Someone in the World
Summary:What happens when you have nobody left? When there's nobody to look out for you except yourself? Harlan hits the road and finds the one thing she thought she'd never have again: Hope. A story of a broken family and discovering that family doesn't need to be connected by blood. Rated T. Some later chapters will be rated M with the introduction of a romantic angle.
Warnings: Strong language and violence. Also: scenes of a sexual nature. (A rating of M is posted at the beginning of a chapter)
Disclaimer: This is all fiction! It all came from my crummy brain. Any songs, cars, movies, TV shows, celebrities, known wrestlers, or even brands mentioned all belong to their respective owners. The only people I "own" are the obviously fictional ones, such as Harlan Grace Matheson, her family, Ray and any other fake characters that pop into this. As wrestling fans, I trust we all know who I made up and who is real...That reminds me, if anyone happens to have that exact name combination (Harlan Grace Matheson), sorry...It's pure coincidence and chance. I spent several days coming up with that name. Please don't take it away from me.
"Are you ready to go?" Phil asked her as he approached her. Harlan sat on the pavement in the parking lot, back against one of the numbered cement pillars people used to know which section they had parked in.
"Whoa, what the hell happened to your hand?" Phil said; he crouched down, balancing on the balls of his sneakers, and reached forward to gingerly grab Harlan's hand. She had been looked over by the medics on site. They had told her she hadn't broken anything and since she wasn't feeling any unusual nerve pinching or pain of the sort, they didn't suspect any deeper injury. They had wrapped her hand up in gauze and that had been that.
"Nothing, I just lost my temper and, you know, went to work on the locker doors" she said casually. She took her hand back from Phil's grasp and got up from the pavement, brushing herself off. She grabbed her bag as Phil straightened up; she didn't miss the way he was eyeing her, like he wanted to say something but he was holding back. Together, they walked towards his rental car and climbed in, fastening their seat belts.
He started the engine and began the drive to the hotel. From the corner of her eye, she could see Phil glancing at her every couple of minutes, and it was beginning to drive her nuts.
"Just say it, Phil. Get it over with; just say what you want to say" she sighed, leaning her head against her window.
"Relax, Tiger! I just want to know what happened. I can guess it's about Ambrose, but that's all I know" he said with a slightly amused smile on his face. Reaching a red light, he turned to look at her. He held his hands up in mock surrender.
"I'm not here to judge you, okay? I just want to make sure you're fine" he said before grabbing the wheel and continuing the drive once the light turned green.
They turned onto the street leading to the hotel and she saw it up ahead. She should have known; it was the same hotel Dolph had pointed out just last night. Phil drove into the parking lot and found his own spot; he wasn't a fan of the whole valet parking thing, preferring to keep his keys near to him. As he shut the engine off, Harlan turned to him and spoke up.
"We had an argument. Ugh, it's so stupid I feel like you can't even call it an argument..." she said, disgust in her voice. She cast her eyes down and watched her hands as they clenched her seat belt tightly.
"What was it about?" Phil asked her.
"Long story short, Dean saw Dolph chatting me up at the arena and then the two of them started throwing words around. I got sick of it and walked away. Dean came after me and asked me if I like the attention and if that's why I had a problem with him butting in. All I said was that I couldn't stand being crowded! He got pissed and walked off, saying that if space is what I want, space is what I'll get" Harlan explained with a frown on her face. She bit her lower lip and resisted the urge to kick or punch anything in the rental car.
"DO you like the attention?" Phil asked, knowing she'd flip out but risking it anyway.
"Are you fucking serious!?" Harlan protested loudly, running her hands through her hair and pulling on it just to stop herself from doing any more damage to her hands.
"Hold on, hear me out, okay?" Phil said in a calm voice. He reached out and took her hands, untangling them from her hair and stopping her from basically pulling her hair out of her scalp. He held her hands and looked her in the eyes; unblinkingly, he spoke to her slowly and calmly.
