A/N: Thank you SO much to everyone who read and/or reviewed this story, it means so much to me that you all stick around and read my stories, and this was no exception. I know I said a long, long time ago, that this would be a 2-parter at most, and I was so sure of that, but it's me, and I ramble, and I end up with 25 chapter stories, so thank you for staying with me on this journey. I hope you enjoy for one last time! :)
It took two years for Paul to start to thaw.
In the interim, he was civil, but only around the girls. Sometimes, Stephanie would catch him glaring at her, and she would simply look at him for a few moments before he turned away. She knew he was bitter, accepted it, and moved on. Paul did too, in time. He started dating again, and had a few short relationships, but was still single. He didn't hate it, he said to his friends, and that made it back to Stephanie, and he at least seemed content with his life.
The divorce got messy when it came to money, as she knew it would. Paul wanted a lot, and she had a lot, so the more he wanted. It made her regret not getting a prenuptial agreement, but in the end, things ended up fairly, and she was free from him. Chris's divorce went much smoother, and she was grateful that at least one facet of all this ran smoothly. With all the frustrations on one side, it was good to see the other not as bad.
Well, there were the kids, and that ran smoothly as well. While they had joint custody of the girls, Stephanie had them the majority of the time while Paul was on the road. Chris also had joint custody of his kids, and in a strange, but wonderful twist of fate, the man Jessica was dating was relocated to New York, and Jessica moved up to Connecticut to be with him, bringing the kids obviously, so they were close by.
Chris. That part was running smoothly too, so smoothly that sometimes she wondered if she was living in a dream because she never imagined it could be so easy to be with another person. They understood each other so well, and after dating for seven months decided two residences just wasn't going to work for them any longer. They ended up buying a house together with enough room to accommodate the children, and they were happy. They were doing well, and they were just happy together.
"You have the main event tonight so you better be ready," Stephanie said as she put some papers down on her desk for the evening. She handed Chris a script and he started to flip through it. "You're also cutting a promo before the match, oh, and you have to go to the production truck because they updated your entrance video, and they wanted your approval for it."
"Why?" Chris groaned. He had a promo tonight, and that meant he needed to jot down some notes and think about what he wanted to say, which would take up a lot of his time, plus he had to meet with his opponent for the evening, and this put a damper on his plans.
"Because they don't want you to look like an idiot?" Stephanie threw her hands up.
"I trust them, they do a good job, I have so much to do."
"You're going to make me?"
"Yes, and I'm going to go with you to make sure you do. Seriously, it'll be like two minutes out of your day, I think you can spare it," she told him, sending him a sarcastic smile.
"If I wasn't in love with you, I'd fight you on this, but you have access to me when I'm sleeping, and I just can't take that risk," he said, sitting down on the couch and pulling out his notebook for taking notes. "Now, I need to plan out this promo, and you need to…do whatever it is you do all day."
"Make sure that you and everyone here gets paid," Stephanie sat down in her chair. "Next week, I'm going to take the week off so I can spend it with the kids. Jessica is going on that two week cruise, so Ash and the girls will be with us, and I just think it's better if I'm at home for that."
"Sounds good," Chris said, starting to jot things down in his notebook. "I think the show can manage without you for a week. It's going to have to anyways."
"Yeah, I know, believe me, I know," Stephanie said, looking over the things in front of her. "The kids will be happy to be around each other though."
"They go to school together, so it's not like they don't see each other everyday," Chris pointed out, and Stephanie rolled her eyes because her boyfriend didn't see the difference. She didn't say anything though and let the room fall into silence as they both did their own thing. After a bit, Chris stretched his neck, hearing a satisfying crack before he stood up. "I need a water, you want anything from catering?"
"If they have cake, can you get me a slice, the bigger the better," she implored of him. He nodded, not saying a word about it, and left. Stephanie went back to her work when there was a knock at the door. "Come in!"
She didn't look up from her work until the footsteps stopped in front of her desk. She lifted her head, a smile ready on her lips until she saw it was her ex-husband. Her smile took on an air of forced politeness, and she leaned back a little bit. "Yeah, yeah, you're wondering why I'm here."
"Well, yeah, I am," she nodded.
"You look good," he said, looking down at her. "I don't think I've gotten to tell you, but you actually look really good, but then, you always did."
"A compliment? Wow, I never thought I would ever hear a compliment from you that didn't include some kind of backhanded insult, but I'll take it," she scoffed, and when he looked contrite, she actually felt bad, and apologized, "I'm sorry, you just caught me off guard, I mean, we're not exactly the kind of people who spew pleasantries at each other anymore."
