Hey all! So I know I have NO BUSINESS writing anything new. But the ideas don't stop torturing me until I write them out, LOL. This is written so that it *can* be a one-shot. But if a lot of people are interested I've got LOTS planned for this. I'd basically blow this relationship up within a few chapters...but there's a major hang-up which you all can see based on what happens in the middle and end of this chapter. There'd be a LOT...and I do mean a lot of strong profanity because they'll practically hate each other (would have to bump the rating to mature hehe). But I think it'd make for a good, interesting fic. I'd take us further into the love-triangle (or should it be square, considering Trish? lol) and go from there. A different twist on the whole situation once I get to blowing stuff up :-D

Monday, August 7, 2000

Hunter groaned loudly as he pulled his and Stephanie's luggage through the door of their New York City apartment. They'd both been given the Rock Bottom after tonight's match. But if it had to happen anywhere, he was glad that it was close to one of their homes. That would make it easier to lick their wounds and get some peace.

Glancing over at Stephanie, he wondered when their reltionship would be peaceful again. Between the drama and misunderstandings involving Trish Stratus and Kurt Angle, it seemed like things were going from bad to worse.

So many public apologies had been given out between them over the last couple of weeks. God, he just wanted this to be over. He wanted to go back to only having problems with his opponents, not problems with his wife.

He held the door open for Stephanie, concern etched on his face as she slowly walked through the door.

In silence, the two of them got themselves situated for the night, unpacking as needed.

Hunter just happened to look up as Stephanie pulled her blue top up over her head. He snorted, "Feel comfortable undressing in front of me again, do you?" He asked sarcastically before taking his own shirt off and turning his back to her.

"Hunter...grow the hell up," she said wearily as she continued changing.

"Me? What about you? We're married and you've been kicking me out of the room or going in the bathroom to get dressed for days now."

"Well, I just stopped it. Didn't I?" She countered smoothly. "So you've nothing to complain about."

"The hell I don't! Don't think that showing some skin is gonna make me magically forgive you!"

"That's not what I was doing," she disagreed. "Besides, you forgave me in the ring when I apologized."

Hunter raised his eyebrows and decided to keep it to himself that he was pissed off that she'd put herself in harm's way to try to keep him and Angle from fighting each other. That conversation would lead absolutely nowhere. "So why the change tonight?"

Stephanie shrugged and sighed as she pulled on one of his large, comfortable t-shirts. "Because I'm tired of this. This whole battle of the wits or whatever the hell it is we're doing. The only reason I've been putting distance between us is to spite you and let you know that I was still upset with you. You asking for space earlier this evening was like a dose of my own medicine. It sucked. So I figured I'd take a step to end this."

Hunter cracked a small smile. "Mature of you," he commented appreciatively. "You know I said I needed space just because you'd done that shit to me last week, right?"

Stephanie nodded affirmatively and looked genuinely sad. "Yeah but that didn't make it suck any less. You know, being in the doghouse so to speak."

Feeling the last bit of irritation drain away to be replaced by a desire to comfort her, he crooked a finger. "Come here," he said with his hazel eyes twinkling mischeviously.

Recognizing the look on his face, Stephanie walked the few steps over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck.

Hunter leaned down and kissed her. They engaged in the embrace for a few seconds before he put his hands on the small of her back and yanked her closer. At the same time, Stephanie adjusted her hands so that she was gripping his back.

"Ow!" They said at the same moment, jumping back from each other as if the other was flaming hot.

They burst out laughing at the fact that neither of them would be getting what they wanted tonight due to their aches and pains. It was disappointing, but funny at the same time. They were far too battered and bruised for anything romantic to go down.

"Scratch that idea," Stephanie said.

Hunter twisted his lip as another idea hit him. Quite frankly, some ground rules needed to be set. And if they happened to work more in his favor than Stephanie's that was just fine. Knowing his wife, that was unlikely to happen. She was just as crafty and manipulative as he was. It was why they were perfect yet destructive for one another.

At the very least, this would be fun and a way to vent things in their relationship that they felt needed improvement.

"Well," Hunter trailed off and grabbed her hand in his. "We can't symbolize our make-up physically," he observed. "How about we put it in writing?"

Stephanie raised one perfectly manicured eyebrow. "Come again?"

Hunter led Stephanie deeper into their apartment until they reached the home office. He sat down in the leather office chair, pulling her into his lap at a position that wouldn't bother her back.

"Wait a sec. Just hear me out," he said lowly as he waited the few seconds for the computer to come out of hibernation mode.

Stephanie watched him curiously, not knowing what the hell he was up to. But his tongue was slightly poking out of the side of his mouth, indicating he was in deep concentration.

Whatever, she thought and decided she didn't particularly care what he was up to. At least he's not mad at me anymore. She adjusted her body so that her side was leaning against him more and her arm was around his neck and shoulder area. She rubbed in gentle, random patterns and pressed a loving kiss to his cheek.

