Hey all! So, An idea has been brewing in my head for the last week or so. I know exactly what I want to do with this one plot-wise. It'll be short – no more than 10 chapters. Let me know if you guys are interested, by reviewing (Really, favorite-ing the story is awesome but reviews are so, so much better! And they motivate me more LOL). I've already started on chapter 2 of this one...and I'm also working on some ideas for "Master Plan"...so, I hope you all enjoy this – and if you don't, don't be shy to let me know! :-)
Stephanie smiled dreamily at her husband Hunter. This was exactly what she had in mind. Here they were, renewing their wedding vows, expressing the feelings to each other that they so rarely did. She loved this moment but at the same time, she wished it didn't have to be this way. Why was Hunter only willing to be open with her when their marriage was in a world of trouble?
It shouldn't be akin to pulling teeth to draw out the softer side of her husband. To get anything out of him it seemed she had to be beaten up, sick or he'd have to had fucked up in some huge way.
Things were going to change. That's part of what this was about. This was their fresh start.
"I see you for what you truly are..." Hunter began before taking a deep breath.
I know this is hard for you, but come on baby. Tell me how you feel about me. You have no idea how much I need to hear it.
"A no good, lying bitch!"
I-he-uhh-what? Her thoughts stammered as she blinked in shock. What the hell had gotten into him? She racked her brain, trying to think of what she'd done wrong this time. And came up with nothing. Over the past couple of weeks she'd practically been a saint. They'd been inseparable. And happy. Really, really happy! Hell, backstage he'd seemed happy. He gave her a gorgeous, new ring, ashamed at the one that had symbolized his love for her – though that ring was also great. They'd even had an intense kiss before they parted. He was fine then. Better than fine. He was fucking splendiferous! What the hell? Is he bipolar? She panicked inside her own head, not being able to force her mouth to say any of the things she was thinking.
"How could you do this?" He yelled at her.
"Do what?" She questioned. There, words! Progress. Keep with the forming of sentences. Her head was starting to hurt. A lot.
"How could you do this to me?"
"What? I don't what the-" she began and was cut off as her absolutely furious spouse continued.
"You wanted this so bad that you would lie? That you would use my emotions against me? That you would hire an actor to play a doctor?"
He's so angry...And he's not making any sense whatsoever! She screamed inside her head again. Back to square one, it seemed.
"You never gave a crap about us!" He accused her.
"Wait! Wait one damn minute" she began and was cut off as he waved his hand in her face dismissively.
"Well you won't have to worry about 'us' anymore."
Dream! That's it I'm dreaming! Nightmare, really. Worst, subconscious fears tend to appear in dreams. I'll wake up any - she pinched herself on the arm, felt the sting. Not a dream. Oh God. OhGodOhGodOhGod. Why is this happening? She was going to cry any second.
"Our marriage...as of right now it's over!"
Tears. So many tears were clouding her vision. She didn't understand anything. Not why he was doing this to her. Not why he went from blissfully happy and sweet to angry and cold. And the fans: why the hell were they cheering? She was clearly the victim in all of this. Sure she said horrible things over the years. But everyone should be pitying her – not egging her ridiculous husband on.
"We. Are. Through," he told her slowly. Stiffly.
Everything that happened afterwards was somewhat of a blur. Vince, her father had gone and physically provoked Hunter with a shove. Hunter knocked him around. Hunter then tore up the ring and all of the wedding decorations they'd scrambled to pick out over the last week. Her father got back to his feet, only to be pedigreed.
Red. Somehow, through the tears, she saw red. Maybe it was her anger at the audacity and irrationality of her husband. Maybe her vision was tinged because she felt like she was literally in hell at this very moment. Whatever it was, it compelled her to give Hunter a piece of her mind.
"You stupid asshole! What the is your damn problem? Huh? Why are you doing this?" She screamed at him.
Before now, she hadn't considered it possible. But, somehow he got even more angry than he was before. So angry that he grabbed her by the face and shoved her to the ground. When her body made contact with the ring, she looked up. She felt: shocked, hurt, angry, confused. Maybe more so shocked and hurt. Okay, really, really hurt – that was the dominant emotion, she decided. She flinched when Hunter threw his wedding ring at her.
