid on white gold. The four best men looked dashing, all dressed in cream-colored suits and pants, their inner shirts a dark magnolia shade.
Jeff was nervous but so happy. He couldn't believe it, he was getting married! Dressed in a long white suit and pants, his deep purple inner shirt front had frills falling softly from the vee cut of the suit. His natural blonde hair had streaks of lilac and pink and he wore it down in soft waves over his shoulder. He wore a single white diamond laid on platinum on each ear. It was almost identical to the rings. A sprig of baby's breath and deep purple flowers, similar to what the best men wore, were pinned on his breast pocket. Smart white shoes with intricate designs completed the look. He looked simply gorgeous!
The other groom was dressed also in a smart white suit, but his inner shirt was a deep magnolia shade without frills. Instead, the tall handsome man wore a cream-colored vest on top the shirt. He also put on smart white shoes, simple but elegant. A sprig of flowers, similar to what Jeff had on was pinned to his breast pocket.
Everyone was looking at the two grooms with pride and love. Matt was feeling teary, his baby brother was getting married! Earlier on at the back, the two brothers had hugged each other tightly, reluctant to let each other go. Jeff had cried, telling his brother that he was going to miss him. Matt held back his tears then, he didn't want Jeff to see him crying. But now, he couldn't hold back. As the tears rolled down silently his cheeks, Randy moved quietly closer to his side.
"Hey, c'mon now Matt, stop crying. You're going to get Jeff started if he sees you like that!"
Matt sniveled, pulling out his handkerchief to dab at his eyes. Randy looked at Matt's forlorn face and whispered, "It's a wedding, for Christ sake's! Smile and be happy for him!"
"I am happy for Jeff! I .. I'm just feeling lonesome. Jeff doesn't need me anymore!" Matt started to tear again, he was now dabbing furiously at his eyes.
Randy hesitated only for a split second before he grasped Matt's left hand in his, "You still have me!"
Matt's mouth fell open, his tears completely ceased. Randy just grinned at him and gave him a mischievous wink before turning back to the two grooms, leaving Matt to his thoughts.
Everyone hushed as the priest cleared his throat. They were standing in front of the altar, the two bridegrooms waiting to exchange their vows.
"Dear families and friends, we are gathered here today to join these two men in holy matrimony. Jeffrey Nero Hardy and Mark William Calaway, please step up to the platform. The two men moved closer to the priest, standing side by side, facing each other. Both were smiling lovingly at each other.
"Jeffrey Nero Hardy, do you take Mark William Calaway here, as your husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part."
Jeff looked lovingly at Mark and spoke clearly, "I do."
"Mark William Calaway, do you take Jeffrey Nero Hardy, as your husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part."
Mark smiled adoringly at Jeff before saying, "I do."
The priest smiled at them before looking at the congregation, "If there is anyone here who objects, speak now, or forever hold your peace."
A moment of silence and the priest continued the ceremony, "Then, by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man and husband."
He smiled at Cameron, "The rings please."
Cameron moved forward and Mark took his ring and placed it on Jeff's finger. Jeff's hand trembled as he put his ring around Mark's finger. This is it! They belong to each other now!
Smiling down fondly at the newly-weds, the priest turned to Mark, "You may now kiss your groom."
Mark pulled Jeff gently into his arms and gave him a lingering passionate kiss. It was greeted with hoots and boisterous laughter and clapping. When Jeff curled his arms around Mark's neck and kissed back fervently, the roof almost came down with the thunderous applause and raucous laughter!
When they break apart, Jeff was visibly blushing and Mark laughed at him. He whispered huskily against his ear, "Oh my! My blushing groom! Wait till I get you alone!"
Jeff had no time to react as their friends and families surrounded them to offer their congratulations. Chris and Glen, the other two best men approached them.
Chris gave Jeff a peck on the cheek, "Congratulations to both of you. Jeff, you look gorgeous and the wedding was beautiful!"
Turning to Mark, he slapped him on the back, "You better treat him right or you will have to answer to me!"
Mark looked amused but accepted his blessings, "Thanks Chris, and no chance of that happening. I'll cherish him several lifetimes and more!"
Glen offered his congratulations next. The two brothers moved to hug each other.
Glen whispered to Mark, "I know you'll take good care of him! I just want you to know that I am happy for the both of you!"
Mark looked at Glen, "Thanks Glen, I needed to hear that!"
Glen turned to Jeff. They looked at each other for a moment and both moved forward at the same time. Glen wrapped him in a bear hug, lifting him off his feet.
"Oh Jeff, take care of each other, you hear?"
Jeff nodded, his arms encircled around Glen's shoulders, "I will and Glen? Thank you."
Jeff placed a kiss on his cheek, before releasing him. He was immediately surrounded by more of their friends and Glen lost sight of him.
Glen put a hand to his cheek where Jeff had kissed him, he smiled as his heart warmed with Jeff's show of affection. The ache in his heart was slowly diminishing. He had lost Jeff but he had gained himself a brother-in-law instead. And a damn cute one at that! Glen laughed at that thought, shaking his head.
Chris slapped him on his arm, "Care to share what's so funny?"
"Nothing you need to concern yourself with, Chris."
Chris grinned at him, "I was just thinking, if you would like to go out with us after the reception."
"Who is "us" and where are you guys headed to?"
"The group you see here, Red. My band is performing at a nearby club and Shawn and the rest of the guys promise they will come and lend me their support. So, are you coming?"
"Hmm, I guess I'll join you then."
"Great! Maybe I'll introduce some cute members to you!"
As both men made their way to rejoin their friends, Mark and Jeff stood watching them.
Jeff grinned up cheekily at Mark, "Do you think they will get together?"
Mark looked on amused, "It's hard to tell. You intend to play matchmaker?"
"Probably. One is my brother-in-law, the other my best friend. I really should do something to get them together!"
"Well, we'll discuss that later but for now, why don't you focus your attention on little ol' me?"
Mark grabbed Jeff by the waist, pulling him towards him.
Jeff giggled, "What do you have in mind, big boy?"
"Well, our little girls will be spending the night with Shawn and Rebecca …."
Jeff squealed when Mark lifted him into his arms, "So, I'm just going to take you home with me and play with you all night long!"
====================== THE END =====================
Once again, thank you all! With your encouragement, I have finally finished my first story!
Reviews appreciated …………………………………………