My heart was hammering as Randy walked me the rest of the way to John's lockeroom. This was the last thing I expected to happen tonight. I didn't want to fight with Paul this extensively. Honestly, I hadn't gone in looking for a fight at all, but now my head was thumping dully and I was vaguely aware of the harangue Randy had been on since we parted ways with Paul and Stephanie.
"Who the hell does that guy think he is," Randy grumbled angrily. "You don't put your hands..."
"Randy, stop," I reached over and grabbed his wrist. "I know you're upset. And there's gonna be all sorts of hell raining down when John find out, but its over. He and I are over, and I don't want to think about it right now. Trust me, I'm probably going to do enough thinking about it over the next thirty days. I don't even know how to tell John about this..."
Randy sighed, tugging my arm gently and pulling me against him. I wrapped my arms around his waist, laying my head against his chest.
"I'll come with you if you want."
I sighed, giving him a squeeze. "You're always just where I need you to be, Randy. Ever since the beginning of this Nexus thing, you've been right beside me. I appreciate that more than you'll ever know."
Randy kissed the top of my head. "I told you I always would be, Arianne. I meant it."
We started walking against, Rand with his arm still around me. Before we got back to the lockeroom, I tugged Randy to a stop again.
"Can I ask you a weird question?" I said.
"Of course you can." Randy replied.
"Do you think we'd be good together?"
"We? As in you and me? Us?" Randy pointed back and forth between us. "Randy and Arianne?"
"That's generally what 'we' means," I joked. "I'm just curious... as to what you think."
"I'm not sure, to be honest with you, Ari," Randy said. "There's been many times when I wanted to try and steal you away... but I just couldn't be that guy anymore. I respect you too much for that. You were happy with him and as much as I care about you and disliked him, I wasn't going to wreck what made you happy. I can't tell you whether we'd be good together or not. I only hope we could be one day if you make that choice."
"Would you ever want to try?" I asked.
"I don't think you should worry about this right now," Randy said. "As tempting a subject as it is, I don't want you to just jump into something new right away. That wouldn't look good on either of us."
I sighed but nodded. "You're right, Randy. I just asked out of curiosity."
"I know, kiddo. And we'll cross that bridge when or if we come to it."
I nodded again and turned to open the door to John's lockeroom. He was pacing the floor, still in his wrestling gear. He stopped when he saw Randy and I standing in the doorway.
"What took you so long?" He said.
I moved further into the room allowing Randy to follow me and shut the door behind us.
"There was an.. issue with the conversation I tried to have with Paul," I said hesitantly. "Do you remember me telling you what Stephanie said to use a few weeks back?"
"Yeah. Cause another scene and you both will be..." John paused. "Arianne. What happened?"
"It was a stupid argument I was trying to avoid having and he pushed it. I broke up with him and he didn't seem to want to accept that fact. Things just got out of hand." I said.
"You're leaving something out, Ari." Randy said.
"Not important, Randy." I said with gritted teeth.
"The hell it isn't!" Randy said. "I know you're trying to avoid upsetting John but he has to know."
"Why would you not wanna tell me something Ari-kid? We talk about everything." John frowned.
I sighed. "Stephanie saw or heard what happened. We're both suspended for thirty days."
"Arianne," John said, and the disappointment in his voice made me slump my shoulders. "You knew you'd be in trouble if you got into it with him again at work..."
"I wasn't trying to! It was so stupid! I told him I wanted to talk to him - later, not now - and he kept pushing it," Randy snorted and I jabbed him with my elbow. "I didn't mean for this to happen but it did. I've been given my consequences and I have to live with it."
John looked back and forth between Randy and I a few times, a perplexed look on his face.
"What else?" He asked.
"Nothing," I said quickly. "Nothing you need to worry about."
"Then it's something, Ari. What happened?" John said.
"The little bastard threw her into a wall," Randy interjected. "I saw it happen and wanted to rip his head off."
"He did what?" John said lowly.
"John. It's nothing. I'm fine. I don't want you doing anything and getting yourself in trouble over this. You either, Randy." I said firmly.
"I'm not gonna get myself in trouble, but I'm also not gonna stand for some scumbag putting his hands on my sister," John said and started pacing again.
"I'm pretty sure Randy scared the hell out of him already." I said.
"Not enough if you ask me." Randy muttered.
"Stop!" I said loudly. "Both of you! It's done. I just want to forget about all this crap and go home."
Even though it was a punishment, the first week of my suspension was almost relaxing. There were so many things I could catch up with at home. I finally moved everything out of the house I once shared with Paul and into the temporary space John and Liz had created for me at their house. I did all of the monotonous things I did whenever I had the chance to come home for a few days like laundry, and organizing the room I had at John's place.
Halfway through the second week though, I was starting to go a little stir crazy. After being on the road constantly for so many years, to be sitting still at home was driving me out of my mind.
