Soooo this came about while HHHereComesTrouble/PunkRockGirl98 and I searched online for kissing clips for trailer vids LOL. Somehow we got to talking about the wedding vow renewals kiss and I suggested that Stephanie's moaning during the scene had to do with her forgetting she was on camera playing a part. Hilarity ensued in the convo, but I was struck with this idea for a one-shot. Enjoy and let me know what you think!
Paul ascended the ramp and made his way backstage, with a menacing glare still on his face. As soon as he disappeared behind the curtain, his expression softened and was replaced by a look of concern.
Though he was in character at the time, he basically just shoved his girlfriend to the ground. He'd done it exactly as Vince had directed…but that didn't make him feel any better. He was as gentle as he could be but he'd still had to push her pretty hard to make her lose her footing. Unfortunately, it was extremely difficult to make a fall from a push look real – unless it was. That meant that he had to actually put his hands on her; something he seriously didn't want to do, for obvious reasons.
He stood backstage, nervously rubbing his hands together as he waited for her to join him. He knew that he was in for a few minutes' wait because she was still performing. Right now she'd be out there showing her concern for Vince – who'd just been on the receiving end of the Pedigree.
A few random employees passed him by, with most acknowledging him with a smile, head nod, handshake or thumbs up, to convey that they thought he'd done a great job out there. He returned both spoken and unspoken compliments politely, but briefly. At this point, all he wanted was to see Stephanie and make sure she was okay.
The next thing he knew, Vince McMahon came stumbling backstage. As soon as he was out of view of the audience he immediately perked up and resumed his normal posture. The older man spotted Paul and made his way towards him, to congratulate him on a job well done.
But Paul's eyes were fixated on the woman who'd stepped through the curtain at the same time that Vince had. She smiled brightly at some random stage tech who told her she'd done great out there. The stage tech got back to work and Stephanie's eyes began to search all around. She was looking for something. Or someone. She frowned in confusion, not seeing what she wanted.
Paul practically sidestepped Vince and rushed over to Stephanie. Upon spotting him, her mouth upturned into a smile. "Are you okay?" Paul asked as he stopped in front of her, rubbing her upper arms. "Are you hurt? Sore? Damn it, I knew we shouldn't have done the scene that way!" He dropped his hands and gently lifted her arms so he could check to see if she'd bruised her wrists when she fell. "Did I push you too hard? I'm sorry!" He rambled before grabbing her face in both hands. He frantically searched her forehead, looking for any bruises, welts or fingertip marks.
It was Stephanie's laughter that broke him out of his train of panic. "Paul, calm down," she instructed, reaching up to take his hands away from her face. She intertwined their fingers and looked at him with complete seriousness. "I'm perfectly fine, I promise you."
A few feet away from them, Vince snorted in mock resentfulness. "I'm the one whose face you smashed into a canvas, but you don't check on me…I'm hurt," he said.
On the inside, he was both amused and touched. It was funny that Paul though he could injure Stephanie with a completely scripted push. But it warmed his heart that the man's worry over her welfare was just another of the many ways his affection showed through. Any person who'd spend a decent amount of time around both of them could see Paul was crazy for his daughter.
It had always been difficult for Vince to approve of any relationship Stephanie truly desired. The mere fact that he knew men tended to think she was physically beautiful was enough to make him wary of most men he came across. Add that on to the fact that she was an heiress to a highly visible, billion-dollar corporation and he had become downright paranoid to be honest.
Though the beginning had been uncertain, shaky and somewhat dramatic because of all of the changes, rumors and corporate politics, the two of them really did create something special together. As a father, he would always be concerned for his children. But he could unwind just a little bit because both of his kids seemed to have found true love.
Paul and Stephanie both turned to look at her father. Stephanie started laughing at his theatrics as he made his exit with a clearly fake limp. Paul simply shrugged and turned his attention back to his girlfriend. The softness in his brown eyes and slight crinkle of his forehead conveyed his concern before he even said anything more. "You're okay? Really?"
Stephanie smiled to reassure him. "Yes. Really," she mimicked. "Come on," she said, tugging him away from the production area.
Hand in hand, they walked together through the winding hallways, mostly in comfortable silence. Every now and then she'd glance up to find Paul with this weird expression on his face. It was like he wasn't present and had gone someplace else entirely. Wherever the place was, it couldn't have been bad, because he had a tiny smile on his lips the entire time. She wanted to know what he was thinking about. Maybe it would make her smile, too.
Paul closed the door behind them and turned around to find that Stephanie hadn't made a single step towards her suitcase. The look on her face was curious and expectant. He wondered what it was she wanted, but he wasn't going to ask just yet. This was Stephanie; she knew his inclination for giving her whatever she wanted. So he was sure he'd find out exactly what she desired soon enough. "I have a question for you," he said, moving closer to her.
Paul planted his hands on her hips and asked, "What was up with that kiss earlier?" He chuckled.
