A/N: So, many moons ago, I was reading some Smoochy fanfiction and decided that I could do that as well. So I sat down at my laptop (two laptops ago) and cranked out this short, simple opening chapter and posted it that same evening, not sure anyone would like it or even read it. Much to my surprise, people did read it and did like it and I decided I liked this whole writing thing and I would keep at it.
76+ stories later and my first story just kept going and going, but now the end has finally come. I'm not totally happy with this chapter, but I will leave that into the hands of you the readers. For anyone who has read since the beginning, thank you so much for coming on this crazy journey with me. It's been fun and long and this story will always, always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first and because of all of you, I still write this crazy couple who I might love more now than I did back then. So thank you and if you want to leave a review, please do so, but above all else, just enjoy. :)
"Yes, the talk," Shane said as he and Vince stood by the door, looking like they were mafia assassins and any plan at escape would be futile. The tuxes didn't help with the look either. Chris wasn't nervous though, how could he be when he was already married to Stephanie. Whatever they said were just words and he understood that they were going to be protective over Stephanie; he planned to be the same way over Tristan.
"Okay," Chris sat down and leaned back in his chair, then gestured towards the other chairs in the room, "have a seat and lay it on me."
"It'll be quick," Vince said, making no move to actually sit down. He jerked his thumb between himself and Shane, "We love Stephanie, we're her family and we love her."
"Understood," Chris told them.
"We don't want you to hurt her. She's already been through more than enough hurt in her lifetime and with Hunter…we just don't want her to get hurt again and we want to make sure you don't hurt her," Shane said.
Chris took a deep breath and then looked up at his family (though they had no idea that's what they were at this very moment). "I get it, guys. I get that you're protective of Stephanie and I get that you love her and I love her too. I can't promise that we're not going to fight or that we're not going to yell at each other or hurt each other sometimes, but at the end of the day, I love Stephanie. Whatever obstacles come in our way, we'll scale them together because that's what we've been doing. We've both made our share of mistakes in the past and there are going to be some in the future, but we've also learned from those past mistakes that whatever happens, we can handle it. I'm in this with Stephanie for however long I've got left and I know she is too. You can worry about her all you want, but I will take care of her and she'll take care of me."
Both men appeared to be more at ease and Shane stuck his hand out, "Then welcome to the family."
Chris stood up and shook his hand and then shook Vince's, thanking them both for the talk. When they were gone, it was just him alone with his thoughts. He thought all the pomp and circumstance of the day was pretty overblown, but underneath it all, it was a celebration of him and Stephanie and how could he hate that? It felt like it had been years upon years since they'd been locked in that locker room. And today didn't feel so much like an ending, but like a beginning and he liked to think of it as the start of something great (well, a couple weeks ago was the start of something great, but for dramatic effect, he made this day special in its own right, being that he could finally tell everyone he was married).
There was a soft knock on the door and he went over and opened it and was surprised to find Stephanie on the other side. She wasn't in her dress yet; she was wearing a pink robe and flip-flops, but her hair was done and so was her makeup. She smiled conspiratorially at him and stepped inside, hugging him tightly. He smiled as he hugged her back, holding onto her and feeling calmer than he had since he'd woken up this morning.
"How's it going in here?" she asked, then looked around, "why are you all by yourself?"
"Well, I was with Matt and Jeff, but then Matt was being a complete downer because he couldn't stop thinking about Lita and his failed marriage so Jeff took him out of here when your father and brother showed up to talk to me about how I can't hurt you, which I think is something that all guys have to do before their sisters or daughters get married. I better get my speeches for Tristan ready now."
She laughed, "They didn't hassle you too much, did they?"
"Nah, they were pretty nice about it, I plan to be extremely intimidating," he winked at her.
"Good luck, Trist," Stephanie laughed. "She's looking adorable by the way, you are going to fall in love with the both of us all over again."
"I didn't have to see her to fall in love with her," Chris said, "just knowing about her was enough to love her."
"And this is why I'm keeping you around," Stephanie said, pulling at the buttons of his shirt. "Do you think it would be awful of us to have sex right before the ceremony?"
"We're already married so who would care?" Chris said. "Not like we were all that careful before we were married anyways, I think Tristan is proof positive of that."
"You're right," she said, "and we have some time, but you're pretty much already dressed…"
"Clothes come off," he said, leaning forward and kissing her neck. He started to fumble with the belt of her robe and when he untied it, he pushed the garment off her shoulders, letting it pool in a heap of silk on the floor. He took a step back to look at her, "well damn."
"You like what you see?"
He looked at her in her corset and thong with nothing else on, "Um, yeah, that a yes."
Her cell phone went off in the pocket of her robe. She picked it up and she looked at the screen, seeing it was her mother. She pressed a finger to her lips to let him know to be quiet, "Hello, Mom."