"I know, and it's kind of sad, and I think the girls sense it, they're getting older, they're getting smarter, and it's getting a little sad that two adults can't talk like normal people anymore?"
"Yeah, it is," Stephanie admitted. There was always a chill when talking with Paul, and she always hoped that someday it would vanish, but it never did so she accepted it as the norm. It wasn't what she wanted, but she understood why it was that way. She betrayed him, and he had every right to feel that betrayal for the rest of his days if he chose to do so.
"Plus, look at you, you're having a baby," he laughed shortly. "You're happy, and I want you to be." Stephanie looked down at her stomach. She was two months from having her third child, this one with Chris, and yeah, it was probably time to move into the part of their lives where they could actually get along and talk like friends.
"I want you to be too," she told him.
"I am, actually, and I think that's part of the reason why this is so easy," he told her, "I'm happy, and you're happy, and so why can't we be happy for each other. I know I've been…an asshole for the past couple years—"
"I kind of caused that though."
He shrugged, "We weren't right for each other, but we're doing okay now, so let's try and be friends? I want the girls to see that we can get along. I'm not suggesting we go have lunch dates or whatever—"
"I think my boyfriend would be weirded out by that," she nodded.
"I would be too," he admitted. "I just want to be in a good place with you, is that okay?"
"It's more than okay," Stephanie said, "I really want that too, and I'm glad we're both on the same page."
"Thanks," he told her, "and now that that's out of the way, I was hoping I could have the girls for an extra weekend next month because it's my parent's wedding anniversary, and they wanted to take all of us skiing."
"Yeah, that would probably be great, I'll be almost to term by then, and it'll be hard with them anyways," Stephanie said, seeing that this was already better than it had been in years. Usually he would ask her sarcastically if he could see his children, but now it was downright amicable, and she was so glad for it.
"Cool, well, I'll talk to you later then, work out the particulars, but I'll see you."
"We have two daughters, we'll always see each other."
He laughed, "True, true."
He walked out, and Stephanie felt better. She rubbed her stomach a little and smiled, "That was your sister's daddy, and I think we just had a breakthrough, little girl. That could be very, very good."
"Okay," Chris walked into the room, "one large slice of cake, and one water for me. Did I just see Paul walk out of here, what did he want? To berate you for not having the girls there five minutes early last time you dropped them off."
"He was…nice. He said that it's time we start being friends instead of rivals, and he said that we're both happy," Stephanie told him. "I think we're going to be okay. It only took two years, but I really think that we're going to be okay."
"Congratulations, he decided to be an adult."
"Oh, stop it, you," she said, "come on, let's go check out this video before I devour this cake and take a nap because she's making me tired."
Chris held his hand to her, and she took it, standing up and wrapping her arm around his waist. "I'm glad he's happy though. It's about time he got to be happy since I've been really, really happy for the past couple years."
"I've been happy too," he kissed her forehead.
They arrived at the production truck, and opened the door, but it was empty. Stephanie made a noise of exasperation, mostly at herself. "I guess they're still in their meeting. Well, we'll just wait here until they get here, it shouldn't be that long."
"Hey, remember the last time we were both in here together?" Chris asked, wiggling his eyebrows around a little bit.
"You mean when we made out for everyone to see then spent the rest of the evening running around the arena trying to avoid my husband's wrath, that night?"
"Yes, the night we fell in love," he said, pulling her into his arms as he leaned back against the console. "Looking back now, we really got to know each other when we were stuck in the bathroom, walking around the arena, stuck under tables."
"That was a horrible night," she cuddled her face against his neck.
"That led us to each other."
"Stop being romantic, you've already done your dirty work, and you couldn't even do that right since I'm having another girl, and I really wanted that boy," she pouted, but it was light-hearted because she was thrilled for her new baby."
"Maybe with the next one," he said.
"Oh, you think there's going to be a next one, geez, at least give me time to have this one," she hugged him as he spun them around so she was leaning against the console. He leaned in and kissed her as she wrapped her arms around his neck. He smiled into the kiss, and she took the opportunity to deepen the kiss. "I love you."
"I love you too," he told her, "and you too, little girl. Don't want you feeling left out." He leaned in to kiss her again, and they lost themselves in their kisses, forgetting where they were and what they were supposed to be doing. Being with each other was right, and good, and if it took them being on TV for everyone to see them in order for them to see it, they were glad to do it. Chris pulled away and looked up. "Oh shit."
"We're on TV again," he told her.
"Oh God!" Stephanie stood up and looked behind her, but there was nothing on the screens. She turned to Chris, and he laughed, kissing her one more time.