So I realized that ignoring a fic idea won't make it go away. In fact, it makes it so that I can't concentrate on other fic. LOL. So here's the idea I've been repressing for a couple of weeks now. As far as updates go, I've got about half of the next chapter of Borderline done. I'll finish that, then work on Duality. DSDT I am perilously close to axing. The first 5 chapters just sucked so badly that it's ruining the latter chapters (i.e. making them not make sense b/c I screwed up the first 5 hahaha). So I'll let you guys vote it out, so to speak. I've got an idea for a WAN sequel, but there's noooo way I can take on that much fic at once and update consistently, while working (and still looking for another job and all the other stuff I've got going on)...let me know!

Thanks to Shannon for helping out with the title and for letting me bounce song ideas off of ya! The song is "Breathe Again" by Sara Bareilles. ENJOY! :-D


Hunter sat in the living room of his and Stephanie's house, staring blankly into the fireplace. Above it, on the mantle were various framed photographs of himself and Stephanie. He wanted to fucking hate her right now. But he couldn't bring himself to. Stephanie might have plotted against and manipulated other people, but very rarely did she do that to him.

The exception was when she purposely flirted with Kurt Angle, trying to see if he cared about her enough to be jealous.

Eventually, she'd revealed what her reasoning had been and she'd apologized profusely for it. It was never her intention to hurt his feelings. And she certainly didn't expect that he'd end up with an actual injury because of her. They'd had a nice, long talk about it. He'd only yelled a few times. But, everything was sorted out and they were okay again.

So, he failed to understand what the hell had just happened. He knew that they were fighting a lot lately. But how could she bring herself to lie about something so important?

Becoming a parent was one of life's greatest accomplishments. Stephanie had given that to him falsely and then it was ripped away from him just as quickly. There had to be a reason for why she did this.

But, he didn't know what it was. And he didn't know if she was sorry for it. He'd glanced down at his phone repeatedly, waiting to see her picture pop up on the caller ID. Waiting for her name to scroll across the top portion of the screen, in a text message. But, neither one of those things happened. The only thing that had changed since the last time he saw her was that she'd come here and taken her clothes and car. And she hadn't even done that to his face. He'd caught the first flight out this morning. By the time he got here, she and her things were nowhere in sight. Clearly, she'd purposely beaten him back here. And then she ran away instead of trying to sort their horribly damaged marriage out. It fucking hurt.

Car is parked, bags are packed, but what kind of heart doesn't look back
At the comfortable glow from the porch, the one I will still call yours?
All those words came undone and now I'm not the only one
Facing the ghosts that decide if the fire inside still burns

The previous night, Stephanie had taken her family's jet from Las Vegas, Nevada to Greenwich, Connecticut. She'd packed up all of her clothes and stuffed them into her black Infiniti sedan. It's not that she wanted to go. But at the time she didn't have any other ideas on what she should do. Hunter had made it very clear that he was done with her.

She wished she wouldn't have lied and told him she was pregnant with their child. Not because she got caught, but because it was wrong. It damaged her credibility in their marriage, so to speak.

When she'd gone out to the ring to make her announcement, she hadn't intended to say any of that. All she wanted was for him to open up. Quite honestly, she literally couldn't remember the last time Hunter had told her he loved her. Maybe she had gone about it in the wrong way, given the kind of guy he was. But her intentions were good. All she really wanted was to know that he still wanted her and wanted their marriage to work. In hindsight, her presentation had been awful.

Maybe he would have agreed to renewing their wedding vows under different circumstances. The only reason she had suggested they do it in the ring is because she was smart enough to realize Hunter wouldn't take time off to have the ceremony. Especially not since he had just returned from an injury.

But, when he declined her suggestion, she hadn't said that. She hadn't told him the real reason she came up with the specifics of the idea. Because he would tell her that she was being ridiculous in thinking his career meant more to him than she did. He'd blow her off like he always did recently. And absolutely nothing would change. Instead, she'd made it about herself. She'd talked about how people thought she was riding his coattails and they needed to prove them wrong. It was an attempt to appeal to the side of him that was protective of her and her reputation.