"Where are you?" Linda asked. "We have to get you in your dress!"
"I'm just taking a walk, I'll be right up," she said, rolling her eyes at Chris, who leaned in to kiss her neck. "We're not even in a rush, Mom, we've still got an hour and a half before we have to be there."
"I know, but I want to make sure we're on time. I don't want Chris thinking that he's being left at the altar."
"I don't think he's going to think that," Stephanie said as Chris pressed his ear to the phone as well. "I think he knows that I'm going to show up."
Chris nodded and she shoved at him, but he just pulled her closer as he held her. She leaned her chin on his shoulder as she listened to her mother. "Well, just get back up here, please, you're kind of the one that we need to get this whole thing going."
"Okay, Mom, I'm coming back," she said, "I'll be right up there, now bye, Mom."
"Thank you," Linda said before Stephanie hung up the phone and pulled away from Chris. "I better get up there before my mom freaks out more than she already is. I'm glad we did it this way though. She wanted this so bad and your mom keeps crying in happiness. I wish I was down here and by myself like you, unless my dad started crying."
"No, no tears," Chris said, then kissed her cheek, "I don't want to ruin your makeup. I'll see you in about an hour?"
"Wild horses couldn't keep me away."
He thought he'd known Stephanie, thought that nothing could surprise him with her, but seeing her in a proper wedding dress was something else entirely. The dress was simple, a strapless gown that fell into a full skirt, but it was just the way she looked in it. The whole effect stole his breath away and when he saw her, if he wasn't sure before, he was sure as hell sure now that he'd made the right decision, that marrying her had been the absolute right choice. Her hand in his when she made it up to him just reassure him of his decision. He smiled crookedly at her as she mouthed hello to him and he mouthed it back to her.
The ceremony went by in a blur of words and smiles and clapping at the end when they were announced they were Mr. and Mrs. Jericho. Chris whooped it up, high-fiving everyone as he walked down the aisle. Stephanie shook her head at his cheekiness and when they were through the doors, Chris picked up Stephanie and spun her around, kissing her again. She giggled and held onto him, looking down at him as he grinned up at her.
"We're married…again!" he told her and she nodded enthusiastically. "So now we get to party?"
"Now we get to party," she told him as they rushed off to the limo waiting for them.
The room seemed to sway with the music as everyone danced and drank and ate and did whatever they were doing as Chris sat with Stephanie and Tristan at the head table. Stephanie was leaning her head against Chris as Tristan slept in his arms. She grabbed for Chris's hand and he turned and kissed the top of her head. The day had been tiring for all of them and they were glad it was nearly over.
"They look cute, don't you think?" Lita said, looking over at Chris and Stephanie as she and Hunter danced with each other.
"They look happy," Hunter said, glancing over at them. "I'm happy for them."
"Me too, it took them long enough to get it together," Lita said, tightening her arms around Hunter's neck. "You know, we planned them getting stuck in a room together, well, not me exactly, but I had a hand in it."
"So I have you to thank for getting a divorce and believing that Tristan was mine?" Hunter joked with her and Lita had the decency to blush over that. "Of course, if you hadn't done that, then I wouldn't be dancing with you right now and I wouldn't be ridiculously happy to have you."
"Nice one," she told him, leaning up and kissing his chin, then she looked around furtively. She knew that she was ready to commit to something with Hunter, but she was still keenly aware that Matt was somewhere in the room.
"It'll get easier," he said, kissing the top of her head.
"I know," she told him, "it's just going to take some time. I still…you know, it's just…"
"I know," he said, not making her say what she was thinking, "but I wouldn't encourage this thing between the two of us if I didn't think we could have something here, I hope you know that. I'm not in this to make Matt miserable or steal you away from him."
"I know, I trust you, strange though it may be," she laughed and leaned against him. "I do trust you. Isn't it strange how all this worked out? I didn't intend for this plan to end with me with you."
"Neither did I," he told her, "but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out."
"Me too," she told him, leaning up to kiss him softly, "me too."
Chris and Stephanie looked at Lita and Hunter and laughed at the two of them looking more lovey-dovey than he and Stephanie were. "You happy?" Chris asked.
"Absolutely," Stephanie said. "I don't think I could be happier if I tried. I finally get to tell people that we're married, we have Tristan with us and we're just disgustingly happy with each other, what could be better than that?"
"Um, getting you up to the honeymoon suite?" Chris whispered in her ear, pressing his lips to his temple.
"You'll get that soon enough," she told him, grabbing his free hand and giving it a squeeze, "and then tomorrow…"
"The rest of our lives?" he finished for her.
"I was thinking that we get to go on our honeymoon, but I like the sound of that too."
"Then the rest of our lives it is."