I've been listening to this song quite frequently and yesterday I decided I should do a fic around it. The lyrics are from azlyrics and the song is "If you ever come back" by The Script. It's a little sad...that or my hormones or something are out of whack because even I got a little burny-eyed (nope, not a word lol) at a few parts. The rating of mature would be a bit much...but I used the "f" word a few times...just so everyone is aware! Enjoy and as always reviews are much appreciated!


If you're standing with your suitcase
But you can't step on the train
Everything's the way that you left it
I still haven't slept yet

Stephanie McMahon sat next to her current boyfriend, Paul Levesque at the dinner table. With the WWE's intense traveling schedule, it was rare that each hour of the day wasn't somehow planned. Even tonight for example. The dinner he'd prepared for them was romantic but still somehow blissfully simple. Lemon pepper chicken breast, angel hair pasta in some zesty tomato sauce, garlic bread and a nice bottle of wine. Paul wasn't much of a drinker; he cared about fitness far too much for that.

But for her he always made an exception when the meal warranted it. Tonight it did because it was his night. Meaning that they came to his home from wherever it was the tour currently had them. He'd cook and she'd stay the night. The only night they were able to do this was Wednesday's. That was the one day a week of theirs that was untouchable.

They always switched off. So next week they'd have been at her apartment.

That wouldn't happen. It couldn't. And now that the meal was over she had to let him know. She'd had to do this in person. She owed him that much. But when she stepped in the door, the meal had already been fully prepared. It was bad enough she was going to break up with him tonight. Wasting his hard work on the food would just make her feel worse.

And if you're covering your face now
But you just can't hide the pain
Still setting two plates on the counter but eating without you

After helping him clear the table and do the dishes, she calmly walked into the living room. Now or never, she told herself. Her heart was telling her to stay. And her history showed that she often tended to follow it. Sometimes that wasn't the right decision. She had to end this before they got in any deeper.

She heard the cabinet in the kitchen close, indicating that he'd put away the last plate. She wrung her hands together nervously as she heard his footsteps approach her.

They sounded...casual. Calm. A direct parallel to what she was feeling inside.

"Paul, can we talk?" She blurted out as soon as he entered her line of vision.

"Uh oh," he joked. "That's never a good start to a conversation."

Anxiously, desperately she laughed back. She had no idea why. This was going to be a terrible conversation and she knew that. Why was she bothering to somewhat dissuade his fears?

If the truth is you're a liar
Then just say that you're okay
I'm sleeping on your side of the bed
Goin' out of my head now

Paul let go of her hand and shot up from his seat on the couch to stand in front of her. "Why, Stephanie?"

Tears sprang to her eyes. He was very different from the on-screen character he portrayed. He could be a little cocky sometimes, but it made him come across as charming instead of as an ass. He was sweet, funny and patient. He'd never yelled at her before. She'd never seen him yell at anyone actually. The fact that her cowardice was making him act out-of-sorts was only making her feel worse.

"My Dad. He...well he took back his blessing. He said that we can't be together."

His hazel eyes widened. "Are you fucking kidding me?" He asked loudly. "I can't believe this crap," he muttered.

Stephanie's head dropped dejectedly, "I know. He's being such a-"

"No, no," he corrected. "I can't believe you, Stephanie."

"Me?" She let out an unsure laugh and gestured to herself.

"Yes you. You're a grown woman, Stephanie. You can do what you want. Date who you want. When you really care about someone, you fight for them. You don't just give up."

"What am I supposed to do Paul? Huh? If we disobey him he could screw with your career. Hell, he could fire you!"

"I don't care, Stephanie. It would be worth it. My career has to technically end some day. I'd rather it be taken away from me, in exchange for me having what I want."

"What – what do you want?"

"I want you. You know that."

Feeling horribly small under his intense gaze, she pressed herself as far into the cushions as she could go. He crouched down to her level and reached a hand out to her cheek.

"Do you want me?" He asked softly.

Stephanie closed her eyes. Why was he doing this to her? As if leaving him wasn't already hard enough on her. Now she had to deal with the combination of his wonderful scent and his touch. Two things that never failed to welcome her and make her feel safe. Make her feel complete and happy. She wanted to say no. Maybe then he'd let her go without trying to convince her otherwise. But before she could make her body obey her, she felt her head nod affirmatively.