Of course, he'd completely and totally exploded. Because he'd made it very clear that everything was about him nowadays. God forbid she ask him to do anything for her. It didn't matter that she'd done any and everything she always could for him.

All I have, all I need, he's the air I would kill to breathe
Holds my love in his hands, still I'm searching for something
Out of breath, I am left hoping someday I'll breathe again
I'll breathe again

The whole truth was an option that would get her nowhere. The skewed truth got her screamed at. So, she'd told a lie.

As quickly as she conceived of the idea, the words that she was pregnant were out of her mouth. She was shocked to hear her own voice echoing the words throughout the arena. To keep herself sane and to make her realize she couldn't simply take it back, she started rambling about her non-existent pregnancy symptoms. She was all in now. Once the lie was spoken, she couldn't just retract it on national television. As pissed off at her as he'd been, that would have been a surefire way to get him to leave her right then and there.

Her plan was absolutely ridiculous. Once she got past the fake doctor's appointment, she was at a loss for what to do. She figured that she might tell Hunter the truth after they renewed their wedding vows. After she was convinced that he actually still loved her.

Open up next to you and my secrets become your truth
And the distance between that was sheltering me comes in full view
Hang my head, break my heart built from all I have torn apart
And my burden to bear is a love I can't carry anymore

Stephanie wanted to be angry with her mother for ousting the lie. But, really. What else could be expected from the virtuous Linda McMahon? Quite frankly, Stephanie needed some damn advice on how to get her husband back. And judging by the fact that her mother had been married so long, she must have had some decent insight on how she could begin to fix this fucking mess.

Her instructions to her only daughter were simple; meet with Hunter and bare her soul. So she'd written him a letter. It was a somber, apologetic one that merely scratched the surface of how she felt and what she wanted to say to him. She could only hope that he was intrigued enough by it, to actually show up. She closed her eyes as she recalled every line she wrote, from memory.

Hunter,

I know this may be hard for you to believe...but I really am sorry for what I've done. It was a fleeting, desperate thought at what might help us be as close as we used to be. I didn't intend for that to come out of my mouth. It wasn't planned. If nothing else, please believe that. And I know that it doesn't excuse the things that I said and did after making the pregnancy announcement.

I...want to explain to you what I've been feeling. What I've been thinking. I need you to understand how and why this happened. You have to know that I never meant to hurt you. That's the last thing I'd ever want to do. I just want to love you and be loved by you.

We drifted apart and it seemed like the gap would grow wider before it started becoming more narrow.

Please, talk with me about why that was the case. I'm begging you.

I know that you're in town and at our home. I'm at my parents' until Thursday afternoon. We're only a few miles apart from each other, so I know that this letter will reach you on Wednesday, since I'm mailing it out in a few minutes.

I'll be at our spot on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

All my love,

Stephanie

She'd sealed the envelope and jumped up from her bed. It was a shame that this one piece of paper would probably determine the fate of her marriage. With a heavy heart and watery eyes she'd exited the room of her childhood and headed down the stairs and into the living room. With her slender fingers, she'd grasped and turned the doorknob and stepped out onto the porch. Her blue eyes had looked up to the sky.

For some strange reason, she empathized with the sun. All she wanted was to be happy – to shine. But, there was currently a dark cloud dampening her spirits. What happened the prior night was merely the culmination of the downward spiral of her marriage. But things had been going badly for months. Whatever was weighing her relationship down needed to be talked about.

Even if Hunter wouldn't take her back, the least she wanted to accomplish was an understanding. She wanted him to truly know why she did what she did. And she desperately needed to know why he hadn't cared enough to try to save their marriage before he thought she was pregnant.

She'd taken a deep breath and headed down the long walkway of her parents' estate. She'd affixed the sealed envelope to the side of the mailbox, knowing that the mailman would take it. He always did; the same man had delivered their mail ever since she was a teenager.

Having done her part, she walked back towards the house and told herself that the rest was up to fate and Hunter.

All I have, all I need, he's the air I would kill to breathe
Holds my love in his hands, still I'm searching for something
Out of breath, I am left hoping someday I'll breathe again

The gentle breeze blew her chestnut hair behind her. She raised the mug and took a timid sip. Her facial muscles visibly relaxed as she found that it was the perfect temperature. Stephanie sighed and glanced down at her cell phone. It was fifteen minutes past 6.