Watching him leave the ring, words escaped her. Thoughts escaped her. Instinct just took control of everything she had inside and came out as a bloodcurdling scream.
I can't breathe. I can't fucking breathe this air...it's-it's toxic! It's awful. Drives people to do and say all sorts of nutty things. I need to get out here. Need to get out before the air corrupts me, too.
Stephanie had a plan. A good plan. If I know Hunter, which I do – well, better than most people anyway...is it possible to ever really know Hunter because I sure as hell did not see the renewal of our vows going down that way, she rambled inwardly. He's taking a shower now. Probably. And if he isn't, well hopefully he doesn't object to me retrieving my things. Maybe he won't be there at all. That'd be best. Except if that meant he's already gone to the hotel! What a disaster that'd be, he'd probably burn my clothes on the stove and toss them over the balcony into the pool. And do a celebratory ritual dance as he watched the fire die.
No, that's too much. He's not big on dancing. Or feeling anything other than irritation. And of course, glee when he gets to beat the crap out of people.
Hell, hurting people in general seems to be his most enjoyed hobby. In the ring and outside of the ring. To his opponents or to his wife. I'll be damned if he did not enjoy what he just did. How did I manage to fall so head over heels in love with this cruel, cruel human being? Just an asshole without provocation. Ugh! Stop thinking about him and walk faster.
Stephanie's face scrunched up as she cringed, letting her knuckles rap lightly against the door three times. Hard enough so that if he was in the room he would hear it, reply...and she could...well, run away most likely. She decided she'd rather buy new clothes and accessories before talking to him again. The knock was light enough so that if he – as she desperately hoped – was in the shower, he wouldn't hear it.
Letting out a relieved breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding, she turned the knob and stepped into their locker room. Quickly, she flitted around the room, throwing things into her duffel bag. In record time she was done. Zipping her bag, her head snapped up as she heard the shower water stop. She tiptoed to the door as fast as she could and slipped out, with Hunter none the wiser.
Vince half-staggered his way down the hall to her as she neared the exit of the arena. "Stephanie, there you are!" He exclaimed.
Slowly, she hugged her father, not wanting to aggravate the bruises that were surely forming. "I'm so sorry that you get beat up, Dad. I don't know what the hell is going on."
"Neither do I, Princess. But, I'll make damn sure we find out."
She shook her head. "I don't care. It doesn't matter anymore. There probably isn't another family in existence that manipulates, deceives and screws over its members the way ours does..."
Vince gulped. They'd buried the hatchet, right?
"But, in my 25 years of life, none of you have hurt me more than Hunter has managed to, in less than 3 years of marriage. More than he has managed to hurt me in the last 30 minutes, even."
"What are you saying, baby girl?" He had never seen his daughter look so defeated. Not even when he had revealed himself as the "Higher Power," admitting that he'd used her as a pawn in his game of chess with Stone Cold Steve Austin. She'd been hurt, no doubt. But, she recovered quickly enough to team up with her mother, Linda, to get him back. There'd been fire in her blue eyes, underneath the hurt. But now? She just looked like a wounded puppy. There was no fire, no fight.
"I'm saying I'm done with Hunter. I don't have much left in me emotionally. I-I-I've got to save what I have. Stop wasting my energies trying to save a marriage he clearly doesn't want to."
"Steph," Vince began, unsure of himself. He took a deep breath. "Stephanie I'm certainly no fan of Hunter, that's for damn sure. Especially not after what just happened out there. But, he is this child's father. From what I heard out there, it sounds like he thinks you lied to him."
"That's exactly my point, Dad," she shook her head sadly. "I don't know what happened – I really have no clue. But it doesn't matter. Whatever is going on, it's causing him to believe that I would lie to him about this. It doesn't matter what it is. The sheer fact that he'd rather give into that doubt and just...end us, speaks volumes. So, no. No, I'm done with him. That," she said, gesturing towards the direction of the ring, "was my last attempt at saving our marriage."
Vince nodded. That was understandable. "What about the baby though?"
"Oh, I'm keeping my baby...Hunter or no Hunter. But, I'm not going to initiate anything with that man. If, for whatever reason, he decides to seek me out someday to talk about this, I will gladly tell him he was mistaken. I won't purposely keep him from his child. But Dad – I told the man I was pregnant and look at how he acts. I'm done. I did everything I could. The ball is in his court."