And if you're out there trying to move on
But something pulls you back again
I'm sitting here trying to persuade you like you're in the same room

"So," he continued casually. "You know I don't care about my job. Not if that means I have to give you up. Do you really think your father is irrational enough to fire me – one of the main draws - for wanting to be with his daughter?"

"No," she admitted.

"Good," he said simply before retracting his hand. Feeling his familiar warmth leave her immediate area, she opened her eyes to see him standing a foot or so back from her. He folded his arms across his chest stubbornly. "So there's no problem then. Nothing to worry about. Right?" He asked.

Stephanie could tell that he already knew the answer. It was written in his body language. A problem definitely still existed and he was aware of it. He was just waiting for her to verbalize it. She wet her dry lips and stood up from the couch. "I'm worried about me, Paul."

His deep, rich laughter echoed off the walls of the house. "What, you think your old man will fire you for dating who you want? That's ridiculous."

She nodded her head to agree. "I just – I don't want the drama. It's too much. I'm already considered a 'less than' and half the locker room thinks I don't deserve my career. They think everything was just handed to me. Just all the rumors that float around about our relationship. And now this," she shook her head. "I can't take it anymore."

And I wish you could give me the cold shoulder
And I wish you could still give me a hard time
And I wish I could still wish it was over
But even if wishing is a waste of time
Even if I never cross your mind

"Oh." Paul glanced down at the floor and then up to the ceiling. He just...had to keep moving his eyes. Had to fight against the burning sensation he was starting to feel. He scratched at his temple briefly. "That changes things then."

"I'm sorry," she said quickly. "I just – I've worked so hard. Harder than most in the company because I have to prove myself that much more. I can't maintain a romantic relationship with our talent. It could ruin my reputation. Hell, it could ruin my career. And maybe I'll get nothing in return. I can't take that risk; I've worked too hard."

Why the fuck couldn't she have just come right out and said that? She was using her father's stupid, likely halfhearted decree as a shield. Because what she was really saying was that she didn't trust in him or their relationship. He was willing to all but commit career suicide to be with her. Because he knew that he wouldn't screw up his chance with her. He would give up his career for her in a heartbeat...because he had faith in them. But she wasn't willing to do the same. He opened his mouth to tell her exactly that, but, "I love you," popped out instead.

Stephanie's wide blue eyes stared back at him. "I have to go," she whispered before frantically gathering her purse from the floor and making a beeline out of the house.

The sound of his front door slamming snapped him out of the bewildered, mute state his abrupt yet true admission caused him to go into. He ran over to the door and yanked it open. "Next week it's your turn," he called to her retreating form.

She sniffled and rubbed the tears from her cheeks. Slowly, she turned around to face him. The porch light was casting a surreal glow on him. It made his golden hair and tanned skin seem even more so. "What?" She asked.

Easily, he smiled. "Just a reminder. Next week is your week to host."

"Paul," she began as slowly and tenderly as she could. "It's over."

He nodded his head in acknowledgement. "And then the week after that it's my turn again." He made a circling motion with his hand. "So on and so forth."

Deciding that he was in denial, had completely flipped his lid or was possibly just screwing with her head, she didn't reply. She turned and continued to head for her car.

I'll leave the door on the latch
If you ever come back, if you ever come back
There'll be a light in the hall and the key under the mat
If you ever come back
There'll be a smile on my face and the kettle on
And it will be just like you were never gone
There'll be a light in the hall and the key under the mat
If you ever come back if you ever come back now
Oh if you ever come back if you ever come back

"Hello?" Stephanie's voice greeted disinterestedly.

Paul placed the receiver back down into its cradle. It had been exactly one week since Stephanie left him. The McMahon-Helmsley era storyline was over and the roster was split into two different brands. Stephanie was the on-screen General Manager of Smackdown and had to travel with that show.

In order to cut costs after the split, Vince had decided that it was wasteful to hire a television producer who'd have to travel and do both shows. That would warrant having an extra person on his payroll.

So instead, he'd added to Stephanie's responsibilities. As far as backstage roles went, she was promoted from creative designer to television producer of Smackdown. Similarly, Eric Bischoff had been given the same role, but for the Raw brand. Prior to that he hadn't had much of an influence backstage.