One Wednesday, I was sitting at my laptop on the couch when my phone buzzed next to me with a text message.
'Hanging in there Cena girl?' Randy wrote.
'Going a little nuts being stuck at home. Apartment hunting today.' I wrote back.
A few minutes passed before he replied. 'Got all your stuff out of the other place then?'
'Yeah. Finished getting everything last week. Now I'm out of stuff to do.'
'I'll be home for a couple days starting tomorrow. Come hang with me.' Randy replied.
I paused for a few long seconds, staring at the text Randy had sent me, thinking hard before finally replying.
'Alright. Let me see if I can book a ticket.'
'Let me know. My treat.' Randy said.
'Thanks,' I sent back with a smile. 'I'll email you the details.'
'Cool. See you soon.'
I sat my phone down and opened a new window on my internet browser to search for airfare to St. Louis. I'd just sent the details to Randy when Liz walked in the door.
"Hey Ari-kid!" She said, dropping her purse on the couch. "Have you been here all day?"
I looked over at her and rolled my eyes. "I don't have anything else to do right now. I'm waiting to hear from a couple of places about apartment openings. Until then I'm kinda stuck."
"I know this has to be driving you crazy, being stuck at home and not on the road like you're used to." Liz frowned.
"Like you wouldn't believe," I sighed. "So I'm gonna go and hang out with Randy for a couple days. He's gonna be home."
"Oh really?" Liz giggled, sitting down next to me. "Did you just decide to go?"
"He invited me," I said, shutting the lid of my laptop. "We talked for a bit earlier and I told him I was going stir crazy not traveling for a month so he invited me to come down and hang out with him for the couple days he was at home."
"That'll be an interesting trip, won't it?" Liz said.
"Why would it be?" I asked.
"Think about this situation, Ari-girl. You just got out of a crumbling relationship and obviously you have a guy who is very much interested in you and you're going to spend a couple solo days - and nights - with him," Liz said. "And I'm not trying to insinuate that anything will happen but you're a big girl, Ari. You know the possibility and temptation is there."
"Nothing is gonna happen except me getting a little change of scenery before I go back out on the road." I said firmly.
"Honestly, there's nothing wrong with it if something does happen. You're a grown, single woman. No one can tell you you're wrong or anything." Liz said, patting my knee.
"I know, but that's not really the reason I'm going down there. I'm just... going." I said.
"You don't have to explain yourself to me, sweetheart, you know that. You don't have to explain yourself to anyone."
"I don't plan on having to," I said, looking down at my phone when it buzzed. "Mind taking me to the airport in the morning?"
"No problem, Ari-kid." Liz grinned.
John told me that he didn't know how to feel about me going to see Randy for a few days when I informed him that I'd be going. I told him that he didn't have to worry about it. We were just two friends hanging out for a couple of days. I wasn't sure why my brother and sister-in-law were under the impression that something was going to happen between Randy and I.
But that didn't matter when my plane touched down at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. I walked up the ramp towards the terminal, pulling the hood of my jacket and looping the strap of my bag over my head. I scanned the area, full of travelers and their families, looking for Randy. I reached into my bag, pulling out my phone to turn it on again. Once my phone booted up, I sent John and Liz texts letting them know I'd made it safely. I'd started to scroll through my contact list for Randy's number when I got a text message from him.
'I see you, little Cena.' And a smile.
I looked up, scanning the crowd again and frowned when I didn't see him. My phone went off again. Another text from Randy, telling me to look to my left. I did and then I saw him. He blended into the crowd wearing a black cap and t-shirt with jeans. I smiled, walking over to him and gave him a playful punch in the arm.
"You're blind, girl," He chuckled. "How was your flight?"
"Not bad," I shrugged as we headed towards the baggage claim. "Same old kinda travel ya know?"
"Yeah. Well, I'd love to say I've got a bunch of stuff planned for us to do these couple days but I really don't," Randy said, smiling. "I figured you could just use a change of scenery."
"Mhm. For sure. I never thought being suspended would be this... boring. You figure you'd get to be at home and chill but once you run out of things to do, you're like well fuck. What now?"
"Tell me about it. I've been there before," Randy said. "What's your bag look like?"
"It's yellow," I laughed. "I borrowed it from Liz, all I had were huge suitcases."
Randy chuckled and stepped forward as the embarrassingly yellow bag spun around the carousel. He snatched the bag from the claim wheel and slung the strap over his shoulder.
"I can carry that," I said, reaching for it, but Randy moved out of the way. "Seriously it's so bright."
"Hush," Randy said. "So, you ready to relax for a couple days?"
"Like you wouldn't believe."
I smiled and followed Randy out to the parking garage and to his car. Randy stashed my bag in the back seat as I got into the car and he followed soon after. He started the car and we were off to start our two days together.