"I get where he's coming from, alright? I'm not saying you can't defend yourself. Nobody is saying that. But he's a guy, I'm a guy, and we're both fairly hot blooded, okay? You're lucky Dean didn't break Dolph's teeth" Phil said, chuckling slightly.
"I simply don't get why he has to mark his territory like that. For fuck's sake, we only just agreed to try dating last night" Harlan mumbled, sounding disgruntled.
Phil resisted cringing outwardly at the news. There were worst things that could happen, like if she had actually spent the night with Dolph, or if she had taken a liking to Orton. Besides, he knew this had been a strong possibility after he had encouraged her to share her feelings with Dean. Swallowing down the bitter taste in his mouth, he plastered a supporting smile on his face.
"Oh, wow, so I guess the talk with him went well! See, that should tell you everything. Like I said before, Ambrose isn't a guy to have girlfriends. And he's not a very material sort of guy, so if he's going out on a limb for you, it's because he must really care. He's just trying to keep you safe, and that's something he's been doing since he first met you" Phil reminded her, doing his best to sound upbeat.
"You have a point. If he hasn't changed his mind already, I guess I'll have to remember all of this and learn to stop acting like I'm flying solo. I just don't know how to be with anyone. I don't know what to do or what to say" she said bitterly.
"You're making this more complicated than it has to be. It's one of the most natural things in the world; just let yourself feel it and let yourself express what you feel. I know people make fun of me for it because I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve when I'm in a relationship; people talk about how I'm nothing but a cuddly teddy bear and whatever, but why the hell not? If I care about a woman, you can bet your ass I'm going to show her any way that I can. If that means running out to get her brownies and tampons, then that's what I'll do. Fuck what the cashier thinks of me" Phil said passionately.
Harlan laughed despite everything; the image of Phil buying tampons was so ridiculous and sweet at the same time that she forgot to stay upset.
He watched her laughing and wished it was under different circumstances. What was he supposed to do? Not help her out and not offer advice? He couldn't do that, but it was anything but pleasant for him to sit here doing what he could to help her stay together with another man. He let go of her hands and offered her a small smile.
"Why don't you call him or shoot him a text? I'll take you anywhere you need to go; you probably shouldn't let him stew in his own anger" Phil advised her.
Harlan nodded and reached for her cell phone in the back pocket of her jeans. As she was about to unlock the screen, the screen lit up and a call came through. The number displayed on the screen was one she didn't recognize.
"Who is this?" Harlan asked, her face scrunching up in confusion. Phil leaned over and looked at the number.
"That's a Chicago area code... Wait a minute; that's Cabana's number" Phil said, eyes widening in surprise.
Harlan gasped and quickly swiped to accept the call.
"Colt?" she said.
"Harlan! I'm so sorry for your loss and for not being able to get away to be there for you" Colt rambled uncomfortably.
"It's okay, really. How are you? What's going on?" she asked him; she hadn't remembered to save his number from when Peyton had given it to her before. Making a mental note to save it this time, she snapped to attention when he started talking about Peyton.
"I'm in Miami, actually! I came to see Peyton, finally, and holy shit, you wouldn't believe it!" he said, excitement bubbling in his voice.
"What happened?" she asked him; her stomach twisted and turned anxiously as she waited to hear the news.
"She's awake! Peyton's awake!" Colt laughed.
"What!?" Harlan gasped. Her heart seemed to fairly explode with the news and she looked over at Phil with absolute shock etched across her features.
"What's going on?" Phil whispered to her.
"Yeah, she woke up like an hour ago and they're running tests and shit to make sure everything's fine and being in a coma didn't permanently damage anything. But yeah, she's totally sitting up and she's responsive. I'd put her on the phone, but she sounds really fucking scratchy, you know" Colt said. She could hear the giant smile in his voice, and it brought out a smile on Harlan's own face. Her eyes watered as she covered the receiver and whispered over to Phil to tell him the news.
