Hey everybody! I'm so sorry about the delay in updating. My internet has been coming and going over the last week, and I got it back just in time to finish this latest chapter. Hope everyone enjoys and again, sorry for the delay!
The Kiss Of Death
"The stars are really pretty tonight, aren't they?"
Her words snapped him out of his momentary trance, his eyes wandering down to the tiny brunette who was currently fidgeting against him as they sat in the empty bleachers of Wrigley Field. The Cubs game had ended an hour ago, with the home team pulling out a 6-5 victory over the Houston Astros in extra innings. Being the huge fan that he was, he knew some of the people who maintained the stadium on a daily basis and they let him stay behind after home games in exchange for a few pictures and autographs. It was a fair trade off, especially at a time like this, when he had company. More often than not, he'd bring Colt, or another friend of his, but never a female, unless it was one of his sisters. So yeah, having all of Wrigley Field to himself was a nice little perk of being the favorite son of Chicago.
"Eh, they're alright. Not as nice as this though", he said, motioning to the empty seats surrounding them. "I'll take this over some cliche looking stars any night."
"You didn't need to do this", she whispered, leaning her head against his side. "Everything we've done today was enough."
"Think of it as my way of saying thank you for coming out here", he said, shrugging his shoulders as he removed his hat and ran a hand through his hair. He thought back to Monday night, when he called her and asked her to come out here with him. At first, he thought he had made a horrible mistake, that he should have just left her and Daniel alone, and that his lack of judgment would come back to kick his teeth down his throat. Then he thought that hell, maybe it was a good idea afterall, maybe he'd get somewhere with this crazy chick, and he could get some of the things he wanted to say off of his chest.
"You still didn't need to get the entire stadium to ourselves", she said, turning her head to bury her face in the fabric of his jersey. "I mean, don't get me wrong, this is...unbelievable and so awesome...I just wish that there was a way that I could repay you for all of this."
He looked down at her and stifled a chuckle. "There isn't one, and if there was, there'd be no way that I'd let you try such a thing. You're pretty much out of luck", he said as he looked down at the deserted baseball diamond from his seat in center field. "Then again-"
"Luck is for losers", she finished the sentence for him, earning a smile from him as she looked up into his eyes. AJ breathed a contented sigh as she dug her head further and further into the side of his body, trying to locate the perfect resting spot for her head on his chiseled body. "This really is wonderful, though. Just you and me...", she trailed off, staring up into the dark skies above.
"Well, you, me, those stars you like so much, and the ghosts of Wrigley's past", he responded back with. "Sometimes I feel like I can still see Bartman screwing everything up for everyone down there by the left field wall. And before you ask, yes, us Cubs fans won't let it go and never will."
She laughed at the conviction in Punk's voice as he spoke about his beloved Cubs. "I wasn't gonna ask, but I'll remember that the next time we talk about baseball. Thanks for the heads up", she said, a giggle escaping her lips, still digging her head around before finally finding the perfect spot, right underneath his arm and up against his rib cage. Her eyes fluttered for a second as she lay there, feeling the slow beating of his heart and the subtle rise of his chest with every breath he took. If this was heaven, she never wanted to leave.
"Comfortable, I take it?", he asked her as he looked down at her, a simple nod being the answer he got. He grinned as he stretched his arms out and casually placed one around her shoulder, slowly rubbing circles on her bare arm with his fingers. "Good. Might as well stay like that, we're probably gonna be here a while."
"Oh? Is that so?", she asked, her eyes still wandering around the field and the skies. "You must really like it here if you want to stay."
"You could say that", he started off saying, taking a second to scratch away at his beard. "If the Cubs are home, I'm here after games. If they're on the road when I'm home, then I'm elsewhere. Either way, when I'm here, in Chicago...I'm here to clear my head of everything."
"Well...I'm flattered and honored that you brought me here with you...I feel like I'm sitting on sacred ground right now", she said, closing her eyes and nestling her head back into his body. "Where else do you go? To clear your head, I mean."
A small grin played at his lips as he took a second to look up at the stars she was admiring. "You manage to stick around, maybe you'll find out."
