Hey everyone! I just want to say how sorry I am that it took me this long to update this story. Thank you all so much for being patient with me. I promise that this won't happen again. I hope you all enjoy the new chapter. Thank you again for sticking it out.
She kept crying. It was all she could do at a time like this, feeling so helpless and useless. She didn't want to be alone right now, either. Most people would want to be, but not her, not now. She needed the company of those who understood the emotional turmoil she was currently dealing with. They all sat around on the cramped bus, staring at their hands or shaking their heads, a general feeling of despair and disbelief hanging over their heads like a dark, unrelenting cloud. Silence had engulfed them all from the moment they piled onto the bus and let it lurch forward, onto the road and into the dark, murky night yet again.
How could this have happened again? Why couldn't it have been her instead? She had so many unanswered questions swimming around her head and bouncing off of the walls of her brain. She knew right there that she wasn't going to be getting a wink of sleep tonight…
"C'mon Kaity…stop blaming yerself for what happened. None o' this is yer fault."
Looking over to her left, she saw Sheamus scoot over a little bit toward her, before he wrapped his large, pale arm around her shoulder and pulled her close to him. She melted into him and began crying even harder. She didn't know how else to react. This was just one big, terrible nightmare to her, to everyone that was going through this, really. She looked up and saw the same looks of sorrow on everyone's faces…everyone except one.
He was just sitting there, his gaze never leaving that of his palms. He had been silent before they even got back onto his bus. She couldn't tell if he was upset, distraught, pissed…maybe he was just a whole Molotov cocktail of emotions right now, and he was trying his best to keep them all bottled up. He looked, at least from her point of view, like he was ready to burst at the seams. He then balled his hands up into tightly wound fists, to the point where his inked knuckles were turning as white as a ghost. He let his hands relax and she could see that he had broken the skin on his palms, and tiny droplets of blood were trickling down his wrist…
She saw him stand up, and her attention, along with everyone else's, was on him as he looked at them all, a twinge of sympathy appearing on his facial features. Shaking his head and looking back down at the floor, he sighed, regretfully. Words were escaping him right now. What could he possibly say to everyone? He looked back up at them all, their gazes being held by his own. They were looking to him as if he was the leader, the hero that was going to step up and save the day. And now, he was back at square one with himself and his personal demons.
He wasn't John. He wasn't Superman; he was no hero, no knight in shining armor. He could barely take care of himself, and he was the WWE Champion at a time when maybe someone else was more worthy of handling that role. He couldn't protect her. He promised to never let her out of his sight, and now she was gone, in that psychopathic bastards grip once more. What was he trying to prove? Why the fuck was he doing all of this? He wished he could be inside of that scumbag's head right now…but he knew he wouldn't like what he'd see.
Everyone waited with bated breath for him to say something. He just didn't know what to say to them all. He knew they were just as worried as he was. Kaitlyn was an emotional car wreck. This was hard for him, to try and put on a brave face in this adversity.
But they needed him right now. He needed himself right now. And most importantly, she needed him right now, where ever she was. He had to hope that she was fine, that he hadn't laid a finger on her head. All he and everyone here with him had was blind hope.
"Thank you all for being here. I wish I had more to say than what I'm saying at the moment…I'm no religious zealot or anything like that, but really, we can do for is hope for the best and pray for AJ. We'll find her, and we'll bring her home. Now, I won't ask for your help but—"
"That's my best friend we're talking about. We have to get her back…I can't lose her. We can't lose her. You can't lose her."
He looked at Kaitlyn and felt the smallest of smiles spread across his weary lips. She stood up, along with everyone else on the bus too; Zack, Truth, Kofi, Sheamus, John, Layla and Nattie. He wouldn't be alone in this. For that, he was grateful.
"I think she speaks for all of us", Kofi said. "We'll do this. We'll find her. And we'll all be right behind you."
Nodding his head, he patted his road wife on the shoulder and whispered 'Thank you' to him, and to everyone sitting there. Turning around, he headed to the back of the bus, into the cabin that housed his bed, his room so to speak, and he flopped down onto the bed. He stared at the ceiling until he fell asleep, the rhythms of the bus finally lulling him into dream land.
"Please be okay, kiddo. Please. We'll be there as soon as we can. Just hold on."
She kept her eyes transfixed on the somewhat darkened skies. She wouldn't dare look over at the other side of the car; she couldn't bring herself to do so. It had been eerily silent the entire time, once her sobs subsided and she had managed to calm herself down a little bit. That sinking sensation of hopelessness began to wallow in the pit of her stomach again, and right now, she was wishing she had her phone on her. She was hoping that whoever it was she sent that text to, got it and acted upon it.
The sun was beginning to set, and now the darkness was starting to fully set it. She dreaded where she was going with this monster, but she kept silent, not wanting to anger him anymore than he probably already was. She just wanted to get to where ever it was he was taking her in one piece. She was hoping that wasn't asking too much of a crazy bastard like himself.
"You're awfully quiet over there."
Daniel's gruff, harsh sounding voice rang through the car. It was almost like he was trying to bait her into looking his way, but she wouldn't let herself. The sight of him literally made her sick to her stomach, and that wasn't changing any time soon, she figured. 'Just leave me alone right now', she mentally said to herself.
"I said, you're awfully quiet over there."
