November 1997

Paul Levesque chomped on his gum as he walked down the hallway in the backstage area of the arena. He whistled no tune in particular. He was just giddy for no apparent reason. And why shouldn't he be? He was Hunter Heart Helmsley – WWF's next "Chosen One" so to speak. He was on a fast track to success and all because he worked hard and had formed a good rapport with the right people.

Was he a kiss ass? Absolutely not. But his ideas made sense. He had an eye for what would make for good feuds and storylines. Things weren't entirely scripted, more like there was just a guiding hand. Other than being an actual wrestler primed to skyrocket to the top at any given moment, he was one of those guiding hands.

Women sought him out much like children did an ice cream truck on a scorching hot day. If he didn't get laid, it was simply because he wasn't interested. Sometimes he had better shit to do.

Like hang out with his closest friends in the business: Mike, Scott and Kevin. Better known as Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon and Diesel. Together, the four of them were a fucking riot and almost always in some sort of trouble. Management refused to let them be on screen together for that reason, plus the fact that if they were aligned, storyline wise, there'd be precious few people left for them to fight with.

So a compromise had been made. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Rick Rude and Chyna were allowed to form a faction called D-Generation X. Rick left after the Montreal Screwjob, leaving just Mike and Joanie but that was okay. Creatively, they weren't restricted very much and it was fantastic.

Mostly still lost in thought about how his life and career were going exactly as he wanted, his large form rounded the corner. And he walked straight into a smaller figure.

Possibly a hundred papers flew up and fanned out to the sides, almost creating a small barrier, but Paul saw through them quickly enough to grab onto the person who'd lost their balance.

"Shit, my papers!" The stranger , obviously female, cried in frustration.

"I'm so sorry!" He quickly apologized. "Are you okay?" He asked, looking down to see what unfortunate stranger he'd just about mowed down. He couldn't see much at this point. Just a mess of brown hair. It was probably less messy before he'd undoubtedly, accidentally made it fly all over the place.

The woman took a step back and ran a hand over her hair to smooth it down some. "Yeah, I'm fine…just…well, my stuff," she said with emphasis on the last word, gesturing to the documents that now littered the otherwise empty corridor.

"I'm sorry about that, too…uh…" he stammered, not being able to recognize the person standing in front of him.

"Stephanie," the woman offered and finally took her eyes off of her papers to look up at him fully.

Paul simply blinked and felt a little bit shocked. He wasn't expecting the chick to be so…pretty. He didn't know why he'd felt that way. It wasn't like he'd expected someone unattractive, either. He just…didn't think he would necessarily notice the poor unlucky soul, physically. Swallowing down the lump in his throat, he forced himself to recover and send her a sly grin. "Well, hellooooo Stephanie," he practically crooned to her as he took her hand. "It's my pleasure to meet you." Paul lifted her hand and touched the back of it with his lips, holding her gaze steadily. "My name…" he trailed off as he saw the corners of Stephanie's mouth begin to twitch.

Paul narrowed his eyes. "Are you laughing? At me?" He clarified.

Confirming his suspicions, Stephanie burst out into hysterical laughter. Paul felt embarrassed and mildly offended. Here he was, trying to charm her and she was laughing…laughing for Christ's sake! This wasn't normally how his interactions with women went. In fact, normally he wasn't even this damn polite. He'd put his best foot forward and she responded by being ridiculously amused at his expense.

"Hah…oh…oh God. Man," Stephanie exhaled, fanning herself to try to calm down.

"Mind telling me what was so funny?" He asked.

"Look, I know who you are. You're Paul Levesque - the guy from the Kliq and DX. You know, you're an arrogant jerk with no manners, you screw a bunch of women and have some sort of obsession with gesturing to your dick and telling people to 'suck it' and all."

"I fail to see what's funny about that," he said, unaware that his posture had relaxed into a complete sulk.

"Well it's just you were trying to woo me or whatever. Pretty hilarious given what I know of you."

Paul straightened up a little bit and wagged a finger at her in accusation. "That's just it. You only know what you've heard. You know 'of' me but you don't know me."

Stephanie clucked her tongue. "Is there a difference where it concerns you?"

"Let me take you to dinner tonight and you'll find out," he challenged.

Heat rushed to her cheeks and she knew it was pointless to try to hide the fact that she was blushing. And why was she blushing? Oh, maybe because a hot guy who was reputed to be an asshole, from what she'd heard from his competition, was being nice to her. "I…I don't know, Paul."

"What have you got to lose? I'm a good guy," he interjected on his behalf quickly. He flashed a perfect smile – one that would be innocent if he wasn't him. "See, look, I'll even help you sort this crap out," he offered, reaching down and beginning to gather her paperwork.