If they were still together, this would have been Stephanie's day to invite him over and cook. But judging by the fact that she'd just answered the phone in her hotel room across town, she wasn't going anywhere. Not that it was surprising. Shane had told him what his sister's plan was. He had been one of the biggest supporters of their relationship actually. All he wanted was to see her happy and he didn't really care who the man to do that was.

According to Shane, Stephanie felt that it was pointless to fly back home to her empty apartment just for one night. What she failed to realize was that it was only empty because she'd made it so.

Now they say I'm wasting my time
'Cause you're never comin' home
But they used to say the world was flat
But how wrong was that now?

The following week, Paul sat alone at his dinner table. Tonight he'd kept it somewhat simple and made chicken tacos. He turned his head and stared at the empty seat to his left. The space that Stephanie would normally occupy. He'd started preparing the meal at seven as usual. He'd finished less than half an hour later. Still, he'd waited until almost nine to start eating. It would have been rude to begin without Stephanie.

But as time crawled on he accepted the fact that she wasn't coming. There was no phone call to see if he'd flown in to his city. No text to let him know she was running a little late.

God, every time he heard so much as a creak his head snapped towards the front door hoping that Stephanie was using the hidden key to surprise him. It was pathetic how much of a hopeless romantic he was. But he had to be to keep his sanity. He wouldn't ever give up hope that she'd come back to him. When and if that happened, he wouldn't be able to stand it. The shred of hope that any day now she'd walk back into his life was the only thing holding him together.

Paul rolled his lips together and closed his eyes in an attempt to keep the pooling tears from escaping. He pushed away from his seated position and grabbed at his hair. He wouldn't cry. Crying would be like accepting that there was no reason to hope. But there was. Love – Stephanie, was reason enough.

There was the possibility that she'd have a change of heart later tonight. The last thing that he would want would be for her to fumble around in the cold trying to find the key. The weather report warned of an approaching rainstorm. His tall, muscular frame walked until he reached the front door. He unlocked it and silently tried to make his thoughts reach Stephanie, wherever she was.

I love you. I will wait for you...as long as it takes, Steph. The door is unlocked for you. I know it seems stupid. But I don't care about what might get stolen. I can replace material items. But I can't replace you. I don't want to.

Paul opened the door and leaned his hands against the doorframe. His hazel eyes scanned the street in both directions. Stephanie wasn't approaching the house. And her car was nowhere in sight. The slick streets indicated that some rain had fallen.

He dropped his head sadly, making his blonde hair become a curtain over his face. He gripped the wall briefly before using it to push himself back into the house fully. He closed the door but didn't lock it again.

And by leavin' my door open
I'm riskin' everything I own
There's nothing I can lose in a break-in that you haven't taken

And I wish you could give me the cold shoulder
And I wish you can still give me a hard time
And I wish I could still wish it was over
But even if wishing is a waste of time
Even if I never cross your mind

I'll leave the door on the latch
If you ever come back, if you ever come back
There'll be a light in the hall and the key under the mat
If you ever come back
There'll be a smile on my face and the kettle on
And it will be just like you were never gone
There'll be a light in the hall and the key under the mat
If you ever come back, if you ever come back now
Oh, if you ever come back, if you ever come back

Stephanie never showed up to his house that night. When he woke up the next morning and she wasn't in bed beside him he still hadn't lost hope. But when he went downstairs and found that her plate was still untouched, he had no choice but to accept the fact that during this particular trip home she wouldn't be coming back to him.

Maybe next week, he had thought. But yet again, she hadn't gone back to her apartment the following Wednesday. And because of their polar opposite schedules, he hadn't even been able to catch a glimpse of her. The last time he saw her was the night she drove off into the night, carrying his heart in her hands. That's always what happened. But he had always thought she'd protect and treasure it. He felt like this time she had taken it with her just so she could throw it out of her window on the highway.

He wanted to see how she was doing. Wanted to know how she was faring after the breakup. Was she sitting around reminiscing about their relationship? Was she having regrets? Was she second guessing her decision?

God, he hoped so. He wanted to believe that he hadn't been all alone in their relationship. That he hadn't made up its grandeur all in his head. He loved her and everything about her unconditionally.