"Peyton's awake; Colt's at the hospital with her" she said, watching as the older man's face broke out in a relieved smile, his olive eyes crinkling at the corners.
"That might actually be the best news this month" Phil breathed out.
"Are you with Phil?!" Colt asked her. Instead of answering him, Harlan simply handed her phone over to Phil. She sat back and watched Phil chatting animatedly, but she didn't hear any of it. Her mind was reeling from the good news and she couldn't stop smiling. She itched to get back to Miami; checking her watch, she wondered how soon she could get back.
Phil handed the phone back to her and started his car. He pulled out of the hotel parking lot as Harlan finished the call with Colt. Promising to get back as soon as she could, she hung up and pocketed the phone.
"Do you think he'll be home?" she asked Phil; she knew he was driving her to Dean's house so she could grab her stuff and head to the airport.
"If he is, that's good!" Phil said with his eyes on the road ahead of him.
"I suppose..." Harlan said, trailing off. She was afraid Dean would be too pissed off to listen, and she was almost certain he had changed his mind and realized she wasn't worth the hassle. She stared out the window at the evening sky and admitted to herself that Las Vegas really was a beautiful place. Despite all the real estate and businesses, the sky felt so open and limitless. In a few short hours, the sky would be tinged with orange and peachy hues, and once it darkened completely, the twinkling city lights would give it an entirely different feel.
As they pulled into Dean's street, Harlan took several shaky breaths and tried to calm down. Phil left the engine idling and parked on the curb next to Dean's house. He looked over at the redhead and gave her a supporting smile.
"You'll be fine" he said. She nodded and unbuckled her seat belt, climbing out of the car and swinging the duffel bag around herself messenger style. She glanced at Dean's SUV in the driveway and tightened her hold on the duffel bag strap across her chest.
She rang the bell and waited at the door. Seconds ticked by and she twisted the duffel bag strap over and over again in her hands. Finally, she heard the lock and the doorknob being turned. Her stomach tightened as the door opened.
"Harley! I was just about to call you, actually. What the hell happened?" Seth said as he opened the door widely and stepped back to let her walk in.
She exhaled loudly and raised a hand to her head, rubbing her temple.
"Is he here?" she asked him, walking into the house.
"He left a little while ago in a cab" Seth said, peering at her curiously.
They walked into the living room and sat down on the couch. She could hear the faint sounds of activity in the kitchen and assumed Roman was in there preparing dinner. Sniffing the air, she caught the light scent of what could have been chicken.
She sprawled out onto the couch, suddenly feeling exhausted. She leaned her head back and stared at the ceiling.
"Did he say where he was going, or when he would be back?" she asked.
"Ahh, he said he was going out for some drinks. I'm guessing he won't be back any time soon, umm, considering he took a cab and left his car here" Seth said, sounding apologetic and uncomfortable.
Sighing loudly, Harlan closed her eyes, "Do you think there's any point in trying to call him or sending him text messages?"
"It can't hurt to try... What happened? You guys were in such a good place earlier" Seth asked her, clearly confused.
"He cares more for you than I've ever seen him care for anyone, and he doesn't know how to handle it" Roman said. Harlan's eyes snapped open and she lifted her head enough to see him standing in the doorway leading to the kitchen.
"Yeah, he's got it bad for you" Seth agreed.
"I can take a guess and say you're not an expert at relationships either, Harlan, but you need to really try here. If you're going to be with him, it's not just your heart at stake" Roman said; his voice quiet and serious.
"Fuck, it's the blind leading the blind" Harlan groaned, leaning her head back and closing her eyes once again.
"Don't take this the wrong way, but he's been pursuing you since day one, even if he didn't realize it. He denied it until he was blue in the face, but he even spoke to a talent scout to get you closer to him. It's been all him, and I can appreciate your own inexperience in this, but it's your turn now" Roman's deep voice said, his words hitting home.
"The big guy's right; you've gotta man up, girly" Seth said teasingly, hoping to lighten the mood.