Maybe he was running late. After the terrible thing she'd done, he probably figured she could stand to wait on him a little bit. That was fair.

A few minutes of sitting by herself at a restaurant where she'd already informed the server she was waiting for someone. That wasn't too embarrassing. At least, it certainly wasn't as embarrassing as the way her marriage imploded on national television. This was a walk in the park, in comparison.

"Please come, Hunter," she whispered as she scanned the street in both directions for him. He would at least have the decency to send a text message if he wasn't going to come. He wasn't cruel enough to leave her sitting out here in the cold for two hours.

It hurts to be here
I only wanted love from you
It hurts to be here
What am I gonna do?

Forty-five minutes later, Stephanie's impatience and worry won out. This cafe closed at 8. If Hunter was going to be any later than that, maybe they could switch venues. Or, if he wasn't coming at all, he could tell her and spare her the pain of sitting out here for another hour. She pulled her hands from the pockets of her leather coat. She picked her Blackberry up from the table and went to the thread she had going with Hunter. She tried to ignore the twinge of pain she felt at the infrequency of messages with him.

There was a time when they'd have an entire conversation via text message, if one or both of them wasn't able to talk on the phone. Shaking the thought from her head, she keyed in a simple question mark. She attached a random, candid picture of the two of them and edited her settings so that she would be able to receive a 'read report' on the picture message. That was something that she wouldn't be able to do with a simple text message. She took a deep breath and sent the message to him.

"Would you like a refill?" The polite masculine voice beside her asked.

Stephanie snapped out of her trance to see her server, Alex gesturing towards her empty mug. Dimly, she nodded and turned her attention back to the pedestrian traffic.

A few minutes later, Alex placed her mug back down on the coaster. Stephanie looked up from her cell phone and nodded her thanks, staring into the handsome youngster's dark brown eyes. Alex couldn't have been more than nineteen years old. His shaggy, brown mop of hair was being blown across his forehead in accordance with the wind. He pressed his lips together thoughtfully and Stephanie knew he wanted to inquire about her no-show companion.

Saving them both from the uncomfortable situation, her phone buzzed against the table. She engaged the menu and saw that the report had arrived. Hunter had both received and read her message. There was nothing to do now but wait.

All I have, all I need, he's the air I would kill to breathe
Holds my love in his hands, still I'm searching
All I have, all I need, he's the air I would kill to breathe

Stephanie's chair scraped against the concrete as she moved to stand up. The cafe was closing. She left a twenty dollar bill on the table. It was enough to cover her two caffeinated drinks as well as a hefty tip. She stuffed her phone and hands into her jacket and started walking down the street. She sniffled and reached up with one hand, to wipe at her eyes furiously.

Not only did Hunter not show up, but he didn't call or even text her back either. Her chest felt like it was being crushed under a boulder. The torrent of tears wanted to start, but she was trying to fight it. But that didn't stop the hyperventilating. She took desperate gulps of air in an attempt to soothe her scarred, burning senses. Really, she wanted to hang her head low to avoid the probing gazes of strangers.

But there was a slim chance that Hunter had planned it to happen this way. That he wanted to wait until the last possible moment to meet up with her. So, she kept her head held as high as she could manage, continuing to be on the lookout for him.

Only when she was safely inside her car did she give up hope and break completely.

Holds my love in his hands, still I'm searching for something
Out of breath, I am left hoping someday I'll breathe again
I'll breathe again

Not more than fifteen miles away, Hunter continued to scowl at his phone. A picture and a fucking question mark. That's all she had to say for herself after everything that happened. Yet again, she'd sank to a level he didn't know was possible. If this was an attempt at an apology, it absolutely sucked. No way was this going to make him take her back or even initiate a dialogue with her.

Stephanie was a selfish, arrogant brat and she could go straight to hell if she thought that's all it would take to redeem herself.


While I've got ideas, I've got nothing written for future chapters. I can continue this and expand it to about 5-10 chapters (would involve Steph attempting to ruin him with Y2J...but in a kind of rewrite of history)...or I can leave it as a one-shot. You guys decide! :-D