She hung limp on the ropes, her dark hair obscuring her vision. She heard her opponent closing in and then a pummeling blow landed hard on her lower back. Eve pulled her down onto the mat, rolling her up into a pin. The ref counted one, two, three and it was over. The crowd cheered wildly as Eve danced around the ring, picking up her newly earned championship belt and proudly displaying it for all of the WWE Universe to see.
The official bent down over her. There was real concern in his voice when he spoke.
"Are you okay, Melody?"
"I'm fine," she snarled, rubbing her back and wincing in pain.
Eve made her exit amidst deafening applause. Once she was gone, Melody slid out of the ring. With great effort, she slowly limped up the ramp and through the backstage area. She brushed off several concerned trainers on her way to the locker room. Once inside, she sighed heavily and collapsed onto a bench, a radiating pain shooting through her lower back and down her leg. The pain and the agony over her loss brought tears to her eyes.
It wasn't supposed to end that way. It was scripted that Eve was supposed to win the belt that night but it shouldn't have come so soon. She could remember feeling dizzy and falling onto the ropes. Next thing she knew the match was over and she'd lost the title. It shamed her that a moment of weakness had made her look like a fool in front of a crowd that was already roaring with animosity for "Wild Child" Melody Wilde.
"You looked sloppy out there tonight."
She looked behind her and found CM Punk standing in the doorway, grinning ear to ear.
"Fuck you, Brooks," she said with a smile.
"Seriously though, are you okay?"
"I'm fine, I just got dizzy."
"It looked like you blacked out for a second."
"I said, I'm fine. Why are you so concerned anyway?"
He gasped and put a hand over his mouth in mock astonishment. "I'm shocked! You obviously don't value our friendship if you think I wouldn't come and check on you for inexplicably passing out. And besides, you know that CM stands for caring man."
"More like conniving manipulator," she said, grinning.
He frowned and walked the distance to the bench, sitting down beside her. Up close he could see that she'd been crying.
"What's going on, Mel? You've been acting a little strange lately to say the least."
"What do you mean?" she asked, wiping at her eyes.
"You haven't been yourself the past couple of weeks. You're making mistakes in the ring and you're dragging around like you've got the weight of the world on your shoulders." He studied her face as her dark eyes looked only at the floor. "Is something going on between you and Wade?"
She shrugged and continued to avoid eye contact. "We're fine. Everything's fine."
"You know you don't have to pretend for me."
At last she looked into his olive eyes. He was staring at her intently, that look of affection that he reserved for her alone.
"We've been arguing a lot. I'm pretty sure he cheated on me."
Punk sighed and rolled his eyes. "He's such a prick."
"Don't be mad at him," she pleaded.
"Don't be mad? Mel, he's making you miserable! I've never seen you so unhappy in all the years that we've known each other."
"We're trying to work things out. I love him."
Punk closed his eyes and sighed. He slid an arm around her waist pulling her into a hug.
"I know you love him, but you can't go on letting him hurt you the way he does. I can't stand to see you so sad all the time."
"It's going to get better. He just…" She dropped off not wanting to tell him the reason Wade had cheated on her. He'd been drunk the night he'd slipped off with some woman at the club and she knew this piece of information would send Punk into a rage. "We just had a misunderstanding."
He considered her carefully for a moment, knowing that she was holding back. "You know you can talk to me. At least promise me you won't keep holding all this stuff in. It's destructive and it's taking a lot out of you."
"I promise," she said, giving him a small smile.
The locker room door slammed open making them both jump. They turned around to see Wade standing in the doorway. He looked between the two of them, anger brewing behind his green eyes.
"Hey, Wade." Mel stood up and winced as another pain shot down her back.
Wade walked over to her and put his arm around her, supporting her weight. "Are you okay?"
He looked over at Punk who was still sitting on the bench, glaring up at the larger man.
"Can you give us a minute alone, please?"
Punk turned his hate filled eyes toward Mel. She shot him a look of warning.
"Sure," he said, sliding off the bench. He walked out of the locker room. Pausing in the doorway, he said, "See you later, Mel," and then he was gone.
Wade stared at the empty doorway a moment before turning back to Melody. "What's with that guy? I told you I didn't want you hanging around with him in the first place."
"And I told you he's my friend. I've known the guy for almost ten years. We've always been just friends and we're always going to be just friends."
"I don't like the way he's staring at you all the time," Wade said.
"You've got nothing to worry about. I only have eyes for you." She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him softly on the lips. He looked down at her and smiled, his eyes crinkling the way she loved.
Suddenly, his expression grew serious.
"Are you sure you're okay? Eve said you blacked out for a moment."
"I got dizzy. I'm just a little overtired I think. I'll be fine."
He pulled her into a hug, wrapping his massive arms around her.
"Let's get you back to the hotel so you can rest."
"Alright. Let me change and I'll meet you at the car."
Once he was gone, she showered and changed clothes. On the way to the car, she felt her cell phone vibrating in her pocket. She flipped it open to see a text from Punk.
I've got something to tell you.
The text puzzled her. What is it?
I want to tell you in person. Meet me in the morning?
She looked at the tiny cell phone screen wondering what it could be that was so important he had to tell her in person. Out in the parking lot, she found the car Wade had waiting and climbed into the passenger's seat.
"Ready to go?" he said.
"Yep. Let's roll."
She flipped the phone open again and keyed in her response. Sure thing. See you in the morning.
"Who are you texting?" Wade asked looking over at her.
"Just a friend," she said, looking out the window.
As the car rolled into motion she watched the scenery zip by and found herself anxiously awaiting her meeting with Punk in the morning.