Harlan remained silent and clenched her eyes closed. She knew they were right, and a huge wave of guilt washed over her. She couldn't keep behaving like a damaged and scared brat. Covering her face with her hands, she groaned.
"It's the worst timing, too" she said, her voice muffled.
"What do you mean?" Seth asked her. He watched her uncover her face, sitting up to face him.
"Peyton woke up today and Phil's waiting for me outside; he's taking me to the airport" she said; her voice was barely above a whisper.
"What? That's awesome! You have to go back, obviously!" Seth exclaimed.
"What about Dean? Maybe I'll stay here one more day, I mean, she's awake, right?" Harlan said, her gray eyes revealing her inner conflict.
"Send him a message and go back to Peyton. Don't worry; we'll be here and we'll do our best to help you out from this side" Roman said before excusing himself and heading back towards the kitchen.
"Are you sure?" Harlan asked Seth.
"Oh yeah, we've got it. He's a moody bastard but he cares too much to walk away from you" Seth said. What he didn't say was that Dean was prone to making stupid decisions out of anger, especially when fueled by alcohol. For a moment, he debated warning Harlan, but he decided against it. It wasn't out of some weird sense of brotherly loyalty; he had seen the conflict in her eyes and he knew if he said anything, she'd stick around until Dean came home and she would end up delaying her return to Miami. He didn't want to be the reason she arrived late; if anything happened to Peyton during that delay, he wouldn't let himself live it down.
"Okay... I'm going to pack my stuff, then" Harlan said reluctantly; she got up from the couch, grabbed her bag, and jogged down the hall and up the stairs.
Finding the much larger duffel bag she had arrived with, she emptied the smaller one she had borrowed from Dean and put it back in his closet. Quickly, she folded everything and repacked her bag. She checked to make sure she wasn't forgetting anything; sitting on the bed, she took out her phone and unlocked the screen. Tapping the screen, she opened a new message for Dean. She stared down at the blank message composing screen and hesitated.
What the hell do I say...?
After a couple of seconds, she decided to take the plunge and quickly tapped out a message. When she was done, she read it over again to make sure there were no typos and she had said everything she needed to say. Satisfied, she nervously hit the Send button. Quickly, she put her phone into Silent Mode and slipped it back into her pocket.
I don't want to think about it... He'll see it when he sees it, and he'll reply if he wants...
Grabbing her bag, she walked out of his bedroom and ran down the stairs. Reaching the living room doorway, she peered in and found Seth and Roman eating their meals. They looked up at her and nodded encouragingly. Roman set down his cutlery and placed the plate on the coffee table. He wiped his mouth on a napkin, placed it next to his plate, and got up to walk towards her.
"Tell Peyton we're glad she's awake, and we look forward to seeing her healthy and up and about" Roman said sincerely.
"Thanks, I will. Please apologize to Dean for me... I already sent him a message, but still, please apologize to him for me" she said pleadingly.
"I will, I promise" the big man said softly.
"Group hug!" Seth shouted; he ran up behind them and threw his arms around the redhead. To her surprise, Harlan felt Roman's arms wrapping around her. She rolled her eyes and protested.
"I can't breathe! Guys, come on!" she said while trying not to laugh.
"You love it" Seth teased her, squeezing her.
Succumbing, she laughed and wriggled her arms free so she could wrap an arm around both boys. They broke apart and after saying their goodbyes, she walked out of the house and climbed back into Phil's car.
"Was he there?" Phil asked her, pulling out of Dean's street.
"No, and I hate leaving this way, but I sent him a message and the boys said they'll do their best to help me out from this side" Harlan explained; she sounded worried and not too convinced.
"It'll be fine, I'm sure" Phil reassured her.
For the rest of the ride, Phil made a point of distracting her by chatting about anything and everything that had nothing to do with Dean. He was relieved to find out she liked Batman, and he was even more excited at not having to explain who The Punisher is.
"You know your stuff, I'm impressed" Phil said, whistling.