The way her nose would playfully scrunch up when he made a joke at her expense. The way her brown hair somehow always ended up splayed all over her pillow, no matter what style she'd worn it in when she laid down. The way the dimple in her left cheek made an appearance whenever she moved her mouth. But that the right one only appeared when she smiled. The way her long eyelashes batted at him sweetly and innocently whenever she wanted something. The sparkle her blue eyes would have whenever she looked at him. As if he was the only man in existence. But her eyes would get such a soft, adoring look right before her full lips met his in a kiss. Every inch of her skin was smooth and soft.

Paul recalled how the practically invisible, short, blond hairs on her arm would stand straight up when she was freezing cold. Right before he'd wrap his arms around her and she'd sigh contentedly and thank him for his body heat.

He wondered what Stephanie remembered about him. Fuck knows he remembered every single thing about her.

If it's the fighting you remember or the little things you miss
I know you're out there somewhere so just remember this
If it's the fighting you remember or the little things you miss
Oh just remember this, oh just remember this

And here it was again. Another Wednesday. His Wednesday. He placed an oven mit on and pulled the salmon fillets from the oven. He forked a piece and smiled at the fact that it was cooked to perfection. He'd let the fillets sit in a container of lemon juice and honey for about an hour. Then he'd sprinkled on a fair amount of parsley and a little bit of onion and garlic powder. It smelled delicious.

Stephanie would love it.

Moving the baking tray to the side, he allowed the salmon to cool off. He turned his attention to the pasta that had just finished cooking. He poured the contents of the pot into a strainer and shook it lightly until water stopped dripping from the bottom. He put the moist fettuccine pasta back into the pot and slathered it in alfredo sauce. He put fresh ground pepper into the mix and stirred it until he was satisfied with it.

His long arm reached up to the cupboard and he pulled down two plates. He opened the drawer next to him and pulled out two forks, setting them atop the plates. He put one serving of fish and pasta onto each plate and carried them into the dining room.

I'll leave the door on the latch
If you ever come back, if you ever come back
There'll be a light in the hall and the key under the mat
If you ever come back
There'll be a smile on my face and the kettle on
And it will be just like you were never gone
There'll be a light in the hall and the key under the mat
If you ever come back, if you ever come back now
Oh, if you ever come back, if you ever come back

Paul had been sitting at the table for ten minutes. The steam was still coming off of the fresh food. He was giving Stephanie another half an hour before he started in on his plate. He was particularly starving today, plus the aroma of the meal was making his stomach rumble.

He heard a noise – a squeak. But this one was somehow different than the other ones he'd pinned his hope on.

Without another moment's delay he stood up from his seat and walked into the living room.

Stephanie closed the front door and turned around to find Paul standing in the archway between the living and dining room. She used her index finger to wipe away the wetness that had spilled over her eyelashes. She swallowed hard to try to force her constricted throat to clear up. "Did you..." she hesitated and sniffled. "Did you mean it when you said you loved me?"

Paul had waited for this moment – waited for her to return for a month now. Now that it was here, he didn't want to screw it up by scaring her off with his enthusiasm. But he had to be honest. "I meant it," he said simply. He still hadn't moved from his position.

Stephanie nodded and clasped her hands together as she took a few steps towards him. "I got scared," she admitted. "My career...the business has meant everything to me ever since I was a kid. When my Dad said we couldn't see each other anymore, my first instinct was to tell him to go to hell. But I didn't say that. My thoughts scared me. That I really would be willing to risk throwing it all away for you."

She shrugged and looked a little lost as the tears fell down her cheeks freely. "So I ran. Paul, I'm so sorry." Silently, she walked the rest of the distance to him and placed her hand against his chest. Her big blue eyes looked up into his hazel ones pleadingly. "I'm in love with you. Please tell me it's not too late for us."

Paul grabbed her hand and led her into the dining room. Stephanie's mouth parted as she stared at the two dinner settings. He released her hand and touched the small of her back to usher her over to her seat. He pulled out the chair for her and pushed it in when she sat down. He leaned down and kissed her. "It's like you never left," he whispered to her when they pulled apart.

And it will be just like you were never gone
And it will be just like you were never gone
And it will be just like you were never gone
If you ever come back, if you ever come back now