His voice sounded edgier than usual, and his tone was rising, which was a cocktail for disaster. She wouldn't have put it past him to try and act out violently, even if he was driving. She braced herself for whatever was going to come, but shockingly, nothing did. She chanced a look over at him and saw that his eyes were solely focused on the road ahead of them. His hands were gripping the steering wheel with an iron vice-like grip, to the point where his knuckles were starting to turn white. She saw him look back at her out of the corner of his eye, so she quickly looked in the other direction.
"Are you just going to sit there and not say anything?"
Sighing, she ran a hand through her hair, letting it cover her face so that she wasn't looking directly at him; rather, she was peering through her veil of hair, biting down on her lip, her almond shaped eyes unsure of what to do here. Did she respond and hope anything she said didn't enrage him to the point of losing his grip on reality? Or did she keep quiet and pray for the best?
"Where are you taking me, Daniel?"
She opted for the former. She found herself regretting it…though not immediately.
He stopped the car, bringing it to an abrupt halt at the side of the road. He didn't look at her; instead, he was breathing heavily, his narrowed eyes still looking out at the road. A part of her wanted to get out of the car and run for her life, run as fast and as hard as she could, but she knew that it'd be futile. He'd catch her again, and she'd be subjected to more punishment and agony and whatever he was going to do to her.
"Why are you doing this? Why? What did I ever do to you?"
She asked the questions as if he would actually answer them. She knew he wouldn't do such a thing, she didn't even know why she bothered asking them. Where had this sudden boldness come from? That was a question she could answer herself. Punk was beginning to rub off on her even more than she cared to admit. His brashness, his sense of fiery demeanor…his defiant nature…all of the things that she found to be endearing about him were now starting to manifest themselves in her bones and her blood. She had to be strong in the face of her enemy. And right now, her enemy was sitting two inches in front of her.
"Stop asking questions", he said, his voice raising an octave yet again. She was starting to agitate him; she knew this by the way his eye was twitching. "Just shut the hell up and do what I tell you to do."
She wasn't having any of it right now. "No", she stated. "What's wrong with you? Why do you feel the need to hurt me, torment me, and make me feel like crap? What did I ever do to you that's made you this disturbingly angry…all I can be accused of is loving you, Daniel, and you know that's the truth."
"I said shut up!"
She heard his words, but they were becoming nothing more than white noise to her. She was going to stand up to this asshole if it killed her. She was going to make Punk proud, even if he was hundreds of miles away at this point. She wished that he could see her right now. The smile he'd have on his lips would make her day…
"And I said no!", she yelled back at him. Her voice rose with his, and she felt her tiny little hands clench into tight, balled up fists. A confidence she hadn't experienced in months was coursing through her veins right now. Her lips were pursed together in a straight line, and her almond shaped eyes were narrowed into angry little slits. She clenched her teeth together as she readied herself to lash out at her captor again. "Who do you think you are, hmm? You think this makes you badass? You think that because you can impose your will on someone smaller than you, that because you can take me hostage, that makes you someone that shouldn't be messed with?"
His jaw clenched up, and through his beard that covered almost half his face, she could see he was turning as red as one of the bracelets she had on her wrist. She was getting under his skin for a change, and if she was going to be honest with herself, she quite liked the role reversal here. It was almost fun for her to see him get like this.
"You're pathetic, Daniel. You hide behind your bravado and your STUPID 'Yes' chants and the fact that you think you're the best in the world, but the fact of the matter is, you're not, and as long as Punk is around, you never will be!", she continued to yell at him. "You're never going to be the WWE Champion! You're—"
She wished she had seen his fist coming for the side of her face. She wished she had seen it coming. She wished it didn't hurt as much as it did, and she feared the absolute worst when she felt a pop and a crack at the same time. The searing, white hot pain that was starting to flow from her nose and her jaw told her that she was in serious trouble. She didn't think that Daniel could pack such a punch, but he did. Her nose had to be fractured, and she was hoping that wasn't true of her jaw as well.
"You see what you made me do there, you stupid girl?! You see what you made me do!", he screamed at her, though she was too busy fending off the tears from streaming down her face as she tried to keep the blood from getting everywhere. "I didn't want to have to do that, but YOU made me! Now look…you're getting blood everywhere, you dumb bitch…I didn't want to have to do that, but you know what…you reap what you sew, you pathetic excuse of a girl…"
His hand found its way to her throat, and she felt his grip tighten as he forced her to look at him in the eye, her blood trickling down her nose and onto his hands. Now…now she was afraid and regretting that she ever opened her mouth in the first place. "You're going to do exactly what I tell you to do. If you speak up or try to get cute again, I won't hesitate to beat you worse than I did last time…now shut your fucking mouth and clean up the mess you've made."
That's what this was to her. A nightmare. A simple, ordinary little nightmare. She had her fair share of those when she was a little girl and the odd one here or there now that she was grown up. This was just one of those occurrences. She'd wake up anytime now. She had to. She'd wake up on Punk's bus, curled up under the safety of his arms, looking lovingly at his sleeping face, and she'd think that life couldn't get any better.
Instead, as she saw the blood begin to dry up on her hands, reaching for napkins or a towel, anything to stop the flow of it coming from her nose, she knew that she was alive and awake. This was a living, breathing nightmare. She cried again as Daniel started up the car and drove off to where ever he was taking her.
She saw no end in sight.