"No way, I'm nowhere near the level of being able to hold a proper conversation on this stuff. I can never remember issue numbers or who wrote which timeline, or which universe came first, blah blah blah" she said sheepishly.
"So basically, you're not a total geek like me?" he said, sticking his tongue out at her at a red light.
"Yep, you got it" she said, not missing a beat.
Phil laughed as he drove towards the airport's main entrance. Idling at the entrance, he looked over and watched as she rummaged in the bag and took out the hoodie he had given her last night.
"Keep it, it looks good on you" he said softly.
"Are you sure? I have a ton of these, really" she said.
"Yeah, but none of those belonged to me; this will be your only Best Hoodie in the World" he said, winking at her.
She scoffed and rolled her eyes, but smiled at him anyway. Placing the hoodie back in the bag, she unbuckled her seat belt and grabbed the bag off the car floor, settling it on her lap.
"I should go and catch the soonest flight out" she said, suddenly feeling awkward in the enclosed space.
"Are you sure you don't want me to wait with you? It might be a while" he offered.
"Nah, I'll be fine, really. You've done more than enough" she said gratefully.
"Have it your way; tell Peyton all of us guys send positive thoughts her way for her recovery. First chance we get, we'll haul out and visit" he promised.
They sat there for a second before Phil rolled his eyes and sighed. He opened up his arms and waved her over.
"Get in here, woman" he said lightly.
Harlan leaned over and accepted the hug; she turned her face and gave him a quick peck on the cheek.
"Thank you so much, Phil. See you later" she said with a smile before climbing out of his car and heading into the airport.
Phil watched her leave with a wistful expression on his face. When he could no longer see her, he released a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. Shrugging, he drove away and cranked up the radio in the car.
Dean sat at a table in a dark corner of the bar. He looked around at all the people; some were clearly on first dates, others in groups of friends, and others in relationships that had probably gone on a few years too long. He could always spot the people who were bending over backwards to impress the person sitting across from them. He never quite understood that; he had never felt like he had to go above and beyond for female attention. For whatever reason, that sort of thing had always come easily to him. Even at a time where he had though he couldn't get the so-called pretty girls, all types of women had flocked to him.
He watched as one couple sat at a table; the man was knocking back drinks rather quickly, and he wasn't even hiding the fact that he eyed every single waitress who walked by. Dean felt bad for the girl; there she was, picking at her food and glaring at the man across from her, and it looked like most of their sparse conversation was nothing more than complaints and arguments.
Dean took a large swig of his beer and signaled a passing waitress to bring him another. In his mind, that couple was everything that was wrong with dating and monogamy.
Why doesn't she just ditch that asshole?
If it were him, he'd tell her straight up that he wanted to see other people. There's no use in not being honest when you're at the point of blatantly eyeing other women in front of your date. If you can't at least focus on the chick two feet from you, then what's the point? The thoughts swirled in his head and he connected the dots. The picture which formed in his mind only made him angrier. After the incident at the Cincy ring, he had kept his usual pattern of one night stands, and of course he'd partied with the group of boys he had met in Vegas. It was roughly six months later that he'd found that article about her online. Bitterly, he realized that once he had found out she had become someone to follow in the indy wrestling scene, the well had dried up for him. And he had done it to himself. It wasn't that there was a shortage of opportunities, or that he'd stopped noticing other women; no, it was because he had become focused on the fact they were part of the same world now. It had rocked him because despite what he had felt that day in Ohio, he never thought he would see her again.
Fuck, me. I'm the idiot. What the hell was I thinking?
Angrily, he chugged the rest of his beer as the waitress placed a fresh bottle in front of him. With a frown, he handed her the empty and she took it nervously; she eyed him and went back to the bar, whispering to the bartender that they might need to keep an eye on the disgruntled blonde man sitting by himself.
The only tits he'd seen in the month or so it took WWE to extend a developmental deal to Harlan and Peyton had been attached to various women dancing around a pole; and the only reason he'd been in that club was because one of his Vegas friends had hosted a bachelor party.