"Steph...you know he's stubborn. If you're waiting on him to come to you..." Vince trailed off, shaking his head doubtfully.
She held up a hand, dropped her head. When she lifted her head, her blue eyes were filled with tears. "I know. I don't plan on holding my breath for that." She took a deep breath to calm herself. "I need to get out of here – beat him to the hotel so I can get my stuff without having to see him. Then I need to go straight to Greenwich and pack up what I need from there, too."
Vince's bulky, sore arm came around his daughter's shoulders as he pulled her close to his side. His heart ached for his youngest child as whatever had been holding her together, fell apart. She sobbed for what seemed like forever, ruining his dress shirt entirely. He wasn't quite sure what to do. He'd hated Hunter for a good half of his career. Respected his abilities, but hated the personality that accompanied those abilities. But, he had put it aside and come to accept him as a son-in-law because his daughter was absolutely overjoyed to be with him. And, Hunter protected Stephanie physically. Vince was grateful for that, as well.
But what was he supposed to feel about Hunter now? His only daughter was absolute wreck because the moron thought she'd faked a pregnancy. As much as he wanted to crush him, for the jerk he was, Vince knew he couldn't do it. Stephanie would never forgive him for it. So, he did the only thing he could: call and arrange the things Stephanie had asked for, while he tried to comfort her.
Hunter picked up his phone and scowled at it for the tenth time in the last hour. If he knew Stephanie, she wouldn't take this lying down. She would contact him – even if it was just to curse him out and remind him who she was.
When he got out of the shower, he had half-expected to see her perched on the couch, ready to try to talk her way out of the mess she'd created. He'd gone over several scenarios in his head. He felt reasonably prepared to fend off her mental games.
Much to his surprise, Stephanie was nowhere in sight. All of her stuff was gone, too. The fact that she'd obviously been within speaking distance of him and not...well, said anything...he wasn't sure how he felt about it. Offended? Maybe. Surprised? Definitely. But, there was something else there that he hadn't quite identified. He was still too angry to think about his feelings, beyond the obvious.
Whatever it was, it intensified when he reached the hotel, to find her stuff gone from there, too. Was she just giving up? What the hell? Stephanie didn't give up! She just...didn't! Stephanie was the most tenacious, stubborn woman he had ever encountered in his entire life. When Vince had her escorted out of the ring by security a couple months prior she'd left kicking and screaming. Literally. She'd plopped down to her knees and clung to her father's leg until security yanked her off. If she had been able to overpower security, she'd have stayed put. Physics – that was the only thing that could ever stand in her way successfully.
And that was for her career. A job. So, how could she give up on their marriage so easily? Especially when she was clearly the one at fault here. She lied to him. It was epic, really. As a wealthy man, with wealthy friends, he'd certainly heard of women lying about a pregnancy before. But Stephanie was never one to be outdone! She pulled out all the stops – hiring the fake doctor, flying him to Smackdown to "examine" her and conjure a sonogram. She'd put a lot of thought and effort into this. Then again, maybe the fact that they were married and had history together necessitated going all out for her fiasco. The other women he'd heard about had been flings and one night stands.
But still! She got caught. Her plan was foiled and he let her know it in the most humiliating way he could think of. As a McMahon, she was stubborn and proud – it was written into her DNA, for Christ's sake! He mused that on Stephanie's chromosome 17 or something was a little node that said: pigheaded, egotistical, megalomaniac. Somehow, someway she always managed to get just what she wanted. And if she screwed up her plot along the way, she'd bat her eyelashes, pout and act generally pitiful until you felt bad enough to give her what she wanted. Sometimes an apology wasn't even necessary – she was that good!
Yet, for her job she actually was willing to apologize – even if she did blame her actions of trying to overthrow her father's company, mostly on her brother. But for her marriage? Nothing yet. It made no sense. She made no sense!
No, her silence made no sense unless Stephanie had thought about the situation in its entirety and decided.
Our marriage isn't worth it, Hunter thought to himself.
And in that instant, he knew. And he didn't like it one bit – but, that previously unidentifiable feeling was pain.