Stephanie placed her hands on his chest before widening her blue eyes in innocence. "What did I do?"
"The script said 'kiss briefly' and not make out, Steph." Not that he minded one bit. In fact, he very much enjoyed it…even more than he was enjoying putting her on the spot right now.
"It was brief."
"It was also filled with tongue," he countered with a laugh.
"Excuse me but I do believe that was your tongue in my mouth. We were on screen and in character…I rolled with it."
"Uh huh," he said. He didn't buy her story or her innocence. Stephanie had completely forgotten that they were on camera and playing a part. He wouldn't rest until she admitted as much, he didn't care how long that admission might take her. "You loved it."
"Hey I never said I didn't enjoy it! I'm just saying you took it farther, not me."
Both of Paul's eyebrows rose. "Really now? Well I disagree since you licked my bottom lip first…and then you moaned during the kiss."
Her eyes went wide with horror and her full lips parted. "I did what?" Well, this was news to her. Although it was highly probable, since she distinctly recalled losing herself in the moment and forgetting about everything except the feel of Paul's lips on hers. As far as the wedding went, she knew that it was all just an act. But with him sliding what resembled an engagement ring onto her finger and both of them both being dressed as bride and groom, she couldn't help it that she'd lost touch with reality.
If she was an underhanded kind of person she probably would have hired an actual minister to perform the ceremony and then somehow secretly rewritten their versions of the script to include the both of them actually completing their vows. Then they'd be married for real already.
Paul gave her a sympathetic kiss on the cheek. "Just admit it, Steph…I won't think any less of you. But just between you and I – you forgot we were on screen didn't you?"
A small sigh made its way out of her before she glanced down for a moment. Who was she kidding? First of all, she could never trick him into a marriage with her because it was cruel. Second, even if she could, it would mean that she didn't truly have him. Thirdly…there was no way in hell her fantasy plan could be legal since there was no marriage certificate and they weren't technically using their real names during the televised ceremony. Well, a girl could dream. "Yeah, a little bit."
"It's a good thing I had enough presence to hear the director say 'cut' because I don't think you'd have stopped."
Stephanie grinned at him. "Likely not. Can I ask you something?" Her curious blue eyes watched Paul nod his head affirmatively. "At different points today, you kind of had this weird, spaced out but pleased look on your face. I didn't think much of it until we were walking down the hallway, though. I was just wondering what you were daydreaming or thinking about."
Paul poked his bottom lip out as he contemplated. Stephanie was the answer to her own question. He'd thought of her and of the future he wanted to have with her. He imagined what they might look like on the day he proposed and the day that they got married. His details would probably turn out to be wrong…but the constants would be the love shared between them. Seeing her walk down the aisle – or ramp, technically – had made his chest grow tight with emotion. He found himself wishing that this ceremony was real and that she really was about to become his wife. No singular thought of his had ever filled him with so much happiness.
He'd been willing to risk his career and destroy his reputation solely because he knew she was worth it. There was no question in his mind that she was the one for him. He could talk to her about everything and nothing at all because she was so open and understanding.
All it took was a pout and a bat of her long eyelashes and he was pretty much putty in her hands. She could use her charm and pale blue eyes to get anything she wanted from him, but she hardly took advantage of that obvious fact. Usually she just wanted his time, effort or affection.
From the start of their official relationship, they'd cleared the air. It was understood that they weren't screwing around in this relationship. If they were both putting so much on the line, they both needed to have the similar expectations. So they'd always known that the best-case scenario was a solid, lasting relationship. They'd talked about marriage and children absently already. They weren't going to rush anything, but their goals did match up there, as well.
So Stephanie probably wouldn't freak out at what he was about to say next. "I was thinking about how beautiful you are tonight and how I look forward to the day that I marry you for real."
Warmth spread throughout her chest and for a few moments she wasn't able to say or do anything at all. Finally she moved her hands up to his shoulders. One side of her mouth turned up in a gentle smile. "I look forward to that day, too."
"Phew," Paul muttered in relief. "For a second I'd wondered if you'd take off running for the hills."
"Never," she said seriously. "What we have…what we're continuing to create, is special. And rare. Even though this is uncharted territory for me, I'm not scared."
Paul moved one of his hands up to tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "I'm not scared either. Right now, if I asked you to marry me, what would you say?"
Stephanie took a deep breath and decided to answer honestly. If Paul loved her the way she knew he did, he would understand and agree with her answer. "I'd say yes but I'd want a pretty long engagement. I love you and I know that you love me…but neither of us is completely ready."
Paul shrugged. "Not today at least."
"But someday we will be."
Paul leaned down and pecked her on the lips as his silent way of approving of her answer. He stood up straight again and tilted his head in consideration. He already had a pretty good idea of when and how he'd propose to her. He'd fine tune the details based on how the next year went and all the additional things he was bound to learn about her in that time. But on Valentine's Day of next year, he would solidify the fact that he wanted to be her husband. "It'll be sooner than you think, McMahon."