Hunter turned his head quickly, to grin at her before turning back to the computer.

He created a blank document, centered the cursor and typed in "The Pledge" as a title.

"What's this?"

"A relationship agreement between you and I," he said simply.

Stephanie's eyebrows drew together in utter confusion. "Isn't that what our marriage vows were for?"

Hunter nodded halfheartedly. "We took the same vows as everyone else. With the divorce rates these days, clearly it doesn't mean much." Seeing that she was going to speak, he held up a hand. "Before you insist they meant something to us, let me remind you of the fucked up reasons we got together in the first place."

"Fair enough," Stephanie said and gestured that the floor was all his.

"This...is gonna be something unique. See now that we've spent time as an actual married couple we know what works and what doesn't. We know what pisses us off and what causes problems."

Stephanie laughed. "Hunter we're still newlyweds and active in the WWF. I'm sure there's some problems we have that regular people don't have...and problems that regular married couples have that we have yet to discover."

"But we're not a regular couple," he pointed out.

She shook her head and decided to get him to explain his idea better. "What exactly is the point of this agreement? What do you want it to say?"

"Things that we will and will not do, unless both of us agree on it."

"What if somebody fucks up and accidentally breaks it? Then what?"

"It's enforceable only when you or I...'invoke' the contract so to speak."

"So basically if I forget and accidentally break a rule, you have to call me on it for it to count?"

"Kind of."

"And then what?"

"You stop doing whatever it is because you're in breach of the agreement."

"What if I don't stop? Or you won't stop?"

Hunter shook his head. "Not gonna happen. That's what's unique about this. We're giving each other our word. When we sign this, we're swearing on everything we have ever and will ever care about. Neither of us would willingly breach the agreement."

Stephanie smiled at him, knowing he was right because they were both superstitious about swearing on things. In her mind, it actually wasn't an awful idea. In America especially, marriage vows were just something that people said to have the person they assumed they wanted. As soon as a huge problem arose or undesirable personality trait was discovered, people were ready to call it quits. It meant a lot that Hunter wanted to do something like this. Something that took their feelings, habits and dislikes into account. It was...more personal. Special. "Let's do it."

Hunter began clacking away at the keyboard quickly, putting in disclaimers and general guidelines. Apparently every single rule they added and had an "unless we both agree" attached to the end of it. That seemed fair.

Hunter spoke first, taking the lead. "During spats...no one requests space lasting longer than thirty minutes."

Stephanie laughed and nodded. "Agreed. During spats...no one storms off on the other."

Hunter smirked, knowing that that one was mostly directed at him. "Agreed. When traveling, we'll always share the same room."

That one was all on her. She'd moved her things to another hotel altogether after she found Trish Stratus bent over in front of him that one night. "Agreed. Addition to above rule...we'll also share the same bed." When Hunter got mad he didn't switch hotels, he just slept on the couch. In a way it was even more infuriating to have him so close, yet so far. He couldn't be out of her mind when he wasn't actually out of her sight.

Hunter nodded. He realized that thus far all of their provisions had to do with actually staying put to work on their relationship rather than leaving. Not being able to run out on each other was sure to make them talk issues out rather than stewing about it alone and prolonging the make-up process. "Agreed. Sex shall not be withheld as a form of punishment."

Stephanie looked at Hunter with both eyebrows raised.

Hunter shrugged and pecked her on the lips. "What? You want us to share the bed when we're fighting and you expect nobody to get turned on? You're somehow even more hot when you're angry! Plus all that aggression could make for-"

An eye roll was her reply, but she laughed a little anyway. "Fine, fine," she interrupted and relented. "Agreed. No separations allowed. All belongings not relevant to the task at hand must stay in the...dwelling...place," she finished awkwardly.

Hunter laughed. "Good one, babe. Let's see," he muttered while rubbing at his beard. "I know! No hugging Kurt-"

"Hunter!" Stephanie chastised.

"Too specific?" He asked with a grin that failed to look as innocent as he would have liked.

As a reply, she thumped him in the head lightly and he lifted his hands in defeat. "No intentionally provoking jealousy."

Stephanie's eyes widened unable to believe he had all but admitted to having been jealous. Ever since the drama started, that was one thing he had never done. He would just get angry, yell, make demands and say that he didn't trust Kurt. He never actually indicated that he was emotionally bothered by it.

But in any case, Kurt was sometimes her refuge. He was there to listen to her when Hunter refused to. He was never too busy to let her express herself or to offer her advice. It was hard to find trustworthy people in their business. When the rare opportunity for a real friendship presented itself, she had to grab hold to it. It wasn't her fault she got along with Kurt better than any of the divas - who were mostly out to use her to secure their careers or get close to Hunter. "No forbidding of friendships," Stephanie said easily.

Hunter glanced at her, prepared to object to the rule. But he'd sound paranoid if he didn't let her have that one. She hadn't specifically mentioned Kurt or anyone else he couldn't stand. And this also meant she couldn't forbid him from befriending whomever he saw fit. "No lying, misleading or lying by omission."