AJ didn't respond; she found her eyes were becoming fixated on one certain star, further away from the rest of them that dotted the blackish-blue skies. They widened when she realized what it was. "Guess I should make a wish", she whispered quietly to herself. Watching it soar through the skies, she thought of something good to wish for, before settling on what she really wanted more than anything right now. "I wish that this would never end", she whispered again, turning her eyes from the stars to Punk's face. She smiled as she found him looking at the stars as well.
"What was that about something never ending?", he asked, and her cheeks turned a bright shade of red. Crap, she thought as she saw him look down at her. He wasn't supposed to hear that. Thinking on the fly, she shook her head and muttered a quick 'nothing' under her breath. "Don't say that it's nothing, what did you really say?", he again asked.
"You'd make fun of me for it", she said in a hushed tone, facing away from him and looking down at the deserted field. "And you don't wanna hear it. It's stupid. Don't worry about it", she said, trying to change the subject.
"I'll make fun of you if you puss out and don't tell me what you said, so you might as well just get it out there, or I'm not gonna stop", he said, grinning as he did so, continuing to rub circles around her arm. "Believe me, I could go all night."
She sighed deeply. No point in keeping her feelings bottled up anymore. "I said that I wished that this would never end. There, I said it. Happy?"
Punk's eyes arched upward at her revelation. He was a bit surprised by the honesty of the answer, he hadn't expected that from her, she seemed like one to beat around the bush and only let a little bit slip about what was on her mind. "I'm gonna take a stab in the dark here and assume that your little statement there has something to do with what you've been wanting to tell me for the longest time. Right or wrong?"
"Right", she murmured with a nod of her head. "And believe me, I've wanted to tell you so, so bad...but either the timing was wrong or, well, you know...stuff happened."
"My neck and back thank you, by the way", he said with the slightest hint of a chuckle, rubbing his neck as he remembered being pushed through a table by her. "Still don't understand why you pulled that stunt but it's in the past, I'm over it. Continue."
She slowly wrung her hands together, unsure of how to start or what to start with. She looked up at him briefly, and he had a look on his face that almost said 'I'm waiting', and that only made her nerves go further south. "Do you...do you remember when I got called up to the main roster last year? It was one of my first SmackDown shows and you were there working the show..."
"And you went bananas at the sight of me, so you ran up and practically begged me for a picture."
Her head snapped up from it's position against his body, eyes a bit incredulous as she tried to shake off the shock from his sentence. "You remember that?"
"I came across the picture the other night when I was looking through my phone...hard to forget the time when a rookie Diva practically jumps your bones in the middle of catering for a simple photo."
She blushed, looking down at her fingers which she now found herself playing with. "You were...you still are, an inspiration to someone like me...I geeked when I saw you, I couldn't help myself. And you were so nice about it, I couldn't believe it. I heard stories about how much of a jerk you could be, but...I don't know, it was just overwhelming and so awesome when I met you that first time."
Punk didn't say anything to her, so she took that as a sign to go on with what she was saying. "I don't know if you've spoken to John lately, but when I found out that I was working with you, I went crazy. Here I am, a small time Diva coming off a brutal break-up and all that, haven't done anything really memorable except my schtick with Daniel, getting thrust into a program with the WWE Champion. My mind was blown, and all I could do was pester him with questions about you."
"Yeah, he told me. I thought it was kinda funny...you're not the first person to ask what it's like to work with me, nor will you be the last. But I can see why you'd get all crazy over it. I'm kind of a big deal", he said, smirking as she playfully slapped his arm. "What does that have to do with...this though?", he then asked, pointing between the two of them, her sighing once more.
"I know this will sound weird, and it might freak you out a bit, but it's the truth...the few times that our paths crossed before we started working together this summer, those few times we talked about the latest in comics and music and video games, all of that...I don't know, I sort of felt a connection...none of the girls are really into the stuff I'm into, and when I dated Daniel, he wouldn't really bother with it too. But when we talked, even if it was months between those talks...I felt like you got me, you know? I've had a crush on you since before I got called up to the main roster...and being able to work with you and be around you so much...well, it kinda got amplified...and the whole break up with Daniel...it just..."