Damn it all to hell, I'm not going to be one of those couples
Taking another huge swig of his beer, he slammed it down on the wooden table and watched as a small group of three young women walked into the bar. He eyed them as they giggled carelessly and sat at a table not too far from him. He could smell the desperation from where he sat; he saw the layers of makeup and he could guess how many cans of hairspray had been used to make sure their hairstyles held up all night. Sure enough, it didn't take long before one of the giggling lemmings noticed him and alerted the other two in hushed excitement.
He smirked as he raised the beer bottle to his lips; he knew full well they were watching him, and he made sure to give them a show. Slowly and teasingly, his lips met the rim and he tipped the bottle back, allowing the cold liquid to enter his mouth. Licking his lips, he swallowed the beer and calmly placed the bottle back on the table. He turned towards them and winked, trying his best to not roll his eyes at the over-zealous laughter that reached his ears.
Deep down, he knew he should let it go. Sure, it was mildly amusing to see the reactions he could bring out of those three skanks, without even trying, but he knew that's all it should be. Games and long-distance fun. But as he took another swig of his beer, his eyes caught the unhappy couple he had been eyeing before; he saw the embarrassing and miserable scene unfolding in the bar for all to see. With tears in her eyes, the girl splashed her drink in the man's face and clutched her purse. She ran out, leaving a sputtering and shocked man to pay the bill and deal with the aftermath.
Catching some conversation from the three lemmings nearby, he cocked his head to continue eavesdropping. Two of the skanks had boyfriends; they made tutting noises and declared the guy probably had it coming, and they would have done the same thing to their partners. Dean resisted the urge to laugh out loud; he loved it when skanks like that got together and said things to make themselves look stronger than they actually were, as though their panties wouldn't drop at the first hint of flirting.
With interest, he watched as the one single girl got up and made her way to the bar. Chugging the rest of his beer, Dean got up and followed her, sliding in next to her at the bar. The girl gasped and looked up at him; she was quick to blush and even took a small step back, inadvertently bumping into someone behind her.
"Careful, don't hurt yourself. You can come closer, I'm not going to bite" he said. The smile on his face was a different smile entirely; it was flirty and dirty all at the same time, something he reserved strictly for situations like this.
"Heeey... How's it going?" the girl said, tucking her blonde hair behind one ear. Dean saw her long, obviously fake, fingernails were expertly manicured and painted with white nail polish. Along with the hairspray and ironed in curls and waves, he figured she'd have a name ending in a y or ie, or maybe even ee.
"It's going pretty well now. My name's Dean, what's yours?" he said.
"My name's Cassie, nice to meet you" she said, her sickly sweet sing-song voice punctuated by the bright pink lipstick smile she threw at him.
"The pleasure's all mine. What's a sweet girl like you doing here all alone?" he asked her, his eyes roving over her body.
Noticing the path his eyes were taking, Cassie straightened her back and placed a hand on her hip; he hummed appreciatively and smirked at her, knowing she was pushing her rack out and emphasizing her curves just for his benefit.
"I'm not alone; I know you saw me with my girlfriends" she said cheekily.
"Babe, we both know that's not what I mean" he said suggestively.
"Maybe I haven't found anyone who can handle me" she said as her hands smoothed her dress down across her tight body.
"Stop hanging out with boys" Dean said with a cocky smile on his face; his tone made it pretty clear to her that he wasn't a mere boy.
He watched as Cassie weighed the situation in her mind; he caught the debate in her blue eyes, and the way she bit down on her lip. A small, nagging feeling hit him as she chewed her bottom lip; it reminded him of Harlan and her own habit of chewing on her lip. With an internal growl, he forced the thought away and leaned forward. He snaked an arm around Cassie and whispered into her ear.