"No tearing up dressing rooms, hotel rooms or anything else we don't own and will have to pay for," she said pointedly.

While Stephanie's family had come to accept him, he knew it was solely so they could have her in their lives after all of the times they screwed her over. But he felt that they secretly hoped she'd just fall out of love and leave him. Having her vent marital frustrations was too perfect for them - too much of an opportunity to influence her and make things worse. "No badmouthing each other to family members," he said.

"No badmouthing or yelling at each other in public," Stephanie countered.

Hunter nodded. The world didn't need to see their dirty laundry. Knowing that he was having relationship problems might make his enemies think they had a shot to take him out. "No leaving home or the hotel without telling the other where you're going."

Stephanie nodded and wasn't at all bothered by the provision. It was nice that he cared where she got off to. It was certainly better than if he didn't give a shit about her absences. "No eating dinner apart."

Makes sense, Hunter thought. Their days rarely started at the same time. The evening was the only guaranteed time when they'd both be awake and done with whatever errands they had been on. He had no problem making sure there were at least a couple of hours per day that he set aside just for her. "No accepting drinks from strangers in clubs or bars."

Stephanie rolled her eyes. Hardly ever did a woman offer a man a drink. So that one seemed to only apply to her. She never did see what the big deal was. She would just accept the drink and come back to her husband. She didn't run around handing out her phone number or affections. It was just free liquor from some hopeful but stupid guy. But she'd concede.

She thought of all the time Hunter would spend watching old wrestling tapes. Whether it was for study or entertainment he would sit there for hours on end popping in the footage. If she wanted to spend time with him, she'd have to sit and watch it, too. She loved their business but sometimes she needed a break. She guessed that it was different for Hunter since he needed to thoroughly understand his adversaries in order to screw with and beat them. But still. Never again would she willingly choose to spend an entire afternoon on the couch watching matches of people she cared nothing about. "No hogging the television for more than two hours at a time."

Hunter pointed at her. "Hey! I'm not the only one that does that, you know. You've made me sit through boxsets of so many shows I can't even remember!" He exclaimed.

"Easy baby," Stephanie laughed. "Remember these rules benefit both of us. So I won't be able to do that...unless of course you agree that I can."

"Not a chance," Hunter shook his head and actively ignored the cute pout she was trying to persuade him with. "No hogging the shower for more than fifteen minutes," he added.

Stephanie's face fell drastically. She loved to take long showers, especially when she was washing her hair. There was just something so relaxing about the hot water beating down on her skin. "Hunter," she whined.

"Not budging. Besides, you'll get out of it if you ask me and I agree."

She sulked and crossed her arms over her chest.

"Come on don't be like that!" Hunter laughed, wrapping his arms around her waist. He made kissing sounds in her direction as he tried to press his lips any place that she'd let him. Every time he got near her face, she leaned away playfully.

Finally, he gave up and decided to settle on kissing her neck sweetly.

Continuing to ignore his roaming lips, she thought very hard. Their last few addendums were rather lighthearted. But when Hunter posed the idea, he was serious with his intentions. Lawfully, it only took one person to dissolve a marriage. So she had a big addition."No filing for divorce or separation."

Hunter stopped what he was doing and lifted his head. Stephanie turned towards him and he noticed that her expression was completely serious. He nodded in confirmation, signalling that he accepted that term. "What do you think of this one?" He asked. "No using this contract unless an argument or serious situation occurs."

Stephanie thought of the invisible clause requiring that they both had to agree for the rules to be otherwise. Most of their rules were playful and petty anyway. She nodded and gave him an easy smile. "Agreed."

Hunter typed in further guidelines as well as a place for them to sign and date the document. Apparently, they could add more rules to this thing as long as they both were present and agreed on it. Hunter saved the document to their desktop before shooting a copy to each of their personal email accounts. He printed two copies of the document and handed one to Stephanie.

They each printed and signed their name before switching so that the other could do the same.

Satisfied with the way the night turned out depite their sore bodies, Stephanie spoke up. "Wanna seal it with a kiss?"

Hunter adjusted in the seat so that she had better access to him. "Don't we always?"

They leaned in closer to one another, Hunter's hand comfortably rubbing her thigh.

At the last moment before their mouths would have met, Stephanie put her index finger over his lips. "Wait. One more rule? Even though it's not on paper?"

Hunter nodded.

"Never stop trying, no matter how hard it gets," she added.

Marriages were the hardest in their first year. While things had no doubt taken a nosedive in these last couple of months, there was still much hope. Another three months and they will have made it past the most difficult stage.

Things were going to get better. Easier. Smoother. They had to.

"You can bet your sexy ass I agree," he commented cheekily before finally kissing her.

One-shot? Or keep going? Number of reviews decides :-D. If you all choose for it to go on I hope you enjoyed the fluff...it'll come to an end shortly and begin to look more like the beginning of the chapter...but on steroids LOL.