Punk held a finger up to her lips, quieting her. He could sense that she was starting to get worked up and upset, and he didn't want to see her in that state, not right now, not when everything was going swell at the moment. He saw her take a deep breath and bite her lip to stop the word vomit, and he had to admit (though only to himself), she looked...cute, doing that. He then sighed himsef. This is what this girl had done to him over the course of the last two, three months. She had him saying that things were cute. She had him saying that she was cute.
"I've been crushing on you for a long time, Punk. A very long time. And even when I was with Daniel, when he'd be at his worst...I'd always find myself thinking about what it'd be like to be with you. And I can't even begin to tell you how sorry I am for all the crap I put you though, jerking you around like that all the time...I wanted to tell you all of this so badly...but I could never get the courage to do so. I was so confident so many times that I'd spill the beans, but it'd never happen...I was always afraid..."
"Afraid of what?"
She looked down at her hands, at the metal bleacher she was sitting on, then back to the star dotted skies. This was hard for her to admit to him; she was essentially letting every wall of hers down and showing him the real her. But that's what scared her the most. What if he wasn't interested in her like that? What if, what if, what if...
"I mean, come on...you're CM Punk. WWE Champion. Best In The World. What would you possibly ever want to do with a girl like me? I was a nobody who only stuck around because I started dating Daniel...I couldn't even win NXT...and I only caught on because Daniel dumped me...I'm broken, damaged goods...I'm still not in the best place mentally and emotionally...I shoved you through a table, for God's sake! I was just always afraid that you'd set me to the side and want nothing to do with me, that this huge school-girl crush of mine would amount to nothing."
Punk sat there, his arm removed from around her body, letting her words settle within his mind for a few moments. Running a hand through his hair and then through his beard, everything slowly processing itself. How did he respond to all of that? He couldn't think of a feasible way to do so. She had been making a habit of leaving him stunned and confused, and this was no different than before.
"AJ, I don't...I mean...do you really think I'm like that?", he asked incredulously.
She slowly nodded her head, brunette curls covering her face, almost ashamed at what she just admitted. "I've heard the stories...", she murmured quietly as she turned away from him, she couldn't bear to look at him at this moment. But she felt his hand on her bare shoulder, sending a shiver down her spine as he gently turned her around to face him. His hand then made it's way to her chin, lifting her head up so that she could face him, but she still wouldn't look at him. Brushing away her hair, he spoke to her softly, trying to coax her out of her shell. "AJ, look at me."
She shook her head, and he couldn't help but grin when she did that. "AJ, seriously, just look at me for two seconds. I'm not gonna bite your face off or anything. Two seconds is all I ask of you."
Slowly but surely, her eyes made their way up and met with his. He took a deep breath before he spoke. "I'm not like that at all, AJ. The stories you've heard, they're false. But I'll admit, the shit I had to put up with you over these few months was enough to drive me up the wall on a near daily basis, and I came close on more than a few occasions to ripping you a new one. But I couldn't, and I didn't know why until it hit me when I made the flight from Comic Con in San Diego to New Jersey. I was starting to develop some feelings for you...and then after Money In The Bank when I let you just walk away, it went from developing feelings to falling through the skies. So Monday, after I called you, I sat down and thought about it long and hard. And after everything that's happened today...well..."
"Well what?", she asked eagerly.
"I would like to take you out...Monday after Raw 1000. And then we'll see how things go from there. How does that sound?"
Instead of getting a verbal response of any kind, he felt her tiny body jump into his, her arms wrapping themselves around his neck as tightly as she could. All he could do was laugh a little bit, her face buried in the crook of his neck as she spoke, her voice muffled. "I'd love to go out after the show. Thank you for not giving up on me."
He nodded his response, gingerly wrapping his own arms around her petite frame as he looked up at the stars she was marvelling at earlier. A singlular thought then crossed his mind, getting him to smile as he whispered it to himself.
"Gotta love crazy chicks."
Well that's it for this chapter! It wasn't as long as others, I didn't feel the need to draw it out more than it already had been. Anyways, next up; the heel turn (even though he still gets the biggest pops of the night at house shows) and their first date! Ahh, can't wait to write it all out. Hope you all enjoyed!