"I'm going to head out for a smoke; if you're still here at the bar when I get back, I'll take that as a yes"
He walked to the bar's back door and walked out into the alley. Shaking out a cigarette and lighting it, he held it between his lips and took a drag. He wasn't even remotely excited about the blonde; quite frankly, he didn't care if she was still at the bar or not. Holding the cigarette, he released the puff of smoke. He was about to take another drag when he felt his pocket vibrate. Holding the cigarette in his mouth, he reached down and took out his phone. He saw he had three unread text messages. He froze when he saw the name displayed across the screen. Without dropping the cigarette, he breathed out smoke from a corner of his mouth as he unlocked his phone and read the messages.
(1/3) Hey, Dean... It's me, Harlan. Duh, you know that already, sorry, I forgot this isn't my first time contacting you on your cell... Umm, okay enough rambling. Listen, I want to apologize for what happened back at the arena. It was entirely my fault, and I know you did nothing wrong.
(2/3) I definitely don't like that kind of attention from guys like Dolph, and I didn't mean to say you were crowding me. I don't know how to do this, and I didn't stop to think about your perspective and your feelings. Please don't stay angry at me, or do stay angry but please talk to me! We're both so fucking lost in this and we need to work together
(3/3) It's not the best timing, but Peyton woke up and I'm on my way back to Miami. I'm really sorry; I didn't want to leave this way, especially without getting the chance to see you. I really like you, a lot, so please... consider my apology and get back to me. Please.
Dean stood reading the messages over and over. He checked the time stamp and realized they had been sent over an hour ago.
Suddenly, the back door swung open and Cassie walked out. Her heels clicked against the pavement loudly as she walked towards him, her hips swaying suggestively. Reaching him, she took the phone out of his hand and dropped it into his pocket, shoving her hand in after it. Through his jeans, she squeezed his thigh.
"I couldn't wait" she breathed, reaching up to run a finger across his jaw before snatching the cigarette from his lips and throwing it onto the ground. She clutched his shoulder and stretched up on the tips of her high heels to plant a hard kiss against his lips.
A/N: Phew, so... This update might be all over the place. I'll be honest and say the recent CM Punk news has me reeling. It might be silly, but I legitimately feel sick to my stomach. When I took a break from wrestling (post-Attitude), Punk was on the TV the day I decided to tune back in and see where WWE was at. That was roughly three years ago. I instantly felt drawn to his character and I researched the crap out of him. I was starved for anything Punk related and I spent a lot of time watching his promos and work from before he reached WWE. For me, he stands for everything that's GOOD about wrestling. His ring work, his promos, everything he went through to get to "the big stage"... it's a testament that work pays off and dreams can be achieved. I know he's been disgruntled on more than one occasion so it sounds funny that I see him a proof that there is a point in dreaming, but look at how far he's come from being that scrawny boy with the Pepsi tattoo. I honestly feel like I could have a good cry right now, but the possibility that this is all just one big whopping storyline is keeping me from bawling. Once I see cold, hard confirmation that he's walked away for real...THEN I will lose my shit and weep giant fangirl tears. In many ways, he's the reason I found the ability to dream again, and he's the reason I was reunited with my passion for writing. They say wrestling has saved many people, especially when you read/hear interviews of your favorite wrestlers and they themselves admit wrestling saved them from their own crap lives; while I don't have a story that comes close to Punk's, he helped me find myself and helped me realize who I want to be, and although I don't feel the need to slap on spandex and suplex someone, I do want to be involved in the world of wrestling via my pen and keyboard. Anyway, enough rambling. I'm just saying that despite how ridiculous it might be, the possibility that he left for real has affected me, LOL. I had to go back and edit the shit out of this because there were so many mistakes. If you see any (I probably missed some), let me know xD R&R, my pretties. Thank you for the uplifting reviews on the previous update; hearing you guys say this is probably the best Dean fic means THE WORLD to me. Also, I love the way you guys jumped on poor Dolph, haha and all the "why can't Dean and Harlan have more than one nice moment?" Because it's a drama! You love it! I love you guys, thank you.