Stephanie tucked a lock of hair behind her ear as she watched him. Why exactly did he care what she thought? A guy like him should have just taken the mild rebuff and moved along to more willing prey. Unless, for some reason, he didn't actually see her as prey.

And, well…she kind of liked that alternative actually. She giggled a little bit, watching him scramble about. "I'm in."

Present Day

"Take your hands OFF of me!" Stephanie practically spat, wrenching her arm free of the much bigger man's grasp. She stumbled backwards a little bit, his hold had been so tight. His long hair looked like he hadn't done shit to it all day. And she didn't need to smell the alcohol to know that he'd been hitting a bottle.

"Fuck's your problem?" He asked with a snort as Stephanie made a beeline through the dining room and into the kitchen. She grabbed her car keys from the hook and headed out of the back door. Even though he was clearly drunk, he was still much bigger and much stronger than she was. There was no sense in attempting to bypass him to get to the front door. Her heart had practically stopped when he'd refused to let her go just a few moments ago.

Stephanie jogged down the driveway until she reached her car.

"HEY!" He called out, appearing in her line of vision right as she got her door open. "You can't leave! Don't you know whose fucking house this is?"

Of course she did. She'd only lived here for the last three months. Back then, things were perfect between her and Paul. But now their relationship was strained, at best. She still loved him with every fiber of her being and just knew they were meant to be together. But this shit simply couldn't continue. He needed to extract the poison out of his life. Quite frankly it was draining the both of them and utterly killing their relationship.

Stephanie quickly got into the driver seat and tried to get the key in the ignition. Her hands were shaking from the stress and apprehension and she kept missing. This was terrible. She didn't even know where the hell she was heading. Her parents and Shane didn't live far. But she'd be damned if she admitted to them that she couldn't run her own life or household anymore. She wasn't prepared to accept that defeat but didn't know where else to turn.

He ran down the driveway after her, as fast as he could. He was stumbling along the way, but it wasn't deterring him any.

Maybe she'd just end up in a hotel tonight.

With…no clothes. And no purse.

"Fucking brilliant, Steph!" She hissed at herself, finally managing to get the damn car started.

Putting the car in reverse and stomping on the gas pedal, Stephanie practically tore out of the parking area of the large house. She spun the wheel hard to avoid hitting the other haphazardly parked cars. Her car skidded across the pavement a little bit, but she quickly regained control, put the car in the proper gear and sped off across the lawn.

Feeling some measure of safety again, Stephanie expelled a tense breath. She kept her pace moderate – she wasn't going slowly, but she wasn't speeding so horribly that she'd get pulled over and ticketed.

Then again, maybe the police were just what she needed at this point. She had nowhere in mind to go other than to her family. She had no phone and no money on her. She was kind of out of options.

How did Paul allow this to happen to them? Why had he been so blind to the catastrophe that she so obviously saw coming? Over and over again she'd warned him, told him that she was becoming uncomfortable with their situation. He told her that she had nothing to worry about, that he would never let any harm come to her. He told her she had nothing to worry about.

Behind her, a horn honked wildly and bright lights flashed on and off repeatedly.

Stephanie glanced in her rearview mirror and upon recognizing the vehicle behind her, sped up.

"I JUST WANNA TALK!" He hollered out of his window.

Though he couldn't see it, Stephanie defiantly shook her head no.

There was a traffic light not too far ahead. It was still green. She sped up, knowing that she could make it. Most likely, it would turn red on her pursuer and she could lose him from there. Jump on the highway and just haul ass until she could sort this mess out.

A few yards away from the intersection, Stephanie's eyes widened as the light turned yellow. She pressed the gas pedal harder.

From his car, she heard him yell out, "NOOOOO!"

The oncoming bright lights quickly grabbed her attention. But it was too late already. She figured that out just before the SUV – who'd obviously ran a red light, hit the passenger side of her car.

The title MAY or may not change. The fic will be done mostly in the past, with an occasional scene from the present to show what's going on with Stephanie. There'll be lies, secrets, bits of mystery and lots of drama...and Paul/Steph cuteness.

This obviously doesn't follow WWF/E continuity entirely. MSG incident didn't happen at all and no one went to WCW from the Kliq during that match. More details on what did/didn't happen will come out but for the most part I'll just be making stuff up LOL. It's part kayfabe, part not. You'll see what I mean as I go along...

Provided that I get some replies encouraging me to take on yet another fic (I've been suppressing this idea for well over a year...was driving me nuts!)